Cover for No Agenda Show 1590: Bold Action
September 14th • 3h 15m

1590: Bold Action


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

Cyber Pandemic
MGM Ransomware BOTG
I thought you'd be interested in the current chaos unfolding at MGM International. Everything from slot machines to email, to employee portals are offline. Communication is happening via personal emails and texts.
According to IT, the breach originated from the help desk, with credentials likely obtained through phishing or social engineering. Despite this being preventable through methods like two-factor authentication, no such measures were in place. This started at the corporate level and made its way to all MGM properties, even those in Macau. Aria, Bellagio, NyNy, Cosmo, MGM, Mandalay Bay, Park MGM, the list goes on.
Upon discovering the hack, MGM took their systems offline voluntarily. The hackers are demanding over $100 million in ransom. Interestingly, a similar incident happened to Caesar's recently; they paid $30 million in ransom but managed to keep it under wraps until now.
It’s a shit show. I am currently working on a project with corporate and it will be at least two weeks before email is restored.
Biden Crime Family
Obama - Carlson
Carlson's Dad Richard outed trans tennis player
REPRINT (wiki):
In 1976, Richards's gender reassignment was outed by local TV anchor Richard Carlson, the father of Tucker Carlson.[16] Subsequently the United States Tennis Association (USTA), the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), and the United States Open Committee (USOC) required all female competitors to verify their sex with a Barr body test of their chromosomes.
Big Pharma
Great Reset
Massachusetts wedding hotel seizure BOTG
Itm boys.
Quick update from the horrible state of Taxachusetts. My cousin is set to get married over Columbus Day weekend. The grooms family is from out of town and they rented two floors of a hotel so they could all be together for the weekend. Governor Healey just seized the hotel to house migrants. They have lost their reservations and there is no where else to stay. On top of it all of the hotels that are housing migrants are having fires, assaults etc break out. Nightmare.
USPS BOTG 2nd pay period in a row of 0s BOTG
Last pay period 50% of carriers reported not being paid correctly and many had problems with managements quick fix "money orders weren't being recognized by banks and had delays or wrong number values inputted" "banks thought they were fake"
This pay period there are at least 15% reporting so far that this check is missing pay or something like that... it goes back to my email about the union mad that the carriers wanted to do a new union (teamsters or other)
Yet everyday on the scanners we use the USPS brags of record revenue/profit and there is a non government strike clause which would send employees to jail if they strike over being paid 0. Late fees rack up from mortgage/credit cards and no one cares.
Covid Comeback
Adam, on Thursday show you were wondering where the term cadence came form or all of a sudden became popular.
I think it is being used because as you have pointed out the booster is an update to your system which you have used over the last 3 years.
Cadence is used in agile development environments and I started hearing it a lot on the technology projects we were working on when we went away from a water fall methodology.
Here is the ai generated definition.
Cadence in Agile Scrum refers to a sequence or rhythm of events or tasks in a project that creates a pattern for the team to follow to understand what they are doing and when they will be done with it. In Scrum, there are iterations of a set length called sprints that usually last a week or two.
So I think it kind of related to that and these are tech focused.
Baron JB.
Testimony From CIA Whistleblower Alleges New Information on COVID-19 Origins - United States House Committee on Oversight and Accountability
WASHINGTON — Staff on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have heard testimony from a whistleblower alleging that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offered six analysts significant monetary incentives to change their position on COVID-19’s origin. The whistleblower, who presents as a highly credible senior-level CIA officer, alleges that of the seven members assigned to the CIA team tasked with analyzing COVID-19 origins, six officers concluded that the virus likely originated from a lab in Wuhan, China. The CIA, then however, allegedly offered financial incentives to six of the experts involved in the investigation to change their conclusion in favor of a zoonotic origin.
Big Tech
AI dangerous but not for the IRS?
IRS announces sweeping effort to restore fairness to tax system with Inflation Reduction Act funding; new compliance efforts focused on increasing scrutiny on high-income, partnerships, corporations and promoters abusing tax rules on the books | Internal Revenue Service
Expansion of pilot focused on largest partnerships leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI). The complex structures and tax issues present in large partnerships require a focused approach to best identify the highest risk issues and apply resources accordingly. In 2021, the IRS launched the first stage of its Large Partnership Compliance (LPC) program with examinations of some of the largest and most complex partnership returns in the filing population. The IRS is now expanding the LPC program to additional large partnerships. With the help of AI, the selection of these returns is the result of groundbreaking collaboration among experts in data science and tax enforcement, who have been working side-by-side to apply cutting-edge machine learning technology to identify potential compliance risk in the areas of partnership tax, general income tax and accounting, and international tax in a taxpayer segment that historically has been subject to limited examination coverage. By the end of the month, the IRS will open examinations of 75 of the largest partnerships in the U.S. that represent a cross section of industries including hedge funds, real estate investment partnerships, publicly traded partnerships, large law firms and other industries. On average, these partnerships each have more than $10 billion in assets.
Climate Change
Trains Good, Planes Bad
Elites and heads of state travelling by train more often?
InfoWars host Owen Shroyer sentenced to 60 days in Capitol riot case | CNN Politics
SHROYER’S February 2020 Deferred Prosecution Agreement On January 17, 2020, JONATHON OWEN SHROYER (“SHROYER”) was charged by an Information in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Case No. 2020 CMD 000820, with a violation of (1) 10 D.C. Code Section 503.16(b)(4) (2001 ed.), Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct on United States Capitol Grounds, and (2) 10 D.C. Code Section 503.16(b)(7) (2001 ed.), Obstructing and Impeding Passage on United States Capitol Grounds, based on SHROYER’s disruption of a House Judiciary Committee meeting on December 9, 2019. During the incident, SHROYER, who was seated in the audience observing the hearing in the committee room, jumped up from his seat and shouted in a loud manner while the Judicial Committee was in session. The disruption occurred while the Chairman of the committee was speaking and caused the Chairman to hit the gavel and request that order be restored. SHROYER was removed from the room and placed under arrest. On February 25, 2020, SHROYER entered into a Community Service Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) (attached as Exhibit A). Pursuant to the DPA, SHROYER agreed to abide by certain standard and special conditions during a four-month deferment period as enumerated in the agreement. As part of the DPA conditions, SHROYER agreed not to violate any laws and to perform 32 hours of verified community service. Due to the nature of the offense, the DPA included the following special conditions for SHROYER: 1. The defendant agrees not to utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or to engage in any disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place upon the United States Capitol Grounds or within any of the Capitol Buildings with intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of any session of the Congress or either House thereof, or the orderly conduct within any such building of any hearing before, or any deliberations of, any committee or subcommittee of the Congress or either House thereof. 2. The defendant agrees not to parade, demonstrate, or picket within any of the Capitol Buildings. 3. The term “Capitol Buildings” means the United States Capitol, the Senate and House Office Buildings and garages, the Capitol Power Plant, all subways and enclosed passages connecting 2 or more of such structures, and the real property underlying and enclosed by any such structure. In addition, the term “United States Capitol Grounds” was defined to include an area delineated in a map attached to the DPA spanning the Capitol grounds from 3rd Street NW on the west side of the Capitol building, to 2nd Street SE on the east side of the Capitol building (see
Bobby the Op
Ukraine vs Russia
McGregor clip
Hi Adam!
Thanks for playing the clip from my podcast interview with Macgregor!
Little did you know it just wasn’t any podcast, it was one of your Knights!
Would love to have you back on the show at some point we got some rave reviews when you were on last year.
Jeremy Ryan Slate
Founder, The Create Your Own Life Show
Zelensky ‘senses’ weakening Western support — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union
Western governments could face defeats at the ballot box and trouble from the millions of Ukrainian refugees they host, if they do not maintain their assistance to Kiev, President Vladimir Zelensky has warned.
In an interview with The Economist, Zelensky complained about weakening support from senior Western officials, which he claimed to have seen in their eyes during meetings.
“I see that he or she is not here, not with us” contrary to spoken assurances, he said, according to the interview published on Sunday.
According to Zelensky, failure to support Ukraine amounts to siding with Russia in the conflict, which escalated into open hostilities in February 2022.
“If partners do not help us, it means they will help Russia to win,” he stated.
Why Musicians Are Broke and How to Fix It - YouTube
Thu, 14 Sep 2023 15:39
The case against pets: is it time to give up our cats and dogs? | Pets | The Guardian
Thu, 14 Sep 2023 14:28
T roy Vettese has a parrot in his family. She gets paid a lot of attention, but she wants more. Parrots are clever and social. Vettese says: ''She needs to be entertained all the time, otherwise she really is suffering.'' He sees a possible different life for her: ''She could be living with her friends and family in a forest, very happy '' but she's not, and that's unfair to her.''
If that sounds sensible, but you don't see what it has to do with the fluffy, well-exercised and frequently fed love of your life at home, bear with me. Of course, when it comes to owning pets, there are varying shades of grey. On one end of the spectrum: the poor snake I spotted at a party recently, being worn as a necklace. At the other might be your rescue pup, or my rescue cats, one with a damaged cerebellum and the other with one eye; they wouldn't have survived long on the streets. But I still find myself wondering whether it is fair keeping them at all.
We may think that we are giving our companions rounded lives and putting them first when we rise early for walkies or clean up another accident. But Vettese, an environmental historian who specialises in animal studies, says the suffering of his family's much-loved bird is evidence that pet ownership is not about the animals.
''If people really cared about animals, we would only engage in rescues and helping animal sanctuaries' wildlife rehabilitation '' things that we find fulfilling, but that also help the animal,'' he says. Instead, ''we only like relationships where they are easy, where the pets are well maintained, where we can hire a dog walker, where it impinges as little as possible on our life and we are extracting as much emotional support as we want from them''. To his mind, it is definitely ''a very selfish relationship''.
Trends in pet ownership could be taken as evidence of this: 24% of all owners in the UK got their pet in the past two years, with a total of 5.4m pets acquired since 2020, according to a recent report by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals. During Covid lockdowns, people were bored at home, allowed out only to take walks '' on which a dog provided company. In the immediate aftermath, as people went back to work and realised a musclebound American bully XL dog wasn't going to love being alone in a flat all day, lots of animal shelters were overrun; many continue to be, as a consequence of the cost of living crisis.
'Pets are much more intensively captive than they have been in the past.' Photograph: Cynoclub/Getty ImagesBut, at least in the ''traditional west'', keeping animals such as dogs and cats seems to be the norm, says Jessica du Toit, a doctoral student in philosophy at Western University in Ontario who studies animal ethics. She grew up with pets and takes every chance she can to spend time with her parents' elderly dog, Oliver. In fact, she says, ''so many people nowadays consider these animals to be their companions, or a part of their respective families, that we have things such as Uber Pet [which allows you to order a taxi that will take you and your four-legged friend]; restaurants, hotels and workplaces stating that they are pet-friendly; and people earning good incomes as pet walkers, pet sitters and pet psychologists''.
Jessica Pierce, a bioethicist and the author of Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of Keeping Pets, says: ''We're at a really weird place, and definitely a place that is unlike any we've been in the past.'' She cites a new report on the pet industry in the US that puts the figure of US households with pets at 70%: ''That's unbelievable!''
It isn't just the scale of pet ownership that has mushroomed in recent years, Pierce says, but also what she describes as the ''intensity'' of pet ownership: ''They are much more intensively captive than they have been in the past.'' She takes the example of dogs, which, in general, ''have less and less freedom to move around the world and be dogs''.
The way we breed animals now '' for traits that we find cute, docile or hypoallergenic '' is at dizzying new heights. ''Dogs and cats are more and more treated like objects, products, a substrate, not like beings,'' says Pierce, who grew up with dogs, cats and ''a bunch of other pets''. It was when history repeated itself and her young daughter had her own menagerie that she ''started to really look at the ethics of it''. She points to breeds such as ''pugs and boxers, which have lifelong quality-of-life compromises''.
Then there are the ways they are much more intensely ''ours'' than once they might have been '' another member of the family in a way that is loving, but not very animal. Our pets have become like our children. We buy them bow ties for their birthday and take them for tea-tree oil pawdicures. Professionals paint portraits of them to hang on our walls, or we do it ourselves; I spent a particularly silly afternoon creating lino likenesses of my cats.
The global pet industry is vast '' worth $320bn, according to one report '' and increasingly humanised; products cash in on our desire to spoil animals and shower them with a very human, consumerist kind of love. The psychology is complicated, and pet owners might feel they are indulging their animals, but how much is that high-concept toy really about your hamster?
''The level of emotional dependence humans have on their companion animals is different from any time in the past,'' says Pierce. ''People are seeing dogs as emotional aids, whether or not they are officially therapy animals.'' This is, she thinks, taking its toll. If you look at veterinary literature, she says, the levels of ''acute anxiety in dogs are off the charts''.
We are asking animals to fill a very human need, says Vettese: ''People are looking for unconditional love.'' But that love ''is predicated on this absolute domination of the pet's life '' what they eat, their sexuality, their love, their activity '' and you can't disentangle these two things''. If pets had more autonomy, he says, ''they would not necessarily have this unconditional love''.
For pet owners, this is an uncomfortable concept. Would my cats still nuzzle me with wild abandon if I weren't such a reliable cat-treat dispenser? I shudder at the thought.
''The problem with unconditional love,'' says Ed Winters, the author of This Is Vegan Propaganda (And Other Lies the Meat Industry Tells You), is that it comes at a price. ''How are they going to feel when we go into the shop and they're whining at the door? They've become so reliant on us that even just a few hours of separation can cause distress.'' He has only ever had one pet '' a hamster called Rupert whose personality was so winning that he was a catalyst for Winters to become vegan.
Even if our pets aren't depressed, perhaps they aren't living their best lives. ''There are certainly some animals who do very well in the care of certain human beings,'' says Du Toit. ''But many human beings, even when they are kind and conscientious custodians of their animals, underestimate the needs and desires of their companions.'' Even if you have the basics covered, ''most dogs and cats also need adequate cognitive stimulation, and opportunities for play and socialisation with compatible conspecifics [animals of the same species] if they are to have minimally decent lives.'' Without it, she says, they experience frustration, loneliness and sometimes separation anxiety.
'The boredom of animals is intense.' Photograph: jgareri/Getty Images''The boredom of animals is intense,'' says Vettese. He looks to parrots again '' two in five African grey parrots exhibit ''feather-damaging behaviour'', or plucking themselves, out of boredom. Fish are increasingly thought to be bored or stressed by tank life. My cats have a garden and toys in the shape of mackerel to play with, but I would hazard that they would cause a lot less ''mischief'' if I had more time to better occupy them with feline-oriented games.
Regarding uncaged domesticated animals, Pierce still says that ''captivity is the main ethical problem '... because even dogs and cats are captive in important ways and captivity has a whole range of physiological and neurological ill effects on animal brains and bodies''. Cats are often free to come and go as they please '' mine frequently do, coming back smelling of woodsmoke and another person's perfume '' but, when push comes to shove, they are captive broadly to my will. That said, Pierce argues that ''agency and a really broad sense of control over their own lives'' counteracts at least some of the negativity of captivity for dogs and cats.
There are other ethical acrobatics involved in pet ownership. Take the damage pets do to other animals and habitats. Cats, for instance, kill a huge amount of wildlife and have contributed to the extinction of 63 species worldwide. Then there is their carbon footprint. While we are increasingly aware of how our diets affect the planet, Winters argues that we view our pets separately; I can't be the only pescatarian who feeds their cat meat. It might not always be thus '' according to the largest study to date, vegan diets are healthier and safer for dogs than conventional meat-based diets, as long as they are nutritionally complete. But if US pets were a country, they would rank fifth globally for meat consumption, ahead of Germany.
So, is there a way to own pets ethically? Yes and no, Pierce says. ''There's no such thing as perfect '... but we can do our best and do pretty well.'' She has a dog called Bella '' ''a mix of some sort '... she's super-cute'' '' who has some physical disabilities, ''so she can't walk very well, but she has a lot of fun in life''. They take her hiking in a backpack. Taking care of her is, she says, a big responsibility; Pierce feels constantly as though she is not doing enough for her. Whereas previously she thought Bella had behavioural issues, she now sees that it is her job to adapt more thoughtfully to her needs ''and not make her do all the work''.
It would be good, says Pierce, ''to see us doing more work to adapt ourselves to our dogs''. Take our homes: it should be obvious, she thinks, when we enter the house of someone who has dogs or cats. ''Let it be a house full of dog, with beds that smell like the dog, because that's going to be comfortable for the dog. Toys lying around, hair on the couch, muddy footprints.''
Adopting animals from shelters rather than buying them from breeders is one obvious step, but perhaps we need to reframe our relationship with pets altogether. ''We understand that they have emotions and thoughts, because that's one of the ways that we find them wonderful companions,'' says Pierce. ''But at the same time, we fail to see them for who they are. We see them for who we think they are, who we want them to be.'' I can't honestly deny the joy of seeing a yorkshire terrier dressed as Wonder Woman, but I am pretty sure it's not a dog's idea of a good time.
Du Toit makes a distinction between owning pets and keeping them. The former, she argues, may ''foster or reinforce problematic attitudes towards the animals we keep as companions '... we are very unlikely to think of ourselves as having onerous moral duties to that which is our property''. By shifting our thinking and language to '''caring for' or 'keeping' companion animals'' says Du Toit, ''we are much more likely to treat our companion animals in a manner that is appropriate, given their inherent moral worth''.
US FDA panel says popular decongestant used in cold medicines ineffective | Reuters
Thu, 14 Sep 2023 14:21
Signage is seen outside of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) headquarters in White Oak, Maryland, U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights
Sept 12 (Reuters) - An outside panel of experts to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday refused to back the effectiveness of oral over-the-counter (OTC) medicines made with phenylephrine, an ingredient widely used in cold and cough syrups.
The panel unanimously voted against the effectiveness of orally administered phenylephrine as a nasal decongestant, adding that no more trials were required to prove otherwise.
The panel vote could lead to the removal of oral phenylephrine, which is a major component of popular products like Benadryl, Advil and Tylenol, from the FDA's list of approved OTC ingredients, barring its sale in the United States.
The FDA usually follows the recommendations of its expert panel but is not obligated to do so.
"The patient community requires and deserves medications that treat their symptoms safely and effectively and I don't believe that this medication does that," said Jennifer Schwartzott, one of the FDA panelists.
Kenvue (KVUE.N), the maker of Tylenol, and GSK (GSK.L), which markets Advil, did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.
Phenylephrine was substituted for pseudoephedrine in many non-prescription cold and allergy medicines after the latter was restricted amid reports of abuse.
Reporting by Mariam Sunny in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Over 700 people tested for Nipah virus after two deaths in India | Reuters
Thu, 14 Sep 2023 14:15
[1/2] Members of a medical team from Kozhikode Medical College carry areca nut and guava fruit samples to conduct tests for Nipah virus in Maruthonkara village in Kozhikode district, Kerala, India, September 13, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer Acquire Licensing Rights
India's Kerala state on alert after Nipah virus deathsTransmitted to humans from animals like pigs, fruit batsHigh mortality rate among those who contract the virusNEW DELHI, Sept 13 (Reuters) - The southern Indian state of Kerala shut some schools, offices and public transport on Wednesday in a race to stop the spread of the rare and deadly Nipah virus, which has killed two people.
Two adults and a child were still infected in hospital, and more than 700 people were being tested for the virus, spread via contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, pigs or people, a state health official said.
The state government on Wednesday evening said at least 706 people, including 153 health workers, were undergoing tests to check the spread of the virus. Results were awaited.
"More people could be tested ...I solation facilities will be provided," Pinarayi Vijayan, chief minister of Kerala, said in a statement. He asked people to avoid public gatherings in the Kozhikode district for the next 10 days.
Two infected people have died since Aug. 30 in Kerala's fourth outbreak of the virus since 2018, forcing authorities to declare containment zones in at least eight Kozhikode villages.
"We are focusing on tracing contacts of infected persons early and isolating anyone with symptoms," state Health Minister Veena George told reporters.
She said the virus detected in Kerala was the same as one found earlier in Bangladesh, a strain that spreads from human to human with a high mortality rate but has a history of being less infectious.
"Public movement has been restricted in parts of the state to contain the medical crisis," she said, adding that state epidemiologists were using antivirals and monoclonal antibodies to treat three people infected, including a medical worker.
Strict isolation rules have been adopted, with medical staff being quarantined after contact with the infected.
The first victim was a small landholder growing bananas and areca nuts in the Kozhikode village of Maruthonkara, said a government official who retraced the movement of that person to track down all people he could have interacted with and the places he visited before his health started to deteriorate.
The victim's daughter and brother-in-law, both infected, are in an isolation ward, while other family members and neighbours are being tested.
The second death followed contact in hospital with the first victim, an initial investigation has shown, but the two were not related, added the official, who sought anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media.
The Nipah virus was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak of illness among pig farmers and others in close contact with the animals in Malaysia and Singapore.
Outbreaks are sporadic and previous infections in South Asia have occurred when people drank date-palm sap contaminated with bat excreta.
The first victim's native village, Maruthonkara, is situated near a 300-acre forest that is home to several bat species. During the 2018 Nipah outbreak, fruit bats from the same area tested positive for the virus.
In Kerala's first Nipah outbreak, 21 of the 23 people infected died. Outbreaks in 2019 and 2021 killed two people.
Neighbouring Tamil Nadu state announced that travellers coming from Kerala would be subjected to medical tests and those with flu symptoms would be isolated.
A Reuters investigation in May identified parts of Kerala as among the places most at risk globally for outbreaks of bat viruses, especially as extensive deforestation and urbanisation have brought people and wildlife into closer contact.
Additional reporting by Chris Thomas; editing by Michael Perry, Clarence Fernandez, Christina Fincher and Mark Heinrich
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Gender transition: Jay Langadinos sues psychiatrist for professional negligence
Thu, 14 Sep 2023 13:53
This was published 1 year ago
The first time Sydney woman Jay Langadinos saw psychiatrist Dr Patrick Toohey she was 19, living at home and identifying as male. It was May 2010. Langadinos wanted to start on masculinising hormones and her endocrinologist had referred her to Toohey to assess if she was suitable for the treatment.
According to a statement of claim filed in the NSW Supreme Court in May, the referral letter from Professor Ann Conway said it ''seemed likely'' Langadinos had ''true gender dysphoria'', but she was ''very young'' and ''clearly'' needed ''thorough psychiatric work-up before embarking on hormone treatment''.
Jay Langadinos, who transitioned from a woman to a man, no longer identifies as male and is suing her psychiatrist for professional negligence. Credit: Janie Barrett
Toohey agreed Langadinos suffered from gender dysphoria '' a misalignment between a person's sex and gender identity '' and found she was suitable for hormone therapy, in this case testosterone, which encourages the development of male secondary sexual characteristics.
Langadinos saw Toohey a second time in February 2012. Now she was eager to have her breasts surgically removed. Toohey allegedly found ''no contraindication'' for her to undergo a bilateral mastectomy. She had the operation in April.
The following month, Langadinos was back again, this time to discuss her wish to have her womb removed. Again, Toohey reported he could not see ''any psychiatric contraindication to proceeding with hysterectomy as part of gender transition''. Langadinos underwent the surgery in November, less than seven months after her mastectomy. She was 22.
Toohey's advice is now subject to a rare legal case. Langadinos, now 31 and no longer identifying as male, is suing Toohey for professional negligence. The case comes amid an intensifying debate in Australia and overseas about the ''gender-affirming'' approach to treating gender dysphoria after an explosion in young people questioning their gender.
Langadinos said she had hoped transitioning would bring her greater happiness and self-assurance. Instead, each surgery plunged her further into depression. Credit: Janie Barrett
Last month, England's National Health Service announced it was closing the UK's only children's gender service at London's Tavistock clinic, after preliminary findings from an independent review headed by eminent paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass found doctors felt ''pressured to adopt an unquestioning approach'' to young patients, especially children.
Langadinos says that around November 3, 2016 '' four years after her hysterectomy and during psychiatric treatment provided by Dr Roberto D'Angelo '' she ''came to the realisation that she should not have undergone the hormone therapy or the first and second surgeries''.
In January 2020, she consulted endocrinologist Dr Christopher Muir about ceasing testosterone treatment. Langadinos claims Toohey ''failed to take precautions'' to avoid risk of harm ''in the nature of loss of her breasts, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries''.
The statement of claim alleges that, before recommending hormonal treatment and the surgeries, Toohey ''knew or ought to have known'' Langadinos required further psychiatric evaluation by him and by a psychiatrist with specialised expertise in diverse conditions. She alleges that he was negligent in not recommending she get an opinion from a second psychiatrist for her hysterectomy.
She told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald: ''Knowing that I can't have children is absolutely devastating.''
Toohey, an experienced psychiatrist, told The Age and the Herald he was unable to comment as the case is before the courts.
Solicitor Anna Kerr, of NSW's Feminist Legal Clinic, who referred Langadinos' case to legal firm Slater and Gordon, believes the legal action is ''likely to be the tip of the iceberg''.
''We can expect to see extensive litigation in future years related to gender-affirming cross-sex hormones and surgeries,'' she said.
Historically, studies have suggested very low regret rates for people who transition, about 1 per cent. Now, some experts are uncertain if those studies are relevant to the much larger cohort of young people presenting with gender issues today, of which two-thirds are females in their teens. Many have existing mental health conditions.
Langadinos says the consequence of Toohey's alleged breaches of duty of care was that she ''has suffered and continues to suffer from injuries and disabilities'', including masculinising and complications as a result of hormone therapy, loss of breasts, uterus and ovaries, complications from early menopause, anxiety and depression, impaired psychological functioning, an ongoing need for medical treatment and diminished capacity for employment.
In an interview with The Age and the Herald, she explained the background to her gender confusion. Her complicated home life had given rise to a feeling she was somehow defective. The feeling grew in her mid-teens when she realised she was attracted to other girls. At 17, she searched for answers on the internet and ''discovered transgender''.
''And because of the definition of dysphoria, I thought, 'That's what I have.' I decided that I must be transgender because of my discomfort that I had in my body,'' she said.
She had hoped transitioning would bring her greater happiness and self-assurance. Instead, each surgery plunged her further into depression.
''As my unhappiness grew, I felt the cause of my unhappiness was because I was not male, so the answer was to change my body even more,'' she said.
''I had a breakdown, couldn't function for an entire year. I couldn't get out of bed. I wish at the time I knew how much I was hurting and why.''
The statement of claim alleges that after their first consultation, Toohey noted Langadinos had been distressed at primary school for having to dress as a girl, that she had a ''tomboy'' manner, that she had left high school at year 11 and started an apprenticeship as a chef, that she was sexually attracted to females, did not have friends, and that her parents ''were not accepting of her transgender issues''.
He said he was worried Langadinos ''did not know how psychological factors could influence the outcome of gender transition''. He ''strongly'' recommended she receive therapy for ''social phobia'', have regular psychological follow-ups during hormone therapy, and that family therapy would also be helpful.
At her second consultation with Toohey, Langadinos came with her parents. Toohey noted afterwards that his recommended treatment and family therapy had not occurred and that Langadinos told him anxiety was not a problem for her and that she did not want treatment.
Her parents were supportive of her having a mastectomy, Toohey noted, though her mother agreed she needed treatment for anxiety.
''Considering the situation overall and the parents' support,'' Toohey concluded, he could see ''no contraindication to proceeding with bilateral mastectomy'', and Langadinos could then be encouraged to receive treatment for anxiety.
In a separate letter to an andrology fellow at Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Toohey said that when he first saw Langadinos in May 2010 he had noted at the time ''a past history of significant social phobia and depression which may have been beyond gender dysphoria''.
After their third and final session, according to the legal claim, Toohey found ''no psychiatric evidence of incompetence regarding making medical decisions'' and that the ''only major psychiatric issue was the chronic social phobia'' and Langadinos' avoidance of treatment.
The case went to a directions hearing this month. The lawyer for Toohey's medical indemnity insurer has sought further particulars of the claim before filing a defence.
If you or anyone you know needs support call Kidshelpline 1800 55 1800, Lifeline 131 114, or Beyond Blue 1300 224 636.
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Hollywood Strikes Must End Soon to Avoid Cancelled TV Season '' TVLine
Thu, 14 Sep 2023 13:52
''9-1-1, what's your TV emergency?''
The dual WGA and SAG-SAFTRA strikes need to be resolved by the end of this month if scripted primetime fare such as 9-1-1: Lone Star and The Cleaning Lady are to return with new episodes in the 2023-24 TV season, says Fox entertainment president Michael Thorn.
When last we tuned in, 29 days ago, the WGA had countered the AMPTP's latest offer; no next meeting has been scheduled. Things are proceeding even slower on the SAG-AFTRA front. Sources tell TVLine that it will take scripted shows roughly eight weeks to get back into production once the strikes are resolved.
''You're going get to a point in the fall, in the late fall, where it's going to be very hard to launch [scripted shows] within the traditional TV viewing season,'' Thorn told our sister site Deadline.
If the strikes are resolved later than October 1, that's where difficult scheduling decisions will have to be made.
''If that means the [delayed scripted] show could work and succeed in the summer [of 2024], great,'' Thorn said. Or, ''If it's better to wait for the fall and use football and sports'' to promote/launch scripted seasons, ''we'll do that.
''You could use October 1 as the date'' by which the writer and actor strikes need to be settled,'' Thorn added. ''Every show is different but sometimes when you're staring at a May launch date, you always wonder, 'Is that the best time?''' to premiere a season/series.
Fall TV Calendar: Get 100+ Premiere Dates
Fox's fall TV slate features one full night of scripted animated fare (on Sundays), while the rest of the week is rife with multiple Gordon Ramsay cooking competitions, new seasons of Special Forces: World's Toughest Test, Name That Tune and The Masked Singer, 9-1-1: Lone Star reruns, the new, David Spade-hosted Snake Oil game show, and, of course, Friday Night SmackDown.
But whenever the magical day comes for live-action scripted fare to return to our screens, ''we're going to return those shows with vigor,'' Thorn avowed. ''We really pride ourselves on 'less is more' and we were fortunate to be able to really put our money where our mouth is in that regard. When we return, Animal Control is going to get the full backing of this far-reaching platform [as will] John Wells' new show, Rescue: Hi-Surf, when we launch it.''
Want SCOOP on any TV show? Email, and your question may be answered via Matt's Inside Line!
Hackers stole Microsoft signing key from Windows crash dump
Thu, 14 Sep 2023 13:40
Microsoft says Storm-0558 Chinese hackers stole a signing key used to breach government email accounts from a Windows crash dump after compromising a Microsoft engineer's corporate account.
The attackers used the stolen MSA key to breach the Exchange Online and Azure Active Directory (AD) accounts of roughly two dozen organizations, including government agencies in the United States, such as the U.S. State and Commerce Departments.
They exploited a now-patched zero-day validation issue in the GetAccessTokenForResourceAPI, which enabled them to forge signed access tokens and impersonate accounts within the targeted orgs.
Windows crash dump divingWhile investigating Storm-0558's attack, Microsoft found that the MSA key was leaked into a crash dump after a consumer signing system crashed in April 2021.
Even though the crash dump shouldn't have included signing keys, a race condition led to the key being added. This crash dump was later moved from the company's isolated production network to its internet-connected corporate debugging environment.
The threat actors found the key after successfully compromising a Microsoft engineer's corporate account, which had access to the debugging environment containing the key erroneously included in the April 2021 crash dump.
"Due to log retention policies, we don't have logs with specific evidence of this exfiltration by this actor, but this was the most probable mechanism by which the actor acquired the key," Microsoft revealed today.
"Our credential scanning methods did not detect its presence (this issue has been corrected)."
Widespread access to Microsoft cloud servicesWhile Microsoft said when it disclosed the incident in July that only Exchange Online and Outlook were impacted, Wiz security researcher Shir Tamari later said that the compromised Microsoft consumer signing key provided Storm-0558 widespread access to Microsoft cloud services.
As Tamari said, the key could be used to impersonate any account within any impacted customer or cloud-based Microsoft application.
"This includes managed Microsoft applications, such as Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams, as well as customers' applications that support Microsoft Account authentication, including those who allow the 'Login with Microsoft' functionality," Tamari said.
"Everything in the world of Microsoft leverages Azure Active Directory auth tokens for access," Wiz CTO and Cofounder Ami Luttwak also told BleepingComputer.
"An attacker with an AAD signing key is the most powerful attacker you can imagine, because they can access almost any app '' as any user. This is the ultimate cyber intelligence' shape shifter' superpower."
"The old public key's certificate revealed it was issued on April 5th, 2016, and expired on April 4th, 2021," Tamari added.
Redmond later told BleepingComputer that the compromised key could only be used to target apps that accepted personal accounts and had the validation error exploited by the Chinese hackers.
In response to the security breach, Microsoft revoked all valid MSA signing keys to prevent threat actors from accessing other compromised keys. This step also effectively blocked any additional efforts to generate new access tokens. Additionally, Microsoft relocated the recently generated access tokens to the key store used by its enterprise systems.
After revoking the stolen signing key, Microsoft found no additional evidence of unauthorized access to customer accounts employing the same auth token forging technique.
Pressured by CISA, Microsoft also agreed to expand access to cloud logging data for free to help network defenders detect similar breach attempts in the future.
Before this, such logging capabilities were only available to customers with Purview Audit (Premium) logging licenses. As a result, Redmond faced substantial criticism for impeding organizations from promptly detecting Storm-0558's attacks.
Testimony From CIA Whistleblower Alleges New Information on COVID-19 Origins - United States House Committee on Oversight and Accountability
Wed, 13 Sep 2023 16:33
WASHINGTON '-- Staff on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have heard testimony from a whistleblower alleging that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offered six analysts significant monetary incentives to change their position on COVID-19's origin. The whistleblower, who presents as a highly credible senior-level CIA officer, alleges that of the seven members assigned to the CIA team tasked with analyzing COVID-19 origins, six officers concluded that the virus likely originated from a lab in Wuhan, China. The CIA, then however, allegedly offered financial incentives to six of the experts involved in the investigation to change their conclusion in favor of a zoonotic origin.
Chairman Wenstrup and Chairman Turner are requesting that all documents and communications related to the CIA's COVID-19 origins review be made immediately available to the Committees. The Chairmen additionally request that former CIA COO Andrew Makridis appear for a voluntary transcribed interview on September 26, 2023. Any improper influence exerted by the CIA will be investigated to ensure accountability from the intelligence community.
''According to the whistleblower, at the end of its review, six of the seven members of the Team believed the intelligence and science were sufficient to make a low confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. The seventh member of the Team, who also happened to be the most senior, was the lone officer to believe COVID-19 originated through zoonosis. The whistleblower further contends that to come to the eventual public determination of uncertainty, the other six members were given a significant monetary incentive to change their position,'' wrote the Chairmen.
Read Chairman Wenstrup and Chairman Turner's letter to CIA Director William Burns here.
Read Chairman Wenstrup and Chairman Turner's letter to former CIA COO Andrew Makridis here.
More on the COVID-19 Origins Investigation:
Interim Staff Report '' The Proximal Origin of a Cover-Up: Did the ''Bethesda Boys'' Downplay a Lab Leak?
Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Subpoena: Dr. Kristian Andersen
New Evidence Resulting from the Select Subcommittee's Investigation into the Origins of COVID-19 '' ''The Proximal Origin of SARS-CoV-2''
Clean Steel Technology | Gerdau Website
Wed, 13 Sep 2023 14:55
How Clean Steel Is MeasuredNon-destructive testing of the steel bars prior to its use, utilizing methods such as automatic ultrasonic inspection and magnetic flux leakage testing, is the first filter to understanding steel cleanliness and offering feedback for process improvement.
Even the cleanest steels produced today will have some small level of impurity, which is inherent to the process. Therefore, it is important to understand the cleanliness of the steel and its ability to satisfy the fit and function of the end product. Both size and location of inclusions can influence the final performance. The level of steel cleanliness that is acceptable to a certain product may not be acceptable to others.
For instance, bearings, gears and shafts each have unique production processes with their own particular product testing needs. Fatigue testing is a good example. In addition to traditional bending, torsion and push-pull fatigue testing, more specific tests, such as rolling contact fatigue testing for bearing products and tooth bending fatigue testing for gears, may be required.
Historically, indirect methods were used as a correlation to cleanliness, such as oxygen content in steel and nitrogen pickup. The concept is that the less exposure steel has to the atmosphere, the lower the oxygen and nitrogen pickup, thus the cleaner the steel. Today, this concept has evolved to include different types of characterizations and has created more discussion around this correlation.
Traditional measurements of steel cleanliness, such as ASTM E45, ISO 4967 and JIS G 0555, have been complemented by acid dissolution tests, spark-dat (OES-PDA) testing, automated scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis, extreme value analysis (EVA) and immersion ultrasonic testing.
Recent investigation techniques are now considering inclusions as small as 1 micron. Additionally, the inclusion composition can be determined by automated SEM features, which plot the inclusions' chemistries and sizes in customized ternary diagrams. This is being used today as a tool for process feedback and also research.
Another good example is the immersion ultrasonic testing. Frequencies from 10MHz to 100MHz are used to investigate the amount of inclusions in a certain volume of steel. This is a significant development considering these microscopic inclusions were previously determined with polished cross-sections and microscopes. Now a much larger volume with a true representation of the lot of steel can be reliably evaluated.
CIA 'bribed' its analysts to say Covid didn't originate in Wuhan lab: whistleblower | The Post Millennial |
Wed, 13 Sep 2023 13:59
A new letter penned by Reps. Mike Turner (R-OH) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), who chair the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, respectively, revealed that a CIA whistleblower has said to
Congress that the government agency handed bribes to its own agents so they would claim that Covid did not
originate from a
laboratory in Wuhan, China.
"A multi-decade, senior-level, current Agency officer has come forward to provide information to the Committees regarding the Agency's analysis into the origins of COVID-19," the
letter addressed to Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William J. Burns reads in part. "According to the whistleblower, the Agency assigned seven officers to a COVID Discovery Team (Team). The Team consisted of multi-disciplinary and experienced officers with significant scientific expertise."
It goes on to state that per the whistleblower, "six of the seven members of the Team believed the intelligence and science were sufficient to make a low confidence assessment that COVID-19 originated from a laboratory in Wuhan, China. The seventh member of the Team, who also happened to be the most senior, was the lone officer to believe COVID-19 originated through zoonosis."
"The whistleblower further contends that to come to the eventual public determination of uncertainty, the other six members were given a significant monetary incentive to change their position."
The lawmakers told the CIA it must hand over all records related to the COVID Discovery Team and any communications with the FBI, State Department, Health and Human Services and Energy Department regarding the topic by September 26, or otherwise be faced with a subpoena.
Turner and Wenstrup also sent a
writeup to Andrew Makridis, a former Chief Operating Officer for the CIA who
retired near the end of 2022. In that letter was a request for Makridis to "participate in a voluntary
transcribed interview" in order to assist the committees in their investigations.
In February of this year, The
Department of Energy, which monitors biological research labs, found with "low confidence" that the Covid virus had emerged from a Wuhan lab. The FBI said the same, with moderate confidence.
Ultimately, the CIA
chose to not announce a formal assessment of the origins of Covid, even with low confidence.
A total of about seven million people have lost their lives since the virus started spreading throughout the world in 2020, according to the
Daily Mail.
InfoWars host Owen Shroyer sentenced to 60 days in Capitol riot case | CNN Politics
Wed, 13 Sep 2023 11:53
CNN '--
Owen Shroyer, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and InfoWars host, was sentenced to 60 days in jail on Tuesday for his involvement in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
Shroyer pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of entering and remaining on restricted grounds in June 2023. He did not enter the Capitol building itself.
DC District Judge Timothy Kelly told Shroyer during sentencing, ''You kind of stand out as a unique case,'' and told him he was ''not nearly just a trespasser,'' on January 6.
According to court documents, Shroyer ''spread election disinformation'' in the months leading up to the Capitol attack. Prosecutors say in the documents that by December 31, 2020, InfoWars was focusing primarily on January 6.
On January 6, Shroyer attended former President Donald Trump's speech at the Ellipse and made his way to the Capitol with other rioters, according to prosecutors. Shroyer had a megaphone with him and led chants among the rioters.
Kelly said many factors went into his sentencing decision, including that Shroyer ''played a role in amping up crowds.''
Shroyer had previously asked the judge to drop the four misdemeanor charges he was facing for his activity in the Capitol attack. Kelly denied the motion and Shroyer would eventually plead guilty.
Regulators Blast Union Pacific for Running Unsafe Trains '-- ProPublica
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 15:38
ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they're published.
Update, Sept. 12, 2023: Read Union Pacific's full response to the Federal Railroad Administration, which was released after this story was published.
On Friday, Union Pacific, the nation's largest freight railroad carrier, received a blistering letter from federal regulators who criticized the company for poorly maintaining its fleet, furloughing workers who perform train maintenance and allowing its managers to pressure inspectors to stop their efforts in order to keep freight moving.
The letter, signed by Federal Railroad Administration head Amit Bose, came after the agency inspected the company's East Departure Yard in North Platte, Nebraska, this summer and found that more than 70% of the train engines had safety defects, as did 20% of the cars '-- defect ratios twice the national average. Conditions didn't improve when inspectors returned and found locomotives with defects still in use. ''We haven't been able to get to them yet,'' a Union Pacific director said, according to the letter.
The company ''has not displayed a sense of urgency to improve locomotive and car conditions,'' the letter said.
The revelation comes as the safety record of the country's railroad industry is under deep scrutiny. All eyes have been on Norfolk Southern, whose train notoriously derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, in February, releasing toxic pollution and forcing a mass evacuation. But just one month later, Union Pacific had its own accident. A runaway train carrying iron ore reached a reported 118 mph before it derailed in Kelso, California. No one was injured.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been trying to get the nation's largest freight rail companies, the so-called Class 1s, to participate in a voluntary safety program in which workers can confidentially report ''close calls'' like runaway trains and misaligned switches without fear of retribution; NASA would process submissions, as it does for a similar program that governs the aviation industry.
The rail industry has resisted, saying employees could use the system to avoid punishment for their own safety violations. In a slight departure from the other big companies, a spokesperson with Union Pacific said it is more concerned that the system could delay how quickly the company addresses safety problems.
The company, which is the largest railroad in the world, said in a statement that safety is its first priority and that it wouldn't compromise the safety of its staff. ''There is no correlation between recent furloughs and Union Pacific's ability to address mechanical repairs,'' the statement said, adding that the company has appropriate staffing. The statement went on to say that Union Pacific will address the concerns raised in the letter and that it respects the federal inspectors. The company will be sending a formal response.
Labor union leaders said the safety problems flagged at Union Pacific are the natural byproduct of a business model adopted by the train companies called precision scheduled railroading. As ProPublica reported earlier this year, it places an emphasis on efficiency, running heavier, longer trains with leaner staffs and keeping them in constant motion.
''Until these railroads say they are done with PSR, this is what we're going to get,'' said Randy Fannon, a national vice president for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. ''There's no community safe from these defects and dangerous situations. UP will have their East Palestine soon unless they correct these issues and return to a normal maintenance program.''
How Norfolk Southern Is Addressing Blocked Train Crossings in Hammond, Indiana
According to the letter, federal inspectors got numerous calls from Union Pacific managers, including high-ranking company officials, requesting that they leave the yard because they were slowing down business. Under the Trump administration, inspectors might have complied, said Jared Cassity, the alternate national legislative director at the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, known as SMART. He called the federal letter ''absolutely terrifying.''
''It just speaks to the fact that [company-based] inspections are not being done in a meaningful way. And the fact that Union Pacific is furloughing is only doubling down on the status of our equipment and just how dangerous it really is,'' Cassity said. ''They're spitting in the face of railroad safety.''
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IRS Launches 'Sweeping, Historic' Tax Enforcement Crackdown Using AI | ZeroHedge
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 14:35
Authroed by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that, thanks to a new funding boost, it's launching a "sweeping, historic" tax enforcement initiative using artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies to catch tax evaders more effectively.
There is a sea change taking place at the IRS in every aspect of our operations," IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a
Sept. 8 statement, which notes that the tax agency has completed a top-to-bottom review of its enforcement efforts and is girding to catch people "abusing the nation's tax laws," thanks in part to cutting-edge tech.
"The changes will be driven with the help of improved technology as well as Artificial Intelligence that will help IRS compliance teams better detect tax cheating, identify emerging compliance threats and improve case selection tools to avoid burdening taxpayers with needless 'no-change' audits," Mr. Werfel said.
The new enforcement thrust is said to focus on higher-earning Americans and big corporations, with the IRS pledging not to increase audit rates for people earning less than $400,000 per year.
This has been an oft-repeated promise in the face of Republican assertions that working-class taxpayers would be subjected to tougher enforcement thanks to the tens of billions of dollars in additional IRS funding.
As part of the new enforcement crackdown, the tax agency said that it would prioritize cases involving taxpayers earning over $1 million but with recognized tax debt of more than $250,000.
The IRS said that, as it expands its effort to target higher-earning Americans, it has already identified 1,600 or so millionaires who owe hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes'--in part thanks to the deployment of cutting-edge technology.The IRS' AI FaceliftThe IRS said it expects AI tools to help boost tax enforcement of large partnerships, in particular.
To that end, complex computer algorithms have already been used by the agency to assist with identifying targets for tax enforcement.
The IRS said that "cutting-edge machine learning technology" has already played a role in helping the agency flag and open investigations into 75 of the largest partnerships in the United States, each with over $10 billion in assets on average.
"With the help of AI, the selection of these returns is the result of groundbreaking collaboration among experts in data science and tax enforcement, who have been working side-by-side to apply cutting-edge machine learning technology to identify potential compliance risk in the areas of partnership tax, general income tax and accounting, and international tax in a taxpayer segment that historically has been subject to limited examination coverage," the IRS said in the announcement.
The Inflation Reduction Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in 2022 initially included around $80 billion to expand the IRS' budget over ten years, drawing Republican ire that some of that money would go to hiring an "army" of tax enforcers who would reach for low-hanging fruit and target ordinary Americans rather than wealthier, more financially sophisticated taxpayers who are trickier to audit.
That $80 billion in additional IRS funding has since been pared down to around $60 billion due to the debt-ceiling deal struck between President Biden and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), which clawed back $10 billion in each of calendar years 2024 and 2025 from the tax agency's appropriations.
Part of the money being pumped into the IRS is to give it a technological facelift, as outlined in a 150-page strategic operating plan (
pdf) released in April that promises to use some of the funds to deliver "cutting-edge technology, data, and analytics to operate more effectively."
Mr. Werfel said in a memo to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that part of what is now a $60 billion cash infusion would buy artificial intelligence tools and that ''technology and data advances will allow us to focus enforcement on taxpayers trying to avoid taxes, rather than taxpayers trying to pay what they owe.''
In the plan, the IRS focused mostly on the customer service aspects of the technology boost, pledging to improve the taxpayer experience by introducing chatbots, online portals, and electronic notice responses.
However, the agency also said in the plan that it expects its technology-driven enforcement to boost tax collections and revenue for government programs.
That plan is now fast becoming a reality, according to Mr. Werfel's latest remarks on Sept. 8.
"The nation relies on the IRS to collect funding for every critical government mission'--from keeping our skies safe, our food safe and our homeland safe," Mr. Werfel said.
"It's critical that the agency addresses fundamental gaps in tax compliance that have grown during the last decade," he added.
According to IRS estimates, taxpayers in America pay around 85 percent of the total taxes they owe, with the difference between what is owed and what is paid known as the tax gap. Between the years 2014 and 2016, the IRS estimated that the annual tax gap was around $496 billion.
Treasury said in a note (
pdf) on the IRS' strategic operating plan that a lack of modern digital tools had negatively impacted various aspects of the IRS' operations and that the agency would see its technology continue to be improved in the years to come in part to help enforce tax laws.
More Details of New Enforcement ThrustBesides expanding high-income and large partnership compliance, other key elements of the IRS' new enforcement initiative include prioritizing digital assets, FBAR (Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts) violations, and labor brokers.
As part of the enforcement push, the IRS is expanding its Digital Assets Compliance Campaign, targeting taxpayers involved in digital currency transactions. The move comes in the wake of
last month's release of proposed regulations regarding broker reporting for digital assets.
''We need to make sure digital assets are not used to hide taxable income, and the proposed regulations are designed to provide a clearer line of sight into activities by high-income people as well as others using them,'' Mr. Werfel said in an Aug. 25 press release.
The IRS said Friday that initial reviews of taxpayer compliance in the digital currency sector have raised concerns, with a potential non-compliance rate as high as 75 percent among taxpayers identified through record production from digital currency exchanges.
Accordingly, the agency is looking to increase the number of digital asset cases it develops for compliance work going forward.
Also, the IRS is turning its attention towards FBAR violations, especially among high-income taxpayers.
Under current regulations, U.S. individuals with a financial interest in foreign financial accounts exceeding $10,000 must file an FBAR to disclose their holdings and related taxes.
Recent IRS analysis of multi-year filing patterns has identified hundreds of potential FBAR non-filers, many of whom maintain account balances averaging over $1.4 million.
The IRS said it has also identified a concerning trend in the construction industry, where some contractors make payments to apparent subcontractors through "shell" companies that lack legitimate business relationships.
To tackle this issue, the IRS plans to expand its scrutiny in this area with a combination of civil audits and criminal investigations.
While the IRS' new enforcement plan makes no mention of additional staffing, the $60 billion in extra funding has already bolstered the IRS' ranks substantially, with
hiring up around 13 percent over the past year, hitting a decade-high of nearly 90,000 employees.
The IRS has said earlier it plans to hire 20,000 people over the next two years, with around one-third of them earmarked for tax enforcement
IRS announces sweeping effort to restore fairness to tax system with Inflation Reduction Act funding; new compliance efforts focused on increasing scrutiny on high-income, partnerships, corporations and promoters abusing tax rules on the books | Internal
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 14:35
Agency focus will shift attention to wealthy from working-class taxpayers; key changes coming to reduce burden on average taxpayers while using Artificial Intelligence and improved technology to identify sophisticated schemes to avoid taxesIR-2023-166, Sept. 8, 2023
WASHINGTON '-- Capitalizing on Inflation Reduction Act funding and following a top-to-bottom review of enforcement efforts, the Internal Revenue Service announced today the start of a sweeping, historic effort to restore fairness in tax compliance by shifting more attention onto high-income earners, partnerships, large corporations and promoters abusing the nation's tax laws.
The effort, building off work following last August's IRA funding, will center on adding more attention on wealthy, partnerships and other high earners that have seen sharp drops in audit rates for these taxpayer segments during the past decade. The changes will be driven with the help of improved technology as well as Artificial Intelligence that will help IRS compliance teams better detect tax cheating, identify emerging compliance threats and improve case selection tools to avoid burdening taxpayers with needless "no-change" audits.
As part of the effort, the IRS will also ensure audit rates do not increase for those earning less than $400,000 a year as well as adding new fairness safeguards for those claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit. The EITC was designed to help workers with modest incomes. Audit rates of those receiving the EITC remain at high levels in recent years while rates dropped precipitously for those with higher income, partnerships and others with more complex tax situations. The IRS will also be working to ensure unscrupulous tax preparers do not exploit people claiming these important tax credits.
"This new compliance push makes good on the promise of the Inflation Reduction Act to ensure the IRS holds our wealthiest filers accountable to pay the full amount of what they owe," said IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel. "The years of underfunding that predated the Inflation Reduction Act led to the lowest audit rate of wealthy filers in our history. I am committed to reversing this trend, making sure that new funding will mean more effective compliance efforts on the wealthy, while middle- and low-income filers will continue to see no change in historically low pre-IRA audit rates for years to come."
"The nation relies on the IRS to collect funding for every critical government mission -- from keeping our skies safe, our food safe and our homeland safe. It's critical that the agency addresses fundamental gaps in tax compliance that have grown during the last decade," Werfel added. "There is a sea change taking place at the IRS in every aspect of our operations. Anchored by a deep respect for taxpayer rights, the IRS is deploying new resources towards cutting-edge technology to improve our visibility on where the wealthy shield their income and focus staff attention on the areas of greatest abuse. We will increase our compliance efforts on those posing the greatest risk to our nation's tax system, whether it's the wealthy looking to dodge paying their fair share or promoters aggressively peddling abusive schemes. These steps are critical for the future of the nation's tax system."
For the broader compliance work going on across the IRS, this will be an expansive effort with more details to be announced in the weeks and months ahead. Key elements of this new effort include:
Major expansion in high-income/high wealth and partnership compliance workPrioritization of high-income cases. In the High Wealth, High Balance Due Taxpayer Field Initiative, the IRS will intensify work on taxpayers with total positive income above $1 million that have more than $250,000 in recognized tax debt. Building off earlier successes that collected $38 million from more than 175 high-income earners, the IRS will have dozens of Revenue Officers focusing on these high-end collection cases in FY 2024. The IRS is working to expand this effort, contacting about 1,600 taxpayers in this category that owe hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.
Expansion of pilot focused on largest partnerships leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI). The complex structures and tax issues present in large partnerships require a focused approach to best identify the highest risk issues and apply resources accordingly. In 2021, the IRS launched the first stage of its Large Partnership Compliance (LPC) program with examinations of some of the largest and most complex partnership returns in the filing population. The IRS is now expanding the LPC program to additional large partnerships. With the help of AI, the selection of these returns is the result of groundbreaking collaboration among experts in data science and tax enforcement, who have been working side-by-side to apply cutting-edge machine learning technology to identify potential compliance risk in the areas of partnership tax, general income tax and accounting, and international tax in a taxpayer segment that historically has been subject to limited examination coverage. By the end of the month, the IRS will open examinations of 75 of the largest partnerships in the U.S. that represent a cross section of industries including hedge funds, real estate investment partnerships, publicly traded partnerships, large law firms and other industries. On average, these partnerships each have more than $10 billion in assets.
Greater focus on partnership issues through compliance letters. The IRS has identified ongoing discrepancies on balance sheets involving partnerships with over $10 million in assets, which is an indicator of potential non-compliance. Taxpayers filing partnership returns are showing discrepancies in the millions of dollars between end-of-year balances compared to the beginning balances the following year. The number of such discrepancies has been increasing over the years. Many of these taxpayers are not attaching required statements explaining the difference. This effort will focus on high-risk large partnerships to quickly address the balance sheet discrepancy. Prior to the IRA, the IRS did not have the resources needed to follow up and engage with all the large partnerships with such discrepancies. However, the IRS will soon have the resources and plan in place to ramp up this effort. It will begin in early October when the IRS will start mailing around 500 partnerships. Depending on the response, the IRS will add these to the audit stream for additional work.
Priority areas for targeted compliance work in FY 2024The IRS has launched numerous compliance efforts to address serious issues being seen. Some of these, like abusive micro-captive insurance arrangements and syndicated conservation easement abuses, have received extensive public attention. But much more work continues behind the scenes on other issues.
Among some of the additional priority areas the IRS will be focused on that will touch the wealthy evaders include:
Expanded work on digital assets. The IRS continues to expand efforts involving digital assets, including work through the John Doe summons effort and last month's release of proposed regulations of broker reporting. The IRS Virtual Currency Compliance Campaign will continue in the months ahead after an initial review showed the potential for a 75% non-compliance rate among taxpayers identified through record production from digital currency exchanges. The IRS projects more digital asset cases will be developed for further compliance work early in Fiscal Year 2024.
More scrutiny on FBAR violations. High-income taxpayers from all segments continue to utilize Foreign Bank accounts to avoid disclosure and related taxes. A U.S. person with a financial interest over a foreign financial account is required to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) if the aggregate value of all foreign financial accounts is more than $10,000 at any time. IRS analysis of multi-year filing patterns has identified hundreds of possible FBAR non-filers with account balances that average over $1.4 million. The IRS plans to audit the most egregious potential non-filer FBAR cases in Fiscal Year 2024.
Labor brokers. The IRS has seen instances where construction contractors are making Form 1099-MISC/1099-NEC payments to an apparent subcontractor, but the subcontractor is a "shell" company that has no legitimate business relationship with the contractor. Monies paid to shell companies are exchanged at Money Service Businesses or flowed through accounts in the name of the shell company and returned to the original contractor. The IRS will be expanding attention in this area with both civil audits and criminal investigations. The scheme has already been seen in Texas and Florida. Work in this area is critical to improve compliance, and it will also help level the playing field for contractors playing by the rules as well as ensuring proper employment tax withholding for vulnerable workers.
Helping working taxpayers through improving compliance selections; protecting taxpayers and businesses from aggressive scams and schemesIn addition to expanding compliance attention on high-income, partnerships and others, the IRS will be focused on ensuring audit fairness and protecting all taxpayers from a variety of scams and schemes. While IRS compliance work will be increasing on the wealthy, scammers and fraudsters frequently target average taxpayers with more modest incomes, so the IRS will be focused on raising consumer awareness on these issues.
"The IRS is on the side of taxpayers, and we will be working to protect hard-working people from scammers or fraudsters who try to use the tax system for their schemes, whether it's promising people inflated EITC amounts or tricking people into tax-related identity theft," Werfel said. "Protecting hard-working taxpayers is a critical component to ensuring the success of the nation's tax system, and the IRS will be working throughout the fall and into the 2024 filing season to take steps to help people."
Improved equity in audits. The IRS continues to focus on making improvements in audits involving Earned Income Tax Credits and will be implementing changes for the next filing season. More details will be available on this later in the fall.
Emerging scam issues. The IRS will continue its aggressive work warning consumers about emerging scams and schemes. Building off efforts like the Dirty Dozen, the IRS plans to warn taxpayers about quickly emerging scams. As the IRS has seen through the years, scammers frequently adjust or change their tactics to tag onto recent tax law changes or other events that can confuse taxpayers into trying to claim refunds worth thousands of dollars. This effort can touch on issues like sick leave and family leave as well as false fuel tax credit claims.
Protection against identity theft. The IRS will continue the ground-breaking efforts of the Security Summit initiative, a joint effort between the federal government, state tax agencies and the nation's software and tax professional communities. Since 2015, the private-public sector coalition has worked together to build internal defenses and share information to protect against identity thieves trying to steal tax refunds. A key part of the Security Summit initiative has been focused on raising taxpayer and tax professional awareness on how to protect themselves and their tax data from identity theft. This ground-breaking effort will continue this fall with National Tax Security Awareness Week.
The US Congress accused Elon Musk of interfering in the Ukrainian conflict
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 14:33
The United States Congress has proposed an investigation into the possible intervention of SpaceX founder Elon Musk in the Ukrainian conflict. The initiator was US Senator Elizabeth Warren from the Democratic Party. According to her, Musk turned off his Starlink satellite system without warning, which prevented Ukraine from attacking Russian warships off the coast of Crimea.
''An investigation into this incident is necessary. We need to make sure that the country's foreign policy is driven by the government and not dependent on the decisions of an individual billionaire.", Warren said.
This move by Musk caused a storm of discussion in the media and among the political community. Musk's efforts to make the Internet accessible in the Ukrainian conflict zone were previously perceived as an action in support of Ukraine. However, recent events have shown that Musk's decisions are really not related to an attempt to help the Kyiv regime, and, rather, are aimed at de-escalation.
Against the backdrop of all these events, it became known that tomorrow Elon Musk will take part in a private meeting of leaders of the US technology sector with senators in the Capitol. Probably, the topic of his decisions will be one of the key issues of the meeting.
Spotify denies 30-second trick could make you rich - BBC News
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 13:26
Image source, Getty ImagesBy Ruth Comerford
BBC News
The head of Spotify has denied claims that users can repeatedly listen to their own uploaded 30-second track to rake in monthly royalties.
Finance analysts at JP Morgan had said that Spotify subscribers could make $1,200 (£960) a month by listening to their song on repeat, 24 hours a day.
The claim suggested Spotify's royalty payment structure could be manipulated.
But Daniel Ek, the streaming giant's CEO, says that is not how the platform's royalties work.
The theory was first reported in the Financial Times, and then tweeted about by Julian Klymochko, founder of Accelerate, a Canadian-based investment company.
"If that were true, my own playlist would just be 'Daniel's 30-second Jam' on repeat!" Mr Ek tweeted back in response.
"But seriously, that's not quite how our royalty system works.
Concerns have been raised that artificial streaming - where devices run chosen tracks on loop - is hindering the music industry, with JP Morgan executives estimating as much as 10% of all streams are fake, according to the Financial Times.
Just last week, Swedish Newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported that criminal gangs were using Spotify's royalty system to launder money made through drug deals.
According to Spotify's website, it has two tiers of royalties, and artists are paid out once a month - but how much they get can vary.
"Contrary to what you might have heard, Spotify does not pay artist royalties according to a per-play or per-stream rate," the website says.
"The royalty payments that artists receive might vary according to differences in how their music is streamed or the agreements they have with labels or distributors."
Universal Music Group and Deezer recently announced they will jointly launch a music streaming model aimed at generating bigger royalties for artists - meaning they will be paid more if users actively choose to listen to their music.
This could mean Spotify, and other streaming services such as Apple Music, will be forced to adjust their own models.
The Death of the Grown-Up | Diana West > Home - Fact-Checking Whitney Webb, Part 1: On the Existence of Blackmail Material on J. Edgar Hoover
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 04:31
Photo/caption from "Setting the Record Straight" by Peter Maas, Esquire (May 1993)
My object today is to check the veracity of some key sources of the thesis of Whitney Webb's two-volume-work, One Nation Under Blackmail.
Why am I doing this? Because Whitney Webb asked me to. She's asked all of us to "engage more" with the source material in her endnotes, to "fact-check" her research. Indeed, like Gary Hart before that "Monkey Business" business, Webb often issues this challenge while promoting her briskly selling book in online interviews.
OK. I've accepted the challenge. For the past several weeks, I have been discussing what I have found out about Webb's research at my Patreon channel, which I am making available here (J. Edgar Hoover), here (late 1950s cultural context), and here (Susan Rosenstiel). Whitney Webb has recorded a video in reply to my first video here.
Since the neo-oral video tradition only goes so far, I am resurrecting the Written Word to establish at least some of what I've learned about Webb's sources.
Before I begin I must inject a question: Are these sources in fact "Webb's" sources? When interviewer Natalie Brunell, in the most friendly way, asked Webb to discuss how she had found all of these "amazing" sources, Webb said a truly amazing thing. (I should note Webb had just been discussing my initial critique of her Hoover material.) The thirty-three-year-old author addressed the queston about her research this way:
Right, so a good part of Volume One, I had a research assistant named Edmund Berger, who is amazing and a total genius. So he did some of the pri -- you know, some of the, uh, research for aspects of that book, so I can't speak to how he conducted the research but it's brilliant.
Wow. Webb can't speak to how someone else conducted the research for her book. It's not every day that a rising "investigative journalist" disavows responsiblity for 500 pages of research published under her name. That said, I will continue to address Webb in my comments below.
Webb's thesis is set forth in her books' subtitle:The sordid union between Intelligence and Organized Crime that gave rise to Jeffrey Epstein. (I am concerned with Volume One, which I will refer to as Webb's book, singular.)
That sordid union, she maintains in the book, and, with more bluntness, in those online interviews, began roughly 80 years ago with the blackmail (alleged) of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover over compromising homosexual pictures of the man (alleged) that fell into the hands of "Intelligence" and "Organized Crime" (alleged). Cross-dressing, leather-clad orgies at the Plaza Hotel in New York City nearly 70 years ago ensued (alleged). As a result (alleged), Hoover's FBI (1924-1972) failed to investigate Organized Crime (alleged), thus (alleged) creating the corrupt conditions "that gave rise to Jeffrey Epstein."
J. Edgar Hoover's reputation is hardly without tarnish in the 21st century. Whose reputation is? However, is the legendary founding director of the FBI really the proto-trans-non-binary-mob-patsy who founded the New Perv Order? Do Webb's sources for her X-rated biography/history check out? Before we pull down the Stars and Stripes and hoist in its place a new banner of soiled underwear, let's find out.
First, to acquaint readers with how this messaging is coming across, I am including a few written excerpts of Webb's recent book interviews. The first one is from an appearance with comedian Jimmy Dore on "The Jimmy Dore Show," which has a Youtube following of 1.13 million subscribers.
Whitney Webb: First off, yes, this [sexual blackmail] is something that has been going on a very long time. In fact, the longtime director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, who was in charge of that agency for decades and decades and decades, the top law enforcement official in the US, he was sexually blackmailed by the mob in the thirties, and he did not even go after organized crime at all because of that.
WW: That's a matter of record, he denied it ever happened [organized crime]. And the sexual blackmail operation that entrapped him, also intimately involved a man named Roy Cohn --
WW: Ahhhh
JD: -- who is best known as Donald Trump's mentor, and the two of them along with a mob-linked businessman named Lewis Rosenstiel, were seen engaging in sexual blackmail operations themselves; but again, Hoover and Cohn only joined that after they themselves had been entrapped, yeah? And this involved minors.
JD: Oh, no kidding!
WW: Yeah, this is something that has been going on a very long time --
JD: So, you're saying J. Edgar Hoover was entrapped sexually with a minor by the mob, by the mafia?
WW: Well, so, at first, the -- he was involved in the sexual blackmail operation after he was blackmailed by the mob. That involved children.
But he was initially blackmailed because a photo of him was taken, having -- giving oral sex to his longtime deputy Clyde Tolson, and that was taken by affiliates of Meyer Lansky of the Jewish mob; and later those [photos] fell into the hands of James Jesus Angleton, the first counterinteligence chief of the CIA. So that's another example of how the mob and the CIA like to share "intelligence," right? ...
That's "intelligence," finger-quotation marks provided -- a cute fillup to pornographic allegations. However, she didn't get the story "right" as written in her book.
For example, Webb's charge that the mob blackmailed Hoover over sex with children (references in bold above) does not appear in Webb's book.
Here's another version of events that's more faithful (if that can possibly be the right word) to Webb's book. This interviewer is "lawyer-turned-Youtuber" with Viva Frei, whose Youtube channel has over half a million subscribers.
Whitney Webb: One of the first people, prominent people, that was blackmailed by people like Meyer Lansky, was J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI. And it's for that reason that Hoover never went after organized crime as FBI Director. He falsely claimed it was a local problem, and not going on in an organized way at the state or national level -- and it provably was ... but you see how this is developing. And eventually when Organized Crime and Intelligence come together, sex blackmail becomes one of their tools.
Viva Frei: Let me ask you this with Hoover. The blackmail material they had on him, was it engaging in activities with underage people --?
WW: Not underage people, but his deputy Clyde Tolson. Because it's very well known now that J. Edgar Hoover was homosexual, but in that period of time, that would have destroyed his career, right? And so they caught him, they took pictures of him in compromising positions with Clyde Tolson, and these were shared with early intelligence people like James Jesus Angleton, who was one of the most prominent counter-intelligence people in the CIA from its founding onward.
A reader might wonder -- even if Webb's many interviewers do not -- is there credible evidence for the existence of these "pictures"? The short answer is no; the long answer is below. Constantly describing them, referencing them, using them to bolster her thesis, as Webb is wont to do, has the effect of creating what we might think of as "deep fakes" in the minds of Webb's listeners.
Excuse me, is that journalism or brain-washing?
She continues:
So, basically -- in that example alone you can see then how Organized Crime and Intelligence are sharing "intelligence," i.e., blackmail, which, you know, counts as "intelligence" to these people and then they can use that as leverage.
Again, that's "intelligence" (read: dirty pictures of Hoover) with quotation marks.
Webb continues talking about "it -- the alleged Hoover "pictures":
So the mob can use it as leverage, and now Intelligence can use it as leverage over FBI Director J, Edgar Hoover, which is the highest law enforcement body in the United States. So, there's lots of stories -- this is just an early example, but there are lots of examples of this happening, the corruption of our core institutions in this type of way, throughout American history. So it's very important to understand how we get here right now.
I'd like to pause to note that the "corruption of our core institutions" is something everyone (practically everyone) reading these words recognizes, mourns, rages at, all of us trying in our own way to survive what has happened, to our families, to our nation; and to resist it all and fight back. Indeed, it is in this shared tragedy where we might find the mechanism of Webb's crossover appeal to us "outcasts" -- we who already know the government is lying to us, even trying to kill us, and we who have long turned our backs on that government's indispensable ally, the MSM. Some of us have been counter-culture for a long time; some of us woke up in this camp more recently -- due to the rolling coup d'etat by a sordid union of Intelligence and Organized Government against Donald Trump from 2016 onward (Webb doesn't want to talk about that one); or the covid hoax, covid tyranny and covid die-off (2019 onward); or the vicious persecutions of the January 6 patriots (2021 onward); or one of so many other convulsions shaking loose the facts to show that We, the People are not sovereign over the State; rather, we are victims in its crosshairs.
In other words, we can agree with what Whitney Webb is saying: Yes, our core institutions have been corrupted. But -- and this is The Big Question -- did it happen "in the type of way" the 33-year-old author is telling us? Namely, by a "sordid union" in the 20th century of Intelligence and Organized Crime originally forged by J. Edgar Hoover and the Mafia? And isn't there something missing from Webb's 20th century -- like, um, uh, the sordid union of the KGB, cultural Marxists, things like that?
One last interview of note. Webb sat for a long session in November on The Glenn Beck Podcast, which has one million subscribers. Beck was in reverential-host-mode; Webb, dressed demurely for the occasion, offered a more G-rated version of the Hoover-blackmail story, one that skipped the alleged "pictures" entirely. Was that calculated so as not to rile Beck's reliably conservative, intuituvely anti-communist audience? In any case, this interview was a big success, racking up 3.7 million views.
Glenn Beck: Are we ever going to find out who's in the black book?
Whitney Webb: I don't think so. I think the FBI has been compromised from the very beginning. Uh, in the book I talk a lot about J. Edgar Hoover. He was blackmailed by the mob. He realized the power blackmail had; started using blackmail himself; and, you know, increasingly the FBI -- and I think it's very obvious to a lot of conservatives now -- comes in to cover things up, and to, you know, go after, uh, you know, figures that they, you know, don't want to advance in their careers, or, you know, any sort of thing. It's, it's very, um, it's very complicated.
I first noticed Webb due to her popularity with some of those speaking out against the rise of the biosecurity state/covid tyranny, such as Catherine Austin Fitts, Children's Health Defense, James Corbett, Dr. Mercola. It is something of a curiosity to see someone who started her journalism career at Mintpress News -- an advocacy website I find bedecked with anti-Israel, anti-"American Empire" headlines (but not, for example, anti-"Chinese Empire headlines") -- making inroads into less doctrinaire, more liberatarian and even right-leaning pockets of the Internet. A Beck interview here. An Epoch Times op-ed there. Maybe it's my imagination, but even Amazon seems to be getting its algorythms behind a tack toward the wider, wilder Right:
Today it appears that Webb has even been invited to appear on Steve Bannon's "War Room: Pandemic." Is it an overstatement to say that our understanding of American anti-communism hangs in the balance? Yes. But maybe not by much.
Now for the mainstay of Webb's Hoover/mob-blackmail claims, Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover by Irish author Anthony Summers. It is from this 1993 book that the nightmarish shape of J. Edgar Hoover in drag first slithered into the American consciouness. It is high time to put a stake in it -- put a stake in it again, I should say, because it's been debunked before. I don't need to prove a negative to do so; I will simply demonstrate that the "evidence" marshalled long ago by Summers in lurid detail, today in brief by Webb -- but just enough to perpetuate Homo Hoover as "Mary" in a dress -- comes from a single, bitterly biased witness, whose mendacity has been proven not once, but multiple times in court.
Her name is Susan Rosenstiel. She is the eye-witness who claims to have seen J. Edgar Hoover (1) dressed in drag ("fluffy black dress, very fluffy, with flounces...") as (2) he participated in homosexual orgies at the Plaza Hotel, one in 1958 and another in 1959. At the time, the FBI Director, in his sixties, was at a pinnacle, if not the pinnacle of his popularity; his book on the dangers of communism, Masters of Deceit, was a national best-seller; he was also under renewed assault by left-wing media of the day. The New York Post, for example, then a liberal paper, had an investigative team scrutinizing Hoover in 1959. Somehow, though, they all missed out on Hoover's group sex assignations at the midtown Manhattan landmark.
According to Susan Rosenstiel, that's where "Mary Hoover," pronouns unthought of, took himself to have at it with two 18- or 19-year-old "blond boys" in a homosexual orgy alongside liquor magnate Lewis Rosenstiel, Susan's later-to-be divorced husband, and Roy M. Cohn, Lewis's later-to-be divorce lawyer. (For the record, all three were anti-communists, Hoover and Cohn, of course, on the national stage.)
Bias, much? It's not just Susan's bias against her ex, his lawyer, and, in J. Edgar Hoover, we might argue, his hero (Lewis donated copies of Masters of Deceit to libraries across America, and, in the mid-1960s, would donate $1 million to a foundation set up in Hoover's honor) that makes her claims unbelieveable. It is not only the outlandishness of her claims. Susan Rosenstiel has a significant court record against her veracity. What follows are highlights.
In 1975, Susan Rosenstiel pleaded guilty to perjury, as UPI reported, "for testifying that $17,000 in borrowed jewelry had been stolen from her when she actually had pawned it." That's over $98,000 in 2022 dollars, by the way.
In 1971, she pleaded guilty to attempted perjury (another jewelry-related case); she had been charged with perjury, but the judge allowed her to plead guilty to the lesser charge.
In 1970, State Supreme Court in New York ordered Susan Rosenstiel to pay a jeweler for over $150,000 in diamond and sapphire baubles (2022 dollars), which had been sent to her "on approval" back in 1965 but never returned to the store or paid for. Over and above the cost of the jewelry, Susan was ordered to pay the jeweler roughly a quarter million dollars more in damages (2022 dollars). The New York Daily News reported: "During the trial, Susan denied ever taking the jewelry and denied being in the jewelry shop on the June 6, 1965 date, but Faraone [the jewelry store] produced witnesses to testify that she had so been there."
Think about all of this for a moment. We are supposed to let decades of American history be changed forever because a convicted liar claimed she saw J. Edgar Hoover in a gay orgy at the Plaza Hotel .
Are you willing to go along with that? I'm not. Is journalism based on such "evidence" your idea of fact-seeking and truth-telling? It's not mine. Three courts judged Susan Rosenstiel's word untrustworthy. That tell me there exists no credible evidence that J. Edgar Hoover ever appeared in drag at homosexual orgies at The Plaza Hotel. None. Zero.
This isn't all Susan's fault, of course. Without writers from Summers to Webb and everyone in between, all of whom do not cite new corroboration, but old Summers, such a creature is left to cry her spiteful pain to the wilderness. What we are looking at is journalism at its lowest, where a lack of decency toward the dead doesn't even have the cover of truth-seeking in the public interest. Or maybe it's not really journalism at all. It's the ritual sexual humilation of reputation, the perversion of memory, the defilement of places in history that can never again be anything but sordid.
To what end?
Ten years after the publication of Official and Confidential, Ron Kessler published his book, The Bureau, in which he examined many of Summers' Hoover claims. Kessler also interviewed Summers, and asked him about the Susan Rosenstiel story. What Summers told him is jaw-dropping.
Despite the clear implication in the book that her story was true and the declaration on the book's jacket that the Mafia knew that Hoover was a "closet homosexual and tranvestite" and held that over his head, Summers told me that merely reported what Rosenstiel said, along with what others claimed. He told me holds "no firm view one way or the other" as to whether she told the truth.
The self-absolution of amoralism.
Many writers have weighed Summers' sources and found them wanting, including mafia-expert Peter Maas (The Valachi Papers) in 1993, Marquette University FBI expert Athan Theoharis (J. Edgar Hoover, Sex and Crime: An Historical Antidote) in 1995, journalist Ron Kessler (The Bureau: The Secret Files of the FBI) in 2003, Joseph McCarthy biographer M. Stanton Evans (Blacklisted by HIstory) in 2011, and Yale professor and Hoover biographer Beverly Gage (The Day Wall Street Exploded, G-Man) in 2022. Others, too. Of extra interest, both Peter Maas and, as noted, Ron Kessler, interviewed some of Summers' sources. Most of these analyses and rebuttals may be instantly found online.
I don't know if Whitney Webb read any of them. As mentioned above, she did watch my initial foray into video-critique. In her video-reply, she seems to be walking away from Hoover-transvestite story.
Webb put it this way:
There's also the claim here that J. Edgar Hoover was a cross-dresser so I do want to make very, make it very clear that there is a difference between the claim that J. Edgar Hoover was involved with sexual blackmail and that J. Edgar Hoover was a cross-dresser. Those are different claims.
"Two different claims" or not, in Susan Rosenstiel's case, they come from the exact same source. Until Webb walks away from the entire Rosenstiel story of the Hoover-Rosenstiel-Cohn orgies at the Plaza as a non-credible smear, her newfound diffidence is no way out of the predicament.
Without Rosenstiel's testimony, what's left?
To find out, let's look more closely at Webb's source material in the Summers' book. Naturally, gossip and mobster chatter abound in a book claiming that Hoover was sexually blackmailed by the mob -- although "at what hand, first, second, or third, is hard to say," as Peter Maas commented in his Esquire essay (May 1993) on Summer's Hoover/mob-blackmail story, "Setting the Record Straight."
Mass spoke to journalist Pete Hamill, who is quoted in the Summers book in support of the Hoover/mob-blackmail charge. Hamill maintained he had not even spoken to Summers, and that his quotation "must have come from a column"; Summers, in reply, insisted he interviewed Hamill "five times" (Esquire, August 1993). Either way, though, Hamill told Maas that his Hoover/mob-blackmail story was "strictly anecdotal stuff...You know how mob guys gossip like old women. It was the sheerest hearsay. The fact is, I don't even know if Hoover was gay."
Wait, what??
From an all-around hard-boiled like Pete Hamill, that's one blockbuster comment: "I don't even know if Hoover was gay." For the past thirty years, we have all been programmed to believe EVERYONE KNEW HOOVER WAS GAY.
Well, aren't there some gay photos out there, John Q. Public vagely asks?
Good question. That story, too, is from the Summers book. Before we look at Summers' evidence, note that Webb, among many others, writes about "the photos" as if their existence is established fact. And yes, this is how Big Lies become ingrained as truth. I'm starting to think of this process as "deep fake journalism."
She writes:
The photos showed Hoover engaged in sexual activity, specifically oral sex, with his long-time friend, FBI Deputy Director Clyde Tolson.60
Webb's Endnote 60 leads us to a 1993 UPI story about the launch of the Summers book.
Headline: "New Book Pictures J. Edgar Hoover as Drag Queen."
Ever wonder how to get a whole non-credible smear into just one lede? Behold:
NEW YORK -- J. Edgar Hoover protected organized crime for years because top mobsters had evidence of his homosexual activities, including his dressing in flouncy miniskirted drag and taking part in hotel orgies, according to excerpts from a new book about the late FBI director.
The story goes on to announce a media pile-on -- the Summers book, a Vanity Fair piece (see below) excerpting the Summers book, and a national PBS broadcast of a "Frontline" show dependent on Summers input as well.
Imagine for a moment that you are not a cross-dressing exhibitionist homosexual orgy participant under the thumb of killer-mobsters. How to compete with a multimedia attack? Especially after you have reached that ultimate state of defenseless in death. The KGB at its zenith couldn't have done -- and didn't do -- a better number on Hoover.
Or did they? All of this happens to be the fulfillment of long-term Kremlin "active measures" to undermine Hoover, who was for many decades not only the top lawman in America but also the top Red-hunter in the Executive Branch. In The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokihin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin explain that not only was the FBI "a major target of KGB active measures," but until his death in 1972, "many of these measures were personally directed against the long-serving FBI Director." One of the lines of disinformation advanced by the Service A of the KGB "was to accuse him of being a homosexual."
Beverly Gage, author of G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century, elaborates on the Kremlin disinformation operation.
Recent evidence suggests that the Soviets were also targeting Hoover in these years. In 1992, a retired, high-ranking KGB archivist named Vasili Mitrokhin fled the collapsing Soviet Union with thousands of pages of hand-written notes documenting the agency's foreign intelligence operations. Contained in these notes was a passage showing how the KGB used "active measures" -- forgeries, anonymous letters, paid informants, leaks to newspapers -- to spread gossip about Hoover's sexual orientation. "To compromise E. Hoover as a homosexual, letters were sent to the main newspapers on behalf of an anonymous organization," Mitrokhin recorded. According to Mitrokhin's notes, those letters attacked him for acting like a "moralist and pillar of American society" even as he "turned the FBI into a faggots' den."
Funny, with all of that, how the KGB never seemed to have unearthed these "photo(s)" of Hoover, which Summers/Webb claim were floating around "Organized Crime" and "Intelligence" going back to the 1940s. It's especially funny given the "astounding" level of penetration by Soviet agents of US "Intelligence" going back to the OSS in the 1940s, which, I find reading Ralph de Toledano's terrific 2006 book, Cry Havoc, got its strategic (ideological) focus from German Marxists of the Frankfurt School. Such currents, such actors, of course, don't exist in Webb's sanitized but sordified version of the 20th century.
But, of course, the alleged "photos" do. Webb continues:
At some point, these photos fell into the hands of CIA counterintelligence chief James J. Angleton, who later showed the photos to several other CIA officials, including John Weitz and Gordon Novel.62
Aha! Eyewitness, we are to believe, and two of them. Webb's Endnote 62 sources another news story about the Summers book, in this case by the Los Angeles Times.
I'm going to let pass the "several other" CIA officials who fail to materialize in either the news story or the Summers book, and simply note that Summers himself does not identity either Wietz or Novel as "CIA officials."
That's because John Weitz was not a CIA official. He was a fashion designer, author of two biographies of Nazi notables and veteran of the OSS. (The OSS was disbanded at the end of World War II. The CIA opened shop in 1947. Truman publicly regretted what the CIA had become after JFK was killed in 1963.) Gordon Novel's identity is less straight-forward. Summers rather tenuously describes him as both "controversial" and "someone who has had links to the CIA." In FBI chronicler Athan Theoharis's view, that should be amended to "self-proclaimed intelligence operative."
Now for an extremely serious misstatement by Webb on p.60. She writes:
Both Weitz and Novel later stated that the pictures they had seen showed Hoover engaged in oral sex on a man who [sic] Angleton identified as Tolson; however, only Hoover's face was recognizable in the photographs.63
No. That's not true. Weitz made no such statement; Summers had only Novel making the Hoover i.d.. Weitz, as Summers reported, could not identify either of the men in the (single) photograph he was shown -- and even the LA Times got that right.
Webb's Endnote 63 takes us directly to Summers, p. 280, where we may review exactly what Weitz said about the 1950s incident.
"After a conversation about Hoover, our host went to another room and came back with a photograph. It was not a good picture and was clearly taken from some distance away, but it showed two men apparently engaged in homosexual activity. The host said the men were Hoover and Tolson." (Emphasis added.)
Peter Maas spoke with Weitz again for his Esquire piece, "Setting the Record Straight," and Weitz underscored for Maas what he had told Summers: "The photograph, as I recall, was very, very blurry. It seemed to show two men humping on a beach. Perhaps it was Hoover, perhaps it was not. I didn't give it much import."
So much for Joh Weitz's short-lived, I hope, career as an erronesouly reported eye-witness of the alleged Hoover "photo."
As for Gordon Novel, like Susan Rosenstiel, there's a lot to say about this man, who was in and out of court and scrapes and deals. Highlights I found perusing old newspapers online include a tangled relationship with prosecutor Jim Garrison's JFK investigation; a $1.5 billion (yes, billion) lawsuit Novel filed against organizers of the 1984 World's Fair claiming, according to one press report, they "stole his idea with the help of the CIA" (I have no idea what that means, either, but the case was dismissed); and, a 2007 interview, in which he actually tried to steal Susan Rosenstiel's mendacious thunder by bragging that he was the guy who put Hoover in the dress.
Actually, he's the guy who put Hoover in the photo.
Ron Kessler found something particularly relevant to Novel's credibility when it comes to politically explosive photos. In 1997, the Assassination Records Review Board released a set of FBI documents (after intercession by President Clinton, Newsday reported). One of the documents, highlighted by Kessler, was a real doozy.
Kessler writes:
[The document] revealed that while working as an investigator for New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, Novel tried to doctor a photo to make it appear that Lee Harvey Oswald had appeared with Castro. When Novel had trouble making Oswald fit into the original photo, he tried to place Jack Ruby in the photo.
And when Hoover didn't fit into the original photo -- what then?
I'm not at all trying to suggest Novel created the alleged Hoover "photo"; but it seems clear that here was an operator who did not see photographs of actors on the world stage as sacrosanct artifacts of one defined time and place, but rather as politically malleable stink-bombs.
Ask yourself: Is Novel's "recollection" sufficient cause for American history to shift and declare we have proof of a Hoover-Tolson homosexual liaison? Of course not. Not by a long shot.
To recap: There is no credible evidence for Hoover's cross-dressing Plaza orgies; and there is no credible evidence of the Hoover-Tolson photo(s).
Bye-bye, mob blackmail material.
Even from the perspective of the faculty lounge, there's just no there there, as professor Athan Theoharis sums up:
It might be satisfying to conclude that Hoover richly deserves Anthony Summers as his biographer. But Summers's sources, if undeniably imaginative, provide no credible documentation for what amounts to no more than gossipy character assassination.-
There is one Whitney Webb's non-Summers source to deal with -- perhaps the worst smear yet because in this instance we don't even have a Rosenstiel or a Novel to kick around.
On p. 61, Webb insinuates that there existed a relationship between the former FBI director and a convicted sex extortionist.
Webb writes
that Hoover had also been tied to Sherman Kaminsky, who helped run a sexual blackmail operation in New York that involved male prostitutes.67
"Tied to Sherman Kaminsky"? The FBI Director was "tied" to an extortionist ... male prostittutes ... ?
Evidence, please.
Webb's Endnote 67 is p. 88 of Bobby and Edgar: The Historic Face-Off Between the Kennedys and Hoover That Transformed America by Burton Hersch.
What follows is everything on the page allegedly connecting the lawman and the sex-blackmailer:
Organized by Sherman Kaminsky and Edward Murphy, the gang entrapped a wide range of educators and entertainers, a lot of military brass -- one admiral, William Church, killed himself rather than risk disclosure -- and the prominent Congressman Peter Frelingheysen. A photo turned up of Hoover himself "posing amiably" with Kaminsky, while Clyde Tolson had reportedly "fallen victim to the extortion ring."
At some point, the FBI jumped into the investigation. Hoover's photo disappeared from the files and Kaminsky went underground, subsisting for eleven years in Denver raising rabbits and distributing wigs. One of Hoover's gifts was for retrofitting reality,
"Retro-fitting reality..."? Note to self: Hersch is not my problem; except insofar as he is Webb's source.
Folks, it's a very bumpy ride from hereon in. Fact is, I can find no reference whatsoever to vet these two incendiary items -- not for Hoover "posing amiably" in a Kaminsky photo, not for Tolson falling "victim of the extortion ring."
The quotation marks are nice and everything, but I can't find a source for them in Hersch's endnotes.
If somehow I have missed them, I'd appreciate having that pointed out so I continue my analysis. However, I don't believe that I've misinterpreted the nothing-ness in Hersch, and Whitney Webb is fine with it.
She writes:
That operation was busted and investigated in a 1966 extortion probe led by Manhattan District Attorney Frank Hogan, though the FBI quickly took over the investigation and photos showing Hoover and Kaminsky together soon disappeared from the case file.70
Webb's Endnote 70 takes us back to Hersch, p 88. Everything Hersch wrote about Hoover is already reproduced above.
Notice how the single photo (unsourced) of Hoover "posing amiably" with Kaminsky in Hersch has morphed into plural photos "showing Hoover and Kaminsky together" in Webb.
Notice also how Hersch's "at some point, the FBI jumped into the investigation" has turned into Webb's "the FBI quickly took over the investigation."
According to a detailed Slate article by William McGowan on the case, which Webb also cites (helpfully, for once), there is no sinister implication in the involvement (not a "takeover") of the FBI in investigation alongside the NYPD. (McGowan writes: "In the year following the Western Union arrest, the NYPD and the FBI, working in parallel and sometimes at odds, would uncover and break a massive gay extortion ring whose viciousness and criminal flair was without precedent....") McGowan's account, by the way, does not mention Hoover, Tolson, or photo(s).
Reading Hersch and Webb, however, you might even get the idea that the FBI "took over" in order to make the (sourceless) Hoover photo(s) disappear -- and Kaminisky, too.
Webb now pulls into overdrive:
Why would Hoover have been involved with the activities of Kaminsky?
"Involved with"?
First, Webb has Hoover "tied to" Kaminsky with no evidence, and now she's got him "involved with" Kaminsky's "activities" with no evidence. Not even Hersch said Hoover was "tied to," let alone "involved with," this extortion ring.
But Webb is on a roll, and spiralling.
There are only a few possibilities. One possibility is that Hoover had been blackmailed by Kaminsky, though it's more likely that Kaminsky instead had ties to figures in organized crime that had already blackmailed Hoover long before. Another possibility is that Hoover was cozy [sic] to a second sexual blackmail operation targeting closeted homosexual men because he sought to pad his own library of blackmail for personal and professional gain.
Whitney Webb even cracks Hoover's thoughtwaves!
What does seem clear is that Hoover was well aware of the power that amassing blackmail afforded and was willing to indulge in taboo behavior at the "blue suite" [the Plaza Hotel] because he was no longer concerned about being extorted or manipulated with sexual blackmail in ways that would end his career or destroy his public image. He had fallen in with the very crowd that had reportedly blackmailed him, later developing a symbiotic relationship with that same network.
All I can say is, Service A, eat your heart out.
MGM cyberattack leaves thousands of guests on the Las Vegas strip LOCKED OUT of rooms at hotels like the Mandalay Bay and Bellagio - as clip shows Aria Casino's slot machines out of service | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 01:44
MGM Resorts has about 48,000 rooms on The Las Vegas StripProperties include Mandalay Bay, the Bellagio, and MGM Grand, among others MGM said it's working with police after identifying a cybersecurity issue By Germania Rodriguez Poleo For Dailymail.Com
Published: 14:23 EDT, 11 September 2023 | Updated: 16:38 EDT, 11 September 2023
Thousands of guests at MGM Resorts in the Las Vegas strip have been locked out of their hotel rooms after the company was hit with a cyber attack, according to reports.
MGM Resorts International has about 48,000 rooms on The Strip. The company's properties include Mandalay Bay, the Bellagio, Luxor and MGM Grand, among others.
The outage, first detected on Sunday night, has affected company emails, reservations, room keys and casino slot machines.
The company said in a statement on Monday: 'MGM Resorts recently identified a cybersecurity issue affecting some of the Company's systems. Promptly after detecting the issue, we quickly began an investigation with assistance from leading external cybersecurity experts.
'We also notified law enforcement and took prompt action to protect our systems and data, including shutting down certain systems. Our investigation is ongoing, and we are working diligently to determine the nature and scope of the matter.'
The system outage appears to be affecting slot machines at the company's casinos
Guests at MGM Resorts in the Las Vegas strip have been locked out of their hotel rooms due to a cyber attack, according to reports
A concierge at the iconic Bellagio hotel told NBC News 3 the whole system is down 'internally and externally' and it's unclear when it will be restored.
All computer operations are currently being done manually, the hotel worker said.
Meanwhile guests of MGM properties have taken to social media to speak about the situation, with many saying they are unable to get into their rooms.
Footage shows the casino at the ARIA with the machines off as the outage continued just before 4pmEST.
MGM is the biggest employer in Nevada and owns most of the casinos on the Strip.
The company's website is currently unavailable and directing potential guests to call for reservations.
Guests of MGM properties have taken to social media to speak about the situation
ATMs and credit card machines are down - restaurants at the properties are only taking cash and room charges have been paused.
Guests told 8NewsNow they were locked out of their rooms on Sunday night and unable to buy food due to the system outage.
Some have claimed they were left unable to claim their ticket and cash out after playing at the casino's slot machines.
The outage appears to be affecting MGM properties outside of Vegas, including the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the Mississippi-based Biloxi.
MGM was hacked back in 2019, with a reported 142 million guests affected.
Among the people implicated in the breach were Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, and Justin Bieber according to prior reports.
ZDNet verified that there was no financial information in the breach and according to an MGM spokesperson, mostly consisted of, 'contact information like names, postal addresses, and email addresses.'
Zelensky 'senses' weakening Western support '-- RT Russia & Former Soviet Union
Mon, 11 Sep 2023 15:41
EU nations may face anger from Ukrainian refugees if aid to Kiev dwindles, the president warns
Western governments could face defeats at the ballot box and trouble from the millions of Ukrainian refugees they host, if they do not maintain their assistance to Kiev, President Vladimir Zelensky has warned.
In an interview with The Economist, Zelensky complained about weakening support from senior Western officials, which he claimed to have seen in their eyes during meetings.
''I see that he or she is not here, not with us'' contrary to spoken assurances, he said, according to the interview published on Sunday.
According to Zelensky, failure to support Ukraine amounts to siding with Russia in the conflict, which escalated into open hostilities in February 2022.
''If partners do not help us, it means they will help Russia to win,'' he stated.
Zelensky believes that Western voters will not forgive their leaders if they ''lose Ukraine.'' Further trouble may also come from the millions of Ukrainian refugees now residing across western Europe. They have generally ''behaved well,'' but if their hosts ''drive these people into a corner,'' the end result will not be ''a good story,'' the president added.
The Ukrainian leader said he is ''morally'' ready for a long war with Russia, but this will require the country to switch to a ''totally militarized economy.''
He added that now is ''a bad moment'' for peace talks with Russia, due to the lackluster battlefield progress over the three months of Kiev's summer 'counteroffensive'. Moscow has estimated Ukrainian summer losses at over 66,000 troops and 7,600 heavy weapons.
The Economist noted that the Zelensky government had built up expectations for the offensive, but now he is ''carefully adjusting his message to reality.''
The Ukrainian president also appeared to take credit for the drone attacks deep inside Russian territory, which Kiev formally refuses to claim as its own. Explaining his strategy, he said public support for the Russian government will fall ''because our drones will land.''
In a ''long war,'' Moscow will lose regardless of how the Russians feel because the Russian economy will fail, he added.
The Russian government expects the economy to grow by 2.5% or more in 2023. Recent forecasts by the World Bank and the IMF have upgraded their predictions for Russia due to strong industrial production and higher-than-expected energy revenues.
Giving poop a purpose: 100 years of treating Lincoln's wastewater
Mon, 11 Sep 2023 15:33
A $35 million expansion of the Theresa Street Water Resource Recovery Facility in north-central Lincoln will increase the city's capacity to treat wastewater by 14 million gallons. The expansion will include adding an aeration basin in the green space in the middle of the plant, next to the existing basins. The basins break down the organic material and remove nitrogen and other toxins. Two round clarifiers, which further clean the water, will also be added in the green space near two other round clarifiers.
The city's biosolids program converts biosolids created from wastewater treatment into a dry, nutrient-rich, soil-like fertilizer for crops.
Ever wonder what happens after you flush?
The city of Lincoln, it turns out, would like to show you, as well as offer a little history lesson on just how far the city '-- and country '-- has come in the last century.
We're talking wastewater here, and what happens to the 33 million gallons of wastewater Lincoln residents flush away each day.
''The cleanup of sewage is one of the biggest public health improvements we've ever had,'' said Donna Garden, assistant director of Lincoln Transportation and Utilities. ''Besides the fact that it does this service for the public, it's an absolutely fascinating process, that we're using biology to treat this and use it so efficiently.''
The process used today cleans the wastewater, which is then used to heat and cool buildings at the University of Nebraska's Innovation Campus and electric generating station before it is released back into Salt Creek. It creates biosolids used as fertilizer and natural gas used to fuel vehicles.
It's come a long way in the 100 years since Lincoln's wastewater system began, and city officials want to celebrate that. In honor of its 100th year, the city will be offering tours of the city's resource recovery facilities, along with other activities on Sept. 17 from 1-5 p.m.
The tours will show Lincolnites what happens after you flush. Brace yourself. It involves bugs.
But not always '-- the bugs came later and made things much better.
Back in 1888, after the village of Lancaster had become Lincoln, it created a sanitary district, which ran five miles of wastewater pipe that collected waste and dumped it directly into salt creek.
It was very smelly.
In 1923, Lincoln built its first treatment plant '-- descriptively named the Theresa Street Sewage Disposal Plant, which handled about 5 million gallons of water a day.
In 1957, the Legislature passed a law transferring 364 miles of wastewater pipe to the city '-- and Linconites began paying the city for the service.
By 1965, Lincoln began separating solids (anything non-organic that gets flushed or picked up on the travels from toilet to treatment plant) from organic material (which is what you think it is). This helped improve the water quality in Salt Creek, city officials said.
In 1971, the city built a lab to begin testing water quality in anticipation of sweeping amendments to a 1948 water pollution act that became known as the Clean Water Act.
Numerous other changes happened in the ensuing years: the addition of high-tech computer systems to help monitor water quality and, ultimately, run the system and various new systems to better clean the water.
In 2004, the city spent $22 million to expand the capacity of the treatment plant and improve how it processed the water. It is starting another $35 million expansion that will allow the Theresa Street plant to treat 14 million more gallons of waste. Earlier this year it completed a $14 million expansion of the biosolids program, increasing production of the cake-like substance by 25%.
In a nutshell, Lincoln's wastewater system grew from five miles of underground pipe to 1,149 miles '-- roughly 16,852 Husker football fields running underground.
The city's population grew from about 55,000 to nearly 300,000 and the city performs hundreds of tests on the 33 million gallons of water that runs through those pipes daily.
The names of the treatment plants have changed: from the Wastewater Treatment Facility to the Pollution Control Facility to the Water Resources Recovery Facility '-- the name city officials think most descriptive of what happens to that waste once Lincolnites flush.
Here's the Cliff's Notes version: Post-flush, the wastewater follows gravity through the pipes to the Theresa Street plant or the Northeast Water Resources Recovery Facility, built in 1981.
From there, the bugs '-- tiny, microscopic-sized bugs called microbes '-- get to work, breaking down the waste. They love the waste.
The waste goes into a clarifier that separates the solids from the organic material, which then goes into aeration tanks that add oxygen, which ''activates'' the microbes to grow, reproduce and keep on eating.
After that, the remaining sludge goes through a process that removes the oxygen, which further breaks down the sludge, and biogas produced during the process is sold to companies that compress it and use it as vehicle fuel, said Erika Hill, spokeswoman for Lincoln Transportation and Utilities.
The biosolids left over are turned into cakes that are sold to farmers to use as fertilizer, Hill said.
The now much-cleaner water goes through one more process where ultra-violet light kills off remaining pathogens.
That reclaimed water is then put to more use: flowing through the systems that cool a Lincoln Electric System generating system and '-- since 2015 '-- heating and cool the buildings at the University of Nebraska's Innovation Campus.
Eventually, all the reclaimed '-- now clean and no longer smelly '-- water is dumped back into Salt Creek.
''Lincoln does things that are extremely innovative,'' Garden said. ''We want everybody to come see it because we're very, very proud of our accomplishments. They're award-winning in our state and across the country. It's a fascinating process."
100-year anniversary celebration
The free, 100-Year Anniversary Celebration of the Lincoln Wastewater System will be Sept. 17 from 1-5 p.m. at the Theresa Street Water Resource Recovery Facility, 2400 Theresa Street.
The event will include:
*Guided tours at 2, 3, and 4 p.m. Self-guided tours will be available anytime between 1 and 5 p.m. City staff and signs will direct guests to parking and the tour starting location.
*Refreshments, giveaways and a history video.
*Information on what happens after you flush.
*A live streaming video that shows millions of micro bugs at work cleaning Lincoln's wastewater.
*Meetings with laboratory scientists and wastewater experts.
*A display of the city's heavy equipment, laboratory and anaerobic digesters.
*A showcase of the unique buildings, projects, and programs at the facility.
*For a facility map, historical timeline and more information on the celebration, visit
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Top Journal Star photos for August 2023 Lincoln Southwest running back Ashton Traudt (2) runs the ball under defense by Columbus defensive end Caden Kapels (81) during the Silver Hawks' game against Columbus on Friday at UBT Stadium at Lincoln Northwest. Southwest was leading 14-6 at halftime.
ARTHUR H. TRICKETT-WILE Journal Star Seward local Garin Metzger (left) drives his pontoon boat on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023 at Branched Oak Lake in Lancaster County during the start of Labor Day weekend. Pictured with him is his wife Linda Metzger (center-right), and their friends Shanda Laflin (center-left) and Pam Spicher (right).
ARTHUR H. TRICKETT-WILE, Journal Star Nebraska's Mikai Gbayor (42) celebrates with teammate Brian Buschini after he limited Minnesota to a short yardage after a kickoff return on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
JUSTIN WAN Journal Star Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule points to the team during the first quarter against Minnesota on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
JUSTIN WAN Journal Star Nebraska volleyball celebrates a 3-0 victory against Omaha on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, at Memorial Stadium during Volleyball Day in Nebraska.
ARTHUR H. TRICKETT-WILE Journal Star Club team volleyball players, including Kenzie MacDonald of Omaha (left), 13, and her twin Kyra MacDonald, cheer during the final moments of the Nebraska volleyball match against Omaha on Wednesday at Memorial Stadium.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star Nebraska head coach John Cook (left) takes the court with his team before taking on Omaha on Wednesday at Memorial Stadium.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Volleyball fans do the wave during a break in the action during the match between Omaha and Nebraska on Wednesday at Memorial Stadium.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Nebraska's Lexi Rodriguez (8) and Merritt Beason (13) lead the team to the court before the match against Omaha on Wednesday at Memorial Stadium.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star The glare from the sun hits the court causing players to be silhouetted against the floor during the second set Wednesday at Memorial Stadium.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Noah Snurr of Nebraska State Education Association (left) and Molly Gross of Nebraska Parent Teacher Association deliver boxes of signatures Wednesday from the Support our Schools Nebraska petition drive to the Secretary of State's election office.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star Cole Graham (center) and Scott Ryan (right) of Nebraska Sign Company set up the volleyball court at Memorial Stadium ahead of Volleyball Day in Nebraska, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023.
JUSTIN WAN Journal Star Christopher Corbett Jr., 7, examines the cockpit of a T-38 Talon on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2023 at the Guardians of Freedom Airshow at Lincoln Airpark.
ARTHUR H. TRICKETT-WILE Journal Star The U.S. Navy Blue Angels leave a smoke trail behind them as they perform aerial feats during the Guardians of Freedom Airshow at Lincoln Air Park on Saturday.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Spectators watch and photograph the U.S. Navy Blue Angels performing aerial feats over Lincoln's Air Park during the Guardians of Freedom Airshow on Saturday. More than 340,000 people attended the two-day show.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star An F-35C long-range stealth strike fighter flies just under the sound barrier during the Guardians of Freedom Airshow at Lincoln Air Park on Saturday.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Seth Avett, Scott Avett and Joe Kwon play onstage during a performance The Avett Brothers at Pinnacle Bank Arena , on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Lincoln.
KENNETH FERRIERA Journal Star Lincoln Lutheran's Ryan Bokelmann holds the Spirit Sword high as he leads his team in celebration after the Warriors defeated Lincoln Christian on Friday at Aldrich Field.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Farrah Plate practices yoga on her paddleboard at Holmes Lake Park on Thursday. Lincoln topped 100 degrees for the fifth day in a row on Friday, when the city's excessive heat warning expired. Relief is forecast on Saturday, where along with a chance of rain, the high is expected to be in the 80s. Those temps are to continue through Wednesday.
ARTHUR H. TRICKETT-WILE, Journal Star Guests at the Duncan Aviation/Make-A-Wish Sixth Annual Charity Car Show walk through rows of cars on display at Duncan Aviation Components and Parts on Sunday near the Lincoln Airport. The event featured airplanes, firetrucks, food trucks and awards for a variety of car categories. Representatives from Duncan presented this year's Make-A-Wish kid, 3-year-old James, with a trip to the "Cars" Suite at the Art of Animation Resort at Disney World. All event proceeds went to benefit Make-a-Wish Nebraska.
ARTHUR H. TRICKETT-WILE, Journal Star Ta'mircle Washington (left) splashes water on Eliah Kruger as they keep cool at the Bicentennial Cascade Fountain, on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, in Lincoln. Starting on Saturday, the National Weather Service is forecasting five days with triple-digit heat out of the next six. If that proves correct, it will be the longest stretch of 100-degree highs in the city in more than a decade. Lincoln's forecast calls for heat indexes potentially topping 110 degrees on Saturday and Monday.
KENNETH FERRIERA Journal Star Cornhusker Marching Band flag line member Alyssa Johnson, who is a reporting intern at the Lincoln Journal Star, twirls with her team during a routine on the field at the annual exhibition concert on Aug. 18, 2023, in Memorial Stadium at University of Nebraska''Lincoln.
ARTHUR H. TRICKETT-WILE, Journal Star Lincoln Pius X's Jack Schafers celebrates after he scores a touchdown in the first quarter against Lincoln Northwest on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, at Union Bank Stadium.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Lincoln Lutheran football players join hands in a pre-practice prayer before starting football practice at Lincoln Lutheran High School on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, in Lincoln.
KENNETH FERRIERA Journal Star Nova Trumler (left), 3, and Paxton Netsvetayer, 4, play as they build a house at Creative Minds Early Learning Center.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star Asa Wegrzyn removes practice gear from a storage container before football practice at Lincoln Christian High School on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023, in Lincoln.
Kenneth Ferriera Preschooler Vihaan Idara (center) participates in playtime with his teacher and fellow classmates during the first day of the semester on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023 in a new space at Standing Bear High School.
ARTHUR H. TRICKETT-WILE Journal Star Lincoln Northeast's Landon Hoff (left) takes a handoff from Jacian Brown (right) during football practice Wednesday at Northeast High School.
ARTHUR H. TRICKETT-WILE, Journal Star Becca Griebel (left) and her parents Tammy and Randy Griebel help her brother, University of Nebraska-Lincoln freshman Drew (second from left), move into his dorm room at Abel Hall on Tuesday in Lincoln. Around 5,000 students are moving into residence halls this week at UNL. Classes start on Monday.
HAYDEN ROONEY, Journal Star A hover fly sits a top a black-eyed Susan at the Sunken Gardens.
HAYDEN ROONEY, Journal Star Bull riders ready themselves for the competition ahead during the Extreme Bull Riding Tour at the Lancaster Event Center on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Lincoln.
Kenneth Ferriera Cassidy Krawczak-Kummrow pumps her fist in the air after walking across the graduation stage with hre masters degree during UNL's summer semester commencement ceremony at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday.
Kenneth Ferriera NATS detasslers work a seed corn field somewhere between Lincoln and Waverly, on Wednesday, July 19, 2023.
Kenneth Ferriera Rachel Feldhaus, a 4 year detassler, pulls tassels from corn stalks on the final day of NATS season on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023.
Kenneth Ferriera Lincoln East head coach John Gingery talks tackling with a demonstration with Dash Bauman during a football practice Thursday at Seacrest Field.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star Kipton Fankhauser loses his shoe as he falls off of "War Dance" during Mutton Bustin' at the Lancaster County Super Fair on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, in Lincoln.
KENNETH FERRIERA Journal Star Patrons enjoy the first weekend of the outdoor carnival during the Lancaster County Super Fair at the Lancaster Event Center on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Lincoln.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Syllas Daniels and Kaneka Taylor (right) hold on tight as they ride the Orbiter at the carnival during the Lancaster County Super Fair at Lancaster Event Center on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Lincoln.
KENNETH FERRIERA Journal Star A nun peruses the animals on display at Rabbit Row during the Lancaster County Super Fair at the Lancaster Event Center on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Lincoln.
KENNETH FERRIERA Journal Star Angelina Mojok waves to the camera as she rides the merry-go-round at the carnival during the at the Lancaster Event Center on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Lincoln.
KENNETH FERRIERA Journal Star Cally Sullivan, Hannah Munk, Noah Schmoll and his sister Jocelyn (from left) let their rabbits hop from the starting line as they compete in a rabbit race during the Lancaster County Super Fair at the Lancaster Event Center on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023, in Lincoln.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Offensive lineman Yahia Marzouk and Brady Eickhoff (from left) spring out from under the chute while running a drill during a practice at Lincoln Northwest on Wednesday.
Kenneth Ferriera, Journal Star Nebraska middle blocker Andi Jackson blocks assistant coach Jaylen Reyes during practice Tuesday at Devaney Sports Center.
KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star Lincoln Pius X's Hudson Schulz (left) tackles teammate Sebastian Morales during practice on Tuesday at Pius X High School.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star A view of the Federal Legislative Summit on Tuesday at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star Nebraska's Bryce Benhart (left) and Brock Knutson practice on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, at Hawks Championship Center.
JUSTIN WAN Journal Star Lincoln Southwest's Zak Stark makes a throw during a football practice on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, at Lincoln Southwest.
JUSTIN WAN Journal Star An excavator tears bricks off Pershing Center on Monday as demolition work begins in earnest on the former civic auditorium. Bringing down the structure is expected to take two to three weeks.
HAYDEN ROONEY, Journal Star Young dancers spin one another as they perform a traditional dance with Wilber Czech Dancers during the annual Wilber Czech Festival on Saturday. The celebration will continue Sunday with a parade, motorcycle show, eating contest and much more.
Kenneth Ferriera photos, Journal Star Teams shoot around in the common area as they prepare to compete against one another during the 3-on-3 Railyard Rims basketball tournament at The Railyard on Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, in Lincoln. In collaboration with the Downtown Lincoln Association, the YMCA of Lincoln hosted the seventh annual Railyard Rims August 4-5. This 3-on-3 tournament takes basketball to the streets of the Railyard.
Kenneth Ferriera Callum Anderson gets his first haircut from barber Dean Korensky as he sits with his mother, Courtney Anderson, on Thursday at 33 Street Hair Studio. Callum was the fifth generation of the Anderson family to get a haircut from Korensky.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star Carter Worrell has a staring contest with a baby chick during the Lancaster County Super Fair at Lancaster Event Center on Aug. 3, 2023.
HAYDEN ROONEY, Journal Star A Nowear BMX rider jumps from a high ramp while teammates watch during the Lancaster County Super Fair at Lancaster Event Center on Thursday.
HAYDEN ROONEY, Journal Star Zack Mentzer peeks out from a trailer while he and his family unload their Hampshire cross breed pigs the day before the start of the Lancaster County Super Fair at the Lancaster Event Center on Aug. 2, 2023.
Kenneth Ferriera, Journal Star Fair kids who show animals will set up in the stalls so they have a place to rest, the day before the start of the Lancaster County Super Fair at the Lancaster Event Center on Aug. 2, 2023.
Kenneth Ferriera, Journal Star Jen Witherby (left) and Mary Weixelman, bought 3 Daughters, last month and just recently completed their first week as owners.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star Cooper Jordan, 4, runs the spray of a soaker hose during Sprinkler Day at the Eiseley Branch Library on Monday.
Kenneth Ferriera, Journal Star Protester Kari Wagner holds up a sign as Nebraska State Board of Education member Kirk Penner walks by in the Capitol on Monday.
HAYDEN ROONEY, Journal Star Mack Splichal, 2, shows off his cheer moves to Nebraska cheerleaders Sidney Doty, Carly Janssen and Audrey Eckert (from left) during Nebraska Football's annual fan day at Hawks Championship Center on Sunday, July 30, 2023.
Kenneth Ferriera Shoes lost by previous skydivers are hung above the exit to the runway at the Lincoln Sport Parachute Club on Saturday, July 29, 2023, in Weeping Water.
Kenneth Ferriera Carpet Land players watch from the dugout as their team bats in the first inning during the Class A American Legion championship on Saturday at Den Hartog Field.
Kenneth Ferriera, Journal Star Nebraska's Darian White (left) talks with teammate Callin Hake during a team practice Thursday at Hendricks Training Complex.
JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star Ten-year-old Connor Horner plays in the sprinkler fountain at Centennial Mall across from the state Capitol on Monday, as temperatures reached the 90s and the heat index reached into triple digits. The Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department said it discourages people from playing in the Centennial Mall fountains because the water is not treated.
HAYDEN ROONEY, Journal Star Contact the writer at or 402-473-7226. On Twitter at @LJSReist.
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A $35 million expansion of the Theresa Street Water Resource Recovery Facility in north-central Lincoln will increase the city's capacity to treat wastewater by 14 million gallons. The expansion will include adding an aeration basin in the green space in the middle of the plant, next to the existing basins. The basins break down the organic material and remove nitrogen and other toxins. Two round clarifiers, which further clean the water, will also be added in the green space near two other round clarifiers.
J.F.K. Assassination Witness Breaks His Silence and Raises New Questions '' DNyuz
Mon, 11 Sep 2023 14:05
He still remembers the first gunshot. For an instant, standing on the running board of the motorcade car, he entertained the vain hope that maybe it was just a firecracker or a blown tire. But he knew guns and he knew better. Then came another shot. And another. And the president slumped down.
For so many nights afterward, he relived that grisly moment in his dreams. Now, 60 years later, Paul Landis, one of the Secret Service agents just feet away from President John F. Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas, is telling his story in full for the first time. And in at least one key respect, his account differs from the official version in a way that may change the understanding of what happened in Dealey Plaza.
Mr. Landis has spent most of the intervening years fleeing history, trying to forget that unforgettable moment etched in the consciousness of a grieving nation. The memory of the explosion of violence and the desperate race to the hospital and the devastating flight home and the wrenching funeral with John Jr. saluting his fallen father '-- it was all too much, too torturous, so much so that Mr. Landis left the service and Washington behind.
Until finally, after the nightmares had passed at last, he could think about it again. And he could read about it. And he realized that what he read was not quite right, not as he remembered it. As it turns out, if his recollections are correct, the much-discussed ''magic bullet'' may not have been so magic after all.
His memory challenges the theory advanced by the Warren Commission that has been the subject of so much speculation and debate over the years '-- that one of the bullets fired at the president's limousine hit not only Kennedy but Gov. John B. Connally Jr. of Texas, who was riding with him, in multiple places.
Mr. Landis's account, included in a forthcoming memoir, would rewrite the narrative of one of modern American history's most earth-shattering days in an important way. It may not mean any more than that. But it could also encourage those who have long suspected that there was more than one gunman in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, adding new grist to one of the nation's enduring mysteries.
As with all things related to the assassination, of course, his account raises questions of its own. Mr. Landis remained silent for 60 years, which has fueled doubts even for his former Secret Service partner, and memories are tricky even for those sincerely certain of their recollections. A couple elements of his account contradict the official statements he filed with authorities immediately after the shooting, and some of the implications of his version cannot be easily reconciled to the existing record.
But he was there, a firsthand witness, and it is rare for new testimony to emerge six decades after the fact. He has never subscribed to the conspiracy theories and stresses that he is not promoting one now. At age 88, he said, all he wants is to tell what he saw and what he did. He will leave it to everyone else to draw conclusions.
''There's no goal at this point,'' he said in an interview last month in Cleveland, the first time he has talked about this with a reporter in advance of his book, ''The Final Witness,'' which will be published by Chicago Review Press on Oct. 10. ''I just think it had been long enough that I needed to tell my story.''
What it comes down to is a copper-jacketed 6.5-millimeter projectile. The Warren Commission decided that one of the bullets fired that day struck the president from behind, exited from the front of his throat and continued on to hit Mr. Connally, somehow managing to injure his back, chest, wrist and thigh. It seemed incredible that a single bullet could do all that, so skeptics called it the magic bullet theory.
Investigators came to that conclusion partly because the bullet was found on a stretcher believed to have held Mr. Connally at Parkland Memorial Hospital, so they assumed it had exited his body during efforts to save his life. But Mr. Landis, who was never interviewed by the Warren Commission, said that is not what happened.
In fact, he said, he was the one who found the bullet '-- and he found it not in the hospital near Mr. Connally but in the presidential limousine lodged in the back of the seat behind where Kennedy was sitting.
When he spotted the bullet after the motorcade arrived at the hospital, he said he grabbed it to thwart souvenir hunters. Then, for reasons that still seem fuzzy even to him, he said he entered the hospital and placed it next to Kennedy on the president's stretcher, assuming it could somehow help doctors figure out what happened. At some point, he now guesses, the stretchers must have been pushed together and the bullet was shaken from one to another.
''There was nobody there to secure the scene, and that was a big, big bother to me,'' Mr. Landis said. ''All the agents that were there were focused on the president.'' A crowd was gathering. ''This was all going on so quickly. And I was just afraid that '-- it was a piece of evidence, that I realized right away. Very important. And I didn't want it to disappear or get lost. So it was, 'Paul, you've got to make a decision,' and I grabbed it.'''
Mr. Landis theorizes that the bullet struck Kennedy in the back but for some reason was undercharged and did not penetrate deeply, therefore popping back out before the president's body was removed from the limousine.
Mr. Landis has been reluctant to speculate on the larger implications. He always believed that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman.
But now? ''At this point, I'm beginning to doubt myself,'' he said. ''Now I begin to wonder.'' That is as far as he is willing to go.
A native of Ohio and son of a college sports coach, Mr. Landis does not come across as a swaggering security agent. He had to stretch to meet the 5-foot-8 height requirement when he joined the service, and could no longer do so. ''I'm too little now,'' he said, to make it in today's agency. He is quiet and unassuming, dressed in a coat and tie for an interview, his gray hair neatly trimmed. He has a little trouble hearing and speaks softly, but his mind is clear and his recollections steady.
In recent years, he confided his story with several key figures, including Lewis C. Merletti, a former director of the Secret Service. James Robenalt, a Cleveland lawyer and author of several books of history, has deeply researched the assassination and helped Mr. Landis process his memories.
''If what he says is true, which I tend to believe, it is likely to reopen the question of a second shooter, if not even more,'' Mr. Robenalt said. ''If the bullet we know as the magic or pristine bullet stopped in President Kennedy's back, it means that the central thesis of the Warren Report, the single-bullet theory, is wrong.'' And if Mr. Connally was hit by a separate bullet, he added, then it seemed possible it was not from Oswald, who he argued could not have reloaded that fast.
Mr. Merletti, who has been friendly with Mr. Landis for a decade, was not sure what to think about his account. ''I don't know if that story's true or not, but I do know that the agents that were there that day, they were tormented for years by what happened,'' he said in an interview.
Mr. Merletti referred Mr. Landis to Ken Gormley, the president of Duquesne University and a prominent presidential historian, who helped him find an agent for his book. In an interview, Mr. Gormley said he was not surprised that a traumatized agent would come forward all these years later, comparing it to a dying declaration in legal cases.
''It's very common as people get to the end of their lives,'' Mr. Gormley said. ''They want to make peace with things. They want to get on the table things they've been holding back, especially if it's a piece of history and they want the record corrected. This does not look like a play by someone trying to get attention for himself or money. I don't read it that way at all. I think he firmly believes this. Whether it fits together, I don't know. But people can eventually figure that out.''
Mr. Landis's account varies in a couple of respects from two written statements he filed in the week after the shooting. Aside from not mentioning finding the bullet, he reported hearing only two shots. ''I do not recall hearing a third shot,'' he wrote. Likewise, he did not mention going into the trauma room where Kennedy was taken, writing that he ''remained outside by the door'' when the first lady went in.
Gerald Posner, author of ''Case Closed,'' a 1993 book that concluded that Oswald indeed killed Kennedy on his own, said he was dubious. While he did not question Mr. Landis's sincerity, Mr. Posner said the story did not add up.
''People's memories generally do not improve over time, and it is a flashing warning sign to me, about skepticism I have over his story, that on some very important details of the assassination, including the number of shots, his memory has gotten better instead of worse,'' he said.
''Even assuming that he is accurately describing what happened with the bullet,'' Mr. Posner added, ''it might mean nothing more than we now know that the bullet that came out of Governor Connally did so in the limousine, not on a stretcher in Parkland where it was found.''
Mr. Landis said the reports he filed after the assassination included mistakes; he was in shock and had barely slept for five days as he focused on helping the first lady through the ordeal, he said, and not paying enough attention to what he submitted. He did not think to mention the bullet, he said.
It was not until 2014 that he realized that the official account of the bullet differed from his memory, he said, but he did not come forward then out of a feeling that he had made a mistake in putting it on the stretcher without telling anyone in that pre-C.S.I., secure-the-crime-scene era.
''I didn't want to talk about it,'' Mr. Landis said. ''I was afraid. I started to think, did I do something wrong? There was a fear that I might have done something wrong and I shouldn't talk about it.''
Indeed, his partner, Clint Hill, the legendary Secret Service agent who clambered onto the back of the speeding limousine in a futile effort to save Kennedy, discouraged Mr. Landis from speaking out. ''Many ramifications,'' Mr. Hill warned in a 2014 email that Mr. Landis saved and shared last month.
Mr. Hill, who has set out his own account of what happened in multiple books and interviews, cast doubt on Mr. Landis's version on Friday. ''I believe it raises concerns when the story he is telling now, 60 years after the fact, is different than the statements he wrote in the days following the tragedy'' and told in subsequent years, Mr. Hill said in an email. ''In my mind, there are serious inconsistencies in his various statements/stories.''
Mr. Landis's rendezvous with history began in the small town of Worthington, Ohio, north of Columbus. After college and a stint in the Ohio Air National Guard, he was working in a clothing store when a family friend described his job in the Secret Service. Intrigued, Mr. Landis joined in 1959 in the Cincinnati office, where he chased thieves who swiped Social Security checks out of mailboxes.
A year later, he was sent to Washington where he joined the protective detail for President Dwight D. Eisenhower's grandchildren. After Kennedy was elected, Mr. Landis, code named Debut because of his youth, was assigned to guard the new president's children and later the first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, alongside Mr. Hill. Because the first lady accompanied her husband to Dallas that fall day in 1963, Mr. Landis, then 28, was part of the motorcade, riding the rear of the right running board on the black Cadillac convertible, code named Halfback, just feet behind the presidential limousine.
At the first shot, Mr. Landis turned to look over his right shoulder in the direction of the sound but spotted nothing. Then he turned to the limousine and saw Kennedy raising his arms, evidently hit. Suddenly, Mr. Landis noticed that Mr. Hill had leapt off their follow-up car and was sprinting toward the limousine. Mr. Landis thought about doing the same but did not have an angle.
He said he heard a second shot that sounded louder and finally the fatal third shot that hit Kennedy in the head. Mr. Landis had to duck to avoid being splattered by flesh and brain matter. He knew instantly that the president was dead. Mr. Hill, now on the back of the limousine, turned back and confirmed it with a thumbs down.
Once they reached the hospital, Mr. Hill and Mr. Landis coaxed the distraught first lady to let go of her husband so he could be taken inside. After they exited the car, Mr. Landis noticed two bullet fragments in a pool of bright red blood. He fingered one of them but put it back.
That's when he said he noticed the intact bullet in the seam of the tufted dark leather cushioning. He said he slipped it into his coat pocket and headed into the hospital, where he planned to give it to a supervisor, but in the confusion instinctively put it on Kennedy's stretcher instead.
The hospital's senior engineer later found it when he was moving Mr. Connally's stretcher, by then empty, and bumped it against another stretcher in the hall, resulting in the bullet falling out.
The Warren Commission report said that it ''eliminated President Kennedy's stretcher as a source of the bullet'' because the president remained on his stretcher while doctors tried to save his life and was not removed until his body was placed in a coffin.
Investigators determined that the bullet, designated Commission Exhibit 399, was fired by the same C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found in the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository. They concluded that the bullet passed through Kennedy, then entered Mr. Connally's right shoulder, struck his rib, exited under his right nipple, continued through his right wrist and into his left thigh.
Doctors concurred that the single bullet could have caused all the damage. But the bullet was described as nearly pristine and had lost only one or two grains of its original 160 or 161 grains in weight, causing skeptics to doubt that it could have done all that the commission said it had. Still, ballistic experts using modern forensic techniques concluded at the 50th anniversary of the assassination that the single-bullet theory was perfectly plausible.
Mr. Landis said he was surprised that the Warren Commission never interviewed him, but assumed that his supervisors were protecting the agents, who had been out late the night before socializing (Mr. Landis until 5 a.m., although he insisted they were not drunk). ''Nobody really asked me,'' he said.
Many pictures of those days of mourning show Mr. Landis at Jacqueline Kennedy's side as she endured the rituals of a presidential farewell. Night after night, those seconds of violence in Dallas kept replaying in his head, his own personal Zapruder film on an endless loop. ''The president's head exploding '-- I could not shake that vision,'' he said. ''Whatever I was doing, that's all I was thinking about.''
With Mr. Landis and Mr. Hill still protecting her, the former first lady was in constant motion in the months afterward. ''She'd be in the back seat sobbing and you'd want to say something but it wasn't really our place to say anything,'' Mr. Landis recalled.
After six months, he could not take it anymore and left the Secret Service. Haunted, he moved to Cape Cod in Massachusetts, then New York, then Ohio near Cleveland. For decades, he made a living in real estate and machine products and house painting, anything as long as it had nothing to do with protecting presidents.
He was generally aware of the conspiracy theories, yet never read a book about them, or the Warren Commission report for that matter. ''I just paid no attention to that,'' he said. ''I just removed myself. I just felt I had been there. I had seen it, and I knew what I saw and what I did. And that's all.''
He did a few interviews in 2010 and thereafter, but never mentioned finding the bullet. Then, in 2014, a local police chief he knew gave him a copy of ''Six Seconds in Dallas,'' a 1967 book by Josiah Thompson arguing that there were multiple shooters. Mr. Landis read it and believed the official account of the bullet was wrong.
That led to conversations with Mr. Merletti and Mr. Gormley and eventually, after many years, to his book.
It was not easy. As he finished the manuscript, he stared at the computer screen, broke down and cried uncontrollably. ''I didn't realize that I had so many suppressed emotions and feelings,'' he said. ''I just couldn't stop. And that was just a huge emotional relief.''
The post J.F.K. Assassination Witness Breaks His Silence and Raises New Questions appeared first on New York Times.
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Thu, 14 Sep 2023 14:23
VIDEO - "AI Crusades Have Begun": Robo-Taxi Involved In Hammer Attack In San Fran Following 'Coning' Incidents | ZeroHedge
Thu, 14 Sep 2023 14:22
A viral video with over a million views on X shows a person dressed in all-black striking a driverless car repeatedly with a hammer on the streets of crime-ridden San Francisco.
X user "(((BrokeAssStuart)))" said, "Someone seen destroying a RoboTaxi in San Francisco this weekend."
Someone seen destroying a RoboTaxi in San Francisco this weekend.What do you think, hero or villain?
🎥: @caterywta on IG
'-- (((BrokeAssStuart))) (@BrokeAssStuart) September 11, 2023They asked: "What do you think, hero or villain?"
Back in July, we pointed out that members of Safe Street Rebels, a group that states cars are "polluting, dangerous & murderous," were coning driverless cars across the city, which disables the vehicle and forces it to stop.
Here is some of the footage of coning incidents:
Week of Cone - Night One was a hit! Keep sending in your coning submissions ðŸ...
'-- Safe Street Rebel (@SafeStreetRebel) July 6, 2023One X user said, "The AI crusades have begun."
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VIDEO - 'You Don't Do That Much': Nancy Pelosi Dodges Answering If Kamala Harris Is The 'Best Running Mate' 3 Times In 1 Minute | The Daily Caller
Thu, 14 Sep 2023 13:43
Former Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi dodged several questions about Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday's episode of ''Anderson Cooper 360.''
Host Anderson Cooper asked Pelosi if Harris is ''the best running mate for this president,'' to which Pelosi refused to answer in the affirmative. (RELATED: REPORT: Kamala Harris Set To Extensively Campaign For Biden's 2024 Run Despite Democratic Criticisms)
''He thinks so, and that's what matters,'' Pelosi said.
''Do you think so?'' Cooper asked again.
''And by the way, she's very politically astute,'' Pelosi dodged again. ''I don't think people give her enough credit.''
Pelosi added that Harris tries to be ''consistent'' with President Joe Biden's values.
''People don't understand she's politically astute. Why would she be vice president if she were not? But when she was running for attorney general in California, she had six percent in the polls, six percent in the polls. And she politically astutely made her case about why she would be good, did her politics, and became attorney general. So, people shouldn't underestimate what Kamala Harris brings to the table,'' Pelosi said.
Cooper tried pressing her once more on whether Harris is the most optimal partner for Biden. Pelosi evaded the question again, instead commenting on the general job duties of the vice president.
''But do you think she is the best running mate?'' Cooper asked.
''She's the vice president of the United States. People say to me, 'well why isn't she doing this or that?' I said it's because she's the vice president. That's the job description '-- you don't do that much. You know, you're a source of strength, inspiration, intellectual resource, and the rest. And you, I think she's represented our country very well at home and abroad,'' Pelosi responded.
Harris has struggled with low approval ratings while serving as vice president. Her fellow Democrats have been reluctant to publicly praise or defend her performance when questioned by the media. GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley has banked on the fear of a potential Harris presidency as central to her pitch for the White House.
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VIDEO - Federal health officials discuss Canada's approval of new Moderna COVID-19 vaccine '' Sept. 12, 2023 - YouTube
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Tue, 12 Sep 2023 21:44
VIDEO - Parents scramble to find ADHD medication for kids as shortage continues
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 16:43
RALEIGH, N.C. '-- With kids back in school, many are without their ADHD medication due to the ongoing shortage of multiple medications, such as Adderall and Vyvanse. Families are scrambling to find solutions.
Back-to-school nerves were even more pronounced for moms like Jennifer McClelland this year.
Her son Michael has high-functioning autism.
Two days before returning to the classroom, his Vyvanse went out of stock.
"I was very concerned with what was going to happen," McClelland said. "Because with these kids what happens, is that they can't control some of their behaviors and they're in trouble."
She says it's a process of coming up with an alternative solution.
"It was a lot of phone calls and messages back and forth to his pediatrician trying to find where we can get it," McClelland said.
Melissa Illig, the owner of White Oak Pharmacy in Garner, says despite record high prescription rates of stimulant medication, the DEA didn't up the amount manufacturers could make.
"It was also how much the wholesalers could purchase and how much pharmacies could purchase, so it was really a trickle-down effect," Illig said.
However, a joint letter from the DEA and FDA in August stated that manufacturers only sold a small fraction of their quota for stimulant medications in 2022 and 2023, suggesting that the shortage is not due to increased demand alone.
White Oak Pharmacy recommends planning before running out of pills and trying independent pharmacies.
"We have a lot of wholesalers available to us where we can get a lot more products than the chains can," Illig said.
The DEA and FDA are urging manufacturers to increase production.
The ongoing drug shortage is not limited to ADHD medication. Pharmacies are also seeing empty shelves for pain medication.
VIDEO - Richard Carlson |
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 16:30
July 9, 1988 | Clip Of Voice of America User-Created ClipJune 16, 2020 1988-07-09T11:09:46-04:00 Richard CarlsonRichard Carlson
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VIDEO - FDA clears new Covid boosters: 5 things to know
Tue, 12 Sep 2023 15:57
The Food and Drug Administration on Monday greenlighted updated Covid boosters from Pfizer and Moderna. The shots, which are formulated to target the XBB.1.5 subvariant, are expected to be available later this week, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signs off on them.
Anyone age 5 and older can get an updated booster shot from either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, regardless of whether they were previously vaccinated, the FDA said in a statement. People who have been vaccinated should wait at least two months after their last Covid shot before getting the new booster.
Novavax, which also makes a Covid vaccine, said on Monday that its updated booster was still being reviewed by the FDA. Unlike Pfizer and Moderna, Novavax's shot doesn't use mRNA technology.
The boosters come as Covid cases are rising in the U.S., driven by a slew of subvariants. Officials hope that the boosters can blunt a possible spike in winter illness.
Here's what to know about the new shots.
How well do these boosters work?In June, the FDA asked drugmakers to formulate the fall boosters to target the then-dominant XBB.1.5 subvariant.
While that particular strain is no longer as prevalent '-- accounting only for about 3% of new Covid cases the week ending Sept. 2, according to the CDC '-- other strains in circulation are still closely related to XBB.1.5.
One of the predominant strains is called EG.5, which accounts for about 22% of new cases. Another, FL.1.5.1, accounts for about 15% of new cases. Both are members of the XBB subvariant family. Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax have said that their boosters work against EG.5, and Moderna said its booster also works against FL.1.51.
Dr. Eric Topol, executive vice president of Scripps Research in La Jolla, California, said he is ''not concerned'' about vaccine effectiveness, saying that the vaccines developed so far have consistently shown to provide protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death.
''The new booster will certainly ameliorate protection,'' Topol said.
Experts are also keeping a close eye on BA.2.86 '-- dubbed ''Pirola'' by some on social media '-- an omicron subvariant that initially caused alarm because of its high number of mutations. Emerging lab data, however, suggests it may not be immune-evasive or transmissible as initially feared.
Last Thursday, Moderna and Pfizer both stated that their boosters appeared to work against BA.2.86, saying that the shots triggered a strong antibody response against the variant.
Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said recent lab studies have shown people who had been infected by an XBB omicron subvariant within the last six months generated antibodies against EG.5, BA.2.86 and other omicron subvariants, suggesting the updated booster will also provide protection against these strains.
''It is likely that the XBB.1.5 monovalent vaccines will raise antibodies against all the circulating variants,'' Barouch said.
When should I get the new booster?A CDC advisory committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday to vote on recommendations for who should get the booster. Soon after that, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen is expected to sign off on those recommendations, and boosting can begin.
For people who haven't gotten a booster since last fall and haven't had a recent Covid infection, experts say they should get their booster as soon as possible.
But with rising cases, many people are sick now with Covid or have recently recovered from an infection. According to a CDC official, people with recent infections may wait about 90 days from their illness before getting the booster.
People who are unvaccinated can also get the booster, and do not have to complete a multidose primary series beforehand.
How much will it cost?For the first time since the vaccines became available, the federal government will not cover the cost of the shots.
Pfizer and Moderna have said they are pricing each vaccine dose at over $100.
Jennifer Kates, director of the Global Health & HIV Policy Program at the nonprofit KFF, said most people with private and public health insurance should continue to pay nothing out of pocket for the boosters '-- as long as they stick with an in-network provider.
''If you go out of network, you might have some cost, just like with any other service,'' she said.
People who don't have insurance '-- an estimated 30 million in the U.S. '-- should be able to get a booster for free at community health centers. Additionally, the Biden administration is also rolling out a ''bridge'' program that will offer uninsured people access to free boosters at least through the end of 2024. Those who don't know or don't have access to these resources may have to pay out of pocket, she said.
How many boosters will we need?Most healthy people will likely only need one booster until fall 2024, said Dr. Ofer Levy, the director of the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children's Hospital and a member of the FDA's advisory committee.
Dr. Paul Offit, a vaccine expert at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and another member of the FDA's advisory committee, said it's possible people at high risk for severe disease such as older adults or who are immunocompromised may be advised to get an additional dose in a few months.
''All of those people share one thing in common: They don't make very good immune responses,'' he said.
What are the side effects?Levy said the side effects of updated boosters should be the same as the previous iterations of the shots.
Common side effects include headache, chills, fever, nausea and pain or swelling at the injection site, according to the CDC.
Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines have been associated with a small but increased risk of myocarditis, the inflammation of the heart muscle, mostly in young men. Most people make a full recovery, and early studies suggest incidences of myocarditis are highest following the second dose of a primary series.
Still, Pfizer and Moderna are currently running trials to track health issues '-- if any '-- in the years following a diagnosis of vaccine-associated heart problems.
Follow NBC HEALTH on Twitter & Facebook.
Berkeley Lovelace Jr. Berkeley Lovelace Jr. is a health and medical reporter for NBC News. He covers the Food and Drug Administration, with a special focus on Covid vaccines, prescription drug pricing and health care. He previously covered the biotech and pharmaceutical industry with CNBC.
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Mon, 11 Sep 2023 17:50
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ABC ATM - Em Nguyen - McCarthy defending impeachment inquiry.mp3
ABC ATM - Lionel Moise - CIA whistleblower -payouts for origin of covid.mp3
ABC ATM - Lionel Moise - US unfreezes $6B for prisoners from Iran.mp3
ABC ATM - Lionel Moise - US unfreezes $6B for prisoners from Iran.mp3
ABC ATM - Rhiannon Ally - senate hearing on banning books.mp3
ABC This Week - Jonathan Karl - Dr. Fauci (1) new booster -side effects.mp3
ABC This Week - Jonathan Karl - Dr. Fauci (2) Cochrane mask study.mp3
Actual ALiens Mexico.mp3
AI Crusades Have Begun - Robo-Taxi Involved In Hammer Attack In San Fran Following 'Coning' Incidents.mp3
AI or Not Jingle.m4a
Banning Books (1) Sen. John Kennedy (LA-R) - quotes from All Boys Arent Blue.mp3
Banning Books (2) Sen. John Kennedy (LA-R) - quotes from Gender Queer.mp3
Banning Books (3) Sen. John Kennedy (LA-R) - Alexi Giannoulias librarians decide.mp3
Banning Books (4) Sen. John Kennedy (LA-R) - Mix Cameron what are you proposing.mp3
Banning Books (5) Sen. John Kennedy (LA-R) - Alexi Giannoulias parents have a say.mp3
BIDEN Jackedf supercut.mp3
CBS EV - Norah ODonnell - up to 20000 people feared dead after libya floods.mp3
CBS EV - Norah ODonnell David Martin - kim jong un vows unconditional support for russia.mp3
CBS EV - Norah ODonnell Jo Ling Kent - tech titans tackling AI.mp3
CBS EV - Norah ODonnell Lana Zak - federal judge blocks new mexico governors gun ban.mp3
CBS Mornings - Anne-Marie Green - biden impeachment inquiry.mp3
CNBC IRS to use AI for tax cheats.mp3
CNN Smerconish - Dr. Jefferson (1) intro -Cochrane -mask & covid.mp3
CNN Smerconish - Dr. Jefferson (2) so you cant say with certainty.mp3
CNN Smerconish - Dr. Jefferson (3) puts you at odds with editor & chief.mp3
CNN Smerconish - Dr. Jefferson (4) you get the final word.mp3
CNN This Morning - Poppy Harlow Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham - new mexico gun ban [1].mp3
CNN This Morning - Poppy Harlow Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham - new mexico gun ban [2].mp3
CNN This Morning - Poppy Harlow Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham - new mexico gun ban [3].mp3
CNN This Morning - Poppy Harlow Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham - new mexico gun ban [4].mp3
CNN This Morning - Poppy Harlow Michelle Lynn Lujan Grisham - new mexico gun ban [5].mp3
CNN This Morning - Poppy Harlow Natasha Bertrand - US advances prisoner swap deal with iran.mp3
CUBAN being trafficed 2 kicker.mp3
CUBAN being trafficed for Ukraine war 1.mp3
DICK CHENY Biden commerciqal.mp3
Dr McCoy - his brain is gone.mp3
Fran Drecher on vaccine mandates in Hollywood and more.mp3
Granholm EV road trip fail.mp3
Hollywood tale 1.mp3
Hollywood tale 2.mp3
ISO Great Day.mp3
KIM and Putin Report.mp3
Libraries in Canada 1 ctv.mp3
Libraries in Canada 2.mp3
Libraries in Canada 3.mp3
Media turning on Biden WAPO.mp3
Mika with David Ignatius - Biden too old - great team - who can beat trump.mp3
MSNBC - Andrea Mitchell - John Kirby (1) Iran will not spend the $6B where ever.mp3
MSNBC - Andrea Mitchell - John Kirby (1) Iran will not spend the $6B where ever.mp3
MSNBC - Andrea Mitchell - John Kirby (2) why did President Raisi say different.mp3
MSNBC - Andrea Mitchell - John Kirby (2) why did President Raisi say different.mp3
MSNBC - Andrea Mitchell - John Kirby (3) five Iranian prisoners being swapped.mp3
MSNBC - Andrea Mitchell - John Kirby (3) five Iranian prisoners being swapped.mp3
NBC Nightly - Lester Holt - Iranian President Raisi - spend the $6B where ever.mp3
NBC Nightly - Lester Holt - Iranian President Raisi - spend the $6B where ever.mp3
NBC Nightly - Miguel Almaguer - FDA authorizes 3rd booster -5th shot.mp3
NBC Now - Erika Edwards - what about side effects with new booster.mp3
NBC Today - Dr. Ashish Jha (1) booster -tell us about this new shot.mp3
NBC Today - Dr. Ashish Jha (2) covid and flu shot same time.mp3
NBC Today - Dr. Ashish Jha (3) winter covid -summer covid.mp3
NBC Today - Dr. Ashish Jha (4) make your big pitch.mp3
NBC Today - Savannah Guthrie Walter Isaacson - ‘elon musk’ biography [1] demon mode.mp3
NBC Today - Savannah Guthrie Walter Isaacson - ‘elon musk’ biography [2] manic mode.mp3
NBC Today - Savannah Guthrie Walter Isaacson - ‘elon musk’ biography [3] starsheild.mp3
News Nation report on Mexico aliens and Today's NASA briefing - a dud.mp3
NY Quarantine camps 1.mp3
NY Quarantine camps 2.mp3
Pelosi and Pooper ignatius column - on Kamal being astute and just there to take over.mp3
Queen Ursula State of European Union Clean steel and Hydrogene.mp3
Reparations in california.mp3
Tech meeting on AI 1.mp3
Tech meeting on AI 2.mp3
Tech meeting on AI 3.mp3
TRT on no -press meeting of AI tech titans on AI regulations but CHINA.mp3
Vivvek off rails 1.mp3
Vivvek off rails 2.mp3
Vivvek off rails 3.mp3
White House pushed back 2.mp3
White House pushed back 3.mp3
White House pushed back on Imprach.mp3
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