650: Summer of Blood

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 28m
September 7th, 2014
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Executive Producers: Simon Moon

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Ara Derderian, Tiese Barrell

Cover Artist: Sterling Morton

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Truth in Media
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Milli Vanilli
Conspiratorial thinking! Smeone would have known!
Bobby from Boney M
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Female Feedback
Dear Adam and John,
My smart, wonderful boyfriend, who has been a monthly NA donor for a couple years going, alerted me to your best podcast in the universe several months ago and I've abandoned This American Life and Ted Tx to listen to No Agenda religiously ever since. As an adjunct professor (and pro hooker, pro blow and an ex stripper, respectively) who teaches media writing, I value your cultural analysis and humor.
One of the things I love about you guys, particularly the dear, bright John C. Dvorak is that you deconstruct and criticize all members of the media, regardless of their gender. However, John, your desperation to be a more refined Howard Stern is turning you into a sexist douchebag par excellence lately, especially in last weeks episode (#648) and this week's episode #650. Although I am used to Adam being a tad chauvinistic, the huge disappointment came when John fell for it. He never does that. Traditionally, John shows self-restraint. He is not trying so hard to be cute so he never goes for sexual innuendo but this last show, he was a total misogynist. He accused women of blowing dudes for gigs, as if they have no other way to become successful if they are beautiful and now you are both on the boring, pedestrian sexist same page.
Please refrain from being pigs in human clothing. We women are counting on you and we are listening. Respect your lady listeners.
Best,
Antonia
666 Club
ITM fellers!
It's been a piece since I last donated and I've been feeling the need. In lieu of water and blankets I'd like to offer value for value again. I've concluded that FreeHollowBooks.com is set to deliver a Free Hollow Book to the first ten producers who join the 666 club. I see it and think double 333!
I've completed several NA themed books and look to have more finished directly. I could see fit to mailing them directly or perhaps you might like to see to you inscription(s) added to them for extra donation incentive.
The last batch during the first Hot Pocket tour was a big success.
Let me know your gouges fells.
PS. Happy Birthday AC. I have a special book for you I've already done in commemoration of your double 25. John never did send me any of those vintage *Instant Best Sellers" to hollow by the way.
Sir Jimmy Goots
FreeHollowBooks.com
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Ebola / Afrika
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Should Bill Gates Write a Big Check to Stop Ebola? - Businessweek
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:00
The price tag for stopping Ebola is now $600 million. At least that's how much United Nations officials estimate it would cost to halt the deadly epidemic still sweeping across West Africa. A month ago, the figure was just over $70 million. On Sept. 2, Tom Friedan of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the window to contain the outbreak is closing.
Governments typically come to the rescue in these kinds of crises, and American and European officials announced this week they would commit $250 million to fight Ebola. But what about Bill Gates? The Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder and world's richest man has already spent billions to combat such deadly diseases as malaria and polio, especially in Africa. Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he has already given $1 million to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF last month to fight Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. But with a personal net worth of $85.7 billion (according to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index), he could afford more. Through the foundation, he's developed a deep network of partners and projects that bring together the public and private sector. He even chose a doctor, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, to take over as chief executive of the foundation this past May.
Yet the foundation's focus has been on tackling diseases that kill millions, like malaria, not just thousands, as Ebola has so far. And as press secretary Chris Williams noted in response to a media query, ''While the foundation's resources are significant, they represent only a small portion of worldwide funding for global health.''
The list of other philanthropists who have contributed to the Ebola cause includes Gates's fellow Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who gave $2.8 million to the American Red Cross through his family foundation in early August to fight the Ebola outbreak and donated another $100,000 to a matching fund. That's the largest donation so far from private philanthropists, according to Stacy Palmer, who edits the Chronicle of Philanthropy. She notes also that the Dubai-based Legatum Foundation has launched a so-called Ebola Crisis Fund with several other foundations. Its goal: to reach $1 million within three months.
Yet a million here or there isn't likely to stanch what Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, just called ''the largest, most severe, and most complex'' outbreak of Ebola since it was first diagnosed 40 years ago. While a virus that has killed about 1,900 people on the other side of the planet might not sound like much of a global threat, the high fatality rate and breadth of this outbreak has people scared. That could inspire Gates to donate additional funds. If it inspires many others to do the same, $600 million won't seem so hard to reach.
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16 Apocalyptic Quotes From Global Health Officials About This Horrific Ebola Epidemic SGTreport '' The Corporate Propaganda Antidote '' Silver, Gold, Truth, Liberty, & Freedom
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 23:20
by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:
Ebola continues to spread an an exponential rate. According to the World Health Organization, 40 percent of all Ebola cases have happened in just the last three weeks. At this point, the official numbers tell us that approximately 3,500 people have gotten the virus in Africa and more than 1,900 people have died. That is quite alarming, but the real problem will arise if this disease continues to spread at an exponential pace. One team of researchers has used computer modeling to project that the number of Ebola cases will reach 10,000 by September 24th if current trends continue. And if the spread of Ebola does not slow down, we could be dealing with 100,000 cases by December. Even the WHO is admitting that the number of cases is likely to grow to 20,000 before too much longer, and global health officials are now starting to use apocalyptic language to describe this outbreak.
For people in the western world that have never seen anything like this other than in the movies, it can be difficult to grasp just how horrible this epidemic truly is. In the areas of west Africa where Ebola is spreading, fear and panic are everywhere, food shortages are becoming a serious problem and there have been reports of dead bodies rotting in the streets. People are avoiding hospitals and clinics because of paranoia about the fact that so many health workers have contracted the disease. According to the World Health Organization, more than 240 health workers have gotten the virus so far and more than 120 of them have perished.
We have never seen anything like this in any of our lifetimes, and the scary part is that this might only be just the beginning.
The following are 16 apocalyptic quotes from global health officials about this horrific Ebola epidemic'...
#1Dr. Tom Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: ''It is the world's first Ebola epidemic, and it's spiraling out of control. It's bad now, and it's going to get worse in the very near future. There is still a window of opportunity to tamp it down, but that window is closing. We really have to act now.''
#2Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of Doctors Without Borders: ''Riots are breaking out. Isolation centres are overwhelmed. Health workers on the frontline are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers.''
#3David Nabarro, senior United Nations system coordinator for Ebola disease: ''This outbreak is moving ahead of efforts to control it.''
#4Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO's assistant director-general for emergency operations: ''This far outstrips any historic Ebola outbreak in numbers. The largest outbreak in the past was about 400 cases.''
#5Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization: '''...we hope to stop the transmission in six to nine months''.
#6Dr. Daniel Bausch, associate professor in the department of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University: ''You have a very dangerous virus in three of the countries in the world that are least equipped to deal with it. The scale of this outbreak has just outstripped the resources. That's why it's become so big.''
#7Gayle Smith, senior director at the National Security Council: ''This is not an African disease. This is a virus that is a threat to all humanity.''
#8Dr. Tom Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: ''The level of outbreak is beyond anything we've seen'--or even imagined.''
#9Vincent Martin, head of an FAO unit in Dakar: ''This is different than every other Ebola situation we've ever had. It's spreading widely, throughout entire countries, through multiple countries, in cities and very fast.''
Read More @ theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Ebola Could Reach the U.S. By the End of This Month - Yahoo News
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:33
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Where Is The Ebola Outbreak? Updated Map Of Ebola Virus Outbreak As Death Toll Tops 2,000
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:14
The outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has now claimed more than 2,000 lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) released an Ebola Response Roadmap Friday that puts the death toll at 2,097 out of 3,944 cases.
Liberia, the most affected country, reported 200 new cases a week for the past three weeks. One person tested positive for the virus in Senegal, which furthered the international community's fears of the spreading epidemic.
The West Africa outbreak does not include cases from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which is experiencing an unconnected outbreak of the virus. Fully 53 cases and 31 deaths have been confirmed in the DRC as of Aug. 26.
There are only nine diagnostic laboratories in WHO's Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network (EDPLN) equipped for Ebola or Marburg virus diagnostics, America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Germany's Bernhard-Nocht-Institut f¼r Tropenmedizin and South Africa's National Institute for Communicable Diseases.
Take a look at the full list of countries with EDPLN laboratories on the map below:
POWER AFRICA-Private Sector | U.S. Agency for International Development
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:13
For sub-Saharan Africa the scale of investment needed to achieve universal energy access is about $15-$20 billion per year, every year, through 2030. The only way to achieve that is to use public fund to leverage private investment. Ultimately, Power Africa depends on the successful engagement of the private sector to address Africa's energy needs.
To jump to a partner description, please click on the partner name in the list below:
AFCORP Investments (PTY) Ltd.AFCORP Investments (PTY) Ltd. is a specialist Pan-African private investment banking and advisory company headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa and with a regional office in Nairobi, Kenya. AFCORP works with investors and operating companies to develop, structure, implement, and finance growth strategies. As part of its partnership with Power Africa, AFCORP is:
Undertaking an effort to structure, market, establish and manage a $250 million pension-backed renewable energy fund focused on funding market-based development of small- to medium-scale renewable energy ventures in East Africa.Committing $2 million worth of professional and technical expertise towards surveying addressable markets, conducting requisite studies and the pursuant technical analysis to incisively inform the development of a comprehensive Information Memorandum which is to be pitched to target investors, with a principal focus on local pension funds as anchor partners.APR EnergyAPR Energy is a global leader in fast-track large-scale power solutions headquartered in Florida, and has installed over 2.5 GW of capacity across more than 25 countries over the past decade. APR Energy is currently operating over 800MW of generation capacity on the African continent, providing power for a diverse mix of countries, including Libya, Senegal, Mali, Gabon, Angola, and Botswana, and representing a total investment by the company of nearly $500 million. In addition to plants currently in operation, APR also has executed projects in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and Mozambique.
In support of Power Africa, APR Energy is fully committed to continue to provide fast-track large-scale bridging power solutions to Power Africa countries and elsewhere on the African continent, one of its fastest growing markets. APR commits to tripling its 800MW+ installed capacity on the continent over the next five years, bringing its installed capacity to more than 2.4GW by 2019'--of which approximately half will be in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Abraaj GroupThe Abraaj Group is a leading private equity investor operating in the growth markets of Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, Turkey and Central Asia. Employing over 300 people in over 25 offices, the Group manages $7.5 billion across 20 Funds. Abraaj has a proven track record of helping energy companies create value and achieve socio-economic impact, including working with utility companies to reduce load shedding, increase collections, embrace sustainability, and engage stakeholders.
With a legacy of investing in Africa for two decades, Abraaj is a recognized pioneer among investors in Africa. Abraaj will partner with Power Africa to lead a delegation of operational experts and investors that have been involved in its energy investments to one or more of the initiatives' focus countries to identify opportunities for power utility improvement and investment.Aeolus Kenya LtdAeolus Kenya Ltd funds the development and implementation of financially viable, clean and sustainable renewable energy projects as distributed hybrid supply systems for rural areas. It also transfers managerial, financial and technological know-how and strengthens socio-economic development throughout Kenya. In support of Power Africa, Aeolus Kenya Ltd commits to:
Begin construction of two projects by the end of 2014, the Kinangop Project, a 61 MW wind farm in Kenya and a 100 MW wind farm in Tanzania. Both projects represent an investment of $450 million.Expand its activities to three additional Power Africa countries, focusing on wind, solar, geothermal and natural gas.Africa Infrastructure Investment ManagersAfrica Infrastructure Investment Managers is a South Africa-based fund manager focused on African infrastructure investments with 13 years of experience in Africa and five funds under management totaling in excess of $1.3 billion. AIIM is a joint venture between Macquarie Africa (Pty) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Macquarie Group Limited, and the Old Mutual Investment Group (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd. Over the next several years, AIIM intends to:
Invest directly in energy projects: To advance the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy in Nigeria and Kenya, AIIM seeks to complete the Azura Gas Power Project - a 450 MW plant in Edo State, Nigeria, the Kinangop Wind Farm, a 60.8 MW wind power project outside of Nairobi, Kenya, and a potential gas power plant in Ghana representing a total investment of $170 million leveraging about $1.2 billion for all three projects.Channel local pension capital into infrastructure projects: With the possible support of US government guarantees, AIIM aims to catalyze $70 million of Nigerian Pension Fund capital into an infrastructure fund, the Nigerian Infrastructure Investment Fund 1, which will invest in infrastructure projects predominantly in Nigeria (75%) and other West African countries (25%). AIIM will leverage this with an additional $30 million from development finance institutions. AIIM will consequently raise NIIF2 a few years after that, aiming to catalyze $200 million of local Nigerian pension fund Capital and $100 million of DFI capital.African Finance CorporationAfrica Finance Corporation (AFC) is an international finance institution established by agreement between independent African sovereign states with a mandate, inter alia, to develop and finance infrastructure projects in African countries including the six selected Power Africa countries. AFC's mission is to foster economic growth and industrial development of African countries, while delivering a competitive return on investment to its shareholders. Over the next five years, and as part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, AFC intends to invest up to $250 million in the form of development capital, equity, debt, and quasi equity, including:
To advance the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy across Africa, AFC seeks to complete the Cenpower (Kpone) project - a 340 MW thermal closed cycle power plant in Ghana - and finance a 30MW geothermal power project in Kenya.In Nigeria, AFC seeks to provide approximately US$200 million of financing to support the privatization of the Nigerian electricity sector.Through its involvement in the program, AFC aims to catalyze over a US$1billion in investment for energy projects in the Power Africa Countries over the next five years in terms of total project cost and co-investment opportunities. This will potentially increase access to electricity to 360 million users in these countries.AFC aims to provide the Power Africa Countries with access to financial, deal structuring and sector technical expertise as well as advisory services, project development capacity, and funding.Aldwych InternationalAldwych International is an energy company active in the growing economies of Africa. Aldwych's aim is to support sustainable development and economic progress through the supply of reliable and affordable electricity, in an environmentally responsible manner.
To advance the Power Africa initiative in West Africa, Aldwych is working to develop and construct the 450MW Azura-Edo power project in Nigeria, an investment of some $700 million.American Capital Energy & Infrastructure (ACEI)American Capital Energy & Infrastructure (ACEI) is part of American Capital, a private equity firm and global asset manager with $112 billion in total assets under management. ACEI was created to manage investments in global energy infrastructure assets, including power generation facilities, power distribution and transmission networks, energy transportation assets, fuel production opportunities and product and service companies focused on the power and energy sectors.
American Capital Energy & Infrastructure (ACEI) is part of American Capital, a private equity firm and global asset manager with $112 billion in total assets under management. ACEI was created to manage investments in global energy infrastructure assets, including power generation facilities, power distribution and transmission networks, energy transportation assets, fuel production opportunities and product and service companies focused on the power and energy sectors.Barclays Africa Group LimitedBarclays Africa Group Limited (Barclays Africa Group) acting through its corporate and investment banking division, provides corporate and investment banking services to large corporate, government, and institutional clients throughout the African continent. The Barclays Africa Group has an established footprint in 12 African countries (Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) while Barclays Bank PLC has operations in Egypt and Zimbabwe - which are an integral part of our African business and continues to be run by Barclays Africa Group's management.
Over the next several years, as part of its commitment to Power Africa, Barclays Africa Group intends to:
Commit a minimum of $500 million to a pipeline of proposed clean power projects in Power Africa countries that are expected to increase the quantity of power by up to 12,500 MWs (the Proposed Projects), subject to further due diligence, bankability and relevant internal approvals.Seek to arrange financing and/or provide advisory services in respect of the Proposed Projects, as required;Provide financial and sector know-how to public sector institutions in order to facilitate robust investment climates; andProvide continued access for Power Africa countries to a combination of best practice advisory and arranging services for both private and public debt and equity capital markets.Black RhinoBlack Rhino is a project developer focused on projects in the sector of energy security. Black Rhino believes that energy, power and fuel are key foundational elements to the economic development of African economies. Black Rhino operates in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and the United States of America. Over the next several years, as part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, Black Rhino intends to:
To advance the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy in East Africa, Black Rhino seeks to complete the Pagak Petroleum Refinery Ltd - an integrated energy security project creating the trade of low cost fuel and low cost power between Ethiopia and South Sudan. The $2.8 billion project will be the catalyst to deliver up to 500 MW of clean energy power from Ethiopia to South Sudan at some of the lowest cost in Africa.Black Rhino will build the first transmission line from Ethiopia to South Sudan, capable of connecting Ethiopian's large power pool all the way to Uganda."Black Rhino is proud to participate in the first regional energy security program in Africa through linking the regional economy of Ethiopia and South Sudan.Corporate Council on Africa (CCA)The Corporate Council on Africa is a nonprofit, membership-based organization established in 1993 to promote business and investment between the United States and the nations of Africa. CCA is the premier American organization devoted to U.S.-Africa business relations and includes as members more than 180 companies, which represent nearly 85 percent of total US private sector investments in Africa. CCA's members range from America's smallest to largest corporations, and CCA's Board has recently invited African corporates to join CCA to foster partnerships for US trade and investment. They represent a diverse pool of industries from more than 20 key sectors, including agribusiness, energy, infrastructure, security, power, healthcare, telecommunications and finance. The US-Africa Business Center (USABC), a program of CCA launched in 2010 through a grant from USAID, will increasingly focus on clean energy and renewables in addition to supply chain development, agriculture and trade. The USABC provides a critical link between the public and private sectors to facilitate more business involvement in Africa. Since its creation, the USABC has facilitated countless private sector connections, expanded the network of companies focused on Africa and launched a new web portal that will enable it to scale up its activities and expand its reach.
CCA and the USABC will focus efforts on increasing investment between the United States and the Power Africa countries and facilitating expanded US and African business relationships that could lead to increased deal activity in clean energy and renewables. To advance this commitment over the next 12 months, CCA and the USABC will host a series of events, including a roundtable connected to the October 2013 US-Africa Business Summit in Chicago. The US-Africa Business Summit is the largest event of its kind and has traditionally drawn 1,500 or more participants from the private sector and government.CCA will also play a crucial advocacy, outreach and communications role to support policy dialogue, development and implementation and will provide a platform for information, analysis and dialogue for private and public stakeholders in the sector.On an ongoing basis, the USABC will help familiarize US energy companies and investors with potential investment opportunities in Africa and will reach out to local African businesses working in the energy sector.Denham Capital Management and three of its portfolio companies - Endeavor Energy Holdings, BioTherm Energy, and Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV)Denham Capital Management and three of its portfolio companies - Endeavor Energy Holdings, BioTherm Energy, and Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) - will jointly each commit under the Power Africa initiative. Denham Capital is a leading energy-focused global private equity firm advising funds with approximately $7.3 billion of invested and committed capital. Endeavor, BioTherm and FRV are all privately-owned companies focused on investing in power generation facilities in Africa that expect to operate in, among others, the following African countries: Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria. Over the next several years, as part of their commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, Endeavor, BioTherm and FRV intend to:
To Advance the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy in West Africa, Endeavor, BioTherm and FRV seek to invest in 1,000MW of power generation in West Africa - including wind power generation, solar power generation and thermal power generation, representing total investment of over $1.0 billion, with a special focus on Ghana. Endeavor seeks to provide as much as 800MW of thermal power generation in Ghana representing a total investment of over $0.8 billion.Endeavor, BioTherm and FRV seek to invest an additional 1,000MW of power generation in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria - including wind power generation, solar power generation and thermal power generation, representing an additional total investment of over $1.0 billion.These planned activities are expected to increase the quantity of power available to Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and Nigeria by 2,000MWs, which has the potential to benefit roughly 2 million households and businesses or more by providing much need power generation.dVentus TechnologiesdVentus is a U.S.-based renewable energy company with engineering and manufacturing operations in Ethiopia. dVentus provides full custom design and manufacturing of generators and converters for wind, small hydro, wind diesel, combined heat and power, and small electric meters and distributed management systems for smart grid technology. The company's vision is to be a global pioneer in the development of competitive renewable energy technologies, targeting markets in Africa.
dVentus' engagements include:
A smart meter and associated system solution for Ethiopian Utility other Regional Utility companies.Develop a customized 1MW Wind Turbine generator (WTG) System with public sector partners in Ethiopia that will fit the region's unique requirements, develop a local industrial supply chain to support the manufacturing of WTGs, technology transfer and affordable renewable wind power generation in the region.Complete the ASSELA WIND Project '' a 100 MW wind farm in Ethiopia representing a total investment of over $300 million.Work with EEPCO's smart grid technology development plans by supplying 2 million smart meters in the next three years.Expand dVentus activities to additional 3 of the Power Africa Countries; in particular it will aim to provide access to (its advanced wind power technology) to small entrepreneurs in rural areas.EA-PowerEA-Power is a renewable energy project development and implementation company and operates in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Over the next several years, as part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, EA-Power intends to:
Complete the Kiwira Hydro Project - a 10 MW hydro power project in Tanzania. Upon successful completion, we will move forward to implement other projects in early stages of development, such as our wind farms in Tanzania.Catalyze US$ 500 million in investment for energy projects in Power Africa countries over the next five years, which will increase access to electricity to 1,000,000 million users in these countries.Expand its activities across the entire East Africa region, bringing early stage financing and development expertise to provide investors a portfolio of projects to promote. These planned activities are aligned with the goals of the Power Africa Initiative to increase access to clean, reliable power in Africa, and are expected to increase the quantity of power available in East Africa by 200 MW.EGG-energyEGG-energy bridges the "last mile" power distribution gap to deliver affordable, reliable, and clean energy services to off-grid homes and businesses. EGG-energy is currently building a network of solar-powered franchises that provide electrical services and act as EGG-energy representatives to their communities.
In support of Power Africa, EGG-energy aims to expand its service provision to 50,000 households and businesses in Tanzania by 2018. To achieve a profitable scale and expand its service provision, EGG-energy intends to raise an additional $3 million in equity and debt over the next two years.General ElectricGeneral Electric (GE) is a global leader in infrastructure technology, services and solutions. GE's business in Africa focuses on power, oil and gas, transportation, aviation and health care.
In support of Power Africa, GE is committed to work with Governments and private partners to help bring online about 5 GW of new, affordable energy in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania. GE intends to provide technology based on a variety of fuel sources as appropriate for each project, including solar, wind and natural gas, to deliver the power, and support partners in arranging financing for these projects.Geothermal Energy AssociationGeothermal Energy Association is a trade association composed of U.S. companies who support the expanded use of geothermal energy and are developing geothermal resources worldwide for electrical power generation and direct-heat uses. As part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, GEA intends to:
Host a special session on African geothermal energy development at the GEA Geothermal Energy Expo 2013. The session on Africa will provide host country government delegates an opportunity to describe the state of geothermal energy development in their countries, their needs and allow them to meet U.S. geothermal development companies that can help them meet their development goals.Conduct regular outreach through its weekly newsletter, to its members about commercial opportunities to provide geothermal goods/services in East Africa, and more specifically in the Power Africa partner countries of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.Support the East Africa Geothermal Partnership by identifying private sector geothermal energy companies willing to provide technical assistance and training to host country governments on different geothermal technical and policy related issues.GG Energy HoldingsGG Energy Holdings is forging innovative, sustainable energy investments with a focus on grid parity and direct private market purchase agreements with customers. GGEH leverages an extensive network of private partnerships in the target countries to develop, finance, construct and operate sustainable energy power facilities utilizing solar PV, wind, geo-thermal, bio-mass as well as natural gas technologies.
Over the next five years, as part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, GGEH intends to invest approximately $550 million in sustainable energy projects. These projects are expected to increase the quantity of power available to over 150,000 households and businesses with an estimated 325 MW.150MW of distributed solar PV power plants in Tanzania, representing total investment of $200 million;$150 million over the next five years to enable the installation of nearly 75 MW of solar PV and bio-mass power facilities to power industrial and mining production facilities in Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania;In partnership with agri-processing centers, approximately $200 million to construct at least 100MW of sustainable energy logistical centers in the target countries. These power stations will not only provide electricity they will help improve the business opportunities for hundreds of farmers in the target countries.Goldman SachsGoldman Sachs is a leader in the global financial services sector, and has committed to provide strategic advice to the Power Africa initiative.
By leveraging its expertise in financing and investment, Goldman Sachs will assist the U.S. government and other partners in developing and implementing innovative and sound approaches to unlocking key constraints in the financing of energy projects in the region.GreenMax Capital Advisors GreenMax Capital Advisors is a leading transaction advisor focused solely on the clean energy space. At present, GreenMax's presence in Africa includes Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Benin, Niger, Cameroon and Burkina Faso, with plans to expand operations to other African countries. In support of Power Africa, GreenMax Capital Advisors intends to:
Focus its transaction advisory services to catalyze over $1.6 billion in investment for our existing book of project developer clients, seeking to implement more than 1,000MW in new power generation capacity over the next five years, primarily in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda and Benin;Double its book of transaction advisory clients in Africa to support raising capital for an additional 2,000MW of clean power generation development for new clients over the next five years; andRaise a $20-50 million fund to invest in the early stage development of clean energy projects in Africa.Harith General PartnersHarith General Partners (Pty) Ltd. is a specialist Pan-African infrastructure private equity fund manager based in South Africa. The firm manages the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF1), a $630 million fund that has invested just under $600 million on infrastructure across Africa. Harith is in the midst of raising its second fund, the Pan-African Infrastructure Development Fund 2 ("PAIDF2") and over the next five years, as part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, Harith plans to:
Advance the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy in East Africa by investing roughly $70 million in equity finance into the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, a wind farm in Kenya that is poised to provide 300 MW of clean power to the country's national electricity grid by taking advantage of a unique wind resource in Northwest Kenya near Lake Turkana;Inject over $500 million in equity finance into the African power sector and increase access to electricity in Power Africa countries with potential investments in projects such as Azura Power (Nigeria) and the Singida Wind Farm (Tanzania); andProvide the additional benefits of: reinforcing the demonstration effect of investing in innovative clean energy technology across Africa, creating approximately 70,000 direct and indirect jobs, and providing strong sector leadership and expertise.These planned activities are expected to increase the quantity of power available to approximately 14,000 MWs and directly benefit 63 million households and businesses.
Hecate EnergyHecate Energy develops power projects throughout planning, inception, construction and operations. The Hecate team has developed tens of thousands of megawatts of solar, natural gas, coal, hydro, wind, and biomass power plants. Hecate established Hecate Energy Africa LLC to actively pursue initial power project development efforts in Tanzania and Kenya. Over the next several years, as part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, Hecate Energy intends to:
Complete a 50 MW PV solar project selling wholesale power in Tanzania's capital city of Dodoma. Further, Hecate Energy intends to expand this effort to include several other PV solar projects with a goal of reaching 400 MW in PV solar projects installed over the next five years. The total investment for this effort will be approximately $800 million.Implement advanced undergraduate and graduate curricula in collaboration with first-tier U.S. research universities, as well as bring distance learning and offer vocational training centered around renewable energy to universities and technical schools in Tanzania. Hecate Energy has partnered with Tanzania's two premier institutes of higher learning: The University of Dodoma (UDOM) and the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology.As part of its commitment to education and human capital growth, Hecate Energy intends to construct a 2 MW PV solar farm to serve UDOM's Medical Diagnostics Building and a 1 MW PV solar array to serve student housing at prices below current retail rates.Bring new PV solar projects to Kenya, and is currently assessing a 20 MW project in support of that effort which would result in a capital investment of approximately $80 million.Expand its activities to additional Power Africa countries and position itself as a leader in efforts to bring clean, reliable electricity to neighboring countries as well.These planned activities are aligned with the goals of the Power Africa Initiative to increase access to clean, reliable power in Africa, and are expected to increase the quantity of power available to Tanzania by up to 400 MW, and to provide a template for thousands of additional MW throughout the continent.Heirs HoldingsHeirs Holdings is an African investment company that invests proprietary capital for the long term in the most promising sectors on the continent that have a significant economic development impact, including financial services, healthcare, infrastructure, real estate and hospitality, agriculture, energy, and oil and gas.
In partnership with Power Africa, Heirs Holdings will, directly and through its investee, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, invest US$2.5 billion in energy over the next five years, generating an additional 2,000 MW of power capacity in the region.Husk Power SystemsHusk Power Systems provides end-to-end renewable energy solution by installing, operating 25-100 kW "mini power-plants" and wiring villages that deliver electricity as a "pay-for-use" service to villages. HPS has created a feedstock agnostic proprietary technology that cost-effectively converts biomass waste (e.g. rice husk, mustard husk / stem, corn cob, etc) into electricity. HPS has been operating for four years, maintains power plant's uptime of over 93% and has successfully installed 90 power plants that power over 325 villages. HPS now has its footprint in India, Nepal, Uganda and Tanzania.
To advance the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy in East Africa, HPS seeks to complete installation of decentralized 200 biomass based mini-power plants in Tanzania. These mini power plants can light 60,000 households (325,000 users) at an affordable price. Installations of these power plants represent total investment of $15 million.HPS aims to catalyze US$ 50 million in investment for energy projects in Power Africa countries over the next five years, which will increase access to electricity to one million users in these countries.HPS aims to provide Power Africa countries with access to its proprietary biomass based technology, expertise in providing renewable and affordable power in difficult to operate rural areas.HPS plans to franchise its business and provide equipment and training to three hundred entrepreneurs who can then run these mini-power plants and generate a livelihood for themselves and their families.These planned activities are expected to increase the quantity of power available to over one million people by 50 MWs. These investments could directly benefit 250,000 households and 5,000 small businesses.IAP Worldwide Services (IAP)IAP Worldwide Services (IAP) is a leading provider of global-scale logistics, facilities management, and advanced professional and technical services. IAP works with government, industrial and commercial customers to solve power infrastructure needs and to bring electricity from the source to homes and businesses. IAP specializes in the areas of power systems program/project consulting and feasibility studies, turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), asset management, operations and maintenance (O&M) and, fuel management. IAP, in conjunction with its teaming partners, will endeavor to install hundreds of megawatts of power and power systems in Africa over the next ten years that could quickly exceed 500MW. These efforts would focus on:
Providing temporary and bridge power solutions to address capacity constraints in the most rapid and economic manner possible using nature gas and other available fuels to power turbine and engine driven generators and also upgrading transmission and distribution infrastructure.Developing, installing, operating and maintaining permanent clean burning natural gas power plants using the latest technology to address the long term capacity constraints in the target countries.Installing, operating and maintaining megawatts of permanent power generation capacity utilizing American solar PV technology with the highest efficiency and durability in the industry and solar CSP technology. Other renewable power solutions such as wind, combined heat and power, desalination, and waste to energy projects can also be evaluated by IAP.Industry CapitalIndustry Capital is a San Francisco-based private equity firm focused on investing in real assets. The firm was founded in 2003. IC is one of the few financial sponsors with a dedicated alternative energy platform and is able to play across the development value chain, from finance to actual project development and portfolio management. Over the next five years, IC and its partners intend to drive investment of over $1.5 billion dollars working with developers across multiple sectors in alternative energy in Nigeria. These investments will be centered primarily on utility scale solar projects - an IC affiliate has a 500MW pipeline of such projects; smart metering services for the recently privatized distribution companies and clean energy production by harnessing flared gas in the Niger Delta region.
Initiative for Global DevelopmentThe Initiative for Global Development is a non-profit organization that drives poverty reduction by catalyzing business growth and investment in the developing world. We bring together an influential network of senior executives from sector-leading companies with the interest and capacity to make strategic investments in high-need, high-potential areas of Africa. In support of Power Africa, IGD pledges to:
Make its standardized documentation and "pre-fabricated package" available for Power Africa projects in 2-3 African countries.Work through both its network of Frontier Leaders and its Working Group on Increasing Access to Reliable Power to foster increased investment in power generation on the continent.KMR InfrastructureKMR Infrastructure supplies renewable power from biomass and other renewable technologies to community mini-grids, mining sites, telecom towers, and more. The company's growing pipeline of projects addresses distributed power needs in remote locations across a portfolio of emerging and frontier markets. KMRI currently operates in Tanzania and seeks to quickly expand into Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, and Uganda.
To advance the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy in East Africa, KMRI, in partnership with its joint venture partner in Tanzania, Symbion Power, seeks to complete in the next 18 months the Kigoma Project - a 4 MW biomass power plant - and the Tunduru Project - a 1 MW biomass power plant - representing total investment of $17.6 million in the country.Also in Tanzania, Symbion-KMRI seeks to develop a further 15 MW of renewable energy projects over the next 24 to 36 months, amounting to a minimum $50 million investment.KMRI also intends to expand its activities three additional Power Africa Countries; specifically, it aims to develop 15 MW of biomass installations in Ghana, 5MW of renewable projects in Kenya, and 10 MW in Nigeria.National Rural Electric Cooperative AssociationNational Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization for more than 900 not-for-profit rural electric cooperatives and public power districts providing retail electric service to more than 42 million consumers in 47 states and whose retail sales account for approximately 12 percent of total electricity sales in the United States. Over its fifty year history of contributing to global rural economic development, NRECA has supported programs to increase access to electric power by establishing, training and providing technical assistance to electrification agencies to promote sound electrification investments, and by creating and improving the capacity of electric service providers to operate and maintain power systems despite the challenges faced in rural areas. In recognition of its long history of designing and implementing highly successful electrification programs, NRECA commits to the following in support of Power Africa:
NRECA will integrate Power Africa program initiatives into existing operations in participating countries in East and West Africa, and will share information and resources with the Power Africa management team as may be desired and needed.NRECA will provide assistance through utility management, operation and maintenance expertise, on a volunteer basis, through the NRECA International Foundation drawing from the NRECA membership of over 900 NRECA member cooperatives operating distribution, generation, and transmission lines.NRECA will also provide donations of utility line vehicles, electric power equipment, and materials as applicable to address the specific needs of recipient African utilities, in support of expansion of electric power distribution to new customers.NRECA further commits to provide advocacy support in favor of increased investment in feasible electrification projects in rural and peri-urban areas of participating African countries.NedbankNedbank provides a comprehensive range of wholesale and retail banking services through four main business clusters: Nedbank Capital, Nedbank Corporate, Nedbank Business Banking and Nedbank Retail. Principal services include corporate and retail banking, property finance, private banking, investment banking and foreign exchange. In 2008, the Nedbank and Ecobank Group Alliance was formed, and has enabled an extended alliance footprint across 35 African countries. The Nedbank-Ecobank Alliance will also assist the Power Africa Initiative clients through a unique "One Bank" experience offering. By delivering country-specific, tailored banking solutions across Africa the alliance effectively simplifies banking for its corporate and individual clients by making day-to-day transactional banking, financing and investment banking advisory services readily available to them. Over the next several years, as part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, Nedbank intends to:
Advance the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy in East Africa, including through the participation in landmark transactions such as the 300MW Lake Turkana wind farm in Kenya as well as various geothermal and hydro transactions in East Africa, Nedbank also aims to catalyze the US$ 300 million in investment for energy projects in Power Africa countries over the next five years, which will increase access to electricity to millions of users.Provide Power Africa countries with access to Project Finance, Advisory, Treasury functions and financial structuring expertise.Expand its activities to additional the Power Africa Countries; in particular, Nedbank will aim to provide access to its advanced funding solutions in the renewable energy sector.NextGen SolarNextGen Solar is a U.S.-based, renewable energy company focused on building and operating utility-scale, PV Solar power plants in sub-Saharan Africa, integrating a hybrid model of modern PV generation with existing legacy diesel plants. NextGen Solar has operations in Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. The objective of NextGen Solar is to bring plentiful, reliable and more affordable electricity by reducing the dependency on expensive fossil fuels, especially in remote rural areas. As part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, NextGen Solar intends to:
Advance the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy in East Africa, by setting up 200MW of generation capacity via several solar power plants '' 70 MW in Tanzania, 50MW in Kenya, 35MW in Ethiopia, 30MW in Ghana and 15MW in Nigeria, representing total investment of $ 600 million.Over the next 5 years, energy projects of NextGen Solar will not only increase access to electricity to 3.7 million people, but also help in creating 431,000 incremental jobs in these countries.NextGen Solar aims to provide Power Africa countries with access to sector expertise in building hybrid solutions, by integrating legacy diesel mini-grids with modern PV generation. This is expected to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions in these Power Africa countries by 300,000 t CO2 emissions.Nigeria Solar Capital PartnersNigeria Solar Capital Partners is a renewable energy company focused on the development and management of utility-scale solar fields in Nigeria. It is a joint venture between Industry Capital, a US based private equity group with over $1.4 billion in assets under management and Gigawatt Global, a world-class Dutch based developer of utility scale solar facilities.
Over the next several years, NSCP intends to drive investment of over $1 billion dollars in the development and management of utility-­?scale solar fields in Nigeria. NSCP is proposing to develop and operate up to 500MW of utility scale solar facilities in Nigeria by 2020. NSCP is initially pursuing two 100MW sites of solar power generation for the Federal Government of Nigeria targeting financial close by 2014.Orchid Business Group (OBG)Orchid Business Group (OBG) is Ethiopia's biggest private transport company and one of Ethiopia's biggest construction companies. OBG is also actively involved in the renewable energy sector, in different African countries. Within Africa, OBG currently has offices in Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Djibouti. Over the next several years, as part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, OBG intends to:
Complete up to 650 MW Solar PV projects in Ethiopia, Ghana and/or Kenya - representing a total investment of $1.3 billion.Expand its activities in at least two Power Africa countries, with the aim of providing off-grid access through its advanced solar power technology to small towns in rural areasComplete up to 210MW geothermal energy supply in Ethiopia.These planned activities are expected to increase the quantity of power available to several thousands of households and businesses by up to 1,000 MWs.Ormat TechnologiesOrmat Technologies is a leading vertically integrated company dedicated to providing solutions for geothermal power, recovered energy generation (REG) and remote power. As the only geothermal IPP in Africa, Ormat has a strong track record of developing and operating geothermal assets in Kenya, evidenced by over 10 years of generation of clean energy, recently expanded by an additional 36MW. Over the next several years, as part of its commitment to the Power Africa Initiative, Ormat intends to:
Complete in 2014 the construction of additional 16MW in plant 3, Olkaria III, Kenya, bringing its total installed base in Kenya to about 100MW.Ormat is in discussions with Symbion Power to collaborate in the development of geothermal power plants in Tanzania.Reykjavik GeothermalReykjavik Geothermal (RG) is a geothermal power development company active in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya and Tanzania. As part of its commitment to Power Africa, RG intends to:
Complete the Corbetti Project, a 500 MW geothermal power plant in Ethiopia, representing a total investment of $2 billion over a 4-6 year periodComplete an additional 500 MW of geothermal development in Ethiopia, representing total investment of $2 billion over a 5-8 year periodCatalyze at least $2 billion in investment for energy projects in Power Africa countries, which will increase the access to and reliability of electricity for over 90 million peopleSeek further large-scale geothermal development opportunities in Kenya, Tanzania and other countries in the regionEnable rural entrepreneurs to create businesses from direct-use applications of geothermal energy, as well as take advantage of other opportunities arising from access to affordable powerStandard Bank GroupStandard Bank Group is a South-Africa based bank, Africa's largest bank by assets, with a 150 year history on the African continent. Operating in 20 countries on the African continent, Standard Bank is committed to the development of the power sector in Africa and will support the Power Africa Initiative by committing to:
Supporting the establishment of Independent Power Projects (IPPs) through a combination of debt products, transactional services including providing bonds and guarantees, hedging, advisory services and carbon credit solutions for eligible transactions.Continued underwriting of funding in the power sector for Power Africa countries, with US$1 billion of debt either already deployed since the initiative launch or earmarked for projects in Power Africa countries through 2018.In addition, Standard Bank sees significant opportunity in other sub-Saharan African countries, and seeks to deploy an additional US$2 billlion of debt in these countries through 2018.Supporting the policy reform process by sharing our assessment of the key regulatory changes that would facilitate private sector investment in power.Standard CharteredStandard Chartered is a leading international banking group with 1700 offices in 68 markets. It has operated for over 150 years in some of the world's most dynamic markets and earns more than 90 percent of its income and profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Standard Chartered's leading position in Project and Export Finance has allowed it to successfully complete a number of cutting edge Project Finance transactions in Africa and is a testament to its commitment to long- term sustainable infrastructure development.
Over the next five years, as part of its commitment to the Power Africa initiative, Standard Chartered intends to finance over $2 billion in funding for power projects in Power Africa countries. This commitment is expected to increase the quantity of power available by up to 1,500 MWs.SunEdisonSunEdison is a global leader in delivering solar energy to utilities, industrial and commercial clients, and households. SunEdison has been present in Africa since 2010, where it is completing the construction of three solar plants for a total of 120 MW and expanding operations in East and West Africa. Over the next several years, SunEdison intends to:
Develop and execute more than 400 MW of solar projects in East and West Africa, representing a total investment in excess of $1 billion over the next 5 yearsIncrease access to electricity for end users outside of the national grid's reach through its proven electrification technology and program in Power Africa countriesSymbionSymbion is a U.S.-based power developer working primarily in Africa. With offices in South Africa, Nigeria, and Tanzania, Symbion builds, owns, and operates electrical power infrastructure across the continent. We specialize in the construction of turnkey electric power systems, including power stations, extra high voltage transmission lines, distribution lines, substations and switchyards. The company also owns and operates power plants. Through Symbion Power Training Centers, the company works closely with local communities to develop a labor force capable of executing projects. In line with the Power Africa goal of providing access to clean, reliable energy in Africa, Symbion aims to catalyze US$ 1.8 billion in investment for energy projects in Power Africa countries over the next five years, which will increase access to electricity to millions of users in these countries. This investment will include:
In partnership with the Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO), Symbion is developing a 400MW power plant in Mtwara, Tanzania and a transmission line across the south of Tanzania.In partnership with KMR Infrastructure, Symbion will complete two small-scale biomass projects in Kigoma and Tunduru that will replace diesel-based power for these two mini-grids. Symbion and KMRI are committed to developing similar projects for additional mini-grids and industrial off-takers in other locations in Tanzania.Symbion is in discussions with Ormat Technologies to collaborate in the development of geothermal power plants in Tanzania.Symbion won the right to acquire a 972MW gas-fired power plant in Ugheli, Nigeria as part of the Transcorp Ugheli Power Ltd. Consortium, which will under-go significant rehabilitation and expansion.In partnership with Supertek Ltd., Symbion is developing a 100MW fast-track gas-fired generation project in Ajaokuta;Symbion intends to either acquire or build several other new power plants in Nigeria, including playing a major role in the bidding for the NIPP power plants that are now up for sale.Symbion is actively pursuing possible off-grid renewable energy projects in Nigeria, including in Niger State.Symbion is developing a 450MW gas-fired power plant in Ghana.These planned activities are aligned with the goals of the Power Africa Initiative to increase access to clean, reliable power in Africa, and are expected to increase the quantity of power available by over 1,500 MWs.U.S. Energy AssociationU.S. Energy Association is an association of American public and private energy-related organizations, corporations, and government agencies. USEA represents the broad interests of the U.S. energy sector by increasing the understanding of energy issues, both domestically and internationally. USEA supports the mission of the World Energy Council, "to promote the sustainable supply and use of energy for the greatest benefit of all."
USEA, which is heavily engaged in Africa, commits to integrating the Initiative into its numerous activities over the coming months and years, particularly into its international utility partnerships and utility peer-to-peer executive exchanges. USEA will sponsor special events and briefings on the Initiative and opportunities for trade and investment in the partner countries. USEA will incorporate presentations and updates about the opportunities and progress of the Initiative at it numerous public briefings and meetings.Viability AfricaViability Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya, is a project development and financial advisory firm focusing on commercial and utility small and medium scale renewable energy projects based in sub-Saharan Africa. The company is active in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Ghana and is focused on feasibility studies and financing for solar photovoltaic, wind, small-scale hydropower and biomass power projects. In support of Power Africa, the company is seeking to:
Reach financial close on 20 MW of small hydro, 40 MW of solar PV, and 15 MW of biomass grid connected power projects in Kenya and Tanzania within the next three years.Catalyze $500 million in investment for clean energy projects in Power Africa countries over the next five years, which are projected to result in an annual reduction of over 800,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.Provide Power Africa countries with technical capacity in project development and financial advisory services.These planned activities are expected to increase the quantity of power available to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania by 250 MWs. These investments could directly benefit over 250,000 households and businesses by 2018.These planned activities are expected to increase the quantity of power available to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania by 250 MWs. These investments could directly benefit over 250,000 households and businesses by 2018.
Power Africa receives $6 billion boost ETHIOPIA-GHANA-KENYA-LIBERIA-NIGERIA-TANZANIA
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:12
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Rajiv Shah - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 12:57
Rajiv "Raj" Shah (born March 9, 1973) is Administrator of the United States Agency for International DevelopmentUSAID.[1] He was confirmed by the Senate on December 24, 2009.[2] In this role, Shah leads more than 9,600 professionals in 80 missions around the world, and manages an annual budget of over $22 billion.[3]USAID is focused on ending extreme poverty.[4]
During his years at USAID, Administrator Shah has also led the humanitarian response of the United States to crisis such as the earthquake in Haiti,[5] flooding in Pakistan,[6] famine in the horn of Africa,[7] refugees fleeing Syria,[8] and the typhoon in the Philippines.[9]
This new model of development '' focused on partnership, innovation and results[10] '' is best exemplified by some of Shah's signature priorities: Feed the Future,[11] the Child Survival Call to Action,[12] Power Africa,[13] Grand Challenges for Development,[14] Development Innovation Ventures[15] and USAID Forward.[16] Administrator Shah has worked to ensure that USAID's goals '' ending poverty and preventable childhood death and reducing the incidence of childhood hunger '' are accomplished through a partnership between public resources and private investors [17]
Prior to his appointment at USAID, Administrator Shah served as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics and Chief Scientist on April 17, 2009.[18][19] Shah's nomination was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent on May 12, 2009.
Before serving in this administration, Shah worked in a range of leadership roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation including Director of Agricultural Development,[20] Director of Financial Services, leader of the Strategic Opportunities initiative and manager of the Foundation's $1.5 billion commitment to the Vaccine Fund.[21]
Early life, education, and family[edit]Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to immigrant parents from India who settled there in the late 1960s, Shah grew up with his sister in the metro Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield and attended Wylie Groves High School.[22]
Shah earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and M.Sc. in Health Economics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and also attended the London School of Economics.[23] He lives with his wife and their three young children in Washington, D.C. Shah's wife, Shivam Mallick Shah, most recently served in the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation as the Director of Special Initiatives.
Early career[edit]Shah previously worked as a health care policy advisor on the Gore 2000 presidential campaign, was an active supporter of the Barack Obama presidential campaign, 2008, and served as a member of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell's health transition committee. He also co-founded Health Systems Analytics (a health care consulting firm), served as an advisor to Philadelphia's Public Health Commissioner, and worked at the World Health Organization. Early in his career, Shah worked on a health and development project in rural South India.
[edit]Shah was actively engaged in the Seattle community as a trustee of the 54,000-student Seattle Community College District, and as a member of the Board of Directors for the Seattle Public Library.[24]
Shah co-founded multiple nonprofit organizations including Project Impact for South Asian Americans.[25] Project Impact was a pioneering organization whose mission was to inspire and sustain leadership and activism among young Americans. The nonprofit organization held chapters in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Washington D.C. and elsewhere and its 200+ volunteer members pursued projects such as high-school mentoring, leadership training, community building, town halls, and legal aid projects. In addition, the organization hosted the annual Creating a Voice Awards to honor Americans of South Asian heritage who had made outstanding contributions to the fabric of American life.
Work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation[edit]Prior to his appointment at USDA, Shah worked in a range of leadership roles at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.[26] As the Director of the Agricultural Development program, Shah oversaw the foundation's multi-billion dollar portfolio of grant and program-related investments to help transform rural economies throughout the developing world and assist small farmers and their families overcome hunger and poverty. He led efforts to create the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, helped recruit its leadership including UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and serves on its Board of Directors. He oversaw grant portfolios in science and technology; farmer productivity; market access; and policy, statistics and advocacy; and managed a team of more than 60 professionals. He also developed innovative partnerships with private industry, the United Nations, the World Bank, and country governments around the world, where he was an active voice on issues related to food and hunger.
As the Foundation's first Director for the Financial Services to the Poor portfolio, Shah worked with a broad range of financial institutions and other donors to determine how Foundation resources could best amplify the field's collective impact. Previously, he led the Strategic Opportunities initiative, which worked with Foundation co-chairs to identify, assess and recommend new areas of giving. This process led to the creation of the Foundation's Global Development Program.[27]
Shah's early work with the Foundation focused on global health. As Deputy Director for Policy and Finance, Shah managed the Foundation's $1.5 billion commitment to the Vaccine Fund. He also came up with the idea for the International Finance Facility for Immunization to transform the global system of vaccine financing and worked to secure donor commitments of more than $5 billion for this facility. The World Health Organization estimates this initiative will save more than five million children's lives through the next decade, and a New York Times article described the effort as "a clever way to reduce the burden of costly diseases now and save money in the future".
Under Secretary of REE & Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture[edit]Prior to heading USAID, Shah was the Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics (REE) and Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There he managed the Agricultural Research Service (including the National Agricultural Library), the Economic Research Service, the National Agricultural Statistics Service and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service. Shah was responsible for managing more than 10,000 staff worldwide, including 2200 federal scientists and a budget of more than $2.6 billion. He also led the USDA's participation in the Obama administration's Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative. In his tenure at USDA, Shah launched the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a new scientific institute created to elevate and enhance the capacity of agricultural research to address sustainable food production around the world, climate change, bioenergy and human nutrition.
Leadership at USAID[edit]Rajiv Shah became Administrator of USAID days before the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti and led the successful effort to help Haiti recover and rebuild.[5] His crisis management skills and expertise were hailed by many who appreciated his swift and strategic response.[28] In 2010, rainfall and flooding in Pakistan affected up to 1 million people and resulted in as many as 1,100 deaths in Baluchistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and international media reports. Shah traveled to the region to assess the situation and make strategic recommendations to assist the 20 million affected Pakistanis.[29] In 2012, under Shah's leadership, the agency also played a pivotal role in helping Syrian refugees by providing food assistance and other humanitarian support.[30] Administrator Shah oversaw USAID's efforts in numerous other international crises, including the famine in the horn of Africa[31] and the typhoon in the Philippines.[32]
Since 2009, Administrator Shah has led Feed the Future, President Obama's food security initiative and the U.S. Government's contribution to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Through specific policy reforms and investments by development partners, African governments, and private companies, the New Alliance seeks inclusive and sustained agricultural growth to lift 50 million people out of poverty by 2022.[11] It has already attracted nearly $4 billion in commitments from over 70 companies in nine sub-Saharan countries.[33]
In June 2012, Administrator Shah, along with the Governments of Ethiopia and India, and in close collaboration with UNICEF, convened the Child Survival Call to Action to challenge the world to reduce child mortality to 20 or fewer child deaths per 1,000 live births in every country by 2035.[34] Since the Call to Action, 174 governments and more than 430 civil society and faith-based organizations have signed the pledge, A Promise Renewed, to accelerate progress in child survival and work toward this achievable goal. In the run-up to the Call to Action, Administrator Shah oversaw the Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday awareness campaign to help rally the world to the goal of ending preventable child death.[12]
Administrator Shah was influential in the development and implementation of Power Africa, an initiative that will double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.[35] He traveled to Africa with President Obama in June 2013 to launch this program, which will leverage U.S. strengths in energy technologies, private sector transactions, and regulatory reform to address energy sector gaps on the continent. Private companies have committed more than $9 billion in investments to Power Africa that will add more than 10,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity by 2020.[13]
Applying innovative technologies to development challenges, Administrator Shah has launched four successful Grand Challenges for Development that use open-source solicitations for groundbreaking solutions in areas like child survival, education, and sustainable agriculture.[14] USAID has received and analyzed thousands of submissions from potential grantees, engaging new actors and seeking ideas that are innovative and scalable. In November 2013 in Stockholm, Shah announced USAID's fifth Grand Challenge, Securing Water for Food, which seeks technological breakthroughs to more effectively use and manage the water required to produce food in developing countries.[36]
Administrator Shah leads the Administration's efforts to change America's food assistance program, including winning new flexibilities in the farm bill that would reach 1 million additional children at no additional cost.[37]
Under Administrator Shah's leadership, USAID's Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program provides more latitude and freedom to innovators in the development sphere. Structured according to a venture capital model, DIV has received nearly 4,000 applications and maintains an investment portfolio with evidence-gathering and scale-up activities in 17 countries and 9 sectors around the world.[15]
Administrator Shah has brought a business-minded and results-driven approach to his role as head of the USAID, with a heightened focus on evaluation. He has led USAID Forward, an extensive set of reforms to USAID's business model focusing on seven key areas, including procurement, science and technology, and monitoring and evaluation.[16] Shah's ideas and strategic focus have drawn bipartisan support as he has collaborated with Republican leaders on projects. In 2013, Shah traveled with Republican Senator James M. Inhofe to Ethiopia[38] GOP Senators Lindsey Graham and Thad Cochran have appeared with Shah in their home regions to discuss the shared interest in ensuring overseas food security and aid.[39][40][41] This bi-partisan collaboration allows USAID increased support for implementing the agency's ambitious goals.[38]
In 2013, Shah was named by the publication India Abroad as Person of the Year for Public Service '' 2012 [42]
References[edit]^"President Obama Announces USAID Administrator" (Press release). The White House. 2009-11-10. Retrieved 2009-11-13. ^"Senate confirms Dr. Rajiv Shah as Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development". The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. December 24, 2009. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^"2013 annual letter". USAID. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^http://www.usaid.gov/^ abMark Landler (October 23, 2010). "Curing the Ills of America's Top Foreign Aid Agency". The New York Times. p. A6. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^"Briefing by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah on U.S. Flood Relief Efforts and Assistance in Pakistan". USAID. August 27, 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^"Kenya: Aid Has Blunted Famine in Horn of Africa, Official Says". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 6, 2011. p. A10. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^"U.S. aid to Syrian refugees reaches $100M". CBS News. Associated Press. September 5, 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^Rajiv Shah (April 11, 2014). "Ending Extreme Poverty with a New Model of Development". USAID. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^Ronald Brownstein (June 20, 2013). "How to Reinvent Foreign Aid". National Journal. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^ ab"Fact Sheet: The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition" (Press release). The White House. June 18, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2104. ^ ab"Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday". USAID. September 27, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^ ab"Fact Sheet: Power Africa" (Press release). The White House. June 30, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^ ab"Grand Challenges for Development". USAID. June 11, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^ ab"Development Innovation Ventures". USAID. March 10, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^ ab"USAID Forward". USAID. June 10, 2014. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^Rahim Kanani (January 20, 2014). "Rajiv Shah And Tony Blair On Impact Investing". Forbes. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^"President Obama, Secretary Vilsack announce intent to nominate Rajiv Shah as Under Secretary of Research, Education and Economics and Chief Scientist at USDA" (Press release). U.S. Department of Agriculture. April 17, 2009. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^"President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts" (Press release). The White House. 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-11-13. ^Philip Rucker (September 25, 2008). "Aid Plan Aims to Help Poor Farmers Reach Markets". The Washington Post. ^http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rajiv-shah/gIQAHB3RAP_topic.html[dead link]^Michelle Jamrisko (September 7, 2011). "USAID Chief Shah Helps Wal-Mart Open Markets in Spending Shift". Bloomberg Government. [dead link]^Noreen Ferris Wolcott (January 15, 2010). "U-M alumnus to lead U.S. rescue project". Record (University of Michigan). Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^Joel Connelly (May 19, 2009). "Local Obama administration member learns to 'listen' and 'understand'". Seattlepi.com. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^Aziz Haniffa (February 1, 2013). "'Your president hears you, and values your contributions'". India Abroad. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^http://money.cnn.com/2011/09/20/news/economy/raj_shah_usaid.fortune/index.htm[dead link]^http://www.gatesfoundation.org/press-releases/Pages/rajiv-shah-next-administrator-of-usaid-091119.aspx[dead link]^Walter Pincus (January 25, 2011). "USAID leader outlines his change in strategy". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^"Briefing by USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah on U.S. Flood Relief Efforts and Assistance in Pakistan". USAID. August 27, 2010. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^Deborah Amos (December 3, 2012). "U.S. Steps Up Aid (But No Arms) To Syrian Exiles". NPR. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^"Kenya: Aid Has Blunted Famine in Horn of Africa". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 6, 2011. p. A10. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^"Statement from USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah on Super Typhoon Haiyan" (Press release). USAID. November 11, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^Alan Bjerga (May 18, 2012). "Obama Calls for Africa Aid as Companies Pledge $3 Billion". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^"Child Survival". USAID. June 2013. Retrieved July 2014. ^Nicholas Kulish; Michael D. Shear (July 2, 2013). "In Tanzania, Obama Calls for a Partnership With Africa to Aid Its Economy". The New York Times. p. A7. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^"Securing Water for Food". Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^John Kerry; Tom Vilsack; Rajiv Shah (May 9, 2013). "Food aid for the 21st century". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^ abEmily Cadei (January 21, 2013). "USAID's Shah Forges Unlikely Relationships With Conservative Republican Members". Roll Call. Retrieved July 16, 2014. ^"Clemson hosts Washington officials for discussion of overseas aid" (Press release). Clemson University. September 18, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^Nathan Gregory (September 10, 2012). "Dignitaries explain steps to ensure future food security". Starkville Daily News. Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^Anna Bard Brutzman (September 18, 2012). "Sen. Graham pushes federal support of global agribusiness aid". Independent Mail (Anderson, S.C.). Retrieved July 17, 2014. ^Aziz Haniffa (June 2013). "From the American People, For the American People". India Abroad. Retrieved July 17, 2014. External links[edit] Media related to Rajiv Shah at Wikimedia Commons
PersondataNameShah, RajivAlternative namesShah, RajShort descriptionAmerican government officialDate of birth1973-03-09Place of birthDetroit, MichiganDate of deathPlace of death
definition of tamp - Google Search
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 12:59
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U.S. Agency Pledges Nearly $100 Million in Ebola Aid - WSJ
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 12:58
Sept. 4, 2014 4:34 p.m. ET
The U.S. Agency for International Development said Thursday it will spend nearly $100 million in aid for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, in what is believed to be one of the largest donations yet to combat an escalating humanitarian crisis.
The government foreign assistance agency will spend $75 million to build Ebola treatment facilities with up to 1,000 beds, help recruit hundreds of U.S. medical personnel to staff them, deliver...
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Partnerships - SIM USA
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 23:18
SIM partners with many agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) around the world. We believe SIM is just one part of God's global work, and that He uses people from all backgrounds to accomplish His work, so it simply makes sense for us to work alongside other groups. We are glad to be a part of what He is doing in and through our partner organizations!
As a mission agency we are unable to serve as a financial sponsor for individuals. Each of our missionaries is required to raise support through churches, family, and friends. While this can at times seem overwhelming, it is also a wonderful opportunity to partner with others and rejoice together in God's provision.
Check out the sampling of partners listed below, or contact us to learn more.
The Journey Deepens RetreatThe Journey Deepens Retreats are intensive weekends designed to not only link participants with missions coaches and agencies, but to provide sound Biblical teaching and guidance in spiritual preparation for missions work.
Columbia International UniversityAt CIU passion runs deep, beginning in the classroom. You'll be taught by professors who profess a faith in Christ and value scholarship as they share their expertise and life experiences with you.
Asian AccessAsian Access is a nonprofit mission organization focused on developing emerging kingdom leaders who multiply churches across Asia, where 85% of the world's unbelievers live.
Kingdom Come TrainingKingdom Come Training exists to serve the church by connecting believers with the joy, the blessing, and the eternal reward of becoming the expression of Christ to the nations, and to help missionaries achieve and maintain their full support.
Center for Intercultural Training (CIT)CIT is a partnership of missional agencies, churches, and organizations dedicated to training and equipping missionaries and their families for cross-cultural ministry.
PerspectivesOffers an extended study of missions, hosted mainly in churches. Many SIM missionaries are recurring teachers at various Perspectives courses around the United States.
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F-Russia
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Inquiry confirms rebels' guilt in crash of MH17 | The Sunday Times
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 10:07
The wreckage under guard (Dmitry Beliakov)
INVESTIGATORS are expected to confirm this week that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was brought down by a surface-to-air missile fired from Ukrainian territory controlled by pro-Russian rebels.
Najib Razak, the Malaysian prime minister, said intelligence reports about what happened to the plane were ''pretty conclusive''.
The jet crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17 while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 298 people on board.
A preliminary report by the Dutch Safety Board to be released on Tuesday is expected to confirm the plane was destroyed in mid-air by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile.
Investigators have pieced together the last moments of MH17 by analysing the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. But they have been unable to conduct a full examination of the wreckage, much of which remains at the crash site.
Chris Yates, an aviation analyst, said the explosion caused by the missile would have been
Who shot down MH17? Guilty or not guilty, rebels or Ukrainian government? - eTurboNews.com
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 10:03
Did Ukrainian separatists, also referred to as rebels, shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight 17 as widely reported and assumed by the EU, the Unoited States, and Malaysia?
More and more claims were recently made that the flight was shot down by a Ukrainian military jet which was in the area at the same time.
Both sides involved in the Ukraine conflict '' the government and militias which refused to recognize the February coup in Kiev '' accuse each other of bringing down the aircraft.
Soon the world may know more:A preliminary report on the reasons behind the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine will be released within days. However, it will take one year to perform a full investigation which will answer all questions, the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) said.
The report will be ready at the end of the week or early next week.
The preliminary report will include the first results from the flight recorders and data from other sources such as satellites and radars.
The Dutch investigation is being executed in accordance with the norms and standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The Dutch Safety Board (DSB) spokeswoman stressed that all of the agency's specialists involved in the investigation have been working from The Hague, as the final report can be prepared without a visit to the crash site.
However, DSB still plans to send experts to Ukraine, when the area around the crash site becomes safer.
All 298 people aboard the Malaysia Airlines jet died as it crashed in Ukraine's Donetsk region on July 17. The majority of those on the plane '' which was allegedly shot down '' were citizens of the Netherlands.
The investigation of the tragedy was hampered by fighting in the area around the crash site, with Kiev and rebels accusing each other of attempting to conceal the facts.
Dutchman praised for MH17 crash handling in race for top EU job | Article | World News | Reuters.com
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 10:59
Dutchman praised for MH17 crash handling in race for top EU job | World News | Reuters.comWorld News
Dutchman praised for MH17 crash handling in race for top EU job
Tue, Sep 02 15:39 PM EDT
By Thomas Escritt and Anthony Deutsch
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Frans Timmermans, the Netherlands' nominee to join the European Commission, is an experienced Brussels hand who represents his country's last best hope of securing a top job in the European Union's executive.
The Dutch foreign minister and career diplomat, who was entered as a last-minute candidate over eurogroup chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem, is a staunch pro-European and a talented linguist even by the standards of the famously polylingual Dutch.
The most popular Dutch politician, he served as a junior officer at the Dutch embassy in Moscow and has worked at the European Commision before, serving on the private staff of a previous Dutch commissioner during the 1990s.
He speaks virtually accentless English, good French and fluent Russian, which he learned as part of compulsory military service as a young man, when he was trained as an interrogator of Russian prisoners of war.
"He's a veteran diplomat with an enormous track record, a Russia expert and someone who is highly valued by his staff," said Louise van Schaik of Clingendael, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations.
While Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the European Commission president has not yet begun doling out portfolios, Dutch media have said Timmermans is in the running for a powerful vice-president position in charge of institutional reform and the Commission's 50,000-strong civil service.
That is a managerial role to which he would be well suited, accordingly to colleagues.
STRONG PERSONAL FOLLOWING
"He's the best foreign minister I've ever served under," said one current Dutch ambassador, praising him as an effective and supportive manager. "He gives you his trust and inspires you ... and he has empathy and the ability to explain difficult issues to non-experts."
Some have criticized him for vanity and delivering speeches peppered with recherche literary quotations.
But he nonetheless has a strong personal following unusual in Dutch politics. He does much of his communications with the public via his Facebook page, where an army of 159,000 fans frequently write posts wishing him well and reminding the globe-trotting foreign minister to catch up on his sleep.
When Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 196 Dutch nationals, he changed his profile picture to black and was followed by many.
His performance throughout the crisis earned him worldwide recognition and made him the most popular member of the government.
But Timmermans, 53, may be holding out for a bigger role than the one Dutch media have speculated that he will assume.
With his language skills and his prior stints in Brussels and Moscow, Dutch analysts hope he could be holding out for a role dealing with the EU's increasingly tense relations with the Eurasian giant to its east.
A powerful and emotional speech he gave at the United Nations following the downing of MH17 was credited with swinging many European countries behind tougher sanctions against Russia, which backs the rebels many accuse of accidentally shooting down the passenger jet.
"Did they lock hands with their loved ones, did they hold their children close to their hearts," he asked the diplomats gathered in New York, inviting them to imagine the passengers' last moments.
"Did they look at each other in the eyes one final time in a wordless goodbye?"
(Editing by Tom Heneghan)
Dutchman praised for MH17 crash handling in race for top EU job | World News | Reuters.comWorld News
Dutchman praised for MH17 crash handling in race for top EU job
Tue, Sep 02 15:39 PM EDT
By Thomas Escritt and Anthony Deutsch
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Frans Timmermans, the Netherlands' nominee to join the European Commission, is an experienced Brussels hand who represents his country's last best hope of securing a top job in the European Union's executive.
The Dutch foreign minister and career diplomat, who was entered as a last-minute candidate over eurogroup chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem, is a staunch pro-European and a talented linguist even by the standards of the famously polylingual Dutch.
The most popular Dutch politician, he served as a junior officer at the Dutch embassy in Moscow and has worked at the European Commision before, serving on the private staff of a previous Dutch commissioner during the 1990s.
He speaks virtually accentless English, good French and fluent Russian, which he learned as part of compulsory military service as a young man, when he was trained as an interrogator of Russian prisoners of war.
"He's a veteran diplomat with an enormous track record, a Russia expert and someone who is highly valued by his staff," said Louise van Schaik of Clingendael, the Netherlands Institute of International Relations.
While Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the European Commission president has not yet begun doling out portfolios, Dutch media have said Timmermans is in the running for a powerful vice-president position in charge of institutional reform and the Commission's 50,000-strong civil service.
That is a managerial role to which he would be well suited, accordingly to colleagues.
STRONG PERSONAL FOLLOWING
"He's the best foreign minister I've ever served under," said one current Dutch ambassador, praising him as an effective and supportive manager. "He gives you his trust and inspires you ... and he has empathy and the ability to explain difficult issues to non-experts."
Some have criticized him for vanity and delivering speeches peppered with recherche literary quotations.
But he nonetheless has a strong personal following unusual in Dutch politics. He does much of his communications with the public via his Facebook page, where an army of 159,000 fans frequently write posts wishing him well and reminding the globe-trotting foreign minister to catch up on his sleep.
When Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 196 Dutch nationals, he changed his profile picture to black and was followed by many.
His performance throughout the crisis earned him worldwide recognition and made him the most popular member of the government.
But Timmermans, 53, may be holding out for a bigger role than the one Dutch media have speculated that he will assume.
With his language skills and his prior stints in Brussels and Moscow, Dutch analysts hope he could be holding out for a role dealing with the EU's increasingly tense relations with the Eurasian giant to its east.
A powerful and emotional speech he gave at the United Nations following the downing of MH17 was credited with swinging many European countries behind tougher sanctions against Russia, which backs the rebels many accuse of accidentally shooting down the passenger jet.
"Did they lock hands with their loved ones, did they hold their children close to their hearts," he asked the diplomats gathered in New York, inviting them to imagine the passengers' last moments.
"Did they look at each other in the eyes one final time in a wordless goodbye?"
(Editing by Tom Heneghan)
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Robert Kagan: America's Dangerous Aversion to Conflict - WSJ
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 12:04
First it was the Europeans who sought an escape from the tragic realities of power that had bloodied their 20th century. At the end of the Cold War, they began to disarm themselves in the hopeful belief that arms and traditional measures of power no longer mattered. A new international system of laws and institutions would replace the old system of power; the world would model itself on the European Union'--and if not, the U.S. would still be there to provide security the old-fashioned way.
But now, in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is the U.S. that seems to be yearning for an escape from the burdens of power and a reprieve from the tragic realities of human existence.
Until recent events at least, a majority of Americans (and of the American political and intellectual classes) seem to have come close to concluding not only that war is horrible but also that it is ineffective in our modern, globalized world. "There is an evolving international order with new global norms making war and conquest increasingly rare," wrote Fareed Zakaria of CNN, borrowing from Steven Pinker of Harvard, practically on the eve of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the Islamic State's march across Syria and Iraq. Best-selling histories of World War I teach that nations don't willingly go to war but only "sleepwalk" into them due to tragic miscalculations or downright silliness.
For a quarter-century, Americans have been told that at the end of history lies boredom rather than great conflict, that nations with McDonald's never fight one another, that economic interdependence and nuclear weapons make war among great powers unlikely if not impossible. Recently added to these nostrums has been the mantra of futility. "There is no military solution" is the constant refrain of Western statesmen regarding conflicts from Syria to Ukraine; indeed, military action only makes problems worse. Power itself isn't even what it used to be, argued the columnist Mois(C)s Na­m in a widely praised recent book.
History has a way of answering such claims. The desire to escape from power is certainly not new; it has been the constant aspiration of Enlightenment liberalism for more than two centuries.
The impossibility of war was conventional wisdom in the years before World War I, and it became conventional wisdom again'--at least in Britain and the U.S.'--practically the day after the war ended. Then as now, Americans and Britons solipsistically believed that everyone shared their disillusionment with war. They imagined that because war was horrible and irrational, as the Great War had surely demonstrated, no sane people would choose it.
What happened next, as the peaceful 1920s descended into the violent and savage 1930s, may be instructive for our own time. Back then, the desire to avoid war'--combined with the surety that no nation could rationally seek it'--led logically and naturally to policies of appeasement.
The countries threatening aggression, after all, had grievances, as most countries almost always do. They were "have-not" powers in a world dominated by the rich and powerful Anglo-Saxon nations, and they demanded a fairer distribution of the goods. In the case of Germany, resentment over the Versailles peace settlement smoldered because territories and populations once under Germany's control had been taken away to provide security for Germany's neighbors. In the case of Japan, the island power with the overflowing population needed control of the Asian mainland to survive and prosper in competition with the other great powers.
So the liberal powers tried to reason with them, to understand and even accept their grievances and seek to assuage them, even if this meant sacrificing others'--the Chinese and the Czechs, for instance'--to their rule. It seemed a reasonable price, unfortunate though it might be, to avoid another catastrophic war. This was the realism of the 1930s.
Eventually, however, the liberal powers discovered that the grievances of the "have-not" powers went beyond what even the most generous and conflict-averse could satisfy. The most fundamental grievance, it turned out, was that of being forced to live in a world shaped by others'--to be German or Japanese in a world dominated by Anglo-Saxons.
To satisfy this grievance would require more than marginal territorial or economic adjustments or even the sacrifice of a small and weak state here or there. It would require allowing the "have-not" powers to reshape the international political and economic order to suit their needs. More than that, it would require letting those powers become strong enough to dictate the terms of international order'--for how else could they emerge from their unjust oppression?
Finally, it became clear that more was going on than rational demands for justice, at least as the Enlightenment mind understood the term. It turned out that the aggressors' policies were the product not only of material grievances but of desires that transcended mere materialism and rationality.
Their leaders, and to a great extent their publics, rejected liberal notions of progress and reason. They were moved instead by romantic yearnings for past glories or past orders and rejected Enlightenment notions of modernity. Their predatory or paranoid rulers either fatalistically accepted (in the case of Japan) or positively welcomed (in the case of Germany) armed conflict as the natural state of human affairs.
By the time all this became unmistakably obvious to the liberal powers, by the time they realized that they were dealing with people who didn't think as they did, by the time they grasped that nothing short of surrender would avoid conflict and that giving the aggressors even part of what they demanded'--Manchuria, Indochina, Czechoslovakia'--only strengthened them without satisfying them, it was too late to avoid precisely the world war that Britain, France, the U.S. and others had desperately tried to prevent.
This searing experience'--not just World War II but also the failed effort to satisfy those who couldn't be satisfied'--shaped U.S. policy in the postwar era. For the generations that shared this experience, it imposed a new and different sense of realism about the nature of humankind and the international system. Hopes for a new era of peace were tempered.
American leaders and the American public generally if regretfully accepted the inescapable and tragic reality of power. They adopted the posture of armed liberalism. They built unimaginably destructive weapons by the thousands. They deployed hundreds of thousands of troops overseas, in the heart of Europe and along the rim of East Asia, to serve as forward deterrents to aggression. They fought wars in distant and largely unknown lands, sometimes foolishly and sometimes ineffectively but always with the idea'--almost certainly correct'--that failure to act against aggressors would only invite further aggression.
In general, except for a brief bout of fatalism under President Richard Nixon and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, they were disinclined to assuage or even acknowledge the grievances of those who opposed them. (President Harry Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson, the architects of armed liberalism, never had much interest in bargaining with the Soviets, while President Ronald Reagan was interested chiefly in bargaining over the terms of their surrender.)
Behind the actions of the U.S. architects of containment lay the belief, based on hard experience, that other peoples couldn't always be counted on to value what the liberal world valued'--prosperity, human rights or even peace'--and therefore the liberal world had to be constantly on its guard, well-armed and well-prepared against the next stirring of the non-liberal, atavistic urges that were a permanent feature of humankind.
How much easier it was to maintain this tragic vigilance while the illiberal, conflict-based ideology of communism reigned across more than half of the Eurasian continent'--and how much harder has it been to sustain that vigilance since the fall of communism seemingly ushered in a new era of universal liberalism, and with it the prospect, finally, of a Kantian peace in a world dominated by democracy.
For a time in the 1990s, while the generations of World War II and the early Cold War survived, the old lessons still guided policy. President George H.W. Bush and his national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, sent half a million American troops to fight thousands of miles away for no other reason than to thwart aggression and restore a desert kingdom that had been invaded by its tyrant neighbor. Kuwait enjoyed no security guarantee with the U.S.; the oil wells on its lands would have been equally available to the West if operated by Iraq; and the 30-year-old emirate ruled by the al-Sabah family had less claim to sovereign nationhood than Ukraine has today. Nevertheless, as Mr. Bush later recalled, "I wanted no appeasement."
A little more than a decade later, however, the U.S. is a changed country. Because of the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, to suggest sending even a few thousand troops to fight anywhere for any reason is almost unthinkable. The most hawkish members of Congress don't think it safe to argue for a ground attack on the Islamic State or for a NATO troop presence in Ukraine. There is no serious discussion of reversing the cuts in the defense budget, even though the strategic requirements of defending U.S. allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East have rarely been more manifest while America's ability to do so has rarely been more in doubt.
But Americans, their president and their elected representatives have accepted this gap between strategy and capability with little comment'--except by those who would abandon the strategy. It is as if, once again, Americans believe their disillusionment with the use of force somehow means that force is no longer a factor in international affairs.
In the 1930s, this illusion was dispelled by Germany and Japan, whose leaders and publics very much believed in the utility of military power. Today, as the U.S. seems to seek its escape from power, others are stepping forward, as if on cue, to demonstrate just how effective raw power really can be.
Once again, they are people who never accepted the liberal world's definition of progress and modernity and who don't share its hierarchy of values. They are not driven primarily by economic considerations. They have never put their faith in the power of soft power, never believed that world opinion (no matter how outraged) could prevent successful conquest by a determined military. They are undeterred by their McDonald's. They still believe in the old-fashioned verities of hard power, at home and abroad. And if they are not met by a sufficient hard-power response, they will prove that, yes, there is such a thing as a military solution.
This lesson won't be lost on others who wield increasing power in other parts of the world and who, like Vladimir Putin's autocratic Russia and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's fanatical Islamic State, have grievances of their own. In the 1930s, when things began to go bad, they went very bad very quickly. Japan's invasion of Manchuria in 1931 exposed the hollow shell that was the League of Nations'--a lesson acted upon by Hitler and Mussolini in the four years that followed. Then Germany's military successes in Europe emboldened Japan to make its move in East Asia on the not unreasonable assumption that Britain and the U.S. would be too distracted and overstretched to respond. The successive assaults of the illiberal aggressors, and the successive failures of the liberal powers, thus led to a cascade of disasters.
The wise men and women of our own time insist that this history is irrelevant. They tell us, when they are not announcing America's irrevocable decline, that our adversaries are too weak to pose a real threat, even as they pile victory upon victory. Russia is a declining power, they argue. But then, Russia has been declining for 400 years. Can declining powers not wreak havoc? Does it help us to know that, in retrospect, Japan lacked the wealth and power to win the war it started in 1941?
Let us hope that those who urge calm are right, but it is hard to avoid the impression that we have already had our 1931. As we head deeper into our version of the 1930s, we may be quite shocked, just as our forebears were, at how quickly things fall apart.
Mr. Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of books including "Of Paradise and Power" and, most recently, "The World America Made."
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Putin's Nuclear Option
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 23:41
Ever the one to administer bracing doses of Geopolitics 101 to his opponents, especially those inclined to underestimate his nerve, President Vladimir Putin, at a youth forum north of Moscow last week, reminded the world that "Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words." (Indeed it is.)
Fifteen days earlier, on Aug. 14, at a conference in Yalta, the Russian president had told the assembled factions of the State Duma that he soon planned to "surprise the West with our new developments in offensive nuclear weapons about which we do not talk yet." This came as Russian strategic nuclear bombers and fighter jets have been accused ofviolating the airspace of the United States and Western European countries with mounting frequency, while under the surface of the world's seas Russian and U.S. nuclear submarines have been involved in confrontations recalling the worst days of the Cold War. As NATO leaders convene for their summit in Wales, Russia just announced that its strategic nuclear forces will hold exercises of unprecedented dimensions this month. And the Kremlin, for its part, just declared that it will amend its military doctrine to reflect Russia's growing tensions with NATO. What this means exactly remains unclear, but in view of the rising tensions with the Western alliance, it cannot be good.
Russia has also been purportedly breaching the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which prohibits Russia (and the United States) from possessing the sort of missiles that could be used against targets in Europe. If Barack Obama entered the White House hoping to reduce atomic weapons stockpiles and make the world a safer place, it looks like he will leave it with a Russia boasting a more lethal arsenal of nuclear weapons than at any time since the Cold War.
But Putin would never actually use nuclear weapons, would he? The scientist and longtime Putin critic Andrei Piontkovsky, a former executive director of the Strategic Studies Center in Moscow and a political commentator for the BBC World Service, believes he might. In August, Piontkovsky published a troubling account of what he believes Putin might do to win the current standoff with the West -- and, in one blow, destroy NATO as an organization and finish off what's left of America's credibility as the world's guardian of peace.
In view of the Russian leader's recent remarks and provocative actions, the scenario Piontkovsky lays out becomes terrifyingly relevant. Worse, if the trigger events described come to pass, it becomes logical, maybe even inevitable.
Piontkovsky explains the positions of the two camps presenting Putin with advice about how to resolve the Ukraine crisis. The first, the "Peace Party," as he calls it, composed of those occupying posts in influential think tanks, including, in this case, Sergey Karaganov, the head of Moscow's Higher School of Economics, urges Putin to declare victory in Ukraine now and thereby end the conflict. Having taken note of the lengths to which Moscow will go to prevent Ukraine from slipping out of its orbit, NATO will almost certainly never invite the former Soviet republic to join its ranks, the Peace Party argues. And Russia has already won tacit acceptance from the international community of its acquisition of Crimea.
Piontkovsky dismisses out of hand the possibility of Putin pursuing this solution. If Putin chose to go this route, he would look defeated, and looming before him would be the fate of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, who was deposed and forced into retirement following his failed, and nearly catastrophic, 1962 attempt to secure communism in Cuba by stationing nuclear missiles there.
The other camp putting pressure on Putin, the "War Party," however, gives the president two options. The first, writes Piontkovsky, is a "romantic and inspiring scenario: World War IV between the Orthodox Russian World, now risen from its knees, against the rotting and decadent Anglo-Saxon World." (World War III, in his view, has already happened: the Cold War.) This World War IV would be a conventional war with NATO -- and it would not go well. Given NATO's superior armed forces and Russia's comparative economic, scientific, and technological weaknesses, a conventional campaign would, Piontkovsky concludes, end with Russia's defeat.
That leaves Putin only one option: a nuclear attack. Not a massive launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles at the United States or Western Europe, which would bring about a suicidal atomic holocaust, but a small, tactical strike or two against a NATO member that few in the West would be willing to die to protect. Piontkovsky surmises that, in such a conflict, the nuclear-armed country with the "superior political will" to alter the geopolitical "status quo" and -- most importantly -- with the "greater indifference to values concerning human lives" would prevail. Any guesses which country that would be?
But what would trigger a Russian attack? According to Piontkovsky's scenario, it could be something as simple as a plebiscite: the Estonian city of Narva, overwhelmingly ethnically Russian and adjacent to Russia, deciding to hold a referendum on joining the Motherland. To help them "freely express their will" at the polls, Russia could send in a brigade of "little green men armed to the teeth," much like it did in Crimea in March. Estonia would thereupon invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter -- "an armed attack against one or more [NATO members] '... shall be considered an attack against them all" -- and demand that the alliance defend it. Speaking in the Estonian capital of Tallinn on the eve of NATO's summit in Wales, this is just what Obama promised. "The defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London," he said.
Suddenly, the most terrifying nightmare becomes reality: NATO faces war with Russia.
How would Putin then react? Piontkovsky believes that NATO would balk at attacking Moscow over a small country remote from NATO's heartland and the hearts of its citizens. Piontkovsky imagines the course of action open to Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama as he contemplates unleashing a planetary holocaust over a "damned little city no one has even heard of" while the American public cries out, "We don't want to die for fucking Narva, Mr. President!" Piontkovsky also cites a German public opinion poll asking what Berlin should do if Estonia enters an armed conflict with Russia: 70 percent would want their country to remain neutral.
Piontkovsky then tries to envision the situation in which Putin would find himself if NATO intervened to drive his little green men from Narva. Would Putin commit suicide by letting his missiles fly against the United States? No. Rather, he would respond with a limited nuclear strike against a couple of European capitals -- not London or Paris, but smaller ones, presumably in Eastern European countries that have only recently joined NATO. Warsaw, against which Russia has already conducted a drill simulating a Russian nuclear attack, first comes to mind. Or, say, Vilnius, Lithuania's capital. The point is, Putin would bet on decision-makers in Washington, Berlin, London, and Paris not retaliating with nuclear weapons against Russia if it had "only" hit a city or two most Westerners have barely heard of -- and certainly do not want to die for.
The outcome of Putin's putative gambit is that NATO effectively capitulates. The alliance's credibility as guarantor of security for its member states would be utterly destroyed, as would U.S. hegemony, which largely rests on the threat of using force. Putin would then be free to do what he wanted in Ukraine and anywhere else he perceived Russia's interests to be threatened.
It might all sound a bit far-fetched. On the surface, there are obvious reasons that Putin would not want to be the first to fire nuclear weapons at anyone, even his die-hard adversaries in NATO. It would be, to put it mildly, risky, and would irremediably besmirch his place, and Russia's, in history. The world would unite against him and could do more damage to the Russian economy, which is highly dependent on food imports and the export of hydrocarbons, than anyone now can imagine. And domestically, Russian anti-war sentiment is formidable. The Russian public has, throughout the crisis, adored Putin for standing up to the West and retaking Crimea, and it even supports Russia's arming the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. But Russians have shown no appetite for direct military intervention, which is one reason the Kremlin repeatedly asserts that it has no troops or materiel on Ukrainian soil.
But it's worth remembering that since 2000 Russian nuclear doctrine has foreseen the deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons to de-escalate a conflict with NATO, if Russian forces were about to suffer defeat in a conventional conflict -- which shows that the Kremlin has already been betting that neither Obama nor the leaders of other nuclear powers would push the button if they could avoid it.
The Kremlin is probably right.
Photo by AFP
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NATO Declares Cyberattacks To Trigger Military Responses - Business Insider
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 00:42
Sep. 5, 2014, 8:43 AM1,858Thomson Reuters
Illustration file picture shows a man typing on a computer keyboard in Warsaw.
NATO leaders agreed on Friday that a large-scale cyberattack on a member country could be considered an attack on the entire U.S.-led alliance, potentially triggering a military response.The decision marks an expansion of the organization's remit, reflecting new threats that can disable critical infrastructure, financial systems, and government without firing a shot.
"Today we declare that cyber defense is part of NATO's core task of collective defense," NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference.
In 2007, a series of crippling cyberattacks paralyzed much of NATO member Estonia in an apparent response to a dispute over the movement of a Soviet-era war memorial. Most Western experts suspected the Kremlin was responsible, but Russia denied it.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; editing by Paul Taylor)
This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2014. Follow Reuters on Twitter.
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What Impact Will The New Silk Road Have on Global Trade? | Sourcing Innovation
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 14:09
Russia is decoupling its trade from the dollar, decoupling its hydrocarbon trade from the petro-dollar, and working with China to re-open the old Silk Road between China, Germany, and Russia. Powered by the Eurasian Land Bridge that is a rail transport route for moving freight and passengers overland from Pacific seaports in the Russian Far East and China to seaports in Europe using a transcontinental railroad and rail land bridge (by way of the Trans-Siberian Railway and the New Eurasian Land Bridge through China and Kazakhstan), the New Silk Road will increase Eurasian trade, most likely at the expense of North America.
The immediate consequences of Russia's actions will amount to the BICS, and BICS partner countries, following Russia's lead and decoupling their trade from the dollar, especially in hydrocarbons (which is a Trillion dollars a year in Russia alone), to local currencies and trading partner currencies. Furthermore, China has been in the process of decoupling from the dollar for months and is focussed on the yuan's ascendancy.
The follow-on to this, as described in this recent article over on sott.net on Russia and China announce decoupling trade from Dollar '' the End for the USA is nigh, is that the BRICS are preparing to launch a new currency '-- backed by a basket of their local currencies '-- to be used for international trading, as well as a new reserve currency. As a follow on, a new international payment settlement system, replacing SWIFT and IBAN, is expected, which will bust up the effective monopoly held by the Bank for International Settlement (BIS) in Basle, Switzerland. Currently, China has two small operations in London and Frankfurt to process trading cash flows directly between Euros and Yuan, but that is expected to grow.
But the new economic Silk Road, which is going to use Duisburg, the world's largest inland harbour (and a historic transportation hub in Europe), and link Russia and China through the world's fourth largest economy, as well as with Kazakhstan, Belarus, and Poland, has the potential to overshadow all of this from a trade perspective. The effect of decoupling from the dollar just means that some currencies rise at the expense of others that fall. It doesn't alter trading volumes substantially. Some countries, not having to buy an overpriced dollar, might be able to buy a little more, or some, for which the dollar was relatively weak to their currency, might have to settle for a little less, but overall, the change will likely be limited and controlled.
But a new trading route, which can get things from China to Duisburg in 18 days or less, could significantly shift the global balance of trade, see less trading between the West and the East, and even increase trading on the Eurasian continents. It's hard to say what will happen, but chances are some ocean carriers will lose considerably, as more goods will be moving over land, and carriers servicing the ports along the New Silk Road will gain, as trade shifts to minimize the amount of time cargo needs to spend on the ocean (as time is money). It's a situation to be aware of at least.
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Article: Memorandum For: Angela Merkel: Beware of Fixed Intelligence on Ukraine-- Think WMDs | OpEdNews
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 12:09
MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO
We the undersigned are long-time veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.
You need to know, for example, that accusations of a major Russian "invasion" of Ukraine appear not to be supported by reliable intelligence. Rather, the "intelligence" seems to be of the same dubious, politically "fixed" kind used 12 years ago to "justify" the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. We saw no credible evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq then; we see no credible evidence of a Russian invasion now. Twelve years ago, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, mindful of the flimsiness of the evidence on Iraqi WMD, refused to join in the attack on Iraq. In our view, you should be appropriately suspicious of charges made by the U.S. State Department and NATO officials alleging a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
President Barack Obama tried yesterday to cool the rhetoric of his own senior diplomats and the corporate media, when he publicly described recent activity in the Ukraine, as "a continuation of what's been taking place for months now ... it's not really a shift."
Obama, however, has only tenuous control over the policymakers in his administration -- who, sadly, lack much sense of history, know little of war, and substitute anti-Russian invective for a policy. One year ago, hawkish State Department officials and their friends in the media very nearly got Mr. Obama to launch a major attack on Syria based, once again, on "intelligence" that was dubious, at best.
Largely because of the growing prominence of, and apparent reliance on, intelligence we believe to be spurious, we think the possibility of hostilities escalating beyond the borders of Ukraine has increased significantly over the past several days. More important, we believe that this likelihood can be avoided, depending on the degree of judicious skepticism you and other European leaders bring to the NATO summit next week.
Experience With Untruth
Hopefully, your advisers have reminded you of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's checkered record for credibility. It appears to us that Rasmussen's speeches continue to be drafted by Washington. This was abundantly clear on the day before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq when, as Danish Prime Minister, he told his Parliament: "Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know."
Photos can be worth a thousand words; they can also deceive. We have considerable experience collecting, analyzing, and reporting on all kinds of satellite and other imagery, as well as other kinds of intelligence. Suffice it to say that the images released by NATO on August 28 provide a very flimsy basis on which to charge Russia with invading Ukraine. Sadly, they bear a strong resemblance to the images shown by Colin Powell at the UN on February 5, 2003 that, likewise, proved nothing.
That same day, we warned President Bush that our former colleague analysts were "increasingly distressed at the politicization of intelligence" and told him flatly, "Powell's presentation does not come close" to justifying war. We urged Mr. Bush to "widen the discussion ... beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic."
Consider Iraq today. Worse than catastrophic. Although President Vladimir Putin has until now showed considerable reserve on the conflict in the Ukraine, it behooves us to remember that Russia, too, can "shock and awe." In our view, if there is the slightest chance of that kind of thing eventually happening to Europe because of Ukraine, sober-minded leaders need to think this through very carefully.
If the photos that NATO and the U.S. have released represent the best available "proof" of an invasion from Russia, our suspicions increase that a major effort is under way to fortify arguments for the NATO summit to approve actions that Russia is sure to regard as provocative. Caveat emptor is an expression with which you are no doubt familiar. Suffice it to add that one should be very cautious regarding what Mr. Rasmussen, or even Secretary of State John Kerry, are peddling.
We trust that your advisers have kept you informed regarding the crisis in Ukraine from the beginning of 2014, and how the possibility that Ukraine would become a member of NATO is anathema to the Kremlin. According to a February 1, 2008 cable (published by WikiLeaks) from the U.S. embassy in Moscow to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, U.S. Ambassador William Burns was called in by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who explained Russia's strong opposition to NATO membership for Ukraine.
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Caliphate!
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Nederland heeft eigen 'djihad belt' bestaande uit drie regio's - Buitenland - TROUW
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 08:25
Perdiep Ramesar en Niels Markus '' 05/09/14, 06:34
(C) epa.
De djihadistische beweging in Nederland is geconcentreerd in drie regio's, blijkt uit een inventarisatie van Trouw. Per regio gaat het om tientallen djihadisten die van plan zijn om naar Syri of Irak te gaan, die vlak voor vertrek zijn tegengehouden door de autoriteiten danwel al in het oorlogsgebied zitten of inmiddels al zijn teruggekeerd.
Het grootste netwerk is dat van de regio Zuidwest-Nederland met de djihadisten uit Den Haag, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Delft, Zoetermeer en Gouda. Een ander regionaal netwerk is dat van Arnhem en Nijmegen. In het midden van het land zijn er verbanden tussen de djihadisten en sympathisanten in Utrecht, Almere, Hilversum, Zeist en Huizen. In die laatste plaats werden gisteren drie van de vier vermoedelijke djihadisten vrijgelaten uit voorarrest. Tegen slechts een van de vier ouders van twee gezinnen, die met hun jonge kinderen naar Syri zouden willen vertrekken, was voldoende bewijs om hem nog veertien dagen vast te zetten.
Djihad beltVolgens hoogleraar (contra)terrorisme aan de Universiteit Leiden, Edwin Bakker, zijn deze netwerken vooral ontstaan via vriendschappen, familiebanden en huwelijken. Als een soort riem zijn de netwerken verspreid door het midden van Nederland, waardoor er een soort 'djihad belt' ontstaat. De drie clusters hebben ook onderlinge banden met elkaar. Soms bestaat die schakel uit slechts (C)(C)n persoon, maar heeft die vanuit zijn of haar eigen kring contacten met de andere djihadistische netwerken. Via internet en sociale media hebben de netwerken onderling veelvuldig contact.
Opmerkelijk aan deze drie groepen is dat ze niet per se zijn gekoppeld aan een streng salafistische moskee, zoals dat tien jaar geleden wel het geval was ten tijde van de Hofstadgroep. Toen werden vier moskeen in Amsterdam, Den Haag, Tilburg en Eindhoven beschouwd als centra voor djihadisme en mogelijk zelfs terrorisme, zegt Bakker. Die moskeen werden intensief gevolgd door politie, justitie, gemeenten en de inlichtingen- en veiligheidsdiensten.
Ook is de huidige Nederlandse djihadistische beweging openlijker actief via internet en demonstraties. Ze hebben woordvoerders of spilfiguren die in de media optreden, zoals de vorige week gearresteerde Azeddine C, alias Abou Moussa, die die rol speelde bij het netwerk rondom Den Haag. De Hofstadgroep trok zich veel meer terug in huiskamers.
Rust in HuizenDe kinderrechter en de Raad voor Kinderbescherming willen zo snel mogelijk in gesprek met de twee vrouwen en de man uit Huizen wier vrijlating gisteren werd gelast. De zes kinderen van de twee gezinnen, in de leeftijd van 8 maanden tot 9 jaar, zijn afgelopen weekend uit huis geplaatst. Dat gebeurde nadat de geheime dienst AIVD een ambtsbericht naar de burgemeester van Huizen stuurde over de plannen van de twee gezinnen. Daarop kwam de zaak in een stroomversnelling.
Het eerste ouderpaar werd vorige week vrijdagavond opgepakt en het andere paar zaterdag. Volgens burgemeester Hertog van Huizen is nog niet duidelijk wat de drie vandaag zullen gaan doen. "Gaan ze terug naar huis, naar familie?" Volgens Hertog is rust voor alle Huizers nu het belangrijkste. "Alle inspanningen zullen daarop gericht zijn."
Of het Openbaar Ministerie in beroep gaat tegen de beschikking van de voorzieningenrechter om de drie van djihadisme verdachte ouders vrij te laten, zal de officier van justitie vandaag besluiten.
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Dude with ISIS flag on his back arrested in Houston, TX today : conspiracy
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 10:58
The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom
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Middle East Time Bomb: The Real Aim of ISIS Is to Replace the Saud Family as the New Emirs of Arabia | Alastair Crooke
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 10:36
This article is Part II of Alastair Crooke's historical analysis of the roots of ISIS and its impact on the future of the Middle East. Read Part I here.
BEIRUT -- ISIS is indeed a veritable time bomb inserted into the heart of the Middle East. But its destructive power is not as commonly understood. It is not with the "March of the Beheaders"; it is not with the killings; the seizure of towns and villages; the harshest of "justice" -- terrible though they are -- that its true explosive power lies. It is yet more potent than its exponential pull on young Muslims, its huge arsenal of weapons and its hundreds of millions of dollars.
"We should understand that there is really almost nothing that the West can now do about it but sit and watch."Its real potential for destruction lies elsewhere -- in the implosion of Saudi Arabia as a foundation stone of the modern Middle East. We should understand that there is really almost nothing that the West can now do about it but sit and watch.
The clue to its truly explosive potential, as Saudi scholar Fouad Ibrahim has pointed out (but which has passed, almost wholly overlooked, or its significance has gone unnoticed), is ISIS' deliberate and intentional use in its doctrine -- of the language of Abd-al Wahhab, the 18th century founder, together with Ibn Saud, of Wahhabism and the Saudi project:
Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the first "prince of the faithful" in the Islamic State of Iraq, in 2006 formulated, for instance, the principles of his prospective state ... Among its goals is disseminating monotheism "which is the purpose [for which humans were created] and [for which purpose they must be called] to Islam..." This language replicates exactly Abd-al Wahhab's formulation. And, not surprisingly, the latter's writings and Wahhabi commentaries on his works are widely distributed in the areas under ISIS' control and are made the subject of study sessions. Baghdadi subsequently was to note approvingly, "a generation of young men [have been] trained based on the forgotten doctrine of loyalty and disavowal."
And what is this "forgotten" tradition of "loyalty and disavowal?" It is Abd al-Wahhab's doctrine that belief in a sole (for him an anthropomorphic) God -- who was alone worthy of worship -- was in itself insufficient to render man or woman a Muslim?
He or she could be no true believer, unless additionally, he or she actively denied (and destroyed) any other subject of worship. The list of such potential subjects of idolatrous worship, which al-Wahhab condemned as idolatry, was so extensive that almost all Muslims were at risk of falling under his definition of "unbelievers." They therefore faced a choice: Either they convert to al-Wahhab's vision of Islam -- or be killed, and their wives, their children and physical property taken as the spoils of jihad. Even to express doubts about this doctrine, al-Wahhab said, should occasion execution.
"Through its intentional adoption of this Wahhabist language, ISIS is knowingly lighting the fuse to a bigger regional explosion -- one that has a very real possibility of being ignited, and if it should succeed, will change the Middle East decisively."The point Fuad Ibrahim is making, I believe, is not merely to reemphasize the extreme reductionism of al-Wahhab's vision, but to hint at something entirely different: That through its intentional adoption of this Wahhabist language, ISIS is knowingly lighting the fuse to a bigger regional explosion -- one that has a very real possibility of being ignited, and if it should succeed, will change the Middle East decisively.
For it was precisely this idealistic, puritan, proselytizing formulation by al-Wahhab that was "father" to the entire Saudi "project" (one that was violently suppressed by the Ottomans in 1818, but spectacularly resurrected in the 1920s, to become the Saudi Kingdom that we know today). But since its renaissance in the 1920s, the Saudi project has always carried within it, the "gene" of its own self-destruction.
THE SAUDI TAIL HAS WAGGED BRITAIN AND U.S. IN THE MIDDLE EASTParadoxically, it was a maverick British official, who helped embed the gene into the new state. The British official attached to Aziz, was one Harry St. John Philby (the father of the MI6 officer who spied for the Soviet KGB, Kim Philby). He was to become King Abd al-Aziz's close adviser, having resigned as a British official, and was until his death, a key member of the Ruler's Court. He, like Lawrence of Arabia, was an Arabist. He was also a convert to Wahhabi Islam and known as Sheikh Abdullah.
St. John Philby was a man on the make: he had determined to make his friend, Abd al-Aziz, the ruler of Arabia. Indeed, it is clear that in furthering this ambition he was not acting on official instructions. When, for example, he encouraged King Aziz to expand in northern Nejd, he was ordered to desist. But (as American author, Stephen Schwartz notes), Aziz was well aware that Britain had pledged repeatedly that the defeat of the Ottomans would produce an Arab state, and this no doubt, encouraged Philby and Aziz to aspire to the latter becoming its new ruler.
It is not clear exactly what passed between Philby and the Ruler (the details seem somehow to have been suppressed), but it would appear that Philby's vision was not confined to state-building in the conventional way, but rather was one of transforming the wider Islamic ummah (or community of believers) into a Wahhabist instrument that would entrench the al-Saud as Arabia's leaders. And for this to happen, Aziz needed to win British acquiescence (and much later, American endorsement). "This was the gambit that Abd al-Aziz made his own, with advice from Philby," notes Schwartz.
BRITISH GODFATHER OF SAUDI ARABIAIn a sense, Philby may be said to be "godfather" to this momentous pact by which the Saudi leadership would use its clout to "manage" Sunni Islam on behalf of western objectives (containing socialism, Ba'athism, Nasserism, Soviet influence, Iran, etc.) -- and in return, the West would acquiesce to Saudi Arabia's soft-power Wahhabisation of the Islamic ummah (with its concomitant destruction of Islam's intellectual traditions and diversity and its sowing of deep divisions within the Muslim world).
"In political and financial terms, the Saud-Philby strategy has been an astonishing success. But it was always rooted in British and American intellectual obtuseness: the refusal to see the dangerous 'gene' within the Wahhabist project, its latent potential to mutate, at any time, back into its original a bloody, puritan strain. In any event, this has just happened: ISIS is it."As a result -- from then until now -- British and American policy has been bound to Saudi aims (as tightly as to their own ones), and has been heavily dependent on Saudi Arabia for direction in pursuing its course in the Middle East.
In political and financial terms, the Saud-Philby strategy has been an astonishing success (if taken on its own, cynical, self-serving terms). But it was always rooted in British and American intellectual obtuseness: the refusal to see the dangerous "gene" within the Wahhabist project, its latent potential to mutate, at any time, back into its original a bloody, puritan strain. In any event, this has just happened: ISIS is it.
Winning western endorsement (and continued western endorsement), however, required a change of mode: the "project" had to change from being an armed, proselytizing Islamic vanguard movement into something resembling statecraft. This was never going to be easy because of the inherent contradictions involved (puritan morality versus realpolitik and money) -- and as time has progressed, the problems of accommodating the "modernity" that statehood requires, has caused "the gene" to become more active, rather than become more inert.
Even Abd al-Aziz himself faced an allergic reaction: in the form of a serious rebellion from his own Wahhabi militia, the Saudi Ikhwan. When the expansion of control by the Ikhwan reached the border of territories controlled by Britain, Abd al-Aziz tried to restrain his militia (Philby was urging him to seek British patronage), but the Ikwhan, already critical of his use of modern technology (the telephone, telegraph and the machine gun), "were outraged by the abandonment of jihad for reasons of worldly realpolitik ... They refused to lay down their weapons; and instead rebelled against their king ... After a series of bloody clashes, they were crushed in 1929. Ikhwan members who had remained loyal, were later absorbed into the [Saudi] National Guard."
King Aziz's son and heir, Saud, faced a different form of reaction (less bloody, but more effective). Aziz's son was deposed from the throne by the religious establishment -- in favor of his brother Faisal -- because of his ostentatious and extravagant conduct. His lavish, ostentatious style, offended the religious establishment who expected the "Imam of Muslims," to pursue a pious, proselytizing lifestyle.
King Faisal, Saud's successor, in his turn, was shot by his nephew in 1975, who had appeared at Court ostensibly to make his oath of allegiance, but who instead, pulled out a pistol and shot the king in his head. The nephew had been perturbed by the encroachment of western beliefs and innovation into Wahhabi society, to the detriment of the original ideals of the Wahhabist project.
SEIZING THE GRAND MOSQUE IN 1979
Far more serious, however, was the revived Ikhwan of Juhayman al-Otaybi, which culminated in the seizure of the Grand Mosque by some 400-500 armed men and women in 1979. Juhayman was from the influential Otaybi tribe from the Nejd, which had led and been a principal element in the original Ikhwan of the 1920s.
Juhayman and his followers, many of whom came from the Medina seminary, had the tacit support, amongst other clerics, of Sheikh Abdel-Aziz Bin Baz, the former Mufti of Saudi Arabia. Juhayman stated that Sheikh Bin Baz never objected to his Ikhwan teachings (which were also critical of ulema laxity towards "disbelief"), but that bin Baz had blamed him mostly for harking on that "the ruling al-Saud dynasty had lost its legitimacy because it was corrupt, ostentatious and had destroyed Saudi culture by an aggressive policy of westernisation."
Significantly, Juhayman's followers preached their Ikhwani message in a number of mosques in Saudi Arabia initially without being arrested, but when Juhayman and a number of the Ikhwan finally were held for questioning in 1978. Members of the ulema (including bin Baz) cross-examined them for heresy, but then ordered their release because they saw them as being no more than traditionalists harkening back to the Ikhwan-- like Juhayman grandfather -- and therefore not a threat.
Even when the mosque seizure was defeated and over, a certain level of forbearance by the ulema for the rebels remained. When the government asked for a fatwa allowing for armed force to be used in the mosque, the language of bin Baz and other senior ulema was curiously restrained. The scholars did not declare Juhayman and his followers non-Muslims, despite their violation of the sanctity of the Grand Mosque, but only termed them al-jamaah al-musallahah (the armed group).
The group that Juhayman led was far from marginalized from important sources of power and wealth. In a sense, it swam in friendly, receptive waters. Juhayman's grandfather had been one of the leaders of the the original Ikhwan, and after the rebellion against Abdel Aziz, many of his grandfather's comrades in arms were absorbed into the National Guard -- indeed Juhayman himself had served within the Guard -- thus Juhayman was able to obtain weapons and military expertise from sympathizers in the National Guard, and the necessary arms and food to sustain the siege were pre-positioned, and hidden, within the Grand Mosque. Juhayman was also able to call on wealthy individuals to fund the enterprise.
ISIS VS. WESTERNIZED SAUDIS
The point of rehearsing this history is to underline how uneasy the Saudi leadership must be at the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Previous Ikhwani manifestations were suppressed -- but these all occurred inside the kingdom.
ISIS however, is a neo-Ikhwani rejectionist protest that is taking place outside the kingdom -- and which, moreover, follows the Juhayman dissidence in its trenchant criticism of the al-Saud ruling family.
This is the deep schism we see today in Saudi Arabia, between the modernizing current of which King Abdullah is a part, and the "Juhayman" orientation of which bin Laden, and the Saudi supporters of ISIS and the Saudi religious establishment are a part. It is also a schism that exists within the Saudi royal family itself.
According to the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat newspaper, in July 2014 "an opinion poll of Saudis [was] released on social networking sites, claiming that 92 percent of the target group believes that 'IS conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law.'" The leading Saudi commentator, Jamal Khashoggi, recently warned of ISIS' Saudi supporters who "watch from the shadows."
There are angry youths with a skewed mentality and understanding of life and sharia, and they are canceling a heritage of centuries and the supposed gains of a modernization that hasn't been completed. They turned into rebels, emirs and a caliph invading a vast area of our land. They are hijacking our children's minds and canceling borders. They reject all rules and legislations, throwing it [a]way ... for their vision of politics, governance, life, society and economy. [For] the citizens of the self-declared "commander of the faithful," or Caliph, you have no other choice ... They don't care if you stand out among your people and if you are an educated man, or a lecturer, or a tribe leader, or a religious leader, or an active politician or even a judge ... You must obey the commander of the faithful and pledge the oath of allegiance to him. When their policies are questioned, Abu Obedia al-Jazrawi yells, saying: "Shut up. Our reference is the book and the Sunnah and that's it."
"What did we do wrong?" Khashoggi asks. With 3,000-4,000 Saudi fighters in the Islamic State today, he advises of the need to "look inward to explain ISIS' rise". Maybe it is time, he says, to admit "our political mistakes," to "correct the mistakes of our predecessors."
MODERNIZING KING THE MOST VULNERABLEThe present Saudi king, Abdullah, paradoxically is all the more vulnerable precisely because he has been a modernizer. The King has curbed the influence of the religious institutions and the religious police -- and importantly has permitted the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence to be used, by those who adhere to them (al-Wahhab, by contrast, objected to all other schools of jurisprudence other than his own).
"The key political question is whether the simple fact of ISIS' successes, and the full manifestation (flowering) of all the original pieties and vanguardism of the archetypal impulse, will stimulate and activate the dissenter 'gene' -- within the Saudi kingdom. If it does, and Saudi Arabia is engulfed by the ISIS fervor, the Gulf will never be the same again. Saudi Arabia will deconstruct and the Middle East will be unrecognizable."It is even possible too for Shiite residents of eastern Saudi Arabia to invoke Ja'afri jurisprudence and to turn to Ja'afari Shiite clerics for rulings. (In clear contrast, al-Wahhab held a particular animosity towards the Shiite and held them to be apostates. As recently as the 1990s, clerics such as bin Baz -- the former Mufti -- and Abdullah Jibrin reiterated the customary view that the Shiite were infidels).
Some contemporary Saudi ulema would regard such reforms as constituting almost a provocation against Wahhabist doctrines, or at the very least, another example of westernization. ISIS, for example, regards any who seek jurisdiction other than that offered by the Islamic State itself to be guilty of disbelief -- since all such "other" jurisdictions embody innovation or "borrowings" from other cultures in its view.
The key political question is whether the simple fact of ISIS' successes, and the full manifestation (flowering) of all the original pieties and vanguardism of the archetypal impulse, will stimulate and activate the dissenter 'gene' -- within the Saudi kingdom.
If it does, and Saudi Arabia is engulfed by the ISIS fervor, the Gulf will never be the same again. Saudi Arabia will deconstruct and the Middle East will be unrecognizable.
"They hold up a mirror to Saudi society that seems to reflect back to them an image of 'purity' lost"In short, this is the nature of the time bomb tossed into the Middle East. The ISIS allusions to Abd al-Wahhab and Juhayman (whose dissident writings are circulated within ISIS) present a powerful provocation: they hold up a mirror to Saudi society that seems to reflect back to them an image of "purity" lost and early beliefs and certainties displaced by shows of wealth and indulgence.
This is the ISIS "bomb" hurled into Saudi society. King Abdullah -- and his reforms -- are popular, and perhaps he can contain a new outbreak of Ikwhani dissidence. But will that option remain a possibility after his death?
And here is the difficulty with evolving U.S. policy, which seems to be one of "leading from behind" again -- and looking to Sunni states and communities to coalesce in the fight against ISIS (as in Iraq with the Awakening Councils).
It is a strategy that seems highly implausible. Who would want to insert themselves into this sensitive intra-Saudi rift? And would concerted Sunni attacks on ISIS make King Abdullah's situation better, or might it inflame and anger domestic Saudi dissidence even further? So whom precisely does ISIS threaten? It could not be clearer. It does not directly threaten the West (though westerners should remain wary, and not tread on this particular scorpion).
The Saudi Ikhwani history is plain: As Ibn Saud and Abd al-Wahhab made it such in the 18th century; and as the Saudi Ikhwan made it such in the 20th century. ISIS' real target must be the Hijaz -- the seizure of Mecca and Medina -- and the legitimacy that this will confer on ISIS as the new Emirs of Arabia.
An Iraqi Shiite fighter, loyal to Muslim Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, takes part in military and first aid training on Aug. 19, 2014 in Najaf, central Iraq. (HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Iraqi forces patrol the town of Jurf al-Sakhar in Babil province after the Iraqi army announced a military operation against Islamic State (IS) militants on Aug. 17, 2014. (Stringer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Members of the Hezbollah Brigade in Iraq, a Shiite movement supporting Iraqi government forces in the ongoing clashes against Islamic Sate (IS) jihadists in northern Iraq, carry the coffin of a comrade during his funeral procession on Aug. 20, 2014 in Najaf after he was killed in combat south of Baghdad. (HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke rises during airstrikes targeting Islamic State (IS) militants at the Mosul Dam in Iraq on Aug. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
A car bomb exploded outside the house of Iraqi Intelligence Service member Abdulemir Asgar Kamal, damaging buildings in Kirkuk, Iraq on Aug. 20, 2014. (Ali Mukarrem Garip/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Peshmerga fighter flashes the sign for victory on top of an armored vehicle at the frontline of fighting with Islamic State (IS) militants east of Mosul on Aug. 18, 2014. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Peshmerga soldiers pose for a group portrait at a military base south of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq. (Vianney Le Caer/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images)
A Shiite fighter, loyal to Iraqi Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, holds a position against Islamic State (IS) militants after re-taking control of an area in the Jurf al-Sakher district south of Baghdad, Iraq on Aug. 18, 2014. (ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of Iraqi anti-terrorism forces wave the national flag in celebration after securing a checkpoint from Sunni militants in the village of Badriyah, west of Mosul, Iraq on Aug. 19, 2014. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
An Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter monitors the area from a frontline position in Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul, Iraq on Aug. 16, 2014. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the minority Yezidi religious sect, who fled their homes after assaults from Islamic State (IS) militants, take shelter in buildings under construction in the Zakho district nearby the Iraq-Turkey border on Aug. 16, 2014. (Ahmet Izgi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An internally displaced Iraqi woman holds her sister during a sandstorm outside the Bajid Kandala camp in Feeshkhabour, Iraq on Aug. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Displaced Iraqis catch clothes provided by a charity outside the Bajid Kandala camp in Feeshkhabour, Iraq on Aug. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters monitor the area from a frontline position in Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul, Iraq on Aug. 16, 2014. (AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
On Aug. 16, 2014, Kurdish Peshmerga forces patrol a bridge, which led from Guver village to Mosul, after it was destroyed by Islamic State (IS) militants. (Ahmet Izgi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
On Aug. 14, 2014, an Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter takes position on the frontline near the Kurdish checkpoint of Aski kalak, west of Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq. (SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)
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AssHat
Hi Adam and John,
You guys are spot on regarding the farcical "beheadings" by ISIS, ISIL, IS,...advertising.
Though their foray into musical nicknames [cue stinger] is admirable, I feel strongly that a re-branding is in order. I know it probably needs some work, but the first thing that came to mind was:
"Arab Super Sinister Head-Attacking Terrorists"
However, I don't want to be exclusionary and I suspect their ranks are comprised of more than just Arabs. Therefore, maybe a better moniker is:
"All-Star Super Heinous Attack Team"
In any case, I'll let someone else come up with a clever acronym. :)
In the morning,
Sir Devon of the Denver Metro foothills
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Wuppertal, Germany '' ''Shariah Police'' | Cultural Jihad
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 07:39
German police have initiated several criminal investigations into the group and have increased the police presence in the downtown area.
A photo has been circulating social media showing individuals wearing ''Shariah Police'' vests.
The location is Wuppertal, Germany and the photo, originally posted on Facebook, was included in a Sept. 4, 2014 report from www.bild.de. (our translation to English):
Wuppertal '' Theywalkat nightthrough the centerofWuppertal(NRW), wearing orangevests withthe word''ShariahPolice''.
Theself-proclaimedSharia policeactasfaith-police.
The suspectedIslamistsspeak to youthson the street, theyinvite them tosermons, they want torecruittoSalafism. And they want to imposetheirrules of conduct:
'–º''No Alcohol'''–º''No Gambling'''–º''No musicorconcerts'''–º'No porn orprostitution''–º''No drugs or smoking''
The article reports that German police have initiated several criminal investigations into the group and have increased the police presence in the downtown area.
Below is a video taken of the ''ShariahPolice'' in action '' minus the vests or any visible German police presence:
'ž'ž'ž'ž'ž'ž'ž'ž
COMMENT/ANALYSIS: Other news reports indicate that the Wuppertal prosecutor was planning on charging up to eleven individuals in violation of the Breach of Assembly Act . Unlike some other European countries, Germany regularly investigates/prosecutes Salafist activities that are viewed as a threat to the German constitution. Several of the 9/11 attackers were identified as worshiping at a Hamburg, Germany mosque. Despite the efforts, it is a growing problem that is not likely to disappear '' especially with some German politicians leaning towards appeasement.
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Some UK ISIS Militants Got Nicknamed 'The Beatles,' and Ringo Is Pissed | Mediaite
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 00:12
A number of ISIS militants have reportedly come from England, and several individuals who were held by the terrorist group provided some insight into their time in captivity. But one aspect that really sticks out is three British ISIS members in particular identified by a number of escaped and freed hostages. And what nickname have these former ISIS hostages given to these three men? The Beatles.
That's right, the Beatles. One person involved with hostage negotiations explained, ''They were really rough with them. Whenever the Beatles showed up, there was some kind of physical beating or torture.'' From ''the Beatles.''
And Ringo Starr is pissed.
When asked about the nickname, this is what the Beatle had to say:
''It's bullshit. What they are doing out there is against everything The Beatles stood for'... If we stood for anything we never stood for that. The four of us absolutely stood for peace and love. But we are not in control.''
Yeah, besides, ''All You Need Is Hate'' doesn't sound as fun.
[h/t WaPo][image via screengrab]
'' ''
Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac
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Agenda 21
Disruption: Climate. Change. '' About The Movie
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 10:40
'When it comes to climate change, why do we do so little when we know so much?'
Through a relentless investigation to find the answer, Disruption takes an unflinching look at the devastating consequences of our inaction.
The exploration lays bare the terrifying science, the shattered political process, the unrelenting industry special interests and the civic stasis that have brought us to this social, moral and ecological crossroads.The film also takes us behind-the-scenes of the efforts to organize the largest climate rally in the history of the planet during the UN world climate summit.
This is the story of our unique moment in history. We are living through an age of tipping points and rapid social and planetary change. We're the first generation to feel the impacts of climate disruption, and the last generation that can do something about it. The film enlarges the issue beyond climate impacts and makes a compelling call for bold action that is strong enough to tip the balance to build a clean energy future.
Leslie CaganKeya ChatterjeeDr. Heidi CullenJustin GillisDr. James HansenChris HayesDennis HayesNaomi KleinVan JonesBill McKibbenDr. Naomi OreskesRicken PatelYeb Sa±oJeanette ToomerSenator Sheldon Whitehouse
'...and More TBD
A PF PICTURES production
From the team that brought you ''Do the Math''
Produced & Directed by: Kelly Nyks | Jared P. Scott
Edited by: Natalia Iyudin
Director of Photography: Tad Fettig
Original Music by: Malcolm Francis
Art Direction & Animation by: Eve Weinberg
Additional Editing & Post-Production Management by: Hypatia Porter
Additional Cinematography by: Mike McSweeney, Ian Cook, Andre Dahlman
Associate Producer: Zoe Couacaud
Production Coordinator: Kayci Rothweiler
Additional Animation by: Hala Alhomoud, Madeline Quinn
Assistant Editing by: Shaheen Nazerali
Color by: Jordan Bramlett
Associate Producer & Additional Editing: Hypatia Porter
Animation by:: Hala Alhomoud, Madeline Quinn
Additional Credits:
''HOME'' by Yann Arthus-Bertrand - (C) 2009 MY PLANET '' ELZEVIR FILMS - Courtesy of Yann Arthus Bertrand''Additional Footage Courtesy of Dahlman / Cook ProductionsSpecial Thanks to 350.org and Jon Warnow.Run Time: 52 Minutes
Release Date: September 7, 2014
Distribution Plans: Hundreds of simultaneous self-organized screenings and watch-parties, and screened at independent cinemas.
Booking: To inquire about booking the film, contact our team.
350.org '' International Advisory Council
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 10:40
Mohammed AdowMohamed is a journalist based in Nairobi, who has reported extensively on the conflicts in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Kenya. He was an active voice in covering the climate talks in Durban, South Africa at last year's conference of the parties.
Former President Mohammed NasheedOusted in a political coup in February, Mohammed Nasheed was the first democratically elected president of the Maldives in 2009. He became a leader in the UN Climate Negotiations, calling for a return to 350ppm C02, and asking that a binding treaty be enacted which limits global temperature rise to 2 degrees celsius. Efforts that do not cap the global increase by 2 degrees will result in the Maldives being an underwater country.
Vandana ShivaVandana Shiva is an Indian Physicist and internationally renowned activist, who has spread a powerful vision of peace and non-violence around the globe. She works to aim and defend nature and the rights of people to safe and clean food and drinking water, as well as dignified jobs. She's worked to promote local and ecological models of food production, and has often highlighted the climate chaos that threatens global systems of food and infrastructure.
Casper ter KuileCasper is the Co-Director of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, and is currently a campaign strategist for Common Cause. His passion is in communications strategy and how we can change opinions and behaviors through telling the right story to the right people.
Marita ManleyMarita Manley managed the Pacific Agriculture and Forestry Policy Network (PAFPNet) at SPC until July 2010 and supervised the research and the development of the Pacific Youth in Agriculture Strategy. She now works as a Technical Adviser for GIZ, the German Agency for International Cooperation, on a climate change adaptation program.
Sean WeaverDr Sean Weaver is Principal, Carbon Partnership Ltd. '' a climate policy, carbon market project design, and education consultancy. He has over 20 years experience as a practitioner/educator in environmental policy and management. He's the UNFCCC negotiator for Vanuatu, and is now focusing on climate change and carbon markets education for policy and business leaders.
Ricken PatelRicken Patel is co-founder and executive director of Avaaz.org. Ricken was voted ''Ultimate Gamechanger in Politics'' in 2009 by the Huffington Post and was named a Young Global Leader by the Davos World Economic Forum. Prior to Avaaz he lived in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and other countries in conflict, and worked for the International Crisis Group, the Rockefeller Foundation, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and Res Publica.
Wael HmaidanWael Hmaidan is a social entrepreneur and founder of IndyACT, the League of Independent Activists. He has established the 'Arab Climate Campaign' in the organization, which aims at achieving a strong post-2012 climate policy in the region. Wael also initiated the establishment of the Arab Climate Alliance to push for strong climate policy through the Arab League. After two years, the campaign was able to drastically change the Arab climate change position, push climate change up the political agenda, and make climate change a major concern among Arab public. Wael has more than 13 years experience in climate change and environmental campaigning in the Arab World. Currently, he is co-chair in the mitigation working group of the Climate Action Network and member of its political coordination unit. He is also an Ashoka Fellow, and a steering committee member for GAIA.
Jorge Rodriguez-GeradaHe is a founder of the New York Culture Jamming movement and an innovator in the international urban art scene. Since the late 90´s he has been replacing the faces of cultural icons chosen by advertisers with the faces of anonymous people to question the controls imposed on public space, the role models designated and the type of events that are guarded by the collective memory. Rodr­guez-Gerada´s unique direction was mentioned in Naomi Klein´s book No Logo and was a precursor of the use of anonymous portraits now common in street art. His spectacular interventions are created for the sake of bringing awareness to relevant social issues. His large scale time base works avoid negative impact on the environment, challenge the conformity in contemporary art and allow for a reflection that goes beyond the completion of the piece to focus in its concept, process, and the metaphor that comes forth because of the material chosen.
Ronny JumeauRonny Jumeau is a Seychellies political figure and diplomat, and is now permanent representative of the Seychelles to the UN and the US, a position he's held since 2007. From 1998 to 2007 he served in the Seychelles government, as minister for agriculture and marine resources, minister for culture and information, minister for the environment, and minister for the environment and natural resources.
Sze PingSze Ping is currently the Secretary General of the Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology. He worked for the UN Environmental Program, and has led the establishment of Greenpeace in China since 1999. He serves in the boards of All China Environmental Federation, as well as Friends of Nature, which is the oldest green NGO in China.
Kumi NaidooKumi Naidoo is the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, and has worked closely with Greenpeace for a number of years. He was involved in South Africa's liberation struggle, and worked for a legalization of the African National Congress. He was involved in the development of Greenpeace's work in AFrica, and became a board member of Greenpeace Africa when it opened offices in 2008.
Rod OramRod Oram is a NZ journalist who writes on corporate, economic, and political issues. He's a trustee of the Hikurangi Foundation, an initiative to develop grassroots responses to climate change, and of the council for socially responsible investment. He's also a member of the climate change action group in the Anglican diocese of Aukland.
Rubens Harry BornDr. Rubens Harry Born is the Executive director of Vitae Civillis Institute for Development, Environment and Peace, Brazil. He's a dedicated climate activist, calling for conservation and sustainable development.
Liz ThompsonHenrietta Elizabeth Thompson is one of the two newly appointed Assistant Secretaries General, with responsibility as Executive Coordinators of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 2012). Liz Thompson of Barbados brings to her post extensive experience and leadership at the national, regional and international levels and a breadth of exposure to sustainable development and environmental issues.
A current pause in global warming: McKitrick | GUNTER | Columnists | Opinion | C
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 10:33
It's officially known as a report on the "Measurement of the Duration of a Trendless Subsample in a Global Climate Time Series." In real-people-speak, it's a study of just how long the current pause in global warming has lasted.
And the results are profound.
According to Canadian Ross McKitrick, a professor of environmental economics who wrote the paper for the Open Journal of Statistics, "I make the duration out to be 19 years at the surface and 16 to 26 years in the lower troposphere depending on the data set used."
In still plainer English, McKitrick has crunched the numbers from all the major weather organizations in the world and has found that there has been no overall warming at the Earth's surface since 1995 - that's 19 years in all.
During the past two decades, there have been hotter years and colder years, but on the whole the world's temperatures have not been rising. Despite a 13 per cent rise in carbon dioxide levels over the period, the average global temperature is the same today as it was almost 20 years ago.
In the lower atmosphere, there has been no warming for somewhere between 16 and 26 years, depending on which weather organization's records are used.
Not a single one of the world's major meteorological organizations - including the ones the United Nations relies on for its hysterical, the-skies-are-on-fire predictions of environmental apocalypse - shows atmospheric warming for at least the last 16 years. And some show no warming for the past quarter century.
This might be less significant if some of the major temperature records showed warming and some did not. But they all show no warming.
Even the records maintained by devoted eco-alarmists, such as the UK's Hadley Centre, show no appreciable warming since the mid-1990s.
Despite continued cymbal-crashing propaganda from environmentalists and politicians who insist humankind is approaching a critical climate-change tipping point, there is no real evidence this is true.
There are no more hurricanes than usual, no more typhoons or tornadoes, floods or droughts. What there is, is more media coverage more often.
Forty years ago when a tropical storm wiped out villages on a South Pacific Island there might have been pictures in the newspaper days or weeks later, then nothing more. Now there is live television coverage hours after the fact and for weeks afterwards.
That creates the impression storms are worse than they used to be, even though statistically they are not.
While the UN's official climate-scare mouthpiece, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has acknowledged the lack of warming over the past two decades, it has done so very quietly. What's more, it has not permitted the facts to get in the way of its continued insistence that the world is going to hell in a hand basket soon unless modern economies are crippled and more decision-making power is turned over to the UN and to national bureaucrats and environmental activists.
Later this month in New York, the UN will hold a climate summit including many of the world's leaders. So frantic are UN bureaucrats to keep the climate scare alive they have begun a worldwide search for what they themselves call a climate-change "Malala."
That's a reference to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban after demanding an education. Her wounding sparked a renewed, worldwide concern for women's rights.
The new climate spokeswoman must be a female under 30, come from a poor country and have been the victim of a nature disaster.
If the facts surrounding climate-disaster predictions weren't falling apart, the UN wouldn't such need a sympathetic new face of fear.
lorne.gunter@shaw.ca
33 Things to Do Before Climate Change Ruins Everything '-- Matter '-- Medium
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 10:12
Illustrations by Kurt McRobertPhoto-illustrations by Rich Petrucci
You're the kind of person who likes his boardwalks above water. You don't have allergies. You like winter. You want your champagne to come from the Champagne region of France'--not some unromantic corner of England hundreds of miles to the north. You like cherry pie. You like oysters. You eat fish. You don't eat jellyfish. You're the kind of person, then, who needs the Matter handbook to a burning planet, a compendium of real scientific findings that look at how the globe may change over the next fifty years and beyond. Think of it as your guide to the good life before climate change melts it away.
1.Joshua TreesWas it a bad idea to name a national park after a tree that can't handle the heat? In retrospect, yes. The Joshua trees of Joshua Tree National Park need periods of cold temperatures before they can flower. Young trees are now rare in the park. Older trees are beginning to sag. Suggested rebranding for 2065: ''Death Valley Annex.''
2.A UrologistUm, this is awkward to talk about, but the coming decades promise a stunning expansion of America's ''kidney stone belt,'' a band of southerly states where the prevalence of dehydration'--and thus kidney stones'--is markedly higher. (Yes, the belt exists. Yes, they call it that. Yes, that's also awkward.) Today the belt covers roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population. Research suggests the number will be 56 percent by 2050, 70 percent by 2095. With more pollen in the air due to climate change, everyone is worried about allergies. But focus your attention where it really counts. Common sense suggests the best time to lock up a world-class urologist is now.
3.America's Favorite SpaceportThe Kennedy Space Center, the launch site for the Apollo missions and every other manned space flight over the past 45 years, is just as endangered as the rest of the U.S. space program. The popular tourist attraction sits at the water's edge on Cape Canaveral. Elevation: between six and 10 feet above current sea level, in the danger zone as oceans expand over the next 45 years. Other NASA outposts are just as threatened. ''Retreat is the way to go here,'' says a member of NASA's climate-impacts team at Langely Research Center in Virginia.
4.CherriesTake, for instance, the ones found in your favorite cherry pie. Eighty percent of tart cherries come from a single five-county area in Michigan, all of which is threatened. So if the anti-climate change ''Save the Cherry'' campaign, which was launched in July at the National Cherry Festival, is a bust, look forward to later blossoms, unpredictable cherry harvests, and empty fruit stands, as happened in 2012, when an abnormal freeze-thaw cycle decimated the state's crops.
5.Whatever it is People Go to Vegas ForSeven U.S. States plus Mexico share the waters of the overstretched Colorado River, and Nevada's legal share is tiniest of all: less than two percent of the flow. If the current drought continues to shrink Lake Mead, the reservoir on the Colorado that keeps Vegas alive, Sin City's water could be gone before Britney is. (She will then be 67 and in the Dolly Parton phase of her Vegas run.)
6.The Ruin Porn of Old HavanaThe '57 Chevy, the unofficial car of Cuba, weighs well over 3,000 pounds. It doesn't float. Nor, unfortunately, will Havana's beautiful, crumbling colonial core, parts of which are barely six feet above sea level.
7.The Hot Dog Eating ContestOr at least the place where they hold it. Coney Island, the most famous boardwalk and beachside amusement park in America, barely survived Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The bad news: By 2100, storms like it and Hurricane Katrina could hit the East and Gulf Coasts every other year or so.
8.Oysters. Damnit! Oysters?Yeah, sorry. Warmer waters may mean poisonous shellfish. The most common cause of seafood-related stomach illness, the bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus, is at its most virulent in the Pacific Northwest. But health authorities on the East Coast and in northern Spain got a recent surprise when two of the worst strains appeared in the Atlantic Ocean.
9.The North PoleSo here's how wet things are getting at the North Pole: To reach the site of the actual site of the actual pole, twin Russian submarines had to dive 14,000 feet to plant a flag. Under the water. The floating Arctic ice cap shrank to a record low of 1.32 million square miles in the summer of 2012'--half its summertime size in the 1980s.
10.The Ice Roads of GreenlandIce taxis'--in some cases Ford SUVs'--have been the cheap, fast way to travel village-to-village across frozen fjords in parts of west Greenland. Recent warm winters have left the fjords with only thin sheets of ice (enough for a smart car, maybe) and left villagers and visitors with a choice: Hire a helicopter or stay at home.
11.Fish that Doesn't Taste Like Chewing GumImportant cold-water fish species, including cod, pollock, and Atlantic Salmon, face a growing threat of population collapse as the oceans heat up. Studies suggest a radical fix: Eat lots of jellyfish, which will thrive in our new climate.
12.Coffee. Holy Shit! Coffee?!A two-degree Celsius temperature rise in the coffee regions of Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, and Mexico, along with a projected five- to 10-percent decrease in rainfall, could lead to a nearly 40 percent decrease in land suitable for growing coffee crops in those countries. Your $10 latte is almost ready.
(Stan Shebs/Wikimedia Commons)13.The Panama CanalThis engineering marvel depends on freshwater from the Chagres River to run its locks'--52 million gallons per passage'--and is imperiled by shifts in rainfall. Also, climate change is creating a competitor: Ships choosing an ice-free Arctic over the Panama Canal could save weeks of transit time and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
14.Peru's Favorite GlacierA top South American spot for tourists and school kids to see glacial ice is going through an identity crisis. The Pastoruri Glacier has shrunk in half and retreated from the roadside, and it's calving so unpredictably that it has been closed to climbers, lest they get crushed. Peru's tourism authorities already have a Plan B: On the new Climate Change Route, tour buses take you where the glacier has disappeared.
(MattysFlicks/Flickr)15.Good CocaineWhile heroin addicts have it better'--according to one study, poppy plants will thrive in the coming climate'--coke addicts have reason to get the shakes. Deforestation from illicit Colombian coca plantations is a significant driver of climate change, thus a target in the war on warming. Worse, century-old research suggests that the concentration of the plant's active ingredient, an alkaloid, may be reduced as temperatures rise.
16.The Moai of Easter IslandMost of the stone sentinels of Rapa Nui National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, stand perilously close to the water's edge. On the upside, the island's unpolluted waters are crystal clear'--perfect for diving and snorkeling when the statues sink beneath the sea. Look for jellyfish!
(United States Department of Energy/Wikimedia Commons)17.The World's Most Beautiful Bombing RangeAlmost 70 years after the United States began a series of devastating nuclear test blasts on the Marshall Islands, the 23 low-lying islands that make up Bikini Atoll are still uninhabitable. Now, the carbon-emitting world is conspiring to keep them that way: The Marshall Islands is one of the countries most threatened by sea level rise.
18.The Sydney Opera HouseThe iconic, $800 million building at edge of gradually rising, 11-square mile natural harbor: Photogenic, yes. Long-lived, no.
(Dylan Bainst-Bliss/Flickr)19.The Great Barrier Reef'--Without Dying of a Terrible DiseaseThe good news is that you'll still be able to visit the Great Barrier Reef, even as warmer ocean temperatures hasten the coral die-off. The bad: If you step out of the water, you may get dengue fever. (The mosquito-borne disease is expanding its range dramatically as Australia warms.)
20.The Part of Australia Where the Food Comes FromDrought in The Murray-Darling Basin, Australia's breadbasket, is becoming so normal that people have begun using the term ''dryness,'' to suggest permanence. Along with local milk prices, global rice prices are showing the strain.
21.Skiing in North KoreaThere are a few reasons why dictator Kim Jong Un's new ski area, Masik Pass, is a bad idea (hint: not the lift lines), and climate change appears to be one of them. Unlike Whistler, and other large resorts in Europe and North America, which are gradually moving facilities higher into the mountains, Masik Pass has nowhere to go when temperatures spike.
(Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)22.A Frozen Homage to Lord ShivaThe Amarnath Yatra, a major pilgrimage route in the Indian Himalaya, leads to a frozen lingam'--a phallus-shaped frozen waterfall'--in a remote cave. In recent years, perhaps aided by the combined body heat from a crush of visitors, the shrine has melted up to 10 days before the official end of the pilgrimage.
23.Not Getting Eaten by Bengal TigersSouth Asia's biggest cat is making one of its last stands in the 540-square-mile Sundarbans, one of the world's largest mangrove forests, which straddles the India-Bangladesh border at the mouth of the Ganges River. Many of its low-lying islands will slip into the sea by 2100. Visit in the meantime'--or don't. Pushed out of their habitat, the tigers have lately been prowling nearby villages and preying on people.
(Frank Lukasseck/Getty Images)24.The Venice of the EastSuzhou, China is a series of canals, pagodas, stone bridges, and lush gardens close to Shanghai, and it's afflicted by the same problem as the Venice of the West. Its principal attraction, the water, may overwhelm it before the century is up.
(Eitan Simanor/Robert Harding/AP)25.Hiroshima Peace MemorialLike Bikini Atoll, this haunting reminder of the violent power of nuclear weapons is so close to the rising ocean that it may end up reminding us of something else'--the slower violence of carbon emissions.
(Corbis)26.Those Planet-Shaped Islands in DubaiConstruction of ''The World,'' an exclusive archipelago of 300 artificial islands was halted in 2009 after the financial crisis. Now it appears to be resuming. If completed by the middle of this century, it will be just in time for rising seas to wash them away. The latest project of Dubai's ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum'Š'--'Ša domed, climate-controlled city stretching 4.3 miles through the desert'Š'--'Šmay be more resilient. Its inventive name: Mall of the World.
27.The Source of the NileMount Kilimanjaro has Africa's most famously shrunken ice cap, but the hastening melt in the Mountains of the Moon, which straddle Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will be more devastating: As geographer Claudius Ptolemy noticed in 150 A.D., the mountains are ''the snowy source of the Nile,'' the river that is the lifeline for much of northern Africa, especially restive Egypt and South Sudan. The Rwenzoris' glaciers covered 2.7 square miles more than a century ago, but less than 0.4 square miles as of last year.
28.Chocolate. Mmmm'... Chocolate'... Wait, What?Steep projected declines in yields of maize, sorghum, and other staples portend a coming food crisis for parts of sub-Saharan Africa. But here's what will probably get everyone's attention in the developed world: Studies suggest cacao production will begin to decline in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, the source of half of the world's chocolate, by 2030.
(Philip Lee Harvey/Cultura RM/Getty Images)29.The Site of CarthageCoastal ruins across the Mediterranean and the world are under threat from sea level rise. The sinking of the 3,000-year-old Phoenician city of Carthage in Tunisia, once the center of a hopeful empire that was founded not far from the modern birthplace of the Arab Spring, would be an unnecessary metaphor.
30.Cheap Flights to ParisBlame consolidation, blame Heathrow, blame the Euro, and now blame climate change for the disappearance of bargain fares to Europe. The climate part: Warming is expected to measurably increase air turbulence over the North Atlantic, which will increase travel times, fuel consumption, and thus prices. Just when you need the comforts of first class so you can ignore all the bumps, you especially can't afford it.
31.The Leaning Tower of PisaThis off-kilter attraction may be winning its war against gravity, but another force of nature awaits: wave erosion. The tower and the surrounding UNESCO-protected Piazza del Duomo sit at an elevation of barely six feet above current sea level.
32.Birdwatching in Scotland (People Do This!)On the verge of an historic independence vote, Scotland is debating the need for a new national bird. Bad timing: By 2100, bird species in the British Isles are expected to move northward by an average of 340 miles to beat the heat, and key Scottish species'Š'--'Šcrossbills, skuas, petrels, and scooters'Š'--'Šwill have nowhere to go but extinct.
33.The Imaginary Line that Divides Switzerland and ItalyNear the Matterhorn high in the Alps, retreating glaciers are causing a geographical quandary. The border, pegged to ridges of now nonexistent ice, has effectively disappeared. In 2009, Switzerland and Italy resolved the first of these potential border disputes through parliamentary action, moving the redrawn line by up to 300 feet. No shots were fired.
A previous version of this story mislabeled the Arctic as Antarctica. Matter regrets this reverse in polarity.
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99.999% certainty humans are driving global warming: new study
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 08:03
A new study finds overwhelming odds that humans have contributed to higher global temperatures '' so how much are we willing to gamble that it's wrong? Kraevski Vitaly/ShutterstockThere is less than 1 chance in 100,000 that global average temperature over the past 60 years would have been as high without human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, our new research shows.
Published in the journal Climate Risk Management today, our research is the first to quantify the probability of historical changes in global temperatures and examines the links to greenhouse gas emissions using rigorous statistical techniques.
Our new CSIRO work provides an objective assessment linking global temperature increases to human activity, which points to a close to certain probability exceeding 99.999%.
Our work extends existing approaches undertaken internationally to detect climate change and attribute it to human or natural causes. The 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report provided an expert consensus that:
It is extremely likely [defined as 95-100% certainty] that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic [human-caused] increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together.
Decades of extraordinary temperaturesJuly 2014 was the 353rd consecutive month in which global land and ocean average surface temperature exceeded the 20th-century monthly average. The last time the global average surface temperature fell below that 20th-century monthly average was in February 1985, as reported by the US-based National Climate Data Center.
This means that anyone born after February 1985 has not lived a single month where the global temperature was below the long-term average for that month.
We developed a statistical model that related global temperature to various well-known drivers of temperature variation, including El Ni±o, solar radiation, volcanic aerosols and greenhouse gas concentrations. We tested it to make sure it worked on the historical record and then re-ran it with and without the human influence of greenhouse gas emissions.
Our analysis showed that the probability of getting the same run of warmer-than-average months without the human influence was less than 1 chance in 100,000.
We do not use physical models of Earth's climate, but observational data and rigorous statistical analysis, which has the advantage that it provides independent validation of the results.
Detecting and measuring human influenceOur research team also explored the chance of relatively short periods of declining global temperature. We found that rather than being an indicator that global warming is not occurring, the observed number of cooling periods in the past 60 years strongly reinforces the case for human influence.
We identified periods of declining temperature by using a moving 10-year window (1950 to 1959, 1951 to 1960, 1952 to 1961, etc.) through the entire 60-year record. We identified 11 such short time periods where global temperatures declined.
Our analysis showed that in the absence of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, there would have been more than twice as many periods of short-term cooling than are found in the observed data.
There was less than 1 chance in 100,000 of observing 11 or fewer such events without the effects of human greenhouse gas emissions.
CSIRO scientists Dr Steve Rintoul, Dr John Church and Dr Pep Canadell explain how and why the Earth's climate is warming.
The problem and the solutionWhy is this research important? For a start, it might help put to rest some common misunderstandings about there being no link between human activity and the observed, long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.
Our analysis '' as well as the work of many others '' shows beyond reasonable doubt that humans are contributing to significant changes in our climate.
Good risk management is all about identifying the most likely causes of a problem, and then acting to reduce those risks. Some of the projected impacts of climate change can be avoided, reduced or delayed by effective reduction in global net greenhouse gas emissions and by effective adaptation to the changing climate.
Ignoring the problem is no longer an option. If we are thinking about action to respond to climate change or doing nothing, with a probability exceeding 99.999% that the warming we are seeing is human-induced, we certainly shouldn't be taking the chance of doing nothing.
Republish this articleWe believe in the free flow of information. We use a Creative Commons license, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print.
RepublishTagsClimate change, Global warming, Temperature, IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, rising temperatures
Related articlesRenewable energy is an excellent way to hedge against the impacts of climate policies.Indigo Skies Photography/FlickrBy Iain MacGill
Australia's weather records need careful analysis to correct any introduced errors.Photographic Collection from Australia/Wikimedia CommonsBy Lisa Alexander and Andy Pitman
A dead coral reef in the Caribbean. Coral reefs are extremely vulnerable to climate change and ocean acidification.superqq/FlickrBy Bill Laurance, James Cook University
Planes and airports both have big carbon footprints '' and the sector is still growing.ssguy/ShutterstockBy David Hodgkinson, University of Western Australia
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Whatever Happened to Global Warming?
On Sept. 23 the United Nations will host a party for world leaders in New York to pledge urgent action against climate change. Yet leaders from China, India and Germany have already announced that they won't attend the summit and others are likely to follow, leaving President Obama looking a bit lonely. Could it be that they no longer regard it as an urgent threat that some time later in this century the air may get a bit warmer?
In effect, this is all that's left of the global-warming emergency the U.N. declared in its first report on the subject in 1990. The U.N. no longer claims that there will be dangerous or rapid climate change in the next two decades. Last September, between the second and final draft of its fifth assessment report, the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change quietly downgraded the warming it expected in the 30 years following 1995, to about 0.5 degrees Celsius from 0.7 (or, in Fahrenheit, to about 0.9 degrees, from 1.3).
Even that is likely to be too high. The climate-research establishment has finally admitted openly what skeptic scientists have been saying for nearly a decade: Global warming has stopped since shortly before this century began.
First the climate-research establishment denied that a pause existed, noting that if there was a pause, it would invalidate their theories. Now they say there is a pause (or "hiatus"), but that it doesn't after all invalidate their theories.
Alas, their explanations have made their predicament worse by implying that man-made climate change is so slow and tentative that it can be easily overwhelmed by natural variation in temperature—a possibility that they had previously all but ruled out.
When the climate scientist and geologist Bob Carter of James Cook University in Australia wrote an article in 2006 saying that there had been no global warming since 1998 according to the most widely used measure of average global air temperatures, there was an outcry. A year later, when David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London made the same point, the environmentalist and journalist Mark Lynas said in the New Statesman that Mr. Whitehouse was "wrong, completely wrong," and was "deliberately, or otherwise, misleading the public."
We know now that it was Mr. Lynas who was wrong. Two years before Mr. Whitehouse's article, climate scientists were already admitting in emails among themselves that there had been no warming since the late 1990s. "The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998," wrote Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia in Britain in 2005. He went on: "Okay it has but it is only seven years of data and it isn't statistically significant."
If the pause lasted 15 years, they conceded, then it would be so significant that it would invalidate the climate-change models upon which policy was being built. A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) written in 2008 made this clear: "The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more."
Well, the pause has now lasted for 16, 19 or 26 years—depending on whether you choose the surface temperature record or one of two satellite records of the lower atmosphere. That's according to a new statistical calculation by Ross McKitrick, a professor of economics at the University of Guelph in Canada.
It has been roughly two decades since there was a trend in temperature significantly different from zero. The burst of warming that preceded the millennium lasted about 20 years and was preceded by 30 years of slight cooling after 1940.
This has taken me by surprise. I was among those who thought the pause was a blip. As a "lukewarmer," I've long thought that man-made carbon-dioxide emissions will raise global temperatures, but that this effect will not be amplified much by feedbacks from extra water vapor and clouds, so the world will probably be only a bit more than one degree Celsius warmer in 2100 than today. By contrast, the assumption built into the average climate model is that water-vapor feedback will treble the effect of carbon dioxide.
But now I worry that I am exaggerating, rather than underplaying, the likely warming.
Most science journalists, who are strongly biased in favor of reporting alarming predictions, rather than neutral facts, chose to ignore the pause until very recently, when there were explanations available for it. Nearly 40 different excuses for the pause have been advanced, including Chinese economic growth that supposedly pushed cooling sulfate particles into the air, the removal of ozone-eating chemicals, an excess of volcanic emissions, and a slowdown in magnetic activity in the sun.
The favorite explanation earlier this year was that strong trade winds in the Pacific Ocean had been taking warmth from the air and sequestering it in the ocean. This was based on a few sketchy observations, suggesting a very tiny change in water temperature—a few hundredths of a degree—at depths of up to 200 meters.
Last month two scientists wrote in Science that they had instead found the explanation in natural fluctuations in currents in the Atlantic Ocean. For the last 30 years of the 20th century, Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung suggested, these currents had been boosting the warming by bringing heat to the surface, then for the past 15 years the currents had been counteracting it by taking heat down deep.
The warming in the last three decades of the 20th century, to quote the news release that accompanied their paper, "was roughly half due to global warming and half to the natural Atlantic Ocean cycle." In other words, even the modest warming in the 1980s and 1990s—which never achieved the 0.3 degrees Celsius per decade necessary to satisfy the feedback-enhanced models that predict about three degrees of warming by the end of the century—had been exaggerated by natural causes. The man-made warming of the past 20 years has been so feeble that a shifting current in one ocean was enough to wipe it out altogether.
Putting the icing on the cake of good news, Xianyao Chen and Ka-Kit Tung think the Atlantic Ocean may continue to prevent any warming for the next two decades. So in their quest to explain the pause, scientists have made the future sound even less alarming than before. Let's hope that the United Nations admits as much on day one of its coming jamboree and asks the delegates to pack up, go home and concentrate on more pressing global problems like war, terror, disease, poverty, habitat loss and the 1.3 billion people with no electricity.
Mr. Ridley is the author of "The Rational Optimist" (HarperCollins, 2010) and a member of the British House of Lords.
Shut Up Slave!
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The Campus Debit Card Trap | U.S. PIRG
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 10:53
Contact: Chris Lindstrom, chris.lindstrom@pirg.org 617-747-4330
Banks and other financial firms are taking advantage of a variety of opportunities to form partnerships with colleges and universities to produce campus student ID cards and to offer student aid disbursements on debit or prepaid cards. In addition to on-campus services, such as student ID functions offered on the card, some cards offer traditional debit card services linked to bank accounts; other cards provide additional reloadable prepaid card functions. The disbursement of financial aid and university refunds is the most significant partnership identified.
While schools are obtaining revenues and reducing costs by outsourcing certain services, the relationships between schools and financial institutions have raised questions because students end up bearing some costs directly '' including per-swipe fees, inactivity fees, overdraft fees and more. Other issues include the effect of aggressive marketing strategies by partnering companies on student choice and weaker consumer protections on certain cards that hold student aid funds.
For example, students are not necessarily making their financial choices freely. When the college has selected a student ID vendor that ''incidentally'' offers additional banking services on the college-mascot-embellished card, the student's choices are limited and the student is under the presumption that the college endorses the provider.
Inquiries into the privatization of government benefits through the use of prepaid cards in other sectors, such as state unemployment benefits, have suggested that transparency of terms and fees, as well as contracts, leads to governments making better deals, with fewer fees, for their clients.
This U.S PIRG Education Fund report is an overview of the campus card marketplace and includes a survey of campus cards at the 50 largest public universities, 50 largest community colleges, and 20 largest private universities by campus population. It recommends best practices by colleges and banks and new protections for consumers, and provides tips for students. Greater transparency will help make the market work better.
- U.S. PIRG has identified almost 900 card partnerships between colleges and banks or other financial firms at schools with over 9 million students, or over 2 in 5 (42%) of all students nationwide.
- Industry leading banks and financial firms tout that upwards of 70%-80% of students use their cards after a few years of marketing.
- U.S. PIRG has identified that 32 of the 50 largest public 4-year universities, 26 of the largest 50 community colleges, and 6 of the largest 20 private not-for-profit schools had debit or prepaid card contracts with a bank or a financial firm.
- Of banks, US Bank had the most card agreements, at 52 campuses with over 1.7 million students. Wells Fargo had card agreements at schools with the most students; its contracts were at 43 campuses that have over 2 million students.
- The largest financial firm player, Higher One, has card agreements with 520 campuses that enroll over 4.3 million students.
- Although contracts are hard to obtain, revenues to schools can be substantial. A new contract between Ohio State University and Huntington Bank includes $25 million in payments to the school over 15 years. It also includes an additional $100 million in lending and investment to neighborhoods surrounding campus.
- Fees can be steep and frequent for students using the university-adopted cards, including a variety of per-swipe fees, inactivity fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees and fees to reload prepaid cards.
- At least one fee listed on Higher One's fee schedule would violate U.S. Department of Education rules if charged, other fees may violate other rules.
- Potentially aggressive marketing tactics can make students captive customers.
- Access to student financial aid funds placed on debit cards can be subject to limited availability of ''convenient'' fee-free ATMs for student loan withdrawals despite U.S. of Education rules. Students end up paying fees to access their aid.
- Debit card contracts have been controversial at some campuses.
- Some practices, such as outsourcing of student ID functions and pre-loading of disbursement cards, raise privacy issues.
MasterCard-backed biometric ID system launched in Nigeria | Ars Technica
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 10:51
Nigeria's new national eID card.
Last week, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was one of the first citizens to receive a National eID card, a biometric identification card that will be rolled out to 13 million Nigerians in the near future. Although a handful of countries already use biometric identification systems, Nigeria's will be unique as its pilot program will be branded with MasterCard logos. The program will eventually be expanded to encompass the rest of the country's adult population, and the BBC says that all Nigerians will be required to have such a card by 2019 if they wish to vote in the country's upcoming elections.
Further ReadingAs MasterCard stated in a press release, the eID cards come equipped with an EMV chip that allows card carriers to access prepaid financial services backed by Nigeria's local Access Bank and MasterCard. The justification for intertwining identity documentation with financial services from a private company like MasterCard is that many of Nigeria's citizens have never set up a bank account and therefore tend to be excluded from loan qualification.The Nigerian government says that putting a payment platform on the ID cards will eventually let citizens receive and spend money from government institutions. As MasterCard writes, ''Using the card as a payment tool, Nigerians can deposit funds, receive social benefits, save, or engage in many other financial transactions that are facilitated by electronic payments with the extra security assurance that biometric verification provides. They can also pay for goods and services and withdraw cash at millions of merchants and ATMS that accept MasterCard payment cards in Nigeria and in more than 210 countries and territories globally.'' MasterCard has a number of similar partnerships with government institutions in countries like Pakistan and Turkey, as well as the city of Toronto. They all use prepaid cards from Mastercard to dole out government funds.
To qualify for the new cards, Nigerians 16 years and older must provide 10 finger prints, a facial photo, and an iris capture. The multi-function biometric cards are part of an effort to consolidate all the records of Nigerian citizens, including driver's licensing, voter registration, health insurance, tax information, and national pension commission information. The Nigerian Identity Management Commission also said that the cards will eventually be able to stand in for passports when the card holder is traveling between West African countries.
Nigeria attempted a similar identification scheme a decade ago but citizens voted against it. Attendees of a recent identification forum in Nigeria speaking to TV360Nigeria earlier this summer said that the lack of reliable identification in the country was a primary concern for the future. ZDNet blogger Adam Oxford wrote that Nigeria is now the largest economy on the African continent and ''the government is now keen to throw off its international reputation as a hotbed of fraud dating back to the many email-based '419 scams' that originated from the country.''
Still, combining biometrics and MasterCard branding on a required identification document concerns some. "Centralizing and combining government databases makes it easy to link together pieces of information about an individual and build a near complete picture of someone's life," Anna Crowe of Civil liberties NGO Privacy International told ZDNet. "This type of capability is extremely invasive." MasterCard has said that it will not have access to any of the biometric information stored on the card'--only to information about financial transactions.
Biometric ID cards have been promulgated in India, but attempts to link the cards with government subsidy payments have seen significant setbacks. Malaysia and Indonesia are two countries that have made significant strides in outfitting their citizens with biometric ID cards. Two years ago, Egypt also sought to make digital ID cards the norm for its citizens, although such a plan has not come to fruition.
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Mysterious Phony Cell Towers Could Be Intercepting Your Calls | Popular Science
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 08:37
Like many of the ultra-secure phones that have come to market in the wake of Edward Snowden's leaks, the CryptoPhone 500, which is marketed in the U.S. by ESD America and built on top of an unassuming Samsung Galaxy SIII body, features high-powered encryption. Les Goldsmith, the CEO of ESD America, says the phone also runs a customized or "hardened" version of Android that removes 468 vulnerabilities that his engineering team team found in the stock installation of the OS.His mobile security team also found that the version of the Android OS that comes standard on the Samsung Galaxy SIII leaks data to parts unknown 80-90 times every hour. That doesn't necessarily mean that the phone has been hacked, Goldmsith says, but the user can't know whether the data is beaming out from a particular app, the OS, or an illicit piece of spyware. His clients want real security and control over their device, and have the money to pay for it.
To show what the CryptoPhone can do that less expensive competitors cannot, he points me to a map that he and his customers have created, indicating 17 different phony cell towers known as ''interceptors,'' detected by the CryptoPhone 500 around the United States during the month of July alone. (The map below is from August.) Interceptors look to a typical phone like an ordinary tower. Once the phone connects with the interceptor, a variety of ''over-the-air'' attacks become possible, from eavesdropping on calls and texts to pushing spyware to the device.
''Interceptor use in the U.S. is much higher than people had anticipated,'' Goldsmith says. ''One of our customers took a road trip from Florida to North Carolina and he found 8 different interceptors on that trip. We even found one [in the vicinity of] South Point Casino in Las Vegas.''
Who is running these interceptors and what are they doing with the calls?
Who is running these interceptors and what are they doing with the calls? Goldsmith says we can't be sure, but he has his suspicions.
''What we find suspicious is that a lot of these interceptors are right on top of U.S. military bases. So we begin to wonder '' are some of them U.S. government interceptors? Or are some of them Chinese interceptors?'' says Goldsmith. ''Whose interceptor is it? Who are they, that's listening to calls around military bases? Is it just the U.S. military, or are they foreign governments doing it? The point is: we don't really know whose they are.''
Interceptors vary widely in expense and sophistication '' but in a nutshell, they are radio-equipped computers with software that can use arcane cellular network protocols and defeat the onboard encryption. Whether your phone uses Android or iOS, it also has a second operating system that runs on a part of the phone called a baseband processor. The baseband processor functions as a communications middleman between the phone's main O.S. and the cell towers. And because chip manufacturers jealously guard details about the baseband O.S., it has been too challenging a target for garden-variety hackers.
''The baseband processor is one of the more difficult things to get into or even communicate with,'' says Mathew Rowley, a senior security consultant at Matasano Security. ''[That's] because my computer doesn't speak 4G or GSM, and also all those protocols are encrypted. You have to buy special hardware to get in the air and pull down the waves and try to figure out what they mean. It's just pretty unrealistic for the general community.''
But for governments or other entities able to afford a price tag of ''less than $100,000,'' says Goldsmith, high-quality interceptors are quite realistic. Some interceptors are limited, only able to passively listen to either outgoing or incoming calls. But full-featured devices like the VME Dominator, available only to government agencies, can not only capture calls and texts, but even actively control the phone, sending out spoof texts, for example. Edward Snowden revealed that the N.S.A. is capable of an over-the-air attack that tells the phone to fake a shut-down while leaving the microphone running, turning the seemingly deactivated phone into a bug. And various ethical hackers have demonstrated DIY interceptor projects, using a software programmable radio and the open-source base station software package OpenBTS '' this creates a basic interceptor for less than $3,000. On August 11, the F.C.C. announced an investigation into the use of interceptors against Americans by foreign intelligence services and criminal gangs.
An ''Over-the-Air'' Attack Feels Like NothingWhenever he wants to test out his company's ultra-secure smart phone against an interceptor, Goldsmith drives past a certain government facility in the Nevada desert. (To avoid the attention of the gun-toting counter-intelligence agents in black SUVs who patrol the surrounding roads, he won't identify the facility to Popular Science). He knows that someone at the facility is running an interceptor, which gives him a good way to test out the exotic ''baseband firewall'' on his phone. Though the baseband OS is a ''black box'' on other phones, inaccessible to manufacturers and app developers, patent-pending software allows the GSMK CryptoPhone 500 to monitor the baseband processor for suspicious activity.
So when Goldsmith and his team drove by the government facility in July, he also took a standard Samsung Galaxy S4 and an iPhone to serve as a control group for his own device.
''As we drove by, the iPhone showed no difference whatsoever. The Samsung Galaxy S4, the call went from 4G to 3G and back to 4G. The CryptoPhone lit up like a Christmas tree.''
Though the standard Apple and Android phones showed nothing wrong, the baseband firewall on the Cryptophone set off alerts showing that the phone's encryption had been turned off, and that the cell tower had no name '' a telltale sign of a rogue base station. Standard towers, run by say, Verizon or T-Mobile, will have a name, whereas interceptors often do not.
Some devices can not only capture calls and texts, but even actively control the phone and send spoof texts.
And the interceptor also forced the CryptoPhone from 4G down to 2G, a much older protocol that is easier to de-crypt in real-time. But the standard smart phones didn't even show they'd experienced the same attack.
''If you've been intercepted, in some cases it might show at the top that you've been forced from 4G down to 2G. But a decent interceptor won't show that,'' says Goldsmith. ''It'll be set up to show you [falsely] that you're still on 4G. You'll think that you're on 4G, but you're actually being forced back to 2G.''
So Do I Need One?Though Goldsmith won't disclose sales figures or even a retail price for the GSMK CryptoPhone 500, he doesn't dispute an MIT Technology Review article from this past spring reporting that he produces about 400 phones per week for $3,500 each. So should ordinary Americans skip some car payments to be able to afford to follow suit?
It depends on what level of security you expect, and who you might reasonably expect to be trying to listen in, says Oliver Day, who runs Securing Change, an organization that provides security services to non-profits.
''There's this thing in our industry called ''threat modeling,'' says Day. ''One of the things you learn is that you have to have a realistic sense of your adversary. Who is my enemy? What skills does he have? What are my goals in terms of security?''
If you're not realistically of interest to the U.S. government and you never leave the country, then the CryptoPhone is probably more protection than you need. Goldsmith says he sells a lot of phones to executives who do business in Asia. The aggressive, sophisticated hacking teams working for the People's Liberation Army have targeted American trade secrets, as well as political dissidents.
Day, who has written a paper about undermining censorship software used by the Chinese government, recommends people in hostile communications environments watch what they say over the phone and buy disposable ''burner'' phones that can be used briefly and then discarded.
''I'm not bringing anything into China that I'm not willing to throw away on my return trip,'' says Day.
Goldsmith warns that a ''burner phone'' strategy can be dangerous. If Day were to call another person on the Chinese government's watch list, his burner phone's number would be added to the watch list, and then the government would watch to see who else he called. The CryptoPhone 500, in addition to alerting the user whenever it's under attack, can ''hide in plain sight'' when making phone calls. Though it does not use standard voice-over-IP or virtual private network security tools, the CryptoPhone can make calls using just a WI-FI connection -- it does not need an identifiable SIM card. When calling over the Internet, the phone appears to eavesdroppers as if it is just browsing the Internet.
Update (9/6/2014, 4:10 p.m. ET): Following the publication of this story, Goldsmith claimed that an interceptor was detected near the vicinity of South Point Casino in Las Vegas (he couldn't verify it was on the property). His quote has been edited for clarity.
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The Magic House - St. Louis Children's Museum
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 02:24
This Week's Public HoursSeptember 4 '' September 10
Thursday:12:00 - 5:30 pmFriday:12:00 - 9:00 pmSaturday:9:30 am - 5:30 pmSunday:11:00 am - 5:30 pmMonday:ClosedTuesday:12:00 - 5:30 pmWednesday:12:00 - 5:30 pmDuring the school year, special areas of the Museum open at 10:30 am, Tuesday through Friday for children ages 1 to 6.
Kids' Flea MarketSunday, September 21, 2014Looking for kids 16 years and younger to sell their homemade crafts, outgrown toys, books and more!
Magic Tree House® ExhibitOpens October 4!Join Jack and Annie on three of their favorite adventures in our newest traveling exhibit!
Fall Farm FestivalSeptember 13, 2014Enjoy a day of agricultural affairs, brought to you by the local county farm bureaus of Missouri and Illinois
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Undercover police will wear Packers gear at Seahawks opener
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 02:33
KING 5 News1:26 p.m. PDT September 3, 2014
Undercover police officers will wear Packers jerseys for the Seahawks' season opener in order to help detect inconsiderate behavior.(Photo: Don McPeak/USA Today Sports)
KING
Undercover law enforcement officers will be outfitted in opposing team jerseys for all Seahawks home games at Centurylink Field this season, including the opening game against the Packers on Thursday. The undercover police officers will help quickly detect fans exhibiting unruly and inconsiderate behavior.
Related: Fan Code of Conduct
Fans exhibiting behavior violating the Fan Code of Conduct will be ejected from the stadium and may be revoked of their ticket privileges.
Fans can report any inappropriate activity that is disrupting their enjoyment of the game via text-message at HAWK12 (429512).
The Seahawks also remind season ticket holders that they are responsible for the behavior of persons using their seats. If those persons are ejected, the Seahawks may take appropriate action against the season ticket holder, up to and including season ticket revocation.
Read or Share this story: http://www.king5.com/story/sports/nfl/seahawks/2014/09/03/undercover-police-officers-packers-jerseys/15029733/
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NA-Tech
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Ex-Googler Is Now the White House's Top Techie
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 14:13
Megan Smith, formerly of Google's shadowy "X" facility, is the new Chief Technology Officer of the United States, tasked with maintaining a technological edge for the entire country.
The Washington Post reports Smith will work alongside another former Googler, Alex Macgillivray, giving the Silicon Valley search juggernaut some very good friends in the White House:
Under Smith the position is expected to re-focus on being agenda-setting and forward-looking '-- something of the technological equivalent of the President's Science Advisor.
Said the president in a statement, "Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment. I am confident that in her new role as America's Chief Technology Officer, she will put her long record of leadership and exceptional skills to work on behalf of the American people. I am grateful for her commitment to serve, and I look forward to working with her and with our new Deputy U.S. CTO, Alexander Macgillivray, in the weeks and months ahead."
Smith is still legally married to high-profile journalist Kara Swisher, who New York magazine recently described as "Silicon Valley's most powerful snoop" in an article that also said they are no longer together. In her personal ethics statement, Swisher describes Smith as "my longtime spouse from whom I am now separate," and adds "[Smith] does not share information with me about any of [her] projects or any others at Google."
Photo: Getty
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Women & Smartphones/Cameras/Social Networks
Online networks and subjective well-being research - Google Search
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 22:59
About 1,590,000 results
Online networks and subjective well-being | Fabio ... - Academia.eduwww.academia.edu/.../Online_networks_and_subjective_well-being- CachedDoes Facebook make people lonely and unhappy? Empirical studies haveproduced conflicting results about the effect of social networking sites (SNS) useon ...Online networks and subjective well-being | Fabio ... - Academia.eduwww.academia.edu/.../Online_networks_and_subjective_well-being- CachedWe argue that the use of online networks may threaten subjective well-being in ...2.1 Online networks and individual well-being A relatively new field of research ...Online networks and subjective well-being - Munich Personal ...mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/58119/- CachedAug 26, 2014 ... Original Title: Online networks and subjective well-being ... and Growth > O3 -Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual ...Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being Archives - mainetodaymainetoday.com/tag/online-networks-and-subjective-well-being/- Cached1 day ago ... Tagged: Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being, Pew, social media, socialmedia research, social media survey, social trust.Social Networks Diminish Personal Well-Being, Researchers Say ...www.truthdig.com/.../social_networks_diminish_personal_wellness_ researchers_say_20140830- Cached6 days ago ... Two researchers set out to determine ''whether the use of online networksreduces subjective well-being and if so, how,'' the MIT Technology ...Facebook Use Predicts Declines in Subjective Well-Being in Young ...www.plosone.org/.../info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0069841- Cached - SimilarAug 14, 2013 ... Yet, whether Facebook use influences subjective well-being over time is .....Some researchers have speculated that online social networking ...Fabio Sabatini - Laboratory for Comparative Social Researchsocial capital, subjective well-being, health, Internet, online networks, ... Studiesin the social capital literature have documented two stylised facts: first, a decline ...Social Media Is Making Us Unhappy, Research Shows 08/29/2014www.mediapost.com/.../social-media-is-making-us-unhappy-research-shows. html- CachedAug 29, 2014 ... The latest such study was performed by two Italian academics, whose ... titled ''Online Networks and Subjective Well-Being'' and published on ...Online networks and subjective well-being - ResearchGatewww.researchgate.net/.../265207012_Online_networks_and_subjective_well- being
4 days ago ... Publication >> Online networks and subjective well-being. ... research, given thedramatic rise in the use of social networking sites (SNSs) that ...Searches related to Online networks and subjective well-being research
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Twitter Puts the Timeline on Notice and Hints of Group Chats - WSJ
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:39
An algorithm-driven content feed. A souped-up search engine. Group chatting.
These appear to be among Twitter's priorities to make its service more relevant and easier to use, an issue that has plagued the company ever since its IPO last year.
On Wednesday, financial chief Anthony Noto offered some clues for Twitter's product roadmap as the company looks to jumpstart user growth.
Speaking at the Citi Global Technology Conference in New York, Noto said the company's new head of product, Daniel Graf, has made improving the service's search capability one of his top priorities for 2015.
''If you think about our search capabilities we have a great data set of topical information about topical tweets,'' Noto said. ''The hierarchy within search really has to lend itself to that taxonomy.'' With that comes the need for ''an algorithm that delivers the depth and breadth of the content we have on a specific topic and then eventually as it relates to people,'' he added.
This is related to Twitter's larger aim to better organize its content'--to separate the interesting and timely tweets from the noise. Twitter has already begun tweaking the timeline where tweets appear'--most notably (and controversially), by introducing tweets from accounts users haven't chosen to follow.
Twitter's timeline is organized in reverse chronological order, a delivery system that has not changed since the product was created eight years ago and one that some early adopters consider sacred to the core Twitter experience. But this ''isn't the most relevant experience for a user,'' Noto said. Timely tweets can get buried at the bottom of the feed if the user doesn't have the app open, for example. ''Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better.''
On Sunday, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tried to explain via tweeting why users might see favorites from accounts they don't follow. In response to tweets from users griping about the uninvited content, Costolo said that the favorited tweets by other users show up when the user pulls to refresh their timelines twice and Twitter has no new content to show both times.
Noto said these changes will be incremental. ''We're going to do all of these methodically. We test and make sure we understand what the implications are,'' he said. ''Individual users are not going to wake up one day and find their timeline completely ranked by an algorithm.''
The CFO also hinted that group chats might be in the pipeline. Direct messaging, Twitter's private chat function, has traditionally been put on the backburner. Because Twitter's service is public in nature, the role of private messaging has always been a subject of debate within the company. Over the last year, amid the explosion of messaging apps, Twitter has given direct messaging a more prominent role. Noto suggested direct messaging might become more social.
Today, users can only send a direct message to one account at a time. But if, say, Noto tweeted about a football game and a couple of his ''college buddies'' replied to it, ''I'm not sure I want to have (that) conversation in front of my boss and the rest of the 271 global users. I might want to take that to a private setting which you can do through direct messaging. Today you can only do that one to one as opposed to one to many. So that's an example of innovation around sharing or expression that we can pursue over time.''
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Moral Self Licensing
Ice Bucket Challenge "blatantly satanic" - Boing Boing
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:48
WorldNetDaily's Selena Owens sees the influence of evil in the popular ALS fundraising drive. "Satanic ritual?," she writes. "Yes. Rituals abound in ''Christian'' America. Whenever spectators watch singers like Beyonce, JayZ, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and especially Nicki Minaj, they are indoctrinated and involved with blatantly satanic rituals that stem from the deep abyss of the occult.Some of these very same artists have taken the ALS IBC. Gaga doesn't utter a word as she baptizes herself, arrayed in a sexy black leotard, sporting black lips, perched in an ornate black chair. Gaga doesn't use a bucket; she instead uses a large silver bowl associated with pagan worship. Do you think she would take the IBC if it didn't meet her pagan criteria? Not a chance.
The ALS IBC is ritualistic in nature. People are chosen to undergo a form of water baptism with cultic god Oprah leading the charge ''in the name of ALS.'' The Bible is clear: ''You shall have no other gods before me'' (Exodus 20:3). Oprah is a god to millions of Americans, and those who follow her doctrine and antics have tossed Jesus off the throne of their hearts '' perhaps not intentionally '... or perhaps so. Yet by following her seemingly innocent IBC decree, knowingly or not, they have cast Jesus off symbolically.
Noted. Here's Evangelist Anita Fuentes, upon whose smiling wrath Owens thereby riffs:
Ministry of Truth
The CIA's Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication - The Intercept
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 02:05
A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.
Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA's reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.
''I'm working on a story about congressional oversight of drone strikes that can present a good opportunity for you guys,'' Dilanian wrote in one email to a CIA press officer, explaining that what he intended to report would be ''reassuring to the public'' about CIA drone strikes. In another, after a series of back-and-forth emails about a pending story on CIA operations in Yemen, he sent a full draft of an unpublished report along with the subject line, ''does this look better?'' In another, he directly asks the flack: ''You wouldn't put out disinformation on this, would you?''
Dilanian's emails were included in hundreds of pages of documents that the CIA turned over in response to two FOIA requests seeking records on the agency's interactions with reporters. They include email exchanges with reporters for the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. In addition to Dilanian's deferential relationship with the CIA's press handlers, the documents show that the agency regularly invites journalists to its McLean, Va., headquarters for briefings and other events. Reporters who have addressed the CIA include the Washington Post's David Ignatius, the former ombudsmen for the New York Times, NPR, and Washington Post, and Fox News' Brett Baier, Juan Williams, and Catherine Herridge.
Dilanian left the Times to join the AP last May, and the emails released by the CIA only cover a few months of his tenure at the Times. They show that in June 2012, shortly after 26 members of congress wrote a letter to President Obama saying they were ''deeply concerned'' about the drone program, Dilanian approached the agency about story that he pitched as ''a good opportunity'' for the government.
The letter from lawmakers, which was sent in the wake of a flurry of drone strikes that had reportedly killed dozens of civilians, suggested there was no meaningful congressional oversight of the program. But Dilanian wrote that he had been ''told differently by people I trust.'' He added:
Not only would such a story be reassuring to the public, I would think, but it would also be an opportunity to explore the misinformation about strikes that sometimes comes out of local media reports. It's one thing for you to say three killed instead of 15, and it's another for congressional aides from both parties to back you up. Part of what the story will do, if you could help me bring it to fruition, is to quote congressional officials saying that great care is taken to avoid collateral damage and that the reports of widespread civilian casualties are simply wrong.
Of course, journalists routinely curry favor with government sources (and others) by falsely suggesting that they intend to amplify the official point of view. But the emails show that Dilanian really meant it.
Over the next two weeks, he sent additional emails requesting assistance and information from the agency. In one, he suggested that a New America Foundation report alleging that drone attacks had killed many civilians was exaggerated, writing that the report was ''all wrong, correct?''
A number of early newsaccounts reported that more than a dozen people died in the June 4, 2012, drone strike that killed Al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi in Pakistan. But in a June 20 email to the CIA, Dilanian shared a sentence from his story draft asserting that al-Libi had died alone. ''Would you quibble with this?'' he asked the CIA press officer.
On June 25, the Times published Dilanian's story, which described thorough congressional review of the drone program and said legislative aides were allowed to watch high-quality video of attacks and review intelligence used to justify each strike. Needless to say, the agency hadn't quibbled with Dilanian's description of al-Libi's solitary death. Video provided by the CIA to congressional overseers, Dilanian reported, ''shows that he alone was killed.''
That claim was subsequently debunked. In October of 2013, Amnesty International issued a report, based on statements from eyewitnesses and survivors, that the first missile strike targeting al-Libi killed five men and wounded four others. Al-Libi was not even among those victims; he and up to fifteen other people died in a follow up attack when they arrived at the scene to assist victims. Some of those killed were very likely members of al Qaeda, but six were local tribesmen who Amnesty believed were there only as rescuers. Another field report published around the same time, this one by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, also reported follow-up drone strikes on civilians and rescue workers '-- attacks that constitute war crimes.
Dilanian has done some strong work and has at times been highly critical of the CIA. For example, in July 2012 he wrote a piece about sexual harassment at the agency that angered the press office. In reply to an email from a spokesperson, Dilanian said that complaints about his story were ''especially astonishing given that CIA hides the details of these complaints behind a wall of secrecy.''
But the emails reveal a remarkably collegial relationship with the agency. ''I am looking forward to working with you, Ken,'' a newly hired agency flack wrote him in a March 1, 2012, email.
''Hooray!'' Dilanian replied. ''Glad to have you guys.''
On March 14, 2012, Dilanian sent an email to the press office with a link to a Guardianstory that said Bashar Al-Assad's wife had been buying a fondue set on Amazon while Syrian protesters were gunned down. ''If this is you guys, nice work,'' he wrote. ''If it's real, even better.''
The emails also show that Dilanian shared his work with the CIA before it was published, and invited the agency to request changes. On Friday April 27, 2012, he emailed the press office a draft story that he and a colleague, David Cloud, were preparing. The subject line was ''this is where we are headed,'' and he asked if ''you guys want to push back on any of this.''
It appears the agency did push back. On May 2, 2012, he emailed the CIA a new opening to the story with a subject line that asked, ''does this look better?''
The piece ran on May 16, and while it bore similarities to the earlier versions, it had been significantly softened.
Here's the original opening, from Dilanian's email:
Teams of CIA officers, private contractor and special operations troops have been inserted in southern Yemen to work with local tribes on gathering intelligence for U.S. drone strikes against militants, U.S. officials and others familiar with the secret operation said.
Here's the version that was published:
In an escalation of America's clandestine war in Yemen, a small contingent of U.S. troops is providing targeting data for Yemeni airstrikes as government forces battle to dislodge Al Qaeda militants and other insurgents in the country's restive south, U.S. and Yemeni officials said.
In another case, Dilanian sent the press office a draft story on May 4, 2012, reporting that U.S. intelligence believed the Taliban was growing stronger in Afghanistan. ''Guys, I'm about to file this if anyone wants to weigh in,'' he wrote.
On May 7, 2012, the AP, Dilanian's current employer, broke a story about a secret CIA operation that ''thwarted an ambitious plot by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner.'' The next day, Dilanian sent the CIA a detailed summary of a planned piece that followed up on (and took issue with) the AP story. ''This is what we are planning to report, and I want to make sure you wouldn't push back against any of it,'' he wrote.
Dilanian also closely collaborated with the CIA in a May 2012 story that minimized the agency's cooperation with director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal on their film about the assassination of Osama bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty. Republicans had been criticizing the Obama Administration for revealing classified details about the operation to Boal and Bigelow while withholding them from the public.
''My angle on this is that'...this is a pretty routine effort to cooperate with filmmakers and the sort of thing the CIA has been doing for 15 years,'' Dilanian wrote in an email to Cynthia Rapp, the head of the agency's press office. ''This is a storyline that is in your interest, I would think, to the extent you could provide information about how routine it is to offer guidance to entertainment people who seek it out'--including ones who are Democrats!'--it would show that this latest episode is hardly a scandal.''
Dilanian's pitch appears to have worked. His subsequent story included an on the record comment from CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz. One year later, internal CIA documents released under the FOIA showed that the agency's office of public affairs'--the same people Dilanian had been working with''had asked for and received changes to the Zero Dark Thirty script that portrayed the agency in a more favorable light.
Reached by The Intercept for comment, Dilanian said that the AP does not permit him to send stories to the CIA prior to publication, and he acknowledged that it was a bad idea. ''I shouldn't have done it, and I wouldn't do it now,'' he said. ''[But] it had no meaningful impact on the outcome of the stories. I probably should've been reading them the stuff instead of giving it to them.''
Dilanian said he was not sure if Los Angeles Times rules allow reporters to send stories to sources prior to publication. The Time's ethics guidelines, however, clearly forbid the practice: ''We do not circulate printed or electronic copies of stories outside the newsroom before publication. In the event you would like to read back quotations or selected passages to a source to ensure accuracy, consult an editor before doing so'....''
Bob Drogin, the Times' deputy bureau chief and national security editor, said he had been unaware that Dilanian had sent story drafts to the CIA and would have not allowed him to do it. ''Ken is a diligent reporter and it's responsible to seek comment and response to your reporting,'' he told me. ''But sharing story drafts is not appropriate.''
AP spokesman Paul Colford told The Intercept that the news organization is ''satisfied that any pre-publication exchanges that Ken had with the CIA before joining AP were in pursuit of accuracy in his reporting on intelligence matters,'' adding that ''we do not coordinate with government agencies on the phrasing of material.''
Dilanian's emails were included in a FOIA request that sought communications between the CIA and ten national security reporters sent from March to July 2012. That request turned up correspondence between the press office and Dilanian, Adam Goldman, then at the AP and now at TheWashington Post, Matt Apuzzo, then at AP and now at TheNew York Times, Brian Bennett of TheLos Angeles Times, Siobhan Gorman of TheWall Street Journal, Scott Shane of the New York Times, and David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist.
It's impossible to know precisely how the CIA flacks responded to reporters' queries, because the emails show only one side of the conversations. The CIA redacted virtually all of the press handlers' replies other than meager comments that were made explicitly on the record, citing the CIA Act of 1949, which exempts the agency from having to disclose ''intelligence sources and methods'' or ''the organization, functions, names, official titles, salaries, or numbers of personnel employed by the Agency.'' The contents of off-the-record or background emails from CIA press handlers clearly don't disclose names, titles, or salaries (which can easily be redacted anyway); they may disclose sources and methods, depending on whether you view manipulation of American reporters as an intelligence method. (The Intercept is appealing the redactions.)
The emails also show that the CIA asked the Post's Ignatius to speak at a May 2012 off-the-record conference, ''Political Islam's Future: Challenges, Choices, and Uncertainties,'' for U.S. government intelligence analysts and policymakers. The invitation was extended in an email from the press office, which said that the conference organizers ''would like you to draw upon the insight from your field experience, reporting, and broad network of contacts during the lead up to the Arab Spring to share how journalists sense that major political, social, or religious changes are in the making.''
Ignatius replied that he would be ''pleased and honored to do this,'' but unfortunately he would be traveling in Europe on the day of the conference. The CIA then proposed ''a smaller round table with our'...folks sometime in the future.''
''Smaller round table would be great,'' Ignatius replied.
Ignatius told The Intercept that the round table never took place. But he confirmed that he had previously spoken to the CIA twice since 2005. ''I talked to them about how journalists collect information,'' he said. ''It was meant as an admonition and a caution about the need to get things right and not to bend to political pressure and to have systems in place to catch errors.''
Ignatius said he had gotten approval of his editors before he spoke to the CIA, and didn't see any conflict or problem with addressing the agency. ''There's a very sharp line between our profession and the intelligence business and it shouldn't be crossed,'' he said. ''I talked to them about what I'd learned as an editor and the importance of getting it right. I wasn't sharing any [sensitive] information with them.
Records released in response to another FOIA request, seeking information about journalists who had been invited to address or debrief CIA employees, show that several Fox News reporters have visited the agency.
Fox News' Bret Baier gave an address about the importance of charity in 2008 (which was reported at the time), and the then-ombudsmen for NPR, TheWashington Post, and TheNew York Times (Jeffrey Dvorkin, Michael Getler and Daniel Okrent, respectively), appeared together on a CIA panel. The event description said that journalism ''shares some of the same missions that intelligence analysts have'--presenting information in an unbiased fashion and challenging prevailing opinions.'' The ombudsmen, the invitation said, could help the CIA ''see how journalists deal with some of our common professional and ethical difficulties.'' (It's not clear from the documents when the ombudsmen event was held, but it would have been in 2009 or before.)
In 2007, Juan Williams, then at NPR in addition to his role at Fox News, gave a ''standing-room-only'' speech sponsored by the agency's Office of Diversity Plans and Programs. During his speech Williams praised CIA personnel as ''the best and brightest,'' and said Americans admired the agency and trusted it ''to guide the nation and the nation's future.''
Williams also spoke about Nelson Mandela, saying he was an example of a leader who ''came from outside the system.'' There was a certain irony here'--the CIA played a key role in Mandela's 1962 arrest by the South African apartheid regime, which resulted in him spending 28 years in prison'--which Williams was either unaware of or politely chose not to note.
Photo: J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
MH17-370 intel
Apparently there was an Air Force security notice issued recently on Malaysia Airlines. In addition to Flight MH370, missing somewhere over the Indian Ocean, and Flight MH17 lost over the Ukraine; they are apparently missing a number of other airliners.
Not little prop job/puddle jumpers mind you, but the big Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 airliners. They were supposed to have 36 in storage. Problem is no one at Malaysia Airlines seems to know what happened to 19 of these aircraft…they are not where they are supposed to be. The obvious concern is where did they go and what are they being used for. Given that Flight MH370 disappeared without a single trace, maybe it’s not so hard to believe.
War on Men
RAPE-On ''The Fappening'' & 4chan's Violent Attitude Towards Women
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 11:39
Here's what I've learned about men on the internet who are annoying at best and abusive at worst: They think they know the women they harass. They have access to our ideas and our creative output (i.e. writing, videos, etc.), to our faces, to basic information about us, to a few scant personal details, and from that they concoct for us fictional life stories, fictional personalities, and fictional motivations. It can be terrifying on this end of that interaction, because we don't know who these men are at all, but they believe they know us and interact with us, talk with us, as if they do.
It's worse for celebrities, because it's not just compulsive internet commenters who do this '-- it's everyone. We want to be able to relate to celebrities. So we take their movies, videos, music, writing, interviews, press releases, and Instagram and Twitter accounts, and we create a fiction about who they are, or who they would be if we knew them personally. To some extent, that fictional personality is something that they curate and cultivate in order both to create demand and to create distance.
When I told my boyfriend that I was going to be writing about the leaked nudes of Jennifer Lawrence and so many other female celebrities, he said that it was a pornographic impulse, it was merely an issue of wanting to see them naked; that it's not as interesting to look at porn stars because it's their job to be naked in front of people. But if that's the case, then what's really pornographic about the leaked nudes of celebrities isn't the naked bodies themselves.
It's the attempt to continue to cultivate that fictional personality for those women. The 4chan-ers who released the photos want these women's naked bodies to be part of their public persona, and the celebrities have failed to grant the public access to their private sex lives as part of the fictions they cultivate. They fail to grant us that access because they want some semblance of privacy, because the fictions they create with us are not actually who they are, and they would like to be able to live part of their lives as the complicated and whole human beings they really are and not the personas they create to give themselves distance from the incessant attention they receive. And they fail to grant us that access because they want to be those whole, vulnerable, complicated human beings with the people who they choose to trust, not with random strangers.
I was going to write about this from the perspective of a woman who puts nude pictures of herself on the Internet with some amount of regularity without getting paid for it in any economic way. I don't think nudity is scandalous or damaging or in any way a big deal. My nudity is absolutely meaningless to me. But in the last day or so, the best (if, unfortunately, not the most voluminous) writing on this subject has treated the pictures that way, anyway '-- meaningless as far as the celebrities' characters and careers go, and, rather, violent on the part of the 4chan-ers who released the photos.
And it is violent. Because in real life, when you deny someone access to your naked, sexualized body and they take it anyway, it's called rape. In real life, when someone digs through your personal belongings because they're obsessed with you and without your knowledge, it's called stalking. In real life, when someone takes your property without your permission, it's called theft.
No one's going to ''leak'' nude photos of someone like me, or, if we're going to talk about celebrities, someone like Amanda Palmer '-- people who offer up images of our nude bodies freely. It's not to say that more graphic photos of me (or, I'm sure, Amanda Palmer) don't exist, but what's the point of ''leaking'' photos if it's not going to be emotionally upsetting to us to be seen naked, or if it's not a way of altering the way we're perceived publicly? If this is pornography, if this is a means of sexual gratification, then it's based on the impulse and the entitlement to violate women.
I'm getting exhausted with 4chan, with /b in particular, with their transparent, childish schemes to take women down a notch, with their blatant and violent misogyny that they continue to claim is not blatant, violent, or misogyny; with the fact that they complain that feminists all have victim complexes but that they seem to be the ones who whine about how the world is so mean to them, how feminists are so mean to them, how the Internet is too overrun with the ''politically correct.'' It's not that we're politically correct, guys. It's that we're morally correct, and that we're legally correct.
Rebecca Vipond Brink is a writer, photographer, and traveler. You can follow her at@rebeccavbrinkor on her blog,Flare and Fade.
The Fappening: When Sex Crimes Become Easily Consumable Entertainment
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 11:38
The Fappening is a sex crime. More specifically, The Fappening is dozens of sex crimes, committed en masse, with a socially engaged audience.
Over the last 24 hours, dozens of photos from the private accounts of female celebrities have leaked online. The photos, hidden behind firewalls and password protected accounts, were stolen by a hacker, or group of hackers, and then posted to 4Chan, Reddit, Imgur, AnonLib, and various other easily accessible social networks.
Before we even knew what was happening, Jennifer Lawrence was the victim of a sex crime, Kaley Cuoco was filmed standing up after using a toilet, and a Reddit user had created the subreddit ''/R/TheFappening.'' Soon after the mass release of naked celebrity photos began, more than 100,000 people flocked to Reddit to watch as live photo uploads were posted to the social network.
In the age of massively consumable news media, The Fappening quickly became fodder for CNN, Fox News, NBC News, and every other small, medium, and large-scale news agency and blog in-between.
Somehow, a vicious act against women was being talked about like the must-browse social event of 2014. Sure major media outlets pointed out that Jennifer Lawrence was already seeking legal action against photo posting websites, but they focused mostly on the keywords that drove visitors to their web pages. Titles like ''Kaley Cuoco Naked In Video'' and ''Jennifer Lawrence Bares All For The Fapping'' quickly flooded Google, Yahoo, and Bing search results. Admittedly, I personally covered several stories about The Fappening. I chose to focus on what The Fappening is and how it was spreading, rather than solely focusing on the female celebrities themselves.
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I could go on a long diatribe about why The Fappening is wrong, but in the end, it is a sex crime, and that should be justification enough for turning away and reading something more educational.
In the meantime, here are some wise words from Lena Dunham:
As Jennifer Lawrences publicist Liz Mahoney correctly explains:
''This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence.''
Not only is The Fappening a sex crime, but it could actually lead to valid civil and criminal lawsuits in the very near future.
Patricia's Smartphone
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 11:29
Patricia woke up not when her body was ready to wake but when her smartphone, which she lays to bed beside her every night, vibrated and chimed with a text message from Madison reminding her of the lunch they would have later that Saturday afternoon. Her eyes began adjusting to light coming from her phone's screen instead of the sun, to Facebook and Instagram updates of the amazing experiences her friends had the night before. She was more than excited when she noticed four new messages on Facebook, but quickly realized they were from losers. She let out a ''lame'' under her morning breath before getting out of bed, phone in hand.
She didn't want to eat a large breakfast since she knew she would be having a fattening lunch later in the day with Madison at the new restaurant that was the buzz of all the local blogs'--blogs she was now catching up on after preparing a small meal of two toaster pastries, banana, probiotic yogurt, and three pieces of artisanal dark chocolate. There on the center of her kitchen table was the biography of Steve Jobs, and if you look closely you can see a fine layer of dust on the cover. She received it as a gift, and though she read the first 16 pages with enthusiasm, she got distracted with something else and never picked it up again. She felt no loss for failing to read the book because her extensive blog reading and magazine browsing must surely surpass the depth and wisdom contained in the autobiography of only one man. A book, unlike her favorite blogs, also didn't allow her to leave witty comments that other people could give her recognition for in the form of upvotes.
She arrived on time to lunch and greeted her friend Madison with ''You look amazing!'' The two other standard greetings she uses are ''You look great!'' and ''Oh my god where did you get that'--it's so cute!'' where the that would usually be an article of clothing or piece of cosmetic jewelry. There were two seatings that took place; first their bodies, on a square table besides the open kitchen that draws attention from patrons whenever a little fireball erupts from the grill area, and the other seating was for their phones, which they both placed to the right of their appetizer plate and silver utensils.
Their menu browsing was interrupted with snippets of their Friday night, each girl teasing with small details that would be explained more fully after ordering. Every minute one would ask the other, ''What are you getting?'' and the other would invariably respond, ''I don't know, what are you getting?'' followed by a detail such as, ''Did you see Josh recently? He lost a lot of weight!'' The girl who did not see Josh pulled out her phone to find a recent photo of him on Facebook that confirmed his improved appearance.
Madison noticed there was a typo in the menu. She followed her gut instinct, which was to take a picture and then tweet it to her two favorite foodie blogs and the restaurant's Twitter account with the text ''Still working out the kinks?'' She expected her discovery to get many responses but three minutes later, after their meals were ordered, there were no retweets or replies and she was surprised, because the typo was obvious and this was supposed to be a serious restaurant, opened by a chef of a famous food truck that sold Mexican cupcakes with avocado sprinkles that were locally sourced. It wasn't uncommon to hear people using their entire lunch hour just to wait in line and buy a few cupcakes as part of the combo special that came with a bag of nachos and pumpkin salsa.
It's around this time that the full recap of the Friday night would be expected, two continuous stories with a start and end, but it resembled more a staccato, bits and pieces that I was hard-pressed to connect to the whole. Madison was more enamored with the place settings than the story of Patricia getting into an argument with a guy at the bar who asked her for a ''female opinion'' on something fashion related. Madison took two photos of the table layout, selected the one she liked most, applied a retro filter to make it look more distinguished, added seven different hashtags that were various spellings of the restaurant, and then uploaded it to Instagram. It took a little longer than she liked to upload and she said ''Come on'' twice while Patricia browsed through her phone so she wouldn't appear to have nothing to do while waiting for her friend to finish with her art hobby.
Patricia didn't feel like taking photos at the moment. Instead she launched an app that would blast a status update to all her social networks. She sent the following: ''Having an awesome time with Madison at the new place!'' Indeed, they were having an awesome time, mostly because they could share it in real time with the entire world.
The food arrived, presented beautifully on large plates with squigglies of unknown sauce going outward like heat rays a child would leave on a drawing of the sun. Both phones were out now, taking pictures from different angles. It took a few minutes for each of them to get their shots just right since the lighting was less than optimal, but post-production app filters were up to the task and produced beautiful photos that they girls couldn't upload fast enough.
Patricia uploaded just two photos of her dish, a Cobb salad, with the colorful ingredients arrayed beside each other like bags of spices in the Indian market she buys naan bread from. Madison, coming to the realization that this day would be special, created an album with the date and uploaded four photos of her Angus burger on brioche bun that was topped so high a horse wouldn't be able to take a bite. She ate it not unlike Patricia's salad, picking at the vegetable ingredients until she decreased its height enough where she could replace the top bun and finish it off in the normal style of eating a burger, exclaiming ''This is so good'' a total of six times.
Dessert was shared between them, a large piece of chocolate cake, and Patricia got the creative idea of taking a picture of Madison when a spoonful of cake was approaching her mouth. It would have been a better photo, in my opinion, if Madison removed her oversized sunglasses, but she partied hard the night before and didn't want people to see her sagging eyes, which would suggest she's upset or not having fun, when the truth is that she was having'--like I already mentioned'--an awesome time. After the cake was finished, there was a full seven minutes of conversation when neither operated their phones, but glances were stolen at their respective devices, and with no new notifications in such a prolonged period of time, Patricia thought that she lost signal and compulsively turned on the screen. The signal was full strength. Three more minutes went by before she got a like on the status update she sent earlier, but it was from Cody, who was really creepy the other month when he displayed skepticism that free birth control should be a basic human right for women.
The most passionate part of their lunch date was when the check came and they debated how much tip should be left. The service was acceptable, but at one point Madison had no water and she had to flag the waiter to come, going so far as twisting her torso in an unnatural position to locate where the waiter could possibly be. It seemed unnecessarily difficult, she argued, and convinced Patricia to levy a 5% tip penalty from the standard 20%. (Later that night, Madison went on Yelp and left a 3 out of 5 star review, citing the poor water service and menu error as reasons that the restaurant ''still had a ways to go.'' She added a joke, hoping it would get ''Funny'' likes, but she only got two ''Useful'' likes instead.)
They left the restaurant and'--I don't know who came up with the idea first'--agreed to take a picture in front of the main entrance. It was their luck that the name of the restaurant could easily be seen. Patricia asked a male passerby to snap the photo. He was more than happy to do so, but Madison began to get anxious because what if Patricia forgets to upload the photo? She didn't want the opportunity to pass because she may never come back to this restaurant again after the poor service, so she asked the man to take the same photo with her phone. The man happily obliged. He hung around an extra twenty seconds longer than necessary and then thankfully went away without bothering the girls. He wasn't good-looking.
It was time to walk off the meal by checking out the Old Town shopping center a half-mile away. Only three pictures were taken along the way and they considered buying a cupcake at a classic bakeshop but the line was too long and cupcakes are no longer in with the important foodie crowd that they considered themselves a part of. The Old Town was capably designed, they agreed, with a second level patio that oversaw a small fountain in the center of the complex. There wasn't much else that I saw, but Patricia and Madison must've been moved because they excitedly took out their phones and got ready for picture taking on the patio that oversaw the little fountain. They believed that this moment must be captured with a camera sensor to not only be appreciated by their friends and beta orbiters, but also so they would never forget this special day for as long as they lived.
Patricia stood on the edge of the patio so Madison could take several shots (with Patricia's phone, of course). Patricia examined each resulting image as soon as they were taken and grimaced each time, as if she was expecting a photo with an entirely different person than herself. After eight photos, she was finally pleased with one and then the process repeated with Madison, and then repeated again with both of them together thanks to the help of another male passerby, who was even more eager than the first. An extra ''Thank you so much'' was said to get him to buzz off. Not long after, in front of a Chinese restaurant, they stumbled on a display of an oversized Coca-Cola bottle, the classic bottle that can no longer be found in stores, and a handful of more pictures were taken beside it with exaggerated facial expressions.
From the beginning of their lunch date until the end, a total of 52 photos were taken. Sixteen of those photos would be uploaded to various sites to garner a total of 48 likes, comments, and retweets, including a comment from the restaurant, apologizing for the menu typo. Not a bad haul for a Saturday afternoon, Madison thought proudly. She realized that through her effort and ingenuity hundreds of people'--no, thousands'--would not have to endure an unprofessional typo in a restaurant menu.
Patricia had a date that evening to prepare for. It was a casual date with a man she met on OK Cupid, and though she was reluctant to go since she wasn't horny (she was getting serviced twice a week by Brody, her ex-boyfriend), she had nothing else to do. She arrived 17 minutes late to be greeted by a man who seemed slightly less attractive than his rock climbing photos suggested. She felt cheated that he uploaded the best version of himself, and while he may be able to say the same of her, since it was obvious her photos were from a younger time when the stress of her studies didn't allow for the dining experiences she has become a connoisseur of, he was just proud to get a date out of messaging god knows how many women.
He ordered a gimlet while she ordered a mojito that came in a unique glass. She took a picture of her drink and then left her phone on the table while her date put his away. The sun was starting to fade from its peak intensity, signifying the arrival of evening, and so the texts began pouring into her phone. She was polite, only catching a quick glimpse of who was contacting her when her phone's screen would light for three seconds before fading back to black. Her date soldiered on with his life story, talking about his recent experience in the Peurvian mountains where he took ayahuasca and achieved spiritual enlightenment. He also remarked how he accumulated a vocabulary of 1,000 words in Quechua to learn important Andean wisdom from wise elders that has never been published in English. His story, however, could not compete with her phone. She responded to his prattle with a series of uh huhs while becoming more curious about the contents of her six unread text messages.
The anticipation reached a boiling point, not unlike when she was a young girl on her birthday and wrapped presents were shoved in front of her upon the ceremonial blowing out of the candles. Look, another pretty doll that she could play with for hours without worrying about anything else in the world, quieting her for such long periods that her parents would periodically get a feeling of panic that she wasn't in the house. ''I just have to check something real quick, sorry,'' she said, then turned on her screen and scanned through the text messages that were waiting for her. One was from Brody, which was a pleasant surprise, since he didn't usually contact her until Sunday evening. She decided to only answer the most important text message, the one sent by Madison, who asked how the date was going. She replied: ''He's so boring.. what time are we going to the club tonight? I want to wear my slutty dress.'' She smiled as she typed this out with her thumbs, a smile that her date could not elicit from her no matter how hard he tried.
He suggested another round of drinks but she said she was tired and that she needed to get some rest from a hard week of work at the office. He was disappointed but not surprised, and when the check came he was pleased that she made a sincere offer to pay, but she actually had no money in her purse. He paid the bill and got a pleasant hug with Patricia's breasts pressing slightly against him, completely unaware that his Monday evening ''How was the rest of your weekend?'' text would go unanswered. I could easily argue that the date was a waste of time for both, but Patricia didn't see it that way. She got a free cocktail, a cool photo, and a fleeting string of conversation for her friends that would last at least 15 seconds and display how valued she was in the dating game, immediately followed by a comment about how there are no exciting men anymore, only boring ones who think doing hippie drugs, learning dying languages, or climbing mountains make them interesting.
Back at home, Patricia put on her favorite Nicki Minaj party mix and began getting ready for the club. She dressed in her Vegas outfit, the skimpy black top and skirt paired with heavy makeup and heels so high and uncomfortable that a full half-hour of the night would be spent complaining about them to anyone who would listen. While she didn't look as good as two years ago, you couldn't tell by increased amount of attention she was getting from men, even when she went out in sweatpants.
She stood in front of her bathroom's mirror to take some self shots. This took a while to get right. The secret to a good self shot, she understood, was making it look completely natural as if the act of taking a photo next to the toilet bowl was a spontaneous event that came in a rare moment of artistic inspiration, when in actuality she has done this over a thousand times. I was impressed at how skilled she was at striking a pose that was the prettiest she could possibly look in spaces that rarely exceeded 84 square feet, with fluorescent lighting that would have easily highlighted her developing second chin had it not been for a precise 20 degree up-tilt of her head that didn't decrease the brilliance of her blue eyes like a 25 degree tilt would. After fifteen minutes in the bathroom getting it just right, she raced out the door and mentally braced herself for all the idiots who would make unwanted sexual comments about her body, thinking she dressed that way to get attention instead of to feel confident about herself and who she was as a woman.
She and her crew, four strong, assembled at a lounge. There was such a flurry of ensuing activity that I had trouble keeping up with them. Guys were coming out from behind bushes, it seemed, to put in their attempt, and even Patricia began to feel threatened by the street harassment as she raced with her girls from one club to another, easily skipping the line for peasants and straight into the VIP where rich men with bottles of vodka and sometimes whiskey were waiting to pour whatever they wanted. Numbers were given to the cute and confident men and a couple of them were able to get up close to Patricia and sneak in brief kisses on her glossy lips. During all this the girls maintained death grips on their phones, usually in their left hands so they could party with their right. It would have been too risky to put their phones in their purse because the bass from the speakers would make it impossible to feel the little vibration of a ''Where are you?!'' text from a friend or a booty call text that would almost always start with the sentence ''You out tonight?''
The fact that the girls were dancing with their phone didn't reduce the fluidity of their gyrations or the rhythmic grinding on men's crotches, and when a screen lit up from a new notification, even a minor one like an acquaintance not heard of in months being tagged in a photo, the dancing would stop for ten seconds and then commence again as if the interruption didn't happen. The night wasn't all joy, sadly, because Patricia forgot to recharge her phone midday, and now her battery level had sunk down to a perilous 14%. She couldn't take any more photos with flash, which in the dark club essentially meant no more photography. Her night was on the verge of being ruined because her friends could record the exciting moments happening while she could only spectate.
In spite of the battery problem, which killed her phone not long after because of the irresistible urge to take just a few more group shots, the night was a raging success. Between the four girls, 266 photos were taken. Sixty-two would be uploaded, garnering 1,158 likes, comments, and so on, mostly from men. The girls gave out their number a total of 13 times, and 6 men were kissed. Patricia stumbled home alone and the first thing she did was plug in her dead phone into its charger. She patiently waited beside it to boot and then enjoyed the explosion of backlogged messages and notifications that came in all at once. They soothed her soul and validated her self-image as a popular girl in a big city.
She put her phone on silent then fell asleep, waking seven hours later. The first thing she did when she opened her eyes was reach for her phone, which lay beside her like it does every night, and already there was a text from one of the guys she met the night before. Who was it? She didn't remember, and it didn't much matter, because the photos, the texts, the likes, and the pleasant notification chime gave her more happiness than these men could provide for her. If you asked Patricia to forever give up her smartphone in order to meet the love of her life, the one in a billion man who would satisfy her both physically and emotionally for as long as she lived, and who would serve her like a queen until his last days, it wouldn't take her even ten seconds to respond with a decision.
Three days later, the best self shot she uploaded had amassed 102 likes. It was a new record.
Read Next: Women Who Own iPhones Lose The Ability To Love
WTC7
ReThink911 Video Billboard to Rock Times Square this September
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 07:46
Dear friends, We have some good news and some bad news to share about our 13th Anniversary ReThink911 billboard, but don't worry! We think the good news far outweighs the bad. The bad news '-- unfortunately, we cannot go forward with the billboard directly in front of the New York Times Building. The group currently occupying it has a year-long contract. While they had agreed with the billboard company to take a break for the month of September so that we could have the space, the agreement allowed them to change their mind until the last minute, and unfortunately they exercised that option. The good news '-- (and we think it's really good!) '' is that we found an even more stunning billboard just one block away at the corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue. Not only does this billboard draw maximum attention by facing in two directions while towering over one of the busiest intersections in Manhattan; but it's also digital, which allows us to show practically life-size video footage of WTC 7's symmetrical destruction. And that's exactly what we plan to do! For 15 seconds out of every two minutes, people walking by will see WTC 7's free-fall descent '-- the vast majority of them for the first time '-- on two massive 45' by 45' screens. Altogether, we'll reach 100,000 people each day, amounting to 3 million viewings from September 8th to October 5th! The message will be simple and powerful, encouraging viewers to trust their instincts about WTC 7's smooth, symmetrical downward motion '-- and follow up at ReThink911.org Even though we will no longer be speaking directly to the folks at the New York Times, most Times employees will see the ad on a daily basis, thus making it impossible for them to ignore the truth about what happened at the World Trade Center on 9/11. The upside, of course, is that millions of people will be treated to a high-impact viewing experience of the truth about the third skyscraper destroyed on 9/11. Once again, we would like to thank everyone who contributed toward the 13th Anniversary ReThink911 Billboard. We are disappointed, of course, that circumstances beyond our control did not allow us to follow through on the original plan. We hope, nonetheless, that you are as pleased as we are about the opportunity to show WTC 7 on enormous screens right in the heart of midtown Manhattan. Stay tuned for the unveiling of the ad later this week! Sincerely, The AE911Truth Team
2nd Half
BIG HEAD-ALIEN-Neel Kashkari goes on attack in spirited debate against Gov. Jerry Brown - San Jose Mercury News
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 00:49
Click photo to enlargeGov. Jerry Brown, left, shakes hands with Republican challenger Neel Kashkari before a gubernatorial debate in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Thursday's debate is likely to be the only one of the general election. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool)
SACRAMENTO -- Neel Kashkari, the underdog in California's race for governor, launched a fusillade of attacks on Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday night in their first and probably only debate.
The two candidates, who had never met before the event at Sacramento's Senator Hotel, sparred over a wide range of issues, including high-speed rail, the economy, immigration and California's public schools.
At times, they shouted over one another to get the last word.
Brown, 76, portrayed himself as an experienced veteran who came to the Capitol four years ago ready to roll up his sleeves to reduce the state's $27 billion deficit -- which he noted is now a surplus.
But Kashkari, a 41-year-old asset manager from Laguna Beach and former U.S. Treasury Department official, painted the Democratic governor as an out-of-touch career politician, while describing himself as a "middle-class kid" who is seeking the state's highest office to help restore California's middle class.
The part of the debate that centered on the state of California's public schools was the most contentious.
When asked why he's appealing the recent Vergara v. California court ruling that found the quality of California's public schools so poor that it violates some students' constitutional rights, Brown blamed the schools' woes on insufficient funding and problems communicating with students just learning to speak English.
Kashkari, however, accused Brown of putting the interests of the California Teachers Association ahead of struggling students.
"You had a choice between fighting for the civil rights of poor kids and fighting for the union bosses who funded your campaigns," Kashkari said. "You sided with the union bosses. You should be ashamed of yourself, governor."
Brown and his supporters point out that during his first term he led efforts to overhaul California's school funding formula, eliminating many restrictions on the way districts use their state aid and promising greater spending on poorer students.
Midway through the debate, Brown zeroed in on a criticism of Kashkari that he repeated several times -- Kashkari's experience working for Goldman Sachs and as a government official who helped run the unpopular Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP.
Kashkari defended TARP's work, saying the program had made money for the government. But Brown railed against him for the generous bonuses given to the CEOs of bailed-out banks.
During the debate, Brown revealed his plans to sign a contentious bill that will make California the first state to ban single-use plastic grocery bags.
That led Kashkari to accuse Brown and Democrats in the Legislature of focusing too narrowly on minor issues like the bag ban, instead of finding ways to put people back to work.
"The time for incrementalism has long since passed, governor," Kashkari said. "We actually need bold reforms to rebuild the middle class. Plastic bags isn't going to do it."
But Brown pointed out that more than 1 million new jobs were created during the first three years of his third term.
Water issues and California's bullet train also took center stage.
Brown is the train's main champion, but Kashkari pledged: "I'm going to cancel the high-speed rail train and invest in water in a big way."
He added that Gov. Pat Brown, the governor's father, "understood how important water is. Water and schools must come first."
Kashkari, who was 16 points behind Brown in a Field Poll released Thursday, is running his campaign on a shoestring budget. He had proposed 10 head-to-head events. But Brown, who had $22 million in the bank for the campaign at the end of June, said at the end of the debate that he thought one was enough.
"I think we've exposed the differences," Brown said. "This is a format they'll play over and over again."
Two veteran political analysts said they thought Kashkari won the debate.
"His answers were crisper and more direct," said Jack Pitney, a political science and government professor at Claremont Mc-Kenna College. "And he stayed on focus. He kept bringing the debate around to the topics he wanted to talk about, which were jobs and education."
Bill Whalen, a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, said "the governor was not knocked down," but agreed that Kashkari did better in terms of style and points.
"He was more coherent than the governor," Whalen said. "More times than not, the governor went off into Jerry Brown mode where he was not answering the questions."
But Martinez resident Kamla Fitzell, 76, a registered Democat, said she thought Brown won because he was able to defend his record.
She said she was surprised that Kashkari was so aggressive: "He was attacking Jerry Brown personally, making sure we know Jerry Brown comes from a rich background -- which is true. But he did that so many times that it kind of made me think, 'Don't be so petty.'"
But Gary Stewart, 51, a registered Republican from Livermore, said he thought Kashkari's debate strategy was effective.
"Gov. Brown has always been a rich liberal," Stewart said. "He grew up in a family and always had things handed to him -- whereas Kashkari is a middle-class kid who grew up understanding how the world works."
Contact Jessica Calefati at 916-441-2101.
Why One Life Hack Can Change Everything. | elephant journal
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 03:25
The Way We Do Anything is the Way We Do Everything.When I first heard this phrase 17 years ago, it took a few moments to really sink in. I thought to myself: that makes no sense; I'm totally together when it comes to my relationships, and my business is thriving. And then it hit me.
In typical fiery Aries fashion, I can work myself into a frenzy to get something done at work, procrastinate like crazy, and be quick to jump to conclusions if something or someone seems to upset the apple cart of my livelihood. But in my mind, business was only one area of my life, and my real life consisted of all the other areas.
But the truth is: we aren't split. We're whole'--we can't drop the ball in one area of life and expect our other areas to function smoothly.When I procrastinate at work, then get myself into a frenzy to complete a project, I'm exhausted. I have nothing to give the ones I love, much less even myself. I become out of balance and return home crabby and testy.
The habits we practice in one area of life, become our life.
Just like we become the five people we hang out with most in life, the way we operate on a daily basis is our life.
I've been practicing and teaching Feng Shui for over 17 years now, and can walk into a home or business and read the life of the inhabitants like the back of my hand. It spooks me at times, but I'm 99.99% accurate, the way we do anything is the way we do everything.
Let's pretend I'm in your home right now. Take a moment and open your closet.Are there a bunch of clothes in there you never wear, but continue to hold on to, just in case?
If so, I'm betting there are people in your life that don't match who you are or who you really want to be, yet you continue to hold on to them in fear of standing alone. If that doesn't fit, how about this? I'm betting there is a job you're holding on to that you don't love, but you're settling for what is, not what you want to be.
Do you see what I mean? The energy is the same. When we hold on to things just in case, we're buying into poverty consciousness. We're not trusting that what we need, or who we'll want, will be there if we let go of what's no longer working.
Now let's think about an extra painful topic for many people. How is money flowing at the moment? When it's seemingly slow, chances are we're slow paying our bills, holding back on settling debts, and dragging our feet in general around our money responsibilities. When we slow the flow in one area, it's going to dam up all areas.
Perhaps take a peek at the area behind your car seat. Is it filled with mail, receipts and left over lunch bags? When we drive around with a bunch of stuff that we know needs to be dealt with, it drains our energy. When we open the car door and immediately groan, it's going to affect our mood. You see, if you're not dealing with little things'--opening mail, filing receipts, or even throwing away daily garbage, chances are you're not dealing with other little things in your life like returning calls promptly, volleying back emails, and following up on your to-do lists.
Let's face it, none of us are perfect; but the little ways we drop the ball in life are going to add up and affect other areas.Take a moment and reflect upon your primary relationship, or if you're single, your last significant other. What was their top complaint about you? Did they complain you started the relationship present and loving, but dribbled out like a flickering flame in your efforts? Now think about how you handle other projects in your life. Do you start out excited and passionate, but lose interest when you're bored or the going gets tough?
If I could, I'd insert the sound of crickets here.
I know. It's painful to look at.
But'...it's true. The way we do anything is the way we do everything.
Here's the good news'--there's a silver lining to all of this: This little law of life, works in our favor too. When we make tiny changes in one area of life, we affect other areas like the wings of a butterfly starting a tsunami on the other side of the world.
We can't help but affect our life in big ways when we start to make little changes.One of the craziest of exercises I have the women in my 40 day reboot program do is to spend 30 minutes cleaning their toilet. Stay with me here, I promise this works.
I want you to walk into your bathroom and take a look at your loo. Open the lid and go where no woman wants to go and no man acknowledges is actually there: the rim of the toilet. Disgusting isn't it? I don't care how clean you are, that area of your toilet is going to be icky.
Next, sit down on a towel (you're going to be there a while) with all of your cleaning supplies nearby and begin. Set a timer for 30 minutes and clean that toilet from top to bottom. Clean the area behind the toilet on the floor, clean the bolts that hold it down, clean the outside of the bowl, the seat, the back, the top and the inside of the toilet bowl. Scrub every last inch and all the crevices that are hard to reach. Use an old toothbrush if you have to, but get everything as clean as you would if you had to eat your next meal off that toilet.
If you're still with me here, I want you to leave the room, wash your hands and have yourself something to eat and drink. Then go back into that bathroom and feel the energy shift. Chances are, you're going to want to attack the bathtub, shower and sink with the same vigor after feeling the shift.
And here's the magic part: something in your life will change. Women in my program have suddenly received money, gotten good news, found something thought to be lost, or received something new.
Not up for cleaning?
Spend an hour this afternoon or evening and complete three things you've been putting off. Clean out that drawer, make that call, send that email or fix a situation with a clear conversation or apology.
When we experience the freedom that arrives and the burst of energy that returns, we no longer question the effect every area of our life has on all aspects of our happiness. We are not divided beings. We're whole and we're all connected.
When we finally realize that the way we do anything is the way we do everything, we have the power to change every aspect of our life.
Post adapted from Daily Transformations
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Fappening
Fap | Know Your Meme
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 23:39
Warning: This page contains material that may be considered not safe for work.
Status:ConfirmedBadges:NSFWYear1999OriginTranslated onomatopoeia from Japanese manga. Popularized by the Sexy Losers webcomicTagsfap, slang, masturbation, image macros, onomatopoeia, manga, 1990sAdditional ReferencesEncyclopedia DramaticaUrban DictionaryAbout''Fap'' is an onomatopoeic Internet slang term for the act of masturbation. The word is typically associated with men, while ''schlick'' refers to female masturbation.
Origin''Fap'' is one of many onomatopoeic words often used in manga to depict the specific sound of a character masturbating. The earliest known transcription of the word ''fap'' online can be found in the Sexy Losers webcomic titled ''Video Girl Etchi'' (shown below, left), published on April 28th, 1999. The comic parodied a scene from Video Girl Ai, a manga series written and illustrated by Masakazu Katsura and released between 1990 and 1993. On July 12th, 2011, Sexy Losers' artist Clay revealed in a post on Tumblr that he was inspired by a Heartbroken Angels comic strip by Masahiko Kikuni depicting God masturbating when searching for a sound representing masturbation in his own strip.
SpreadIn 2001, the phrase ''fap'' was featured in the webcomic Ghastly's Comic.
''Buck Cake'' is to Ghastly's Ghastly Comic what ''Fap'' is to Sexy Losers.
By 2002, articles defining the terms ''fap'' and ''fapping'' were submitted to Urban Dictionary. By 2003, the onomatopoeia was again defined as part of the General MayhemFAQ thread:
What is ''fapping?''The sound made while masturbating. Guys fap. Girls paf or ''squish.''
On May 1st, 2004, YTMND user Smobey created the Fap Fap Fap page. Over the next decade, more than 240 YTMNDs related to the term have been made. The top five currently all have over 21,000 views, including YTMND's Daily Fap Average. On September 8th, 2007, the Urban Dictionary entry for ''fap'' was featured as the Urban Word of the Day. On June 24th, 2011, the Internet humor blog Smosh published a compilation of notable fap-related image macros (shown below).
On February 9th, 2012, the Machinima YouTube channel uploaded a video titled ''Top 10 Games to Fap To'' (shown below, left), featuring several video games with sexually suggestive content. In the first two years, the video garnered over 1.66 million views and 4,300 comments. On March 6th, MTV published a compilation of animated GIFs titled ''17 GIFs That Look Like They're Fapping,'' in which the subjects appear to be making masturbation gestures. On July 17th, YouTuber shooterwilliamson uploaded a video titled ''How to Fap,'' which provided satirical tips on masturbating in public (shown below, right). Within 11 months, the video gained over 620,000 views and 950 comments.
Outside of its usage in internet humor communities, the term ''Fap'' has been also adopted by adult porn sites, including ImageFap and FileFap launched in 2006 and 2008 respectively.
Shlick''Schlick'' is an onomatopoeic term for female masturbation. An anonymous Urban Dictionary user submitted an entry for ''schlick'' on April 12th, 2003, which defined it as ''the sound associated with female masturbation.'' On the microblogging site Tumblr, NSFW animated GIFs and images depicting women masturbating are often posted with the tag ''schlicking.''
Notable ExamplesRelated MemesEvery Time You Masturbate, God Kills a KittenEvery Time You Masturbate, God Kills a Kitten is a catchphrase asserting that masturbating causes the death of innocent kittens. The adage was first published in the May 1999 issue of BarFly magazine and popularized online in 2002 after a photoshopped image featuring two Domo toys chasing after a kitten was posted to Fark.
I Can't Fap to ThisI Can't Fap to This is a catchphrase that often appears in YouTube comments and as a caption on reaction images to express a person's distaste with the post or video they are commenting on. The phrase appeared in an image macro format (shown below, left) as early as December 2008. It can also be found in the positive manne I Can Fap To This, often paired with an image of someone looking devious or a GIF of someone becoming pleased.
No Fap SeptemberNo Fap September is a month-long challenge during which participants must abstain from masturbating. It is rumored to have been first held on 4chan in 2009, however the post was not archived. That year, it spread to dozens of male-oriented message boards. By mid-2011, the /r/NoFap subreddit was created, encouraging Redditors to abstain from masturbating in week-long or month-long challenges, if not permanently. As of June 2013, nearly 60,000 ''fapstronauts'' have subscribed to the subreddit.
Fap GuyFap Guy is a rage comic character with a strained facial expression used to express the act of masturbation. The character's facial expression is taken from the rage comic character Now Kiss, created in February 2010. That May, FunnyJunk user TehEman submitted the first Fap Guy rage comic (shown below).
CloppingClopping is an onomatopoeic tern used within the brony fandom to describe masturbating to the ponies from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The word is derived from clop, a term coined circa 1901 to describe the sound of horse's hooves against the ground. Though it is unclear where the term originated, it was used as early as February 27th, 2011 on Equestria Daily to describe a sexual fanfiction story.
Search InterestExternal References
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-Biden on ISIS: 'We Will Follow Them to the Gates of Hell' | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 14:21
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-NBC Sports Analyst: Cowboys Spared NFL 'Nightmare Situation' by Taking on Michael Sam | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 14:14
With less than an hour to go until kickoff on the 2014 NFL season, NBC Sports kicked off a new season of predictably left-of-center political pontifications.
Holding that dubious honor tonight was Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King, who, during pre-game analysis, insisted that the Dallas Cowboys signing rookie defensive end Michael Sam to their practice squad delivered the National Football League from a ''nightmare situation'' in which the first openly-gay NFL draftee failed to make a roster.
VIDEO- CLEAR EVIDENCE U.S. MAINSTREAM MEDIA WORKING WITH AND FOR THE C.I.A. - YouTube
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 14:03
VIDEO- Obama "The Only Reason We're Seeing A Ceasefire At This Moment Is Because Of Sanctions" - YouTube
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:42
VIDEO- Texas Sheriff Says ISIS Is In The United States! DUN! DUN! DUN! - YouTube
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:30
VIDEO- "It's Never A Good Bet To Bet Against The American People!" Joe Biden Gives President's Weekly - YouTube
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 13:19
VIDEO- State Dept's Harf accuses AP's Matt Lee of 'buying into Russian propaganda' - YouTube
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 11:59
VIDEO-Kerry: Bible commands us to fight climate change (particularly in Muslim countries) [VIDEO] - Allen B. West - AllenBWest.com
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 11:15
Bear with me for a moment. It's college football Saturday and there are some really big games which will have national implications. The State of Michigan will see the Wolverines and Spartans line up against two formidable foes, Notre Dame and Oregon respectively, and they travel to both venues. As well, out west there's another pretty big game between USC (the other one, Southern California, not South Carolina) and Stanford. And up in the 'Shoe, Ohio State will face the challenge of the Hokies from Virginia Tech. My own Tennessee Volunteers have Arkansas State coming to Knoxville '-- before they'll have to travel to Norman Oklahoma to face the top five rated Oklahoma Sooners. And Kansas State will have to take on Iowa State whom they should not take for granted at all.
Now, why did I start off talking about the major college football lineups today? Because I need something to calm me down as I tell you about this little tidbit.
As reported by CNS News, ''At a ceremony Wednesday honoring Shaarik Zafar, who was just appointed to serve as the State Department's Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Secretary of State John Kerry said ''confronting climate change'' is ''a duty or responsibility laid down in scriptures.'' ''Confronting climate change is, in the long run, one of the greatest challenges that we face, and you can see this duty or responsibility laid down in scriptures, clearly, beginning in Genesis,'' Kerry claimed.
Ok, trying to take a deep breath.
First of all, why do we need a Special Representative to Muslim Communities? Congress simply must not fund this newly-created position '-- why is the State Department concerned about Muslim communities? So do we need a special representative to Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist communities? Maybe Yazidi communities need a state department representative?
Where do these people come from? At a time when Christians are being slaughtered, I find it astounding that Kerry '-- and indeed the progressive socialists '-- are more focused on fighting climate change because they believe God said so? What a bunch of political hypocrites.
I'm so glad it's college football season or else I'd just have to run all day long to relieve the tension.
Check out what Scary Kerry stated, ''Our fates are inextricably linked on any number of things that we must confront and deal with in policy concepts today. Our fates are inextricably linked on the environment. For many of us, respect for God's creation also translates into a duty to protect and sustain His first creation: Earth, the planet. Before God created man, He created Heavens and Earth.''
Kerry also stated that ''Muslim-majority countries are among the most vulnerable'' when it comes to the impact of climate change. So we canceled our space program so we could do more for Muslim countries in educating them on space exploration and technology. Now we need to protect ''Muslim-majority'' countries from the dangers of climate change?
What about protecting Jews and Christians from the onslaught of Islamo-fascism and jihadism as Islamic terrorism proliferates? Nah, that's just too hard and doesn't fit the progressive socialist ideology.
Folks, enjoy football today and this weekend '-- my Atlanta Falcons take on the New Orleans Saints '-- because if we don't have something take our minds off them, these progressives will make us lose them. One thing is for sure, the progressive leftists know how to ''punt away'' the real problems and fumble all over the field.
VIDEO-Ukraine: MH17 black boxes show crash caused by rocket shrapnel | Watch the video - Yahoo News
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 09:52
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VIDEO-MH17: Black box reveals Malaysia Airlines suffered "massive explosive decompression" - Telegraph
Sun, 07 Sep 2014 09:43
For the second day running a team of 45 Australian and Dutch forensic specialists was unable to get to the area where debris and bodies landed, despite being given assurances from both sides of a ceasefire to allow them to work. They returned disappointed to their hotel in Donetsk.
Later in the day, Igor Girkin, the rebels' military chief, gave a hastily called six-minute press conference at the fortified former headquarters of Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) in the city.
Wearing a camouflage T-shirt and trousers, he told reporters his troops did not have a Buk surface-to-air missile. "Therefore, I could not have given an order to use one," said Mr Girkin, also known as Strelkov.
Ukraine, Britain and the United States allege that pro-Russian rebels knocked down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 with a Russian-made Buk missile, probably by mistake. All 298 people on board died.
Earlier, the team of specialists was forced to turn back from the edge of Shakhtarsk, about 12 miles short of the crash site near the village of Hrabovo, after hearing heavy shelling nearby and deciding it was too dangerous to go further.
"We were told we had assurances from the top leadership on both sides of a safe passage but it was not possible to continue safely," said Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which sent a team to escort the investigators.
"We find this unacceptable. We are sick and tired of being delayed. This is a huge waste of time and resources."
Mr Bociurkiw said there were still human remains, personal items and other debris scattered over the crash site, which covers a large area.
"There is a lot of work to be done," he added. "The site is vulnerable to man-made and natural factors." The investigative team will make a third attempt to reach the site on Tuesday.
In Donetsk, Vladimir Antyufeyev, a separatist leader, said that Alexander Borodai, the prime minister of the "Donetsk People's Republic", had left for Russia. The official reason was to examine how Russia deals with refugee issues but it was unclear if he would return.
Smoke was visible over Shakhtarsk in the early afternoon today and journalists were turned back from a checkpoint just short of the town where a sniper was testing his sights and other rebels faced east from behind cinder blocks which had numerous grenade launchers stacked against them.
On the edge of Zuhres, a few miles back towards Donetsk, what appeared to be a Grad rocket launcher covered in branches faced toward Ukrainian positions from a copse beside the road.
Outside a shop, in a dusty car park, a group of taxi drivers said they were unable to return home to villages to the south and east because of the fighting. Vitya, a security guard from Shakhtarsk with a tattoo of a tiger on his arm, said there had been shelling there when he left in the morning.
"The Ukrainians are attacking from the edge of the town," he said.
VIDEO-Isis will be squeezed out of existence, says David Cameron | World news | The Guardian
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 10:36
Link to video: UK will not be cowed by Isis threat to kill hostage, says David CameronDavid Cameron has vowed that Islamic State (Isis) will "be squeezed out of existence", and promised to build a coalition in the region against it that cannot be mistaken for a western-led intervention.
His remarks appeared to be preparing the ground for a broad coalition that includes Britain, to drive out Isis following a formal invitation from the Iraqi government in Baghdad.
Whitehall sources suggested that planned air attacks on Isis forces based in Syria will be deferred, partly because it would involve incursions into Syrian air space without any invitation from its government. That would change the legal status of any attacks and possibly weaken the potential regional coalition.
Cameron sidestepped the issue of attacks on Syria when pressed by the former Labour cabinet member Peter Hain. Details of the scale of the coalition response are likely to be hammered out at Nato's meeting in Newport, Wales, over the next three days, including a meeting of the five leading Nato powers on Friday morning.
Vowing the country will never give into terrorism, the prime minister also braced the population for further potential bad news about the British hostage.
He warned: "I think what has happened to the two hostages so far and what may happen again in the future is utterly abhorrent and barbaric. These people need to understand we will not waver in the our aim of defeating terrorism."
Cameron's tone and language echoed that of Barack Obama, who vowed on Wednesday that the US will not be "intimidated" by the beheading of the American journalist Steven Sotloff. Speaking in Estonia on the way to the Nato summit, Obama said: "Their horrific acts only unite us and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists. And those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served."
Cameron vowed the UK would not pay ransom to terrorist kidnappers. He said: "We should see this crisis as one where we are there to help the people on the ground and the countries in the region that want to solve this crisis.
"We should not see this as one where it is somehow a western-led intervention. We have the Kurds who are defending communities, including minority communities, from the horrors of Isil [Isis].
"We have the government in Baghdad, which badly needs to get itself together so it can represent all of the country and then we, with allies and neighbours, can do more to make sure this appalling organisation Isil feels the full pressure of international and regional and local condemnation.
"We should be using all the assets that we have, focusing first on humanitarian aid and saving people from persecution, hunger and starvation, using our diplomatic and political pressures to make sure there is a government in Baghdad that can represent all of the country, and marshalling, working with others, so the maximum pressure is put on.
"If we continue in that way, always asking ourselves how can others in the neighbourhood do their work, how can we help them, and how do we best defend our national interest and keep our people safe at home, that is the right approach."
He added: "It is not enough to target those who preach violent extremism '' we need to go after those that promote the extremist narrative and life view that gives the terrorists and the men of violence support for what they do.
"It is not unlike the cold war, where we did not just pursue those who wanted to do us such harm, we also had to challenge all those who gave them succour."
Cameron's broad strategy, including a full debate next Wednesday, won the unconditional support of the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, although Miliband urged him to involve the UN and is critical about the coherence of the plans for domestic legislation. The Labour leader said there is "a pattern of murderous behaviour by Isil of the innocent. Christians, Yazidis, Muslims, anyone who does not agree with their vile ideology.
"Events like this must strengthen, not weaken, our resolve to defeat them and you can be assured of our full support in standing firm against them."
Discussing domestic legislation to curtail jihadis travelling to Syria and Iraq, Cameron said reintroduction of relocation powers would go ahead with legislation adding urgency is the order of the day.
He also suggested his plan to block British-born jihadis returning to the UK was legal. "I do believe it is legally permissible, but it's going to require some work '... of course the best thing to do is to gather evidence, prosecute and convict and imprison, but there may be occasions where we need to exclude and fill that gap in our armoury."
Cameron had opened prime ministers questions with a mini-statement saying: "I'm sure that the whole house and the whole country will join with me in condemning the sickening and brutal murder of another American hostage and share our shock and anger that it again appears to have been carried out by a British citizen. All our thoughts are with the British hostage and his family. Their ordeal is unimaginable. But let me be very clear: this country will never give in to terrorism.
"Our opposition to Isil will continue at home and abroad. It is important that we are clear about the nature of the threat we are facing. It makes no distinction between cultures, countries and religions. There is no way to appease it. The only way to defeat it is to stand firm and to send a very straightforward message: a country like ours will not be cowed by these barbaric killers. If they think that we will weaken in the face of their threats, they are wrong. It will have the opposite effect."
VIDEO-"Counter-Tourism" | Al Sharpton Versus the Teleprompter: Volume 3 - YouTube
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 10:11
AUDIO-WAR ON CASH-Episode 564: The Signature : Planet Money : NPR
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 08:54
David Kestenbaum's signature David Kestenbaum/NPRhide caption
itoggle caption David Kestenbaum/NPRDavid Kestenbaum's signature
David Kestenbaum/NPRSome people write a squiggle. Others just write an initial. One person draws a dude surfing.
Today on the show: the signature. It's supposed to say, "This is me." But where did the idea come from? And why are we still using it? We consult a rabbi, a lawyer and a credit card executive.
Music: Lightnin' Slim's "The Things I Used To Do." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr. Download the Planet Money iPhone App.
VIDEO-Justice Dept. to probe Ferguson police force - The Washington Post
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 08:49
Attorney General Eric Holder announced the launch of a civil rights investigation into the Ferguson Police Department and as well as a collaborative reform effort with the St.Louis Police Department on Thursday. Holder also said the investigation in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is open and active, but "will take time" to complete. (AP)
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. this week will launch a broad civil rights investigation into the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department, according to two federal law enforcement officials.
The investigation, which could be announced as early as Thursday afternoon, will be conducted by the Justice Department's civil rights division and follow a process similar to that used to investigate complaints of profiling and the use of excessive force in other police departments across the country, the officials said.
The move follows the shooting last month of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American, by a white Ferguson police officer who claimed he acted in self-defense. Brown, who was unarmed, was shot at least six times on the afternoon of Aug. 9.
Holder's decision will represent the Obama administration's most aggressive step to address the Ferguson shooting, which set off days of often-violent clashes between police and demonstrators in the streets of the St. Louis suburb.
The federal officials said the probe will look not only at Ferguson but also at other police departments in St. Louis County. Some, like Ferguson, are predominantly white departments serving majority-African-American communities, and at least one department invited the Justice Department to look at its practices. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the pending inquiry.
The investigation is in addition to a Justice Department probe into whether Officer Darren Wilson, who fired the fatal shots, violated Brown's civil rights. The new probe will look more broadly at whether the department employed policies and practices that resulted in a pattern of civil rights violations.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that five current and one former member of the Ferguson police force face pending federal lawsuits claiming they used excessive force. The lawsuits, as well as more than a half-dozen internal investigations, include claims that individual officers separately hog-tied a 12-year-old boy who was checking his family mailbox, pistol-whipped children and used a stun gun on a mentally ill man who died as a result.
In addition to the investigations, a St. Louis County grand jury is hearing evidence that could lead to charges against Wilson.
The number of police department reviews the Justice Department has initiated under Holder for possible constitutional violations is twice that of any of his predecessors. At least 34 other departments are under investigation for alleged civil rights violations.
In April, for example, the Justice Department issued a scathing report concluding that the Albuquerque Police Department had repeatedly used deadly and excessive force in violation of citizens' constitutional rights when there was no imminent threat to them or the community. The assistant attorney general with the department's civil rights division said at the time that the Albuquerque department suffered from ''inadequate oversight, inadequate investigation of incidents of force, inadequate training of officers to ensure they understand what is permissible or not.''
In certain cases, such as with the New Orleans and Seattle police departments, the Justice Department under Holder has conducted a civil rights investigation parallel with a criminal investigation.
A 1994 federal law gave the civil rights division the authority to probe whether police departments are engaging in a ''pattern or practice'' of violating constitutional rights or federal rights. The law was enacted after the videotaped beating of African American motorist Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.
Relatives and community leaders including the Rev. Al Sharpton shared memories and guidance for moving forward at a funeral held for 18-year-old Michael Brown in St. Louis, Mo., on Monday. Brown was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9. (Sarah Parnass/The Washington Post)
The investigations can be collaborative arrangements, with police chiefs encouraging the thorough reviews, training recommendations and reform ideas the civil rights division proposes. One of the earliest investigations came when then-D.C. Police Chief Charles Ramsey invited the Justice Department to help him in the wake of a Washington Post investigation that found his officers shot and killed more people in the 1990s than any other large police department in the country.
Federal investigators look at patterns of excessive force, complaints against officers, and department training to help officers avoid racial profiling and unnecessary use of force.
An investigation often ends up in a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department against a local police department. Justice Department officials could also reach a settlement with the police department, which includes a consent decree and federal monitoring, as was the case with police forces in New Orleans and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Brown was stopped by Wilson in Ferguson as he walked down the middle of a neighborhood street with a friend. Wilson has told investigators that Brown reached for his gun while they had a scuffle at his car, law enforcement authorities have told The Post.
Community witnesses say Brown was assassinated in the street. They say he had run from the officer after an argument at the policeman's car, then turned around to surrender after being shot at and being frightened. The six shots in his body all appeared to enter his body from the front, including two in his head, according to an independent autopsy.
Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon could not be reached for comment. Calls to Ferguson Mayor James Knowles were not immediately returned Wednesday. E-mails to the Ferguson Police Department's public-relations firm were not immediately returned.
News of the expanded probe comes as community leaders in Ferguson say the Brown case has brought scores of new allegations of local police brutality to their attention.
''I've literally had to pull my staff from Jefferson City and put them in Ferguson because of the number of people who are saying they've had past issues with the police,'' said state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D), whose district includes Ferguson. She said she is ''fully supportive'' of an expanded probe into the department.
''Because of the Michael Brown situation, I have been getting other e-mails and phone calls and tweets about other individuals who have allegations of police brutality,'' Chappelle-Nadal said. ''The expansion of an investigation is by all means a great thing. I absolutely welcome this.''
Julie Tate, Wesley Lowery and Alice Crites contributed to this report.
Sari Horwitz covers the Justice Department, after 30 years at the paper where she has been an investigative reporter and covered federal law enforcement, crime, education and social services.
Kimberly Kindy is a government accountability reporter at The Washington Post.
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VIDEO-SNOWJOB-Anne Neuberger: Inside the NSA - The Long Now
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 08:44
Of her eight great-grandparents, seven were murdered at Auschwitz. ''So my family's history burned into me a fear of what occurs when the power of a state is turned against its people or other people.''
Seeking freedom from threats like that brought her parents from Hungary to America. By 1976 they had saved up to take their first flight abroad. Their return flight from Tel Aviv was high-jacked by terrorists and landed at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Non-Jewish passengers were released and the rest held hostage. The night before the terrorists were to begin shooting the hostages, a raid by Israeli commandos saved most of the passengers.
Anne Neuberger was just a baby in 1976. ''My life would have looked very different had a military operation not brought my parents home. It gives me a perspective on the threats of organized terror and the role of intelligence and counterterrorism.'' When she later entered government service, she sought out intelligence, where she is now the principal advisor to the Director for managing NSA's work with the private sector.
The NSA, Neuberger said, has suffered a particularly ''long and challenging year'' dealing with the public loss of trust following the Snowden revelations. The agency is reviewing all of its activities to determine how to regain that trust. One change is more open engagement with the public. ''This presentation is a starting point."
''My family history,'' she said, "instilled in me almost parallel value systems '' fear of potential for overreach by government, and belief that sometimes only government, with its military and intelligence, can keep civilians safe. Those tensions shape the way I approach my work each day. I fully believe that the two seemingly contradictory factors can be held in balance. And with your help I think we can define a future where they are.''
The National Security Agency, she pointed out, actively fosters the growth of valuable new communication and computing technology and at the same time ''needs the ability to detect, hopefully deter, and if necessary disable lethal threats.'' To maintain those abilities over decades and foster a new social contract with the public, Neuberger suggested contemplating 5 tensions, 3 scenarios, and 3 challenges.
The tensions are'... 1) Cyber Interdependencies (our growing digital infrastructure is both essential and vulnerable); 2) Intelligence Legitimacy Paradox (to regain trust, the NSA needs publicly understood powers to protect and checks on that power); 3) Talent Leverage (''the current surveillance debates have cast NSA in a horrible light, which will further hamper our recruiting efforts''); 4) Personal Data Norms (the growing Internet-of-things'--Target was attacked through its air-conditioning network'--opens vast new opportunities for tracking individual behavior by the private as well as public sector); 5) Evolving Internet Governance (the so-far relatively free and unpoliticized Internet could devolve into competing national nets).
Some thirty-year scenarios'... 1) Intelligence Debilitated (with no new social contract of trust and thus the loss of new talent, the government cannot keep up with advancing technology and loses the ability to manage its hazards); 2) Withering Nation (privacy obsession hampers commercial activity and government oversight, and nations develop their own conflicting Internets); 3) Intelligent America (new social contract with agreed privacy norms and ongoing security assurance).
Initiatives under way from NSA'... 1) Rebuild US Trust (move on from ''quiet professionals'' stance and actively engage the public); 2) Rebuild Foreign Trust (''extend privacy protections previously limited to US citizens to individuals overseas''); 3) Embrace Collective Oversight (reform bulk collection programs in response to the President's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board).
As technology keeps advancing rapidly, the US needs to stay at the forefront in terms of inventing the leading technical tools to provide public services and maintain public security, plus the policy tools to balance civil liberties with protection against ever-evolving threats. ''My call to action for everyone in this audience is get our innovative minds focussed on the full set of problems.''
A flood of QUESTION CARDS came to the stage, only a few of which we could deal with live. Anne Neuberger wanted to take all the questions with her to share with NSA colleagues, so Laura Welcher at Long Now typed them up. I figure that since the questioners wanted their questions aired on the stage to the live and video audience, they would like to have them aired here as well. And it would be in keeping with the NSA's new openness to public discourse. Ms. Neuberger agreed'...
I have a general (unfocused) question about transparency '' which hasn't been mentioned thus far. What is the NSA's rationale around hiding its activities from the American people? What can you tell us about the issue of transparency going forward?
What are the key questions NSA is discussing following the Snowden releases? And what is the NSA doing to address these issues?
Germany is very, very upset. What could we have done, and what should we do in the future, to fulfill our many responsibilities while also respecting our most valuable international relationships?
How can we work toward a new social contract when the intelligence agency directors repeatedly lie to the Congress and to the public?
Is it true you can still find one-star generals playing Magic the Gathering in the NSA canteen during lunch hour?
The failures of 9-11 were not technical failures, but failures of individuals and organizations to work together toward a common goal. What concrete steps can you describe in the intelligence community that have been taken to remedy this?
What is the NSA doing to make the scope of its data collection efforts as transparent as possible, while still achieving its goals w.r.t. national security?
Is it an acceptable outcome that NSA fails at securing us in the service of privacy considerations?
If the Snowden incident hadn't happened, would the NSA have hired the civil liberties expert? What structural changes will make this role actually effective?
Has the real tension been between the NSA needing to protect its own systems while ensuring that everybody else's are vulnerable? Is this inevitable?
Do you believe the mission of the NSA can be accomplished without building a record of all worldwide communications and activities? Why?
Is the NSA embedding backdoor or surveillance capability in any commercial integrated circuits?
If you want to address the damage to public trust, and improve the social contract, why not applaud the work Edward Snowden has done to demonstrate how your agency has gone astray?
Do you consider the NSA's role in weakening the RSA random number generator to be a violation of the NSA's existing social contract? How do you think about its exploitability by criminal elements?
What do you tell American corporate tech leaders who are concerned about lowered trust and security of their services and products? Lack of trust based on national security letters, for example, or weaknesses introduced into RSA crypto by the NSA?
What is the best mechanism for an intelligence agency to prevent themselves from using ''national security secrecy'' to cover up an embarrassment? Is there something better than whistleblowers?
Secure information and privacy need to be balanced '' please give an example of when you feel the NSA worked at its best in this balancing act. Please be specific :-)
How much is your presentation a reflection of NSA or your personal views?
Should the NSA play a role in devising the new rules for cyberwar? (Since the old rules for war don't work in the digital universe.) How do we citizens participate?
Do you personally feel that the leaks of the last year have revealed serious overreach by your agency? Or, do you feel as though the NSA has simply been unfairly painted and that the leaks have been damaging?
Privacy is, logically, implied (4th, and 5th and 10th Amendments). Should it be an explicit right? If so, how should it be architected?
Amnesty for Snowden?
When Russia invaded Ukraine, it seemed to take us by surprise. Have Snowden's revelations damaged our ability to anticipate sudden moves by rivals and adversaries?
How can the NSA build an effective social contract when it destroys evidence in an active case and when its decisions are made in a secret court without public scrutiny?
How can the public make informed decisions if NSA keeps secret what it is doing from its public rulers viz the abuses exposed by Snowden?
Can you give an example of a credible ''cyber threat'' thwarted by the NSA?
Why did NSA dissolve its Chief Scientist Office? So too FBI. This Office funded the disk drive and speech recognition.
How do you reconcile your stated goal of improving the security of private sector products with NSA's documented practice of intentionally weakening encryption standards and adding backdoors to exported network devices that facilitate billions of dollars of e-commerce?
How does surveillance directed towards the United States's closest allies help deter terrorist threats, and how does the damage of our relationship with Germany and other allies offset the benefits of conducting such surveillance?
I am an American, legally, politically, culturally, economically. I was born in Pakistan and am a young male. My demographics are the prime target of the NSA. I have no recourse if the NSA sees that I have visited the ''wrong'' links. I am afraid that the NSA deems me a suspect. Your response?
Balancing the needs of 'security, society and business' leaves most of us with 1 vote in 3. Given the shared interest in big data by security agencies and business, how do the rest of us keep from getting outvoted 2-to-1 every time?
Your fears seem to be based on a highly competitive scarcity-based economy. What is your role in a post-scarcity society?
In what ways do public, crowdsourced prediction markets help to resolve the tension between public trust and the need for sophisticated intel?
Does the government have either a duty or a need to be open and honest in its communication with the public?
How does the NSA approach biological data? Synthetic biology applications?
You never use the word law.
How many more leaks would it take to make your mission impossible? Personally I look forward to this particular point in time.
Please share your thoughts on: Re: 'talent leverage' impact on world stage. We are all one family on spaceship earth, and we have grave system failures in the ship. If the U.S. gov't can shift from empire to universal economic empowerment, based on natural carrying capacity of each ecosystem. Then, trust can be restored that this is not a gov't of and for the military-industrial complex, and the most powerful corporations.
What are three basic reasons that make the NSA assume that it doesn't need to obey the law?
Surveillance and security are mutually contradictory goals. Shouldn't these functions of the NSA be split into different agencies?
Was Snowden a hero or a damaging rogue? Did he catalyze changes to keep NSA from being the ''KGB''?
Do we live in a democracy when there are no checks and balances in the intelligence community? --> CIA/Senate, --> Snowden/NSA?
You described the importance of a social contract in determining the appropriate balance between privacy and intelligence gathering. But contracts require all parties to be well-informed and to trust each other. How can the American public trust the intelligence community when all of the reforms you mentioned only occurred because a concerned patriot chose to blow the whistle (and now faces prosecution)?
How are we to maintain the creative outliers and risk takers (things that have been known to create growth and brilliance) if we are keeping / tracking 'norms' as acceptable '' or the things we accept. '' How will we know if we are wrong?
Can or does the NSA influence or seek to influence immigration policy so that the US could retain foreign workers here on expiring H1Bs?
What does the NSA see as some of the greatest emerging technologies (quantum decryption for example) that can create the future ''Intelligent America''?
What are the factors that determines whether the NSA 'quietly assists' improving a company's product security, or it weakens or promotes weaker crypto standards / algorithms / tech?
Please talk about the recent large scale hacking from Russia.
Why frame this as ''how can laws keep up with technology'' instead of ''how do we keep the NSA from exceeding the law?''
1) Was NSA interdiction of a sovereign leader's aircraft a violation of international law? 2) Does NSA believe they can mill and drill a database to find potential terrorists?
The NSA paid a private security form, RSA, to introduce a weakness into its security software. Spying is one matter. But making our defenses weaker is another. How do you defend this?
What is your biggest fear about NSA overreaching in its power [?]
How many real, proven terrorist threats to the U.S. have been uncovered by NSA surveillance of email / cell phone activity of private citizens in the last few years (4-8)?
Your list of tensions omitted any mention of corporate or otherwise economic fallout that may result or have resulted from the Snowden revelations. What relief mechanism do you foresee maintaining corporate trust in the American government?
You mentioned doing during slide 14 that the Director of the NSA is declassifying more information to promote ''tranparency''. Can you please elaborate on how we might find these recently declassified documents?
Long ago we created a ''privilege'' for priests, doctors and lawyers, fearing we could not use them without it. Today, our computers know us better than our priests, but they have no privilege and can betray us to surveillance. How do we fix that?
What systems are in place to prevent further leaks?
1) Is it ok for a foreign entity to collect and intercept President Obama's communications without our knowledge? 2) Do you think William Binney and Thomas Drake are heroes?
How do we build a world of transparency, while also enabling security for our broader society?
As we grow more connected, the sense of distance embodied in national patriotism and the otherness of the world shrinks. How is a larger NSA a reasonable response in terms of a social contract?
Describe the culture that says it's ok to monitor and read US citizens' email (pre-revelation) [?]
How can the NSA enable more due process during the review of approvals of modern ''wire taps'' (i.e. translating big data searches to individuals)?
In the next 10 years there will be breakthroughs in math creating radical changes in data mining. What are the social risks of that being dominated by NGO's vs. government?
Has the NSA performed criminally illegal wiretapping? If so, when will those responsible be prosecuted?
Can you define what unlocking Big Data responsibly really means and give examples? Can NSA regulate Facebook in terms of privacy and ownership of users' data?
How do other governments deal with similar problems?
What prevents NSA from trusting ''Intelligent America'' revealing that linking information but not the content was broadly collected could have been understood and well presented. Funded [?] ''Intelligent Ingestion of Information'' ...[?] DARPA 1991-1995.
Please address the spying upon and the filing of criminal charges against US Senators and their staff by the USA, particularly in the case of Senator Diane Feinstein of California.
Does the NSA's legitmacy depend more on the safety of citizens or ensuring the continuity of the Constitutional system?
Can you shed any light on why Pres. Obama has indicted more whistleblowers than all previous presidents combined?
When will Snowden be recognized as a hero? When will Clapper go to jail for perjury? Actions speak louder than buzz words.
Does NSA make available the algorithms for natural language processing used by the data analysis systems?
In the long term view, it would seem freedom is a higher priority value than safety so why is safety the highest value here? Why isn't the USA working primariy to ensure our continued freedom?
How do you protect sources and methods while forging the new social contract?
How can any company trust cybercommand when the same chief runs NSA where the focus is attack? How can we trust the Utah Data Center after such blatant lies of ''targeted surveillance?''
Now that the mass surveillance programs have to some extent been revealed, can we see some verifiable examples of their worth? If not, will NSA turn back towards strengthening security instead of undermining it?
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 encouraged our govt. leaders to adopt aggressive surveillance laws and regulations and demands from the intelligence communities. How do we reverse these policies adopted under duress?
--Stewart Brand
VIDEO-Wild Web: Hijacked photos of nude stars find 'safe harbor'
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 08:08
Imagine what the Internet would be like if most major websites had imposed controls preventing the naked photos stolen from Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities from being posted online.
The Internet would be less sleazy, but pre-screening more content might also mute its role as a megaphone for exposing abuses in government, big companies and other powerful institutions.
Rindoff/Dufour | French Select | Getty Images
Jennifer Lawrence
To preserve the Internet as a free-wheeling forum, Congress included a key provision in a 1998 law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that governs the online distribution of photos, video and text.
A "safe harbor" clause absolves websites of any legal liability for virtually all content posted on their services. The law, known as the DMCA, requires websites and other Internet service providers to remove a piece of content believed to be infringing on a copyright after being notified of a violation by the copyright owner.
Read MoreJennifer Lawrence speaks out after nude photo hack
Websites have been busily pulling the naked photos of Lawrence and other victims of the high-tech theft presumably because they are being notified of copyright violations or because the images violate the sites' terms of service. The copyright infringements are fairly blatant: The photos were likely taken by either the celebrities themselves or by someone else besides the thieves who hacked into their online accounts to heist copies stored on computers for online backup services such as Apple's iCloud.
But the stolen photos weren't removed quickly enough to prevent an unknown number of people from making their own copies on their smartphones, tablets and personal computers.
Although the intrusion into the privacy of Lawrence and other stars probably would have been less rampant if websites weren't protected by the DMCA, most legal experts question whether requiring Internet companies to review content more vigilantly before it's posted would be worth setting precedents that could stifle free expression.
"If there is anything the American public dislikes more than an invasion of privacy, it's censorship," says Bruce Sunstein, a Boston attorney specializing in intellectual property rights.
Read MoreApple: 'Actively investigating' celeb photo hack
How did the DMCA come about?
As more people began to surf the Web in the mid-1990s, it became increasingly apparent that the Internet was making it easier for people to acquire and post all kinds of content. This made copyright violations more widespread, but music labels, movie studios and book publishers had to go to court to obtain orders to remove each piece of illegal content.
The DMCA represented Congress' attempt to address the copyright challenges posed by the Internet. Among other things, the legislation gave copyright holders a way to request their content to be removed simply by sending an email. Lawmakers also included the safe harbor provision to protect websites from lawsuits alleging that they should never have allowed the content to be posted in the first place.
Some of the safe-harbor protections have faced legal challenges, including a high-profile lawsuit that entertainment conglomerate Viacom filed against YouTube after the video site was sold to Google for $1.76 billion in 2006. Viacom alleged that YouTube management allowed copyrighted video to be brazenly uploaded to their site because they knew the material would attract more viewers and drive up the value of their company. Google and YouTube ultimately prevailed in the bitter dispute, largely because of the DMCA's safe harbor.
Why was a safe harbor needed?
If websites could be held liable for copyright violations, they would be thrust into the position of making judgment calls on a piece of content before it's posted online. That would be a daunting task, given the volume of material that Web surfers share on the Internet today. About 144,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube alone each day, while Twitter processes more than 500 million tweets per day and Facebook's 1.3 billion users share billions of photos.
"The platforms that host that content can't readily police all of it the way that a newspaper can carefully select what should go in as a letter to the editor," said Harvard University Law School professor Jonathan Zittrain, who is also co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.
Read MoreAre banks or retailers more secure?
Some pre-screening of content is still done. YouTube prevents some video from being posted through a copyright-screening tool that was created after Google took over.
Not all copyright violations are caught, so Google is still inundated with takedown requests. In the past month alone, Google says it received requests to remove more than 31 million links in its search engine index directing traffic to content cited as copyright violations. That number doesn't include content posted on YouTube or its blogging service. Google says it complies with the overwhelming majority of the takedown requests.
It's probably a good thing that websites aren't asked to decide what's legal and what's not, says Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group focused on digital rights. She worries big companies would likely err on the side of caution and block more content than necessary because they wouldn't want to risk being held liable for something that could dent their earnings and stock price. Small start-ups, meanwhile, would also likely be prone to block a lot more content because they can't afford anything that could drain their finances.
"The Internet, as we know it, would not exist if it were not for the DMCA's safe harbor," McSherry said. "If we are ever in a position where Internet service providers have to monitor their sites, I think Internet users will lose."
Don't websites already block material that doesn't involve copyright violations?
Yes, but those decisions typically involve violations of a websites own rules. For instance, YouTube and Facebook try to block pornographic images. Both sites, along with Twitter, also forbid graphic violence, such as the recent beheadings of U.S. journalists videotaped by the Islamic State militants. In many instances, though, the websites still rely on their own users to identify posted content that violates the terms of service.
"The lasting test here is of the ethical moment that users face when they choose to seek out or repost photos they know weren't meant to be public," Zittrain said.
'--By The Associated Press
VIDEO-BBC News - Is there a new World Disorder?
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 07:30
Two decades ago George H W Bush spoke of a New World Order following the end of the Cold War.
Now, with the situation in Ukraine, concerns about the threat from Islamic State (IS), the recent conflict in Gaza, Islamic extremist in sub-Saharan Africa and tension in the South China Sea, some people are talking of a new World Disorder - as turmoil appears to spread.
The BBC's World Affairs Editor John Simpson analyses the current situation, the causes and connections behind it, and what can be done.
VIDEO-Matthew VanDyke) '' Email & Twitter Hacked by the SEA | the real SyrianFreePress Network
Sat, 06 Sep 2014 00:40
The Syrian Electronic Army has hacked into American Matthew VanDykes email and Twitter accounts, and have downloaded all his information.Mathew VanDyke heading to Syria
Matthew VanDyke again
Both videos Uploaded By NevaehWest
He is believed to have some associated ties with the CIA. He has traveled to Syria, at least on 2 occasions to help ''liberate'' Syrians the way he did in Libya when he joined illegal rogue forces to help eliminate Gaddafi. He spent some time in a jail in Libya, and now believes he is an expert on the Middle East, and what the people of the Middle East (especially Syria) want.
He made a short film regarding HIS version of the situation in Syria, and peddles it around the US at every chance he gets. I actually watched it, and the first thing that came to mind was'... ''Touching music but zero proof.'' Interviews of a few who cliam to be Syrians, but who knows.
The girl, Nour (seen in the above videos), speaks about how she used to wear her high heels around Syria, but doesnt anymore. I guess she is too stupid to realize what will happen to her heels if the disgusting Radical Jihad Islamists come to power over the government of Syria she bad mouths!
Might as well throw those pumps away baby!The only thing you will be wearing is a burka! Matthew is nothing but a zionist tool. A big mouth, with nothing to back it up his claims. You can catch Matthew showing his garbage around America, but dont expect this twitter account to be be accurate for that at anytime soon'...
The SEA has been having quite a bit of fun with his account
At least now, the twitter account of Matthew VanDyke is speaking the truth. Something Matthew has no clue how to do!Like this:LikeLoading...
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: (C) 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM (C) 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: (C) 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM (C) 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
VIDEO-Man infected with Ebola virus flees isolation, terrifies market - Yahoo!7
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 23:12
Man infected with Ebola virus flees isolation, terrifies marketDramatic video has emerged of the moments a man infected with the deadly Ebola virus escaped from isolation and terrified shoppers in a marketplace.
The man is chased by a concerned crowd after he fled from his hospital quarantine in search of food.
Medical workers dressed in full protective clothing are then seen to forcefully bundle the infected man into a van in front of the crowd.
World 'losing battle' to contain EbolaInternational medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres says the world is "losing the battle" to contain Ebola as the United Nations warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries.
MSF told a UN briefing in New York that world leaders were failing to address the epidemic and called for an urgent global biological disaster response to get aid and personnel to west Africa.
"Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat," said MSF international president Joanne Liu.
Governments and aid organisations are scrambling to contain the disease, which has killed more than 1500 since March. Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said 800 more beds for Ebola patients were urgently needed in the Liberian capital Monrovia alone, while in Sierra Leone highly infectious bodies were rotting in the streets.
International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres says world is "losing the battle" to contain Ebola as the United Nations warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries. Photo: AP/Sevi Herve GbekideMSF called for rich nations to send military medical teams to support buckling healthcare systems in West Africa.
US missionary organisation SIM USA said that an American doctor treating obstetrics patients at the ELWA hospital in Monrovia had tested positive for Ebola. The doctor, who was not working in the hospital's Ebola treatment centre, was in an isolation ward at the hospital and was responding well so far, SIM said on its Web site.
Scores of staff went on strike at the John F. Kennedy Medical Centre (JFK) in Monrovia in a protest over unpaid bonuses and working conditions. More than 120 healthworkers have died in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak amid shortages of equipment and trained staff.
"Health workers have died (fighting Ebola), including medical doctors at ... JFK and to have them come to work without food on their table, we think that is pathetic," George Williams, secretary general of the Health Workers Association of Liberia, told Reuters.
Williams said healthcare workers at JFK, the country's largest referral hospital, had gone unpaid for two months.
The strike followed a one-day protest over pay and conditions at the Connaught hospital in Sierra Leone's capital Freetown on Monday. Staff at the main Ebola clinic at Kenema in eastern Sierra Leone also walked off the job last week, in protest at conditions.
A health worker measures a patient's temperature at the Connaught Hospital, which has suffered the loss of medical workers in the past from the Ebola virus, in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: APThe World Health Organisation and other international bodies are rushing to support fragile healthcare systems in affected countries, but additional staff and resources have been slow to arrive.
The president of MSF, Joanne Liu, said in a speech to UN members in New York that the outbreak was now an issue of international security and needed specialised biological disaster response teams to contain it, both civilian and military.
"Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it," Liu said, slamming what she called "a global coalition of inaction."
Liu called for the urgent dispatch of field hospitals with isolation wards and mobile medical laboratories to West Africa.
uring a training session participants listen as they stand over a mannequin on a stretcher during a training course to instruct non-governmental organisation (NGO) workers and doctors on how to deal with the Ebola virus in Brussels. Photo: APFOOD PRICES SURGE
In Monrovia, MSF said its new ELWA 3 centre, which has 160 beds, was already overflowing with patients.
"Every day we have to turn sick people away because we are too full," said Stefan Liljegren, MSF coordinator at the site.
Putting further pressure on the ability of the region's governments to spend money on healthcare, the epidemic has also put harvests at risk and sent food prices soaring in West Africa, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.
The FAO issued a special alert over food security for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three countries most affected by the outbreak, which was detected in the forests of southeastern Guinea in March.
Restrictions on people's movements and the establishment of quarantine zones to contain the spread of the haemorrhagic fever has led to panic buying, food shortages and price hikes in countries ill-prepared to absorb the shock.
"Even prior to the Ebola outbreak, households in some of the most affected areas were spending up to 80 percent of their incomes on food," said Vincent Martin, head of an FAO unit in Dakar coordinating the agency's response. "Now these latest price spikes are effectively putting food completely out of their reach."
The director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden, said the outbreak was accelerating very fast and urged more global support to combat it.
"It's spiralling out of control. The situation is bad and it looks like it's going to get worse quickly. There is still a window of opportunity to tamp it down but that window is closing," he told NBC News following a visit to the region.
"This is different than every other Ebola situation we've ever had. It's spreading widely, throughout entire countries, through multiple countries, in cities and very fast," he said.
Frieden called on health officials to reverse the outbreak by sending in more resources and specialised workers, adding that the US government now had 70 people in the region.
The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in the Djera region of northern Democratic Republic of Congo has risen to 31, Minister of Health Felix Kabange Numbi told Reuters on Tuesday.
The outbreak in Congo's Equateur province is thought to be separate from the West African epidemic.
VIDEO-IKEA channels Apple in 'bookbook' product announcement - MarketWatch
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 23:04
LONDON (MarketWatch) '-- With less than a week to go before the latest feverishly awaited event in Cupertino, Calif., Swedish furniture giant IKEA is spoofing Apple mania.
Making clear allusions to the Silicon Valley consumer-electronics titan's AAPL, +0.87% new-product presentations, IKEA waxes breathless in presenting an innovation of its own: the ''bookbook.''
''You know, once in awhile something comes along that changes the way we live. A device so simple and intuitive, you'll see it feels almost familiar,'' IKEA's ''chief design guru'' intones in a video promoting the company's 2015 Singapore and Malaysia catalog. Dressed in a minimalist T-shirt and speaking passionately about the new device, it's hard not to spot a resemblance to Apple's AAPL, +0.87% top designer, Jonathan Ive. ''It's not a digital book, or an e-book. It's a bookbook.''
The bookbook is encumbered with no cables, is just 8 millimeters thick, has an ''eternal'' battery life, and its content comes ''preinstalled.''
In other words, it's an IKEA catalog.
And the design guru calls it ''amazing.''
It seems IKEA has hit the spot with the parody; more than 3 million people have already watched the video since Wednesday, when it was released on YouTube.
The last time IKEA drew so much international attention with a catalog release came in 2012, when the assemble-it-yourself juggernaut faced criticism for airbrushing out images of women in a Saudi Arabia catalog. IKEA later apologized.
More must-reads on MarketWatch:
Buying an iPhone 6? You'll also need a new wardrobe
Why investors should ignore the iPhone 6 hype
Starbucks has a plan to win over coffee sobs, commuters
VIDEO-VTM schopt Vlaanderen een geweten met apocalyptisch weerbericht - HLN.be
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 22:50
Tommy Thijs5/09/14 - 15u43Jill Peeters presenteert 'Het weer' op VTM. (C) vtm.De Verenigde Naties hebben een aantal lokale tv-stations, waaronder ook VTM, gevraagd om 'valse' weerberichten te maken. Die moeten waarschuwen voor de gevolgen van de klimaatverandering op lange termijn. Ze moeten ons een geweten schoppen naar aanleiding van de klimaattop in New York eind deze maand.
De weerberichten schetsen een somber beeld van het jaar 2050
In de spotjes wordt een somber beeld geschetst van het jaar 2050, waarin het weerbericht een apocalyptische opsomming is van overstromingen, gigantische stormen en hittegolven van Arizone tot Zambia. Naast VTM nemen ook zenders als de Duitse ARD, het Amerikaanse Weather Channel en het Japanse NHK deel. Op 16 september zal het Belgische spotje online komen te staan op YouTube.
Jill Peeters zal het Belgische weerbericht van 2050 presenteren. De VTM-weervrouw is zeer begaan met het klimaat. Ze schreef er een boek over en in 2009 werd ze op de VN-klimaattop in Kopenhagen uitgeroepen tot 'beste klimaatvrouw van Europa'.
De weerberichten maken deel uit van een reclamecampagne naar aanloop van de volgende klimaatconferentie van de Verenigde Naties, die op 23 september van start gaat. Volgens de Wereldmeteorologische Organisatie van de VN, de WMO, zijn de spotjes "vals maar wel realistisch". In de trailer hieronder is bijvoorbeeld te horen hoe Miami onder water is gelopen of slachtoffers gevallen zijn bij een tyfoon of door de droogte in de VS. De spot bevat ook beelden van een vastgelopen Brusselse ring.
"Klimaatverandering be¯nvloedt het weer overal en maakt het veel extremer. Dat leidt tot meer rampen, meer onzekerheid", zo zei VN-secretaris-generaal Ban Ki Moon. Hij dringt er bij de wereldleiders op aan om een "plechtige belofte" te doen om de klimaatverandering aan te pakken.
Rapporteer een fout in het artikel aan onze redactie
AUDIO-Military Fighters chasing Private Plane with Unconscious Pilot (just happened) | LiveATC.net
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 21:45
Shortly before 1200 EDT today I started hearing comms on both 260.900 & 228.900 MHz between LUCKY 01 and STALK ?? regarding an unconscious pilot in a private plane.They were following a plane with a pilot who appeared to be unconscious. The attached recording is of the fighter telling NORAD (HUNTRESS) they he can see the pilots chest moving and hope he regains consciousness as the plane descends.
As luck would have it, the fighter aircraft (not sure if its LUCKY or STALK) had to RTB because he was having an oxygen system problem.
Lat/long that were given puts this near the Bahamas. Also the fighters were told they couldn't proceed south of 24 N Lat. (Cuban Airspace??)
I do not know the outcome, comes weren't the best, I'm surprised I heard what I did due to the distance.
George - Daytona Beachwww.MilAirComms.com
VIDEO-Common Core So Confusing, A News Station Airs Videos Reteaching Parents What Used To Be Simple Math
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 09:01
Forget times tables and memorization techniques. Common Core standards expect students to understand why two numbers add up to make another, and the program comes with new teaching methods for children learning basic math.
Because this might cause some confusion for parents helping their children with homework, an NBC affiliate in Buffalo, New York, has put together six ''Homework Helper'' segments to explain to parents the new way of doing arithmetic, The Daily Signal reports.
Each problem takes a little over a minute of work to find the answer. For seemingly simple problems like 9 + 5, students are now required to draw out diagrams and break down numbers before adding them together again.
For the 38 states that will use Common Core curricula this year, parents might be left asking, ''If it wasn't broken, why fix it?'' As for teachers who have had to adjust decades of teaching methods, 40% of them say they oppose the program '' up from 12% in 2013.
AUDIO-After Foley's Death, Former War Reporter Says It's Not Worth The Risk | Here & Now
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 02:52
Journalist James Foley is pictured in Aleppo, Syria, in September, 2012. (Manu Brabo/freejamesfoley.org via AP)
Tom A. Peter is a freelance war reporter. (tomapeter.com)
War reporting is dangerous. We were reminded of that today with the news that journalist Steven Sotloff has apparently been beheaded by an Islamic State militant.
The video of the beheading follows another, last month, of journalist James Foley being killed by a militant from the same group, also known as ISIS.
One might reasonably ask: Is the job of chronicling war worth the risk? For one reporter, the answer is that it would be if more people paid attention to it. But they don't. So it's not.
This is what moved freelancer Tom A. Peter to write about in the New Republic following Foley's death. Peter covered the Middle East and Afghanistan for seven years, and now he's describing his disillusionment with the job.
Interview Highlights: Tom A. PetersOn the attitude towards the media
''Over three quarters of the people think that the media is inaccurate'...a majority of people simply don't trust it. And more people find the media immoral than they do moral. When you have this attitude that the media is lying to you or you believe that all reporting that doesn't agree with what you already believe is inaccurate, you're not doing your job as a citizen. You're kind of shirking your civic duty to be informed.''
On the risks of war reporting
''The most terrifying thing that ever happened to me in reporting'--we were going and visiting an area that had been recently liberated by the opposition or '-- taken by the opposition. And as we were driving back I was with a group of reporters, a car cut us off and guys '-- masked men '-- jumped out with guns. Once they pulled our driver out and drove off with us, it was kind of impossible to escape at the moment. You have to kind of accept this fate that potentially I'm going to be taken somewhere and executed or held indefinitely. The level of terror you feel when something like that happen is difficult to describe.''
On the impact of James Foley's death
''I would hope that if anything comes out of this that maybe it can be a wake up call to news consumers that 'hey look there are people out there taking huge risks, risking it all to bring you the facts'. So pay attention, read them and don't think there's some giant conspiracy out there. I can assure you that the vast majority of legitimate journalists really do want to bring you the truth.''
GuestTom A. Peter, freelance journalist who covered the Middle East and Afghanistan for seven years. He currently writes about border security and immigration. He tweets @TomAPeter.

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Agenda 21

A probabilistic analysis of human influence on recent record global mean temperature changes.pdf
Climate Summit 2014 with REAL nescasters FAKE reports-WMO-2050.mp3
Disruption Movie.mp3
Kerry-bible says fight climate change.mp3

Caliphate!

Biden on ISIS- 'We Will Follow Them to the Gates of Hell'.mp3
CNN man on street-ISIS-us attacks fear pr0n.mp3
CNN-How ISIS forced Twitter to grow up.mp3
Don Lemon SSSS Tecas Sherrif.mp3

Common Core

Common Core TV packages - MATH Base Ten System.mp3

Ebola

Ebola infected man on the loose! Zombies!.mp3
Gupta- $$ & STRATEGY-Ebola with Rajiv Shah of USAID-Gates Foundation.mp3
Gupta- INTRO - Ebola with Rajiv Shah of USAID-Gates Foundation.mp3

F-Russia

Circular Letter No.3477 - Communication From The Government Of Ukraine (...pdf
Harf fights Matt over Agressive NATO Rapid Defence Force.mp3
Obama "The Only Reason We're Seeing A Ceasefire At This Moment Is Because Of Sanctions".mp3

Hillary 2016

Joe fills in for the Prez-INTRO.mp3
Joe fills in for the Prez-MIddle Class=American Dream.mp3
Joe fills in for the Prez-Outro.mp3

JCD Clips

America and NATO and the BS.mp3
AQ India.mp3
chuck todd.mp3
cohen on democracy in uklraine.mp3
cohen on ukraine civil war.mp3
ebola guy shopping.mp3
gilead 84000.mp3
HPV vaccine.mp3
native ad for whole foods.mp3
professor stephen cohen digression about malysian airline.mp3
scripted question for Obama at NATO.mp3
Ukraine NATO-OTAN wrap.mp3
WHO LADY ON EBOLA.mp3

Jingles

ISIS HASHTAGS.mp3
isis_jingle.mp3

LGGBTQQIAAP

Michael Sam Cowboys avoid Nightmare Scenario ESPN.mp3

Ministry of Truth

Al Sharpton vs The Teleprompter III.mp3
Intercept publishes MSM & CIA emails.mp3
Jarl Mohn NPR Monsanto.mp3
Jarl Mohn NPR Podcast.mp3
Jarl Mohn NPR Same Number of Units.mp3

NA-Tech

IKEA bookbook.mp3
SpotiLIE on mucisians making streaming money.mp3

NWO

BBC New World DIS-Order.mp3
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