656: Gap Focused Thinking

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 12m
September 28th, 2014
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Executive Producers: Sir Terry the cheap bastard of mobile bay, Sir Kurt of Team Winky, Sir Don Tomaso Di Toronto, Sir David Foley Grand Duke of the USA, Nicholas J Raimondi, Richard Riley

Associate Executive Producers: Tyler O'Brien, Brian Hall AKA Sir Ludark Babark Fudgefountain, Sir Don Kuehl, Timnonymous

Cover Artist: Joe Wagner

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
Suggest a new chapter
TODAY
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Bogative press
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Whats happening in EU especially, could be a lst ditch effort
All the EU beuracracy
Economy is about to pop, need war
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nword
Analaysis:
Its ok to mock Stupid Republicans, as bible thumpers, haters of black people, Sarah Palin morons
1st one to complain. And please note the context that I said it.
I was not being racist and do not consider using “nigga puhlease' in context as offensive.
In fact, I emulated what many transexuals / tranvestites do when they are in drag.
I guess its ok if you are in drag, but not if you are in a role in sound only.
ny other words you want me to not use?
Fag, dyke cunt bitch ho queen tranny
Fuck it. I’m too old for this shit.
Sorry you were so ‘shocked!
How about your president droning people. Are you ever shocked by that? Outraged?
AC
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KF5SLN
Governments are reading your email.
Slow them down with encryption.
My public key: pubkey.curry.com
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On Sep 26, 2014, at 9:57 AM, Chance wrote:
Hi Adam, as I was driving in today I was listening to your show and I was shocked to hear you say the N-word during your analysis of the presidents speech. I know that mass media throws that word around a lot especial in our music but that word still offends a lot of people including myself even when used in a joking manner. Honestly, I thought you were better than that. I've been listening to your show for about a year and it has turned into one of my main news sources. Obviously this is a free country and you can say what you like ,well kind of a free country but I would appreciate it if you refrain from using that word. Thank you for your courage
Pakis
Sacred text from the ISIL flag on a PB&J samich!
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JCD's drinkig tip
Like landing a cessna with giant cartoon pontoon floats
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We are the Über of Public Radio
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Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''690, 102 Stat. 4181, enacted November 18, 1988^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, footnote 6, page 3 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 (Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999), Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, pp. 9''10 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, Pub.L. 109''469, 120 Stat. 3501, enacted December 29, 2006, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 1708^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
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Drone Knight Posters received
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Presidential Proclamation --- Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 00:23
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 25, 2014
PACIFIC REMOTE ISLANDS MARINE NATIONAL MONUMENT EXPANSION
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
Through Proclamation 8336 of January 6, 2009, the President established the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument ("Monument") to protect and preserve the marine environment around Wake, Baker, Howland, and Jarvis Islands, Johnston and Palmyra Atolls, and Kingman Reef for the care and management of the historic and scientific objects therein. The Monument is an important part of the most widespread collection of marine- and terrestrial-life protected areas on the planet, sustaining many endemic species including corals, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds, water birds, land birds, insects, and vegetation not found elsewhere. The Monument includes the lands, waters, and submerged and emergent lands of the seven Pacific Remote Islands to lines of latitude and longitude that lie approximately 50 nautical miles from the mean low water lines of those seven Pacific Remote Islands. The islands of Jarvis, Howland, and Baker were also the location of notable bravery and sacrifice by a small number of voluntary Hawaiian colonists, known as Hui Panalāʽau, who occupied the islands from 1935 to 1942 to help secure the U.S. territorial claim over the islands.
The area around the Monument includes the waters and submerged lands to the extent of the seaward limit of the United States Exclusive Economic Zone ("U.S. EEZ") up to 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea of these seven Pacific Remote Islands is measured. The U.S. EEZ areas adjacent to Wake and Jarvis Islands and Johnston Atoll ("adjacent areas") contain significant objects of scientific interest that are part of this highly pristine deep sea and open ocean ecosystem with unique biodiversity. These adjacent areas hold a large number of undersea mountains ("seamounts") that may provide habitat for colonies of deepwater corals many thousands of years old. These adjacent areas' pelagic environment provides habitat and forage for tunas, turtles, manta rays, sharks, cetaceans, and seabirds that have evolved with a foraging technique that depends on large marine predators.
A significant geological feature of the adjacent areas is the undersea mountains. A seamount is a mountain rising from the seabed that does not reach the sea surface. Most often seamounts occur in chains or clusters. Nearly all of the seamounts in the adjacent areas are volcanoes: some are still erupting actively, and others stopped erupting long ago. The
Monument includes 33 seamounts; the adjacent areas include approximately 132 more. The additional seamounts provide important opportunities for scientific exploration and study. Estimates are that 15 to 44 percent of the species on a seamount or seamount group are found nowhere else on Earth. Roughly 5 to 10 percent of invertebrates found on each survey of a seamount are new to science. Some seamounts have pools of undiscovered species. The approximately 132 seamounts in the adjacent areas provide the opportunity for identification and discovery of many species not yet known to humans, with possibilities for research, medicines, and other important uses.
The adjacent areas also provide an important ecosystem for scientific study and research. The pristine waters provide a baseline comparison for important scientific research that monitors and evaluates impacts of global climate change, including benchmarking coral bleaching and ocean acidification. The scale of the adjacent areas significantly enhances opportunities for such scientific research beyond the Monument boundaries established in Proclamation 8336.
The available scientific information indicates that the adjacent areas include important deep-coral species. For example, sampling from the U.S. Line Islands has identified deep-sea coral species not previously recorded from the central Pacific. Tropical coral reefs and associated marine ecosystems are among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification. Protection of the ecosystem in the adjacent areas will provide the scientific opportunity to identify and further study the important deep sea corals.
The adjacent areas provide significant habitat and range for species identified in Proclamation 8336. They include waters used by five species of protected turtles. In addition to the Green and Hawksbill turtles that use the near-shore waters of the Monument, the adjacent areas include waters used by the endangered leatherback, loggerhead, and Olive Ridley turtles. All five species use the adjacent areas for their migratory paths and feeding grounds.
The adjacent areas provide the foraging habitat for several of the world's largest remaining colonies of Sooty Terns, Lesser Frigatebirds, Red-footed Boobies, Red-tailed Tropicbirds, and other seabird species. Many of these wide-ranging species make foraging trips of 300 miles or more from their colonies on the Monument's islands, atolls, and reefs. For example, since the Monument was established, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists have documented the return of seabird populations once absent at Johnston Atoll, including Great Frigatebirds, Sooty Terns, Red-tailed Tropicbirds, and other species that are known to feed as much as 300 to 600 miles offshore. Jarvis Island alone has nearly three million nesting pairs of Sooty Terns, which forage more than 300 miles from shore even when rearing chicks on the island. These seabirds forage, in part, by seeking schools of tuna and other large marine predators that drive prey fish to the surface. Black-footed and Laysan Albatross, species that forage across the entire North Pacific, recently recolonized Wake Atoll, making it one of the few northern albatross colonies outside of the Hawaiian archipelago. At Jarvis Island, the Monument and its adjacent area provide an important undisturbed ecosystem that supports many rare seabird species, including the endangered White-throated Storm-petrel.
Manta rays are abundant around the Monument's reefs. Since the Monument was established, scientific research on manta ray movement has shown that manta rays frequently travel over 600 nautical miles away from the coastal environment, and well outside of the Monument boundaries established in Proclamation 8336. Scientific study of the multi-species ecological cycle at the Monument illustrates a very diverse and balanced habitat used by manta rays, many of which are found in the adjacent areas.
The ecosystem of the Monument and adjacent areas also is part of the larger Pacific ecosystem. The Monument land and atoll groups and the adjacent areas share geographic isolation, as well as climate, bathymetric, geologic, and wildlife characteristics that define them as individual biogeographic regions. However, the Pacific Remote Islands area, including the adjacent areas, is tied together by regional oceanographic currents that drive marine species larval transport and adult migrations that shape the broader Pacific ecosystem.
WHEREAS the waters and submerged lands surrounding Jarvis and Wake Islands and Johnston Atoll from the lines of latitude and longitude depicted on the maps accompanying Proclamation 8336 to the seaward limit of the U.S. EEZ of the three Pacific Remote Islands contain objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States;
WHEREAS section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (34 Stat. 225, 16 U.S.C. 431) (the "Antiquities Act"), authorizes the President, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and to reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected;
WHEREAS it is in the public interest to preserve the marine environment, including the waters and submerged lands, in the U.S. EEZ adjacent to the Monument at Jarvis and Wake Islands and Johnston Atoll for the care and management of the historic and scientific objects therein;
WHEREAS the security of the United States, the prosperity of its citizens, and the protection of the ocean environment are complementary and reinforcing priorities; and the United States continues to act with due regard for the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea enjoyed by other nations under the law of the sea in managing the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and adjacent areas, and does not compromise the readiness, training, and global mobility of U.S. Armed Forces when establishing marine protected areas:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by section 2 of the Antiquities Act, do hereby proclaim the objects identified above that are situated upon lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion ("Monument Expansion") and, for the purpose of protecting those objects, reserve as a part thereof all lands and interests in lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States within the boundaries described on the accompanying maps entitled "Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Expansion" attached hereto, which form a part of this proclamation. The Monument Expansion includes the waters and submerged lands of Jarvis and Wake Islands and Johnston Atoll that lie from the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument boundary established in Proclamation 8336 to the seaward limit of the U.S. EEZ (as established in Proclamation 5030 of March 10, 1983) of Jarvis and Wake Islands and Johnston Atoll. The Federal lands and interests in lands reserved consist of approximately 308,316 square nautical miles, which is the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.
All Federal lands and interests in lands within the boundaries of the Monument Expansion are hereby appropriated and withdrawn from all forms of entry, location, selection, sale, leasing, or other disposition under the public land laws to the extent that those laws apply. Lands and interests in lands within the Monument Expansion not owned or controlled by the United States shall be reserved as a part of the Monument Expansion upon acquisition of title or control by the United States.
Management of the Marine National Monument
Nothing in this proclamation shall change the management of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument as specified in Proclamation 8336. The Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, shall have primary responsibility for management of the Monument Expansion pursuant to applicable legal authorities. The Secretary of Commerce, through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, shall within the Monument Expansion have primary responsibility with respect to fishery-related activities regulated pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), and any other applicable legal authorities. The Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce shall not allow or permit any appropriation, injury, destruction, or removal of any object of the Monument Expansion except as provided for by this proclamation and shall prohibit commercial fishing within the boundaries of the Monument Expansion.
The Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce shall take appropriate action pursuant to their respective authorities under the Antiquities Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and such other authorities as may be available to implement this proclamation, to regulate fisheries, and to ensure proper care and management of the Monument Expansion.
The United States shall continue to preserve the freedom of the seas (i.e., all of the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law enjoyed by all nations, including the conduct of military activities, exercises, and surveys in or over the exclusive economic zone), and to protect the training, readiness, and global mobility of U.S. Armed Forces as U.S. national interests that are essential to the peace and prosperity of civilized nations.
The Secretary of Defense shall continue to manage Wake Island and Johnston Atoll as specified in Proclamation 8336.
Regulation of Scientific Exploration and Research
Subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary of the Interior or Commerce, as appropriate, deems necessary for the care and management of the objects of the Monument and Monument Expansion, the Secretaries may permit scientific exploration and research within the Monument Expansion, including incidental appropriation, injury, destruction, or removal of features of the Monument Expansion for scientific study, and the Secretary of Commerce may permit fishing within the Monument Expansion for scientific exploration and research purposes to the extent authorized by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The prohibitions required by this proclamation shall not restrict scientific exploration or research activities by or for the Secretaries of the Interior or Commerce, and nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to require a permit or other authorization from the other Secretary for their respective scientific activities.
Regulation of Fishing and Management of Fishery Resources
The Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce may permit noncommercial fishing upon request, at specific locations in accordance with this proclamation and Proclamation 8336. The Secretaries shall provide a process to ensure that recreational fishing continues to be managed as a sustainable activity in the Monument and Monument Expansion, in accordance with this proclamation, Proclamation 8336, and consistent with Executive Order 12962 of June 7, 1995, as amended, and other applicable law.
Monument Management Planning
The Secretaries of the Interior and Commerce shall, within 2 years of the date of this proclamation, prepare management plans, using their respective authorities, for the Monument and Monument Expansion and promulgate implementing regulations that address any further specific actions necessary for the proper care and management of the objects and areas identified in this proclamation and those in Proclamation 8336. The Secretaries shall revise and update the management plans as necessary. In developing and implementing any management plans and any management rules and regulations, the Secretaries shall consult and designate and involve as cooperating agencies the agencies with jurisdiction or special expertise, including the Department of Defense and Department of State, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and its implementing regulations.
This proclamation shall be applied in accordance with international law. The management plans and their implementing regulations shall impose no restrictions on innocent passage in the territorial sea or otherwise restrict navigation and overflight and other internationally recognized lawful uses of the sea in the Monument and Monument Expansion and shall incorporate the provisions of this proclamation regarding Armed Forces actions and compliance with international law. No restrictions shall apply to or be enforced against a person who is not a citizen, national, or resident alien of the United States (including foreign flag vessels) unless in accordance with international law. Also, in accordance with international law, no restrictions shall apply to foreign warships, naval auxiliaries, and other vessels owned or operated by a state and used, for the time being, only on Government non-commercial service, in order to fully respect the sovereign immunity of such vessels under international law.
Emergencies, National Security, and Law Enforcement Activities
1. The prohibitions required by this proclamation shall not apply to activities necessary to respond to emergencies threatening life, property, or the environment, or to activities necessary for national security or law enforcement purposes.
2. Nothing in this proclamation shall limit agency actions to respond to emergencies posing an unacceptable threat to human health or safety or to the marine environment and admitting of no other feasible solution.
Armed Forces Actions
1. The prohibitions required by this proclamation shall not apply to activities and exercises of the Armed Forces (including those carried out by the United States Coast Guard).
2. The Armed Forces shall ensure, by the adoption of appropriate measures not impairing operations or operational capabilities, that its vessels and aircraft act in a manner consistent, so far as is reasonable and practicable, with this proclamation.
3. In the event of threatened or actual destruction of, loss of, or injury to a Monument Expansion resource or quality resulting from an incident, including but not limited to spills and groundings, caused by a component of the Department of Defense or the United States Coast Guard, the cognizant component shall promptly coordinate with the Secretary of the Interior or Commerce, as appropriate, for the purpose of taking appropriate actions to respond to and mitigate any actual harm and, if possible, restore or replace the Monument Expansion resource or quality.
4. Nothing in this proclamation or any regulation implementing it shall limit or otherwise affect the Armed Forces' discretion to use, maintain, improve, manage, or control any property under the administrative control of a Military Department or otherwise limit the availability of such property for military mission purposes, including, but not limited to, defensive areas and airspace reservations.
The establishment of this Monument Expansion is subject to valid existing rights.
This proclamation is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Nothing in this proclamation shall be deemed to revoke any existing withdrawal, reservation, or appropriation; however, the Monument Expansion shall be the dominant reservation.
Warning is hereby given to all unauthorized persons not to appropriate, excavate, injure, destroy, or remove any feature of this Monument Expansion and not to locate or settle upon any lands thereof.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
BARACK OBAMA
Presidential Proclamation --- National Public Lands Day, 2014
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 01:59
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 26, 2014
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY, 2014
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
From sandy beaches to snow-capped mountain tops, America's vast and varied landscapes stretch the breadth of our continent. These treasured spaces support outdoor recreation, serve as living classrooms and laboratories, and boost our local economies. Today, one-third of all our Nation's land is publicly owned -- set aside for the use and enjoyment of every American. As we celebrate the expansive and magnificent beauty bequeathed to us by generations past, we recognize our profound obligation as caretakers of this natural bounty, and we rededicate ourselves to the important work of preserving and protecting our land and environment in our own time.
National Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort for our country's public lands. On this day, Americans of all ages will help maintain and restore our Nation's outdoor resources and ecosystems at more than 2,200 sites across our country. Volunteers will remove trash from our beaches and clear debris from our hiking trails; from coast to coast, they will plant new trees, remove invasive species, and complete large and small projects to beautify and preserve our open spaces. This nationwide effort will help ensure these natural places are managed for future generations to enjoy, and it offers an opportunity for all Americans to give back to their favorite local park, beach, or outdoor retreat. In honor of this day of service, our National Parks and many of our federally managed lands will offer free admission.
My Administration is committed to making land stewardship and outdoor conservation a year-round effort. Through our America's Great Outdoors Initiative, we are empowering local communities to protect their own public spaces. We have also strengthened programs that connect all Americans with the outdoors and launched the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps, which will create more jobs preserving and restoring our Nation's lands and waters for young Americans and returning veterans.
This weekend, as we carry forward a legacy of conservation and stewardship, let us renew our commitment to protecting our environment and building a cleaner world. Together, we can ensure our children and grandchildren can enjoy the full splendor of our Nation's public and wild places.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 27, 2014, as National Public Lands Day. I encourage all Americans to participate in a day of public service for our lands.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
BARACK OBAMA
Presidential Proclamation --- National Hunting and Fishing Day, 2014
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 01:58
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 26, 2014
NationNATIONAL HUNTING AND FISHING DAY, 2014
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
Across America, hunting and fishing connect people of all ages to our Nation's splendor, instilling a conservation ethic that spans generations. As mist clears off glistening lakes and fog lifts from forests and grasslands, sportsmen and women carry forward a proud tradition rooted in self-reliance and environmental stewardship. On National Hunting and Fishing Day, we recognize all those who responsibly participate in these national pastimes and their contributions to the preservation of our land, water, and wildlife.
Our Nation's natural bounty bolsters our economy, supports tourism and recreation, and rejuvenates the human spirit. And as our parents and grandparents did, we have a profound obligation to protect these outdoor resources. Effective conservation ensures generations to come will be able to enjoythe beauty of our expansive and unspoiled wilderness. For decades, hunters and anglers have championed sustainable practices and supported environmental stewardship through hunting licenses and other small fees collected for the use of our public lands. As they teach their children and grandchildren to track game through the woods or wade into a cascading stream, they pass on our country's legacy of embracing our wild and scenic places.
As part of my Administration's America's Great Outdoors Initiative, we are partnering with States, tribal governments, and communities to advance local conservation priorities and increase access to land and water for the use and enjoyment of the American people. Since I took office, I have designatedmore than 2 million acres of Federal wilderness and thousands of miles of trails, protected over 1,000 miles of rivers, and established or expanded 12 National Monuments. These acts not only preserve our most treasured landscapes for posterity, but they also make more land available for outdoor recreational activities, including fishing and hunting. And we can do more -- I continue to call on the Congress to fully and permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a portionof which would further expand our public spaces.
Today, as we reflect on the formative experiences of hunting and fishing, let us renew our commitment to protecting these outdoor traditions and the vast American wild that sustains them.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 27, 2014, as National Hunting and Fishing Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth. BARACK OBAMAal Public Lands Day is the largest single-day volunteer effort for our country's public lands. On this day,
BARACK OBAMA
Presidential Memorandum -- Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 01:58
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 26, 2014
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
SUBJECT: Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians
Since 1991, the United States has provided safe haven for Liberians who were forced to flee their country as a result of armed conflict and widespread civil strife, in part through granting Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The armed conflict ended in 2003 and conditions improved such that TPS ended effective October 1, 2007. President Bush then deferred the enforced departure of the Liberians originally granted TPS. I extended that grant of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to September 30, 2014. I have determined that there are compelling foreign policy reasons to again extend DED to those Liberians presently residing in the United States under the existing grant of DED.
Pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States, I have determined that it is in the foreign policy interest of the United States to defer for 24 months the removal of any Liberian national, or person without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia, who is present in the United States and who is under a grant of DED as of September 30, 2011. The grant of DED only applies to an individual who has continuously resided in the United States since October 1, 2002, except for Liberian nationals, or persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Liberia:
(1) Who are ineligible for TPS for the reasons provided in section 244(c)(2)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1254a(c)(2)(B);
(2) Whose removal you determine is in the interest of the United States;
(3) Whose presence or activities in the United States the Secretary of State has reasonable grounds to believe would have potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequences for the United States;
(4) Who have voluntarily returned to Liberia or his or her country of last habitual residence outside the United States;
(5) Who were deported, excluded, or removed prior to the date of this memorandum; or
(6) Who are subject to extradition.
Accordingly, I direct you to take the necessary steps to implement for eligible Liberians:
(1) A deferral of enforced departure from the United States for 24 months from October 1, 2014; and
(2) Authorization for employment for 24 months from October 1, 2014.
BARACK OBAMA
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Caliphate!
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6 days ago - fence jumper
5 days ago - Kohrosan air strikes
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Oklahoma Beheading Suspect Facebook Celebrates Terrorists, Has Photo Doing One Finger ISIS Salute
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 03:57
That's him in the middle, doing the ISIS salute. Guess we know the motivation now'...
Via Daily Caller:
Oklahoma beheading suspect Alton Alexander Nolen calls himself ''Jah'Keem Yisrael'' on his Facebook page, where he uploaded photos of himself reading the Koran and wearing Muslim religious clothing.
Nolen's Facebook ''cover'' photo appears to be of several Taliban fighters, according to a Google reverse image search.
A Philadelphia-based friend asked Nolen if he was praying in one of his photographs at ''the Masjid on Luzerne,'' appearing to refer to the Muslim American Society of Philadelphia. Nolen replied, ''LAA,'' to which his friend responded, ''oh you not in Philadelphia.''
''I JST WANT TO SAY AS AN MUSLIM WE DNT CELEBRATE AMERIKAS HOLIDAYS,'' he wrote in a caption accompanying a photograph of an Islamist fighter.
''KAFIR KAFIRS MEANS SOMEONES WHO DISAGREES WITH ISLAM. JST CAUSE YOU AS-SALAAMU ALAKIUN EVERY MORNING DNT MEANS YOUR AN MUSLIM THANK YOU THO,'' he wrote in April, disparagingly referring to non-Muslims or ''Kafirs.''
Keep reading'...
His cover photo of Taliban fighters:
This is his last Facebook post:
SHALOM ALHAKEIUM (O YE MUSLIMS) ALLAH (sWT) SAYS IN THE LAST DAYS ''PEOPLE WILL BE LOVERS OF THEMSELVES, PROUD AND UNHOLY''. SO TO ALL OF U THAT'S MASTURBATING WHICH I THINK IS 80% OF THE WORLD AND FOR WHATEVER THE DESIRE IT IS IN YOUR HEART THAT U DOING IT FOR-U CAN GET! (WARNING) THIS IS THE LAST DAYS'....2ND TIMOTHY 3:2 ****InfoFromAMuslim****
Update:
Nolen also posted a beheading picture on his Facebook:
On March 7th, Nolen added an image to his Timeline which shows a partially decapitated man with someone standing over him pulling his head back to show the wound. Above the image there is a quote which reads, ''Thus do we find the clear precedent that explains the peculiar penchant of Islamic terrorists to behead their victims: it is merely another precedent bestowed by their Prophet.'' Just below the image is a citation from the Quran, ''I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off of them.''
The same day Nolen added the beheading photo he posted a photo to his timeline with which shows a black and white sign that reads: ''Islam will Dominate the World: Freedom can go to hell.''
He has multiple pictures of Islamist fighters, including these guys who look like ISIS, and whom he calls ''my Muslim brothers'':
''Some of my Muslim sisters'':
He also has pictures of Osama Bin Laden.
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BULLCRAP 500 BPD-Watch: U.S. airstrike takes out Islamic State-controlled oil refinery | TheBlaze.com
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:59
The Defense Department on Thursday released video of a U.S. airstrike against a mobile oil refinery in Syria, one of the 12 refineries controlled by the Islamic State that were targeted by U.S. missiles on Wednesday night.
Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby told reporters that the U.S. targeted refineries that are capable of producing 300 to 500 barrels of refined petroleum each day. While small, the refineries are seen as a key source of revenue for the Islamic State, also known as ISIL.
''These small scale refineries provide fuel to run ISIL operations, money to finance their continued attacks throughout Iraq and Syria. And they are an economic asset to support future operations,'' Kirby said.
The video shows the Jeribe West Modular Refinery, which gets hit by a missile. It then briefly shows the refinery, which appears to be completely destroyed.
But Kirby said the airstrikes were aimed at taking out Islamic State personnel as much as possible, while trying to minimize damage to the facility. He noted at the Gbiebe oil refinery, some of the infrastructure remained intact, and that the U.S. is trying to preserve some of the buildings in case a more stable Syria can eventually run them again.
''It wasn't about obliterating the refineries off the face of the map, it was about degrading their ability to use these refineries,'' he said.
The Defense Department tweeted out a before and after picture of the Gbiebe facility, in which part of the refinery tower can be seen standing even after the strike:
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FPI's Robert Kagan and Ellen Bork Sign Open Letter to President Obama From the Working Group on Egypt | Foreign Policy Initiative
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 00:17
By Ellen Bork, Robert Kagan | September 24, 2014 | Working Group on Egypt
September 24, 2014
The Honorable Barack ObamaPresident of the United States of AmericaThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are dismayed that during your brief stay in New York for the United Nations General Assembly you will include Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the short list of foreign leaders with whom you will meet one-on-one. This meeting will be understood around the world, and in Egypt, as a formal blessing for a leader who carried out a military coup against an elected government, who has overseen numerous acts of brutality against his own people, who gained his present office in an election held in an environment deemed to be undemocratic by international observers, and who has pursued a relentless course of domestic repression and persecution of dissent. Whatever assistance al-Sisi may or may not provide in the fight against violent extremism in the region is already outweighed by the radicalism and instability he is cultivating every day in Egypt through his oppressive policies.
Our Working Group spoke clearly about the uncritical embrace of Sisi's predecessor,* but the situation today is far worse. There is great concern that al-Sisi's rule is fueling radicalization; violence and terrorism in Egypt have increased markedly since the July 2013 coup, as the regime continues to close off avenues for peaceful political dissent. The post-coup crackdown has left more than 2000 protesters dead'--including more than 1000 killed deliberately and systematically on a single day in August 2013, rivaling the Tiananmen massacre. Tens of thousands more are in prison, many detained without charge for extended periods or subject to mass trials in rigged courts, suffering torture and inhumane conditions. There are now more than 70 imprisoned Egyptians on extended hunger strikes protesting this brutality, and several are at death's door, including American citizen Mohammed Soltan and youth leader Ahmed Douma.
Sisi's government is also exerting increasing pressure on the few remaining Egyptian civil society groups that report on or criticize human rights abuses, particularly if they dare to cooperate with international organizations or accept their support. In fact, President al-Sisi signed into law on September 21'--the very day on which he traveled to the United States'--harsh new penalties including life in prison for any Egyptian accepting foreign funds for activities deemed to ''harm the national interest.'' The Egyptian government has used such vague charges to target its critics many times in the past and there is every reason to believe it will do so again. And journalists who report on all of the above face charges such as espionage and harsh penalties.
Will you raise these issues'--unlawful killing, imprisonment, torture, targeting of journalists, stifling civil society'--and how they may increase support for radical groups such as ISIS in your meeting with al-Sisi? Will you call for ''inclusive government, that respects the human rights of all its citizens'' in Egypt, as you have in Iraq? Most important, will you make your concerns explicit in public as well as private? During your September 22 speech before the Clinton Global Initiative, you pledged to stand in solidarity with detainees and harassed civil society activists in Egypt; they will be waiting to see if you follow through.
We urge you to do so. Because if you do not, your meeting with al-Sisi will be understood, and indeed rightly understood, as a sign to Egyptians that the United States has given its blessing to the ongoing massive campaign of repression and human rights abuses. Not only is it unnecessary to sacrifice core American principles in this way'--the Egyptian government will cooperate against ISIS because it is in its interest to do so'--but it is also dangerous, as it will fuel the very extremism that the United States, and its regional partners, say they seek to combat.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, after meeting with al-Sisi on September 21, cited his ''concern about the absence of due process for detainees and sentencing of journalists in Egypt, and called for the release of those detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and association.'' We hope that you will do no less.
Sincerely,
The Working Group on Egypt
Robert Kagan (co-chair)Brookings Institution**
Michele Dunne (co-chair)Carnegie Endowment for International Peace**
Elliott AbramsCouncil on Foreign Relations**
Ellen BorkForeign Policy Initiative**
David CalingaertFreedom House**
Reuel Marc GerechtFoundation for Defense of Democracies**
Neil HicksHuman Rights First**
Peter MandavilleGeorge Mason University**
Sarah MargonHuman Rights Watch**
Stephen McInerneyProject on Middle East Democracy**
*Robert Kagan and Michele Dunne, ''Time to Get Tough with Egypt and Morsi,'' The Washington Post, February 20, 2013.
**This letter reflects the views of the individual signatories; institutional affiliations are listed for the purpose of identification only.
- Download a copy of this letter in PDF format
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Defense Contractors Are Making a Killing
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:36
Stock prices for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman set all-time record highs last week as it became increasingly clear that President Obama was committed to a massive, sustained air war in Iraq and Syria.
It's nothing short of a windfall for these and other huge defense contractors, who've been getting itchy about federal budget pressures that threatened to slow the rate of increase in military spending.
Now, with U.S. forces literally blowing through tens of millions of dollars of munitions a day, the industry is not just counting on vast spending to replenish inventory, but hoping for a new era of reliance on supremely expensive military hardware.
''To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment '-- that could present an opportunity,'' Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, whose $66 billion portfolio includes Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co. shares, told Bloomberg.
Defense contractor stocks have far exceeded the performance of the broader market. A Bloomberg index of four of the largest Pentagon contractors rose 19 percent this year, compared to 2.2 percent for the S&P 500.
It's the munition makers who ''stand to reap the biggest windfall, especially in the short term,'' says Fortune magazine, citing Raytheon's long-range Tomahawk missiles, and Lockheed Martin's Hellfires, among others. ''Small diameter bombs could be a huge winner, since aircraft can carry more of them in a single sortie,'' one analyst tells the magazine.
U.S. forces used 47 Tomahawk missiles on Monday alone, at $1.5 million apiece.
Smart ''small-diameter bombs'' cost about $250,000 each.
Richard Clough writes for Bloomberg:
For defense companies, the offensive against Islamic State and al-Qaeda extremists is more than a showcase for big-ticket weapons such as Lockheed's F-22 Raptor fighter, the stealth jet that debuted in combat this week.
In its first night of airstrikes into Syria, the U.S. dropped about 200 munitions and launched 47 Raytheon-made Tomahawk cruise missiles, according to U.S. Central Command. The military also deployed Boeing's GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Hellfire missiles from Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, creating an opening for restocking U.S. arsenals.
Tory Newmyer's article in Fortune does a great job of depicting the new giddiness in the defense industry:
New fights mean new stuff, after all. And following the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan'--and the belt-tightening at the Pentagon imposed by steep budget cuts'--military suppliers are lining up to meet a suddenly restored need for their wares'....
[D]efense analysts are pointing to a pair of sure-bet paydays from the new campaign: for those making and maintaining the aircraft, manned and unmanned, that will swarm the skies over the region, and for those producing the missiles and munitions that will arm them.
''The drone builders are going to have a field day,'' says Dov Zakheim, who served as Pentagon Comptroller during the George W. Bush administration'....
Indeed, the widening conflict could even reverse the trend of tapering investments in the technology, says Mark Gunzinger, a retired Air Force colonel and former deputy assistant secretary of defense now at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. ''One of the things that can help a new capability break through is an operational stressor, like a major air campaign,'' he says'....
In the longer run, one defense appropriations lobbyist predicts'--a hopeful note in his voice: ''we're going to have to bust through the budget caps'' imposed on the military by the sequester cuts. ''We can't fight this on the cheap,'' he says.
Zacks Investment Research urges investors to buy Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman:
It is likely that the conflict with ISIS will continue for a while. Such a campaign is likely to provide impetus for defense stocks in the days and weeks ahead. These stocks would make excellent additions to your portfolio.
The Pentagon recently estimated that military operations in Iraq were costing an average of $7.5 million a day between June and last week '-- an annual rate of about $2.7 billion. But even if costs ballooned to, say, $15 billion a year, the figure would still be dwarfed by the approximately $1.3 billion a week we're still spending in Afghanistan.
And for now, there's no cash flow problem: Obama can just dip into the ''Overseas Contingency Operations'' budget, the $85 billion ''all-purpose war funding credit card'' Congress just gave him '' $26 billion more than he had even asked for.
Photo of Tomahawk cruise missiles launching in the Red Sea; U.S. Navy via Getty Images.
Secret Counter-Terrorism Force
email
I have a friend who is about 5 years older than me who has been in and out of the "military" for years. He has two files; one which shows his publicly acknowledgeable service and one which shows what he has really done. He's a little bit scary and on occasion I have awoken in my home to find that I had fully automatic weapons stashed in my house (Santa-Claus-style while I slept) for safekeeping while he was "out of the country for a bit". The coolest was the Israeli machine gun, which I would have liked to have kept.
Although he had been working for an agency which "helps establish governments and infrastructure" for quite some time, he most recently has been working for Homeland Security. Long story short, he is now back in the area and pursuing a part-time career while he does occasional work for an unnamed agency. I asked him why he was suddenly back around and he let me know that he and his whole unit quit Homeland at the same time and that he is probably going to have to testify in front of Congress in closed sessions, pretty soon. The reason for his departure was that he and his unit did indeed catch a number of terrorists using the Mexican border to enter the United States with intent to cause harm. Unfortunately, the current political machine wished for them to falsify reports to omit the danger at the border. Since he and his peers are the sorts of people that expeditiously handle the bad things that go "bump" in the night, they told Homeland to go fuck themselves and left for other employment. It seems there are always people seeking to employ people who do what he does.
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Brit 'White Widow' Samantha Lewthwaite training army of female Islamic State killers | Latest News | Latest Breaking News | Daily Star
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 04:47
A BRIT dubbed the ''White Widow'' has joined Islamic State (IS) maniacs in Syria.
SPECIAL ONE': Ex housewife Samantha Lewthwaite [REX]
Samantha Lewthwaite teamed up with the terror group earlier this year.
That's the verdict of intelligence experts who believe the former soldier's daughter joined Islamic State (IS) earlier this year and has become one of the most powerful women in the network.
She is thought to be responsible for the training a special team of female suicide bombers who will be used to target the group's enemies.
Lewthwaite, 30, is so highly regarded in the group that she is known as the "Special One" or the "Important Woman", according to intelligence sources.
It is also understood that Lewthwaite is responsible for the training and mentoring British and other white converts to Islam who have volunteered to fight for IS.
TERROR: Samantha is now thought to be training female suicide bombers [SOCIALMEDIA]
''She is a female version of Joseph Goebbels''
SourceOne source said: "We have some very interesting signals intelligence which refers to a white British woman who holds a senior position in IS.
"There has been mention of a woman joining IS after being married to Ja ihadi fighter who became a martyr and there have been references to attacks in Africa.
"That narrows down the list of suspects. Other agencies have some human intelligence which also supports the theory that she is now in Syria."
Lewthwaite was married to Germaine Lindsay, one of four Islamist suicide bombers who attacked the London transport network on 7 July 2005, killing 52 people.
She was once regarded as an innocent Home Counties wife who was married to a crazed suicide bomber.
But now she is regarded as the world most dangerous female terrorists and is wanted dead or alive in several countries.
The source added: "Her most powerful weapon is her use of propaganda - she may well be orchestrating the videos we have been seeing emerge from IS in the last few weeks.
"IS have plenty of fighters but they lack someone who really understands how to exploit the western media and this is where her strength is. She is a female version of Joseph Goebbels. She is more use to them than a 100 volunteers and that is why she is so highly regarded within the organisation."
The 30-year-old Muslim convert has been linked to Somalia's al-Shabaab rebels, who have launched a string of attacks in Kenya, including the assault on Nairobi's Westgate shopping centre that claimed at least 67 last September.
At the time of the attack witnesses reported seeing a "pale-skinned" woman inside the shopping mall directing attackers and firing at victims.
There has been no confirmed sighting of Lewthwaite since she gave Kenyan police the slip in Mombasa in 2011, reportedly using a false South African passport.
INTERVENTION: Britain's Tornados come into landing in Cyprus after flying over Iraq to combat IS [GETTY]
She is wanted in Kenya on charges of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011, and is the subject of an Interpol red notice warrant for her detention issued at Kenya's request.
Experts have said that she had links with al-Qaida and other Islamist terror groups.
In June 2012 two men and a white woman in Islamic dress, believed to be Lewthwaite, threw grenades at foreigners watching England play Italy in Euro 2012 at a beer garden in the coastal city of Mombasa.
Three died, including a boy of nine, and 25 were injured. Lewthwaite was linked to another grenade attack which killed security guards in an upmarket restaurant.
She is also thought to have been behind an attempt to free alleged bomb maker Jermaine Grant, 29, from East London, and to have plotted to slaughter tourists at plush hotels.
She celebrated when her hated terror rival Omar Hammani was gunned down in Somalia earlier this month '-- along with her second husband Habib Ghani '-- after daring to criticise al-Shabaab's leader Sheikh Godane.
Related articles
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Is Obama misleading the world to war? Depends how you define 'misleading' | Trevor Timm | Comment is free | The Guardian
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:17
Want to decipher what the US military is really doing in Iraq and Syria, or figure out whether its regional war against the Islamic State (Isis) is legal? Good luck. The Obama administration's secret efforts to redefine the ordinary meaning of key legal terms and phrases has made that near impossible.
For instance, in his Tuesday statement that US airstrikes that have expanded into Syria, Obama studiously avoided any discussion about his domestic legal authority to conduct these strikes. That dirty work was apparently left up to anonymous White House officials, who told the New York Times's Charlie Savage that both the Authorization of Use of Military Force (AUMF) from 2001 (meant for al-Qaida) and the 2002 war resolution (meant for Saddam Hussein's Iraq) gave the government the authority to strike Isis in Syria.
In other words: the legal authority provided to the White House to strike al-Qaida and invade Iraq more than a dozen years ago now means that the US can wage war against a terrorist organization that's decidedly not al-Qaida, in a country that is definitely not Iraq.
It's been weeks since initial air strikes began, and the administration has still refused to release a detailed written legal rationale explaining how, exactly, that works.
Then on Tuesday, Buzzfeed's Evan McMorris-Santoro reported that the Pentagon is ''confident'' that no civilians were killed in any of the initial airstrikes in Syria, despite a credible report to the contrary. But we have no idea what that actually means either. The White House previously embraced a re-definition of ''civilian'' so it could easily deny its drone strikes were killing anyone than ''militants'' in Yemen, Pakistan, and elsewhere, according to a New York Times report in 2012:
It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
So any casualties, if they're men, might well be tallied as ''militants'' even if the actual dead people were not.
(When Obama said that the war against Isis would be based on ''the Yemen model'' in his address to Congress two weeks ago, is this what he meant?)
In addition to conducting airstrikes against Isis is Syria on Tuesday, the Obama administration also announced it had also targeted the ''Khorasan Group'', a separate al-Qaida-linked terrorist organization. They justified it by claiming that the group was plotting an ''imminent'' attack on the US. Before last week, hardly anyone had heard of the Khorasan Group (in fact, even their name was classified), so it's difficult to judge from public information just how threatening their alleged plot really was. But when you add in the administration's definition of ''imminent,'' it becomes impossible.
Take, for example, this definition from a Justice Department white paper, which was leaked last year, intended to justify the killing of Americans overseas:
[A]n ''imminent'' threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future.
To translate: ''imminent'' can mean a lot of things '... including ''not imminent''.
Finally, there's the prospect of ground troops in Iraq or Syria '' or, as the White House would like the public to believe, the idea that there is no prospect for ground troops in Iraq or Syria. By any layman's definition, there are already combat troops on the ground in Iraq.
As the New York Times's Mark Landler detailed over the weekend, White House has ''an extremely narrow definition of combat '... a definition rejected by virtually every military expert.'' According to the Obama administration, the 1600 ''military advisers'' that have steadily been flowing in Iraq fall outside this definition, despite the fact that ''military advisers'' can be: embedded with Iraqi troops; carry weapons; fire their weapons if fired upon; and call in airstrikes. In the bizarro dictionary of war employed by this White House, none of that qualifies as ''combat''.
So when you hear the words ''imminent attack'', ''civilians'', militants'' or ''ground troops'' from now on, be careful: if the government says they're not misleading you, it might only be because they've secretly changed the definition of ''misleading''.
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Ook Denemarken stuurt F-16's voor strijd tegen IS
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:13
Bewerkt door: redactie '' 26/09/14, 13:10 '' bron: AP, Reuters
(C) ap. Helle Thorning-Schmidt woensdag tijdens een toespraak in New York bij de VN-Veiligheidsraad.
Ook Denemarken sluit zich aan bij de coalitie tegen terreurbeweging Islamitische Staat (IS). De Deense regering stuurt zeven F-16's naar het Midden-Oosten. Dat maakte de Deense premier Helle Thorning-Schmidt vandaag bekend. De vliegtuigen zullen alleen ingezet worden in Irak en niet in Syri.
(C) ap.
(C) anp.
Volgens Thorning-Schmidt vroeg de Amerikaanse regering haar gisteravond om steun in de strijd tegen IS. 'De overheid staat daarom snel klaar zeven F-16's te sturen', zei ze. Thorning-Schmidt verwacht dat het Deense parlement het plan volgende week goedkeurt, waarna meteen met de missie wordt begonnen.
De vliegtuigen zullen alleen ingezet worden in Irak en niet in Syri, zei de premier. Denemarken volgt daarmee het voorbeeld van onder meer Nederland, Frankrijk en Belgi. De Nederlandse regering draagt zes F-16's bij aan de operatie tegen IS.
CoalitieDe Verenigde Staten bouwen nog aan een coalitie die het tegen IS moet opnemen, maar zijn inmiddels al wel begonnen met bombarderen van IS-stellingen in Irak (C)n Syri. Dat laatste is omstreden, omdat een volkenrechtelijk mandaat vereist zou zijn voor ingrijpen in Syri.
Washington vond desondanks vier Golfstaten bereid aan de aanvallen in Syri mee te doen.
A problem-plagued plane hits ISIS: F-22 enters combat - CNN.com
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:10
By Sean Kennedy, CNN
updated 3:25 PM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
U.S. military assets used in Syria
U.S. military assets used in Syria
U.S. military assets used in Syria
U.S. military assets used in Syria
U.S. military assets used in Syria
U.S. military assets used in Syria
U.S. military assets used in Syria
U.S. military assets used in Syria
U.S. military assets used in Syria
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
The F-22 flew its first combat mission against ISISThe government estimates that each plane costs $412 millionThe fighter jet has been plagued by mechanical problems and cost overrunsWashington (CNN) -- The problem-plagued F-22 Raptor took part in its first combat mission Monday night, hitting ISIS targets in Syria. The price tag for those jets, which were in development for decades, is a staggering $412 million each -- triple its expected cost, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Originally designed and built to replace other fighter and ground attack aircraft in the U.S. military's arsenal, the radar-evading F-22 is an evolutionary dead end. The Air Force acquired only 188 of them from aerospace maker Lockheed and doesn't plan to have any more produced.
Even though they formally came into service in 2005, the F-22 had been grounded repeatedly because of what were indeterminate causes that resulted in pilots losing consciousness in the air.
U.S. military's fighter fleet
U.S. military's fighter fleet
U.S. military's fighter fleet
U.S. military's fighter fleet
U.S. military's fighter fleet
U.S. military's fighter fleet
U.S. military's fighter fleet
U.S. military's fighter fleet
HIDE CAPTION
Obama: Syria strikes show 'this is not America's fight alone'
The Air Force is confident it solved the problem, but some top pilots still refused to fly the plane, citing safety concerns.
Today, the Air Force has 187 of the fighters after one crashed in 2010, killing the pilot. A subsequent report by the Pentagon watchdog found the Air Force initially blamed the crash on pilot error when in fact a mechanical error was at fault.
The F-22 has also been accused of causing a mysterious illness in mechanics charged with maintaining it.
In 2012: More problems for F-22
Last year, the Air Force lifted all flight restrictions on the F-22, saying the plane is now safe to fly.
The military's other prized fighter program, the F-35 fighter-bomber, has faced similar questions about massive cost overruns and mechanical problems.
Nederlandse bijdrage bestrijding IS | RTL Nieuws
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 14:56
Nederland stuurt zes F-16's naar Irak om mee te helpen met het bestrijden van IS. Een grootschaliger inzet zou ten koste gaan van de verdediging van het Nederlandse luchtruim of de NAVO-missie in Polen.
Dat blijkt uit een analyse van RTL Nieuws van de begroting van Defensie van dit jaar en volgend jaar. Begroot is dat er 11 F-16's ten allen tijde operationeel gereed zijn, van de 68 F-16's die Nederland heeft.
Hoe zit dat precies? Vijf vragen over onze F-16's en hun inzetbaarheid.
1. Hoeveel F-16's heeft Nederland eigenlijk?Nederland heeft officieel 68 F-16's. Daarvan zijn er 61 opgenomen in de begroting voor de komende vier jaar. Zeven dienen als reserve, voor de uiterste noodgevallen. Daarvan zijn de meeste gestationeerd op de luchtmachtbases in Volkel en Leeuwarden. Ook zijn er F-16's in Polen, voor de NAVO-missie Baltic Air Policing. Ook staan er tien Nederlandse straaljagers in de Verenigde Staten.
ZIE OOK: 'Nieuwe missie is een behoorlijke aanslag op de luchtmacht'
2. Kunnen de F-16's zomaar overal onbeperkt ingezet worden?Nee. Van de 68 F-16's zijn er elf operationeel gereed. De overige toestellen vallen onder het zogeheten 'voortzettingsvermogen' van defensie. Dat houdt in dat het leger altijd voldoende personeel en materieel achter de hand heeft om het operationele gedeelte (in dit geval dus elf F-16's) onder iedere omstandigheid voort te kunnen zetten. Bijvoorbeeld: als de NAVO-missie in Polen wordt voortgezet, is er capaciteit voor de aflossing van het detachement dat er nu zit.
Van die 68 F-16's zijn er tien permanent niet operationeel gereed omdat ze in de Verenigde Staten zijn, op de Tucson Air Force Base in Arizona. Nederlandse F-16-piloten krijgen met die toestellen hun training. Dat gebeurt in de VS, omdat de F-16 een Amerikaans toestel is.
3. En waar zijn die operationele elf F-16's dan?Drie staan permanent gereed op Volkel of Leeuwarden, vier (plus een reserve) zijn tot december dit jaar in Polen, voor de NAVO-missie daar. Zij bewaken de grenzen tussen Baltische staten en Rusland. Dat zou betekenen dat er hooguit nog vier uitgezonden kunnen worden om IS aan te vallen in Irak en misschien ook Syri. Tenzij een andere NAVO-partner de Nederlandse bijdrage in Polen (gedeeltelijk) overneemt.
4. Heeft dit gevolgen voor de veiligheid van het Nederlandse luchtruim?Nee, in principe niet. 24 uur per dag, 7 dagen in de week staan er drie Nederlandse F-16's paraat om het Nederlandse luchtruim te bewaken. In geval van een indringer kunnen de vliegtuigen binnen 15 minuten in de lucht zijn. Die toestellen vormen de Quick Reaction Alert, die om het halfjaar in Volkel of Leeuwarden is gestationeerd. Ze komen vaak in actie om Russische bommenwerpers te onderscheppen die te dicht bij het Nederlandse luchtruim komen.
5. Waarom zijn de overige 50 F-16's niet direct inzetbaar?Dat is vooral een geldkwestie. Geld dat Defensie niet twee keer kan uitgeven - het operationeel houden van F-16's is niet de enige prioriteit. Zo is de krijgsmacht ook actief in Mali in het kader van de VN-missie daar. De afgelopen jaren is er hard bezuinigd op defensie en het onderhoud van F-16's kost veel geld.
Behalve een preventieve onderhoudsbeurt om de 300 vlieguren wordt het toestel constant gemoderniseerd. 'Correctief onderhoud' noemt het leger dat. Omdat de F-16 met zijn raketten en machinegeweren niet zomaar een vliegtuig is, moet dat onderhoud grondig gebeuren. En daarnaast zijn er ook nog onvoorziene reparaties aan de straaljagers als er een onderdeel kapot gaat.
ZIE OOK: 'Nederlandse F16's gaan IS alleen in Irak bombarderen'
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The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist | National Review Online
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 01:02
We're being had. Again.
For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton ''violent extremists'' who purport to act in its name.
Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been ''decimated.'' The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria '-- even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama's futile air raids '-- the president won't let go of the charade.
Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.The who?
There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the ''Khorosan Group'' suddenly went from anonymity to the ''imminent threat'' that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.
You haven't heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn't one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan '-- the ''Iranian'''‹Afghan border region '-- had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.
The ''Khorosan Group'' is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network's Syrian franchise, ''Jabhat al-Nusra.'' Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week's U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he's something the administration is at pains to call ''core al-Qaeda.''
''Core al-Qaeda,'' you are to understand, is different from ''Jabhat al-Nusra,'' which in turn is distinct from ''al-Qaeda in Iraq'' (formerly ''al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia,'' now the ''Islamic State'' al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly ''al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham'' or ''al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant''). That al-Qaeda, don't you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for ''al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,'' ''Boko Haram,'' ''Ansar al-Sharia,'' or the latest entry, ''al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.''
Coming soon, ''al-Qaeda on Hollywood and Vine.'' In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if, come 2015, Obama issued an executive order decreeing twelve new jihad jayvees stretching from al-Qaeda in January through al-Qaeda in December.
Except you'll hear only about the jayvees, not the jihad. You see, there is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries.
As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole '-- a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.
For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict. For the Left, America has to be the culprit. Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you'll hear from Obama's Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is ''Islamophobia,'' not Muslim terrorism.
This is a gross distortion of reality, so the Left has to do some very heavy lifting to pull it off. Since the Islamic-supremacist ideology that unites the jihadists won't disappear, it has to be denied and purged. The ''real'' jihad becomes the ''internal struggle to become a better person.'' The scriptural and scholarly underpinnings of Islamic supremacism must be bleached out of the materials used to train our national-security agents, and the instructors who resist going along with the program must be ostracized. The global terror network must be atomized into discrete, disconnected cells moved to violence by parochial political or territorial disputes, with no overarching unity or hegemonic ambition. That way, they can be limned as a manageable law-enforcement problem fit for the courts to address, not a national-security challenge requiring the armed forces.
The president has been telling us for years that he handled al-Qaeda by killing bin Laden. He has been telling us for weeks that the Islamic State '-- an al-Qaeda renegade that will soon reconcile with the mother ship for the greater good of unity in the anti-American jihad '-- is a regional nuisance that posed no threat to the United States. In recent days, however, reality intruded on this fiction. Suddenly, tens of thousands of terrorists, armed to the teeth, were demolishing American-trained armies, beheading American journalists, and threatening American targets.
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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Why Obama is Using 'ISIL' and Not 'ISIS"
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:08
Chuck Todd of Meet the Pressexplains:"Obviously we refer to it at NBC News as ISIS. The Obama administration, president, says the word ISIL. The last S stands for Syria, the last L they don't want to have stand for Syria."
The insinuation, according to WaPo, is that the country Obama decided to stay out of last year is also his Voldemort, better left unnamed.
NYT's Maureen Dowd has chimed in:It's a bit odd that the administration is using ''the Levant,'' given that it conjures up a colonial association from the early 20th century, when Britain and France drew their maps, carving up Mesopotamia guided by economic gain rather than tribal allegiances. Unless it's a nostalgic nod to a time when puppets were more malleable and grateful to their imperial overlords.
-RW
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Shut Up Slave!
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FBI Director James Comey 'Very Concerned' About New Apple, Google Privacy Features
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:42
FBI Director James Comey said Thursday he was concerned about the new technological features of | ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON -- FBI Director James Comey said Thursday that he was "very concerned" about new steps Silicon Valley tech giants were taking to strengthen privacy protections on mobile devices.
"I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is above the law," Comey told reporters at FBI headquarters in Washington. "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law."
Apple said last week that it would no longer be technically feasible to unlock encrypted iPhones and iPads for law enforcement because the devices would no longer allow user passcodes to be bypassed. The move comes as tech companies struggle to manage public concerns in the aftermath of last year's leak of classified National Security Agency documents about government access to private user data.
On a privacy site for its new mobile operating system, iOS 8, Apple outlined new features and tips for users on how to manage their privacy. It also included an explanation of how Apple will respond to government information requests in the future.
"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data," the company said. "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."
Comey said that while he understood the need for privacy, government access to mobile devices may be needed in extreme circumstances, such as in the event of a terror attack.
"I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the content of anyone's closet or their smart phone," he said. "The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened -- even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order -- to me does not make any sense."
Comey said FBI officials have had conversations with both Apple and Google about the marketing of their devices.
"Google is marketing their Android the same way: Buy our phone and law-enforcement, even with legal process, can never get access to it," he said.
"There will come a day -- well it comes every day in this business -- when it will matter a great, great deal to the lives of people of all kinds that we be able to with judicial authorization gain access to a kidnapper's or a terrorist or a criminal's device. I just want to make sure we have a good conversation in this country before that day comes. I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well how come you can't save this kid,' 'how come you can't do this thing.'"
The director further expressed concern that public outcry over privacy in the wake of the NSA scandal may lead to unforeseen consequences.
"I get that the post-Snowden world has started an understandable pendulum swing," he said. "What I'm worried about is, this is an indication to us as a country and as a people that, boy, maybe that pendulum swung too far."
FBI boss: Apple's iPhone, iPad encryption puts people 'ABOVE THE LAW' ' The Register
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 03:26
Intelligent flash storage arrays
FBI Director James Comey has complained that Apple and Google's use of stronger encryption in smartphones and tablets makes it impossible for cops and g-men to collar criminals.
"There will come a day '' well it comes every day in this business '' when it will matter a great, great deal to the lives of people of all kinds that we be able to with judicial authorization gain access to a kidnapper's or a terrorist or a criminal's device," he apparently told a press conference.
"I just want to make sure we have a good conversation in this country before that day comes. I'd hate to have people look at me and say, 'Well how come you can't save this kid,' 'How come you can't do this thing.'"
Apple has made great play of its tweaked file encryption in iOS 8, which is designed so that Apple doesn't hold people's crypto-keys so it can't be forced to give them up. The device owner's passcode is used to create the encryption and decryption key in the iThing; decrypting the contents of a person's iOS 8 phone or slab is no longer Apple's problem.
Shortly after the change was made public, Google said it too would switch on a similar system by default.
"I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I am also a believer that no one in this country is above the law," Comey said.
"What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law."
Comey said the FBI was in discussions with Apple and Google about their crypto implementations, but didn't give any details as to what Cupertino and Mountain View's response had been. It's clear he's not happy that the Feds can no longer get direct access to the handsets via Apple or Google, although data in iCloud is still up for grabs.
And, on iOS 8, not all data is encrypted on the gadgets, and some information can still be extracted if the g-men really want it, security expert Jonathan Zdziarski says.
But Comey is not the first law enforcement type to complain about Apple's it's-not-our-problem-anymore encryption, and he won't be the last. The untrammeled access law enforcement has had to such devices in the past has been a major tool for fighting crime Comey argued and said enough was enough.
"I get that the post-Snowden world has started an understandable pendulum swing," he said. "What I'm worried about is, this is an indication to us as a country and as a people that, boy, maybe that pendulum swung too far."
Comey doesn't seem to get that in a "post-Snowden world" a lot of phone buyers actually want to make sure their private conversations and pictures remain private. Firms like Silent Circle have sprung up to meet this demand, and now the major players are getting the message too.
Despite Comey's criticism, it's unlikely Apple or Google is going to bow down to the wishes of government and install backdoors in their own products. This would be disastrous to sales if found out, and there are increasing signs that the tech sector is gearing up for a fight over the issue. ®
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
FBI Concerned With New Default Encryption Settings in iOS and Android Devices - Mac Rumors
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:41
The FBI has been in talks with Apple and Google about the way the technology companies are marketing the privacy features in their smartphones, according to FBI Director James Comey (via The Huffington Post). Comey says that he is concerned that the two companies are "marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law."Comey's remarks come following both privacy changes introduced with iOS 8 and a new privacy site that Apple introduced last week, explaining that the company has altered the way encryption works in iOS 8. Apple no longer stores the encryption keys for devices in iOS 8, making it impossible for it to unlock content on devices under police request.
"Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access your data," reads its new privacy site. "So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8."
Shortly after Apple announced the encryption changes to iOS 8, Google announced that the next generation of Android, set to be released next month, will also encrypt data by default, providing the same encryption protections to its smartphones that a passcode provides to iPhones.
According to Comey, though he understands the need for privacy, he believes government access to electronic devices is necessary in some cases.
"I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the content of anyone's closet or their smart phone," he said. "The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened -- even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order -- to me does not make any sense."
He goes on to say that one day, it may matter "a great, great deal" that the government be able to infiltrate "a kidnapper's or a terrorist or a criminal's device." His goal, he says, is to have a "good conversation" in the country "before that day comes."The exact nature of the talks between FBI officials and Apple and Google remains unknown, with Comey only stating that the discussion has been over the "marketing of their devices."
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
GAMES-FBI - SOS '-- Main Page
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 05:12
Accessibility | eRulemaking | Freedom of Information Act | Legal Notices | Legal Policies and Disclaimers | Links | Privacy Policy | USA.gov | White HouseFBI.gov is an official site of the U.S. government, U.S. Department of Justice
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Nukes!
Fukushima is not contaminating Pacific
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:52
By Les Corrice
It is widely reported that hundreds of tons of highly contaminated Fukushima Daiichi groundwater pours into the Pacific Ocean every day. But, an objective look at the evidence tells a completely different story. It's long-past time for the Tokyo Electric Company (Tepco) and the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to broadcast the truth '' there is no groundwater contamination being released to the Pacific Ocean at F. Daiichi. There are several reasons why I make this claim with the highest possible confidence.
It has been repeatedly posted in Fukushima Accident Updates (1) that the seawater in and around the port at F. Daiichi shows no evidence of a highly-contaminated groundwater influx. It is important to note that the inner harbor (quay) at F. Daiichi has been sealed off from the outer port and the open sea for nearly 3 years. If highly contaminated groundwater was actually out-flowing for the past 3 years, it would necessarily have been inside the quay and the concentration of radioactive isotopes would have constantly increased. However, the opposite has been the case. The concentrations have been steadily diminishing for more than 3 years. Current testing inside the quay shows that all isotopic concentrations are so low that the contained seawater meets Japan's national standards for release.(2) If there were huge volumes of radioactive water entering the quay, the test result's trend should be exactly the opposite.
Next, we should look at Tepco's continual ocean testing out to 15 kilometers, dating back to December of 2011, revealing no evidence of highly contaminated waters flowing into the sea. This has been continually verified by the NRA since they began their own sampling in September, 2013.(3) Once again, if 300 tons of highly contaminated groundwater were actually flowing into the sea itself, the testing results of the surrounding ocean would show it'...but they don't.
To prevent any possible future contamination of the Pacific, Tepco has built an underground barricade all along the shoreline between the four-unit turbine building basements and the quay. This is an example of producing defense-in-depth on the fly. The soil-solidified barrier was completed between units 1 and 2 on March 25th, between units 2 and 3 on February 6th, and, between units 3 and 4 on March 5th.(4) Its integrity is proven by the groundwater samples taken between the barrier and the quay shoreline, all three showing isotopic levels well-below the national standards for release.(5) With the barrier complete, future Pacific contamination from F. Daiichi groundwater is quite improbable.
But, there was no discernible groundwater contamination making it into the ocean before the soil-barrier was completed. What prevented it? Soil is an awesome filtering medium for radioactive isotopes and keeps them from migrating over extremely long tracts of time. Strong evidence for this comes from the country of Gabon, and the several ''natural'' reactors discovered in the African nation over the past 50 years.(6,7) No less than three large Uranium deposits in Gabon have been studied in detail '' Oklo, Okelobondo, and Bogambe '' all within 40 kilometers of each other. Between 1.7 and 1.5 billion years ago, their U-235 abundance was about 4.5 times greater than we find in the Earth today; roughly the same 3% concentration artificially manufactured for modern power plant fuel. Underground water sporadically flowed through the deposits over a period of several million years. The water down the spontaneously-released neutrons from U-238 and spawned subsequent fissions in the U-235. While the underground water was inside the deposits, chain-reactions occurred, producing a lot of radioactive isotopes '' identical to the ones popularly reported with respect to F. Daiichi.
Further, the Gabon studies have shown that all isotopes have moved no more than a meter from the periphery of the deposits in more than 1.5 billion years'...and this includes the inert gas Xenon which has been locked in the mineral aluminum-phosphate for the entire time. The surrounding soil and rock layers filtered the isotopes out of the water carrying them from the deposits, and they have remained there ever since! These observations show that nuclear waste isotopes can be successfully sequestered underground, even in locations as (technically/politically) unsuited for nuclear isotopic releases such as Oklo, Okelobondo, Bogambe, and F. Daiichi.
Most of the groundwater contamination found at F. Daiichi comes from wells located nearest the highly contaminated waters in the underground equipment/cabling tunnels stretching from the turbine basements to the seawater intake structures along the quay shoreline. As we move farther and farther from the tunnels, the groundwater concentrations drop dramatically. By the time we reach the wells closest to the shoreline, albeit inside the new soil barriers, the concentrations are orders-of-magnitude lower. Clearly the soil has been filtering the radioactive isotopes from the groundwater contaminated by the trenches for as long as it has been studied, effectively keeping the contamination from reaching the Pacific. With the soil-solidified barriers now in-place, there is even more reason to understand that no contamination is getting into the quay, and entirely misleading to extend this to something ''highly contaminated'' besmirching the Pacific Ocean.
Thus, the notion of 300 tons of highly contaminated groundwater flowing into the sea is, was, and will continue to be an assumption'...a speculation'...a conjecture '' anything but a fact. The assumption initially came from two sources: Tepco and the NRA. Why did they broadcast this fact-vacuous assumption? On July 26, 2013, Tepco's president Naomi Hirose vowed to improve Tepco's public disclosure policy, saying ''even if the evaluations do not show enough evidence, we will swiftly and honestly mention risks and worst-case scenarios without fearing the impact.'' Rather than counter exaggerated, confabulated claims made by so-called antinuclear experts that are regularly trumpeted by the Press, Tepco decided to beat them to the punch. The NRA promptly followed suit. Ever since then, the results have created a public relations nightmare. The most ill-fated of their worst-case speculations has been the notion that highly-contaminated groundwater is continually going into the sea.
Although Tepco and NRA worst-case speculations have been tempered with terms like ''might'', ''may'', and ''possibly'', the Japanese Press reports them as statements of certainty. In turn, the historically-nuclear-adverse Press outside Japan took the Japanese reports, added a few scary ''spins'' of their own, and created an international uproar. The antinuclear prophets of doom feed on it like hungry Jackals. Both inside and outside Japan, most of the public has no idea of the realities involved. Speculations wrapped in embellishment abound, and it can be traced back to Hirose's worst-case-scenario promise.
Tepco and the NRA have every reason in the world to admit they are wrong about F. Daiichi's groundwater constantly contaminating the Pacific. Ruthlessly clinging to this fictional worst-case assumption poses Pascalean quandary. Tepco and the NRAS have everything to lose and nothing to gain by continuing the false conjecture, but everything to gain and nothing to lose by admitting their obvious mistake.
I suspect that Tepco and the NRA do not have the courage to do the right thing. I hope they will prove me wrong, but I'm not holding my breath.
References :1 '' http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-accident-updates.html2 '' http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2014/images/2tb-east_map-e.pdf3 '' http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-commentary/fukushima-commentary-10.html4 '' http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2014/images/handouts_140905_03-e.pdf5 '' http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2014/images/2tb-east_14090801-e.pdf6 '' http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ancient-nuclear-reactor/7 '' http://www.nuclearfaq.ca/cnf_sectionE.htm#v2
Note:The above originally appeared on September 10, 2014 in the Fukushima Commentary section of Hiroshima Syndrome. It is reprinted here with permission from the author.
Ebola
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The Ebola Epidemic Silver-Lining: IMF Bailouts For Everyone | Zero Hedge
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:59
Never waste a good crisis. While we already knew a major reason for The West chasing into Africa was to leverage its relatively low credit levels as the last bastion of Keynesian-stimulus-hope in the world (estimated at between $5 and $10 trillion in secured debt, using its extensive untapped resources as first-lien collateral). And so it is little surprise that, as The WSJ reports, The International Monetary Fund on Thursday warned the West African Ebola epidemic requires a "large scale" global intervention to control a crisis that is ravaging economies in the region. All three major Ebola-suffering countries were already in bailout programs ($200mm loan in 2012 for Guinea, $100mm loan for Sierra Leone, and $80mm credit facility for Liberia) but with the "world community taking forever to respond," The IMF is happy to step in and secure some assets / lend over $100mm more to each nation to fill financing gaps.
As The Wall Street Journal reports,
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday warned the West African Ebola epidemic requires a "large scale" global intervention to control a crisis that is ravaging economies in the region.
The IMF, the world's emergency lender, said it is in talks to boost bailouts for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia as the disaster slams economic output and overwhelms government financing.
"Beyond the human toll that this outbreak is exacting, the Ebola outbreak looks set to cause significant harm to the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone," IMF spokesman William Murray said in a news conference Thursday.
Of course, we noted previously the economic collapse this epidemic was having
This year was supposed to be a bright one for the three deeply poor governments bearing the brunt of West Africa's Ebola problem. After 50 unbroken years of dictatorial misrule, Guinea'--a democracy since 2010'--had planned to auction off a multibillion iron-ore concession. Liberia, scene of a horrific 14-year-long civil war, had begun auctioning off offshore oil blocks. Sierra Leone was set to be Africa's fastest-growing economy for the second time in three years, the IMF had projected.
But now the fund estimates the epidemic will cut growth in Sierra Leone to 8% this year from a previous rate of 11.3%. Liberia's growth will more than halve to 2.5%. Guinea will see its prospects fall to 2.4% from a previously expected rate of 3.5%, the fund said.
So The IMF will lend them even more money, putting them in even more debt...
All three countries were already in bailout programs. The IMF approved a $200 million loan in 2012 for Guinea, a $100 million loan for Sierra Leone late last year and signed an $80 million credit facility for Liberia two years ago.
The World Bank has also boosted its financing to the region, mobilizing a $230 million package for the three worst-hit countries, including $105 million in emergency grants.
Each of the three countries faces a financing gap of between $100 million and $130 million due to the havoc hitting agriculture, trade and other commerce, the fund said.
* * *
Finally, as we noted before, this move by The IMF appears to be exactly what they hoped for...
While those in the power and money echelons of the "developed" world scramble day after day to hold the pieces of the collapsing tower of cards in place (and manipulating public perception that all is well), knowing full well what the final outcome eventually will be, those who still have the capacity to look, and invest, in the future, are looking neither toward the US, nor Asia, and certainly not Europe, for one simple reason: there is no more incremental debt capacity at any level: sovereign, household, financial or corporate. Because without the ability to create debt out of thin air, be it on a secured or unsecured basis, the ability to "create" growth, at least in the current Keynesian paradigm, goes away with it.
Yet there is one place where there is untapped credit creation potential, if not on an unsecured (i.e., future cash flow discounting), then certainly on a secured (hard asset collateral) basis. The place is Africa, and according to some estimates the continent, Africa can create between $5 and $10 trillion in secured debt, using its extensive untapped resources as first-lien collateral.
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FINAL NAILS IN THE EBOLA SCAM COFFIN: The 2014 Ebola Outbreak is a PROVEN FRAUD, Here is the Evidence. I Am Sick and Tired of Repeating this FACT Over and Over Again! | Truth Sector
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 20:50
I AM URGENTLY IN NEED OF YOUR HELP IN ORDER TO STAY ONLINE. I HAVE ONLY FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS, AFTER THAT ALL MY COMMUNICATIONS ARE DOWN AGAIN.
PLEASE SEND SOME DONATIONS TO HELP ME OUT, THANKS. YOU CAN CONSULT THE RIGHT SIDEBAR OF THIS WEBSITE FOR DETAILS.
UPDATE 1. Sept. 21, 2014
People who doubt or even deny until they drop that the 2014 ebola outbreak is being manufactured/scripted along the way as they, the UN, see it necessary in order to keep the world population fooled enough and the pockets and private bank account of Ban ki Moon filled royally enough, answer this question.
If the death rate for ebola is about 50-90% and if there is no cure for ebola then how is it possible that 75% of the alleged patients in the FIRST epicenter, in Guinea, of the outbreak have recovered (Bloomberg, July 29, 2014)?
The fact that 75% of the alleged patients have recovered without a known cure '' since officially there is none '' should be big news, yet that fact(oid) has died a swift death. WHY?
That FIRST epicenter would be the same as the one that the BBC reported about in August 2014 as having remained free of ebola, miraculously.
Why and how did the United Nations switch the FIRST epicentre '' from Gueckedou, Guinea '' to Sierra Leone's northeastern district of Kailahun, the SECOND and new epicenter?
Who ordered that the hype and lies surrounding the 2014 ebola outbreak and ebola in general had to go on, no matter what? Who is collecting the multimillion-dollar checks for this? Or is it just about the total takeover of Africa?
UPDATE 2. Sept. 22, 2014
It's all about the money, the entire ebola frenzy and fraud!
Take in account the following from CNN. On July 30, 2014, ''the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an arm of the military responsible for any chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive threats, allotted additional funding to MAPP Biopharmaceutical due to promising results.''
July 30 would be the very same day that Kent Brantly received his miracle cure ZMapp. ZMapp as in'... MAPP Biopharmaceuticals.
Now, the official reports about Brantly are that he was near death, due to his ebola infection. What this means is that in such a stage one would most likely be seriously bleeding and would likely not make it anyway in the event that Brantly had ebola at all. He likely contracted another lab-created illnesss. Therefore the establishment reports about Brantly instantly recovering or feeling better within hours after getting his ZMapp cure is total and complete baloney. Any real medic or doctor will confirm this. Even Forbes has written about that.
About a week later, after the amazing ZMapp magic, on August 7 Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation announced that ''the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has verbally confirmed they have modified the full clinical hold placed on the TKM-Ebola Investigational New Drug Application (IND) to a partial clinical hold. This action enables the potential use of TKM-Ebola in individuals infected with Ebola virus.''
As the US FDA approved the use of TKM Ebola the United Nations was having a meeting on August 6 and 7 and was about that meeting to announce, on August 8, that the alleged ebola outbreak was from now on an international health crisis. That would now be the ultimate safeguard that will allow any and all experiments on any real or suspected ebola patient anywhere in the world, completely free from any possible criminal charges if anyone dies or gets permanent health implications. As confirmed in this Dutch medical article and interview dated August 14, 2014.
Tekmira's stock price''is up 147 percent since the beginning of 2014 and experienced a 62 percent spike between March 3 and March 11, when the outbreak first began. '... Meanwhile, NewLink is an Ames, Iowa-based firm that has seen its stock price jump 34 percent in the past four weeks. Most of its products in development are meant to treat cancer, but earlier in August, a company subsidiary, BioProtection Systems Corporate, announced a $1 million contract with the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for research on an Ebola vaccine.''
All coincidence, right?
So ask yourself. Who will be profiting the most from the multi-billion-dollar transfers in this fraudulent ebola outbreak? It certainly will not be the African healthcare system nor the patients it serves nor the African environment that has been polluted by big pharma and other multinational corporations.
Also read this at Zero Hedge, ''The Ebola Epidemic Silver-Lining: IMF Bailouts For Everyone.''
UPDATE 3. Sept. 22, 2014
Ebola-free'...
The reports about Nigeria declaring the nation ebola-free are scarce and should for now be approached with a certain level of skepticism. However, the near-silence in the mainstream media pretty much speaks for itself.
The fact that this is not front page news and only a very few foreign/western news outlets want to report about this rather positive development means only one thing. DON'T BURST THE EBOLA BUBBLE!
Whether or not it is for not playing ball anymore, the World Bank is not providing any cash to Nigeria in the alleged ebola outbreak, which is a good thing. In this way Nigeria will have less toxic loans hanging around its neck.
UPDATE 4. Sept. 22, 2014
The following photo published at The Telegraph on September 20, 2014, further supports the claims that have been made by me in this report about the Daily Mail and the UPI their failed attempts to keep up with the scripted ebola outbreak.
Read the captions under the photos:
The Telegraph'...
Daily Mail Fail'...
September 20, 2014
For those people who have been sleeping since March 2014, take notes and pay attention because I am literally sick and tired of repeating in vain that THE 2014 EBOLA OUTBREAK IS A PROVEN FRAUD.
Let me repeat that one more time: THE 2014 EBOLA OUTBREAK IS A PROVEN FRAUD!
First of all, there is no ebola in the very epicenter of the fraudulent outbreak. Do most people on this planet even understand what that means?
THERE ARE NO CASES OF EBOLA IN THE EPICENTER '' THE SOURCE '' OF THE OUTBREAK. That has been confirmed by the BBC TWICE.
So the jive about natural cases of ebola in Guinea is a fabricated narrative to get you conditioned and afraid enough to accept enforced vaccinations.
Moving on to the next pieces of evidence that prove that this ebola outbreak is A FRAUD on par with the man made global warming scam and the false war on terror, which are all as fake as the three latest ISIS beheadings videos.
Just pay attention for a while and stop watching those reruns of Oprah, Big Brother and Idol.
The official and mainstream reporting about 8 health representatives that were killed in Guinea on Tuesday '' of which 3 UN World Health Organization reps had their throat slit, in the area of the EBOLA-FREE epicenter of the fraudulent 2014 outbreak, has all references to the presence of WHO representatives scrubbed from the online news articles and reports. What this means is just as clear and easy to understand as the words THERE ARE NO EBOLA CASES IN THE EPICENTER OF THE OUTBREAK.
The fact that the United Nations wants all references to the WHO representatives in the Guinea delegation scrubbed from the web means that the UN does not want a true investigation there into what happened in Nzerekore, Guinea, where the 8 dead bodies were found in the septic tank of a town. Admitting that UN people were part of the delegation would require the UN itself to actually investigate the murder cases but the United Nations do not want any real investigations going on in the EBOLA-FREE epicenter of the fraudulent 2014 outbreak because the truth would be exposed and that would mean the END of this FAKED and HYPED UP ebola outbreak. It would also mean the end of dubious money transfers into the pockets and private bank accounts of big pharma like GSK, Ban ki Moon and his goon squads at the UN and the WHO.
Moving on to the next pieces of evidence'... DAILY MAIL FAIL.
The pictorial of this article in the Daily Mail proves that they can not even keep up with the debunking of their official ebola narrative.
Monrovia is NOT located in Sierra Leone, it is located in Liberia. So is the JFK Medical Center but according to the Mail Online, and everyone who has blindly copy-pasted this '' and that are a lot of people and other news websites, both places are in Sierra Leone. What a fail. How desperate are they, one must ask?
Think that is all in this Daily Mail Fail? Not so'...
Or how about this one. UPI, United Press International since 1907. Also according to UPI Monrovia is located in Sierra Leone'...
RFI'...
My goodness people!
The fake character and the lies of this 2014 ebola scam are right in your faces staring at you all, over and over again, yet most of the folks out there around the world still believe the entire world is endangered by an ebola outbreak in Africa.
Let me recap just one last time so you cannot miss what has been written here today.
There are no ebola cases in the epicenter of the fabricated outbreak. This was admitted by the BBC, two times. This means that no one had ebola in the very area where the fake outbreak started.Monrovia is not located in Sierra Leone. Neither is the JFK Medical Center. They are both located in Liberia. Yet Daily Mail, UPI, RFI and several others will make you believe they are located in Sierra Leone.The UN World Health Organization is scrubbing all references to their representatives who had their throats slit in Guinea in the very area of the fabled epicenter of the outbreak. Scrubbed because if not then it would require the United Nations to launch a real investigation into the murders. That would reveal eventually that the UN and WHO have been spinning lies all along about the 2014 ebola outbreak. Yes, for the money yes!All I can do is point out the already obvious. Those who do not want to accept the fact that they have been lied to BIG TIME about the fabled ebola outbreak of this year, well, there is little hope left for those people then. They will literally believe it when one day the New York Times will tell them that Mars is going to collapse in their back yards.
So be sure to spread this report with everyone you know. That is the least we can do together to stop this madness from continuing any longer.
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Ebola-Chan | Know Your Meme
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 04:42
This submission is currently being researched & evaluated!You can help confirm this entry by contributing facts, media, and other evidence of notability and mutation.
Status:SubmissionYear2014OriginPixivTags4chan, anime, mascot, pixivAboutEbola-Chan is a female anime character designed as an anthropomorphic representation of the Ebola virus. The character was created on 4chan in response to growing concerns regarding the West African Ebola outbreak in the summer of 2014.
OriginThe original image of Ebola-Chan was created by a Pixiv user sly on August 4th, 2014. The earliest archived appearance of Ebola-Chan on 4chan was submitted in a thread posted to the /a/ (anime) board on the same day, featuring an illustration of a young female anime character wearing a nurse outfit, holding a bloody skull and wearing a pony tail hair style ending in strains of the Ebola virus (shown below).
SpreadAs early as August 7th, an image macro began circulating on 4chan boards featuring the same anime character illustration accompanied by a caption referring to her as ''Ebola-Chan,'' which urged readers to reply with the phrase ''I Love You Ebola-Chan'' in the comments section to avoid contracting a painful, fatal disease (shown below). On August 17th, the image was reblogged by the Cheezburger site Geek Universe. On August 18th, 2014, Redditor EsportsLottery submitted the original Ebola-Chan illustration to the /r/WTF subreddit, where it gained over 2,600 votes (87% upvoted) in the first week.
Various Examples''White People'' Conspiracy HoaxWhile the character began as a relatively innocuous fan art trend, others on the site soon began rallying behind an international scheme to fabricate a death cult movement based on a conspiracy hoax that Ebola was ''invented by white people,'' hoping it would catch on in the internet forums in regions where the local population have been heavily affected by the virus.
According to the excerpts of 4chan posts as cited by Vocative and International Business Times, some users openly expressed their desire to see the dissemination of such a racially divisive rumor, which would further incite the escalating tension between the blacks and whites in the continent:
Anonymous posted: ''If this ends up in the news, increasing tensions between blacks and whites in Africa--where they are already superstitious and think Ebola is made by whitey'... Sure, we've not seen the flowering of this yet, but it's just been a few days of death cult posts. Ebola-chan herself isn't that old either. Give it time to work.''
Anonymous posted: ''If we keep it up, soon enough some African media will report it and people will start to spread the word that Ebola might be beign spreaded [sic] by the white devil and that's enough to help Ebola-chan.''
By September 17th, the fandomization of Ebola-Chan on English-speaking imageboard communities had reached the earshot of Nigerian discussion forum Nairaland, where the character quickly became vilified as a ''plague goddess'' summoned by ill-wishing Westerners who perform ''magical rituals in order to spread the disease and kill people.''
There is a new racist cult in Europe and America. They hate Africans and worship an ebola demoness who they call ''Ebola-Chan''. They perform magical rituals in order to spread the disease and kill people. They target the area they want to infect next using blood sacrifices. THIS IS NOT A JOKE. Apparently even some Ebola doctors are part of the cult and instead of treating the disease are deliberately spreading it. I even heard rumour that they eat the heart of victims because they think it grants magical protection though I don't know if that's true. Some pictures of shrines and sacrifices I found:
Search InterestExternal References
CDC Says Ebola Vaccine Only Works on White People
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 04:36
The Center of Disease Control, which is headquartered in Atlanta, has released a statement saying the trial vaccine for the deadly Ebola virus will only work on those with white skin.
In an excerpt from the statement, the government agency stated, ''Early tests of an experimental drug, which would effectively combat the spread of Ebola, have proved successful only in those with white skin '-- We are working diligently to improve the sample to be able to help all those who are in need.''
The vaccine, which was developed by ThomasSmithCharles in conjunction with the BIP, has began a trial phase. The vaccine uses a strain of a West Nile monkey cold virus called ape multivirus type 5 to deliver benign genetic material of the West African strain of Ebola. The genetic material given to the patient is not able to replicate and poses virtually no health risk. The sample instead strengthens the immune system to fight off the virus. If successful, ape multivirus type 5 could stop the spread of Ebola.
According to the CDC, the trial was doled out 200 people, but only proved effective to those with white skin. Some scientists believe high levels of melanin may somehow be affecting the sample.
Many citizens voiced concern when two white Americans were flown to Emory Hospital in Atlanta and were cured of the deadly disease, while 1,000's in Africa continue to die. Conspiracy theorists believe the American Government has a cure for the disease, but has no plans to dole it out to Africans.
A Twitter member, who goes by @Sidney_Bingham wrote, ''Ebola was a incurable disease when it was killing Africans by the hundreds but now that 2 white people have it suddenly there's a cure.''
User @J_Nuclear wrote, ''Ebola death camps in Africa'.....now when white people start getting it all of a sudden an experimental cure comes out.''
With the disease seeming to only work on those with white skin, the conspiracy theorists certainly have been provided with more fodder for their beliefs.
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Justification of a Single Source Cooperative Agreement Award for the World Health Organization
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 17:32
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) intends to fund an unsolicited proposal submitted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to support work towards establishing a regulatory pathway at WHO for prequalification of medical countermeasures to be deployed internationally in an emergency, which includes supporting WHO and potential recipient countries to build regulatory capacity for the import, registration, and emergency use of medical countermeasures. The goals of this Cooperative Agreement are to: (1) Using smallpox vaccines as a case study, complete product review and prequalification of smallpox vaccines included in or pledged to the WHO Smallpox Vaccine Emergency Stockpile for emergency use; (2) Establish general regulatory pathways for emergency use authorization and/or a process for emergency prequalification of emergency medical countermeasures and; (3) Support potential recipient WHO member states in building capacities for the import, registration, and emergency use of medical countermeasures.
This Cooperative Agreement directly supports several federal initiatives focused on strengthening national and international health security, including HHS's ongoing work within the Global Health Security Initiative (GHSI) to develop an operational framework for the international deployment of medical countermeasures which contemplates the legal, regulatory, and logistical issues to be considered during such a deployment as noted in the 2013 GHSI Ministerial communique.1 Additionally, it supports Objective 9 of the Global Health Security Agenda2 which calls for improving global access to medical and non-medical countermeasures during health emergencies and the improvement of international deployment capabilities. It also aligns with the HHS Global Health Strategy priority to ''develop policy frameworks, agreements and operational plans to facilitate HHS decision-making in response to both single and multiple international requests for emergency assistance, including for the deployment of medical countermeasures and HHS personnel.''3
12013 Global Health Security Initiative Ministerial Meeting Communique [online]. Available from: http://www.ghsi.ca/english/statements.asp.
2The Global Health Security Agenda. Available from: http://www.globalhealth.gov/global-health-topics/global-health-security/ghsagenda.html.
3HHS Global Health Strategy Objectives [online]. Available from: http://www.globalhealth.gov/global-programs-and-initiatives/global-health-strategy/strategy-objectives/.
Period of Performance: October 1, 2014 to September 29, 2017.
Please submit an inquiry via the ASPR Division of Grants Management at asprgrants@hhs.gov.
The Division of International Health Security within the Office of Policy and Planning in ASPR is the program office for this award.
Procedures for Providing Public Input: All written comments must be submitted no later than 15 days after posting of this announcement. Please submit comments to asprgrants@hhs.gov.
Dated: September 18, 2014.
Nicole Lurie,
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
[FR Doc. 2014-22773 Filed 9-23-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4150-37-P
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Sierra Leone begins 3-day Ebola lockdown
Sat, 20 Sep 2014 00:01
APSierra Leone confined its 6 million people to their homes Friday for the next three days as the Ebola-ravaged West African country began what was believed to be the most sweeping lockdown against disease since the Middle Ages.
In a desperate effort to bring the outbreak under control, thousands of health care workers began going house to house in crowded urban neighborhoods and remote villages, hoping to find and isolate infected people.
President Ernest Bai Koroma urged his countrymen to cooperate.
Read more
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Eight dead in attack on Ebola team in Guinea. 'Killed in cold blood.' - The Washington Post
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 02:43
The bodies of eight people, including several health workers and three journalists, have been found days after they were attacked while distributing information about Ebola in a Guinean village near the city of Nzerekore, according to Reuters.
"The eight bodies were found in the village latrine," Albert Damantang Camara, a spokesman for Guinea's government, told Reuters on Thursday. "Three of them had their throats slit."
When the delegation arrived on Tuesday to do disinfection work and educate people about preventing Ebola, angry and fearful residents began throwing rocks and beating people in the group with clubs according to the Los Angeles Times, which cited Guinean radio reports. The delegation, which included one local politician, fled into the bush to escape the attackers.
One journalist who managed to escape told reporters that she could hear the people looking for her while she hid, according to the BBC.
On Thursday, the bodies were found in the septic tank of a primary school in the village, according to Camara. They had been "killed in cold blood by the villagers," he added, according to the BBC.
Throughout this epidemic, public health officials have battled widespread fear and even doubts that the virus exists at all. The deadly attack illustrates the danger that health workers face as they try to spread information about the virus in an effort to control the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.
The attack occurred in an area near where riots broke out last month because people feared that workers disinfecting a market were contaminating people, according to the BBC.
Guinean radio reported that the attack came after the group tried to spray disinfectant to prevent the virus from spreading in public places, the LA Times reported.
Earlier, the governor of Nzerekore told the BBC that he believed the group was being held captive. A government delegation had been sent to the Wome (Wamey) village but was unable to gain access because the main bridge leading to the town was destroyed to prevent authorities from reaching it, the BBC reported.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa began in a Guinea border town, Gu(C)ck(C)dou, which is near where Tuesday's attack occurred. The spread of the virus in the country has not accelerated as quickly as it has in other affected countries, particularly Liberia.
But 33 percent of the cases in Guinea have been reported in the last three weeks, signaling that the outbreak is far from under control. According to the World Health Organization, at least 2,622 people have died and 5,335 have been infected in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.
[This post has been updated multiple times.]
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It's all scripted! Ebola outbreak and impossibly rapid vaccine response clearly scripted; U.S. govt. patented Ebola in 2010 and now owns all victims' blood - NaturalNews.com
Sat, 20 Sep 2014 20:43
(NaturalNews) On the very same day that vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline is being fined $490 million by Chinese authorities for running an illegal bribery scheme across China [3], the media is announcing the "astonishing" launch of human trials for an Ebola vaccine.Care to guess who will be manufacturing this vaccine once it is whitewashed and rubber-stamped as "approved?" GlaxoSmithKline, of course. The same company that also admitted to a massive criminal bribery network in the United States, where felony crimes were routinely committed to funnel money to over 40,000 physicians who pushed dangerous prescription drugs onto patients.
This is the company that is now -- today! -- injecting 60 "volunteers" with an experimental Ebola vaccine.
"Normally it would take years of human trials before a completely new vaccine was approved for use," reports the BBC. [1] "But such is the urgency of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa that this experimental vaccine is being fast tracked at an astonishing rate."Yes, it's astonishing because it's impossible.
As any vaccine-related virologist already knows, the process of going from an in-the-wild infection of Ebola to a manufactured vaccine ready for human trials simply cannot be achieved in a matter of a few weeks or months. Apparently, we are all to believe that a spontaneous scientific miracle has now taken place -- a literal act of vaccine magic -- which has allowed the criminal vaccine industry to skip the tedious R&D phases and create a vaccine ready for human trials merely by waving a magic wand.
"The first of 60 healthy volunteers will be injected with the vaccine," says the BBC today, and vaccine pushers are of course lining up to proclaim the vaccine miracle which has spontaneously appeared before them like a burning bush:
Professor Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute in Oxford, who is leading the trial, said: "This is a remarkable example of how quickly a new vaccine can be progressed into the clinic, using international co-operation."
The far more likely explanation, of course, is that all this was scripted in advance: the outbreak, the international cry for help, the skyrocketing of the stock price for Tekmira (which has received financial investments from Monsanto), the urgent call for a vaccine and now the spontaneous availability of human vaccine trials. It's all beautifully scripted from start to finish, better than a Shakespearean tragedy played out on the international stage.The "heroes" of this theater have been pre-ordained to be drug companies and vaccines, and it is already written in the script that vaccines will be heralded as lifesaving miracles of modern science even if they infect people and cause widespread damage as has now happened to young girls in Colombia who are being hospitalized en masse after being injected with HPV vaccines. [2]
Incredibly, the official response from vaccine-pushing health authorities in Colombia is that all these girls who are suffering from paralysis are merely "imagining" their symptoms and suffering from "mass hysteria." Obviously, if vaccines are created by the gods of modern science -- the new cult of our delusional world -- then they must be perfect and infallible. Therefore, anyone who suffers side effects of such perfect vaccines must obviously be imagining things. Such is the delusional dogma of modern vaccine pushers.
This will be the exact same explanation leveled against anyone who suffers harmful effects from an Ebola vaccine, too. After all, the discovery of vaccine side effects simply isn't in the script being played out before us. Therefore, it cannot be allowed, and any person who actually suffers side effects will be immediately deemed to be mentally ill. (Yes, this is how insane and Orwellian the vaccine industry has become. All who do now bow down to the voodoo of dangerous vaccines are labeled mental patients and then treated with psychiatric drugs. The vaccine industry has quite literally become the Heaven's Gate Cult of modern medicine...)
This plot gets even more interesting when you realize that a patent on Ebola was awarded to the United States government just four years ago, in 2010.That patent, number CA2741523A1, is available here.
Astonishingly, the patent claims U.S. government ownership over all variants of Ebola which share 70% or more of the protein sequences described in the patent: "[CLAIMS] ...a nucleotide sequence of at least 70%-99% identity to the SEQ ID..."
Furthermore, the patent also claims ownership over any and all Ebola viruses which are "weakened" or "killed," meaning the United States government is literally claiming ownership over all Ebola vaccines.
What this means, of course, is that the U.S. government can demand royalties on all Ebola vaccines.
Even more Orwellian is the fact that the U.S. government can use this patent to halt all other research for treatments or cures for Ebola.
Do you remember the massive medical controversy over the BRCA1 gene tied to breast cancer in women? One corporation claimed patent ownership over the gene and then they used that patent to shut down all other research, testing or diagnosis of breast cancer related to that gene. To date, nearly 20% of the human genome has been claimed as "owned" by corporations, universities and even the government.The controversy went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which ultimately ruled that human genes cannot be patented. But the Supreme Court decision actually protected patents on gene sequences for viruses and other pathogens.
The truth of the matter is that anyone who owns the Ebola gene patent can legally use that patent to shut down all research on Ebola, including research for non-vaccine medical treatments and cures. This is how medical monopolies are reinforced: by monopolizing all the research and all the "cures."
Even more frightening, the "ownership" over Ebola extends to Ebola circulating in the bodies of Ebola victims. When Dr. Kent Brantly was relocated from Africa to the CDC's care in Atlanta, that entire scene was carried out under the quasi-legal justification that the U.S. government "owned" the Ebola circulating in Dr. Brantly's blood. Thus, one of the very first things that took place was the acquisition of his blood samples for archiving and R&D by the CDC and the U.S. Department of Defense.
(Only the gullible masses think that was about saving the life of a doctor. The real mission was to acquire the Ebola strain circulating in his body and use it for weaponization research, vaccine research and other R&D purposes.)
This brings us to the quarantine issue. As the whole world knows by now, the entire nation of Sierra Leone is now under a state of medical martial law, where Ebola victims are now being hunted down like fugitives in door-to-door manhunts. [4]Simultaneously, the United States government is now operating under Obama's executive order #13674, signed on July 31, 2014, which allows the U.S. federal government to arrest and quarantine any person who shows symptoms of infectious disease. [5]
This executive order allows federal agents to forcibly arrest and quarantine anyone showing symptoms of:
...Severe acute respiratory syndromes, which are diseases that are associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, are capable of being transmitted from person to person, and that either are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic, or, upon infection, are highly likely to cause mortality or serious morbidity if not properly controlled.
Part of the legal argument for justifying such a quarantine in the case of Ebola goes like this: If you are carrying Ebola in your body, then you are in possession of U.S. government property!
The fact that the virus is replicating in your body is, legally speaking, a violation of patent law. Because you are providing a host environment for the replication of the virus, you technically are breaking federal laws that restrict the copying and distributed of patented properties, which in this case include the Ebola virus.
Thus, the government has every right to "relocate" you and prevent you from violating patent law by replicating, distributing or spreading THEIR intellectual property (i.e. the Ebola virus).
Lest you think this legal argument sounds insane, just remember that the legal system is full of lawyers who make far more insane arguments on a daily basis, including the argument that human genes could be patented in the first place. And medical officials also make insane, irrational arguments almost constantly, including the argument that all those girls in Colombia who are suffering convulsions and paralysis from the HPV vaccine are merely "imagining" their symptoms. Such explanations flatly defy any attachment to sane thinking.
Ultimately, the patent on the Ebola virus provides the legal justification for forced government quarantines -- and even medical research -- on Ebola victims.
What I've outlined in this story is just a small taste of the crime against humanity which is taking place right before our eyes. I am now convinced that this Ebola outbreak is very likely not an accident, and many scientists in Africa wholeheartedly agree that the outbreak is actually the deployment of a biological weapon."Ebola is a genetically modified organism (GMO)," declared Dr. Cyril Broderick, Professor of Plant Pathology, in a front-page story published in the Liberian Observer. [6]
He goes on to explain:
[Horowitz] confirmed the existence of an American Military-Medical-Industry that conducts biological weapons tests under the guise of administering vaccinations to control diseases and improve the health of "black Africans overseas."
SITES AROUND AFRICA, AND IN WEST AFRICA, HAVE OVER THE YEARS BEEN SET UP FOR TESTING EMERGING DISEASES, ESPECIALLY EBOLA
The World Health Organization (WHO) and several other UN Agencies have been implicated in selecting and enticing African countries to participate in the testing events, promoting vaccinations, but pursuing various testing regiments.
AFRICAN LEADERS AND AFRICAN COUNTRIES NEED TO TAKE THE LEAD IN DEFENDING BABIES, CHILDREN, AFRICAN WOMEN, AFRICAN MEN, AND THE ELDERLY. THESE CITIZENS DO NOT DESERVE TO BE USED AS GUINEA PIGS!
Africa must not relegate the Continent to become the locality for disposal and the deposition of hazardous chemicals, dangerous drugs, and chemical or biological agents of emerging diseases. There is urgent need for affirmative action in protecting the less affluent of poorer countries, especially African citizens, whose countries are not as scientifically and industrially endowed as the United States and most Western countries, sources of most viral or bacterial GMOs that are strategically designed as biological weapons. It is most disturbing that the U. S. Government has been operating a viral hemorrhagic fever bioterrorism research laboratory in Sierra Leone.
The world must be alarmed. All Africans, Americans, Europeans, Middle Easterners, Asians, and people from every conclave on Earth should be astonished. African people, notably citizens more particularly of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are victimized and are dying every day.
If you really want to learn the truth about all this, listen to the free Pandemic Preparedness audio course available right now at www.BioDefense.comAll MP3 files are freely downloadable, and new episodes are being posted every few days.
Also check out these 11 horrifying truths about Ebola that you're not supposed to know.
Nearly one million people have now visited www.BioDefense.com since its launch last week. Find out there what the mainstream media won't dare tell you. Your life may quite literally depend on it.
Sources for this article include:[1] http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29230157
[2] http://news.yahoo.com/mystery-illness-plague...
[3] http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29274822
[4] http://www.naturalnews.com/046945_medical_ma...
[5] http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014...
[6] http://www.liberianobserver.com/security/ebo...
[7] http://www.google.com/patents/CA2741523A1
[8] http://www.naturalnews.com/036417_Glaxo_Merc...
[9] http://www.naturalnews.com/046259_ebola_outb...
[10] http://www.naturalnews.com/040400_gene_paten...
[11] http://www.naturalnews.com/028492_BRCA1_huma...
[12] http://www.thecommonsenseshow.com/2014/09/17...
About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is the founding editor of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news website, now reaching 7 million unique readers a month.
In late 2013, Adams launched the Natural News Forensic Food Lab, where he conducts atomic spectroscopy research into food contaminants using high-end ICP-MS instrumentation. With this research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products to low levels by July 1, 2015.
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.
Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.
Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.
In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released ten popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.
Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.
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How Liberia lost its handshake
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 05:55
21 September 2014Last updated at 00:15 By Mark DoyleBBC NewsFamilies and communities have been devastated by the deaths caused by West Africa's Ebola outbreak. But the disease also has consequences for the region's way of life, and in particular their traditional greetings.
One of the things the people of West Africa are very good at is greeting each other. In most of the region's countries it would be positively rude to exchange a passing, British-style "Hello, how are you?" and walk on.
In West Africa the normal thing to do would be to stop, reach out one hand, or even two, shake warmly and then embrace.
Continue reading the main storyListen to From Our Own Correspondent for insight and analysis from BBC journalists, correspondents and writers from around the world
Broadcast on Radio 4 on Saturdays at 11:30 BST and BBC World Service
This is followed by much backslapping, more handshaking on points of agreement and even the odd high five.
It's what children do, it's what men do, it's what elderly ladies do.
Well, not any more. Ebola is spread by contact with bodily fluids, so these days people shun contact with others - including handshakes.
Of course, the worst impact of this disease has been on those who have contracted it, and their loved ones. But the end of shaking hands has affected everyone, everywhere in the region.
The country that's been worst affected by Ebola - with the most deaths - is Liberia.
After President Barack Obama announced the US would be sending 3,000 troops to oversee the building of new treatment centres and help train medical staff in the country, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf broadcasted a "Thank-you" speech to the US. She also told Liberians: "Ebola will not defeat us."
President Johnson Sirleaf had earlier said the disease was damaging Liberians' way of life. One thing she was surely referring to was the unusual Liberian handshake.
It's been called the "Liberian finger snap". If that sounds painful, it isn't. But it is rather tricky to master.
The finger snap involves clasping hands in the normal way. But then - as the hands are released - each partner clicks the fingers of the other. This produces two loud snapping sounds.
Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
A demonstration of 'the Liberian finger snap'
It's something of a point of honour to make the pair of snaps as strong - and therefore as loud - as possible. The louder the snaps, the greater the friendship. But not any more.
Ebola virus disease (EVD) Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage Spread by body fluids, such as blood and saliva Current outbreak has mortality rate of about 55% Incubation period is two to 21 days There is no proven vaccine or cure How bad can it get?
I've visited Liberia many times, and I find it impossible to imagine the country without a soundscape of finger snaps. If I, as a foreigner, feel that way, I can't begin to imagine how odd the lack of handshaking must feel for a Liberian.
It's the same across the whole region. In French-speaking parts of West Africa, the traditional greeting of three kisses on the cheek has stopped too.
It's as if this terrible disease, not content with killing thousands of people, wants to rip the beating heart out of a naturally friendly, and communally-minded, population.
Something similarly shocking is taking place this weekend in Liberia's neighbour, Sierra Leone. It is being devastated by Ebola too, with hospitals overflowing and food prices rising.
In an effort to stop the spread of the disease, the authorities ordered a nationwide three-day lockdown. Everyone is supposed to stay in their homes while health workers mount a nationwide door-to-door check to seek out anyone infected.
The operation is fraught with difficulties and dangers. In the first place, it's far from clear if Sierra Leone has enough qualified health professionals to visit every house and hut in the land. Or what will they do if they find potential patients - the treatment centres are already full to overflowing.
The Sierra Leone government says the desperate situation requires desperate measures. But, even if the lockdown works, it's another example of Ebola changing a country's very way of life.
Most of its population are very poor. Many work as street traders or day labourers. Very few people have large stocks of food in their cupboards, and only a minority have luxuries like fridges. So they simply have to go out every day to work and shop - otherwise their family will not get fed.
Of course those worst affected by Ebola are the sick, the dying and their families. But everyone is being touched in other terribly important parts of their lives, however seemingly mundane - from the simple handshake to doing the shopping.
The president of Liberia said in her speech: "We are fighting against Ebola. We will win."
If and when this happens, one of the most precious things West Africans get back will be the ability to shake hands again.
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EuroLand
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Sick Man of Europe is Europe; Blame the Socialists, Progressives, Greens, and the Euro Itself
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 03:03
Joel Kotkin writing for New Geography hits the nail smack on the head with his assessment Sick Man of Europe is Europe.
Throughout the continent, public support for a united Europe fell sharply last year. Opposition to greater integration has emerged, with anti-EU parties gaining support in countries as diverse as the United Kingdom, Greece, Germany and France.
The new reality is epitomized by France's ascendant far-right political figure, Marine Le Pen, who is now leading in many polls to win the next presidential election.
These attitudes suggest that the EU could be devolving from a nascent super-state to something that increasingly resembles the Holy Roman Empire, a fragmented landscape of small, unimportant states wrapped in a unitary, but ephemeral crepe. This challenges the view of some Americans, particularly but not only on the left, who see Europe as a role model for the U.S.
Some pundits, such as Paul Krugman, routinely describe Europe's approach to economic, environment and social policy as more enlightened than America's. Wherever possible, progressives push for European-style action in areas such as curbing carbon emissions and rapidly converting to ''green'' energy.
Several years ago Germany and the Netherlands were exemplars as opposed to the much-disdained PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain). But German growth rates have plummeted, going negative in the last quarter, along with France and Italy. More stagnation is likely as energy costs surge and key export markets, notably in Russia and China, begin to contract. Today, the ''sick man'' of Europe is not any one country, or collection of countries; the ''sick man of Europe'' is Europe.
Europe's poor economy stems in large part from policy. The strong welfare state so admired by progressives here has also made Europe a very expensive place to do business. High taxes and welfare costs, long tolerable in an efficient economy like Germany, have a way of catching up with companies and countries. This has been particularly notable after the financial crisis; since 2008 the unemployment rate has shot up 5 percentage points while dropping steadily in the Untied States.
All this suggests that Americans would do better than look to Europe for future solutions to our own problems. However attractive the European model may seem to our pundit class, the reality on the ground shows something more to be avoided than embraced.
Blame the Socialists, Progressives, Greens, and the EuroThe socialists ruined France and Italy. And the Euro which was supposed to be a uniter has been anything but.
There is more bickering than ever before on what constitutes sound fiscal policy. Germany wants one thing, France and Italy another. Some countries want something in between and others waver back and forth.
More importantly, what the people want, is not what the politicians want. The result has been the rise of Marine Le Pen in France, Beppe Grillo in Italy, and Golden Dawn in Greece. Unstable governments and alliances exist in several countries.
Energy costs have soared in Germany thanks to Green policies. German businesses pay twice as much for energy as US counterparts.
For example, a typical medium-sized German industrial company pays 9.14 euro cents per kilowatt hour compared with 4.82 cents/kWh in Texas, according to research carried out by Ecofys, a consultancy, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research.
The founders of the Euro project thought fiscal matters would unify over time. Instead, politics and policies diverged.
The fact remains: No currency union in history that did not also have a fiscal union has ever survived.
With horrendous demographics in most of Europe, impossible to untangle socialist promises in the "Club-Med" countries and France, and no hope for a sensible fiscal union, the situation is bleak.
My take: A Disruptive Eurozone Breakup Awaits.
Mike "Mish" Shedlockhttp://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
STATE OF THE EU-THE SATURDAY ESSAY: Why 'Je m'en fou' will be the death of the EU | The Slog.
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 09:58
France is going backwards, Le Pen is going forwards, Italy is going nowhere, and the Brits just want to go.France's insuperable problems are still by far the most likely to unravel the EU and its currency'....as well as push Merkel to the East. The Slog analyses why 'most likely' has become a certainty.
Anyone here on the ground in France is acutely aware of just how dire the private sector's performance is at the moment. The most obvious example of this is in the multiple retail sector, where the drop in prices has now spread even to cheap foods. Everything here in France is on offer'....and has been on constant offer since April. The Folie du Printemps turned into the Foire de l''Ete, and today the signs just say Solde! Solde! Solde! in huge letters everywhere.
Comparing French prices to those in neighbouring countries '' and this general rule applies to everything from flights to tools via paint and even mousetraps '' French goods for export are expensive. So are French workers at home. Worse still, French delivery times remain woefully long and frequently unreliable. In a nutshell, exports have collapsed, and it's easy to see why: imports from other EU countries are cheaper, freely available, and better made.
Tax receipts too are in a bad way, a crisis to which (it seems to most foreign residents) President Hollande is oblivious. The reasons for the shortfall are more workers being paid in cash (tax free and at lower rates), a flatlining economy, and not least the archaic (and arcane) collection system.
In France '' you may find this hard to believe, but it's true '' the job of tax calculation and liability is largely given to Notaires '' legals '' when things other than basic salary are under consideration. After 13 months of trying to get two separate Notaires to agree to a simple share transaction between my estranged wife and I, we have given up and decided to have Jan pay the tax in England. When things came to a final impasse (after long periods of what appeared to me to be sheer incompetent idleness) the Notaire's office simply said, when told of our intentions, ''Je m'en fou, we can't take the risk''. Risk?
Thus, one attitude just cost France a delayed tax payment, which has turned into no tax payment. But obduracy about the silly nature of tax decisions '' for example, demands that entrepreneurs pay upfront, and the astonishing level of social benefits '' are a serious obstacle to French growth. The only thing growing in France is the public sector'....and it is out of control. I've been posting for nearly five years now about the splurge of infrastructural spend on everything from road surfaces and signage to Mairie restoration. What's more, eccentric French definitions of 'public' and 'private' massively underestimate the real size of the State.
**************************************
Sarkozy infamously promised that France would ''feel the pain'' but the public sector has clearly been given the keys to the paracetamol cabinet. Hollande is under pressure from his fellow Eunatics to reform: but the politics and practicalities of doing so are beyond the man.
If you think you can hear the Troikanauts slavering at the bait and straining at the leash, forget it. The neoliberal scammers would love to position the French mess as very much a job for them to solve, but this is not Greece. The syndicats and Nationalists would ensure that, beyond any notable level of interference in French internal affairs, bondholders would be heading for the tumbril'.....and an appointment with Madame la Guillotine. Somehow, I doubt if Notaires would be consulted during the process.
In truth, there are two fundamental problems France faces that are far more important than any other consideration. First, the bureaucratic feather-nesting and self-protection; and second, the gross lack of productive jobs as French goods '' like British goods and Italian goods '' fail to compete. The two are connected '' held together almost '' by the bindweed of unemployment. But bindweed throttles everything in the end.
Last month, the jobless totals fell by 11,000 '' 0.3% of the working population. That's August'...a time when seasonal tourism and farm jobs come into their own here. It is the only month this year that has seen a fall, and not even PS politicians are seeing it as a lifeline. The French are hazy on 'new jobs' largely because there aren't any.
In the light of this, employment group Medef has called on the Government to scrap its 35-hour work week, raise the legal retirement age and lower the minimum wage to bring down chronically high unemployment and stimulate growth. Medef believes such moves would create a million jobs over the next five years; they just don't say how. the plan will fail as long as bureaucratic, bloody-minded obduracy remains as the hard face of protected interests in the legal/functionnaire sector. And as long as there are moves in hand to cut worker benefits, strike and transport chaos will surely follow.
In short, it's the usual list of suspects: those who produce nothing '' lawyers, notaires, bureaucrats, tax offices, union leaders and politicians '' have combined to create the system, and then ensure nobody has the power or balls to deconstruct it.
There is an obvious way round this, but it would involve the lower paid and the Hard Right working together in order to push through radical reform that would benefit both sides. Lest we forget, they are in a large percentage of cases the same people. One dislike in particular unites them: Muslim immigrants.
France has around 7 million immigrants '' roughly 11% of the population. Of these, a staggeringly high percentage are Muslim North Africans '' 6.5 million, or just over 10% of the population. Yet this 10% receive 22% of all social benefits. In total, the deficit from immigration shouldered by the taxpayers is estimated to be '‚¬26 billion. Such figures are freely available because, unlike in pc-ridden Britain, the Government publishes them '' and others take advantage of it.
So for racists, this is fertile ground: and to the trade unions, it's an obvious threat '' especially given that an estimated 500,000 immigrants evade tax by working on the noir '' a loss to the State of '‚¬4 billion. Many French ouvriers now grumble that their jobs are threatened by Muslims because their benefits costs are so high, but the State gets nothing in return. This is erroneous on two grounds: first, the great majority of noir workers are English or Polish; and second what makes French workers expensive is the degree of assurance they want the employer to pay.
But what in turn unites the Front Nationale, the farmers, industry and the Unions is a detestation of bureacratically bloated procedures that mean higher costs, slower reactions, and a regime generally unfriendly to start-ups. This is where Le Pen will score across the board, by presenting the problem as Brussels as much as France-based.
**********************************************
All of the above presents Brussels-am-Berlin with a problem I now believe to be insoluble '' for the following reasons:
1. France is the EU's second biggest economy. Italy is the third. Without a dramatic solution, sooner or later both will default. Italy is now showing obvious signs of a descent into chaos; for the reasons outlined in this think-piece, France could do the same on social, political and economic dimensions. There is no way either the EU or the euro could survive these events in anything like its current form.
2. If Marine Le Pen wins the next Presidential Election, she will immediately begin negotiations to withdraw from the EU, and change the immigration laws dramatically. She already claims that B-am-B is lying about the facility to withdraw from both the Ezone and the EU: she says it exists, and she will exercise it.
3. Having tried the bonds raid once already to bring Hollande into line, the Wall Street/Brussels manipulators now need to be careful what they wish for: such an attack could easily get out of control, and produce at least one collapse in the French banking system.
4. As things become economically worse and more politically uncertain, there will be a capital flight which, at some point, will turn into a panic attack. Such would have terrible economic recovery ramifications for l'Hexagon, but more immediately put the ECB into a position where it found itself in very deep waters indeed. To replace that capital with support would bring the German Constitutional Court and the Bundesbank roaring out of their cages'...and require printing by Mario Draghi on a hyperinflationary scale.
5. At the first moment that France is seen as able to face down the Eurocrats, I think we can be sure that Italy for certain, probably Greece and possibly Spain '' Catalonians and Andalucians especially '' will begin agitating for an end to Big Centre, top-down fat Government from Brussels. I think it also highly likely that anti-German feeling will increase further.
6. From my own parochial standpoint, if any of the above began to roll before May 2015, I think we would wind up with a disastrous Left/Right stalemate in the UK, with Labour as the largest Party and UKip securing big gains from the Conservatives. That would be the end of Camerlot, which would be eclipsed by the harder-edged europhobes. The two sides Miliband and (Boris?) would be utterly incapable of working with each other.
*******************************
It would be a miracle if Chancellor Merkel was not adding such thoughts to others about which I posted three days ago. And it all points in the same direction: closer to Moscow, with an economic future in Asia.
I'm still no nearer to getting a handle on what the grown-ups are preparing in Berlin, but I can tell you this: the French love affair with je m'en fou is stronger than any ideas they might harbour of a powerful Europe. France has and always will come first for the ENAs who '' unlike the average cement-head tax inspector '' do on the whole tend to plan ahead on energy, food and road infrastructure development.
If a Gallic ''Go f**k yourself'' were to bring down Brussels-am-Berlin, I would of course be a very happy bunny. (I'd also be in schtuck, because my health insurance would dispappear, but that's a minor point). But once that's achieved, and the economies of Europe start emerging from the wreckage, there will be no place for any of the corrupt professions, obdurate functionaries, or politicians seemingly capable of incontinence and impotence at one and the same time. Fat bankers and globalist headcases will also not be required on voyage.
However, the biggest thing France will have to eradicate is Je m'en fou.
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ITALIAN DEBT-the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens: Italy closer to the ECB trap
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 10:31
''Mario Draghi, the ECB President, continues to profess optimism that the Eurozone will recover in the 2nd half of this year. Hopefully, his native country is not the basis for this optimism.''''Last year it stayed within its Maastricht deficit limit of 3% of GDP. Indeed, the government had a 2.2% primary surplus. And yet public debt rose, as a % of GDP, from 127% to 132.6%! Which means that Italy must keep borrowing (in net terms) even if it has the largest primary surplus in the Eurozone and manages to stay within the Maastricht deficit limits. In euro terms, it needs to pay annually 85 billion in interest (on a '‚¬2 trillion debt) of which it must borrow '‚¬50 billion.''''From this perspective, the Renzi government, but also its neoliberal detractors, are in a bind. The only solution (i.e. in confronting Merkel) is outside their remit and imagination. Thus, they keep falling deeper and deeper into the vortex. Meanwhile, Germany's polity shows no signs of even an interest in discussing the substance.''
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AP News : Euro area gets new 10-euro bill
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 09:37
Published: 52 minutes agoBERLIN (AP) - The 18 countries that use the euro currency have a new 10-euro ($13) note, which the European Central Bank says has enhanced security features that will make it harder to counterfeit.
The new note introduced Tuesday is the second in the bank's "Europa" series, featuring a portrait of the figure from Greek mythology of that name in both the watermark and hologram stripe.
The first of the new notes, the five-euro bill, was introduced last year and the rest are to be phased in over the coming years. They replace the notes in circulation since euros became the cash currency in 2002.
In addition to the watermark and portrait hologram, the new note has an added security feature with an emerald number which shines when moved up and down.
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MEUCCIS TELEPHONE WTF-VENITISM: TRANSATLANTIC DIGITAL SINGLE MARKET
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:25
By Neelie KroesToday I want to post about the relations between EU and US. About what opportunities new technology brings for that relationship. And about how we can share and work together to bring digital benefits to each other '' and to the whole world.For any long-term relationship, it's tempting to focus on the difficulties and disputes rather than what binds you together.The relations between the EU and US are a case in point. Those relations are longstanding and vital, but we often find ourselves focusing on the differences and divisions, not the on opportunities.I am a great friend and fan of this alliance. But we need to take account of how the world is transforming: a change that affects each of us and our relationship.Especially when you look at technological advances and the development of the Internet economy.For any new technology, it's easier to spot the threats than the opportunities. My approach is not to ignore those issues; still less to dismiss them. My approach is to understand and learn from them, in all their subtlety and complexity. And figure out what we can do '' together - to make the threats benign and the opportunities beneficial.I am an optimist on these issues. I see the positive side '' because only then can we seize the great opportunities of digital. But I know not everyone does. And we need to engage with and talk to the sceptics, not ignore them.Recent revelations about mass surveillance and recent examples of Internet fraud, hacking and cybercrime have been deeply shocking: to many in Europe: and to many in the USA too.Shock is a natural reaction; so is outrage. But I look at it slightly more positively and pragmatically.Really this was a wake-up call. Those recent events woke people up to the reality and the risk. It underlined what some have known for ages: we must strengthen our defences. And that is what I am pushing for Europe to do.Because the real risk is a loss of confidence in the Internet. We cannot allow poor planning '' or bad sentiment '' to endanger the huge economic and social benefits that flow from digital technologies and servicesTake America's dominance in new tech. It's true that many of the big names and big platforms are from America '' Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook. But Europe also offers many startup hubs '' and with them, success stories - Skype, Spotify, Swiftkey, Rovio and more.In fact many ICT innovations used across the world came from Europe. From Marconi's radio and Meucci's telephone; from the CD to the standards for GSM, WiFi, Bluetooth and more.Meanwhile European companies like SAP and BMW are embracing and innovating for digital change.I don't see American leadership as a threat; this is not a competition; at least not one with losers. Wherever they come from, Europeans benefit from those innovations; millions use and enjoy them every day. And we can also learn from how America works and how it innovates.For me it starts with the mindset that is prepared to take a risk. That's something I really saw in Silicon Valley.Hundreds of years ago, the first Europeans left home to sail west.They weren't afraid to take a risk, to leave their comfort zone, to break out somewhere new. That risk paid off. Now we need to learn that lesson back in Europe.If we are serious about nurturing innovation and innovators: Europeans need to realise that it's OK to fail. It's not shameful, it's not a stigma, it's not a black spot on your career.Quite the opposite: it is absolutely needed. You simply cannot innovate without taking a risk. So if you never failed '' you probably weren't ever trying.That lesson is just one of many things we can share and learn from each other.And let's remember what the internet can do on the global stage. It is a powerful platform to promote freedom and democracy.Bloggers in Egypt; activists in Azerbaijan; those challenging a Twitter ban in Turkey.Over the years, I have met all those people, and been inspired by them all. They are people fighting for freedom; and their weapon is the Internet, most amazing engine for spreading ideas ever invented.These are not just European values; they are American too. When those same settlers left Europe, they were not afraid to change; but equally they did not abandon their vital values. And today, together Europe and the US are the world's natural home of freedom and democracy. Together we can ensure that helps the world.The fact is: fundamentally the EU and US share many values. The differences between us show '' not how far apart we are '' but how much we can learn from each other to promote those values. How much we have to gain by trade and exchange; of products, people, ideas.25 years ago, a network, first devised for the US military, benefited from protocols developed by a British scientist working in Switzerland. Today, the Internet is now used by 3 billion people across the world, the platform for billions of dollars of trade.That's what we got through the open exchange of ideas. Now that same spirit can help us make the most of that network.Ultimately what we share is greater than what divides us. We should not forget that. Working together can make us all stronger.The internet succeeds because it is open. That is what makes it the natural home of innovation, the new frontier of freedom. As Vint Cerf put it, this is one of the most powerful amplifiers of speech ever invented, a global megaphone for otherwise feeble voices. The more open we are; the more we will benefit. Within the EU, and within the US; but also between the two continents.That is partly about removing barriers to trade, and opening up markets at all levels. That is what TTIP '' the transatlantic trade and investment partnership '' is all about. And that will need to have a strong digital component.But it's not just about removing trade barriers and tariffs.We can work together in so many areas to enjoy this digital boost; constructively collaborating to make this platform work across the Atlantic. That is my dream '' a transatlantic digital single market.Here's just a few ideas for where to start.First people and businesses need online transactions to be safe and trustworthy. Whether you are signing a contract, or filing your tax return: it's often easier online. But you don't want to be hacked or impersonated.Those online services need to provide both confidence and convenience. In the EU, new rules make that possible: so you can use eIdentification across borders; to prove you are who you say you are, and make the most of Europe's online services.I know the US is working in this area too.But work together and we could expand those benefits even more '' even towards mutual recognition of eIdentification. And open up a transatlantic market of online services for hundreds of millions.Second example: as more and more of our economy goes online, protecting those networks and systems becomes essential policy. And as threats and outright attacks grow in number, we need to protect ourselves.In Europe we are planning to do that through an EU Directive, to boost security and resilience; I know the US is preparing legislation too. Once again: if we cooperate and compare approaches, we could enhance the online economy, empower citizens, engender their trust. We already have a joint working group on these issues '' now it's time to reinforce and operationalise that work.In fact these are just a couple of ideas. Indeed we have been working hard in many areas to make the EU a digital single market. After I leave- the subsequent team of Commissioners have made clear they will be working very hard at it too. From making it easier for telcos to operate across borders, in open competitive markets: to getting rid of the roaming surcharges that get in the way of holidays and business trips.Those are all good ideas '' too good to keep to ourselves. We should take all those ideas for a digital single market '' and consider whether they, too, could be transatlantic. That is the real way to spread this digital boost.And finally, we can work together to ensure the digital boost reaches the whole world '' with an internet that is governed for the world.That is why we are working with the US to maintain freedom and openness online; and preserve a global, unified network. Not abandoning the current open system for governance, the so-called "multi-stakeholder" system '' that would be a mistake.But rather, by modernising it, ensuring it is inclusive and credible enough. So that other, less liberal parts of the world do not simply walk away, seek to impose their own controls, and fragment the network. That is why I welcome the US announcement to globalise key functions for how the Internet is run.And as the system of governance becomes more global, we must also have credible and efficient accountability. With mechanisms to ensure diverse interests are properly taken into account, preserving the legitimacy of the system. That is something where Europe and the United States need to work closely together.In 1989, two walls came down. First the Berlin Wall, heralding the fall the Iron Curtain that split Europe. Many countries to the east have now been transformed, from tyranny and oppression to freedom and openness; they now enjoy democracy, stability, peace and prosperity.In the same year, a second wall came down, in Geneva, when the world wide web was invented; a common language to spread ideas across the globe; an open platform for freedom and democracy.Today, we are still feeling the consequences and echoes of those events. In places like Ukraine. That's a place where you see people longing for the freedom and prosperity we too often take for granted. But we should not take them for granted. Not ever.The EU is all about bringing down barriers: barriers to movement, to trade, to opportunity. And that needs to continue.The evidence shows that '' within the EU alone '' a digital single market could be worth 4% of GDP; that's on average an extra 1500 dollars a year pocket of each of our half a billion citizens. Make that digital single market transatlantic '' and the benefits are there to see: for innovation, for prosperity, for freedom.
Netherlands leads the way to net-neutrality, whereas Greece lags far behind. Netherlands versus Neanderthals! Whenever the internet encounters a bottleneck, such as the freakish government of Greece, it just goes around it, bypassing cybercensorship, stupid regulation, VAT, cancer of socialism, and sadomasochism! A major benefit of net neutrality is that it allows society to blow off steam. Broadcasting of ideas releases pressures which otherwise might become destructive. Free speech also allows the government to gather information about public concerns. FREAKISH GREEK BLOGBUSTERSMost Greeks oppose cybercensorship.GivingcybercensorshiptoGreek blogbusters is giving gin to alcoholics! Blogbusters galore! Freak! Freak! Freak! The freakish government of Greece, the most corrupt country in Europe, steals computers! Robbing dissident bloggers and locking them in jail is a freakish behavior that does not belong to the European Union, not even to this galaxy! No wonder some vain Greeks boast they come from Andromeda galaxy!The fight againstGreekcybercensorship is more essential than ever. By creating blogs for exchanging ideas and information, internet is a force for freedom. In Greece, where the mainstream media are controlled byGraecokleptocrats, the only independent news and information are to be found on the internet, which has become a forum for discussion and a refuge for those who want to express their views freely.However, more and moreGraecokleptocratshave realized this and persecute dissident bloggers. Greece has been affected by cybercensorship, whether arrests or harassment of dissident bloggers, online surveillance, website blocking, or the adoption of repressive internet laws. Greek dissident bloggers are being targeted byGraecokleptocratreprisals.Free speech, media, and information flows increasingly ignore and elude physical frontiers or national boundaries. Graecokleptocrats fearful of this lack of control, are trying hard to restore or fortify barriers to trace, block, target, and censor those who champion the truth. A healthy constitution should protect speech even when the subject or manner of expression is uncomfortable and challenges conventional religious beliefs, political attitudes, or standards of good taste. Unfortunately, the constitution of Greece corresponds to Third World countries.Civil society must persuade the freakishblogbusters to stop persecuting and robbing dissident bloggers. The enemies of blogosphere are Bahrain, Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. Persecuting dissident bloggers often results in their blogs being publicized more widely. TheStreisand Effectis a strong argument for the old adage that the best response to bad speech is more speech, not censorship.The Streisand Effect is a primarilyonline phenomenonin which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has theperverse effectof publicizing the information more widely. It is named afterBarbra Streisand, whose attempt to suppress photos of her residence generated further publicity.STANDING UP FOR GREEK FREEDOM ONLINEStanding up for Greek freedom online is the logical next step to Greek age-old endeavor for freedom of speech. For centuries, this fundamental freedom has been the driver of democracy. The fight for freedom of speech continues in Greece. But in the last decades, it has taken on an extra dimension, that of freedom online. Greek freedom of speech online is no different from freedom of speech offline. Only now, Greeks are faced with new technological possibilities and challenges. Greeks are still doing the same, only with different means, and much faster. Protecting Greek freedom online is to safeguard its democratic potential. It is time for Greek politicians, companies, information experts, the academic community and Greek civil society at large to join efforts. Net-neutrality means the internet has no gatekeeper.It encompasses all the issues related to the circulation of information on the internet, such as free speech, access to knowledge, copyright, or innovation. Thanks to this principle, everyone retain the freedom to access and produce the information they want. Socialists want prioritization of certain information flows by taking control of the network. Kleptocrats threaten net-neutrality by seeking to implement filtering techniques in order to re-establish the kind of control they used to have on traditional media.The persecution of Greek dissident bloggers is a worrying example of how freedom on the net is under increasing threat. As more Greeks use cyberspace to communicate, obtain information, express their views, socialize, and conduct commerce, Graecokleptocrats are stepping up their efforts to regulate and control it. Tight control on the internet impinges on Greek freedom of speech, association, and assembly. And it means that violations of other human rights are kept in the dark shadows of Athens.Greeks are increasingly turning to the internet to conduct important aspects of their lives, and they have to make sure that human rights are as respected online as offline. After all, the right to express one's views, practice one's faith, peacefully assemble with others to pursue political or social change are rights to which all Greeks are entitled, whether they choose to exercise them on Syntagma Square or on a blog. And just as Greeks have worked together since the last century to secure these rights in Greece, they must work together in this century to secure them in cyberspace.Your government is your #1 enemy. Brutal police and kangaroo courts are tools to enslave you to your government. But badges and benches do not grant extra rights. It's your duty as a citizen to become a popopaparazzo, recording police misconduct. Use your smartphone to unmask cops, kangaroos, marilizards, godzillas, and other bastards of kleptocracy. EU practices double standards on civil rights. It's freakish for EU to interfere in the civil rights of foreigners, but condone the abuse of my civil rights, a citizen of EU! EU should get its own house in order before lecturing others. EU should rein inGreece, the most corrupt country of Europe with prisoners of conscience, testilying police, malevolent prosecutors, perjurers, and stupidest jurists. Basil Venitis,venitis@gmail.com,http://venitism.blogspot.comGreece is an incivil nation with kangaroo justice, overcriminalization, brutal police, huge political corruption, persecution of dissident bloggers, huge bureaucracy, huge taxation, and 23% VAT. Freakish Graecokleptocrats use the kangaroo justice as a political tool to gag political opponents. I accuse the government of Greece for:· Persecuting me for four years· Stealing my life· Stealing my computer and files· Spreading lies about me on all Greek media· Using the kangaroo justice as a political tool· Postponing my trial eight times· Locking me in jail without toilet and pillow for a night· Taking away my hypertension pills· Making me urinate in a bottle· Humiliating me with handcuffs, fingerprints, and mug shotsAN UNCONSCIONABLE SILENCEThe political philosopher Edmund Burke once remarked that all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good folks to do nothing. A glaring example is my persecution by the government of Greece, which grossly violates my civil rights.Martin Niem¶ller said: First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me!It's been now four years since the government of Greece stole my life, my computer, and my files. Nobody cares, nobody gives a damn! I have done absolutely nothing, and I am being persecuted by the Greek government without any real reason. My ordeal is against all rules of civil society and treaties that Greece has signed. Greece, a country without a functioning justice system, has gone bananas. Graecokleptocrats use the kangaroo justice as a political tool to gag political opponents. Graecokleptocrats think the laws exist to give them whatever they want! Basil Venitis,venitis@gmail.com,http://venitism.blogspot.comGEORGE ORWELL'S MINILUV AND MINITRUEMINISTRY OF PUBLIC DISORDER AND CITIZEN HARASSMENTPOLICE STEALING COMPUTERS!On October 18, 2010, a gang of six brutal cops of the violent Greek Cyber-Crime Unit (CCU),a real godzilla, supervised by a dishonest prosecutor,a disgusting liar, raided my home in Athens and stole my computer, software, files, documents, and personal data.The policemenlocked me in jail for a night, they humiliated me with handcuffs, fingerprints, mug shots, and lies, leaked false information to the media parrots, and the Greek government initiated sham ex-officio court proceedings for a stack of freakish trumped-up charges!There was neither pillow nor toilet facility in my jail cell. I had to urinate in a bottle! I, a 69-years-old man with high blood pressure, was not allowed to keep my hypertension pills with me. There was neither toilet paper nor soap in the whole CCU jail.MINISTRY OF INJUSTICE, OPACITY, AND HUMAN DEPRIVATIONSGreece, a country of infinite political corruption, perjury, injustice, and brutal police, must be revamped. Ex-officio law suit,αυÏεÏαÎ"Î"εÎ>>ÏÎς, the most dreadful word in justice, means the state sues somebody without involvement of the accuser. This terrible scheme has been used by the Greek government to persecute me. Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, sued me, and she wouldn't show up in court, because the state took over her position! DISGUSTING KANGAROO JUSTICEAt the ex-officio law suit, the accuser just hits and runs! This hit-and-run justice is the most disgusting kangaroo justice on Earth. The accused must be in a position to face his accuser eyeball to eyeball. The right to confront and cross-examine one's accuser is a sign of civility. The malicious accuser slings false accusations against you, the state takes over, the accuser disappears from the court, and the trial is postponed infinite times! This is penalty of the presumed innocent. This is penalty without trial. This is kangaroo justice of Third World countries! This is barbarity and brutality, pure and simple. Shame, shame, shame on Greece.· Calling for the immediate stop of the persecution of Basil Venitis.· Stating that you believe these trumped-up charges to be politically motivated and intended to prevent him exercising his right to freedom of expression against political corruption.· Seeking assurances that the civil rights of Basil Venitis will always be respected.
Antonio Meucci - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 19:31
Antonio MeucciBorn(1808-04-13)13 April 1808Florence, ItalyDied18 October 1889(1889-10-18) (aged 81)Staten Island, New York, U.S.ResidenceStaten Island, New YorkCitizenshipItalianFieldsCommunication devices, manufacturing, chemical and food patentsAlma materAccademia di Belle ArtiFlorence, ItalyKnown forInventing a telephone-like device, innovator, businessman, supporter of Italian unificationAntonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci (Italian: [anËtÉ--ːnjo meËuttʃi]; 1808''1889) was an Italian inventor and also a friend and associate of the Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi.[1][2] Meucci is best known for developing a voice-communication apparatus which several sources credit as the first telephone.[3][4]
Meucci set up a form of voice-communication link in his Staten Island, New York, home that connected its second-floor bedroom to his laboratory.[5] He submitted a patent caveat for his telephonic device to the U.S. Patent Office in 1871, but there was no mention of electromagnetic transmission of vocal sound in his caveat. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was granted a patent for the electromagnetic transmission of vocal sound by undulatory electric current.
Early lifeEditMeucci was born at Via dei Serragli 44 in the San Frediano borough of Florence, Grand Duchy of Tuscany, (now in the Italian Republic), on 13 April 1808, as the first of nine children to Amatis Meucci and Domenica Pepi.[6] Amatis was at times a government clerk and a member of the local police, and Domenica was principally a homemaker. Four of Meucci's siblings did not survive childhood.[2]
In November 1821, at the age of 15, he was admitted to Florence Academy of Fine Arts as its youngest student, where he studied chemical and mechanical engineering.[7] He ceased full-time studies two years later due to insufficient funds, but continued studying part-time after obtaining employment as an assistant gatekeeper and customs official for the Florentine government.[8] Meucci later became employed at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence as a stage technician, assisting Artemio Canovetti.[9]
In 1834 Meucci constructed a type of acoustic telephone to communicate between the stage and control room at the Teatro della Pergola. This telephone was constructed on the principles of pipe-telephones used on ships and still functions.[10]
He married costume designer Esterre Mochi, who was employed in the same theatre, on 7 August 1834.[11]
Meucci was alleged to be part of a conspiracy involving the Italian unification movement in 1833''1834, and was imprisoned for three months with Francesco Domenico Guerrazzi.[9][dead link]
Havana, CubaEditIn October 1835, Meucci and his wife emigrated to Cuba, then a Spanish province, where Meucci accepted a job at what was then called the Great Tac"n Theater in Havana (at the time, the greatest theater in the Americas).[6] In Havana he constructed a system for water purification and reconstructed the Gran Teatro.[12][13]
In 1848 his contract with the Governor expired. Meucci was asked by a friend's doctors to work on Franz Anton Mesmer's therapy system on patients suffering from rheumatism. In 1849 Meucci developed a popular method of using electric shocks to treat illness and subsequently experimentally developed a device through which one could hear inarticulate human voice. He called this device "telegrafo parlante" (lit. "talking telegraph").[14]
In 1850, the third renewal of his contract with Don Francisco Mart¬ y Torrens expired. Meucci's friendship with the General Giuseppe Garibaldi made him a suspect citizen in Cuba. On the other hand, the fame reached by Samuel F. B. Morse in the United States encouraged Meucci to make his living through inventions.
Move to Staten Island, New YorkEditOn 13 April 1850, Meucci and his wife immigrated to the United States, taking with them approximately 26,000 Pesos Fuertes of accumulated savings (approximately $500,000 in 2010 funds), and settled in the Clifton area of Staten Island, New York.[15][16] Meuccis would live there for the remainder of their lives. In Staten Island he helped several countrymen committed to the Italian unification movement (the "Risorgimento") and who had escaped political persecution. Meucci invested the substantial capital he had earned in Cuba in a tallow candle factory (the first of this kind in America) employing several Italian exiles. For two years Meucci also hosted in his cottage his friends, General Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Colonel Paolo Bovi Campeggi, who arrived in New York two months after Meucci. They worked in Meucci's factory.
In 1854, Meucci's wife Ester became an invalid due to rheumatoid arthritis.[17] Meucci continued his experiments.
Electromagnetic telephoneEditMeucci studied the principles of electromagnetic voice transmission for many years and was able to realize his dream of transmitting his voice through wires in 1856. He installed a telephone-like device within his house in order to communicate with his wife who was ill at the time.[18] Some of Meucci's notes written in 1857 describe the basic principle of electromagnetic voice transmission or in other words, the telephone:
Consiste in un diaframma vibrante e in un magnete elettrizzato da un filo a spirale che lo avvolge. Vibrando, il diaframma altera la corrente del magnete. Queste alterazioni di corrente, trasmesse all'altro capo del filo, imprimono analoghe vibrazioni al diaframma ricevente e riproducono la parola.
translated:
It consists of a vibrating diaphragm and an electrified magnet with a spiral wire that wraps around it. The vibrating diaphragm alters the current of the magnet. These alterations of current, transmitted to the other end of the wire, create analogous vibrations of the receiving diaphragm and reproduce the word.
Meucci devised an electromagnetic telephone as a way of connecting his second-floor bedroom to his basement laboratory, and thus being able to communicate with his wife.[19] Between 1856 and 1870, Meucci developed more than 30 different kinds of telephones on the basis of this prototype.
In about 1858, the painter Nestore Corradi made a sketch of Meucci's ideas (this drawing was used as the image on a stamp produced in 2003 by the Italian Postal and Telegraph Society[20]).
Meucci intended to develop his prototype but did not have the financial means to keep his company afloat in order to finance his invention. His candle factory went bankrupt and Meucci was forced to unsuccessfully seek funds from rich Italian families.
In 1860, Meucci asked his friend Enrico Bandelari to look for Italian capitalists willing to finance his project. However, military expeditions led by General Garibaldi in Italy had made the political situation in that country too unstable for anybody to invest.[21] Meucci then published his invention in the New York Italian-language newspaper L'Eco d'Italia, although no copy of such reports have ever been located dating back to searches prior to his court case in the 1880s.
BankruptcyEditAt the same time, Meucci was led to poverty by some fraudulent debtors. On 13 November 1861 his cottage was auctioned. The purchaser allowed the Meuccis to live in the cottage without paying rent, but Meucci's private finances dwindled so that he soon had to live on public funds and by depending on his friends.
As mentioned in William J. Wallace's ruling,[22] during the years 1859, 1860, and 1861 Meucci was in close business and social relations with William E. Ryder, who was interested in his inventions, paid the expenses of his experiments, and invested money in Meucci's inventions. Their close working friendship continued until 1867.
In August 1870, Meucci reportedly was able to capture a transmission of articulated human voice at the distance of a mile by using a copper plait as a conductor, insulated by cotton. He called this device, the "telettrofono". While he was recovering from injuries that befell him in a boiler explosion aboard the Staten Island Ferry, Westfield, Antonio Meucci's financial and health state was so bad that his wife Ester sold his drawings and devices to a second-hand dealer to raise some money.
Patent caveatEditOn 12 December 1871 Meucci set up an agreement with Angelo Zilio Grandi (Secretary of the Italian Consulate in New York), Angelo Antonio Tremeschin (entrepreneur), Sereno G. P. Breguglia Tremeschin (businessman), in order to constitute the Telettrofono Company. The constitution was notarized by Angelo Bertolino, a Notary Public of New York. Although their society funded him with $20, only $15 was needed to file for a full patent application.[23][24] The caveat his lawyer submitted to the US Patent Office on 28 December 1871 was numbered 3335 and titled "Sound Telegraph".
This is the text of Meucci's caveat, omitting legal details of the Petition, Oath, and Jurat:[25]
CAVEAT
The petition of Antonio Meucci, of Clifton, in the County of Richmond and State of New York, respectfully represents:That he has made certain improvements in Sound Telegraphs, ...
The following is a description of the invention, sufficiently in detail for the purposes of this caveat.
I employ the well-known conducting effect of continuous metallic conductors as a medium for sound, and increases the effect by electrically insulating both the conductor and the parties who are communicating. It forms a Speaking Telegraph, without the necessity for any hollow tube.
I claim that a portion or the whole of the effect may also be realized by a corresponding arrangement with a metallic tube. I believe that some metals will serve better than others, but propose to try all kinds of metals.
The system on which I propose to operate and calculate consists in isolating two persons, separated at considerable distance from each other, by placing them upon glass insulators; employing glass, for example, at the foot of the chair or bench on which each sits, and putting them in communication by means of a telegraph wire.
I believe it preferable to have the wire of larger area than that ordinarily employed in the electric telegraph, but will experiment on this. Each of these persons holds to his mouth an instrument analogous to a speaking trumpet, in which the word may easily be pronounced, and the sound concentrated upon the wire. Another instrument is also applied to the ears, in order to receive the voice of the opposite party.
All these, to wit, the mouth utensil and the ear instruments, communicate to the wire at a short distance from the persons. The ear utensils being of a convex form, like a clock glass, enclose the whole exterior part of the ear, and make it easy and comfortable for the operator. The object is to bring distinctly to the hearing the word of the person at the opposite end of the telegraph.
To call attention, the party at the other end of the line may be warned by an electric telegraph signal, or a series of them. The apparatus for this purpose, and the skill in operating it, need be much less than for the ordinary telegraphing.
When my sound telegraph is in operation, the parties should remain alone in their respective rooms, and every practicable precaution should be taken to have the surroundings perfectly quiet. The closed mouth utensil or trumpet, and the enclosing the persons also in a room alone, both tend to prevent undue publicity to the communication.
I think it will be easy, by these means, to prevent the communication being understood by any but the proper persons.
It may be found practicable to work with the person sending the message insulated, and with the person receiving it, in the free electrical communication with the ground. Or these conditions may possibly be reversed and still operate with some success.
Both the conductors or utensils for mouth and ears should be, in fact I must say must be, metallic, and be so conditioned as to be good conductors of electricity.
I claim as my invention, and desire to have considered as such, for all the purposes of this Caveat,
The new invention herein set forth in all its details, combinations, and sub-combinations.
And more especially, I claim
First. A continuous sound conductor electrically insulated.
Second. The same adapted for telegraphing by sound or for conversation between distant parties electrically insulated.
Third. The employment of a sound conductor, which is also an electrical conductor, as a means of communication by sound between distant points.
Fourth. The same in combination with provisions for electrically insulating the sending and receiving parties.
Fifth. The mouthpiece or speaking utensil in combination with an electrically insulating conductor.
Sixth. The ear utensils or receiving vessels adapted to apply upon the ears in combination with an electrically insulating sound conductor.
Seventh. The entire system, comprising the electrical and sound conductor, insulated and furnished with a mouthpiece and ear pieces at each end, adapted to serve as specified.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand in presence of two subscribing witnesses.
ANTONIO MEUCCIWitnesses:
Shirley McAndrew.Fred'k Harper.Endorsed:
Patent OfficeDec. 28, 1871Analysis of Meucci's caveatEditMeucci repeatedly focused on insulating the electrical conductor and even insulating the persons communicating, but does not explain why this would be desirable.[26] The mouth piece is like a "speaking trumpet" so that "the sound concentrated upon the wire" is communicated to the other person, but he does not say that the sound is to be converted to variable electrical conduction in the wire.[27] "Another instrument is also applied to the ears," but he does not say that variable electrical conduction in the wire is to be converted to sound.[27] In the third claim, he claims "a sound conductor which is also an electrical conductor, as a means of communication by sound"[28] which is consistent with acoustic sound vibrations in the wire that somehow get transmitted better if electrical conductors such as a wire or metallic tube are used.[29] He emphasizes that the conductors "for mouth and ears... must be metallic", but does not explain why this would be desirable.[30] He mentions "communication with the ground"[31] but does not suggest that a ground return must complete a circuit if only "the wire" (singular, not plural) is used between the sender's mouth piece and the receiver's ear piece, with one or the other person being electrically insulated from the ground by means of glass insulators ("...consists in isolating two persons... by placing them upon glass insulators; employing glass, for example, at the foot of the chair or bench on which each sits, and putting them in communication by means of a telegraph wire.").[32]
Robert V. Bruce, a biographer of Bell, asserted that Meucci's caveat never became a patent and never could have become one because it never described an electric telephone.[33][34]
Conflicting opinions of Meucci biographersEditAccording to Robert V. Bruce, who gave his personal interpretation of Giovanni E. Schiavo's research, Meucci's own testimony as presented by Schiavo, would demonstrate that the Italian inventor did not understand the basic principles of the electric telephone, either before Bell invented it, or for several years after Bell invented it.[34]
However, other researchers have pointed to several bias, inconsistencies, and inaccuracies in Robert V. Bruce's account of the invention of the telephone, firstly with the very name used by Meucci to describe his invention '--Bruce referred to Meucci's device as a 'telephone', not as the 'telettrofono'. Meucci's purported relationship with Dr. Seth R. Beckwith was another example of Bruce's bias against Meucci. In fact, Meucci and his legal representative cautioned Beckwith against using and abusing his name for the company that Beckwith had founded in New Jersey.[35][36]
Moreover, not only did Beckwith's Globe Telephone Co. base its claims against the Bell Telephone Company on Meucci's caveat, but the claims were also supported by approximately 30 affidavits, whereby it was stated that Meucci had repeatedly built and used different types of electric telephones several years before Bell did.[37][38]
Additionally, English historian William Aitken did not share Robert V. Bruce's viewpoint. Bruce had indirectly referred to Meucci as "the silliest and weakest impostor",[39] while Aitken went so far as to define Meucci as the first creator of an electrical telephone.[40]
Other recognition of Meucci's work in the past came from the International Telecommunication Union, positing that Meucci's work was one of the four precursors to Bell's telephone,[citation needed] as well as from the Smithsonian Institution, which listed Meucci as one of the eight most important inventors of the telephone in a 1976 exhibit.[41]
Meucci and his business partners hired an attorney (J.D. Stetson), who filed a caveat on behalf of Meucci with the patent office. They had wanted to prepare a patent application, but the partners did not provide the $250 fee, so all that was prepared was a caveat, since the fee for that was only $20.[citation needed] However, the caveat did not contain a clear description of how the asserted invention would actually function.
Meucci advocates have alleged that the attorney erased margin notes that Meucci had added to the document.[2]
Telettrofono CompanyEditIn the summer of 1872 Meucci and his friend Angelo Bertolino went to Edward B. Grant, Vice President of American District Telegraph Co. of New York (not Western Union as commonly related), to ask for help. Meucci asked him for permission to test his telephone apparatus on the company's telegraph lines. He gave Grant a description of his prototype and a copy of his caveat. After waiting two years, Meucci went to Grant and asked him to be given back his documents, but Grant reportedly told him they had been lost.[42][43]
About 1873 a certain Bill Carroll from Boston, who had news about Meucci's invention, asked him to construct a "telephone for divers". This device should allow divers to communicate with people on the surface. In Meucci's drawing, this device is essentially an electromagnetic telephone encapsulated to be waterproof.[44][45]
On 28 December 1874, Meucci's Telettrofono patent caveat expired. Critics dispute the claim that Meucci could not afford to file for a patent or renew his caveat, as he filed for and was granted full patents in 1872, 1873, 1875, and 1876, at the cost of $35 each, as well as one additional $10 patent caveat, all totalling $150, for inventions unrelated to the telephone.[23][24][46]
After Bell secured his patents in 1876 and subsequent years, the Bell Telephone Company filed suit in court against the Globe Telephone Company (amongst many others) for patent infringement. Purportedly too poor to hire a legal team, Meucci was represent only by lawyer Joe Melli, an orphan whom Meucci treated as a son.
While the "American Bell Telephone Company v. Globe Telephone Company, Antonio Meucci, et al." trial was going on, the Bell Telephone Company became involved with another notable trial "The U.S. Government v. American Bell Telephone Company", instigated by the Pan-Electric Telephone Company which had secretly given the U.S. Attorney General 10% of its shares, employed him as a director, and then asked him to void Bell's patent. Had he succeeded in overturning Bell's patent, the U.S. Attorney General stood to become exceedingly rich by reason of his shares.[47][48][49]
TrialEditMeucci's telephone was said to be described in the L'Eco d'Italia newspaper of New York in the beginning of 1861, though no issues of the 1861''1863 period are available in the libraries of the United States. Meucci swore in court proceedings what he remembered writing in the newspaper. However, no other contemporary news reports prior to 1875 were ever located to validate Meucci's priority claims of an electromagnetic telephone.
The Havana experiments were briefly mentioned in a letter by Meucci, published by Il Commercio di Genova of 1 December 1865 and by L'Eco d'Italia of 21 October 1865 (both existing today).[50]
One of the most important pieces of evidence brought up in the trial was Antonio Meucci's "Memorandum Book". This book, produced by Rider&Clark, contained Antonio Meucci's noted drawings and records since 1862 up to 1882. In the trial, Antonio Meucci was accused of having produced records after Bell's invention and back-dated them. As proof, the prosecutor brought forward the fact that the Rider&Clark company was founded only in 1863. In the trial, Antonio Meucci said that William E. Rider himself, one of the owners, had given him a copy of the memorandum book in 1862; however, Meucci was not believed.[51]
On 13 January 1887, the United States Government moved to annul the patent issued to Bell on the grounds of fraud and misrepresentation. After a series of decisions and reversals, the Bell company won a decision in the Supreme Court, though a couple of the original claims from the lower court cases were left undecided.[52][53] By the time that the trial wound its way through nine years of legal battles, the U.S. prosecuting attorney had died and the two Bell patents (No. 174,465 and dated 7 March 1876 and No. 186,787 dated 30 January 1877) were no longer in effect, although the presiding judges agreed to continue the proceedings due to the case's importance as a "precedent." With a change in administration and charges of conflict of interest (on both sides) arising from the original trial, the U.S. Attorney General dropped the lawsuit on 30 November 1897 leaving several issues undecided on the merits.[citation needed]
During a deposition filed for the 1887 trial, Meucci also claimed to have created the first working model of a telephone in Italy in 1834. In 1886, in the first of three cases in which he was involved, Meucci took the stand as a witness in the hopes of establishing his invention's priority. Meucci's evidence in this case was disputed due to lack of material evidence of his inventions as his working models were reportedly lost at the laboratory of American District Telegraph (ADT) of New York. ADT did not join with Western Union to become its subsidiary until 1901.[35][54]
Meucci's patent caveat had described a 'lover's telegraph' which transmitted sound vibrations mechanically across a taut wire, a conclusion that was also noted in various reviews ("The court further held that the caveat of Meucci did not describe any elements of an electric speaking telephone'.....", and "The court held that Meucci's device consisted of a mechanical telephone consisting of a mouthpiece and an earpiece connected by a wire, and that beyond this the invention of Meucci was only imagination.") [47][55] Meucci's work, like many other inventors of the period, was based on earlier acoustic principles and despite evidence of earlier experiments, the final case involving Meucci was eventually dropped upon his death.[56]
Meucci's wife Ester became increasingly frail and was invalided for approximately five years before dying in 1884.[57] Meucci became ill in March 1889,[1] and died on 18 October 1889 in Clifton, Staten Island, New York City.[58]
Invention of the telephoneEditThere exists much dispute over who deserves recognition as the first inventor of the telephone, although Bell was credited with being the first to transmit articulate speech by undulatory currents of electricity.
The Federazione Italiana di Elettrotecnica has devoted a museum to Meucci making a chronology of his inventing the telephone and tracing the history of the two trials opposing Meucci and Bell.[59][60] They support the claim that Antonio Meucci was the real inventor of the telephone.[61] However, some scholars outside Italy do not recognize the claims that Meucci's device had any bearing on the development of the telephone. Tomas Farley also writes that, "Nearly every scholar agrees that Bell and Watson were the first to transmit intelligible speech by electrical means. Others transmitted a sound or a click or a buzz but our boys [Bell and Watson] were the first to transmit speech one could understand."[62]
In 1834 Meucci constructed a kind of acoustic telephone as a way to communicate between the stage and control room at the theatre "Teatro della Pergola" in Florence. This telephone was constructed on the model of pipe-telephones on ships and is still functional.[10][dead link]
In 1848 Meucci developed a popular method of using electric shocks to treat rheumatism. He used to give his patients two conductors linked to 60 Bunsen batteries and ending with a cork. He also kept two conductors linked to the same Bunsen batteries. He used to sit in his laboratory, while the Bunsen batteries were placed in a second room and his patients in a third room. In 1849 while providing a treatment to a patient with a 114V electrical discharge, in his laboratory Meucci is claimed to have heard his patient's scream through the piece of copper wire that was between them, from the conductors he was keeping near his ear. His intuition was that the "tongue" of copper wire was vibrating just like a leave of an electroscope; which means that there was an electrostatic effect. In order to continue the experiment without hurting his patient, Meucci covered the copper wire with a piece of paper. Through this device he claimed hearing an unarticulated human voice. He called this device "telegrafo parlante" (lit. "talking telegraph").[14][dead link]
On the basis of this prototype, Meucci is claimed to have worked on more than 30 kinds of telephone. In the beginning he was inspired by the telegraph. Differently from other pioneers of the telephone, such as Charles Bourseul, Philipp Reis, Innocenzo Manzetti and others, he did not think about transmitting voice by using the principle of the telegraph key (in scientific jargon, the "make-and-break" method), but he looked for a "continuous" solution, which means without interrupting the electric flux.
In 1856 Meucci is claimed to have constructed the first electromagnetic telephone, made of an electromagnet with a nucleus in the shape of a horseshoe bat, a diaphragm of animal skin, stiffened with potassium dichromate and keeping a metal disk stuck in the middle. The instrument was hosted in a cylindrical carton box.[19][dead link] He purportedly constructed this as a way to connect his second-floor bedroom to his basement laboratory, and thus communicate with his wife who was an invalid.
Meucci separated the two directions of transmission in order to eliminate the so-called "local effect", adopting what we would call today a 4-wire-circuit. He constructed a simple calling system with a telegraphic manipulator which short-circuited the instrument of the calling person, producing in the instrument of the called person a succession of impulses (clicks), much more intense than those of normal conversation.[dubious'' discuss][citation needed] As he was aware that his device required a bigger band than a telegraph, he found some means to avoid the so-called "skin effect" through superficial treatment of the conductor or by acting on the material (copper instead of iron).[dubious'' discuss][citation needed] He said he used insulated copper wire.
In 1864 Meucci is claimed to have produced his "best device", using an iron diaphragm with optimized thickness and tightly clamped along its rim. The instrument was housed in a shaving-soap box, whose cover clamped the diaphragm.
In August 1870, Meucci is claimed to have obtained transmission of articulate human voice at a mile distance by using as a conductor a copper wire insulated by cotton. He called his device "telettrofono". Drawings and notes by Antonio Meucci claimed to be dated 27 September 1870 show that Meucci understood inductive loading on long distance telephone lines 30 years before any other scientists.[63] The sketch made by Nestore Corradi in 1858 mentions the sentence "Electric current from the inductor pipe".[citation needed]
It was additionally claimed that about 1873 Bill Carroll from Boston, who had heard news about Meucci's invention, asked him to construct a device to allow divers to communicate with people on the surface. In Meucci's drawing, this device appears to be an electromagnetic telephone, encapsulated to make it waterproof.
Historical debateEditThe question of whether Bell was the true inventor of the telephone is perhaps the single most litigated fact in U.S. history, and the Bell patents were defended in some 600 cases. Meucci was a defendant in American Bell Telephone Co. v. Globe Telephone Co. and others (the court's findings, reported in 31 Fed. Rep. 729).
N. Herbert in his History of the Telephone said:
To bait the Bell Company became almost a national sport. Any sort of claimant, with any sort of wild tale of prior invention, could find a speculator to support him. On they came, a motley array, 'some in rags, some on nags, and some in velvet gowns.' One of them claimed to have done wonders with an iron hoop and a file in 1867; a second had a marvellous table with glass legs; a third swore that he had made a telephone in 1860, but did not know what it was until he saw Bell's patent; and a fourth told a vivid story of having heard a bullfrog croak via a telegraph wire which was strung into a certain cellar in Racine, in 1851.[64]
William J. Wallace's ruling was regarded by historian Giovanni Schiavo as one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in the history of the U.S., and one of the most offensive, too.[65]
2002 congressional resolutionEditIn 2002, on the initiative of congressman Vito Fossella, in cooperation with an Italian-American deputation, the U.S. House of Representatives passed United States HRes. 269 on Antonio Meucci stating "that the life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized, and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged." Within its preamble it stated that: "if Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell."[43][66][67] The resolution's sponsor described it as "a message that rings loud and clear recognizing the true inventor of the telephone, Antonio Meucci."[68]
In 2002 some news articles reported: "the resolution said his "telettrofono", demonstrated in New York in 1860, made him the inventor of the telephone in the place of Bell, who took out a patent 16 years later."[33][69]
A similar resolution was introduced to the U.S. Senate but no vote was held on the resolution.[70][71][72]
Some have disagreed with the House of Representatives resolution.[33][47][73] Additionally, there was some criticism that Resolution 269 impugned Bell's morality.
The Government of Canada responded ten days later by unanimously passing a parliamentary motion stating that Alexander Graham Bell was the inventor of the telephone.[74][75]
Others, however, believe House Resolution 269 redressed a historic injustice, and the Italian newspaper La Repubblica hailed the vote to recognise Meucci as a belated comeuppance for Bell.[3]
Garibaldi''Meucci MuseumEditThe Order of the Sons of Italy in America maintains a Garibaldi''Meucci Museum on Staten Island. The museum is located in a house that was built in 1840, purchased by Meucci in 1850, and rented to Giuseppe Garibaldi from 1850 to 1854. Exhibits include Meucci's models and drawing and pictures relating to his life.[76][77]
In popular cultureEditIn the 1990 motion picture The Godfather Part III, the character Joey Zasa mentions Meucci as the inventor of the telephone. Meucci's name was also on the license plate of the Cadillac Zaza was auctioning off.In 2003 the Italian Communication Ministry and the Italian Postal and Telegraph Society produced a '‚¬0,52 stamp portraying Antonio Meucci as the inventor of the telephone.Google commemorated with a special logo (doodle) Bell[79] (3 March 2008 '' 161st birth's anniversary); In April 2008 the Italian language Google website celebrated Meucci's 200th birth anniversary with a special holiday logo on their webpage (13 April 2008).[80][81] While Bell's logo was adopted by Google worldwide, the Meucci doodle was only visible on the Italian language Google.Other inventionsEditThis list is also taken from Basilio Catania's historical reconstruction[82]
1825 Chemical compound to be used as an improved propellant in fireworks1834 In the Florence's Teatro della Pergola, he sets up a "pipe telephone" to communicate from the stage to the maneuver trellis-work, at about eighteen meters height.1840 Improved filters and chemical processing of waters supplying the city of Havana, Cuba.1844 First electroplating factory of the Americas, set up in Havana, Cuba. Before, objects to be electroplated were sent to Paris.1846 Improved apparatus for electrotherapy, featuring a pulsed current breaker with rotating cross.1847 Restructuring of the Tac"n Theater in Havana, following a hurricane. Meucci conceived a new structure of the roof and ventilation system, to avoid the roof to be taken off in like situations.1848 Astronomical observations by means of a marine telescope worth $280.1849 Chemical process for the preservation of corpses, to cope with the high demand for bodies of immigrants to be sent to Europe, avoiding decomposition during the many weeks navigation.1849 First discovery of electrical transmission of speech.1850-1 First stearic candle factory of the Americas, set up in Clifton, NY.1855 Realization of celestas, with crystal bars instead of steel, and pianos (one is on display at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, in Rosebank, NY)1856 First lager beer factory of Staten Island, the Clifton Brewery, in Clifton, NY.1858''60 Invention of paraffin candles. US Patent No. 22,739 on a candle mold for the same and US Patent No. 30,180 on a rotating blade device for finishing the same.1860 First paraffin candle factory in the world, the New York Paraffine Candle Co., set up in Clifton, NY, early in 1860, then moved to Stapleton, NY. It produced over 1,000 candles per day.1860 Experiments on the use of dry batteries in electrical traction and other industrial applications.1860 Process to turn red corals into a pink color (more valued), as requested by Enrico Bendelari, a merchant of New York.1862 US Patent No. 36,192 on a kerosene lamp that generates a very bright flame, without smoke, (therefore not needing a glass tube), thanks to electricity developed by two thin platinum plates embracing the flame.1862''63 Process for treating and bleaching oil or kerosene to obtain siccative oils for paint (US Patents No. 36,419 and No. 38,714). "Antonio Meucci Patent Oil" was sold by Rider & Clark Co., 51 Broad Street, New York, and exported to Europe. See expert comment.1864 Invention of new, more destructive ammunition for guns and cannons, proposed to the US army and to General Giuseppe Garibaldi.1864''65 Processes to obtain paper pulp from wood or other vegetable substances (US Patents No. 44,735, No. 47,068 and No. 53,165). Associated Press was interested in producing paper with this process, which was also the first to introduce the recovery of the leaching liquor. See expert comment.1865 Process for making wicks out of vegetable fiber, US Patent No. 46,607.1867 A paper factory, the "Perth Amboy Fiber Co.," was set up, in Perth Amboy, NJ. The paper pulp was obtained from either marsh grass or wood. It was the first to recycle waste paper. See expert comment.1871 US Patent No. 122,478 "Effervescent Drinks," fruit-vitamin rich drinks that Meucci found useful during his recovery from the wounds and burns caused by the explosion of the Westfield ferry. See expert comment.1871 Filed a patent caveat, (not a 'patent') for a telephone device in December with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).1873 US Patent No. 142,071 "Sauce for Food." According to Roberto Merloni, general manager of the Italian STAR company, this Patent anticipates modern food technologies. See expert comment.1873 Conception of a screw steamer suitable for navigation in canals.1874 Process for refining crude oil (caveat)1875 Filter for tea or coffee, much similar to that used in present day coffee machines.1875 Household utensil (description not available) "combining usefulness to cheapness, that will find a ready sale."1875 US Patent No. 168,273 "Lactometer," for chemically detecting adulterations of milk. It anticipates by fifteen years the well-known Babcock test. See expert comment.1875 Upon request by Giuseppe Tagliabue (a Physical Instruments maker of Brooklyn, NY), Meucci devises and manufactures several aneroid barometers of various shapes.1875 Meucci decided not to renew his telephone caveat, thus enabling Bell to get a patent.1876 US Patent No. 183,062 "Hygrometer," which was a marked improvement over the popular hair-hygrometer of the time. He set up a small factory in Staten Island for fabrication of the same. See expert comment.1878 Method for preventing noise on elevated railways, a problem much felt at the time in New York.1878 Process for fabricating ornamental paraffin candles for Christmas trees.1880 US patent application "Wire for Electrical Purposes"1881 Process for making postage and revenue stamps.1883 US Patent No. 279,492 "Plastic Paste," as hard and tenacious to be suitable for billiard balls. See expert comment.PatentsEditUS patent images in TIFF format
U.S. Patent 22,739 1859 '' Candle moldU.S. Patent 30,180 1860 '' Candle moldU.S. Patent 36,192 1862 '' Lamp burnerU.S. Patent 36,419 1862 '' Improvement in treating keroseneU.S. Patent 38,714 1863 '' Improvement in preparing hydrocarbon liquidU.S. Patent 44,735 1864 '' Improved process for removing mineral, gummy, and resinous substances from vegetablesU.S. Patent 46,607 1865 '' Improved method of making wicksU.S. Patent 47,068 1865 '' Improved process for removing mineral, gummy, and resinous substances from vegetablesU.S. Patent 53,165 1866 '' Improved process for making paper-pulp from woodU.S. Patent 122,478 1872 '' Improved method of manufacturing effervescent drinks from fruitsU.S. Patent 142,071 1873 '' Improvement in sauces for foodU.S. Patent 168,273 1875 '' Method of testing milkU.S. Patent 183,062 1876 '' HygrometerU.S. Patent 279,492 1883 '' Plastic paste for billiard balls and vasesReferencesEditNotes^ ab[1] Antonio Meucci's Illness. The New York Times. Published: 09 March 1889. Web. 25 February 2009.^ abcNese, Nicotra 1989, pp. 35''52.^ abSee http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/jun/17/humanities.internationaleducationnews^Several Italian encyclopaedias claim Meucci as the inventor of the telephone, including: '' the "Treccani" [2] '' the Italian version of Microsoft digital encyclopaedia, Encarta. '' Enciclopedia Italiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti (Italian Encyclopedia of Science, Literature and Arts).^Meucci, S., 2010. pp.71''72.^ abMeucci, S., 2010. pp.15''21.^Meucci, S., 2010. pp.16''17.^Meucci, S., 2010. pp.24 & 98.^ abCatania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, pp. 109^ abPicture of the acoustic telephone, page maintained by the Italian Society of Electrotechnics[dead link]^Meucci, S., 2010. pp.36''37 & 100.^Catania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, pp. 110^Meucci, S., 2010. pp.37 & 47''52.^ abMeucci's original drawings. Page maintained by the Italian Society of Electrotechnics^Meucci, S., 2010. p.66.^Biography of Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci, IncrediblePeople.com website, 25 February 2011.^"Antonio Meucci's Illness."The New York Times. 9 March 1889. Retrieved 25 February 2009.^Meucci, S., 2010. pp.72''73.^ abMeucci's original drawings. Page maintained by the Italian Society of Electrotechnics^Antonio Meucci stamp^Catania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, pp. 112]^Globe Telephone Company 1884 '' Famous ATT Patent Fight 1996 '' 2007 Scripophily^ abU.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "The Story of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office". Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office. Washington:IA-SuDocs, Rev. August 1988. iv, 50p. MC 89-8590. OCLC 19213162. SL 89-95-P. S/N 003-004-00640-4. $1.75. C 21.2:P 27/3/988 '' - '' - Note: the 1861 filing fee is listed on Pg. 11, and the 1922 filing fee is listed on Pg. 22.^ abU.S.P.T.O. & Patent Model Association. Digital version of The Story of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: (section) Act of 2 March 1861, 2001. Retrieved from PatentModelAssociation.com website, 25 February 2011.^Text of Meucci's Caveat, pages 16''18^Caveat page 17 top^ abCaveat page 17^Caveat page 18^"metallic tube" in Caveat page 16 bottom^Caveat pages 17 bottom line '' 18 top line^Caveat page 17 bottom^Caveat page 17, 3rd paragraph^ abcEstreich, Bob. Antonio Meucci: The Resolution. Retrieved from BobsOldPhones.net website, 25 February 2011.^ abRobert V. Bruce, Bell: Alexander Graham Bell and the Conquest of Solitude, Cornell University Press (1973), page 272.^ abCatania, Basilio (October 1992, pp. 973 '' 984). Sulle tracce di Antonio Meucci '' Appunti di viaggio. L'Elettrotecnica, Vol. LXXIX, N. 10, ARTI GRAFICHE STEFANO PINELLI, Milano. , [3]^"It seems likely that Bruce's narrative account of Bell's invention of the telephone will'--with its shading and emphasis'--be the definitive one. Bruce's treatment of rival telephone inventors is less convincing, however, simply because he labels them in such an offhand fashion'--Daniel Drawbaugh, the 'Charlatan', Antonio Meucci, the 'innocent', Elisha Gray, whose 'bitterness' caused him 'to lash out [at Bell]'." Hughes, Thomas P. (22 June 1973, p. 1268-1269). The Life and Work of Bell. Science. , [4]^The Telephone Claimed by Meucci, Scientific American, N. 464. Blackie and Son Limited. 22 Nov. 1884, p. 7407. ^The Telegraphic Journal & Electrical Review: The Philadelphia Electrical Exhibition. The Telegr. J. and Electr. Review. 11 Oct. 1884, pages 277''83. ^Bruce, Robert V. Bell: Alexander Graham Bell and the Conquest of Solitude, Cornell University Press (1973), page 278.^Aitken, William (1939). Who Invented The Telephone?. Blackie and Son Limited, London and Glasgow, pages 9''12. , [5]^Smithsonian Institution: Person to Person '' Exhibit Catalog, 100th Birthday of the Telephone, National Museum of History and Technology, December 1976.^Catania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, pp. 114]^ abVito Fossella's 2002 Press Release on Resolution 269[dead link]^Catania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, pp. 116]^Antonio Meucci's original drawing, page maintained by the Italian Society of Electrotechnics^Estreich Bob. Antonio Meucci: Twisting The Evidence. Retrieved from BobsOldPhones.net website, 25 February 2011.^ abcRockman, Howard B."Intellectual Property Law for Engineers and Scientists."IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society, Wiley-IEEE, 2004, pp. 107''109. ISBN 978-0-471-44998-0.^"Augustus Hill Garland (1832''1899)".Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture website. Retrieved: 1 May 2009. Note: according to this article: "Garland soon found himself embroiled in scandal. While Garland was in the Senate, he had become a stockholder in, and attorney for, the Pan-Electric Telephone Company, which was organized to form regional telephone companies using equipment developed by J. Harris Rogers. The equipment was similar to the Bell telephone, and that company soon brought suit for patent infringement. Soon after he became attorney general, Garland was asked to bring suit in the name of the United States to invalidate the Bell patent. He refused...." However, in Rockman (2004), there is no mention of Garland refusing to do so, and moreover Garland had been given his shares in Pan-Electric, by the company, for free.^"Augustus Hill Garland (1874-1877)", Old Statehouse Museum website. Retrieved: 1 May 2009. Note: According to this biography: "He did, however, suffer scandal involving the patent for the telephone. The Attorney General's office was intervening in a lawsuit attempting to break Bell's monopoly of telephone technology, but it had come out that Garland owned stock in one of the companies that stood to benefit. This congressional investigation received public attention for nearly a year, and caused his work as attorney general to suffer."^Basilio Catania's Proofs of Antonio Meucci's Priority[dead link]^Antonio Meucci's Memorandum Book, page maintained by the Italian Society of Electrotechnics[dead link]^"U.S. Supreme Court: U S v. AMERICAN BELL TEL CO, 167 U.S. 224 (1897)^United states V. American Bell Telephone Co., 128 U.S. 315 (1888)^History of ADT, ADT.com website. Retrieved 8 July 2009.^Grosvenor, Edwin S. "Memo on Misstatements of Fact in House Resolution 269 and Facts Relating to Antonio Meucci and the Invention of the Telephone." alecbell.org website, 30 June 2002.^Bruce 1990, pp. 271''272.^Meucci, S., 2010. p.92.^"Funeral of Antonio Meucci". New York Times. 22 October 1889. Retrieved 2009-02-25. "The funeral services over the body of the Italian patriot, Antonio Meucci, will take place at Clifton, S.I., this forenoon at 10 o clock. ..." ^L'invenzione del telefono da parte di Meucci e la sua sventurata e ingiusta conclusione[dead link]^Museo Storico Virtuale dell'AEIT Sala Antonio Meucci[dead link]^Basilio Catania's reconstruction, in English[dead link]^Antonio Meucci^Affidavit of lawyer Michael Lemmi , 1885.[dead link]^Casson, Herbert N., "The History of the Telephone" Chicago: McClurg, 1910, p. 96-97^Catania Basilio "Antonio Meucci una vita per la scienza e per l'Italia, vol.1"Antonio Meucci una vita per la scienza e per l'Italia, vol.2(in Italian), summary of Meucci's life and work and his trial against Bell, written on the occasion of the Meucci Day celebration in 2003 by the Italian Telecommunication Ministry[dead link]^House Resolution 269, dated 11 June 2002, written and sponsored by Rep. Vito Fossella.^Antonio Meucci and the invention of the telephone, Mary Bellis^"Rep. Fossella's Resolution Honoring True Inventor of Telephone To Pass House Tonight". office of Congressman Vito J. Fossella. 2002-06-11. Archived from the original on 2008-05-04. Retrieved 2008-05-24. ^Carroll, Rory (17 June 2002). "Bell did not invent telephone, US rules". The Guardian (London). ^United States Senate. Bill Text: 108th Congress (2003''2004) S.RES.223.IS, U.S. Congress' Thomas website, 10 September 2003. Retrieved 28 February 2011.^U.S. Senate. "SUBMISSION OF CONCURRENT AND SENATE RESOLUTIONS '' (Senate '' 10 September 2003)", U.S. Congress Thomas Website, Page: S11349, 10 September 2003.^GovTrack.us. S.Res.223 (108th Congress), Retrieved from GovTrack.us website on 28 February 2011.^Bethune, Brian. "Did Bell steal the idea for the phone?", Macleans, 23 January 2008. Retrieved: 30 April 2009.^"House of Commons of Canada, Journals No. 211, 37th Parliament, 1st Session, No. 211 transcript".Hansard of the Government of Canada, 21 June 2002, pg.1620 / cumulative pg.13006, time mark: 1205. Retrieved: 29 April 2009.^Fox, Jim, "Bell's Legacy Rings Out at his Homes", Globe and Mail, 2002-08-17;^The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum^The Garibaldi''Meucci Museum (Staten Island site)^RAI "Meucci l'Italiano che ha inventato il telefono"[dead link]^More Google: Holiday Logos[dead link]^Altro su Google: Loghi per le festivit [dead link]^Google, Meucci e Bell iteam5.net/blog^Basilio Catania's chronological list of Meucci's inventions[dead link]BibliographyFurther readingEditDocuments of the trialEditAntonio Meucci's Deposition (New York, 7 December 1885 '' January 1886), New York Public Library '' Annex, New York. NY (USA) National Archives & Records Administration, New York, NY, FILE : Records of the U.S. Circuit Court, Southern District of New York, The American Bell Telephone Co. et al. v. The Globe Telephone Co. et al.Affidavit of Michael Lemmi (Translation of Meucci's Memorandum book) sworn September 28, 1885. National Archives & Records Administration. Washington. DC. '' RG48. Interior Dept. file 4513- 1885. Enclosure 2)Scientific and historic researchEditCatania Basilio, 2002, "The U.S. Government Versus Alexander Graham Bell: An Important Acknowledgment", Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 22: 426''442Italian Society of Electrotechnics (Federazione Italiana di Elettrotecnica) Sala Antonio Meucci[dead link]Scientific American Supplement No. 520, 19 December 1885Rossi Adolfo, Un Italiano in America. La Cisalpina, Milano 1881.Schiavo, Giovanni E., Antonio Meucci : inventor of the telephone, New York : The Vigo press, 1958, no ISBN, IT\ICCU\SBL\0234690 (Italian National Library System).Sterling Christopher H., 2004, CBQ REVIEW ESSAY: HISTORY OF THE TELEPHONE (PART ONE): Invention, Innovation, and Impact. Communication Booknotes Quarterly, Vol. 35, No. 4, Pages 222''241 doi:10.1207/s15326896cbq3504_1Vassilatos Gerry Lost Science (ISBN 0-945685-25-4, review)Other mediaEditJohn Bedini's Antonio Meucci-page Hearing Through Wires.Bellis Mary "The History of the Telephone '' Antonio Meucci"Dossena Tiziano Thomas, Meucci, Forgotten Italian Genius, Bridge Apulia USA N.4, 1999Dossena Tiziano Thomas, Meucci, The Inventor of the Telephone, Bridge Apulia USA N.8, 2002Fenster Julie M., 2006, Inventing the Telephone'--And Triggering All-Out Patent War, AmericanHeritage.comExternal linksEditUS Congress Resolution 269EditMuseums and celebrationsEditPersondataNameMeucci, AntonioAlternative namesShort descriptionClaim to have invented the telephoneDate of birth1808-4-13Place of birthFlorenceDate of death1889-10-18Place of deathStaten Island, New York
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SnowJob
#HeyASIO, forgot my Gmail login. Text me? | smh.com.au
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 21:46
Hannah Francis -Sep 26, 2014
The #HeyASIO Twitter thread draws on 'Hey, girl' posts associated with actor Ryan Gosling. Photo: @Mikey_Nicholson/Twitter
The passing of expanded anti-terror laws in federal parliament on Thursday evening has sparked a flurry of social media activity as critics flocked to Twitter to parody the nation's top security body.
#HeyASIO was the most popular hashtag in Australia on Twitter at midday on Friday, according to the micro-blogging site's official rankings. It is a take on the popular 'Hey, girl' posts associated with actor Ryan Gosling.
Hashtags allow users to filter topics on various social media platforms, with "trending" tags pointing to the most popular at a certain time.
The Senate passed the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 44 votes to 12, with bipartisan support from Labor.
The bill '' the government's first tranche of tougher anti-terrorism legislation '' includes beefing up the powers of the domestic spy agency ASIO and leaving open the possibility of mass citizen surveillance.
With a heavy dose of Australian sarcasm, members of the public, as well as journalists and campaigners, joined the #HeyASIO thread with comments ranging from the pointed and serious to the downright hilarious.
Tweeters drew attention to various issues arising from the new laws.
Many, like Matt Levinson, communications director at activist organisation GetUp!, tweeted about the impact of the laws on personal privacy and security.
Others, like freelance journalist Asher Wolf, took a more serious tone.
The Act states that anybody who "recklessly" discloses "information ... [that] relates to a special intelligence operation" faces up to 10 years' jail. Any operation can be declared "special" by an authorised ASIO officer.
Mr Levinson told Fairfax Media the law put investigative journalism in Australia under threat.
"The impact of that kind of work is so important to our democracy '' it's an extremely big issue for us," he said.
GetUp! has been rallying against the legislation with internet freedom group Electronic Frontiers Australia with the campaign Citizens Not Suspects.
Mr Levinson said social media was a good way to reach people who may be less clued up on the complexities of important issues.
Humour also played important role in cutting through the often "dry" nature of such issues, he said.
"There is a tendency for people to switch off and tune out '' a tendency to have serious issue fatigue."
People like actor and commentator Rhys Muldoon will ensure that won't happen.
The bill has yet to be debated in the House of Representatives, however with a government majority in the lower house its passing is all but certain.
Agenda 21
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Pandora's Promis now on Netflix
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US Homeland Security moves to tackle climate change risks
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:01
US Homeland Security moves to tackle climate change risksTop News
US Homeland Security moves to tackle climate change risks
Thu, Sep 25 18:51 PM EDT
By Lisa Anderson
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Protecting the infrastructure of American cities from the effects of climate change is rising on the agenda of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a top agency official.
"Increasingly, we've moved not only from a security focus to a resiliency focus," said Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at Homeland Security, an agency better known for its fight to curb terrorist threats.
Durkovich spoke Thursday on a panel at the Rising Seas Summit, a three-day conference organized by the U.S.-based Association of Climate Change Officers to discuss tools and ideas on building resiliency, particularly against rising sea levels.
In the aftermath of 2012's Hurricane Sandy, which devastated large swathes of the Northeastern U.S and caused over $60 billion in damages, Durkovich said her department reviewed the task of rebuilding with a new focus on "how to think about baking in resilience from the get-go."
To that end, she said, she has assembled a team of specialists, including city planners, in conjunction with the National Academy of Science to develop better tools for planning.
The Department of Homeland Security already has launched regional efforts to assess resilience of infrastruction and judge where gaps in adaptation and preparedness may be, she said.
For example, the Portland, Maine area is being looked at in terms of risks from rising sea level, how floods might be mitigated and how to deal with saltwater intrusion into what had been bodies of fresh water. The results will then be shared with other coastal communities, she said.
California, which has the country's second longest coastline after that of Alaska, also is looking increasingly at climate change adaptation and resilience, said fellow panelist Ken Alex, senior policy advisor and director of the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research.
Alex said the needs and concerns of every coastal region are different. For example, the San Francisco Bay area is home to two airports subject to flooding while the port city of San Diego must work to protect a major military installation. Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach provide one in six jobs in southern California, he said.
He said California derives about $1 billion annually from its emissions cap-and-trade program, which sells greenhouse gas emissions permits, and the state has decided that all that revenue must be spent in ways "linked to resilience."
To help communities develop resilience, Alex said, California is part of a pilot program under which AmeriCorps, the Corporation for National and Community Service, will dispatch 50 young people to educate local communities about climate adaptation and resilience.
If successful, he said, the program could become national.
In New York, "Hurricane Sandy really highlighted our vulnerabilty" to climate change, said panelist Daniel Zarrilli, director of the city Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
The city is still recovering from the effects of the storm, which flooded most of its extensive shoreline, left tens of thousands without electricity for days, did billions of dollars of damage to infrastructure and killed 44 people, he said.
Post-Sandy assessments estimate 400,000 New Yorkers today live in a floodplain - a number that would rise to 800,000 in the 2050s if the sea level rise reaches 2.5 feet, he said.
"The challenges are fairly unique in a dense urban environment," said Zarrilli."There is no one single answer to the problem of climate change.
(Reporting by Lisa Anderson, Editing by Laurie Goering)
US Homeland Security moves to tackle climate change risksTop News
US Homeland Security moves to tackle climate change risks
Thu, Sep 25 18:51 PM EDT
By Lisa Anderson
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Protecting the infrastructure of American cities from the effects of climate change is rising on the agenda of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a top agency official.
"Increasingly, we've moved not only from a security focus to a resiliency focus," said Caitlin Durkovich, assistant secretary for infrastructure protection at Homeland Security, an agency better known for its fight to curb terrorist threats.
Durkovich spoke Thursday on a panel at the Rising Seas Summit, a three-day conference organized by the U.S.-based Association of Climate Change Officers to discuss tools and ideas on building resiliency, particularly against rising sea levels.
In the aftermath of 2012's Hurricane Sandy, which devastated large swathes of the Northeastern U.S and caused over $60 billion in damages, Durkovich said her department reviewed the task of rebuilding with a new focus on "how to think about baking in resilience from the get-go."
To that end, she said, she has assembled a team of specialists, including city planners, in conjunction with the National Academy of Science to develop better tools for planning.
The Department of Homeland Security already has launched regional efforts to assess resilience of infrastruction and judge where gaps in adaptation and preparedness may be, she said.
For example, the Portland, Maine area is being looked at in terms of risks from rising sea level, how floods might be mitigated and how to deal with saltwater intrusion into what had been bodies of fresh water. The results will then be shared with other coastal communities, she said.
California, which has the country's second longest coastline after that of Alaska, also is looking increasingly at climate change adaptation and resilience, said fellow panelist Ken Alex, senior policy advisor and director of the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research.
Alex said the needs and concerns of every coastal region are different. For example, the San Francisco Bay area is home to two airports subject to flooding while the port city of San Diego must work to protect a major military installation. Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach provide one in six jobs in southern California, he said.
He said California derives about $1 billion annually from its emissions cap-and-trade program, which sells greenhouse gas emissions permits, and the state has decided that all that revenue must be spent in ways "linked to resilience."
To help communities develop resilience, Alex said, California is part of a pilot program under which AmeriCorps, the Corporation for National and Community Service, will dispatch 50 young people to educate local communities about climate adaptation and resilience.
If successful, he said, the program could become national.
In New York, "Hurricane Sandy really highlighted our vulnerabilty" to climate change, said panelist Daniel Zarrilli, director of the city Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
The city is still recovering from the effects of the storm, which flooded most of its extensive shoreline, left tens of thousands without electricity for days, did billions of dollars of damage to infrastructure and killed 44 people, he said.
Post-Sandy assessments estimate 400,000 New Yorkers today live in a floodplain - a number that would rise to 800,000 in the 2050s if the sea level rise reaches 2.5 feet, he said.
"The challenges are fairly unique in a dense urban environment," said Zarrilli."There is no one single answer to the problem of climate change.
(Reporting by Lisa Anderson, Editing by Laurie Goering)
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Felle kritiek op kabinetsplan windparken op zee - Nieuws - VK
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:49
Bewerkt door: redactie '' 26/09/14, 14:23 '' bron: ANP
(C) anp. Het Prinses Amalia Windpark in de Noordzee, ter hoogte van IJmuiden.
Er komen drie grote windmolenparken op zee. Dat heeft het kabinet vandaag besloten. Negen vergunningen die eerder voor windparken op zee waren afgegeven, worden ingetrokken. Niet iedereen is te spreken over de nieuwe plannen. Vooral energieleverancier Eneco haalde fel uit. Het energiebedrijf is van mening dat het intrekken van eerder verstrekte vergunningen het vertrouwen van investeerders schaadt.
'Wij blijven wel investeren in Nederland, maar het is de vraag of bijvoorbeeld onze Japanse partner Mitsubishi Corporation dat nog wel wil', zei een woordvoerder van het Rotterdamse energiebedrijf. Door eerder verleende vergunningen voor de bouw van windparken op zee in te trekken, schaadt het kabinet het vertrouwen van investeerders in duurzame energie, aldus de woordvoerder.
Eneco had een vergunning voor de bouw van een windpark voor de kust van Bergen aan Zee. 'In de voorbereiding van het project hebben wij al miljoenen gestoken. Het lijkt erop dat die deur nu hard is dichtgeslagen.'
Het energiebedrijf hoopt dat in de Tweede Kamer het 'gezonde verstand zegeviert' en dat het kabinet alsnog wordt teruggefloten. 'Vooral ook omdat het nog maar zeer de vraag is of wat het kabinet wil inderdaad goedkoper is.'
Het kabinet gaat de betrokken energiebedrijven compenseren. Hierover zal worden onderhandeld. Eneco wil niet vooruitlopen op zijn inzet bij die onderhandelingen. 'Dat is wat ons betreft ook nog niet aan de orde. Wij blijven ons voorlopig concentreren op de bouw van het windpark bij Bergen aan Zee, omdat wij denken dat dat ook goedkoop kan'.
KostenbesparingVolgens de betrokken ministers Henk Kamp (Economische Zaken) en Melanie Schultz (Infrastructuur en Milieu) gaan door clustering van de nieuwe windparken de kosten flink omlaag. In de drie gebieden komen in totaal 5 windparken. Het levert de komende 15 jaar in totaal een besparing van 3 miljard euro op, aldus Kamp.
Volgend jaar kan bij Borssele worden begonnen met de ontwikkeling van het eerste park. Dit park komt zeker 22 kilometer in zee te liggen. De andere parken voor Noord- en Zuid-Holland komen op maximaal 18,5 kilometer uit de kust. Doordat ze dichter bij land liggen dan gepland, wordt nog eens 1,2 miljard bespaard. 'Op deze manier is zo veel mogelijk rekening gehouden met de bezwaren van de kustgemeenten, terwijl er toch flink op de kosten wordt bespaard', aldus Schultz.
De procedure is ook veranderd. De onderneming die het beste en goedkoopste een windpark kan bouwen, krijgt tegelijkertijd een vergunning (C)n subsidie. Hierdoor kan direct tot de uitvoering worden overgegaan. Voorheen moesten energiebedrijven eerst een vergunning bemachtigen en pas daarna kon een subsidie worden aangevraagd.
De grootste besparing wordt gehaald doordat netbeheerder TenneT gaat zorgen dat de opgewekte stroom aan land komt. Voorheen moesten de energiebedrijven zelf een elektriciteitskabel aanleggen. Overheidsbedrijf TenneT heeft echter wel extra geld nodig om de nieuwe taak uit te voeren, zei Kamp eerder.
Verder uit de kustTegenover NU.nl erkende Kamp dat de molens zichtbaar worden vanaf de kust, dus ook vanaf de badplaatsen. 'In Groningen gaat de discussie over een windmolen die 1.500 meter van een huis staat. Dit gaat om een afstand van 18,5 kilometer. Het heeft allemaal effect, maar je moet het wel een beetje kunnen plaatsen.'
Regeringspartij VVD steunt het kabinetsplan voor enkele grote windparken op zee op hoofdlijnen, maar wil wel dat er wordt onderzocht of de parken niet verder uit de kust kunnen worden gebouwd. Dat liet VVD-Kamerlid Ren(C) Leegte in een verklaring weten.
'Hoe verder van de kust, hoe harder het waait en hoe minder mensen last hebben van windmolens. Ik wil daarom dat het kabinet de potentie van windmolenparken ver uit de kust beter onderzoekt. Zolang daar geen duidelijkheid over is, kan er wat de VVD betreft geen beslissing genomen worden over de aanleg van parken voor de Hollandse kust', aldus Leegte.
'Nodeloze vertraging'Natuur & Milieu en Greenpeace zijn bang dat de aanleg van windmolenparken in zee nodeloos vertraging oploopt nu het kabinet heeft besloten negen vergunningen in te trekken. De organisaties zijn verbaasd dat minister Kamp de al eerder afgegeven vergunningen ongedaan maakt 'tegen eerder gemaakte afspraken in het SER-akkoord in'.
'Iedereen staat in de startblokken om de windparken op zee te bouwen. Moeilijk te begrijpen dat de minister juist nu op de rem trapt', aldus Greenpeace en Natuur & Milieu. 'Alleen als de minister hard kan maken dat de huidige plannen veel te duur zijn, heeft hij een verhaal. Dit bewijs hebben wij nog niet gezien.'
EnergieakkoordWindenergie speelt een belangrijke rol in het Energieakkoord. Dat akkoord werd vorig jaar gesloten door overheid, bedrijfsleven, milieuorganisaties en sociale partners om de energievoorziening in Nederland te verduurzamen. Het is de bedoeling dat Nederland minder afhankelijk wordt van kolen, olie, en gas en dat de energievoorziening wordt veiliggesteld. In 2023 moet minstens 16 procent van alle energie duurzaam zijn.
In het Energieakkoord is afgesproken dat in 2020 in totaal 3450 megawatt extra stroom moet worden opgewekt door windmolens op zee. Het kabinet wil daarvoor maximaal 18 miljard aan subsidies uitgeven.
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Wikipedia Is Now Trying To Eliminate The Federalist's Online Entry
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:40
Yep. It just happened. The science-loving censors at Wikipedia, not content with memory-holing unassailable facts about Neil Tyson's history of fabricating quotes (part 1, part 2, and part 3), are now trying to completely erase The Federalist from Wikipedia. Seriously, take a look:
The deletion demand was made on Friday morning by user ''Cwobeel,'' who claimed that The Federalist ''does not pass the threshold for notability.'' The same user ironically describes himself in his Wikipedia profile as ''a member of the Association of Inclusionist Wikipedians.''
Really? The Federalist doesn't pass the threshold for notability? If The Federalist doesn't pass that threshold, it's hard to imagine who does. Our work has been regularly featured by literally every single major publication, site, and cable news outlet in the U.S., including the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Real Clear Politics, the Drudge Report, Slate, Daily Caller, Vox, National Review, Weekly Standard, Forbes, Think Progress, The Blaze, and so on. I could go on, and on, and on. We've interviewed politicians, major authors, and even cultural icons like Dave Barry and David Mamet. We've been on Fox News and MSNBC and CNN. Senators ask us to publishtheircolumns. Likely presidential candidates sit down for interviews with us.
Our reach, influence, and impact are undeniable.
Unless, of course, you need to deny our existence in order to further the pretense that Neil Tyson is infallible. Because that's what this is really about. You don't burn books because they're irrelevant. You burn books because you're terrified that they're not. You don't muzzle people who have no audience. You muzzle people only when their voices are amplified far beyond your liking. As the famous baseball player Reggie Jackson said, ''Fans don't boo nobodies.''
When the Wikipedia censorship campaign began, the first salvo from its censorship cabal was to say that the claims against Tyson didn't need to be mentioned because the sources of those claims weren't reliable. It's an odd accusation, seeing as how not a single person has produced evidence that President George W. Bush ever said what Tyson said he said. But it made a sick sort of sense: if you hate the message, just shoot the messenger.
Honestly, that was all fine by me. Wikipedia's censorship campaign only brought more attention to the issue of Neil Tyson's quote fabrications. The readership of our series of articles on Tyson dwarfs that of any single Wiki page by many, many orders of magnitude. In my opinion, the censorship campaign is important because it highlights how the progressive Left acts when challenged. Revise, don't report. Erase, don't acknowledge. Delete, don't debate. The whole episode perfectly demonstrated that the so-called reality-based community is at war with reality.
This attempt to completely eliminate any mention whatsoever of The Federalist on Wikipedia is laughable and beyond pathetic, but it's exactly what you'd expect from a group of delusional dimwits who have convinced themselves that justice consists entirely of just hitting the delete key over and over again. It's cute when toddlers close their eyes and believe that nobody can see them, but when adults do it, it's just sad.
But keep it up, Wikipedia. Keep up the fiction that if you just burn enough books, all will be made well. Keep up the fiction that your censorship will make this issue go away, rather than just fueling the fire. Keep reminding people why Wikipedia should never, ever be trusted to provide the facts on any topic that is even remotely controversial. Keep disappearing facts and evidence you don't like while desperately clinging to the science fiction that you totally love facts and evidence.
You can't win. If you strike us down, we'll become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
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F-Russia
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Russia Mulls Boycott of Hollywood Movies Amid U.S. Sanctions, Negative Portrayals
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:43
AP Images; iStock; Industrial Light and Magic/Paramount
A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Is a new cold war brewing between Hollywood and Russia?
After a string of recent movies including The Avengers, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and A Good Day to Die Hard featured Russian villains, a member of the country's parliament has suggested outlawing foreign movies that ''demonize Russia and Russians.'' And on Sept. 17, top Russian director Yuri Kara called for a ban on U.S. films until it lifts sanctions imposed against Russia for annexing Crimea from Ukraine. ''Hollywood would exert pressure on Obama, and he would lift the sanctions,'' said Kara.
Another director, StanislavGovorukhin, who was Russian president Vladimir Putin's campaign chief in the election two years ago, also has spoken out in favor of restrictions on Hollywood fare. "I believe that it would be good to limit the presence of Hollywood movies on Russian screens," he said Sept. 18 at a congress of All-Russian People's Front, a pro-Kremlin organization, which he co-chairs.
Any limit on access to the Russian market would hurt Hollywood like never before. In 2013, Russia's box office grew to $1.3'¯billion, becoming the world's sixth-largest movie market. U.S. fare accounted for more than 75'¯percent of the total gross.
Read moreSoviet-Era Actor Who Inspired Vladimir Putin Dies at 90
Curtailing U.S. movies might play well with Putin, but many in the Russian entertainment community aren't fans of possible retaliation. ''Hollywood movies create steady audience flow to theaters here, leading to more screens being opened in the country, which eventually helps Russian productions,'' says AlexanderAkopov, head of Moscow's AMedia.
Russia's public chamber has said it will consider the introduction of a 40 percent quota for Russian releases. Govorukhin believes Russian releases wouldn't be able to fully replace Hollywood films as the local film industry only produces 60 features a year, so more films made "in countries with rich film cultures," such as Turkey, Korea, Iran and Japan, should be released in Russia, as well as more European films, he says.
In addition to the U.S. sanctions against Russia, several high-profile portrayals have rankled nationalist pride.
In 2008, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was attacked by communists in St Petersburg for a "distorted depiction of the Soviet Union's foreign policy in the 1950s" and "satirized and negative portrayal of Soviet soldiers."
British actor Kenneth Branagh is among the latest in Hollywood's long list of Russian screen villains, playing diabolical oligarch Viktor Cherevin hell bent on destroying America in the winter release Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Other recent portrayals: A sadistic former KGB agent in The Avengers; bent Russian officials in A Good Day to Die Hard; a Russian-American loan shark in Limitless and even Russian missile space debris that destroys the US space station in Gravity.
Read more Homophobic Election Video Stirs Controversy in Russia
"In some films, anti-social and sometimes anti-Russian rhetoric is present, confusing the younger generation," the chamber's first deputy secretary VladislavGrib was quoted as saying on Sept. 24 by the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS. "At the same time, Russian pictures have a hard time reaching the screens and sometimes they are unable to do that at all," he added.
Akopov believes a compromise is in order. "We understand that there is no way for Hollywood to stop portraying us as the bad guys," he says. "We just advise that Hollywood add some balance and introduce some good Russian characters into their stories too. Apart from being fair and politically correct, this approach will also help keep screens open for Hollywood in the world's sixth largest theatrical market."
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Novak: EU, World Bank Could Act as Guarantors for Ukraine Gas Debt Payments | Business | RIA Novosti
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 12:05
Updated 07:58 p.m. Moscow Time
BERLIN, September 26 (RIA Novosti) '' The European Union and the World Bank could act as guarantors for the debt payments that Ukraine would be submitting to Russia under the plan proposed at the trilateral gas talks in Berlin Friday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.
"The funds that Ukraine received today from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which amount to $3.1 billion, could be used as a source of paying off the debt on the [Russian] gas deliveries, and the World Bank and the European Union can act as guarantors for the repayment of this debt," Novak told journalists after the talks.
The European Union proposed that Ukraine pay Russia's Gazprom a total of $3.1 billion by the end of this year. This "winter package" also stipulates that Russia supply Ukraine 5 billion cubic meters of gas at a proposed price of $385 per 1,000 cubic meters for six months.
Commenting on the proposals, Novak said that "The Russian side and the European Union have practically no disagreements on these packages. It can be said that our positions are similar."
However, no final decisions have been made yet. Russia will hold direct talks with Ukraine on the issue of gas supplies next week, where the sides might come to an agreement.
As a result of the ongoing political crisis in the country, Ukraine is currently on the verge of a default. Kiev authorities are trying to rescue the country's economy with international loans, including a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.
Kiev has a significant gas debt that its gas company Naftogaz owes to Russian gas giant Gazprom, which is estimated to stand at over $5.3 billion.
The IMF approved a loan to Ukraine in May in the form of a two-year stabilization program so that the country would be able to clear its debts, carry out economic reforms and recover.
To receive the IMF funds in full, Ukraine agreed to a severe austerity program that includes shedding 24,000 government jobs, raising taxes, selling off state assets and withdrawing subsidies on natural gas.
EU asking shippers for daily updates on Russian natural gas supply | StratRisks
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 03:08
Source: ICIS
Since Monday, the European Commission has been asking some European gas shippers via national regulators to fill in a form daily to check if nominations for natural gas are being met by physical flows from Russia, ICIS has learnt.
Some worry exists among EU leaders of a disruption in the supply of Russian gas to Europe. There is a fear that the flow of Russian gas transiting through Ukraine could be disrupted, although there has been no sign of this so far since the flare up geopolitical tensions in Ukraine. There is also a worry Russia could disrupt supply in response to sanctions or other reasons, even if this is viewed as unlikely.
A spokeswoman for the commission did not confirm the EU executive body has been requesting the information from shippers, but did say: ''The commission, in cooperation with the member states, is closely monitoring the supply situation in the EU and in particular the gas flows through and to Ukraine, against the background of the situation in Ukraine.''
The form that has been sent each day by national regulators to shippers on behalf of the commission and seen by ICIS on Wednesday includes questions such as:
- million cubic metres/day [for] Previous day, Current day
- Quantity of gas requested by the shipper from Gazprom and affiliated companies
- Quantity confirmed/supplied by Gazprom and affiliated companies
- In case of deviation '' reason given by Gazprom and affiliated companies? When was it notified?
- Is the deviation within the contractual range (yes/no)
- Are there notifications of reductions in the next days?
- Has the shipper been able to cover the missing gas volumes from other sources?
- Does the shipper see a risk of not being able to supply its consumers?
Sources polled by ICIS on Wednesday and last week said, so far, Gazprom has supplied gas volumes according to contracted nominations, within a range of flexible daily allowances in the supply contracts.
Earlier this month Polish incumbent PGNiG said it was receiving less gas than requested from Gazprom. But the company later confirmed there was a certain amount of elasticity to its contract with the Russian major, and that this was being used.
Read More @ Source
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Presidential Memorandum -- Assistance to Ukraine | The White House
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:21
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 24, 2014
September 24, 2014
MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
SUBJECT: Delegation of Authority Under Sections 506(a)(1) and 552(c)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby delegate to the Secretary of State:
(1) The authority under section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) to direct the drawdown of up to $5 million in defense articles and services of the Department of Defense and military education and training to provide immediate military assistance for the Government of Ukraine, to aid their efforts to respond to the current crisis, and to make the determinations required under such section to direct such a drawdown; and
(2) The authority under section 552(c)(2) of the FAA to direct the drawdown of up to $20 million in nonlethal commodities and services from any agency of the United States Government to provide assistance for the Government of Ukraine, and to make the determinations required under such section to direct such a drawdown.
You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
BARACK OBAMA
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Obama Nation
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Kamala Harris
Eric Holder To Step Down As Attorney General : The Two-Way : NPR
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:02
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a Sept. 4 news conference at the Justice Department in Washington. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APhide caption
itoggle caption Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APAttorney General Eric Holder speaks during a Sept. 4 news conference at the Justice Department in Washington.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APEric Holder Jr., the nation's first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and five and a half years of fights with Republicans in Congress.
Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly "adamant" about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama's second term.
Holder already is one of the longest serving members of the Obama cabinet and ranks as the fourth longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, for his return in early February 2009 to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general '-- the second in command '-- during the Clinton administration.
But some of that early glow faded in part due to the politicized nature of the job and in part because of Holder's own rhetoric, such as a 2009 Black History Month speech where he said the country was "a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussions about racial tension.
Five years later, violence erupted between police and protesters in Ferguson, Mo., after a white policeman killed an unarmed black 18 year old. And this time, the White House dispatched Holder to speak his piece, in effect jump starting that conversation, and helping to settle nerves in the frayed community.
Another huge controversy '-- over his decision to try the 9-11 plotters in a New York courthouse in the shadow of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center '-- prompted venomous reaction from lawmakers, New York City officials and some victim families.
Under pressure that threatened his job and his legacy, the attorney general reversed his decision and instead sent the cases to military court '-- where they continue to languish even as Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law and other terrorism defendants are serving life sentences in maximum security prisons on American soil.
Holder most wants to be remembered for his record on civil rights: refusing to defend a law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman; suing North Carolina and Texas over voting restrictions that disproportionately affect minorities and the elderly; launching 20 investigations of abuses by local police departments; and using his bully pulpit to lobby Congress to reduce prison sentences for non-violent drug crimes. Many of those sentences disproportionately hurt minority communities.
And then, there's his relationship with Congress. From the day Holder's nomination was announced, Republicans led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled he would be a political lightning rod.
The attorney general's portfolio, which spans sensitive law enforcement cases and hot button social issues including marijuana and gay marriage, didn't help. But even longtime aides say Holder didn't do enough to help himself by shrugging off preparations and moot sessions before congressional appearances and speaking off the cuff '-- and obliquely.
Things hit a crisis point when the GOP-led House voted him in contempt for refusing to hand over documents about a gun trafficking scandal known as Fast and Furious. That represented the first time an attorney general had ever been rebuked that way but still Holder held onto his job.
In the end, the decision to leave was Holder's alone '-- the two sources tell NPR the White House would have been happy to have him stay a full eight years and to avoid what could be a contentious nomination fight for his successor. Holder and President Obama discussed his departure several times and finalized things in a long meeting over Labor Day weekend at the White House.
The attorney general told staff the news at DOJ this morning and has called civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Ethel Kennedy, the widow of former AG Robert F. Kennedy.
The sources say a leading candidate for that job is Solicitor General Don Verrilli, the administration's top representative to the Supreme Court and a lawyer whose judgment and discretion are prized in both DOJ and the White House.
Friends and former colleagues say Holder's made no decisions about his next professional perch, but they say it would be no surprise if he returned to the law firm Covington & Burling, where he spent years representing corporate clients.
The friends say Holder is also considering donating his papers to a university in D.C. or his native New York, where he could establish a civil rights center to work more on law enforcement interactions with communities of color and host public forums on those issues.
Even though the attorney general has his eyes on the door, the two sources say several more policy and enforcement initiatives are underway and could be announced soon.
For instance, Holder sent a memo to U.S. Attorneys Wednesday urging them not to use sentencing enhancements known as "851" tools to gain leverage in plea negotiations with defendants '-- in essence, threatening defendants into avoiding trial with huge amounts of prison time. The practice has been criticized by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, as well as other jurists.
Holder is also expected to notify federal prosecutors in coming days that the Justice Department will no longer require defendants who plead guilty to waive their rights to appeal based on ineffective lawyering. Many U.S. Attorneys now forgo that practice, but not all.
Long awaited racial profiling guidelines for federal agents will be released soon, too. Those guidelines will make clear sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion are not legitimate bases for law enforcement suspicion but controversial mapping of certain communities '-- including Muslim-American ones '-- would still be allowed for national security investigations, one of the sources said.
Judge Denies DOJ Request to Delay Release of Fast and Furious Document List - Katie Pavlich
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:53
U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates has denied a request from the Department of Justice to delay the release of a list of Operation Fast and Furious documents being protected under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege.
The list, better known as a Vaughn index, was requested through a June 2012 FOIA filing by government watchdog Judicial Watch. When DOJ didn't respond to the FOIA request in the time required by law, Judicial Watch sued in September 2012, seeking all documents DOJ and the White House are withholding from Congress under executive privilege claims. President Obama made the assertion on June 20, 2012 just moments before Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt. In July 2014, after two years of battling for information, Judge Bates ordered the Department of Justice to release the Vaughn Index by October 1. DOJ responded by asking for a month long delay in releasing the list with a deadline of November 3, just one day before the 2014-midterm elections. That request has been denied. A short delay was granted and DOJ must produce the Vaughn index by October 22.
"The government's arguments for even more time are unconvincing," Bates said in his ruling. "[S]eventy-five days'--plus another twenty-one, based in part on Judiciary Watch's consent'--is enough time for the government to prepare the index that this Court has ordered, given that this matter has been pending for over two years. The Court will therefore extend the Department's Vaughn index submission deadline to October 22, 2014'--and no further."
"The government argues that it must devote significant numbers of attorneys to this matter if it hopes to comply with the current Vaughn index deadline ... But the Department has known about its Vaughn index obligations since July 18, 2014 ... At best, it means the Department has been slow to react to this Court's previous Order. At worst, it means the Department has ignored that Order until now," he added.
The House Oversight Committee is also suing for the release of the Vaughn index and earlier this month U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered DOJ to produce requested information to lawmakers by November 1.
In the Vaughn index, DOJ must explain why documents have been withheld from Congress and the American people under President Obama's assertion of executive privilege. The requirements for DOJ in handling the information included in the Vaughn index are as follows:
1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.
''The Obama administration failed to game the courts and now will have to account for its Fast and Furious lies. Two federal courts have now rejected Eric Holder's election-related ploy to keep this information from the American people,'' Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement in reaction to the ruling. ''This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in the face of all this lawlessness. This latest court ruling shows again that Judicial Watch's independent investigations and lawsuits are more effective than Congress and the rest of media. We are pleased we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of others who lost their lives as a result of Obama's Fast and Furious program.''
Six People Who Can Replace Eric Holder and Save Barack Obama - Businessweek
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:56
Six Possible Replacements For Eric Holder
By David WeigelSeptember 25, 2014 4:31 PM EDT
Five years and eight months after taking office, two years and three months after being held in contempt by a Republican House of Representatives, Eric Holder is announcing that he'll leave the Department of Justice. That contempt vote was both popular and stunningly ineffective, enraging Holder and turning him into a more outspoken and implacable foe of Republican policies on voting rights and policing. (A couple of weeks after Darrell Issa blew him the raspberry, Holder referred to voter ID laws as ''poll taxes''; things escalated from there.) Holder was rumored to want out after the 2012 election, or at least early in 2014. He stuck around long enough to intervene aggressively in a post-shooting Ferguson, Mo. The lawyer best known for the Marc Rich pardon is leaving as a civil rights lightning rod.
The gist is that he's leaving. He's doing it before the lame duck session of Congress, the last few weeks before either a shrunken Senate Democratic majority or a new Republican majority takes over for Obama's final two years. This gives the president slightly more flexibility in making a nomination that needs only 51 votes in a friendly Senate to succeed. Who should Obama pick?
Preet Bharara (1/2)'--The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York would be the first Indian American attorney general (one of the few big ''firsts'' left for the job, if that matters), and otherwise bring little change to the Obama administration. Bharara has disappointed progressives who wanted him to bring cases against the people who caused the housing crisis, but he's been covered by New York media as a Wall Street fraud-buster. He's half-griped, half-bragged that he's so tough on Indian American criminals that ''talk show hosts in India took to calling me self-loathing.'' Picking him would also remove a chronic migraine for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, though the White House doesn't really need that.
Deval Patrick (2/5)'--The outgoing governor of Massachusetts has been discussed as a Holder replacement since the first rumblings that the AG might quit. If Patrick dined with the White House, the ''Patrick to DOJ/SCOTUS?'' flare gun was pulled out and fired. Patrick's 2006 campaign was modeled on Obama's 2004 Senate win, using the same consultants and testing lines that Obama would use in his 2008 presidential bid. Patrick's personal charisma and knack for making causes popular could be useful in a lame duck presidency. (My colleague Annie Linskey of Bloomberg News has reported that Patrick was asked about this today and called the AG gig ''an enormously important job'' but ''not one for me right now.'')
Don Verrilli (2/11)'--The solicitor general would be the 79th white male attorney general'--not terribly exciting'--but he'd live out a long, proud tradition by which the federal government's chief lawyer rises to a more powerful and independent role. (Previous SGs have included John Roberts and Elena Kagan.) Plus, elevating Verrilli to the DOJ would allow the White House to give the SG gig to someone who does not induce panic with his arguments.
Kamala Harris (1/23)'--We're down to the picks that make no sense but sound splendid on Twitter. Harris, the attorney general of California, would be the first non-white female AG; along with New York's Eric Schneiderman, she's the AG best-respected on the left for her work on financial crime and foreclosures. The problem is timing: Harris will appear on the California ballot in five weeks, heading for an easy reelection to a job she won only after a long, close count in 2010. Taking her out of Sacramento would put the country's most dominant Democratic Party in a tight spot and possibly squander a 49-year old star who's fantastically positioned to become a senator when a seat opens up. (Of California's senators, both Democrats, Barbara Boxer will be 74 when her seat is up in 2016; Dianne Feinstein will be 85 when her current term ends in 2018.)
Some Republican senator (1/100)'--It's fun to speculate about, but this ain't Commerce or Transportation or the Navy, to name three jobs the Obama administration gave (or tried to give) to Republicans. There's no Republican in the Senate that's 1) simpatico with the administration's final-term agenda or 2) in a position to be replaced by someone more friendly to the White House. Better to keep Lindsey Graham around to vote for cabinet nominees in 2015.
Barack Obama (1/5000)'--No, this won't happen, but it's a fun thought experiment to play with the ever-panicking Democratic consultant class. You think the president's such a burden on the party? Let him dock his pay and take a demotion. Let the era of President Joe Biden begin. The game stops being fun when you realize Biden's approval numbers are no better than Obama's.
Networks fail to report reason for Holder resignation - National Conservative | Examiner.com
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 03:07
In the late breaking development concerning the resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder, the mainstream media news outlets failed to report the reason for Holder's departure. For example, although CBS News mentioned that Holder had been the only attorney general in U.S. history to be held in contempt of Congress, the network failed to cite this as a key reason Holder decided to bail. The omission speaks volumes.
Holder's resignation comes on the heels of a ruling today by a federal judge that the contempt of Congress citation against Holder can proceed to the next level. House leaders had been stymied by the refusal of Holder and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to comply with requests for appropriate documents in the ongoing investigations into the Fast and Furious debacle. The House further was thwarted by the refusal of DOJ personnel to cooperate with Congress in the ongoing investigations.
The Obama administration had argued that the courts should stop the contempt citation from moving forward in the courts. Thus, the ruling today is a victory for the U.S. House of Representatives, which had found itself unable to move forward in the Fast and Furious investigation due to stonewalling and the refusal to cooperate on the part of Holder and other top DOJ officials. The ruling, further, is a major setback for Holder and Obama, who had been hiding themselves behind "executive privilege" in refusing to cooperate with Congress.
Judicial Watch had taken the Obama administration to court in order to force the DOJ's hand in turning over the pertinent documents, which it had withheld from Congress. Now that the court has ruled against Holder and Obama, the House Committee can proceed to the next level of its investigation. And Obama and Holder can no longer claim executive privilege in continuing to withhold evidence.
That evidence not only includes the alleged involvement of the very top tier of the Obama administration in authorizing illegal activity but the full account of the circumstances surrounding the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed with one of the guns that the administration used in the Fast and Furious scandal.
The Examiner reported extensively on Fast and Furious at the time that whistleblowers within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) came forward to report that the agency had been involved in a massive scheme, planned and coordinated at the very top levels of the Obama administration, to place U.S. guns into the hands of dangerous Mexican drug cartels. The government claims it was "a tracking attempt, a sting operation gone bad."
But whistleblowers and investigative reporters such as David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh discovered that there was no sting and no attempt to track illegal firearms. Rather, the scheme was implemented in order to attempt to "prove" the false meme of administration officials that "most of the illegal guns used by Mexican drug cartels come from the United States." This meme was to be hammered home as far and wide as possible in order to build support for more restrictive U.S. gun laws. Not only were officials at the top level of the ATF involved in the scheme but so were top officials at the DOJ, Hillary Clinton at the State Department, Janet Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security, and others, not to mention Obama.
ATF whistleblowers began to notice that no illegal weapons were being recovered in the so-called "sting operation," which led them to do some covert digging around at the agency to discover what, exactly, was going on. What they discovered was widespread corruption, illegal activity, and covert attempts to undercut the gun rights of ordinary citizens.
You may also be interested in the following:
My personal blog, The Liberty Sphere.
My popular series titled, Musings After Midnight.
My ministry site, Martin Christian Ministries.
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Generation Wuss >> by Bret Easton Ellis | Vanity Fair
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 16:37
In February I gave an interview to Vice UK to help promote a film I had written and financed called The Canyons'--I did the press because there was still the idea, the hope, that if myself or the director Paul Schrader talked about the film it would somehow find an audience interested in it and understand what it was: an experimental, guerilla DIY affair that cost $150,000 dollars to shoot ($90,000 out of our own pockets) and that we filmed over twenty days in L.A. during the summer of 2012 starring controversial Millennials Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen. The young journalist from Vice UK asked me about the usual things I was preoccupied with in that moment: my admiration of Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street'--the best film I saw in 2013 (not great Scorsese, but better than any other American film that year) and we talked about the movie I'm writing for Kanye West, my love of Terrence Malick (though not To The Wonder), a miniseries I was developing about the Manson murders for FOX (but because of another Manson series going into production at NBC the miniseries has now been cancelled), the Bret Easton Ellis Podcast (link), the possibility of a new novel I had begun in January of 2013 and that I lost interest in but hoped to get back to; we talked about my problems with David Foster Wallace, my love of Joan Didion, as well as Empire versus post-Empire (link) and we talked about, of course, The Canyons. But the first question the young journalist asked me wasn't about the movie'--it was about why I was always referring to Millennials as Generation Wuss on my Twitter feed. And I answered her honestly, unprepared for the level of noise my comments caused once the Vice UK piece was posted.
I have been living with someone from the Millennial generation for the last four years (he's now 27) and sometimes I'm charmed and sometimes I'm exasperated by how him and his friends'--as well as the Millennials I've met and interacted with both in person and in social media'--deal with the world, and I've tweeted about my amusement and frustration under the banner ''Generation Wuss'' for a few years now. My huge generalities touch on their over-sensitivity, their insistence that they are right despite the overwhelming proof that suggests they are not, their lack of placing things within context, the overreacting, the passive-aggressive positivity, and, of course, all of this exacerbated by the meds they've been fed since childhood by over-protective ''helicopter'' parents mapping their every move. These are late-end Baby Boomers and Generation X parents who were now rebelling against their own rebelliousness because of the love they felt that they never got from their selfish narcissistic Boomer parents and who end up smothering their kids, inducing a kind of inadequate preparation in how to deal with the hardships of life and the real way the world works: people won't like you, that person may not love you back, kids are really cruel, work sucks, it's hard to be good at something, life is made up of failure and disappointment, you're not talented, people suffer, people grow old, people die. And Generation Wuss responds by collapsing into sentimentality and creating victim narratives rather than acknowledging the realities of the world and grappling with them and processing them and then moving on, better prepared to navigate an often hostile or indifferent world that doesn't care if you exist.
I never pretended to be an expert on Millenials and my harmless tweeting about them was solely based on personal observation with the reactions to the tweets predictably running along generational lines. For example, one of the worst fights my boyfriend and I endured was about the Tyler Clemente suicide here in the United States. Clemente was an 18 year-old Rutger's University student who killed himself because he felt he was being bullied by his roommate Dharun Ravi. Ravi never touched Tyler or threatened him but filmed Tyler making out with another man unbeknownst to Tyler and then tweeted about it. Embarrassed by this web-cam prank, Tyler threw himself off the George Washington Bridge a few days later. The fight I had with my boyfriend was about victimization narratives and cyber-''bullying'' versus imagined threats and genuine hands-on bullying. Was this just the case of an overly sensitive Generation Wuss snowflake that made national news because of how trendy the idea of cyber-bullying was in that moment (and still is to a degree) or was this a deeply troubled young person who simply snapped because he was brought down by his own shame and then was turned into a victim/hero (they are the same thing now in the United States) by a press eager to present the case out of context and turning Ravi into a monster just because of a pretty harmless'--in my mind'--freshman dorm-room prank? People my age tended to agree with my tweets, but people my boyfriend's age tended to, of course, disagree.
But then again my reaction stems from the fact that I am looking at Millenials from the POV of a member of one of the most pessimistic and ironic generations that has ever roamed the earth'--Generation X'--so when I hear Millenials being so damaged by ''cyber-bullying'' that it becomes a gateway to suicide'--it's difficult for me to process. And even my boyfriend agrees that Generation Wuss is overly sensitive, especially when dealing with criticism. When Generation Wuss creates something they have so many outlets to display it that it often goes out into the world unfettered, unedited, posted everywhere, and because of this freedom a lot of the content displayed is rushed and kind of shitty and that's OK'--it's just the nature of the world now'--but when Millennials are criticized for this content they seem to collapse into a shame spiral and the person criticizing them is automatically labeled a hater, a contrarian, a troll. And then you have to look at the generation that raised them, that coddled them in praise'--gold medals for everyone, four stars for just showing up'--and tried to shield them from the dark side of life, and in turn created a generation that appears to be super confident and positive about things but when the least bit of darkness enters into their realm they become paralyzed and unable to process it.
My generation was raised by Baby Boomers in a kind of complete fantasy world at the height of the Empire: Boomers were the most privileged and the best educated children of The Great Generation, enjoying the economic boom of post-World War II American society. My generation realized that like most fantasies it was a somewhat dissatisfying lie and so we rebelled with irony and negativity and attitude or conveniently just checked-out because we had the luxury to do so. Our reality compared to Millennial reality wasn't one of economic hardship. We had the luxury to be depressed and ironic and cool. Anxiety and neediness are the defining aspects of Generation Wuss and when you don't have the cushion of rising through the world economically then what do you rely on? Well, your social media presence: maintaining it, keeping the brand in play, striving to be liked, to be liked, to be liked. And this creates its own kind of ceaseless anxiety. This is why if anyone has a snarky opinion of Generation Wuss then that person is labeled by them as a ''douche'''--case closed. No negativity'--we just want to be admired. This is problematic because it limits discourse: if we all just like everything'--the Millennial dream'--then what are we going to be talking about? How great everything is? How often you've pressed the like button on Facebook? The Millennial site Buzzfeed has said they are no longer going to run anything negative'--well, if this keeps spreading, then what's going to happen to culture? What's going to happen to conversation and discourse? If there doesn't seem to be an economic way of elevating yourself then the currency of popularity is just the norm now and so this is why you want to have thousands and thousands of people liking you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler'--and you try desperately to be liked. The only way to elevate yourself in society is through your brand, your profile, your social media presence. A friend of mine'--also a member of Generation Wuss'--remarked that Millennials are more curators than artists, a generation of ''aestheticists'...any young artist who goes on Tumbler doesn't want to create actual art'--they either want to steal the art or they want to BE the art.''
I forgot about the Vice interview but was reminded of it due to a minor explosion that occurred after it was posted and the term Generation Wuss received an inordinate amount of press and I was immediately asked to appear on talk shows and podcasts and radio programs to discuss ''the phenomenon'' of Generation Wuss. The people who agreed with my casual, tossed-off assessments skewed older but I was surprised by the number of young people who agreed with me as well, Millennials who also had complaints about their generation. The older people wanted to share examples: a father related a story how he remembered watching in frustration as his son participated in a tug-of-war game with his classmates on the field of his elementary school and after a minute or two the well-meaning coach announced the game was officially a tie, told the kids they did a great job, and everyone got a ribbon. Occasionally there were darker stories: guilt-ridden parents chastising themselves for coddling kids who when finally faced with the normal reality of the world drifted into drugs as an escape'...from the normal reality of the world. Parents kept reaching out and told me they were tormented by this oppressive need to reward their kids constantly in this culture. That in doing so they effectively debilitated them from dealing with the failures we all confront as get older, and that their children were unequipped to deal with pain.
I didn't appear on any of the talk shows because I don't pretend to be an expert on this generation any more than I feel I'm an expert on my own: I don't feel like that old man complaining about the generation supplanting his. As someone who throughout his own career satirized my generation for their materialism and their shallowness, I didn't think that pointing out aspects I noticed in Millennials was that big of a deal. But in the way that the 24-48 hour news cycle plays itself out I briefly was considered an ''expert'' and I kept getting bombarded with emails and tweets. What the Vice interview didn't allow was that because I've been living with someone from this generation I'm sympathetic to them as well, remembering clearly the hellish year my college-educated boyfriend looked for a job and could only find non-paying internships. Add in the demeaning sexual atmosphere that places a relentless emphasis on good looks (Tinder being the most prevalent example) in such a superficially nightmarish way it makes the way my generation hooked-up seem positively chaste and innocent by comparison. So I'm sympathetic to Generation Wuss and their neurosis, their narcissism and their foolishness'--add the fact that they were raised in the aftermath of 9/11, two wars, a brutal recession and it's not hard to be sympathetic. But maybe in the way Lena Dunham is in ''Girls'' a show that perceives them with a caustic and withering eye and is also sympathetic. And this is crucial: you can be both. In-fact in order to be an artist, to raise yourself above the din in an over-reactionary fear-based culture that considers criticism elitist, you need to be both. But this is a hard thing to do because Millennials can't deal with that kind of cold-eye reality. This is why Generation Wuss only asks right now : please, please, please, only give positive feedback please.
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What Does a Porn Star Have to Do With Your Bank Account?
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 06:25
By Mark Nestmann ' September 23, 2014
Recently, The Economist reported that Chase Bank closed the accounts of hundreds of porn stars.
Among them was blond bombshell Teagan Presley, star of Just Over 18 #10 and more than 70 other porn videos. Chase informed her it had closed her account because she was prominent in the ''adult'' business.
Teagan Presley's loss of banking privileges is an example of a much larger trend. It's called ''de-risking,'' the decision by a bank or other financial institution to end a relationship with a customer to avoid possible embarrassment or, worse, government witch-hunts.
In the last few months, US banks have closed down tens of thousands of accounts of ''politically incorrect'' customers. They include gun sellers, coin dealers, fireworks suppliers, dating services, US citizens living abroad, Muslim students, money services businesses, diplomats from third-world countries, and, yes, porn stars like Teagan Presley.
It's not really surprising that US banks are de-risking as fast as they can. They must follow strict ''know your customer'' rules and also report an ever-larger list of supposed ''suspicious transactions'' to a secretive Treasury bureau called the ''Financial Crimes Enforcement Network,'' or FinCEN.
If a bank perceives a customer as ''high risk,'' it's safer to close their account than to possibly face stiff fines and even criminal prosecution. And Congress keeps passing new laws requiring ever-greater levels of surveillance over our financial transactions. Is it really a surprise that a growing number of banks refuse to provide banking services to a growing number of categories of customers?
FinCEN doesn't like this trend, because when people or companies don't use regulated financial institutions like banks, their transactions become less visible. As FinCEN director Jennifer Calvery put it in an August 12 speech:
[J]ust because a particular customer may be considered high risk does not mean that it is ''unbankable'' and it certainly does not make an entire category of customer unbankable'....
The only way we can do our job is if businesses actually have bank accounts and their transactions are monitored and reported to FinCEN, as appropriate.
I suppose it's nice that Ms. Calvery understands there's a problem, but that doesn't make it any easier if you '' or your business '' is the one being de-risked. Without a bank account, about the only practical way you can exist is in the parallel economy or ''black market.'' That may avoid regulatory scrutiny, but it's not a very convenient way to live or do business.
De-risking, of course, isn't limited to US banks. Indeed, tens of thousands of foreign banks have de-risked themselves by ''firing'' all of their US customers. They've decided that the risks of dealing with US customers outweigh the benefits.
But other foreign banks have decided that this phenomenon presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They've invested millions of dollars (yes, that's what it costs) to become compliant with laws like FATCA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and countless others. In some cases, they've set up entirely new corporate structures simply to deal with US clients.
If you don't want to take the chance that you or your business might be the next Teagan Presley, you might want to consider checking out non-US alternatives. In addition to lowering the likelihood you'll be de-risked, you'll also get better interest rates. For instance, I'm earning 3% on a one-year US dollar CD in a very safe Panamanian bank. That's more than 2% more than I'd get in a US bank. You'll also lessen the likelihood of getting caught in a ''bail-in'' at a US bank like the ones we saw in Cyprus.
Of course, you'll still have to go through a lot of paperwork to set up your offshore account. But the banks that offer account services to US citizens and residents have a great deal invested in their business models. They're committed to the US market and aren't likely to de-risk anyone else simply because of their US status.
Mark NestmannNestmann.com
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Shut Up Slave!
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Full text of "Harrison Bergeron (& Activity)"
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 00:02
HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213 th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General. Some things about living still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen- year-old son, Harrison, away. It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains. George and Hazel were watching television. There were tears on Hazel's cheeks, but she'd forgotten for the moment what they were about. On the television screen were ballerinas. A buzzer sounded in George's head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm. "That was a real pretty dance, that dance they just did," said Hazel. "Huh" said George. "That dance-it was nice," said Hazel. "Yup, " said George. He tried to think a little about the ballerinas. They weren't really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in. George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn't be handicapped. But he didn't get very far with it before another noise in his ear radio scattered his thoughts . George winced. So did two out of the eight ballerinas. Hazel saw him wince. Having no mental handicap herself, she had to ask George what the latest sound had been. "Sounded like somebody hitting a milk bottle with a ball peen hammer, " said George . "I'd think it would be real interesting, hearing all the different sounds," said Hazel a little envious. "All the things they think up." "Urn, " said George. "Only, if I was Handicapper General, you know what I would do?" said Hazel. Hazel, as a matter of fact, bore a strong resemblance to the Handicapper General, a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. "If I was Diana Moon Glampers," said Hazel, "I'd have chimes on Sunday- just chimes. Kind of in honor of religion . " "I could think, if it was just chimes," said George. "Well-maybe make 'em real loud," said Hazel. "I think I'd make a good Handicapper General." "Good as anybody else," said George. "Who knows better then I do what normal is?" said Hazel. "Right," said George. He began to think glimmeringly about his abnormal son who was now in jail, about Harrison, but a twenty-one-gun salute in his head stopped that. "Boy!" said Hazel, "that was a doozy, wasn't it?" It was such a doozy that George was white and trembling, and tears stood on the rims of his red eyes. Two of of the eight ballerinas had collapsed to the studio floor, were holding their temples. "All of a sudden you look so tired," said Hazel. "Why don't you stretch out on the sofa, so's you can rest your handicap bag on the pillows, honeybunch." She was referring to the forty-seven pounds of birdshot in a canvas bag, which was padlocked around George's neck. "Go on and rest the bag for a little while," she said. "I don't care if you're not equal to me for a while . " George weighed the bag with his hands. "I don't mind it," he said. "I don't notice it any more. It's just a part of me." "You been so tired lately-kind of wore out," said Hazel. "If there was just some way we could make a little hole in the bottom of the bag, and just take out a few of them lead balls. Just a few." "Two years in prison and two thousand dollars fine for every ball I took out," said George. "I don't call that a bargain." "If you could just take a few out when you came home from work," said Hazel. "I mean-you don't compete with anybody around here. You just set around." "If I tried to get away with it," said George, "then other people ' d get away with it-and pretty soon we'd be right back to the dark ages again, with everybody competing against everybody else. You wouldn't like that, would you?" "I'd hate it," said Hazel. "There you are," said George. The minute people start cheating on laws, what do you think happens to society?" If Hazel hadn't been able to come up with an answer to this question, George couldn't have supplied one. A siren was going off in his head. "Reckon it'd fall all apart," said Hazel. "What would?" said George blankly. "Society," said Hazel uncertainly. "Wasn't that what you just said? "Who knows?" said George. The television program was suddenly interrupted for a news bulletin. It wasn't clear at first as to what the bulletin was about, since the announcer, like all announcers, had a serious speech impediment. For about half a minute, and in a state of high excitement, the announcer tried to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen." He finally gave up, handed the bulletin to a ballerina to read. "That's all right-" Hazel said of the announcer, "he tried. That's the big thing. He tried to do the best he could with what God gave him. He should get a nice raise for trying so hard." "Ladies and Gentlemen," said the ballerina, reading the bulletin. She must have been extraordinarily beautiful, because the mask she wore was hideous. And it was easy to see that she was the strongest and most graceful of all the dancers, for her handicap bags were as big as those worn by two-hundred pound men. And she had to apologize at once for her voice, which was a very unfair voice for a woman to use. Her voice was a warm, luminous, timeless melody. "Excuse me-" she said, and she began again, making her voice absolutely uncompetitive . "Harrison Bergeron, age fourteen," she said in a grackle squawk, "has just escaped from jail, where he was held on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government. He is a genius and an athlete, is under-handicapped, and should be regarded as extremely dangerous." A police photograph of Harrison Bergeron was flashed on the screen-upside down, then sideways, upside down again, then right side up. The picture showed the full length of Harrison against a background calibrated in feet and inches. He was exactly seven feet tall. The rest of Harrison's appearance was Halloween and hardware. Nobody had ever born heavier handicaps. He had outgrown hindrances faster than the H-G men could think them up. Instead of a little ear radio for a mental handicap, he wore a tremendous pair of earphones, and spectacles with thick wavy lenses. The spectacles were intended to make him not only half blind, but to give him whanging headaches besides. Scrap metal was hung all over him. Ordinarily, there was a certain symmetry, a military neatness to the handicaps issued to strong people, but Harrison looked like a walking junkyard. In the race of life, Harrison carried three hundred pounds . And to offset his good looks, the H-G men required that he wear at all times a red rubber ball for a nose, keep his eyebrows shaved off, and cover his even white teeth with black caps at snaggle-tooth random. "If you see this boy, " said the ballerina, "do not - I repeat, do not - try to reason with him." There was the shriek of a door being torn from its hinges. Screams and barking cries of consternation came from the television set. The photograph of Harrison Bergeron on the screen jumped again and again, as though dancing to the tune of an earthquake. George Bergeron correctly identified the earthquake, and well he might have - for many was the time his own home had danced to the same crashing tune. "My God-" said George, "that must be Harrison!" The realization was blasted from his mind instantly by the sound of an automobile collision in his head. When George could open his eyes again, the photograph of Harrison was gone. A living, breathing Harrison filled the screen. Clanking, clownish, and huge, Harrison stood - in the center of the studio. The knob of the uprooted studio door was still in his hand. Ballerinas, technicians, musicians, and announcers cowered on their knees before him, expecting to die. "I am the Emperor!" cried Harrison. "Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!" He stamped his foot and the studio shook. "Even as I stand here" he bellowed, "crippled, hobbled, sickened - I am a greater ruler than any man who ever lived! Now watch me become what I can become ! " Harrison tore the straps of his handicap harness like wet tissue paper, tore straps guaranteed to support five thousand pounds. Harrison's scrap-iron handicaps crashed to the floor. Harrison thrust his thumbs under the bar of the padlock that secured his head harness. The bar snapped like celery. Harrison smashed his headphones and spectacles against the wall. He flung away his rubber-ball nose, revealed a man that would have awed Thor, the god of thunder. "I shall now select my Empress!" he said, looking down on the cowering people. "Let the first woman who dares rise to her feet claim her mate and her throne!" A moment passed, and then a ballerina arose, swaying like a willow. Harrison plucked the mental handicap from her ear, snapped off her physical handicaps with marvelous delicacy. Last of all he removed her mask. She was blindingly beautiful. "Now-" said Harrison, taking her hand, "shall we show the people the meaning of the word dance? Music!" he commanded. The musicians scrambled back into their chairs, and Harrison stripped them of their handicaps, too. "Play your best," he told them, "and I'll make you barons and dukes and earls." The music began. It was normal at first-cheap, silly, false. But Harrison snatched two musicians from their chairs, waved them like batons as he sang the music as he wanted it played. He slammed them back into their chairs. The music began again and was much improved. Harrison and his Empress merely listened to the music for a while-listened gravely, as though synchronizing their heartbeats with it. They shifted their weights to their toes. Harrison placed his big hands on the girls tiny waist, letting her sense the weightlessness that would soon be hers. And then, in an explosion of joy and grace, into the air they sprang! Not only were the laws of the land abandoned, but the law of gravity and the laws of motion as well. They reeled, whirled, swiveled, flounced, capered, gamboled, and spun. They leaped like deer on the moon. The studio ceiling was thirty feet high, but each leap brought the dancers nearer to it. It became their obvious intention to kiss the ceiling. They kissed it. And then, neutraling gravity with love and pure will, they remained suspended in air inches below the ceiling, and they kissed each other for a long, long time . It was then that Diana Moon Clampers, the Handicapper General, came into the studio with a double-barreled ten-gauge shotgun. She fired twice, and the Emperor and the Empress were dead before they hit the floor. Diana Moon Clampers loaded the gun again. She aimed it at the musicians and told them they had ten seconds to get their handicaps back on. It was then that the Bergerons' television tube burned out. Hazel turned to comment about the blackout to George. But George had gone out into the kitchen for a can of beer. George came back in with the beer, paused while a handicap signal shook him up. And then he sat down again. "You been crying" he said to Hazel. "Yup, " she said. "What about?" he said. "I forget," she said. "Something real sad on television." "What was it?" he said. "It's all kind of mixed up in my mind," said Hazel. "Forget sad things," said George. "I always do," said Hazel. "That's my girl," said George. He winced. There was the sound of a rivetting gun in his head. "Gee - I could tell that one was a doozy, " said Hazel. "You can say that again," said George. "Gee-" said Hazel, "I could tell that one was a doozy." "Harrison Bergeron" is copyrighted by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., 1961.
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Managing a Nightmare: The CIA Reveals How It Watched Over the Destruction of Gary Webb
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:51
Eighteen years after it was published, ''Dark Alliance,'' the San Jose Mercury News's bombshell investigation into links between the cocaine trade, Nicaragua's Contra rebels, and African American neighborhoods in California, remains one of the most explosive and controversial expos(C)s in American journalism.
The 20,000-word series enraged black communities, prompted Congressional hearings, and became one of the first major national security stories in history to blow up online. It also sparked an aggressive backlash from the nation's most powerful media outlets, which devoted considerable resources to discredit author Gary Webb's reporting. Their efforts succeeded, costing Webb his career. On December 10, 2004, the journalist was found dead in his apartment, having ended his eight-year downfall with two .38-caliber bullets to the head.
These days, Webb is being cast in a more sympathetic light. He's portrayed heroically in a major motion picture set to premiere nationwide next month. And documents newly released by the CIA provide fresh context to the ''Dark Alliance'' saga '-- information that paints an ugly portrait of the mainstream media at the time.
On September 18, the agency released a trove of documents spanning three decades of secret government operations. Culled from the agency's in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence, the materials include a previously unreleased six-page article titled ''Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story.'' Looking back on the weeks immediately following the publication of ''Dark Alliance,'' the document offers a unique window into the CIA's internal reaction to what it called ''a genuine public relations crisis'' while revealing just how little the agency ultimately had to do to swiftly extinguish the public outcry. Thanks in part to what author Nicholas Dujmovic, a CIA Directorate of Intelligence staffer at the time of publication, describes as ''a ground base of already productive relations with journalists,'' the CIA's Public Affairs officers watched with relief as the largest newspapers in the country rescued the agency from disaster, and, in the process, destroyed the reputation of an aggressive, award-winning reporter.
(Dujmovic's name was redacted in the released version of the CIA document, but was included in a footnote in a 2010 article in the Journal of Intelligence. Dujmovic confirmed his authorship to The Intercept.)
Actor Jeremy Renner stars as investigative journalist Gary Webb in the upcoming film ''Kill the Messenger.''
Webb's troubles began in August 1996, when his employer, the San Jose Mercury News, published a groundbreaking, three-part investigation he had worked on for more than a year. Carrying the full title ''Dark Alliance: The Story Behind the Crack Explosion,'' Webb's series reported that in addition to waging a proxy war for the U.S. government against Nicaragua's revolutionary Sandinista government in the 1980s, elements of the CIA-backed Contra rebels were also involved in trafficking cocaine to the U.S. in order to fund their counter-revolutionary campaign. The secret flow of drugs and money, Webb reported, had a direct link to the subsequent explosion of crack cocaine abuse that had devastated California's most vulnerable African American neighborhoods.
Derided by some as conspiracy theory and heralded by others as investigative reporting at its finest, Webb's series spread through extensive talk radio coverage and global availability via the internet, which at the time was still a novel way to promote national news.
Though ''Dark Alliance'' would eventually morph into a personal crisis for Webb, it was initially a PR disaster for the CIA. In ''Managing a Nightmare,'' Dujmovic minced no words in describing the potentially devastating effect of the series on the agency's image:
The charges could hardly be worse. A widely read newspaper series leads many Americans to believe CIA is guilty of at least complicity, if not conspiracy, in the outbreak of crack cocaine in America's cities. In more extreme versions of the story circulating on talk radio and the internet, the Agency was the instrument of a consistent strategy by the US Government to destroy the black community and keep black Americans from advancing. Denunciations of CIA''reminiscent of the 1970s''abound. Investigations are demanded and initiated. The Congress gets involved.
Dujmovic acknowledged that Webb ''did not state outright that CIA ran the drug trade or even knew about it.'' In fact, the agency's central complaint, according to the document, was over the graphics that accompanied the series, which suggested a link between the CIA and the crack scare, and Webb's description of the Contras as ''the CIA's army'' (despite the fact that the Contras were quite literally an armed, militant group not-so-secretly supported by the U.S., at war with the government of Nicaragua).
Dujmovic complained that Webb's series ''appeared with no warning,'' remarking that, for all his journalistic credentials, ''he apparently could not come up with a widely available and well-known telephone number for CIA Public Affairs.'' This was probably because Webb ''was uninterested in anything the Agency might have to say that would diminish the impact of his series,'' he wrote. (Webb later said that he did contact the CIA but that the agency would not return his calls; efforts to obtain CIA comment were not mentioned in the ''Dark Alliance'' series).
Dujmovic also pointed out that much of what was reported in ''Dark Alliance'' was not new. Indeed, in 1985, more than a decade before the series was published, Associated Press journalists Robert Parry and Brian Barger found that Contra groups had ''engaged in cocaine trafficking, in part to help finance their war against Nicaragua.'' In a move that foreshadowed Webb's experience, the Reagan White House launched ''a concerted behind-the-scenes campaign to besmirch the professionalism of Parry and Barger and to discredit all reporting on the contras and drugs,'' according to a 1997 article by Peter Kornbluh for the Columbia Journalism Review. ''Whether the campaign was the cause or not, coverage was minimal.''
Neverthess, a special senate subcommittee, chaired by then-senator John Kerry, investigated the AP's findings and, in 1989, released a 1,166-page report on covert U.S. operations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. It found ''considerable evidence'' that the Contras were linked to running drugs and guns '-- and that the U.S. government knew about it.
1983, Anti-Sandinista Contra forces move down the San Juan River which separates Nicaragua from Costa Rica.
From the subcommittee report:
On the basis of this evidence, it is clear that individuals who provided support for the Contras were involved in drug trafficking, the supply network of the Contras was used by drug trafficking organizations, and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers. In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring, or immediately thereafter.
The chief of the CIA's Central America Task Force was also quoted as saying, ''With respect to (drug trafficking) by the Resistance Forces'...it is not a couple of people. It is a lot of people.''
Despite such damning assessments, the subcommittee report received scant attention from the country's major newspapers. Seven years later, Webb would be the one to pick up the story. His articles distinguished themselves from the AP's reporting in part by connecting an issue that seemed distant to many U.S. readers '-- drug trafficking in Central America '-- to a deeply-felt domestic story, the impact of crack cocaine in California's urban, African American communities.
''Dark Alliance'' focused on the lives of three men involved in shipping cocaine to the U.S.: Ricky ''Freeway'' Ross, a legendary L.A. drug dealer; Oscar Danilo Bland"n Reyes, considered by the U.S. government to be Nicaragua's biggest cocaine dealer living in the United States; and Meneses Cantarero, a powerful Nicaraguan player who had allegedly recruited Bland"n to sell drugs in support of the counter-revolution. The series examined the relationship between the men, their impact on the drug market in California and elsewhere, and the disproportionate sentencing of African Americans under crack cocaine laws.
And while its content was not all new, the series marked the beginning of something that was: an in-depth investigation published outside the traditional mainstream media outlets and successfully promoted on the internet. More than a decade before Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, Webb showcased the power and reach of online journalism. Key documents were hosted on the San Jose Mercury News website, with hyperlinks, wiretap recordings and follow-up stories. The series was widely discussed on African American talk radio stations; on some days attracting more than one million readers to the newspaper's website. As Webb later remarked, ''you don't have be The New York Times or The Washington Post to bust a national story anymore.''
But newspapers like the Times and the Post seemed to spend far more time trying to poke holes in the series than in following up on the underreported scandal at its heart, the involvement of U.S.-backed proxy forces in international drug trafficking. The Los Angeles Times was especially aggressive. Scooped in its own backyard, the California paper assigned no fewer than 17 reporters to pick apart Webb's reporting. While employees denied an outright effort to attack the Mercury News, one of the 17 referred to it as the ''get Gary Webb team.'' Another said at the time, ''We're going to take away that guy's Pulitzer,'' according to Kornbluh's CJR piece. Within two months of the publication of ''Dark Alliance,'' the L.A. Times devoted more words to dismantling its competitor's breakout hit than comprised the series itself.
The CIA watched these developments closely, collaborating where it could with outlets who wanted to challenge Webb's reporting. Media inquiries had started almost immediately following the publication of ''Dark Alliance,'' and Dujmovic in ''Managing a Nightmare'' cites the CIA's success in discouraging ''one major news affiliate'' from covering the story. He also boasts that the agency effectively departed from its own longstanding policies in order to discredit the series. ''For example, in order to help a journalist working on a story that would undermine the Mercury News allegations, Public Affairs was able to deny any affiliation of a particular individual '-- which is a rare exception to the general policy that CIA does not comment on any individual's alleged CIA ties.''
The document chronicles the shift in public opinion as it moved in favor of the CIA, a trend that began about a month and a half after the series was published. ''That third week in September was a turning point in media coverage of this story,'' Dujmovic wrote, citing ''[r]espected columnists, including prominent blacks,'' along with the New York Daily News, the Baltimore Sun, The Weekly Standard and the Washington Post. The agency supplied the press, ''as well as former Agency officials, who were themselves representing the Agency in interviews with the media,'' with ''these more balanced stories,'' Dujmovic wrote. The Washington Post proved particularly useful. ''Because of the Post's national reputation, its articles especially were picked up by other papers, helping to create what the Associated Press called a 'firestorm of reaction' against the San Jose Mercury News.'' Over the month that followed, critical media coverage of the series (''balanced reporting'') far outnumbered supportive stories, a trend the CIA credited to the Post, The New York Times, ''and especially the Los Angeles Times.'' Webb's editors began to distance themselves from their reporter.
By the end of October, two months after ''Dark Alliance'' was published, ''the tone of the entire CIA-drug story had changed,'' Dujmovic was pleased to report. ''Most press coverage included, as a routine matter, the now-widespread criticism of the Mercury News allegations.''
''This success has to be in relative terms,'' Dujmovic wrote, summing up the episode. ''In the world of public relations, as in war, avoiding a rout in the face of hostile multitudes can be considered a success.''
Artwork that accompanied the original Dark Alliance series published in the San Jose Mercury News.
There's no question that ''Dark Alliance'' included flaws, which the CIA was able to exploit.
In his CJR piece, Kornbluh said the series was ''problematically sourced'' and criticized it for ''repeatedly promised evidence that, on close reading, it did not deliver.'' It failed to definitively connect the story's key players to the CIA, he noted, and there were inconsistencies in Webb's timeline of events.
But Kornbluh also uncovered problems with the retaliatory reports described as ''balanced'' by the CIA. In the case of the L.A. Times, he wrote, the paper ''stumbled into some of the same problems of hyperbole, selectivity, and credibility that it was attempting to expose'' while ignoring declassified evidence (also neglected by the New York Times and the Washington Post) that lent credibility to Webb's thesis. ''Clearly, there was room to advance the contra/drug/CIA story rather than simply denounce it,'' Kornbluh wrote.
The Mercury News was partially responsible ''for the sometimes distorted public furor the stories generated,'' Kornbluh said, but also achieved ''something that neither the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, nor The New York Times had been willing or able to do '-- revisit a significant story that had been inexplicably abandoned by the mainstream press, report a new dimension to it, and thus put it back on the national agenda where it belongs.''
In October, the story of Gary Webb will reach a national moviegoing audience, likely reviving old questions about his reporting and the outrage it ignited. Director Michael Cuesta's film, Kill the Messenger, stars Jeremy Renner as the hard-charging investigative reporter and borrows its title from a 2006 biography written by award-winning investigative journalist Nick Schou, who worked as a consultant on the script.
Discussing the newly disclosed ''Managing a Nightmare'' document, Schou says it squares with what he found while doing his own reporting. Rather than some dastardly, covert plot to destroy (or, as some went so far as to suggest, murder) Webb, Schou posits that the journalist was ultimately undone by the petty jealousies of the modern media world. The CIA ''didn't really need to lift a finger to try to ruin Gary Webb's credibility,'' Schou told The Intercept. ''They just sat there and watched these journalists go after Gary like a bunch of piranhas.''
''They must have been delighted over at Langley, the way this all unfolded,'' Schou added.
At least one journalist who helped lead the campaign to discredit Webb, feels remorse for what he did. As Schou reported for L.A. Weekly, in a 2013 radio interview L.A. Times reporter Jesse Katz recalled the episode, saying, ''As an L.A. Times reporter, we saw this series in the San Jose Mercury News and kind of wonder[ed] how legit it was and kind of put it under a microscope. And we did it in a way that most of us who were involved in it, I think, would look back on that and say it was overkill. We had this huge team of people at the L.A. Times and kind of piled on to one lone muckraker up in Northern California.''
Schou, too, readily concedes there were problems with Webb's reporting, but maintains that the most important components of his investigation stood up to scrutiny, only to be buried under the attacks from the nation's biggest papers.
''I think it's fair to take a look at the story objectively and say that it could have been better edited, it could have been packaged better, it would have been less inflammatory. And sure, maybe Gary could have, like, actually put in the story somewhere 'I called the CIA X-amount of times and they didn't respond.' That wasn't in there,'' he said. ''But these are all kind of minor things compared to the bigger picture, which is that he documented for the first time in the history of U.S. media how CIA complicity with Central American drug traffickers had actually impacted the sale of drugs north of the border in a very detailed, accurate story. And that's, I think, the take-away here.''
As for Webb's tragic death, Schou is certain it was a direct consequence of the smear campaign against him.
''As much as it's true that he suffered from a clinical depression for years and years '-- and even before 'Dark Alliance' to a certain extent '-- it's impossible to view what happened to him without understanding the death of his career as a result of this story,'' he explained. ''It was really the central defining event of his career and of his life.''
''Once you take away a journalist's credibility, that's all they have,'' Schou says. ''He was never able to recover from that.''
Kill the Messenger, a thriller based on Webb's story, will be released October 10.
In ''Managing a Nightmare,'' Dujmovic attributed the initial outcry over the ''Dark Alliance'' series to ''societal shortcomings'' that are not present in the spy agency.
''As a personal post-script, I would submit that ultimately the CIA-drug story says a lot more about American society on the eve of the millennium that [sic] it does about either the CIA or the media,'' he wrote. ''We live in somewhat coarse and emotional times''when large numbers of Americans do not adhere to the same standards of logic, evidence, or even civil discourse as those practiced by members of the CIA community.''
Webb obviously saw things differently. He reflected on his fall from grace in the 2002 book, Into the Buzzsaw. Prior to ''Dark Alliance,'' Webb said, ''I was winning awards, getting raises, lecturing college classes, appearing on TV shows, and judging journalism contests.''
''And then I wrote some stories that made me realize how sadly misplaced my bliss had been. The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job,'' Webb wrote. ''The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress.''
Photo: Webb: Bob Berg/Getty Images; Kill the Messenger: Chuck Zlotnick/Focus Features; Contras: Bill Gentile/Corbis
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Why I Hope to Die at 75 - The Atlantic
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:24
An argument that society and families'--and you'--will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly
Ezekiel J. EmanuelPhotos by Jake Chessum
September 17, 2014Seventy-five.
That's how long I want to live: 75 years.
This preference drives my daughters crazy. It drives my brothers crazy. My loving friends think I am crazy. They think that I can't mean what I say; that I haven't thought clearly about this, because there is so much in the world to see and do. To convince me of my errors, they enumerate the myriad people I know who are over 75 and doing quite well. They are certain that as I get closer to 75, I will push the desired age back to 80, then 85, maybe even 90.
I am sure of my position. Doubtless, death is a loss. It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children. In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.
But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.
By the time I reach 75, I will have lived a complete life. I will have loved and been loved. My children will be grown and in the midst of their own rich lives. I will have seen my grandchildren born and beginning their lives. I will have pursued my life's projects and made whatever contributions, important or not, I am going to make. And hopefully, I will not have too many mental and physical limitations. Dying at 75 will not be a tragedy. Indeed, I plan to have my memorial service before I die. And I don't want any crying or wailing, but a warm gathering filled with fun reminiscences, stories of my awkwardness, and celebrations of a good life. After I die, my survivors can have their own memorial service if they want'--that is not my business.
Let me be clear about my wish. I'm neither asking for more time than is likely nor foreshortening my life. Today I am, as far as my physician and I know, very healthy, with no chronic illness. I just climbed Kilimanjaro with two of my nephews. So I am not talking about bargaining with God to live to 75 because I have a terminal illness. Nor am I talking about waking up one morning 18 years from now and ending my life through euthanasia or suicide. Since the 1990s, I have actively opposed legalizing euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. People who want to die in one of these ways tend to suffer not from unremitting pain but from depression, hopelessness, and fear of losing their dignity and control. The people they leave behind inevitably feel they have somehow failed. The answer to these symptoms is not ending a life but getting help. I have long argued that we should focus on giving all terminally ill people a good, compassionate death'--not euthanasia or assisted suicide for a tiny minority.
I am talking about how long I want to live and the kind and amount of health care I will consent to after 75. Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. This has become so pervasive that it now defines a cultural type: what I call the American immortal.
I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop.
Americans may live longer than their parents, but they are likely to be more incapacitated. Does that sound very desirable? Not to me.What are those reasons? Let's begin with demography. We are growing old, and our older years are not of high quality. Since the mid-19th century, Americans have been living longer. In 1900, the life expectancy of an average American at birth was approximately 47 years. By 1930, it was 59.7; by 1960, 69.7; by 1990, 75.4. Today, a newborn can expect to live about 79 years. (On average, women live longer than men. In the United States, the gap is about five years. According to the National Vital Statistics Report, life expectancy for American males born in 2011 is 76.3, and for females it is 81.1.)
In the early part of the 20th century, life expectancy increased as vaccines, antibiotics, and better medical care saved more children from premature death and effectively treated infections. Once cured, people who had been sick largely returned to their normal, healthy lives without residual disabilities. Since 1960, however, increases in longevity have been achieved mainly by extending the lives of people over 60. Rather than saving more young people, we are stretching out old age.
The American immortal desperately wants to believe in the ''compression of morbidity.'' Developed in 1980 by James F. Fries, now a professor emeritus of medicine at Stanford, this theory postulates that as we extend our life spans into the 80s and 90s, we will be living healthier lives'--more time before we have disabilities, and fewer disabilities overall. The claim is that with longer life, an ever smaller proportion of our lives will be spent in a state of decline.
Compression of morbidity is a quintessentially American idea. It tells us exactly what we want to believe: that we will live longer lives and then abruptly die with hardly any aches, pains, or physical deterioration'--the morbidity traditionally associated with growing old. It promises a kind of fountain of youth until the ever-receding time of death. It is this dream'--or fantasy'--that drives the American immortal and has fueled interest and investment in regenerative medicine and replacement organs.
But as life has gotten longer, has it gotten healthier? Is 70 the new 50?
The author at his desk at the University of Pennsylvania. ''I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive.''Not quite. It is true that compared with their counterparts 50 years ago, seniors today are less disabled and more mobile. But over recent decades, increases in longevity seem to have been accompanied by increases in disability'--not decreases. For instance, using data from the National Health Interview Survey, Eileen Crimmins, a researcher at the University of Southern California, and a colleague assessed physical functioning in adults, analyzing whether people could walk a quarter of a mile; climb 10 stairs; stand or sit for two hours; and stand up, bend, or kneel without using special equipment. The results show that as people age, there is a progressive erosion of physical functioning. More important, Crimmins found that between 1998 and 2006, the loss of functional mobility in the elderly increased. In 1998, about 28 percent of American men 80 and older had a functional limitation; by 2006, that figure was nearly 42 percent. And for women the result was even worse: more than half of women 80 and older had a functional limitation. Crimmins's conclusion: There was an ''increase in the life expectancy with disease and a decrease in the years without disease. The same is true for functioning loss, an increase in expected years unable to function.''
This was confirmed by a recent worldwide assessment of ''healthy life expectancy'' conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The researchers included not just physical but also mental disabilities such as depression and dementia. They found not a compression of morbidity but in fact an expansion'--an ''increase in the absolute number of years lost to disability as life expectancy rises.''
How can this be? My father illustrates the situation well. About a decade ago, just shy of his 77th birthday, he began having pain in his abdomen. Like every good doctor, he kept denying that it was anything important. But after three weeks with no improvement, he was persuaded to see his physician. He had in fact had a heart attack, which led to a cardiac catheterization and ultimately a bypass. Since then, he has not been the same. Once the prototype of a hyperactive Emanuel, suddenly his walking, his talking, his humor got slower. Today he can swim, read the newspaper, needle his kids on the phone, and still live with my mother in their own house. But everything seems sluggish. Although he didn't die from the heart attack, no one would say he is living a vibrant life. When he discussed it with me, my father said, ''I have slowed down tremendously. That is a fact. I no longer make rounds at the hospital or teach.'' Despite this, he also said he was happy.
As Crimmins puts it, over the past 50 years, health care hasn't slowed the aging process so much as it has slowed the dying process. And, as my father demonstrates, the contemporary dying process has been elongated. Death usually results from the complications of chronic illness'--heart disease, cancer, emphysema, stroke, Alzheimer's, diabetes.
Take the example of stroke. The good news is that we have made major strides in reducing mortality from strokes. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of deaths from stroke declined by more than 20 percent. The bad news is that many of the roughly 6.8 million Americans who have survived a stroke suffer from paralysis or an inability to speak. And many of the estimated 13 million more Americans who have survived a ''silent'' stroke suffer from more-subtle brain dysfunction such as aberrations in thought processes, mood regulation, and cognitive functioning. Worse, it is projected that over the next 15 years there will be a 50 percent increase in the number of Americans suffering from stroke-induced disabilities. Unfortunately, the same phenomenon is repeated with many other diseases.
So American immortals may live longer than their parents, but they are likely to be more incapacitated. Does that sound very desirable? Not to me.
The situation becomes of even greater concern when we confront the most dreadful of all possibilities: living with dementia and other acquired mental disabilities. Right now approximately 5 million Americans over 65 have Alzheimer's; one in three Americans 85 and older has Alzheimer's. And the prospect of that changing in the next few decades is not good. Numerous recent trials of drugs that were supposed to stall Alzheimer's'--much less reverse or prevent it'--have failed so miserably that researchers are rethinking the whole disease paradigm that informed much of the research over the past few decades. Instead of predicting a cure in the foreseeable future, many are warning of a tsunami of dementia'--a nearly 300 percent increase in the number of older Americans with dementia by 2050.
The average age at which Nobel Prize''winning physicists make their discovery is 48.Half of people 80 and older with functional limitations. A third of people 85 and older with Alzheimer's. That still leaves many, many elderly people who have escaped physical and mental disability. If we are among the lucky ones, then why stop at 75? Why not live as long as possible?
Even if we aren't demented, our mental functioning deteriorates as we grow older. Age-associated declines in mental-processing speed, working and long-term memory, and problem-solving are well established. Conversely, distractibility increases. We cannot focus and stay with a project as well as we could when we were young. As we move slower with age, we also think slower.
It is not just mental slowing. We literally lose our creativity. About a decade ago, I began working with a prominent health economist who was about to turn 80. Our collaboration was incredibly productive. We published numerous papers that influenced the evolving debates around health-care reform. My colleague is brilliant and continues to be a major contributor, and he celebrated his 90th birthday this year. But he is an outlier'--a very rare individual.
American immortals operate on the assumption that they will be precisely such outliers. But the fact is that by 75, creativity, originality, and productivity are pretty much gone for the vast, vast majority of us. Einstein famously said, ''A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the age of 30 will never do so.'' He was extreme in his assessment. And wrong. Dean Keith Simonton, at the University of California at Davis, a luminary among researchers on age and creativity, synthesized numerous studies to demonstrate a typical age-creativity curve: creativity rises rapidly as a career commences, peaks about 20 years into the career, at about age 40 or 45, and then enters a slow, age-related decline. There are some, but not huge, variations among disciplines. Currently, the average age at which Nobel Prize''winning physicists make their discovery'--not get the prize'--is 48. Theoretical chemists and physicists make their major contribution slightly earlier than empirical researchers do. Similarly, poets tend to peak earlier than novelists do. Simonton's own study of classical composers shows that the typical composer writes his first major work at age 26, peaks at about age 40 with both his best work and maximum output, and then declines, writing his last significant musical composition at 52. (All the composers studied were male.)
This age-creativity relationship is a statistical association, the product of averages; individuals vary from this trajectory. Indeed, everyone in a creative profession thinks they will be, like my collaborator, in the long tail of the curve. There are late bloomers. As my friends who enumerate them do, we hold on to them for hope. It is true, people can continue to be productive past 75'--to write and publish, to draw, carve, and sculpt, to compose. But there is no getting around the data. By definition, few of us can be exceptions. Moreover, we need to ask how much of what ''Old Thinkers,'' as Harvey C. Lehman called them in his 1953 Age and Achievement, produce is novel rather than reiterative and repetitive of previous ideas. The age-creativity curve'--especially the decline'--endures across cultures and throughout history, suggesting some deep underlying biological determinism probably related to brain plasticity.
We can only speculate about the biology. The connections between neurons are subject to an intense process of natural selection. The neural connections that are most heavily used are reinforced and retained, while those that are rarely, if ever, used atrophy and disappear over time. Although brain plasticity persists throughout life, we do not get totally rewired. As we age, we forge a very extensive network of connections established through a lifetime of experiences, thoughts, feelings, actions, and memories. We are subject to who we have been. It is difficult, if not impossible, to generate new, creative thoughts, because we don't develop a new set of neural connections that can supersede the existing network. It is much more difficult for older people to learn new languages. All of those mental puzzles are an effort to slow the erosion of the neural connections we have. Once you squeeze the creativity out of the neural networks established over your initial career, they are not likely to develop strong new brain connections to generate innovative ideas'--except maybe in those Old Thinkers like my outlier colleague, who happen to be in the minority endowed with superior plasticity.
Maybe mental functions'--processing, memory, problem-solving'--slow at 75. Maybe creating something novel is very rare after that age. But isn't this a peculiar obsession? Isn't there more to life than being totally physically fit and continuing to add to one's creative legacy?
One university professor told me that as he has aged (he is 70) he has published less frequently, but he now contributes in other ways. He mentors students, helping them translate their passions into research projects and advising them on the balance of career and family. And people in other fields can do the same: mentor the next generation.
Mentorship is hugely important. It lets us transmit our collective memory and draw on the wisdom of elders. It is too often undervalued, dismissed as a way to occupy seniors who refuse to retire and who keep repeating the same stories. But it also illuminates a key issue with aging: the constricting of our ambitions and expectations.
We accommodate our physical and mental limitations. Our expectations shrink. Aware of our diminishing capacities, we choose ever more restricted activities and projects, to ensure we can fulfill them. Indeed, this constriction happens almost imperceptibly. Over time, and without our conscious choice, we transform our lives. We don't notice that we are aspiring to and doing less and less. And so we remain content, but the canvas is now tiny. The American immortal, once a vital figure in his or her profession and community, is happy to cultivate avocational interests, to take up bird watching, bicycle riding, pottery, and the like. And then, as walking becomes harder and the pain of arthritis limits the fingers' mobility, life comes to center around sitting in the den reading or listening to books on tape and doing crossword puzzles. And then '...
Maybe this is too dismissive. There is more to life than youthful passions focused on career and creating. There is posterity: children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But here, too, living as long as possible has drawbacks we often won't admit to ourselves. I will leave aside the very real and oppressive financial and caregiving burdens that many, if not most, adults in the so-called sandwich generation are now experiencing, caught between the care of children and parents. Our living too long places real emotional weights on our progeny.
Mentorship is hugely important. But it also illuminates a key issue with aging: the constricting of our ambitions and expectations.Unless there has been terrible abuse, no child wants his or her parents to die. It is a huge loss at any age. It creates a tremendous, unfillable hole. But parents also cast a big shadow for most children. Whether estranged, disengaged, or deeply loving, they set expectations, render judgments, impose their opinions, interfere, and are generally a looming presence for even adult children. This can be wonderful. It can be annoying. It can be destructive. But it is inescapable as long as the parent is alive. Examples abound in life and literature: Lear, the quintessential Jewish mother, the Tiger Mom. And while children can never fully escape this weight even after a parent dies, there is much less pressure to conform to parental expectations and demands after they are gone.
Living parents also occupy the role of head of the family. They make it hard for grown children to become the patriarch or matriarch. When parents routinely live to 95, children must caretake into their own retirement. That doesn't leave them much time on their own'--and it is all old age. When parents live to 75, children have had the joys of a rich relationship with their parents, but also have enough time for their own lives, out of their parents' shadows.
But there is something even more important than parental shadowing: memories. How do we want to be remembered by our children and grandchildren? We wish our children to remember us in our prime. Active, vigorous, engaged, animated, astute, enthusiastic, funny, warm, loving. Not stooped and sluggish, forgetful and repetitive, constantly asking ''What did she say?'' We want to be remembered as independent, not experienced as burdens.
At age 75 we reach that unique, albeit somewhat arbitrarily chosen, moment when we have lived a rich and complete life, and have hopefully imparted the right memories to our children. Living the American immortal's dream dramatically increases the chances that we will not get our wish'--that memories of vitality will be crowded out by the agonies of decline. Yes, with effort our children will be able to recall that great family vacation, that funny scene at Thanksgiving, that embarrassing faux pas at a wedding. But the most-recent years'--the years with progressing disabilities and the need to make caregiving arrangements'--will inevitably become the predominant and salient memories. The old joys have to be actively conjured up.
Of course, our children won't admit it. They love us and fear the loss that will be created by our death. And a loss it will be. A huge loss. They don't want to confront our mortality, and they certainly don't want to wish for our death. But even if we manage not to become burdens to them, our shadowing them until their old age is also a loss. And leaving them'--and our grandchildren'--with memories framed not by our vivacity but by our frailty is the ultimate tragedy.
The author at base camp with two nephews this summer, as the three climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (Courtesy of Ezekiel J. Emanuel)Seventy-five. That is all I want to live. But if I am not going to engage in euthanasia or suicide, and I won't, is this all just idle chatter? Don't I lack the courage of my convictions?
No. My view does have important practical implications. One is personal and two involve policy.
Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won't actively end my life. But I won't try to prolong it, either. Today, when the doctor recommends a test or treatment, especially one that will extend our lives, it becomes incumbent upon us to give a good reason why we don't want it. The momentum of medicine and family means we will almost invariably get it.
My attitude flips this default on its head. I take guidance from what Sir William Osler wrote in his classic turn-of-the-century medical textbook, The Principles and Practice of Medicine: ''Pneumonia may well be called the friend of the aged. Taken off by it in an acute, short, not often painful illness, the old man escapes those 'cold gradations of decay' so distressing to himself and to his friends.''
My Osler-inspired philosophy is this: At 75 and beyond, I will need a good reason to even visit the doctor and take any medical test or treatment, no matter how routine and painless. And that good reason is not ''It will prolong your life.'' I will stop getting any regular preventive tests, screenings, or interventions. I will accept only palliative'--not curative'--treatments if I am suffering pain or other disability.
Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won't actively end my life. But I won't try to prolong it, either.This means colonoscopies and other cancer-screening tests are out'--and before 75. If I were diagnosed with cancer now, at 57, I would probably be treated, unless the prognosis was very poor. But 65 will be my last colonoscopy. No screening for prostate cancer at any age. (When a urologist gave me a PSA test even after I said I wasn't interested and called me with the results, I hung up before he could tell me. He ordered the test for himself, I told him, not for me.) After 75, if I develop cancer, I will refuse treatment. Similarly, no cardiac stress test. No pacemaker and certainly no implantable defibrillator. No heart-valve replacement or bypass surgery. If I develop emphysema or some similar disease that involves frequent exacerbations that would, normally, land me in the hospital, I will accept treatment to ameliorate the discomfort caused by the feeling of suffocation, but will refuse to be hauled off.
What about simple stuff? Flu shots are out. Certainly if there were to be a flu pandemic, a younger person who has yet to live a complete life ought to get the vaccine or any antiviral drugs. A big challenge is antibiotics for pneumonia or skin and urinary infections. Antibiotics are cheap and largely effective in curing infections. It is really hard for us to say no. Indeed, even people who are sure they don't want life-extending treatments find it hard to refuse antibiotics. But, as Osler reminds us, unlike the decays associated with chronic conditions, death from these infections is quick and relatively painless. So, no to antibiotics.
Obviously, a do-not-resuscitate order and a complete advance directive indicating no ventilators, dialysis, surgery, antibiotics, or any other medication'--nothing except palliative care even if I am conscious but not mentally competent'--have been written and recorded. In short, no life-sustaining interventions. I will die when whatever comes first takes me.
As for the two policy implications, one relates to using life expectancy as a measure of the quality of health care. Japan has the third-highest life expectancy, at 84.4 years (behind Monaco and Macau), while the United States is a disappointing No. 42, at 79.5 years. But we should not care about catching up with'--or measure ourselves against'--Japan. Once a country has a life expectancy past 75 for both men and women, this measure should be ignored. (The one exception is increasing the life expectancy of some subgroups, such as black males, who have a life expectancy of just 72.1 years. That is dreadful, and should be a major focus of attention.) Instead, we should look much more carefully at children's health measures, where the U.S. lags, and shamefully: in preterm deliveries before 37 weeks (currently one in eight U.S. births), which are correlated with poor outcomes in vision, with cerebral palsy, and with various problems related to brain development; in infant mortality (the U.S. is at 6.17 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, while Japan is at 2.13 and Norway is at 2.48); and in adolescent mortality (where the U.S. has an appalling record'--at the bottom among high-income countries).
A second policy implication relates to biomedical research. We need more research on Alzheimer's, the growing disabilities of old age, and chronic conditions'--not on prolonging the dying process.
Many people, especially those sympathetic to the American immortal, will recoil and reject my view. They will think of every exception, as if these prove that the central theory is wrong. Like my friends, they will think me crazy, posturing'--or worse. They might condemn me as being against the elderly.
Again, let me be clear: I am not saying that those who want to live as long as possible are unethical or wrong. I am certainly not scorning or dismissing people who want to live on despite their physical and mental limitations. I'm not even trying to convince anyone I'm right. Indeed, I often advise people in this age group on how to get the best medical care available in the United States for their ailments. That is their choice, and I want to support them.
We avoid constantly thinking about the purpose of our lives and the mark we will leave. Is making money, chasing the dream, all worth it?And I am not advocating 75 as the official statistic of a complete, good life in order to save resources, ration health care, or address public-policy issues arising from the increases in life expectancy. What I am trying to do is delineate my views for a good life and make my friends and others think about how they want to live as they grow older. I want them to think of an alternative to succumbing to that slow constriction of activities and aspirations imperceptibly imposed by aging. Are we to embrace the ''American immortal'' or my ''75 and no more'' view?
I think the rejection of my view is literally natural. After all, evolution has inculcated in us a drive to live as long as possible. We are programmed to struggle to survive. Consequently, most people feel there is something vaguely wrong with saying 75 and no more. We are eternally optimistic Americans who chafe at limits, especially limits imposed on our own lives. We are sure we are exceptional.
I also think my view conjures up spiritual and existential reasons for people to scorn and reject it. Many of us have suppressed, actively or passively, thinking about God, heaven and hell, and whether we return to the worms. We are agnostics or atheists, or just don't think about whether there is a God and why she should care at all about mere mortals. We also avoid constantly thinking about the purpose of our lives and the mark we will leave. Is making money, chasing the dream, all worth it? Indeed, most of us have found a way to live our lives comfortably without acknowledging, much less answering, these big questions on a regular basis. We have gotten into a productive routine that helps us ignore them. And I don't purport to have the answers.
But 75 defines a clear point in time: for me, 2032. It removes the fuzziness of trying to live as long as possible. Its specificity forces us to think about the end of our lives and engage with the deepest existential questions and ponder what we want to leave our children and grandchildren, our community, our fellow Americans, the world. The deadline also forces each of us to ask whether our consumption is worth our contribution. As most of us learned in college during late-night bull sessions, these questions foster deep anxiety and discomfort. The specificity of 75 means we can no longer just continue to ignore them and maintain our easy, socially acceptable agnosticism. For me, 18 more years with which to wade through these questions is preferable to years of trying to hang on to every additional day and forget the psychic pain they bring up, while enduring the physical pain of an elongated dying process.
Seventy-five years is all I want to live. I want to celebrate my life while I am still in my prime. My daughters and dear friends will continue to try to convince me that I am wrong and can live a valuable life much longer. And I retain the right to change my mind and offer a vigorous and reasoned defense of living as long as possible. That, after all, would mean still being creative after 75.
Ezekiel Emanuel is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and heads the Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
Copyright (C) 2014 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All Rights Reserved.
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NA-Tech
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Opera is running on most smart tv's
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Patch the shellshock bug on obsoleted Ubuntu systems with this script. #lifesaver
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 01:59
There's also a solution of updating your sources.list to the newest one and then using apt-get to upgrade only bash. It's really quick and I've written an article about it. Here's what you basically do:
Upgrade to latest Ubuntu 'trusty' apt-get repositories (you might also have to change old-repositories.ubuntu.com URLs if you use them, check linked article):
sudo sed -i 's/YOUR_OS_CODENAME/trusty/g' /etc/apt/sources.listUpgrade bash / apply fix:
sudo apt-get updatesudo apt-get install --only-upgrade bashAnd possibly change back apt-get repositories.
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Tech giants move to protect wearables - Ashley Gold - POLITICO.com
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:21
Apple tried to assure Congress the data passing through its software won't be sold. | AP Photo
CloseTechnology giants poised to reap billions from selling ''wearables'' and other personal health technology are furiously lobbying Capitol Hill with a strong message: Don't regulate our Fitbits.
The Affordable Care Act calls for patients to become bigger players in their own health, and companies that make personal health devices want Medicare to incentivize doctors who encourage patients to use them.
Continue Reading
As the market for the devices grows, however, the companies that make them and collect the data are coming under increasing scrutiny over privacy and security issues, because everything from heartbeats to insulin deficiencies will be stored on the devices and possibly on the cloud. Under the old Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), these devices '' Fitbits, Jawbones and the like '' aren't covered. But some regulators and lawmakers believe that at least some of them should be regulated like other medical devices.
The tech industry is trying to stay one step ahead of the regulators, and Apple is leading the way.
(POLITICO Pro: Insurers' bigger role suggests confidence in Obamacare)
Apple drew attention to the burgeoning consumer-generated health data scene this month with the introduction of HealthKit, which serves as an iPhone dashboard for consumer health and medical apps. Over the summer, Apple's top lobbyist Amber Cottle called on members of the Senate and the House on ''issues related to consumer health data,'' according to a disclosure filed in late July.
Earlier this month Bud Tribble, Apple's chief technology officer, and Afshad Mistri, its health product manager, briefed the House Energy and Commerce Committee on how the company intends to store and use consumer health data.
Apple has tried to assure Congress and consumers that the health information passing through its software won't be sold and will be tremendously difficult to hack. But studies of existing wearable health apps have shown they frequently share information with data brokers and in most cases have few privacy controls.
The Federal Trade Commission is worried about consumer-generated health data. On Sept. 15, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez reiterated a call she has made since 2012 for Congress to pass baseline privacy legislation that would cover wearables and consumer health data.
''Wearable devices can help consumers stay fit and healthy,'' Ramirez told POLITICO. ''But as these devices become more popular, it's especially important that they keep our health information private and secure.''
(POLITICO Pro: Comcast accuses Time Warner Cable deal critics of 'extortion')
Apple's entry made a splash but other companies have lobbied for months to make the regulatory environment friendly for their products and services.
Intel Corp., which makes the chips that power many devices and recently purchased Basis Science, which makes wearable technologies for health and wellness. Intel spent $1.45 million lobbying earlier this year, according to a Senate filing. The topics included telehealth wearables, remote patient monitoring and the inclusion of patient-generated data in meaningful use Stage 3. HHS' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT says it will issue the requirements for that stage of the electronic health records stimulus program this winter.
Intel also lobbied for programs that incentivize researchers to use personalized medicine and genetic profiles in their drug studies. A major Obamacare-created program called the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is incorporating this type of data in the programs it funds.
Alice Borrelli, director of global health care policy for Intel, said that although privacy is a ''huge concern'' for patient-generated data, she doesn't see the need for legislation just yet.
''Right now, we need to collect more information and see how it's being used, and if there are violations, to address those, rather than have a preemptive lawmaking,'' Borrelli said.
Others argue that FTC and FDA should keep their hands off wearable data because it doesn't require the same level of protection as traditional medical records, which are protected by HIPAA.
''You can't treat FitBit health data the same way you treat your BlueCross BlueShield data,'' said Carl M. Szabo of Netchoice, an e-commerce trade association that represents leading tech companies. ''Health apps are not a one-size-fits-all category.''
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Vaccine$
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Merck's Former Doctor Predicts that Gardasil will Become the Greatest Medical Scandal of All Time | Health Impact News
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 15:02
Health Impact News Editor
Dr. Dalbergue (pictured above), a former pharmaceutical industry physician with Gardasil manufacturer Merck, was interviewed in the April 2014 issue of the French magazine Principes de Sant(C) (Health Principles). You can read it here (in French): http://ddata.over-blog.com/ xxxyyy/3/27/09/71/2012-2013/ Juin-2013/Dr-Dalbergue'' Gardasil''plus-grand-scandale- de-tous-les-tem.pdf
Excerpts:
The full extent of the Gardasil scandal needs to be assessed: everyone knew when this vaccine was released on the American market that it would prove to be worthless! Diane Harper, a major opinion leader in the United States, was one of the first to blow the whistle, pointing out the fraud and scam of it all.
Gardasil is useless and costs a fortune! In addition, decision-makers at all levels are aware of it!
Cases of Guillain-Barr(C) syndrome, paralysis of the lower limbs, vaccine-induced MS and vaccine-induced encephalitis can be found, whatever the vaccine.
I predict that Gardasil will become the greatest medical scandal of all times because at some point in time, the evidence will add up to prove that this vaccine, technical and scientific feat that it may be, has absolutely no effect on cervical cancer and that all the very many adverse effects which destroy lives and even kill, serve no other purpose than to generate profit for the manufacturers.
There is far too much financial interest for these medicines to be withdrawn.
As we have reported in many previous articles here at Health Impact News, the HPV vaccine has become a huge international controversy, while enjoying widespread mainstream media and medical acceptance here in the United States. Any mainstream media reporter who dares to report on the controversy surrounding Gardasil faces ridicule and a potential loss of their career. (Just ask Katie Couric.)
U.S. law prevents anyone from suing Merck or any other vaccine manufacturer as the U.S. Congress gave them total immunity from civil lawsuits in 1986, and that legal protection which gives them a free pass to put as many vaccines into the market as they want to, was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2011. In addition, the National Institute of Health receives royalties from the sales of Gardasil. So don't expect objective, true information from the U.S. mainstream media, or your U.S. doctor.
But Merck does not have the same legal protection outside the U.S., and it is here we must find information regarding lawsuits over injuries and deaths related to Gardasil.
SaneVax, Inc.
Press Release from Mich¨le Rivasi, MEP France
Mich¨le Rivasi, MEP Vice-Chair of the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, organized a press conference in Paris on April 2, the topic was Gardasil, a vaccine from Sanofi-Pasteur MSD against certain human papillomavirus responsible for cancer.
In the space of seven years, nearly 2 million young women aged 13-26 years received at least one dose of this vaccine in France, reimbursed at 65% by the Social Security '... even though the evidence of its effectiveness has not yet been proven.`
For Mich¨le Rivasi, it is likely that clinical trials of Gardasil were not conducted following the rules of science. Normally, to evaluate safety, the treatment must be compared with placebo. However, in the case of this vaccine, the ''placebo'' that was used was the vaccine adjuvant itself.
The French Agency for Sanitary Safety of Health Products (AFSSAPS) registered Gardasil on its list of drugs under surveillance after the crisis of the Mediator.
Today in Europe, many young women, aged 18-24 years without medical history are affected with very debilitating diseases that could be attributed directly to vaccination. Oc(C)ane Bourguignon was 15 when she received two injections of Gardasil. Within months she was hospitalized for multiple sclerosis. She temporarily lost her sight and the use of her legs. Her father, Jean-Jacques, was present at the conference with their lawyer, Jean-Christophe Coubris, together with the mother of Orianne Lochu, another young victim.
Today, many whistleblowers, researchers, physicians and health professionals are against the objective set in the Cancer Plan announced by Fran§ois Hollande on February 4, which is to double the ''coverage ''of vaccination of young girls with Gardasil until 2021 because:
- Cervical cancer in France is no longer a public health problem (1.7 % of all cancers)
- The vaccine is only effective against infections caused by some strains of the virus: Gardasil contains antigens only for strains of type 6, 11, 16 and 18 and the other vaccine, Cervarix, for 2 strains. However, infections with strains 16 and 18, established as scarecrows by manufacturers, seem rarer in Europe. Note that there are more than 100 strains, including 18 considered high-risk oncogenic
- There is no evidence to date demonstrating efficacy of the vaccine against the occurrence of cervical cancer! 20 years back would still be necessary to obtain such evidence, however, the duration of vaccine protection is limited in time.
- The presence of aluminum adjuvant is very problematic, as shown by scientists Chris Shaw and Lucija Tomljenovic, from the University of British Columbia, and Professor Authier and Gherardi, from Hospital Henri-Mondor (Cr(C)teil), all present at the conference. The aluminum migrates into the body and reaches the brain, where it accumulates. There are many adverse effects noted: death, convulsions, syncope, Guillain-Barr(C) syndrome, transverse myelitis, facial paralysis, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases, pulmonary embolisms, myofasciitis macrophages, pancreatitis'...
- The effectiveness of conventional smears to detect cervical cancer has been proven.
- Deal with these risks. Austria refused to include these vaccines in the vaccination schedule and Japan no longer recommends this vaccination; many challenges exist in other countries.
- A dose of Gardasil costs 123.44 euros in France, or 370.32 euros for 3 injections required, this is far too expensive. This cost could increase if boosters were necessary, because the duration of protection of initial vaccination is still not known. The period of ''catch-up'' could generate a cost to social security of 926 M° euros. In subsequent years the annual cost would be '‚¬ 148 M °.
-An indecent campaign of communication was engaged years ago to promote this vaccine: lobbying campaigns and aggressive advertising are conducted by laboratories that play on the fears and guilt, especially of mothers: ''Protect your daughter, this is what is more natural for a mother.'' One of these commercials has also been banned by the Medicines Agency in August 2010 for ''lack of objectivity ''.
For all of these reasons, MEP Mich¨le Rivasi calls for a moratorium: member states must stop recommending this vaccine until more studies are conducted on Gardasil, its effectiveness and dangers.
[Note from SaneVax: There are currently 28 member states in the European Union. This call for a moratorium was addressed to all of them.]
Read the full press release here: http://sanevax.org/gardasil-international-scandal/
More information about Gardasil.Vaccine Epidemicby Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland J.D.
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Chikungunya virus spreads from Caribbean across Latin America | Fox News Latino
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 05:14
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) '' An excruciating mosquito-borne illness that arrived less than a year ago in the Americas is raging across the region, leaping from the Caribbean to the Central and South American mainland, and infecting more than 1 million people. Some cases already have emerged in the United States.
While the disease, called chikungunya, usually is not fatal, the epidemic has overwhelmed hospitals, cut economic productivity and caused its sufferers days of pain and misery. And the count of victims is soaring.
In El Salvador, health officials report nearly 30,000 suspected cases, up from 2,300 at the beginning of August, and hospitals are filled with people with the telltale signs of the illness, including joint pain so severe it can be hard to walk.
"The pain is unbelievable," said Catalino Castillo, a 39-year-old seeking treatment at a San Salvador hospital. "It's been 10 days and it won't let up."
Venezuelan officials reported at least 1,700 cases as of Friday, and the number is expected to rise. Neighboring Colombia has around 4,800 cases but the health ministry projects there will be nearly 700,000 by early 2015. Brazil has now recorded its first locally transmitted cases, which are distinct from those involving people who contracted the virus while traveling in an infected area.
Hardest hit has been the Dominican Republic, with half the cases reported in the Americas. According to the Pan American Health Organization, chikungunya has spread to at least two dozen countries and territories across the Western Hemisphere since the first case was registered in French St. Martin in late 2013.
There have been a few locally transmitted cases in the U.S., all in Florida, and it has the potential to spread farther, experts say, but Central and South America are particularly vulnerable. The chief factors are the prevalence of the main vector for the virus, the aedes aegypti mosquito, and the lack of immunity in a population that hasn't been hit with chikungunya in modern medical history, said Scott C. Weaver, director of the Institute for Human Infections and Immunity at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
"There are going to be some very large populations at risk down there, much larger than the Caribbean," Weaver said.
Chikungunya is a word that comes from the Makonde language of Tanzania in eastern Africa and translates roughly as "that which bends up," in reference to the severe arthritis-like ache in joints that causes sufferers to contort with pain. It's usually accompanied by a spiking fever and headache. There have been only 113 deaths linked to the region's outbreak, according to the most recent data, but chikungunya can be crippling.
Herman Slater, a 60-year-old gardener in Jamaica's capital of Kingston, said he was laid out for almost two weeks this month with unimaginable joint pain, hammer-pounding headaches and fevers that came in waves.
"I tell you, I was surprised by how painful it was. It was taking me five minutes to get out of bed, and then I could hardly even walk," Slater said. "My hands were so bad I couldn't open a bottle, couldn't comb my hair. Every night I was wet from sweat."
In acute cases, pain can last for months. Joanna Rivas, who works as a maid in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo, said she has had joint pain since May, and her 12-year-old daughter's case is so severe the girl can't hold her pen at school. Both have been taking the pain reliever acetaminophen, the main treatment for chikungunya, which has no cure or vaccine.
Besides the suffering, chikungunya has caused economic damage with the cost of providing treatment and controlling mosquitoes and by absenteeism from work. A study by the Universidad Eugenio Maria de Hostos in the Dominican Republic found nearly 13 percent of businesses said they had people miss work because of chikungunya in June.
Authorities throughout the region have been spraying pesticide and encouraging people to remove water containers where mosquitoes can breed. Oxitec, a British company that has tested genetically modified aedys aegypti to combat dengue in Brazil, Cayman Islands and Panama, says it has received a surge of interest since the start of the outbreak.
Chikungunya, which has been known for decades in parts of Africa and Asia, is transmitted when a mosquito bites an infected person and then feeds on someone else. It may have found fertile ground in Latin America and the Caribbean because many people are outside in the daytime, when aedes aegypti bite, or lack adequate screens on their windows.
In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Erin Staples of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said access to air conditioning to keep mosquitoes at bay might also be a factor. During an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue in 1999 along the Texas-Mexico border, aedes aegypti were three times as abundant on the U.S. side but the number of people infected with dengue was twice as high on the Mexican side.
Conditions vary widely in the region. Haiti, where many people live in flimsy shacks with little protection from mosquitoes, has been hit hard. In Venezuela, air conditioning is widespread but the country has a shortage of insect repellent and pesticide sprayers due to the country's economic problems.
Staples said past outbreaks have been known to affect around 30 percent of a population, so there is room for the epidemic to grow, although it's too early to accurately project how many will get sick or whether chikungunya will become endemic to the region like dengue.
The good news is that people seem to acquire immunity to all major strains.
"We do believe currently that if someone is unfortunate enough to get infected, they should not be infected again," Staples said.
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Dear Rob Schneider: Please Shut Up About Vaccines | TIME
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 01:54
TIMEOpinionhealthDear Rob Schneider: Please Shut Up About VaccinesThe doctor is in the house: by all means, take vaccine advice from this guyState Farm dumps ad campaign after Deuce Bigalow's ignorant remarks about vaccinationsIf there's one thing I regret about the job I've done raising my kids, it's that when it was time to get them their vaccines, I did not heed the wisdom of a man who is currently filming a TV series with a storyline titled ''The Penis Episode, Part 2.'' And if that doesn't convince you about this deep thinker's credibility, consider that his earlier body of work includes such powerful pieces as The Hot Chick, The Beverly Hillbillies movie and Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo.
How's that for a guy worth listening to? Not.
We are talking, of course, about Rob Schneider, the Saturday Night Live alum who parlayed a single character'--Richard Laymer, the obnoxious office guy'--into a career of small-bore, dropped pants, toilet joke movies, plus the occasional cartoon voiceover. Nothing wrong with those kinds of projects; they're honest work and the checks generally clear.
But Schneider is at the center of a much-deserved storm this week, after State Farm Insurance announced it was pulling a new ad campaign featuring the comedian in a reprise of his office guy role, since'--while the company whose job it is to help people live better, healthier, more fiscally secure lives wasn't looking'--its newly minted star has been popping off about (deep sigh here) the hidden dangers of vaccines.
Take this observation from Dr. Bigalow, in a widely circulated video shot when he was campaigning against a California law that would have made it harder for parents to refuse vaccines:
''The efficacy of these shots have not been proven. And the toxicity of these things'--we're having more and more side effects. We're having more and more autism.''
Or this one: ''You can't make people do procedures that they don't want. It can't be the government saying that. It's against the Nuremberg Laws.''
It's actually worth watching the entire jaw-dropping display, because Schneider somehow manages to thread the extraordinary needle of being wrong on every single point he makes. Remember in high school when they used to say it was impossible to score a zero on the SATs because you get a few points just for writing your name? Schneider, presumably, would have left that part blank.
And then there are the cringe-worthy Twitter posts suggesting he has been denied his freedom of speech:
"If the Freedom of Speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter,"George Washington
'-- Rob Schneider (@RobSchneider) September 24, 2014
For the record Rob, no, there is no government conspiracy to force vaccines on kids. No, doctors are not bought off by big pharma. No, vaccines are not filled with toxins. And no, this is not a free speech issue'--it's a public health, common-sense and, not for nothing, business issue, since State Farm, like any company, is free to sack a spokesperson who makes them look very, very bad. Simply quoting George Washington does not mean any of the great man's wisdom rubs off on you. It just means you looked up a quote.
But as long as we're in the quote game, how about one of your own, from your video harangue: ''The government,'' you said, ''can't make decisions about what I do to my body.'' On this score, you're right. So please do continue making movies that allow you to appear on posters with a towel on your head, seaweed cream on your face and cucumbers on your nipples. Maybe George Washington would have been pleased with you. State Farm? Not so much these days.
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Mystery of Death Solved: DMT is the Key
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 22:11
www.lightworker.com
We now know what happens at death:Resting comfortably in the recessed center of your brain, encased snugly within the corpus colossum, wrapped tightly between the dual-hemispheres of spongy nerve bundles, encased in the quarter-inch-thick armor-plating of skull, finally surrounded by your main and expressive organs with which you face the world, exists a tiny gland, long considered vestigial (serving little to no function), that holds the key to our interpretation of existence as we know it. I'm speaking of the pineal gland. This minute spec, roughly the size of a grain of rice, is more heavily protected than even the heart with its literal cage of protection, because if something happens to your heart you die, but if something happens to your pineal, you can't go to heaven.
Never heard of it?This pineal gland has influences on both melatonin and pinoline, but our interest is in the gland's role in the creation of dimethyltriptamine, or DMT. This chemical, DMT, may well be the reason we, as a species, are capable of sentience itself.
I'm not a chemist; break it down.First, DMT is a narcotic, schedule 1. It's scheduled as a highly illegal substance all over the planet, largely because DMT is one of the most potent psychedelics known to man. Intensely powerful. Yet, every day your pineal produces this stuff.
Secondly, DMT is the chemical that elicits dreams. That's right. Each night as you drift to slumber-land, not only are you tripping on a psychedelic, but you're also premeditatedly committing a federal offence; possession or consumption of DMT could land you a felony charge.
And third, this illegal gateway to dreamland is released in massive amounts at the moment of death. When I say massive, if a water glass of DMT evokes a dream, at death, an equivalent river excretes into your system. Any druggies reading this?
How have I not heard of this before?Well, the pineal's significance is neither a new idea, nor an unfounded one. Spanning the expanse of human civilization runs an undercurrent of worshipful adoration to the almighty pineal, more widely known as the inner eye, all-seeing eye, or the like '' considered the body's gateway to the soul.
www.magicdinero.com
Egypt had its Eye of Horus (now emblazoned on the US dollar bill). Hindu culture has its bottu (the familiar forehead dot). Even the ancient art of yoga recognizes the brow chakra, or ajna, as blossoming at the pineal, or third eye. That's only to name a few.
The hell you say! The truth behind the cult of the pineal has gone largely unnoticed collectively, though the symbols themselves have been downright ubiquitous. Tibetan Buddhists, as well, have long carried a belief that the soul enters the fetus precisely 49 days after conception. Likely, reading this, you are not a Tibetan Buddhist '' their numbers fall less than 20 million '' and whether you subscribe to an eternal soul or not isn't the point, because day 49 is the moment the pineal is formed in a fledgling brain.
Great, so what does all this have to do with death?Well, on an experiential level, shrooms distort perception, coke smacks you with raw energy, ecstasy grants superpower orgasms (ladies), and most notably, weed slows time '' time distortion seems to go hand in hand with most psychedelics as well '' so time passage then is totally subjective. Ask Einstein.
Meanwhile, among DMT smokers, out of the macrocosm of potential experiences, two major themes emerge nearly universally:
1) A stretching of time '' they experience the hectic 6 or 7 minutes as a near eternity or lifetime. Imagine Cobb's 50 year night in Inception.
2) They experience religious incarnations with a tilt toward whatever sect the subject is affiliated with.
Here's the clincher: after death, while this massive psychedelic dose courses through the brain, there is this mysterious several minutes where the brain still functions. With our new perspective, however, we at last understand what these minutes are'...
These few minutes after death, subjectively, are experienced as an eternity, engrossed in the DMT universe. Also, the trip itself is a highly personal experience dictated by the deepest realms of the subconscious.
Therefore, whatever at your deepest core you expect to happen when you die'... Congratulations, that's what'll happen'... Every religion was right.
Mystery solved. Peace on earth.
If you're resourceful, you can find this stuff and try it. The bigger question now is: do you really want to know where you'll be spending eternity?
Sources:
Vestigial
Pineal Gland
University of Wisconsin: Creation of DMT
Medical Hypothesis: Endogenous Hallucinogenics Central to Nervous System
Medical Hypothesis: Visions of Dream Sleep
DMT the Spirit Molecule
Erowid N,N DMT Legal Status
Third Eye
Third Eye Images and Symbols Around the World
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
The Universe-Solved!
Theory of Relativity
Erowid: DMT Experience Reports
PopSci: The First Few Minutes After Death
Baseline of Health Foundation: Brain Functions Even After Death
About Jesse Davis Jr.Always on the go in no particular direction, I get this wild gypsy hankering every few months to am-skray the hell outta dodge to greener pastures, but I'm starting to suspect each is the same shade. So my true home, other than wherever I lay my hat, has always been amongst you people, the miscreants of the inter-web. Hi friends.
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Wealthy L.A. Schools' Vaccination Rates Are as Low as South Sudan's - NationalJournal.com
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 23:36
When actors play doctors on TV, that does not make them actual doctors. And that does not mean they should scour some Internet boards, confront their pediatricians, and demand fewer vaccinations for their children, as some Hollywood parents in Los Angeles have apparently been doing.
The Hollywood Reporter has a great investigation for which it sought the vaccination records of elementary schools all over Los Angeles County. They found that vaccination rates in elite neighborhoods like Santa Monica and Beverly Hills have tanked, and the incidence of whooping cough there has skyrocketed.
Here's a map of the schools with dangerously low vaccination rates (an interactive version is on their site). Note how the schools cluster together as little red dots all over the wealthy, crazy Westside'--not unlike crimson spots on a measles patient:
+
(The Hollywood Reporter)
Parents in these schools are submitting a form called a "personal belief exemption," which states that they are not vaccinating their kids due to "a diffuse constellation of unproven anxieties, from allergies and asthma to eczema and seizures," reporter Gary Baum writes.
In some schools, up to 60 to 70 percent of parents have filed these PBEs, indicating a vaccination rate as low as that of Chad or South Sudan. Unlike in Santa Monica, however, parents in South Sudan have trouble getting their children vaccinated because of an ongoing civil war.
And lo, it is these very same L.A. neighborhoods that are experiencing a resurgence of diseases like whooping cough, otherwise known as pertussis. Measles cases have also hit a high in California this year.
To be clear, not all PBEs are evidence of an anti-vaxxer parent. Schools require either a PBE or an up-to-date shot record for school attendance, and sometimes parents submit them if they simply aren't able to get the shots done on time. Still, the L.A. Times has previously reported that the percentage of kindergartens in which at least 8 percent of students were not fully vaccinated because of the parent's beliefs had more than doubled since 2007, and private-school parents were likelier to file the PBEs than their public-school counterparts. The paper found that the exemption rate for all of Santa Monica and Malibu was 15 percent.
The Hollywood Reporter interviewed several Westside doctors who seem to encourage this kind of vaccine roulette, as well as several area school administrators who seem only vaguely aware of the risk.
"I'd prefer that children be immunized," Shari Latta, director of Children's Creative Workshop in Malibu, told THR. "We've been fortunate to avoid any outbreaks."
So fortunate! If only there were something parents could do to improve those fortunes ... a way to, say, inoculate their families against the tragedy of untreatable disease.
The anti-vaxxer turn is a frustrating development for a city that's obsessed with health and fitness. There are very few things that we know prevent sickness without a doubt. The "Beaming" juice at L.A.'s Cafe Gratitude, which consists of carrot juice, camu-camu, and astralagus, and which is surely delicious and beam-inducing, is not one. Vaccines are.
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It's tempting to suggest, as some of Baum's L.A. sources do, that these are just concerned, well-meaning parents who, along with forbidding processed food and dragging their offspring to baby yoga, also avoid any medications that aren't strictly "natural." (Of course, vaccines are natural'--they're derived from the naturally-occurring pathogen itself.)
That kind of thinking ignores the way vaccines work, through herd immunity. A community can only be protected when 92 percent or more of a population is immunized, and many of L.A.'s elementary schools are dipping far below that number. These parents aren't just risking their own kids' health, they're risking everyone's.
Wealth enables these people to hire fringe pediatricians who will coddle their irrational beliefs. But it doesn't entitle them to threaten an entire city's children with terrifying, 19th-century diseases for no reason.
Reprinted with permission from The Atlantic. The original story can be found here.
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Cancer test 'Jolie effect' found
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 03:32
19 September 2014Last updated at 00:12 By Helen BriggsHealth editor, BBC News websiteReferrals to breast cancer clinics more than doubled in the UK after Angelina Jolie announced she had had a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer.
The actress revealed in May last year she had had the surgery, after being told she had an 87% chance of the disease because of a high-risk gene.
The news encouraged women with genuine concerns about their family history to get advice, a study found.
Mutations in high-risk genes for breast cancer affect about one in 500 people.
"The Angelina Jolie effect has been long-lasting and global, and appears to have increased referrals to centres appropriately," said a team led by Prof Gareth Evans of the University of Manchester.
The researchers looked at referrals to more than 20 genetic centres and clinics in the UK after the story hit the press in May 2013.
In June and July the number of GP referrals for genetic counselling and DNA tests for breast cancer mutations increased two and a half times compared with the same period in 2012.
The study, published in the journal, Breast Cancer Research, found referrals remained at twice the previous year's figure from August to October.
"Angelina Jolie stating she has a BRCA1 mutation and going on to have a risk-reducing mastectomy is likely to have had a bigger impact than other celebrity announcements, possibly due to her image as a glamorous and strong woman," said Prof Evans.
"This may have lessened patients' fears about a loss of sexual identity post-preventative surgery and encouraged those who had not previously engaged with health services to consider genetic testing."
Most breast cancers happen by chance but a small number of people diagnosed with breast cancer (5%) have inherited a fault in one of the known breast cancer genes; BRCA1, BRCA2 or TP53 which puts them at higher risk.
Jade GoodyAngelina Jolie is not alone in influencing health behaviour.
Attendance for cervical cancer screening rose in 2008 and 2009, when the celebrity Jade Goody was diagnosed with cervical cancer and died.
Baroness Delyth Morgan is chief executive at Breast Cancer Campaign, which part-funded the research.
"Without Angelina Jolie's openness in talking about her BRCA1 mutation and decision to have a risk-reducing mastectomy, followed by the publication and publicity around the updated NICE guidelines soon after, many women may not have approached health services and so would never have had their risk and risk-reducing options explained," she said.
Funding for genetic services must be able to respond quickly to demand, to ensure risk counselling and genetic testing is available for everyone in need, she added.
"The current level of funding available for this service should be reviewed, to avoid unnecessary delays, which can be very stressful for patients."
Gene riskWomen in general have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime, but genes can put some at higher risk.
In the UK, about one in 1,000 people will have inherited a BRCA1 mutation and a similar proportion will have inherited a BRCA2 mutation.
Women who are tested early can take steps to prevent themselves from developing the disease.
This may mean a risk-reducing mastectomy, cancer preventing drugs, such as tamoxifen, and certain lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and more exercise.
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Chiner$
To keep customers coming back, some Chinese restaurants are lacing noodles with opiates - Quartz
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 14:23
Forget Colorado, stoners. The real frontier of narcotic edibles is in Shaanxi province, China. A restaurant owner there just confessed to police that to keep customers coming back, he had infused his noodles with 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of pulverized poppy buds'--which can contain narcotics like morphine and codeine'--that he bought in August for 600 yuan ($98).
Apparently, it worked; the restaurant boss said customer numbers leapt (link in Chinese) after he started using his ''special'' seasoning. Chinese authorities say doses were enough to addict frequent diners, reports the South China Morning Post (paywall). Police launched an investigation only after one of the restaurant's repeat customers tested positive for opiates in a routine urine screen.
But Zhang, the shop owner, wasn't the first Chinese restaurateur to strike upon this idea'--not by a long shot. An investigative report in 2011 found that illegal poppy products are available in Shaanxi markets'--with restaurant owners being the prime customers.
In the opiate dining market, however, Shanghai gives Shaanxi a run for its money. Just last May, a Shanghai restaurant owner was sentenced to 10 months in jail for zesting up soups with morphine. In March 2014, police jailed Shanghai restaurant owners for using Narceine, another poppy-shell opiate, to dope up a famous crayfish dish called xiaolongxia. In 2010, three Shanghai hotpot restaurants (link in Chinese) were shuttered for adding opiates.
Restaurant owners all over China have long embraced this customer retention trick. Last year, two restaurants in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou were caught adding pulverized poppies to their food. The prior year, seven restaurants in Ningxia were found to be dousing their hotpot soups with morphine. A Sichuan restaurant has repeatedly been found to feature codeine as a ''secret ingredient'' (link in Chinese). In Guizhou province in 2004, police busted 215 restaurants for morphine-laced hotspots.
Poppy cultivation is on the rise in the Golden Triangle.UN Office on Drugs and CrimeThese are only the ones that have been caught, amid a broader spate of food-safety scandals dogging the Chinese government and inspiring public outrage. The source of the opium supply isn't clear, but western China abuts the Golden Triangle'--the prime poppy-cultivation areas of Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. Its first noted use in China was as a surgical anesthetic as early as 220 AD, and the commodity played a major role in China's struggle against the British Empire in the 1800s (its double defeats in the Opium Wars are still a national sore spot).
Note that while all parts of the poppy plant contain some level of opiates, the seeds common on bagels and muffins aren't typically used in large enough quantities to be psychoactive (or, as popularized on Seinfeld, to cause drug test failures).
Not everyone is as lucky as a Seinfeld character. The 26-year-old diner whose urine test exposed the noodle shop's secret is still in prison for drug use'--even though further police testing suggested he tested positive as a result of the poppy-laced noodles. ''Whether it's through self-inflicted drug use or unwitting food consumption, it's still drug use,'' says local police chief Ma Yubin told the Xi'an Evening News. ''The law doesn't draw a sharp distinction between the two.''
Bank$ters
NY Fed Fired Examiner Who Took on Goldman - ProPublica
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:31
Carmen Segarra outside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, on Oct. 10, 2013. In a wrongful termination lawsuit, Segarra says she was fired by the Fed after she refused to change a finding Goldman Sachs had inadequate controls over conflicts of interest. (Nabil Rahman for ProPublica)
A version of this story was co-published with The Washington Post.
In the spring of 2012, a senior examiner with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York determined that Goldman Sachs had a problem.
Under a Fed mandate, the investment banking behemoth was expected to have a company-wide policy to address conflicts of interest in how its phalanxes of dealmakers handled clients. Although Goldman had a patchwork of policies, the examiner concluded that they fell short of the Fed's requirements.
That finding by the examiner, Carmen Segarra, potentially had serious implications for Goldman, which was already under fire for advising clients on both sides of several multibillion-dollar deals and allegedly putting the bank's own interests above those of its customers. It could have led to closer scrutiny of Goldman by regulators or changes to its business practices.
Before she could formalize her findings, Segarra said, the senior New York Fed official who oversees Goldman pressured her to change them. When she refused, Segarra said she was called to a meeting where her bosses told her they no longer trusted her judgment. Her phone was confiscated, and security officers marched her out of the Fed's fortress-like building in lower Manhattan, just 7 months after being hired.
''They wanted me to falsify my findings,'' Segarra said in a recent interview, ''and when I wouldn't, they fired me.''
Today, Segarra filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the New York Fed in federal court in Manhattan seeking reinstatement and damages. The case provides a detailed look at a key aspect of the post-2008 financial reforms: The work of Fed bank examiners sent to scrutinize the nation's ''Too Big to Fail'' institutions.
In hours of interviews with ProPublica, the 41-year-old lawyer gave a detailed account of the events that preceded her dismissal and provided numerous documents, meeting minutes and contemporaneous notes that support her claims. Rarely do outsiders get such a candid view of the Fed's internal operations.
Segarra is an expert in legal and regulatory compliance whose previous work included jobs at Citigroup and the French bank Soci(C)t(C) G(C)n(C)rale. She was part of a wave of new examiners hired by the New York Fed to monitor systemically important banks after passage in July 2010 of the Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, which gave the Fed new oversight responsibilities.
Goldman is known for having close ties with the New York Fed, its primary regulator. The current president of the New York Fed, William Dudley, is a former Goldman partner. One of his New York Fed predecessors, E. Gerald Corrigan, is currently a top executive at Goldman. At the time of Segarra's firing, Stephen Friedman, a former chairman of the New York Fed, was head of the risk committee for Goldman's board of directors.
In an email, spokesman Jack Gutt said the New York Fed could not respond to detailed questions out of privacy considerations and because supervisory matters are confidential. Gutt said the Fed provides ''multiple venues and layers of recourse for employees to freely express concerns about the institutions it supervises.''
''Such concerns are treated seriously and investigated appropriately with a high degree of independence,'' he said. ''Personnel decisions at the New York Fed are based exclusively on individual job performance and are subject to thorough review. We categorically reject any suggestions to the contrary.''
Dudley would not have been involved in the firing, although he might have been informed after the fact, according to a Fed spokesman.
Goldman also declined to respond to detailed questions about Segarra. A spokesman said the bank cannot discuss confidential supervisory matters. He said Goldman ''has a comprehensive approach to addressing conflicts through firm-wide and divisional policies and infrastructure'' and pointed to a bank document that says Goldman took recent steps to improve management of conflicts.
Segarra's termination has not been made public before now. She was specifically assigned to assess Goldman's conflict-of-interest policies and took a close look at several deals, including a 2012 merger between two energy companies: El Paso Corp. and Kinder Morgan. Goldman had a $4 billion stake in Kinder Morgan while also advising El Paso on the $23 billion deal.
Segarra said she discovered previously unreported deficiencies in Goldman's efforts to deal with its conflicts, which were also criticized by the judge presiding over a shareholder lawsuit concerning the merger.
Her lawsuit also alleges that she uncovered evidence that Goldman falsely claimed that the New York Fed had signed off on a transaction with Santander, the Spanish bank, when it had not. A supervisor ordered her not to discuss the Santander matter, the lawsuit says, allegedly telling Segarra it was ''for your protection.''
'Eyes Like Saucers'
The New York Fed is one of 12 regional quasi-private reserve banks. By virtue of its location, it supervises some of the nation's most complex and important financial institutions. After the 2008 financial crisis, disparate voices pointed to failures of enforcement by the New York Fed as a key reason banks took on too much risk.
Even Fed officials acknowledged shortcomings. After Dodd-Frank, new examiners like Segarra, called "risk specialists," were hired for their expertise. They were in addition to other Fed staffers, dubbed "business line specialists," some of whom were already embedded at the banks.
Segarra believed she had found the perfect home when she joined the New York Fed's legal and compliance risk specialist team in October 2011. It was a prestigious job, insulated from business cycles, where she could do her part to prevent another financial meltdown. Her skills, honed at Harvard, Cornell Law School and the banks where she had worked, consisted of helping to create the policies and procedures needed to meet government financial regulations.
As part of their first assignment, Fed officials told Segarra's group of risk specialists to examine how the banks in which they were stationed complied with a Fed Supervision and Regulation Letter issued in 2008.
The letter, known as SR 08-08, emphasizes the importance of having company-wide programs to manage risks at firms like Goldman, which engage in diverse lines of business, from private wealth management and trading to mergers and acquisitions. The programs are supposed to be monitored and tested by bank compliance employees to make sure they are working as intended.
''The Fed recognized that financial conglomerates should act like truly combined entities rather than separate divisions or entities where one group has no idea what the other group is doing,'' said Christopher Laursen, an economic consultant and former Federal Reserve employee who helped draft the supervisory letter.
In 2009, a review by the Fed had found problems with its efforts to ensure that banks followed the policy, which also says that bank compliance staffers must ''be appropriately independent of the business lines'' they oversee.
Segarra's team included examiners placed at nine other ''Too Big to Fail'' banks, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Barclays.
Segarra said her bosses told her to focus on Goldman's conflict-of-interest policies. The firm had long been famous for trying to corral business from every part of the deals it worked on. ''If you have a conflict, we have an interest,'' is an oft-told joke on Wall Street about the firm's approach.
The year before Segarra joined the Fed, for instance, Goldman had received a drubbing from the Securities and Exchange Commission and a Senate subcommittee over conflicts related to Abacus, a mortgage transaction the bank constructed. The SEC imposed a $550 million fine on the bank for the deal. A January 2011 Goldman report concluded that the firm should "review and update conflicts-related policies and procedures, as appropriate."
Initial meetings between the New York Fed and Goldman executives to review the bank's policies did not go well, said Segarra, who kept detailed minutes.
When the examiners asked in November 2011 to see the conflict-of-interest policy, they were told one didn't exist, according to the minutes. ''It's probably more than one document '-- there is no one policy per se,'' the minutes recount one Goldman executive as saying.
The discussion turned to the name of the group that oversaw conflicts at Goldman: ''Business Selection and Conflicts Resolution Group.'' Segarra's supervisor, Johnathon Kim, asked if business selection and conflicts were, in fact, two different groups. He was told they were not, the minutes show.
Goldman officials stated that the bank did not have a company-wide conflict-of-interest program, Segarra's minutes show. Moreover, the head of the business selection and conflicts group, Gwen Libstag, who is not a lawyer, said in a subsequent meeting on Dec. 8 that she did not consider what her staff did a ''legal and compliance function,'' according to Segarra's minutes.
''That's why it's called business selection,'' another Goldman executive added. ''They do both.''
Given the Fed's requirements, the regulators were stunned, Segarra recounted in an interview. ''Our eyes were open like saucers,'' she said. ''Business selection is about how you get the deal done. Conflicts of interest acknowledge that there are deals you cannot do.''
After the Dec. 8 meeting, the New York Fed's senior supervising officer at Goldman, Michael Silva, called an impromptu session with Fed staffers, including Segarra. Silva said he was worried that Goldman was not managing conflicts well and that if the extent of the problem became public, clients might abandon the firm and cause serious financial damage, according to Segarra's contemporaneous notes.
A Chinese Wall In Their Heads
As part of her examination, Segarra began making document requests. The goal was to determine what policies Goldman had in place and to see how they functioned in Kinder Morgan's acquisition of El Paso. The merger was in the news after some El Paso shareholders filed a lawsuit claiming they weren't getting a fair deal.
Although Segarra reported directly to Kim, she also had to keep Silva abreast of her examinations. Silva, who is also a lawyer, had been at the Fed for 20 years and previously had served as a senior vice president and chief of staff for Timothy Geithner while he was New York Fed president. As a senior vice president and senior supervisor, Silva outranked Kim in the Fed hierarchy.
Segarra said James Bergin, then head of the New York Fed's legal and compliance examiners, noted at a November meeting that there was tension between the new risk specialists and old-guard supervisors at the banks. Segarra said the tension surfaced when she was approached in late December by a Fed business line specialist for Goldman, who wanted to change Segarra's Dec. 8 meeting minutes.
Segarra told her Fed colleague that she could send any changes to her. When Segarra next met with her fellow risk specialists, she said she told them what had transpired. They told her that nobody should be allowed to change her meeting minutes because they were the evidence for her examination.
Around that time, Silva had a meeting with Segarra, she said. According to her notes, Silva warned her that sometimes new examiners didn't recognize how they are perceived and that those who are taken most seriously are the most quiet. Segarra took it as more evidence of tension between the two groups of regulators.
Bergin, Silva and Kim did not respond to requests for comment.
By mid-March 2012, Goldman had given Segarra and a fellow examiner from the New York State Banking Department documents and written answers to their detailed questions. Some of the material concerned the El Paso-Kinder Morgan deal.
Segarra and other examiners had been pressing Goldman for details about the merger for months. But it was from news reports about the shareholder lawsuit that they learned the lead Goldman banker representing El Paso, Steve Daniel, also had a $340,000 personal investment in Kinder Morgan, Segarra said.
Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine had issued a 34-page opinion in the case, which eventually settled. The opinion castigated both El Paso's leadership and Goldman for their poor handling of multiple conflicts of interest.
At the New York Fed, Goldman told the regulators that its conflict-of-interest procedures had worked well on the deal. Executives said they had ''exhaustively'' briefed the El Paso board of directors about Goldman's conflicts, according to Segarra's meeting minutes.
Yet when Segarra asked to see all board presentations involving conflicts of interest and the merger, Goldman responded that its Business Selection and Conflict Resolution Group ''as a general matter'' did not confer with Goldman's board. The bank's responses to her document requests offered no information from presentations to the El Paso board discussing conflicts, even though lawsuit filings indicate such discussions occurred.
Goldman did provide documents detailing how it had divided its El Paso and Kinder Morgan bankers into ''red and blue teams.'' These teams were told they could not communicate with each other '-- what the industry calls a ''Chinese Wall'' '-- to prevent sharing information that could unduly benefit one party.
Segarra said Goldman seating charts showed that that in one case, opposing team members had adjacent offices. She also determined that three of the El Paso team members had previously worked for Kinder Morgan in key areas.
''They would have needed a Chinese Wall in their head,'' Segarra said.
Pressure To Change Findings
According to Segarra's lawsuit, Goldman executives acknowledged on multiple occasions that the bank did not have a firm-wide conflict-of-interest policy.
Instead, they provided copies of policies and procedures for some of the bank's divisions. For those that did not have a division-wide policy, such as the investment management division, they offered what was available. The policy for the private banking group stated that employees shouldn't write down their conflicts in ''emails or written communications.''
''Don't put that in an email in case we get caught?'' Segarra said in an interview. ''That's a joke.''
Segarra said all the policies were missing components required by the Fed.
On March 21, 2012, Segarra presented her conclusion that Goldman lacked an acceptable conflict-of-interest policy to her group of risk specialists from the other ''Too Big to Fail'' banks. They agreed with her findings, according to Segarra and another examiner who was present and has requested anonymity.
Segarra's group discussed possible sanctions against the bank, but the final decision was up to their bosses. A summary sheet from the meeting recommended downgrading Goldman from ''satisfactory'' to ''fair'' for its policies and procedures, the equivalent of a ''C'' in a letter grade.
A week later, Segarra presented her findings to Silva and his deputy, Michael Koh, and they didn't object, she said. Reached by ProPublica, Koh declined to comment.
In April, Goldman assembled some of its senior executives for a meeting with regulators to discuss issues raised by documents it had provided. Segarra said she asked Silva to invite officials from the SEC, because of what she had learned about the El Paso-Kinder Morgan merger, which was awaiting approval by other government agencies.
Segarra said she and a fellow examiner from New York state's banking department had prepared 65 questions. But before the meeting, Silva told her she could only ask questions that did not concern the El Paso-Kinder Morgan merger, she said.
Nonetheless, SEC officials brought it up. Goldman executives said they had no process to check the personal holdings of bankers like Steve Daniel for possible conflicts, according to notes Segarra took at the time. Asked by Segarra for Goldman's definition of ''conflicts,'' the bank's general counsel, Greg Palm, responded that it could be found in the dictionary, she said.
''What they should have is an easy A-B-C approach to how to manage conflicts,'' Segarra said. ''But they couldn't even articulate what was a conflict of interest.''
Goldman declined a request to make Palm available for comment.
As the Goldman examination moved up the Fed's supervisory chain, Segarra said she began to get pushback. According to her lawsuit, a colleague told Segarra in May that Silva was considering taking the position that Goldman had an acceptable firm-wide conflict-of-interest policy.
Segarra quickly sent an email to her bosses reminding them that wasn't the case and that her team of risk specialists was preparing enforcement recommendations.
In response, Kim sent an email saying Segarra was trying to ''front-run the supervisory process.'' Two days later, a longer email arrived from Silva, stating that ''repeated statements that you have made to me that [Goldman] does not have a [conflict-of-interest] policy AT ALL are debatable at best, or alternatively, plainly incorrect.''
As evidence, Silva cited the 2011 Goldman report that called for a revamp of its conflict-of-interest procedures, as well as the company's code of conduct '-- neither of which Segarra believed met the Fed's requirements.
While not commenting on Goldman's situation, Laursen, the consultant who helped draft the Fed policy, said the idea is to police conflicts across divisions. ''It would need to be a high-level or firm-wide policy,'' he said, that ''would identify the types of things that should not occur and the processes and monitoring that make sure they don't.''
In its email to ProPublica, Goldman cited a May report from its Business Standards Committee that says the company completed an overhaul of its business practices earlier this year that included new policies and training for managing conflicts.
Before Segarra could respond to Silva's email, Koh summoned her to a meeting. For more than 30 minutes, he and Silva insistently repeated that they did not agree with her findings concerning Goldman, she said.
Segarra detailed all the evidence that supported her conclusion, she said. She offered to participate in a wider meeting with New York Fed personnel to discuss it further. Because Fed officials would ultimately have to ratify her conclusions, she let them know she understood that her findings were subject to change.
Silva and his deputy did not engage with her arguments during the meeting. Instead, they kept reiterating that she was wrong and should change her conclusions, she said.
Afterward, Segarra said she sent an email to Silva detailing why she believed her findings were correct and stating that she could not change them. There was just too much evidence to the contrary, she said in an interview.
Three business days later, Segarra was fired.
Segarra has no evidence that Goldman was involved. Silva told her that the Fed had lost confidence in her ability to follow directions and not jump to conclusions.
Today, Segarra works at another financial institution at a lower level than she feels her qualifications merit. She worries about the New York Fed's ability to stop the next financial crisis.
''I was just documenting what Goldman was doing,'' she said. ''If I was not able to push through something that obvious, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York certainly won't be capable of supervising banks when even more serious issues arise.''
ProPublica research director Liz Day contributed to this story.
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Packet Equality
Inventor of World Wide Web warns of threat to internet - Yahoo News
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 04:49
London (AFP) - The British inventor of the World Wide Web warned on Saturday that the freedom of the internet is under threat by governments and corporations interested in controlling the web.
Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist who invented the web 25 years ago, called for a bill of rights that would guarantee the independence of the internet and ensure users' privacy.
"If a company can control your access to the internet, if they can control which websites they go to, then they have tremendous control over your life," Berners-Lee said at the London "Web We Want" festival on the future of the internet.
"If a Government can block you going to, for example, the opposition's political pages, then they can give you a blinkered view of reality to keep themselves in power."
"Suddenly the power to abuse the open internet has become so tempting both for government and big companies."
Berners-Lee, 59, is director of the World Wide Web Consortium, a body which develops guidelines for the development of the internet.
He called for an internet version of the "Magna Carta", the 13th century English charter credited with guaranteeing basic rights and freedoms.
Concerns over privacy and freedom on the internet have increased in the wake of the revelation of mass government monitoring of online activity following leaks by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
A ruling by the European Union to allow individuals to ask search engines such as Google to remove links to information about them, called the "right to be forgotten", has also raised concerns over the potential for censorship.
"There have been lots of times that it has been abused, so now the Magna Carta is about saying...I want a web where I'm not spied on, where there's no censorship," Berners-Lee said.
The scientist added that in order to be a "neutral medium", the internet had to reflect all of humanity, including "some ghastly stuff".
"Now some things are of course just illegal, child pornography, fraud, telling someone how to rob a bank, that's illegal before the web and it's illegal after the web," Berners-Lee added.
MediaArts & EntertainmentTim Berners-LeeWorld Wide WebWorld Wide Web Consortium
The Fix Is In!
Onderzoek naar corruptie FIFA niet openbaar | Spitsnieuws.nl
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 14:57
De resultaten van het onderzoek naar mogelijke omkoping bij de toewijzing van de wereldkampioenschappen voetbal van 2018 en 2022 worden niet openbaar gemaakt.
Dat heeft voorzitter Joseph Blatter vandaag nogmaals benadrukt na een vergadering van het uitvoerend comit(C) van zijn wereldvoetbalbond FIFA.
De 78-jarige Zwitser vertelde dat geen enkel lid van het uitvoerend comit(C) heeft aangedrongen op het openbaar maken van de resultaten. Michael Garcia, de leider van het onderzoek, pleitte onlangs wel voor openheid. Hij kreeg bijval van onder meer Wolfgang Niersbach, de voorzitter van de Duitse voetbalbond.
Six Week Cycle
FBI: U.S. now has one active shooter incident every three weeks | Six-week cycle is now officially the three-week cycle
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 21:59
FBI: U.S. now has one active shooter incident every three weeks | Six-week cycle is now officially the three-week cycle : inthemorningthis post was submitted on 27 Sep 2014
5points (100% upvoted)
shortlink:
Ï Rendered by PID 9355 on app-36 at 2014-09-27 21:59:18.157817+00:00 running 1ffd33e country code: US.
LGBBTQQIAAP
Chad becomes 37th African state to seek ban on homosexuality
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:44
An anti-gay rights demonstration in Uganda. The campaign culminated in the brutal murder of leading gay rights activist David Kato. Photo: Benedicte Desrus/AlamyChad looks set to become the 37th country in Africa to outlaw homosexuality after government ministers voted to make same-sex relations a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The decision, yet to be ratified by the country's president, was condemned by human rights groups as another setback in the struggle for gay rights on the continent. Chad's penal code is more than half a century old and does not explicitly mention homosexuality.
But section 361 of a draft new code states the punishment for anyone who has sexual intercourse with someone of the same sex is 15 to 20 years in jail and a fine of 50,000-500,000 Central African francs (£60-£600), according to a document seen by Agence France-Presse.
The cabinet claims that the measure is intended to ''protect the family and to comply with Chadian society''. It will go before MPs and President Idriss D(C)by to be rubber-stamped. Graeme Reid, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights programme at Human Rights Watch, said : ''This is a setback for legal reform in Chad '' the revisions to the penal code are intended to integrate national law with international law, whereas this provision would do exactly the opposite.''. The US-based Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights called on D(C)by to strike down the proposed law. ''By criminalising homosexuality, Chad's proposed penal code is an instrument of discrimination, not of justice,'' said its president, Kerry Kennedy. ''I urge president D(C)by and the Chadian parliament to reject any attempts to make prejudice the law of the land.''
The new penal code also abolishes the death penalty, more than a decade after the last execution of prisoners, a move welcomed by activists. ''This is very good news, which is unfortunately marred by the criminalisation of homosexuality,'' Florent Geel, Africa director of the International Federation of Human Rights, was quoted as saying by the Gay Star News website. ''Criminalising homosexuality seems discriminatory, demagogic and counter-productive, as it may turn groups against each other.''
Geel added that the reform of the penal code had been in preparation for 10 years but the question of homosexuality, while considered immoral, had never been an issue in Chad.
The development is part of a wave of homophobia sweeping across Africa. Some observers believe it may have been a response to the increased visibility and assertiveness of gay lifestyles and politics in Africa, though US evangelical Christians have been widely blamed for instigating draconian anti-gay legislation in Uganda and other countries. Same-sex relations are illegal in 36 of the continent's 54 countries, according to Amnesty International, and punishable by death in some.
Last month the Gambia passed a bill imposing life imprisonment for ''aggravated homosexuality'' relating to repeat offenders and people living with HIV/Aids. The Gambia's president, Yahya Jammeh, has previously told gay men and lesbians to leave the country or risk beheading.
Uganda recently attempted to impose draconian penalties for the ''promotion of homosexuality'', including life sentences for various same sex acts. The law was struck down by judges on a technicality but is expected to be reintroduced by MPs.
In January, the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed into law a bill criminalising same-sex ''amorous relationships'' and membership of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights groups. Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, regularly attacks gay people in speeches and recently said he resented western aid because it depended on conditions such as accepting homosexuality.
Statement by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on the Adoption of a UN Resolution on the Rights of LGBT Persons
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 01:56
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 26, 2014
The United States applauds today's adoption by the UN Human Rights Council of a resolution in support of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons. The second such resolution to be passed by the UN Human Rights Council, today's resolution reiterates that LGBT persons are entitled to the human rights and fundamental freedoms that are the birthright of all humankind, expresses grave concern regarding acts of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons, and requests the preparation of an important new report on preventing such abuses. We thank sponsors Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay for their leadership, and commend the Council for taking another historic step to reinforce the unassailable principle that LGBT rights are human rights.
NWO
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WTF-FACEBOOK-Board | National Endowment for Democracy
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 06:36
DirectorsSenior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies, Council on Foreign Relations
GlobalNet Partners, N.A. LLC
Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC)
American Action Network,American Action Forum
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI)
The Brookings Institution
Managing Director, The Lindsey Group and Strategic Advisor, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck
CSIS, Khalilzad Associates
Davidson, Dawson & Clark, LLP
Vice President, Global Public Policy, Facebook
Council on Foreign Relations
Progressive Policy Institute
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Council on Foreign Relations
President, George W. Bush Presidential Center
Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
Ethics and Public Policy Center
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Peterson Institute for International Economics
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Obama-The Campaign For U.N. Secretary-General Begins - Investors.com
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 01:41
Multilateralism: It is commonly observed that President Obama never started governing because he never stopped campaigning. He campaigned in his West Point speech all right '-- for United Nations secretary-general.
We've got a president who has unblushingly told us he's "a better speechwriter than my speechwriters," knows "more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors" and is "a better political director than my political director."
Not to mention that "like any politician at this level, I've got a healthy ego." Uh, no kidding.
An intellect that enormous must feel confined by merely leading the free world (or, more accurately, not leading). Such boundless cerebral prowess deserves a real challenge, such as running the whole world.
The president obviously agrees; his address to cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on Wednesday sounded much like the launch of a campaign for still-higher office: presiding over the hopelessly corrupt, tyrant-dominated United Nations.
After briefly giving lip service to the U.S. using "military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it," Obama quickly placed America under the U.N. umbrella. When faced with crises that "do not directly threaten us," he said, "we must mobilize allies and partners to take collective action."
Great wartime presidents never had to boast of U.S. power; they used it. But "those who think America is weak are wrong" was the theme of Obama's speech.
Those "who suggest that America is in decline, or has seen its global leadership slip away, are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics," Obama claimed. "Think about it. Our military has no peer."
There's a similarity to Jimmy Carter's 1979 "malaise" speech, touting "the outward strength of America, a nation that is at peace tonight everywhere in the world, with unmatched economic power and military might." Six months later, Soviet tanks rolled into Afghanistan, and less than a year after that Ronald Reagan was called in to rebuild the Pentagon and a battered U.S. economy.
"I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being," Obama told the cadets, but he defined that as the willingness to affirm "international norms ... through our actions."
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee gave Obama its award on spec, less than nine months after his inauguration in 2009, to promote "multilateral diplomacy" and an "emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play."
Now the U.N., acting similarly, can make him "president of the world." Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's term expires in early 2017. If Obama were his successor, the U.S., even under a Republican administration, might not veto an ex-U.S. president in the Security Council.
Who would the U.N. like better as secretary-general than an American who wants the world's lone superpower placed firmly under the rules made by the U.N. General Assembly, the vast majority of whose members are undemocratic and pine for redistributed U.S. wealth?
A secretary-general who can get the U.S. to accept U.N. rule.
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Presidential Memorandum -- Civil Society
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 04:51
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
September 23, 2014
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Deepening U.S. Government Efforts to Collaborate with and Strengthen Civil Society
The participation of civil society is fundamental to democratic governance. Through civil society, citizens come together to hold their leaders accountable and address challenges that governments cannot tackle alone. Civil society organizations -- such as community groups, non-governmental organizations, labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations -- often drive innovations and develop new ideas and approaches to solve social, economic, and political problems that governments can apply on a larger scale. Moreover, by giving people peaceful avenues to advance their interests and express their convictions, a free and flourishing civil society contributes to stability and helps to counter violent extremism. Countries should ensure that civil society organizations can engage freely in legitimate and peaceful activity, while recognizing the potential for illicit actors to abuse the sector and establishing proportionate and targeted safeguards to prevent that abuse.
The rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association that enable civil society to participate fully in social, economic, and political life are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In many parts of the world, however, these rights are in danger. An increasing number of governments are inhibiting the free operation of civil society and cutting off civil society organizations' ability to receive funding from legitimate sources. In some cases, these restrictions arise out of the implementation of laws, regulations, and administrative measures that are being inappropriately applied; in other cases, the laws, regulations, and administrative measures are themselves problematic. Despite concerted efforts by the United States and a growing number of like-minded governments to address this problem, greater, sustained energy and attention is needed worldwide.
On September 23, 2013, during the United Nations General Assembly, the United States convened a High Level Event on Civil Society that included heads of state, representatives of civil society, the philanthropic community, and multilateral organizations to spur coordinated international action to support and defend civil society. Through the issuance of a Joint Statement on the Promotion and Protection of Civil Society, attendees affirmed that the strength and success of nations depend on allowing civil society to function without interference, and on robust engagement between governments and civil society to advance shared goals of peace, prosperity, and the well-being of all people. Attendees also committed to take concrete steps, individually and jointly, and to lead by example to promote laws, policies, and practices that expand the space for civil society to operate in accordance with international law.
To take further steps to fulfill that commitment, this memorandum directs agencies engaged abroad (as defined in section 6 of this memorandum), including those that do not traditionally work with civil society, to take actions that elevate and strengthen the role of civil society; challenge undue restrictions on civil society; and foster constructive engagement between governments and civil society.
Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:
Sec. 1. Engaging in Consultation with Civil Society Representatives. (a) In the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, it is in the national interest to build relationships with people, as well as with governments. Therefore, agencies engaged abroad shall consult with representatives of civil society to explain the views of the United States on particular issues, seek their perspectives, utilize their expertise, and build strong partnerships to address joint challenges.
(b) When traveling overseas, senior U.S. officials of agencies engaged abroad shall seek opportunities to meet with representatives of civil society, especially those who face restrictions on their work and who may benefit from international support and solidarity.
(c) Each agency engaged abroad shall incorporate inclusive outreach to civil society into their international engagement.
Sec. 2. Working with Civil Society Organizations. The U.S. Government works with civil society organizations even when local laws restrict the ability of civil society organizations to operate or where local laws restrict the fundamental freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, with due regard for the safety of civil society interlocutors and their operations. Agencies engaged abroad shall oppose, through appropriate means, efforts by foreign governments to dictate the nature of U.S. assistance to civil society, the selection of individuals or entities to implement U.S. Government programs, or the selection of recipients or beneficiaries of those programs. Additionally, agencies engaged abroad shall review their internal regulations, policies, and procedures to ensure that programmatic requirements do not inadvertently impede civil society operations.
Sec. 3. Opposing Undue Restrictions on Civil Society and Fundamental Freedoms. (a) Agencies engaged abroad shall oppose, through appropriate means, efforts by foreign governments that restrict the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association in a manner inconsistent with their international obligations and commitments. Such actions may include urging relevant governments or legislatures to reverse course; making high-level statements or delivering messages publicly or privately; working with local and international civil society organizations and stakeholders, like-minded countries, and regional and multilateral organizations and bodies; and, where possible, providing direct assistance to civil society actors engaged in these efforts.
(b) Agencies engaged abroad shall, where possible, expand the provision of advice and other support to governments seeking to institute legal and political reforms to protect civic space, and to civil society organizations where governments are not engaged in such affirmative reform efforts. This may include funding for democracy, human rights, workers' rights, and governance assistance, as well as emergency support to activists and organizations.
(c) Agencies engaged abroad shall seek diplomatic and programmatic opportunities in regional and multilateral organizations and bodies to protect and strengthen civil society. This shall include efforts to enhance support for the work of the U.N. Special Rapporteurs charged with advancing relevant rights, including the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and association, and human rights defenders.
Sec. 4. Facilitating Exchanges between Governments and Civil Society. (a) Agencies engaged abroad shall seek to foster improved relations and understanding between governments and civil society, including in the advancement of social, economic, and development priorities. Such efforts may include training for government and civil society representatives; brokering dialogue between government and civil society representatives; identifying affirmative activities around which governments and civil society organizations can engage; providing legal or other assistance to governments and civil society organizations to draft or improve laws, regulations, and administrative measures; and sharing best practices regarding the proper implementation of these laws.
(b) Agencies engaged abroad that organize public, U.S.-hosted international gatherings shall create opportunities for civil society to substantively engage in such events, where appropriate.
Sec. 5. Reporting on Progress. The National Security Advisor shall prepare an annual report for the President on the Federal Government's progress implementing the requirements of this memorandum. Agencies engaged abroad shall provide the National Security Advisor with any requested information on their progress implementing the requirements of this memorandum to include in this annual report.
Sec. 6. Definitions. For the purposes of this memorandum, "agencies engaged abroad" are the Departments of State, the Treasury, Defense, Justice, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, the United States Agency for International Development, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof, or the status of that department or agency within the Federal Government; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(c) Nothing in this memorandum shall alter the role of the Secretary of State or Chiefs of Mission in the coordination or implementation of U.S. foreign policy, and this memorandum shall be implemented consistent with agencies' respective missions.
(d) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(e) The Secretary of State is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
BARACK OBAMA
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Strange New "2014" Addition to the Georgia Guidestones - The Vigilant Citizen
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 18:28
Sep 23rd, 2014 | Category: Latest News, Sinister Sites | 90 commentsA new block on which is inscribed ''2014'' was recently added to the Georgia Guidestones. This eerie and mysterious monument just became even more eerie and mysterious.
In my article Sinister Sites : The Georgia Guidestones, I took a thorough look at the Georgia Guidestones and at its ominous message for humanity. In short, it is all about massive depopulation, world government, a single language and a single religion. While this monument was built in 1980, its ''commandments'' keep increasing in relevancy as the world elite steers the masses towards a New World Order.
A recent addition to the monument- a block on which is inscribed 2014 '' was placed inside an indent between the English and the Spanish slab. While apparently trivial, this block nevertheless proves that the Guidestones is still updated by its sponsors and that its message is, more than ever, relevant in 2014.
Why is 2014 inscribed on that block? Will an event lead to the fruition of one of the Guidestones' commandments in 2014? Considering the fact that the first commandment is about maintaining the world population under 500 million, this is somewhat disturbing.
Another recent addition to the monuments is camera surveillance.
It is rather appropriate that a monument celebrating the New World Order is ''under video surveillance at all times''.
The Georgia Guidestones is therefore not abandoned but alive and well. The monument is maintained, updated and monitored. In short, the commandments inscribed on the stones are not a philosophical fantasy dreamt up by strange people 34 years ago, it is a concrete plan that firmly believed in by the elite.
Tags:georgia guidestones, Sinister Sites
Georgia Guidestones - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 16:39
The Georgia Guidestones is a granite monument in Elbert County, Georgia, in the United States. A message clearly conveying a set of ten guidelines is inscribed on the structure in eight modern languages, and a shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient language scripts: Babylonian, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian hieroglyphs.
The structure is sometimes referred to as an "American Stonehenge".[1] The monument is 19 feet 3 inches (5.87 m) tall, made from six granite slabs weighing 237,746 pounds (107,840 kg) in all.[2] One slab stands in the center, with four arranged around it. A capstone lies on top of the five slabs, which are astronomically aligned. An additional stone tablet, which is set in the ground a short distance to the west of the structure, provides some notes on the history and purpose of the Guidestones.
In June 1979, an unknown person or persons under the pseudonym R. C. Christian hired Elberton Granite Finishing Company to build the structure.[2]
In 2008, the stones were defaced with polyurethane paint and graffiti with slogans such as "Death to the new world order".[3]Wired magazine called the defacement "the first serious act of vandalism in the Guidestones' history".[2]
InscriptionsEditA message consisting of a set of ten guidelines or principles is engraved on the Georgia Guidestones in eight different languages, one language on each face of the four large upright stones. Moving clockwise around the structure from due north, these languages are: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.
Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.Guide reproduction wisely '-- improving fitness and diversity.Unite humanity with a living new language.Rule passion '-- faith '-- tradition '-- and all things with tempered reason.Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.Avoid petty laws and useless officials.Balance personal rights with social duties.Prize truth '-- beauty '-- love '-- seeking harmony with the infinite.Be not a cancer on the earth '-- Leave room for nature '-- Leave room for nature.Into the top of the English stone a notch was carved, which was there from at least 2009. In September 2014 this notch was filled with a small stone which reads "20" and "14" on both visible sides. It's unclear who placed this nor what it means.[4][dubious'' discuss]
Explanatory tabletEditA few feet to the west of the monument, an additional granite ledger has been set level with the ground. This tablet identifies the structure and the languages used on it, lists various facts about the size, weight and astronomical features of the stones, the date it was installed and the sponsors of the project. It also speaks of a time capsule buried under the tablet, but fields on the stone reserved for filling in the dates on which the capsule was buried and is to be opened have not been inscribed, and it is not clear whether the time capsule was ever put in place. Each side of the tablet is perpendicular to one of the cardinal directions, and is inscribed so that the northern edge is the top of the inscription. At the center of each tablet edge is a small circle, each containing a letter representing the appropriate compass direction (N, S, E, W).
The complete text of the explanatory tablet is detailed below. The tablet is somewhat inconsistent with respect to punctuation and also misspells "pseudonym". The original spelling, punctuation and line breaks in the text have been preserved in the transcription which follows. At the top center of the tablet is written:
The Georgia GuidestonesCenter cluster erected March 22, 1980
Immediately below this is the outline of a square, inside which is written:
Let these be guidestones to an Age of Reason
Around the edges of the square are written the names of four ancient languages, one per edge. Starting from the top and proceeding clockwise, they are: Babylonian (in cuneiform script), Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Ancient Egyptian (in hieroglyphics).
On the left side of the tablet is the following column of text:
Astronomic Features1. channel through stoneindicates celestial pole.2. horizontal slot indicatesannual travel of sun.3. sunbeam through capstonemarks noontime throughoutthe year
Author: R.C. Christian(a pseudonyn) [sic]
Sponsors: A small groupof Americans who seekthe Age of Reason
Time CapsulePlaced six feet below this spotOnTo Be Opened on
The words appear as shown under the time capsule heading; no dates are engraved.
Physical dataEditOn the right side of the tablet is the following column of text (metric conversions added):
PHYSICAL DATA
1. OVERALL HEIGHT - 19 FEET 3 INCHES [5.87 m].2. TOTAL WEIGHT - 237,746 POUNDS [107,840 kg].3. FOUR MAJOR STONES ARE 16 FEET, FOUR INCHES [4.98 m] HIGH, EACH WEIGHING AN AVERAGE OF 42,437 POUNDS [19,249 kg].4. CENTER STONE IS 16 FEET, FOUR- INCHES [4.98 m] HIGH, WEIGHS 20,957 POUNDS [9,506 kg].5. CAPSTONE IS 9-FEET, 8-INCHES [2.95 m] LONG, 6-FEET, 6-INCHES [1.98 m] WIDE; 1-FOOT, 7-INCHES [0.48 m] THICK. WEIGHS 24,832 POUNDS [11,264 kg].6. SUPPORT STONES (BASES) 7-FEET, 4 INCHES [2.24 m] LONG 2-FEET [0.61 m] WIDE. 1 FOOT, 4-INCHES [0.41 m] THICK, EACH WEIGHING AN AVERAGE OF 4,875 POUNDS [2,211 kg].7. SUPPORT STONE (BASE) 4-FEET, 2½ INCHES [1.28 m] LONG, 2-FEET, 2-INCHES [0.66 m] WIDE, 1-FOOT, 7-INCHES [0.48 m] THICK. WEIGHT 2,707 POUNDS [1,228 kg].8. 951 CUBIC FEET [26.9 m"] GRANITE.9. GRANITE QUARRIED FROM PYRAMID QUARRIES LOCATED 3 MILES [5 km] WEST OF ELBERTON, GEORGIA.Guidestone languagesEditBelow the two columns of text is written the caption "GUIDESTONE LANGUAGES", with a diagram of the granite slab layout beneath it. The names of eight modern languages are inscribed along the long edges of the projecting rectangles, one per edge. Starting from due north and moving clockwise around so that the upper edge of the northeast rectangle is listed first, they are English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian. At the bottom center of the tablet is the following text:
Additional information available at Elberton Granite Museum & ExhibitCollege AvenueElberton, Georgia
Astronomical featuresEditThe four outer stones are oriented to mark the limits of the 18.6 year lunar declination cycle.[5] The center column features a hole through which the North Star can be seen regardless of time, as well as a slot that is aligned with the Sun's solstices and equinoxes. A 7/8" aperture in the capstone allows a ray of sun to pass through at noon each day, shining a beam on the center stone indicating the day of the year.[2]
The Georgia Guidestones are located on a hilltop in Elbert County, Georgia, approximately 90 miles (140 km) east of Atlanta, 45 miles (72 km) from Athens, and 9 miles (14 km) north of the center of Elberton.[6] The stones are standing on a rise a short distance to the east of Georgia Highway 77 (Hartwell Highway), and are visible from that road. Small signs beside the highway indicate the turnoff for the Guidestones, which is identified by a street sign as "Guidestones Rd." It is located on the highest point in Elbert County.
OwnershipEditElbert County owns the Georgia Guidestones site. According to the Georgia Mountain Travel Association's detailed history: "The Georgia Guidestones are located on the farm of Mildred and Wayne Mullenix..."[5] The Elbert County land registration system shows what appears to be the Guidestones as County land purchased on October 1, 1979.[7][8]
The monument was unveiled in March 1980, in front of 100 people.[9] Another account specifies March 22, 1980 and says 400 people attended.[2]
Documentary seriesEditThe Georgia Guidestones are featured extensively in the Travel Channel episode "Mysteries at the Museum: Monumental Mysteries Special" featuring Don Wildman.[10] They are featured prominently in the conspiracy web series Guidestones. The guidestones were featured in the Brad Meltzer's Decoded episode "Apocalypse in Georgia" and in 2013, a documentary titled, The Georgia Guidestones Movie, received screenings in Georgia, South Carolina, and Oregon. The monument is also featured in the "New World Order" episode of the History Channel series America Unearthed.
ReceptionEditYoko Ono and others have praised the inscribed messages as "a stirring call to rational thinking", while Wired.com stated that unspecified opponents have labeled them as the "Ten Commandments of the Antichrist".[2]
The Guidestones have become a subject of interest for conspiracy theorists. One of them, an activist named Mark Dice, demanded that the Guidestones "be smashed into a million pieces, and then the rubble used for a construction project",[11] claiming that the Guidestones are of "a deep Satanic origin", and that R. C. Christian belongs to "a Luciferian secret society" related to the New World Order.[2] At the unveiling of the monument, a local minister proclaimed that he believed the monument was "for sun worshipers, for cult worship and for devil worship".[9]
Computer analyst Van Smith said the monument's dimensions predicted the height of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world which opened in Dubai over thirty years after the Georgia Guidestones were designed. Smith said the builders of the Guidestones were likely aware of the Burj Khalifa project which he compared to the biblical Tower of Babel.[12]
As a counter to many conspiracy theories is a theory that the guidelines are only stating the basic concepts required in the future to restart a devastated civilization after surviving some Cold War ideologically caused disaster that was expected to occur in the late 20th century. If so, then some of the more controversial guidelines as seen from viewpoint of our present peaceful[dubious'' discuss] conditions, would likely in a post disaster recovering future, seem less ominous, more practical, and could help prevent future ideologically caused disasters by following their terse concepts.[13][14]
ReferencesEditFurther readingEditExternal linksEdit
Population Control
PDF mentions Haiti, Japan and The Netherlands
4 op de 10 Nederlanders chronisch ziek in 2030 | RTL Nieuws
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:23
Nederlanders krijgen in de toekomst steeds vaker te maken chronische ziekten. Dat is de belangrijkste conclusie van een onderzoek van het RIVM naar onze gezondheid in 2030.
Het RIVM verwacht dat het aantal mensen met een chronische ziekte zal stijgen van 5,3 miljoen in 2011 (32 procent bevolking) naar 7 miljoen in 2030 (40 procent bevolking).
Waarom het aantal chronisch zieken stijgt:
Door de vergrijzing komen er meer oudere mensen. Oudere mensen krijgen vaker te maken met kwalen. Doordat mensen eerder naar de dokter gaan, kunnen ze langer leven met hun ziekte. Bijvoorbeeld bij suikerziekte en hoge bloeddruk. ZIE OOK: Onze gezondheid in de toekomst: de opvallendste conclusies
Het goede nieuws is dat de stijging van het aantal chronisch zieken niet leidt tot een stijging van het aantal mensen met beperking. Ondanks de vergrijzing zal dit aantal ook in de toekomst ongeveer gelijk blijven: 35 procent van de volwassenen met een zelfgerapporteerde chronische aandoening voelt zich ongezond. 21 procent ervaart beperkingen.
In Nederland hebben we overigens volgens het RIVM niet meer of minder chronisch zieken dan andere Europese landen.
ZIE OOK: Stijging aantal gevallen van obesitas in Nederland voorbij
Mede hierdoor zullen de zorguitgaven de komende jaren stijgen. In 2012 gaven we bijna 5.000 euro per hoofd van de bevolking uit aan de zorg. In 2030 wordt dat naar verwachting 8.500 euro.
Het RIVM komt elke vier jaar met een grootschalig onderzoek naar de gezondheid van Nederlanders. Het onderzoek werd voor het eerst in 1993 uitgevoerd.
RTL Nieuws
De NZa zorgt goed voor zichzelf - nrc.nl
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:22
De top van de NZa is vanochtend afgetreden. Aanleiding is de berichtgeving in NRC Handelsblad dat driekwart van de dienstreizen van NZa-voorzitter Langejan wordt betaald door bedrijven waarvoor de NZa controleur of opdrachtgever is. Lees hier het achtergrondverhaal uit NRC van afgelopen weekend terug.
Door onze redacteurenJoep Dohmen enJeroen Wester
Tussen de palmen en pijnbomen van Mas d'Artigny heerst een ultiem vakantiegevoel: voor 700 euro per nacht heeft elke gast een suite met zijn eigen azuurblauwe zwembad. Het uitzicht reikt tot aan de Middellandse Zee.
In dit Hotel & Spa bij Saint-Paul-de-Vence in Zuid-Frankrijk, vertoeft Theo Langejan vier dagen. De bestuursvoorzitter van de Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit (NZa), de waakhond die toezicht houdt op de 90 miljard euro die elk jaar besteed wordt in de zorg, bezoekt er in april 2012 het congres 'Leiderschap en strategie in de zorg'.
Bij het uitchecken hoeft hij niets af te rekenen. Pfizer, het Amerikaanse farmaconcern, is gastheer en betaalt. Zo doen ze dat wel vaker bij de NZa. Onder leiding van Langejan, in 2010 aangetreden, is het niet ongebruikelijk dat bedrijven en zorginstellingen op wie de NZa toezicht houdt, zulke dienstreizen betalen. Het beleid is, volgens de NZa, dat als een bestuurder van de NZa op een congres spreekt of in een panel zit, een sponsor de reis en het verblijf betaalt. Ook als de bijdrage van de NZa-bestuurder beperkt is tot een bescheiden inleiding, zoals dit jaar aan de C´te d'Azur.
De bestuursvoorzitter van de Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit reist in vier jaar zestien keer op andermans kosten naar het buitenland. De ene keer betaalt een automatiseerder, de andere keer een pillenconcern of de ziekenhuislobby. Het gulst is consultant PwC die hem twee keer per jaar een geheel verzorgde verre reis aanbiedt. Van Washington tot Singapore, van Zuid-Afrika tot Mexico. Langejan maakt de reizen in werktijd als adviseur van een denktank van PwC.
Theo Langejan heeft een verantwoordelijke baan. Als baas van de Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit bewaakt hij de zorgsector. Sinds de afschaffing van het ziekenfonds en de komst van meer marktwerking ziet de NZa toe op gezonde verhoudingen in de markt. De zorg moet toegankelijk en betaalbaar zijn. De NZa doet invallen bij ziekenhuizen als onjuiste declaraties worden vermoed, zoals vorig jaar in Nieuwegein. Of legt boetes op aan zorgverzekeraars voor 'žfouten in de financile verantwoording'', zoals eerder dit jaar bij Achmea.
Van een toezichthouder die van anderen eist dat ze zich stipt aan de regels houden, mag verwacht worden dat hij dat zelf ook doet. Dat de NZa dat niet altijd deed, bleek al in april. Toen publiceerde deze krant het dossier van de overleden NZa-medewerker Arthur Gotlieb. Daaruit bleek hoe medische gegevens en concurrentiegevoelige informatie van zorgverzekeraars en ziekenhuizen niet veilig waren binnen de NZa. De toezichthouder schond daarmee de eigen regels voor informatiebeveiliging en de Wet bescherming persoonsgegevens.
Het roept ook de vraag op hoe het met de eigen financile verantwoording is gesteld. Wat is het declaratiebeleid van de toezichthouder? Hoe solide is de interne administratie en houdt de Zorgautoriteit zich op dit vlak w(C)l aan de regels?
Good governanceZo streng als de NZa voor de buitenwereld is, zo soepel wordt intern met de regels omgegaan, blijkt uit aanvullend onderzoek van deze krant. Naar reizen en dienstauto's van de raad van bestuur, de inkoop van diensten en producten, en het naleven van regels op het gebied van good governance, behoorlijk bestuur.
Vergeleken met andere toezichthouders in Nederland is de NZa soepel met het beleid dat commercile partijen dienstreizen van de raad van bestuur mogen betalen. Navraag bij onder meer de Autoriteit Financile Markten (AFM) en de Autoriteit Consument & Markt (ACM) leert dat deze organen dat uit principe niet doen.
Bovendien is de NZa niet consequent. Soms betaalt de Zorgautoriteit in het buitenland alleen het verblijf en niet de congreskosten en het vliegticket. Een andere keer wordt alleen een ticket betaald en de hotel- en deelnamekosten niet. Soms betaalt de NZa alles, soms niets. In januari 2012 bezoekt Theo Langejan de European Health Summit, een KPMG-evenement, in Brussel. Langejan is geen spreker. Toch betaalt KPMG zijn verblijf.
Zo gaat het ook met het meenemen van partners op een dienstreis. In het parlement is er menigmaal over gedebatteerd. Wat mag wel, wat mag niet? De minister van Binnenlandse Zaken zei in 2006 tegen de Tweede Kamer:
'žPartners van ambtenaren reizen niet op een dienstreis mee. Hierop kan een uitzondering worden gemaakt indien dit functioneel is en in het belang van de dienst.''
Zulke normen gelden ook voor de NZa, maar die houdt zich daar niet altijd aan. Partners reizen mee, ook als er geen dienstbelang is. Zo gaat oud-NZa-bestuurder Arno Barendregt in 2007 met zijn vrouw naar Seoul. Het congres duurt een weekeinde, maar de NZa betaalt zijn vakantiereis van twee weken door Zuid-Korea. Volgens Barendregt betaalt zijn vrouw zelf haar vlucht en moet zijn reis van 7.500 euro gezien worden als 'žeen afscheidscadeau''.
Wie de kosten van de meereizende partner betaalt, weet de NZa niet altijd. Toenmalig NZa-bestuurder Cathy van Beek, tegenwoordig bestuurder bij Radboudumc in Nijmegen, neemt in 2009 haar man mee op een driedaagse congresreis naar Athene. Bedrijven die het congres sponsoren, betalen voor Van Beek. Ze wil niet reageren. De NZa zegt desgevraagd niet te weten wie de rekening van haar partner betaalde.
Dat de industrie kosten van partners betaalt, is niet ongewoon. Dat blijkt uit een persoonlijke uitnodiging voor voorzitter Langejan van ICT-bedrijf Unisys, dat congresreisjes naar Zuid-Frankrijk organiseert. In de brief van 10 december 2010 biedt Unisys een partnerprogramma aan met 'žculinaire en culturele uitstapjes'' in de omgeving van Nice. Allemaal gratis. 'žVoor uw partner worden alleen de reiskosten in rekening gebracht'', staat in de brief. In plaats van Langejan gaat zijn collega Van Beek.
Extra kostenAls Langejan vorig jaar als adviseur van PwC voor een congres in Berlijn is, logeert hij in tophotel Adlon. Daar rekent hij voor 91,50 euro af met de creditcard van de NZa. De kosten hebben niet met zijn werk van doen. Als dat een jaar later intern wordt ontdekt, betaalt Langejan alsnog terug.
De voorzitter combineert ook priv(C)- en zakenreizen. Langejan bezoekt in november 2012 een congres in Montreal. Op weg naar Canada logeert hij priv(C) in New York met zijn vriendin, op dat moment eerste woordvoerder van de NZa. Zonder de combinatie met de zakenreis was dat uitstapje duurder uitgevallen. Nu betaalt zijn werkgever de vliegreis naar New York. Langejan geeft later alleen de vliegkosten van New York naar Montreal (151,17 euro) terug aan de NZa.
De NZa zegt hierover: 'žEen combinatie van een dienstreis en een priv(C)reis is toegestaan mits eventuele meerkosten (en verlof) voor rekening van medewerker komen. Partners reizen in principe niet mee op dienstreizen. In voorkomende gevallen en na overleg zijn meerkosten voor rekening van de medewerker en zijn/haar partner.''
De NZa blijkt niet altijd te weten wie de reis- en verblijfskosten in het buitenland betaalt. Bestuursvoorzitter Langejan gaat tweemaal op kosten van het World Executive Forum Healthcare Systems een paar dagen naar Montreal. Maar over deze instelling is vrijwel niets bekend, ook niet over de gehouden congressen. Volgens de NZa is de organisator een particuliere organisatie. 'žVoor zover ons bekend werden de onkosten betaald van de bijdragen van deelnemers aan het forum.'' De NZa kon tot nu toe niet zeggen of er ook verslagen zijn van de gemaakte reizen en of er ook bestuursbesluiten ten grondslag liggen aan de dienstreizen die door derden worden betaald.
Dat kan relevant zijn. Bijvoorbeeld om je beter te wapenen tegen de schijn van belangenverstrengeling. Zo heeft de Zorgautoriteit op een heel andere manier met de financiers van buitenlandse reizen te maken. PwC en KPMG hebben commercile belangen in de zorg en krijgen regelmatig zakelijke opdrachten van de NZa. De adviesorganisaties doen deelstudies voor de toezichthouder. Zo kreeg KPMG in 2012 voor 417.976 euro aan adviesopdrachten van de NZa. Daarnaast is zij de huisaccountant die controleert of de cijfers van de Zorgautoriteit zelf kloppen.
De automatiseerders die congressen organiseren dingen met enige regelmaat mee naar aanbestedingen van de NZa. En Pfizer, gastheer in Mas d'Artigny, is voor zijn inkomsten in Nederland voor een belangrijk deel afhankelijk van NZa-besluiten, vooral voor de medicijnen met een beschermde status. Welke maximumtarieven voor speciale dure geneesmiddelen stelt de NZa dit jaar vast?
Juist vanwege dit soort risico's koos minister Schippers (Zorg, VVD) ervoor om als ministerie mee te betalen aan de organisatiekosten van bijvoorbeeld informele praatclubs. Eerder dit jaar zei ze in de Tweede Kamer dat het ministerie zich er niet prettig bij voelde dat dit tot 2010 niet gebeurde. 'žAls de farmaceutische industrie namelijk die organisatiekosten op zich neemt, dan zijn wij kwetsbaar. Want dan kan het zijn dat er mensen zijn die vinden dat wij op kosten van de farmaceutische industrie zitten te vergaderen.''
Foto ANP
Dienstauto met trekhaakFrank de Grave, voorganger van Theo Langejan als voorzitter, neemt afstand van het veelvuldig reizen op kosten van bedrijven met wie de NZa van doen heeft.
'žIn mijn tijd is dat niet gebeurd. Ik vond dat de NZa moest voorkomen dat er ingewikkelde beelden door konden ontstaan. Ook al begrijp ik dat er werkcontacten nodig zijn. Maar ik vind dat je daar terughoudend in moet zijn.''
Het is ook De Grave die destijds de verplichting invoert dat de ene bestuurder de declaraties en uitgaven van de andere bestuurder ondertekent, ter controle. Onder het bewind van zijn opvolger verwatert dat. Zo keurt Langejan de uitgave voor zijn drie uur durende communicatietraining van 2.653 euro zelf goed. Of neem de uitgave van 4.403 euro, als Langejan meegaat op de Zorg Innovatie Reis in 2011 in Engeland. Langejan ondertekent zijn eigen aanvraag 'žvoor akkoord''.
Er is wel meer mogelijk. In het verleden declareerde een NZa-bestuurder de autowegtol van vakantie en kregen dienstauto's een trekhaak voor een caravan of een fietsenrek. In 2010 gaat het mis bij het leasen van dienstauto's voor leden van de raad van bestuur. Dat blijkt uit de memo van het hoofd van de afdeling Financin en Control (F&C) over een opdracht aan het bedrijf Multilease. Het leasebedrijf mag twee dienstauto's leveren v""rdat F&C ge¯nformeerd is. Bovendien wordt te veel geld uitgegeven. De memo: 'žBij het checken van de verplichtingen blijkt dat de post kosten wagenpark NZa overschreden wordt. Voor 2010 is een jaarbedrag begroot voor 4 auto's van 94.000 euro. Met deze 2 nieuwe verplichtingen komt het jaarlijkse totaalbedrag uit op 116.000 euro. Dit is een overschrijding van 22.000 euro. F&C kan hierdoor niet akkoord gaan met deze verplichtingen.''
De NZa erkent dat er destijds 'žin strijd met de interne regels'', is gehandeld. 'žIn overleg met de betrokkenen zijn toen de geldende procedures nog eens verhelderd.''
Voor Langejan wordt op 26 juni 2010 een grijze BMW 525d High Executive geleasd. De voorzitter laat zich door zijn chauffeur 28 maanden rondrijden in deze auto. In die periode kost de BMW 92.283 euro. Dat is 3.295 euro per maand. Aan dienstauto's geeft de Raad van Bestuur tussen 2005 en 2013 een bedrag van 666.879 euro uit. Samen met de salarissen voor twee chauffeurs kost het vervoer van de bestuurders in die periode 1,5 miljoen euro.
Daarmee wijkt de NZa af van andere zelfstandige bestuursorganen (zbo's) in de zorg. Zorginstituut Nederland, het College ter beoordeling van geneesmiddelen en het CAK '' allemaal zbo's met meer personeel dan de NZa '' hebben geen dienstauto's met chauffeurs. Als er al leaseauto's zijn, blijft het vergeleken met de NZa bij bescheiden bedragen.
De soepele omgang met de regels komt ook terug in de boekhouding, blijkt uit de 'Interne managementrapportage mei t/m augustus 2012'. Die signaleert een dreigend overschot van 581.000 euro op de begroting. En alles wat overblijft dient te worden teruggegeven aan het ministerie. Dus er moeten uitgaven gevonden worden. De financile afdeling 'žuit haar bezorgdheid omdat er in de resterende 3 maanden nog voor 581.000 euro aan kosten gemaakt moeten worden'', maar 'žziet een aantal mogelijkheden om dit geld niet terug te hoeven betalen aan VWS.''
Uit de jaarrekening 2012 blijkt dat dat gelukt is. Een medewerker die na een conflict thuis zat, is afgekocht met bijna een half miljoen euro en het bedrag dat teruggestort moet worden naar het ministerie komt uit op nul.
Wat geldt voor reizen en dienstauto's, geldt ook voor het inkoopbeleid. Daarin heeft de NZa naar eigen zeggen 'žeen voorbeeldrol voor de zorgsector'', zoals het correct naleven van nationale en Europese aanbestedingsregels.
Dat is niet altijd de praktijk. Op 13 juli 2010 ondertekent Langejan een opdracht aan ICT-bedrijf Capgemini voor 160.000 euro. Als het werk is uitgevoerd, blijkt dat het inkoopproces niet is gevolgd. De afdeling Inkoop weet nergens van, de opdracht is niet, zoals verplicht, gepubliceerd op de aanbestedingskalender en website, en er zijn geen concurrerende offertes aangevraagd.
Het gaat vaker niet goed. Zo doet de NZa zaken met een bedrijfje van de chauffeur van de bestuursvoorzitter. Die heeft naast zijn vaste, voltijdse baan bij de NZa een groothandel in promotieartikelen: Max' Business Gifts. Van dat bedrijf koopt de NZa in 2006 voor 7.000 euro vesten en shirts met het NZa-logo. Als de chauffeur in 2007 en 2008 een stuwmeer aan verlofuren heeft, wordt dat opgelost via Max' Business Gifts. De groothandel stuurt facturen (samen 21.000 euro) naar de NZa voor 'žchauffeursdiensten''. De NZa noemt dit nu 'žniet gewenst''. Inmiddels zouden op dit punt de regels wel nageleefd worden.
Reacties: onderzoek@nrc.nl
Verantwoording: NRC Handelsblad deed onderzoek naar het inkoop- en declaratiegedrag bij de Nederlandse Zorgautoriteit. Directe aanleiding vormt het dossier van voormalig NZa-medewerker Arthur Gotlieb. Hij boekstaafde misstanden binnen de NZa en pleegde zelfmoord. De krant sprak daarna met twaalf ex-medewerkers en beschikt over interne documenten. Ook vroeg de krant informatie op. Minister Schippers heeft onderzoek ingesteld naar de integriteit bij de NZa door een commissie onder leiding van Hans Borstlap.
Klik door naar ons NZa-dossier.
Lees meer over:Nederlandse ZorgautoriteitNZa
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Eric Holder To Step Down As Attorney General : The Two-Way : NPR
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:02
Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during a Sept. 4 news conference at the Justice Department in Washington. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APhide caption
itoggle caption Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APAttorney General Eric Holder speaks during a Sept. 4 news conference at the Justice Department in Washington.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APEric Holder Jr., the nation's first black U.S. attorney general, is preparing to announce his resignation Thursday after a tumultuous tenure marked by civil rights advances, national security threats, reforms to the criminal justice system and five and a half years of fights with Republicans in Congress.
Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly "adamant" about his desire to leave soon for fear he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama's second term.
Holder already is one of the longest serving members of the Obama cabinet and ranks as the fourth longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, for his return in early February 2009 to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general '-- the second in command '-- during the Clinton administration.
But some of that early glow faded in part due to the politicized nature of the job and in part because of Holder's own rhetoric, such as a 2009 Black History Month speech where he said the country was "a nation of cowards" when it comes to discussions about racial tension.
Five years later, violence erupted between police and protesters in Ferguson, Mo., after a white policeman killed an unarmed black 18 year old. And this time, the White House dispatched Holder to speak his piece, in effect jump starting that conversation, and helping to settle nerves in the frayed community.
Another huge controversy '-- over his decision to try the 9-11 plotters in a New York courthouse in the shadow of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center '-- prompted venomous reaction from lawmakers, New York City officials and some victim families.
Under pressure that threatened his job and his legacy, the attorney general reversed his decision and instead sent the cases to military court '-- where they continue to languish even as Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law and other terrorism defendants are serving life sentences in maximum security prisons on American soil.
Holder most wants to be remembered for his record on civil rights: refusing to defend a law that defined marriage as between one man and one woman; suing North Carolina and Texas over voting restrictions that disproportionately affect minorities and the elderly; launching 20 investigations of abuses by local police departments; and using his bully pulpit to lobby Congress to reduce prison sentences for non-violent drug crimes. Many of those sentences disproportionately hurt minority communities.
And then, there's his relationship with Congress. From the day Holder's nomination was announced, Republicans led by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled he would be a political lightning rod.
The attorney general's portfolio, which spans sensitive law enforcement cases and hot button social issues including marijuana and gay marriage, didn't help. But even longtime aides say Holder didn't do enough to help himself by shrugging off preparations and moot sessions before congressional appearances and speaking off the cuff '-- and obliquely.
Things hit a crisis point when the GOP-led House voted him in contempt for refusing to hand over documents about a gun trafficking scandal known as Fast and Furious. That represented the first time an attorney general had ever been rebuked that way but still Holder held onto his job.
In the end, the decision to leave was Holder's alone '-- the two sources tell NPR the White House would have been happy to have him stay a full eight years and to avoid what could be a contentious nomination fight for his successor. Holder and President Obama discussed his departure several times and finalized things in a long meeting over Labor Day weekend at the White House.
The attorney general told staff the news at DOJ this morning and has called civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and Ethel Kennedy, the widow of former AG Robert F. Kennedy.
The sources say a leading candidate for that job is Solicitor General Don Verrilli, the administration's top representative to the Supreme Court and a lawyer whose judgment and discretion are prized in both DOJ and the White House.
Friends and former colleagues say Holder's made no decisions about his next professional perch, but they say it would be no surprise if he returned to the law firm Covington & Burling, where he spent years representing corporate clients.
The friends say Holder is also considering donating his papers to a university in D.C. or his native New York, where he could establish a civil rights center to work more on law enforcement interactions with communities of color and host public forums on those issues.
Even though the attorney general has his eyes on the door, the two sources say several more policy and enforcement initiatives are underway and could be announced soon.
For instance, Holder sent a memo to U.S. Attorneys Wednesday urging them not to use sentencing enhancements known as "851" tools to gain leverage in plea negotiations with defendants '-- in essence, threatening defendants into avoiding trial with huge amounts of prison time. The practice has been criticized by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson in Brooklyn, as well as other jurists.
Holder is also expected to notify federal prosecutors in coming days that the Justice Department will no longer require defendants who plead guilty to waive their rights to appeal based on ineffective lawyering. Many U.S. Attorneys now forgo that practice, but not all.
Long awaited racial profiling guidelines for federal agents will be released soon, too. Those guidelines will make clear sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion are not legitimate bases for law enforcement suspicion but controversial mapping of certain communities '-- including Muslim-American ones '-- would still be allowed for national security investigations, one of the sources said.
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K-Word
How To Massage Kale: Why A Rubdown Helps This Leafy Green
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 03:29
Kitchen Daily | By Julie R. Thomson
Kale has seen a surge in popularity recently -- but now that the warm weather is making its presence known, this fibrous green may be forgotten about in the face of more tender baby arugula and mesclun.
Kale is a strong, bitter green that can brave its way through winter. It holds up well to being sauteed, baked and as a green in hearty stews. But its culinary properties don't end there. Kale works wonderfully in lighter recipes too -- it just needs to be treated properly. And that special treatment comes in the form of a massage.
While it might seem a bit odd to massage your food, you'd be amazed at what a quick five-minute rubdown can do to transform this green from being bitter and tough to turning silky and sweet. After a little massage, kale becomes a great option for light green salads -- the type you'll want to be eating all summer long.
Massaging kale is easy to do. Take bunches of kale in both hands -- with the fibrous ribs removed -- rub them together and repeat. You'll notice a visible change as you do this; the leaves will darken, shrink in size and become silky in texture. The LA Times explains why this happens -- kale's tough cellulose structure breaks down -- wilts, actually.
If you want to know when your massaging hands have done their trick, take a bite. If it's still bitter, it could use a little more. Another tenderizing option is to add olive oil and salt while massaging -- you'll have taken care of preparing and dressing the salad all at once. If rubbing your greens is not something you can get into, kale also calms its wintery ways if tossed in olive oil and left to sit overnight. With these techniques, you just might find yourself eating this leafy green all summer long.
Newtown
FBI '-- Table 8 - Connecticut-NEWTOWN ZERO
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 04:08
InfoCityPopulationViolentcrimeMurder andnonnegligentmanslaughterForciblerapeRobberyAggravatedassaultPropertycrimeBurglaryLarceny-theftMotorvehicletheftArsonAnsonia19,2712904151045580317581Avon18,162502211692514310Berlin19,935210051630955243112Bethel18,8226032132148263102Bloomfield20,557310581850569404320Branford28,0552100101167556595241Bridgeport146,0301,760223886067445,1531,3772,90886825Bristol60,688933951301,5903551,1231127Brookfield16,662200021913614960Canton10,328101008877830Cheshire29,295400402654821070Clinton13,32627016383025324181Coventry12,451202001706710120Cromwell14,07511016429044233130Danbury81,89110912345401,5622871,201746Darien20,9982001199138510Derby12,917281810939792271342East Hampton13,024511121483410950East Hartford51,43119222683811,5733621,02918211East Haven29,28832161510875166642674Easton7,5840000040172210East Windsor11,2001807653386126894Enfield44,80630001218820198591315Fairfield60,122330213181,3012311,000701Farmington25,429240217562950549301Glastonbury34,547220391032656258131Granby11,321200119659100Greenwich61,948230261536845301224Groton10,39717043101578139103Groton Long Point51800000143920Groton Town29,231480883261072515236Guilford22,40024037142935123570Hamden61,03232223392781,3821961,089972Hartford125,2031,65623276409656,3191,0503,46780288Madison18,28820011116258921Manchester58,44411111246521,7972881,417927Meriden60,934222525761161,8124211,2231689Middlebury7,5834021170204550Middletown47,87872112545900156661833Milford52,817460233111,5861501,371654Monroe19,728301111594111530Naugatuck31,8963007111263292498422New Britain73,458317351791302,9177751,7493930New Canaan19,992610231301411420New Haven129,9341,87017558449546,5161,4514,35171415Newington30,668281814578499636494New London27,643366310453087641835156610New Milford28,04721091113634335241Newtown27,904705021853215121North Branford14,422511122013416070North Haven24,119120011157863478370Norwalk86,69327239681921,7132501,3521114Norwich40,5179911835459632746395015Old Saybrook10,29390009162715230Orange13,9717025037633332114Plainfield15,4101403561213672131Plainville17,7784400440665145482380Plymouth12,2028040421038157152Portland9,55610002876215230Putnam9,58829063202005114273Redding9,275000005984740Ridgefield24,9521001088107711Rocky Hill19,776302102763323490Seymour16,55810022616145106101Shelton40,0622207123432134265330Simsbury23,591710241762514740Southington43,21928151111751130585367South Windsor25,7989032437248307170Stamford124,2013515251451761,9322901,47217010Stonington18,5561103173306625771Stratford52,04110401528611,4132451,070989Suffield15,789401031312510510Thomaston7,85940004138587280Torrington36,264510181122842111711204Trumbull36,474140011353152449300Vernon29,21746057343116523792Wallingford45,1831502103914161728252Waterbury110,486328571851314,7136623,5385138Waterford19,52945106385155545190Watertown22,437252431652086412220West Hartford63,48746023591,6952431,3481042West Haven55,62631911582591,4471971,0761741Weston10,3093000341113000Westport26,7281100293184027170Wethersfield26,7622301111141062328201Willimantic17,81827011313433104276534Wilton18,2912100193177510Winchester11,20515024925381161111Windsor29,14515047442955361130Windsor Locks12,54110024422549166100Wolcott16,6976015031878226140Woodbridge9,00080125107237770Provides the methodology used in constructing this table and other pertinent information about this table.
FBI: Mass Shootings Are on The Rise - The Daily Beast
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 07:59
DANGEROUS TREND09.24.14
Alex Wong/Getty Images
The FBI has released a study showing the mass shootings have become more frequent in the past seven years. From 2000 through 2006, there were an average of 6.4 mass shooting incidences a year. From 2007 to 2013, that increased to an average of 16.4 annual mass shooting incidences. The largest portion of the mass shootings, 45.6 percent, occurred in commercial settings, followed by 24.3 percent that took place in educational environments. In total, the mass shootings killed 486 and wounded 557 from 2000 to 2013.
Read it at FBI
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-Lured by Social Media, ISIS Has Drawn About 1,000 Recruits from Asia-Pacific | MRCTV
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 01:17
patrick.goodenoughPatrick covered government and politics in South Africa and the Middle East before joining CNSNews.com in 1999. Since then he has launched foreign bureaus for CNSNews.com in Jerusalem, London and the Pacific Rim. From October 2006 to July 2007, Patrick served as Managing Editor at the organization's world headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Now back in the Pacific Rim, as International Editor he reports on politics, international relations, security, terrorism, ethics and religion, and oversees reporting by CNSNews.com's roster of international stringers.
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VIDEO- BREAKING! Iraqi PM Says They Have Uncovered Plot To Attack Subways In U.S. And France - YouTube
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 00:43
VIDEO- CNN Tries To Link Oklahoma Beheading To ISIS - YouTube
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 00:21
VIDEO- Obama "America Is Leading The Effort To Rally The World Against Russian Aggression In Ukraine" - YouTube
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 00:11
VIDEO- Michael Scheuer "ISIS Could Not Ask For Any Greater Gift Than The One Obama's Giving Them" - YouTube
Sun, 28 Sep 2014 00:00
VIDEO-George Galloway's Statement in UK Parliament on Isis airstrikes - YouTube
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 19:52
VIDEO-iPhone 6 And 6 Plus Bend Test - Consumer Reports News
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 19:31
Two days ago, the Internet erupted with photos of bent iPhone 6s, and a very-viral video of a guy creasing an iPhone 6 Plus with his bare hands. It seemed like a serious concern, yet everything about the uproar was highly unscientific. We don't like unscientific, so we promised then that we would use our lab equipment to find out just how delicate the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus really are. We also promised to run the same tests on comparable smart phones. We've done that now, and our tests show that both iPhones seem tougher than the Internet fracas implies.
Our testTo stress test these phones, we used what's called a ''three-point flexural test,'' in which the phone is supported at two points on either end, then force is applied at a third point on the top'--you can see the testing for yourself in our video. We applied and measured the force using a high-precision Instron compression test machine. Along with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, we tested the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and HTC One (M8), and for those wondering about their old iPhones, we tested the iPhone 5 as well. We used one sample of each phone.
Yesterday, while we were testing and the "#bendgate" controversy was still swirling, Apple invited some journalists into its labs to show how the company stress tests iPhones. According to published reports, it seems that one of the tests Apple uses is the same three-point flexural test on a similar Instron machine.
The reports stated that Apple applies 25 kilograms (slightly more than 55 pounds) of force to an iPhone 6 Plus to test flex. What does 55 pounds mean in context? Using our Instron, we found that it's approximately the force required to break three pencils.
Consumer Reports' tests pushed the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus much further than 55 pounds. We started light, applying 10 pounds of force for 30 seconds, then releasing the force. Then we increased the force in 10-pound increments, noted when the phones first started to deform (that's what our engineers call it) and stopped the test for each phone when we saw the screen come loose from the case.
The resultsAll the phones we tested showed themselves to be pretty tough. The iPhone 6 Plus, the more robust of the new iPhones in our testing, started to deform when we reached 90 pounds of force, and came apart with 110 pounds of force. With those numbers, it slightly outperformed the HTC One (which is largely regarded as a sturdy, solid phone), as well as the smaller iPhone 6, yet underperformed some other smart phones.
Throughout most of our test, the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 bent, then recovered completely from each step up in force. But at 130 pounds, the case of the G3 fractured. At 150 pounds of force, the Note 3's screen splintered and it stopped working.
Impressively, despite some serious damage from our Instron machine, some of the phones continued to work. Several of the screens illuminated and were functional to the touch; we even completed a call from one phone to another.
Below you can see the pictures of the smart phone carnage, but bear in mind that it took significant force to do this kind of damage to all these phones. While nothing is (evidently) indestructible, we expect that any of these phones should stand up to typical use.
VIDEO-UPDATED: Sarah Palin Promises To Bring 'Truth' To '1400 Pennsylvania Avenue' (Video) - The New Civil Rights Movement
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 19:28
Speaking at the Values Voter Summit today, Sarah Palin promised conservatives she will bring truth' to "1400 Pennsylvania Avenue."
Change the conversation, change the worldShare thisCould it be that the former Republican Vice Presidential nominee never made it to the White House because she just didn't know where it was?
This afternoon, former Gov. Sarah Palin told religious right conservatives they are ''the most slandered group in America today.''
The former Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska also told the largely older, white crowd that the left has no way to counter Republican arguments, so they rely on "scorn" to get their message across -- after she attacked President Barack Obama as an ''Alinsky-loving, Orwellian, elitist.''
But it was her promise to bring "truth" to "1400 Pennsylvania Avenue" that drew the most "scorn."
The White House, presumably where Palin was aiming her brand of "truth," is famously at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Watch:
UPDATE: Palin's flub has now spawned the Twitter hashtag #At1400Pennsylvania
UPDATE II:
Hat tip and video: Right Wing Watch
VIDEO-David Cameron Says Non-Violent Conspiracy Theorists Are Just As Dangerous As ISIS
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 19:13
In his speech to the U.N General Assembly, David Cameron said that ''non-violent extremism'' is just as dangerous as terrorism and must be eradicated using all means at the government's disposal.
He referenced 9/11 and 7/7 Truthers as examples of the type of extremism that must be dealt in a similar fashion to ISIS
Is Cameron officially announcing a the plan to use a full assault on dissenting views?
Share the post "David Cameron Says Non-Violent Conspiracy Theorists Are Just As Dangerous As ISIS"
VIDEO-Man who beheaded woman at work accused of trying to 'convert' co-workers to Islam | myfox8.com
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 15:17
MOORE, Okla. '-- The man suspected of beheading a woman and stabbing another woman at his Oklahoma workplace Thursday afternoon had recently been trying to convert co-workers to Islam, Moore police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said Friday, citing investigators' interviews with people.
Moore police have asked the FBI to help them investigate the man's background, Lewis said.
The deceased victim has been identified as 54-year-old Colleen Hufford.
Officials say he also tried to kill another woman. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition.
The incident happened late Thursday afternoon at a Vaughan Foods processing plant in Moore, Okla.
The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Alton Alexander Nolan, was stopped when he was shot and injured by a sheriff's deputy. He is expected to survive.
There were no immediate indications of a link to terrorism, officials said.
The identity of the victims have not been released.
There were as many as 300 workers inside of the warehouse at the time of the incident.
Source: KFOR/CNN
Trademark and Copyright 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
VIDEO-Sandy Hook Commission discusses home schooling - WFSB 3 Connecticut
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 15:11
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission was formed after the tragedy nearly two years ago and was charged with looking into the issues such as school security, gun control and mental health.
The commission has proposed more state oversight of home-schooling programs, but parents like Donna Person are upset about that.
''I think it's the best way to educate,'' Person said about home schooling her children. ''The kids are together, they're with us, they're learning unbelievably.''
Person said she is frustrated that the state is talking about stepping in on home schoolers.
''They don't have their house in order, and they have no business coming after us,'' she said.
A draft recommendation that the Commission released this week said that if parents choose to home school children with social and emotional challenges, they would have to have an education plan approved by the special education director in that town.
Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson chairs the commission, and said the additional oversight is aimed at making sure children with mental health problems are getting the help they need.
"We as a community have to watch out for every child. One of the ways we do that is in the school buildings, but we can't forget the young men and women who are not inside those buildings,'' Jackson said.
Person said that is not the answer, and that she wants the state to prove the Newtown school shooter was home schooled. She said it is likely that the shooter had a home-based education through the school system and that he still fell through the cracks.
The state's attorney report said Adam Lanza attended a combination of public school classes, home schooling and tutoring.
Jackson said that regardless of Lanza's education, their job is to look for gaps.
''Yeah, this is controversial, it creates a change. But, isn't that what we're supposed to do,'' Jackson added.
The final report from the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is expected to be complete in the next few weeks. After that, it is up to lawmakers to make recommendations and turn them into legislation.
Copyright 2014 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
VIDEO-Police: Woman beheaded at Oklahoma workplace - Yahoo News
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 11:29
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) '-- A man fired from an Oklahoma food processing plant beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.
Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said police are waiting until Alton Nolen, 30, is conscious to arrest him in Thursday's attack and have asked the FBI to help investigate after co-workers at Vaughan Foods in the south Oklahoma City suburb told authorities that he recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.
Nolen severed the head of Colleen Hufford, 54, Lewis said.
"Yes, she was beheaded," Lewis told The Associated Press before a Friday news conference.
Lewis said Nolen then stabbed Traci Johnson, 43, a number of times before Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff's deputy and the company's chief operating officer, shot him.
"This was not going to stop if he didn't stop it. It could have gotten a lot worse," Lewis said. "The threat had already stopped once we arrived."
Lewis said Moore police have asked the FBI to look into the man's background because of the nature of the attack, which follows a series of videotaped beheadings by Islamic State militants.
In a statement, FBI Special Agent in Charge James E. Finch said the motive for the attack has not been determined but that there is no reason to believe there is a threat to anyone else.
A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told the AP that while there was indication that Nolen was a Muslim convert and was trying to convert others to Islam, there is so far no connection to terrorism and no evidence of any worrisome travel.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said Nolen had a Facebook page that was of potential interest to investigators but that "there doesn't appear to be any nexus to terrorism right now." But the official also said investigators were still looking into Nolen's background.
Johnson and the suspect were hospitalized and in stable condition Friday, Lewis said. Nolen had not yet been charged and Lewis said he didn't know what charges the suspect would face.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections records say Nolen has served time in prison and is on probation for assault and battery on a police officer. He also was convicted of cocaine possession with intent to distribute in 2011.
Corrections records show Nolen has what appear to be religious tattoos, including one referencing Jesus and one in Arabic that means "peace be with you."
Lewis said Nolen had been fired in a building that houses the company's human resources office, then immediately drove to the entrance of the business. Lewis said he didn't know why the man was fired.
A Vaughan spokeswoman said the company was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the attack.
___
Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
Society & CultureCrime & Justice
VIDEO-Weekly Address: America is Leading the World | The White House
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 10:53
September 27, 2014 | 2:51
In this week's address, the President reiterated the forceful and optimistic message of American leadership that he delivered in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week.
Public Domain
VIDEO-Woman beheaded at Oklahoma workplace - YouTube
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 03:54
AUDIO-Episode 571: Why Raising Money For Ebola Is Hard : Planet Money : NPR
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 03:28
Nurses learn how to use Ebola protective gear in Sierra Leone Michael Duff/APhide caption
itoggle caption Michael Duff/APCharities raised $1.4 billion to help rebuild Haiti after the earthquake. After the tsunami in Asia in 2004, organizations raised $1.6 billion. But when something like Ebola happens, so far, people look the other way.
On today's show: What does it take to get people to notice something half a world away, and what does it take to get people to pull out their wallets and donate money.
Music: The Black Eyed Peas's "Where Is The Love?" Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Spotify/ Tumblr. Download the Planet Money iPhone App.
VIDEO- Marie Harf brings AP reporter Matt Lee birthday balloons - YouTube
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 02:02
VIDEO-ISIS firefight caught on CNN camera
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 23:40
CNN's Phil Black gives a live look at ISIS militants near the Turkey-Syria border as refugees cheer on Kurdish fighters.
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VIDEO-Marie Harf provides insight into Iraq's terror warning | Fox News
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 23:37
This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," September 25, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Breaking tonight, new details on a controversial cleric that President Obama mentioned in his remarks to the United Nations, turns out that this man is the same cleric who at one point called for the death of U.S. Soldiers overseas, just issued another fatwa last week condemning the terror known as ISIS. And while NPR suggests that he is known as a, quote, scholar's scholar, there are still serious questions about the president's decision to invoke this man.
After the State Department's counter terrorism bureau, recently ended up apologizing for doing the very same thing. Marie Harf is the State Department deputy spokeswoman. She's here live with me on the set. So, the State Department actually took down a tweet that they sent out touting him and his musings and saying, we should not have done that. It was wrong. We deleted it. So, how did you feel when you saw the president mention him at the United Nations speech?
MARIE HARF, STATE DEPARTMENT DEPUTY SPOKESWOMAN: Well, Megyn, thank you for having me, first of all, in set tonight. I think that what the president was saying is that we need respected voices in the Muslim world to stand up and reject ISIS' ideology. We need people who other Muslims listen to, to stand up and do that. And this cleric that you mentioned, this scholar's scholar, as you mentioned in your opening, has done that.
KELLY: Those aren't my words.
HARF: I know, but you mentioned it. He issued a fatwa against ISIS. And if we can have these leaders use their platforms in the region to reject this really hateful ideology, that will help us in our fight against\ ISIS.
KELLY: I mean, it's good he issued a fatwa against ISIS, but he also issued that other fatwa against us where he called for Muslims to go kill American troops back in 2004. This is a problem, Marie.
HARF: Well, I think there's some misinformation out there about some of the things he may or may not have said...
KELLY: There's no misinformation about this. He was the vice president of the organization that was headed by a terrible man named Sheikh Qaradawi, who we won't even let in the United States. And he was president vice president of that organization for nine years when it sent out the fatwa calling for Muslims to kill American troops.
HARF: What we're judging him by is what he says very openly right now about the fact that Muslims should reject ISIS' ideology. He has said that publicly, he's rejecting the ideology of people who were trying to kill Americans.
KELLY: Be honest, has this been embarrassing for you?
HARF: Not at all.
KELLY: They're putting you in a very different position, aren't they?
HARF: Not at all.
KELLY: Then why...
HARF: I am perfectly happy with the decision to mention him that speech.
KELLY: Well, then why did you send out -- why did the State Department apologize for retweeting his musings?
HARF: Well, I have no idea why certain tweets are taken down or not taken down.
KELLY: You work for the State Department.
HARF: I do, I do. But what I will say is, when it comes to the president's speech, it is important to stand up in front of the world and say there are voices in the Muslim world who will stand up and say ISIS does not represent them.
KELLY: Right after they say, kill Americans.
HARF: If that can convince one person not to join ISIS, that's a good thing.
KELLY: All right. You handle yourself well. I apologize because they put you in a very difficult position today. It wasn't me. It was them.
Let's talk about the president's remarks and where we stand now with respect to this group ISIS. Because we have conflicting information today on whether there is some imminent threat to the homeland and whether it's from ISIS or it's from lone wolf. The Iraqi prime minister came out today and said the subway systems are basically going to get attacked. Has that been thoroughly debunked?
HARF: It has. And actually, the Iraqi prime minister himself spoke to State Department officials and to the vice president in a meeting this afternoon saying that he was not a -- saying it was direct threat to the United States, that he was answering a general question about this threat that foreign fighters could pose. He made very clear to us and we are saying publicly that we are not aware of any credible direct threat to the United States. I said earlier I would feel as comfortable taking the New York subway today as I would yesterday.
KELLY: How comfortable is that? Just out of curiosity.
HARF: Very comfortable.
KELLY: Can be sketchy at times, and you can go late in particular.
HARF: But when it comes to whether there's any sort of imminent terrorist attack, any credible threat. We don't see that. We're always vigilant, we're always watching. But we just don't see that right now.
KELLY: Let's talk about whether we had some failings to answer to in the creation and growth of ISIS. Our own James Rosen asked Secretary Kerry whether there was an intelligence failure, whether we underestimated ISIL and whether we overestimated the Iraqi troops. And John Kerry refused to go that far in an interview with James. James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence did go that far this week when he sat down with David Ignatius and said there was an intelligence failure. I can put it on the board what he said. This is a quote to The Washington Post. We underestimated ISIL and overestimated the fighting capability of the Iraqi army. So, who has it right? Director Clapper or Secretary Kerry?
HARF: I actually think that they both agree. And what the quote you just put up from Director Clapper speak very directly to the challenge when you're talking intelligence assessment from than I used to do at my former job at the CIA. When you look at the strength of a fighting force, when you look at the strength of a terrorist group, you are constantly re-evaluating that. And I do think that people did not expect the Iraqi army to melt away in the way that it did. We did not -- I think ISIL probably was actually surprised by that. We did not expect them to just disintegrate in places like we saw. That was a surprise to many people including, I think, the Iraq.
KELLY: Let's talk about that. Because that's -- I just spoke about this in my last segment that General Keane, respected man, former vice chief of staff of the army, has said that this is part of our problem over there not sending in combat troops, you know, troops on the ground --boots on the ground. Saying, that's a we can, we're trying to play with this Iraqi army, and that he says if we don't ultimately send in American combat troops, and I quote, we're going to lose.
HARF: Well, I'm not exactly sure what lose means, but what I would counter with is that the -- the ultimate solution to fighting ISIL is not American combat troops on the ground. We couldn't prevent terrorism when we had over 100,000 troops in Iraq. The ultimate answer is what we're doing, and it's taking targeted military action to really degrade the capabilities of this group, take out their leadership, take out their networks, take our their financing with these oil refineries, and then build a force on the ground that can hold this territory long-term. The Iraqi security forces in Iraq. We know that there are pockets...
KELLY: Those are the guys who just got rounded up...
HARF: They are.
KELLY: Killed by chemical weapons. And their fellow countrymen did not save them.
HARF: We know there are still pockets of capable fighters. What we are going to do is send in American military advisors, which we've already been doing, to help them get back on their feet. We're going to send them weapons. We're going to train them.
KELLY: How are you going to advise them in a way that's going to lead to a better result than all the other advising we've been doing over these past years.
HARF: Well, we've really ramped up our efforts there. We've ramped up our efforts to arm them. We've given them more arms, given them more training.
KELLY: But they put the arms down and then they run.
HARF: They're not anymore. I will say, if you look at what the Iraqi military has done in conjunction with us over the past several weeks and months now, really they've stepped up to the plate. There's a big challenge here, but we are going to standby them as we do as we fight this challenge.And, as you know, we're also taking this fight to ISIL in Syria.
KELLY: Marie, good of you to be here tonight.
HARF: Thank you.
Content and Programming Copyright 2014 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.
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The Kelly File, hosted by Megyn Kelly, airs on Weekdays at 9PM ET on Fox News Channel.
VIDEO-Woman beheaded in Okla. workplace attack
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 18:12
Associated Press9:58 a.m. PDT September 26, 2014
An Oklahoma State Trooper help secure the scene at Vaughan Foods where police say a disgruntled worker, Alton Nolen, who had just been fired, stabbed and beheaded a fellow worker and injured a second before an off-duty officer shot and wounded him(Photo: Kyle Phillips, The Norman Transcript, AP))
MOORE, Okla. - Police said Friday a man recently fired from a food processing plant in an Oklahoma City suburb beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by the owner of the company.
The 30-year-old man, who has not been charged, stabbed Colleen Hufford, 54, severing her head in Thursday's attack at Vaughan Foods, Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said.
Lewis said the man then stabbed Traci Johnson, 43, a number of times before being shot by Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff's deputy and the company's chief operating officer.
"This was not going to stop if he didn't stop it. It could have gotten a lot worse," Lewis said.
Lewis said the suspect had been fired in a building that houses the company's human resources office, then immediately drove to the entrance of the business. Lewis said he didn't know why the man was fired.
Johnson and the suspect were hospitalized and in stable condition Friday, Lewis said.
Lewis said he does not yet know what charges will be filed, adding that police are waiting until the man is conscious to arrest him. Moore police have asked the FBI to aid in the investigation and look into the man's background because of the nature of the attack, Lewis said.
A Vaughan spokeswoman said the company was "shocked and deeply saddened" by the attack.
Read or Share this story: http://www.king5.com/story/news/2014/09/26/woman-beheaded-at-oklahoma-workplace/16266381/
VIDEO-Marie Harf: We're praising Islamic cleric on what he said recently, NOT what he said about killing Americans | The Right Scoop
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:43
By The Right Scoop
The State Dept. is doing black flips to accommodate Obama's recent praising at the UN of a cleric, Sheikh Abdallah Bin Bayyah, who issued a fatwa back in 2004 to kill American soldiers. This same cleric recently issued a fatwa against ISIS and that's why Obama praised him at the UN.
In order to justify it though, the State Dept., who recently apologized for praising this same cleric, told Megyn Kelly that they only care about what this cleric said recently, not what he said back in 2004 or something:
Qaradawi also rejected the ISIS caliphate saying something about them violating Sharia. But that's because Qaradawi knows that Turkey is planning an even larger caliphate that is just on the horizon and he has already blessed that caliphate in Istanbul.
So I suspect that Bayyah is operating under very similar reasons in his fatwa against ISIS if not the same reason as Qaradawi.
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VIDEO-Shooting reported at Vaughn food distribution plant in Moore, Oklahoma - CBS News
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:38
Aerial view of food distribution plant in Moore, Okla. KWTV
MOORE, Okla. - An "angry employee" at a food distribution center in suburban Oklahoma City stabbed two women, killing one of them, Thursday before an off-duty law enforcement officer shot the suspect, police said.
Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told reporters at the scene that the suspect attacked the first two people he encountered at Vaughan Foods in Moore before the off-duty officer who was working at the business shot him. The surviving victim and the suspect, a man, were both hospitalized.
News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |
The motive for the attack was unclear, but Lewis said the suspect and the victims were apparently not involved with each other outside of their work at the business.
"The victims had no relationship to the suspect. He is just an angry employee that acted out," Lewis said.
Police were called about 4:15 p.m. to reports of a fight inside Vaughan Foods and while en route, officers were told that there had been a shooting, Lewis said.
"When officers arrived they approached the business as an active shooter situation. Once they entered the business they found a female deceased of stab wounds and they had a male with multiple gunshot wounds," Lewis said.
He said the building was evacuated and searched and no other danger was found.
Lewis did not immediately return phone calls to The Associated Press seeking further comment.
A phone call to Vaughan Foods late Thursday afternoon was not answered and a spokeswoman for its parent company, Reser's Fine Foods, did not immediately return calls.
(C) 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
AUDIO-The Secret Goldman Sachs Tapes - Bloomberg View
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 15:30
(Updates fourth paragraph to include reference to ProPublica article containing Carmen Segarra's allegations.)
Probably most people would agree that the people paid by the U.S. government to regulate Wall Street have had their difficulties. Most people would probably also agree on two reasons those difficulties seem only to be growing: an ever-more complex financial system that regulators must have explained to them by the financiers who create it, and the ever-more common practice among regulators of leaving their government jobs for much higher paying jobs at the very banks they were once meant to regulate. Wall Street's regulators are people who are paid by Wall Street to accept Wall Street's explanations of itself, and who have little ability to defend themselves from those explanations.
Our financial regulatory system is obviously dysfunctional. But because the subject is so tedious, and the details so complicated, the public doesn't pay it much attention.
That may very well change today, for today -- Friday, Sept. 26 --- the radio program "This American Life" will air a jaw-dropping story about Wall Street regulation, and the public will have no trouble at all understanding it.
The reporter, Jake Bernstein, has obtained 46 hours of tape recordings, made secretly by a Federal Reserve employee, of conversations within the Fed, and between the Fed and Goldman Sachs. The Ray Rice video for the financial sector has arrived.
First, a bit of background -- which you might get equally well from today's broadcast as well as from this article by ProPublica. After the 2008 financial crisis, the New York Fed, now the chief U.S. bank regulator, commissioned a study of itself. This study, which the Fed also intended to keep to itself, set out to understand why the Fed hadn't spotted the insane and destructive behavior inside the big banks, and stopped it before it got out of control. The "discussion draft" of the Fed's internal study, led by a Columbia Business School professor and former banker named David Beim, was sent to the Fed on Aug. 18, 2009.
It's an extraordinary document. There is not space here to do it justice, but the gist is this: The Fed failed to regulate the banks because it did not encourage its employees to ask questions, to speak their minds or to point out problems.
Just the opposite: The Fed encourages its employees to keep their heads down, to obey their managers and to appease the banks. That is, bank regulators failed to do their jobs properly not because they lacked the tools but because they were discouraged from using them.
The report quotes Fed employees saying things like, "until I know what my boss thinks I don't want to tell you," and "no one feels individually accountable for financial crisis mistakes because management is through consensus." Beim was himself surprised that what he thought was going to be an investigation of financial failure was actually a story of cultural failure.
Read more:Michael Lewis on the occupational hazards of working on Wall Street
Any Fed manager who read the Beim report, and who wanted to fix his institution, or merely cover his ass, would instantly have set out to hire strong-willed, independent-minded people who were willing to speak their minds, and set them loose on our financial sector. The Fed does not appear to have done this, at least not intentionally. But in late 2011, as those managers staffed up to take on the greater bank regulatory role given to them by the Dodd-Frank legislation, they hired a bunch of new people and one of them was a strong-willed, independent-minded woman named Carmen Segarra.
I've never met Segarra, but she comes across on the broadcast as a likable combination of good-humored and principled. "This American Life" also interviewed people who had worked with her, before she arrived at the Fed, who describe her as smart and occasionally blunt, but never unprofessional. She is obviously bright and inquisitive: speaks four languages, holds degrees from Harvard, Cornell and Columbia. She is also obviously knowledgeable: Before going to work at the Fed, she worked directly, and successfully, for the legal and compliance departments of big banks. She went to work for the Fed after the financial crisis, she says, only because she thought she had the ability to help the Fed to fix the system.
In early 2012, Segarra was assigned to regulate Goldman Sachs, and so was installed inside Goldman. (The people who regulate banks for the Fed are physically stationed inside the banks.)
The job right from the start seems to have been different from what she had imagined: In meetings, Fed employees would defer to the Goldman people; if one of the Goldman people said something revealing or even alarming, the other Fed employees in the meeting would either ignore or downplay it. For instance, in one meeting a Goldman employee expressed the view that "once clients are wealthy enough certain consumer laws don't apply to them." After that meeting, Segarra turned to a fellow Fed regulator and said how surprised she was by that statement -- to which the regulator replied, "You didn't hear that."
This sort of thing occurred often enough -- Fed regulators denying what had been said in meetings, Fed managers asking her to alter minutes of meetings after the fact -- that Segarra decided she needed to record what actually had been said. So she went to the Spy Store and bought a tiny tape recorder, then began to record her meetings at Goldman Sachs, until she was fired.
(How Segarra got herself fired by the Fed is interesting. In 2012, Goldman was rebuked by a Delaware judge for its behavior during a corporate acquisition. Goldman had advised one energy company, El Paso Corp., as it sold itself to another energy company, Kinder Morgan, in which Goldman actually owned a $4 billion stake, and a Goldman banker had a big personal investment. The incident forced the Fed to ask Goldman to see its conflict of interest policy. It turned out that Goldman had no conflict of interest policy -- but when Segarra insisted on saying as much in her report, her bosses tried to get her to change her report. Under pressure, she finally agreed to change the language in her report, but she couldn't resist telling her boss that she wouldn't be changing her mind. Shortly after that encounter, she was fired.)
Read More:Michael Lewis on Deeb the Conquerer baring his soul before Mama
I don't want to spoil the revelations of "This American Life": It's far better to hear the actual sounds on the radio, as so much of the meaning of the piece is in the tones of the voices -- and, especially, in the breathtaking wussiness of the people at the Fed charged with regulating Goldman Sachs. But once you have listened to it -- as when you were faced with the newly unignorable truth of what actually happened to that NFL running back's fiancee in that elevator -- consider the following:
1. You sort of knew that the regulators were more or less controlled by the banks. Now you know.
2. The only reason you know is that one woman, Carmen Segarra, has been brave enough to fight the system. She has paid a great price to inform us all of the obvious. She has lost her job, undermined her career, and will no doubt also endure a lifetime of lawsuits and slander.
So what are you going to do about it? At this moment the Fed is probably telling itself that, like the financial crisis, this, too, will blow over. It shouldn't.
To contact the writer of this article: Michael Lewis at mlewis1@bloomberg.net.
To contact the editor responsible for this article: Marty Schenker at mschenker@bloomberg.net.
VIDEO -BBC News - Iraq: George Galloway and Jacqui Smith on Labour action
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 13:16
George Galloway told a former member of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's cabinets she killed one million people in Iraq.
The former Labour MP, now a Respect MP, turned on Jacqui Smith as they looked ahead to Friday's vote in Parliament on possible UK military action in the Middle East.
Mr Galloway told her that "all the perfumes of Arabia" would not help wash her hands of past UK action's in Iraq.
But Ms Smith told him that if she were still an MP, she would be taking part in Friday's vote and "living up to my responsibility to answer the call of the Iraqi government and people".
And she told her former colleague that "all of your poetry" was not stopping people being killed in Iraq and Syria.
They were talking to Andrew Neil on Thursday's night's This Week, hours ahead of the vote in Parliament.
VIDEO-Remarks at a High-Level Dialogue on Combating Violence Targeting LGBT
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:59
I apologize for coming in late and probably leaving early. Am I correct? I am correct. I apologize. I just mentioned to the Secretary-General the extraordinary pace of UNGA, but this is special and I wanted to be part of it, and it's a great honor for me to be able to share in what is literally an historic event. Brooker, thank you. I don't know how he does it, Brooker -- he's at everything, this guy. (Laughter.) They must clone him or something.
But for the first time, this event is open to all delegations at the UN and includes the message you all just heard from the Secretary-General. And we need to take pride in that fact, obviously. But it really speaks, I think, to the sense of urgency that we all feel after a difficult year for the LGBT community in many parts of the world.
I want to thank the Secretary-General for his tremendous efforts. The Born Free and Equal campaign is literally breaking down barriers, and it's breaking down a barricade of stigma that for too long has kept LGBT persons from being able to live up to their full potential as human beings, as fellow citizens of any country. And we're particularly grateful for his decision this year to ensure that all same-sex partners of UN staff will get the same benefits as opposite-sex spouses. And that's how we make progress in this fight; it's by setting an example.
This meeting really couldn't happen at a more important time, and frankly we send a clear and compelling message by coming together today in the way that we are and particularly with my fellow ministers being here. We have a moral obligation to speak up against marginalization and persecution of LGBT persons. We have a moral obligation to promote societies that are more just and more fair, more tolerant. It's the right thing to do, but obviously, make no mistake, it happens to also be a strategic necessity. Greater protection of human rights we know, because we've seen it in country after country, leads to greater stability and greater prosperity not occasionally, but always.
And so I come here today with a very simple message: The United States remains unwavering in our commitment to advance LGBT equality here at home and around the world. Now, I know that all of us are more than aware of the anti-LGBT laws that are metastasizing in various places. And for some, it may be easy to get discouraged. But I don't think it's time to get alarmed; on the contrary, I think it's time to get active. I think it's time to push back with the realities of what is happening, because our work together in the world has the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many people.
Now, when I say that, those are not just words; it's based on experience, our experience. I think about my own country's journey, the United States of America. We have gone from a time when, just a few miles down the road, the New York City Police Department raided the Stonewall Inn to a time when that same police department marches annually in the city's pride parade. We've gone from a time when LGBT persons had to risk life and limb to fight for their basic rights, to one where we now honor the commitment of those willing to put on a uniform and fight and die for our country.
So I approach this issue very mindful of our past. I was in the United States Senate in the 1980s, '90s when the fight was really joined here. And I know how many Americans have had to push and work and struggle in order to be able to live up to the promise of our own founding as a nation. I'm proud to have been part of that progress. In my home state of Massachusetts, we've wrestled with the horrifying bullying of LGBT students, and as a father I know how heartbreaking that might be. That's why I sponsored legislation in the United States Senate to protect LGBT students from harassment and violence and fought to prevent homelessness among LGBT persons. That's why I also, way back in 1993, testified before the United States Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired then by Senator Strom Thurmond, in order to argue for lifting the ban on gays serving in our military. And the questions that I was asked in that hearing reminded me deeply of a Saturday Night Live skit. It's a long journey from there.
We've come a long way in the United States, but we know also the journey's not complete. We also know that we have a long road to travel in the world with greater difficulties in some place for all the obvious reasons of history and culture and some cases, religion '' just battles that stand in front of us. The fact is that we've seen that LGBT communities face discriminatory laws and practices that attack their dignity, undermine their safety, and violate their human rights. Many LGBT people continue to be harassed, arrested, and even killed simply because of who they are or who they love.
We each have a responsibility to push back against a rising tide of violence and discrimination against LGBT persons, and it begins by speaking out at events like this and joining together. We have to acknowledge a fundamental truth that LGBT violence anywhere is a threat to peace and stability and prosperity everywhere. That's why we're giving our soulful support to the Latin American-led resolution before the Human Rights Council that seeks to combat violence and discrimination against LGBT persons. The United States stood by South Africa in 2011 when it sponsored the first council resolution addressing the human rights of LGBT persons, and we are standing with Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and Brazil as they carry forward that legacy. And the resolution will be put to a vote in Geneva tomorrow and we look forward to its passage with broad support from the international community.
That's also why we coauthored, along with Colombia and Slovenia, a joint statement on sexual orientation and gender identity that was signed by 85 UN members. And today I'm very pleased to announce that the Republic of Korea, Seychelles, Monaco, and El Salvador have signed on to the General Assembly declaration on the same subject. That's why we fight to ensure that NGOs advocating for the rights of LGBT persons are able to fully participate in UN meetings. And that's why we're going to be working again this year to ensure that the UN General Assembly Resolution on Extrajudicial Executions includes language condemning the killing of individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
And we're also stepping up our engagement with the Global Equality Fund. And since the United States launched this groundbreaking effort in 2011, we've provided emergency assistance to more than 200 human rights defenders. And that's because ultimately the battle for equality for LGBT persons will be won not only on the floor of the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council, but frankly, in the streets and businesses and schools of cities around the world and ultimately in the hearts and minds of the people who live there. And so we will keep fighting.
I know that sometimes the challenges are daunting for everybody. But I take heart in the words of the playwright George Bernard Shaw, quoted so frequently and eloquently by a slain candidate for president, Robert Kennedy, who kept reminding people: ''Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?'; I dream things that never were, and ask, 'Why not?''' That's what pride means. That's what this struggle means, to ask why not in order to show solidarity and stand up no matter where you are, who you love, what your life is. It's more than a message. It's really a movement. We've proven that in so many places where change has come. And the younger generation is growing up with a whole different sense of these possibilities. That's what can give us hope and that's why we will keep moving forward towards justice and equality for all.
Thank you.
VIDEO-A Chilling Conversation With an Islamic State Terrorist: We Will 'Make Some Attacks in New York Soon' | Video | TheBlaze.com
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:05
An Islamic State terrorist vowed in an exclusive interview with VICE News that the militant group is planning attacks in New York City ''soon.''
Farah Shirdon, also known as Abu Usamah Somali, is a Canadian citizen who left his native country to fight with the Islamic State in Iraq. He is seen in a recent propaganda video burning his passport and promising to destroy the U.S. and Canada.
''[We] will make some attacks in New York soon,'' he told VICE News. ''A lot of brothers there are mobilizing right now. '... Mobilizing for a brilliant attack, my friend.''
Watch the chilling interview below:
Later the interview, Shirdon addressed President Barack Obama personally.
''I hope Barack Obama listens to this message,'' he said. ''I swear you infidel, I swear to almighty Allah, we will fight you until the end.''
Shirdon also claimed he knows ''thousands upon thousands'' of people in the West who are ''ready right now'' to carry out attacks.
The radical Islamist said the Islamic State might stop its terror when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is ''crucified for his war crimes.'' Another big goal for the Islamic State, he continued, is to fly the Islamic flag over the White House.
VIDEO-NET NEUTRALITY ENFORCER-Products '-- Saisei
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 11:49
The Saisei FlowCommand' Family of Network Performance EnforcementDon't network like it's 1999Saisei FlowCommand' is a modern, real-time flow-policy control, analytics and security solution that doubles the usable bandwidth in deployed networks; guarantees no link or user session will ever crash again; and provides sub-second analytics, policy enforcement and security across 40 metrics. Users, apps and geographies are all covered.
FlowCommand was designed to solve all of the problems associated with enterprise and service provider edge network congestion, performance and policy enforcement. Only FlowCommand can deliver on these revolutionary capabilities.
To solve your network edge problems we had to fix TCP/IPFlowCommand uses patented flow-engine technology that literally changes the way that TCP/IP network traffic under its control behaves. All other networking, security and analytics solutions are forced to operate at the mercy of random, best-effort routed IP data packet transmission. We changed those rules. In doing so, we were able to completely re-engineered how flow control, security and visibility can be realized when using ''domesticated'' TCP/IP flows.
FlowCommand runs on x86 processors atop commodity hardware, either as a bump-in-the-wire on a server in the data-forwarding path or as a VM under hypervisor control. The software can monitor up to 5 million concurrent data flows on a 10G link 20 times per second. While examining the flows it can apply any combination of up to 40 bandwidth, business and security policies to each flow and execute those policies in under one second.
Saisei FlowCommand, FlowEnforcer' and FlowVision' subsume or replace some of the functionality of older, stand-alone appliances, such as WAN optimizers, packet shapers, application delivery controllers, APMs, NPMs, IDSs, next-gen firewalls and more. These legacy systems were largely designed as workarounds to various business-impacting limitations of TCP/IP and were optimized for the scale of private networks. In contrast, the FlowCommand family has been architected for the scale of mobile, cloud and Internet of Things data flows and supports up to 1 billion external hosts in its initial release.
FlowCommand '-- Control, Visibility, Security and Net Neutrality EnforcementFlowCommand offers the highest level of functionality. It has added security and control features designed specifically for service providers and for the largest of distributed enterprise customers. Specifically, FlowCommand offers our full set of flow-based security capabilities, including comprehensive data exfiltration controls, real-time DDoS controls, and spotting and throttling Botnet activity in real time as attacks begin.
FlowCommand is a Linux software suite that can run on x86 processor cores on bare metal commodity servers, or as a VM under hypervisor control (VMware or KVM), or both. It can monitor and control data flows between two virtual servers, between two physical networks or between a virtual network and a physical network. These networks can be legacy TCP/IP networks or SDN/NFV-based networks. FlowCommand also includes an intuitive RESTful API plus GUI and CLI interfaces, making it easy to integrate into third-party systems, such as orchestration tools for SDN and NFV.
The world's first ''Net Neutrality'' enforcerAmong the service provider features specific to FlowCommand is a unique capability called Net Neutrality. Technically a form of host equalization, Net Neutrality instantly solves the problem of a small group of users attempting to take a disproportionate amount of available bandwidth. When faced with rogue users or peer-to-peer applications, such as BitTorrent and Encrypted BitTorrent, FlowCommand can classify all host flows as a ''single'' flow and give it exactly the same percentage of available bandwidth that every other flow in the network receives. Or, it can completely block specific traffic if that is the policy.
Net Neutrality can also be applied differently to different classes of applications '' what we call 'Net Neutrality with benefits'. In this case, critical business applications can be grouped together and assigned a high percentage of the available bandwidth with the remaining bandwidth being equally divided among the remaining flows.
There are no limitsWhen FlowCommand is in control of mission-critical network links, every single flow is associated in real-time with the:
Application it is serving (for example, a specific website or business application, or a protocol such as VoIP)Geographic location it is serving (generally a country or city)Hosts (internal and external) it is connectingUsers it is serving (via an address-to-user database such as Microsoft Active Directory or OpenLDAP)Custom groups '-- applications, geographic locations, hosts and users can be combined into groups (for example, a group could consist of all countries where a company has business partners, or all applications whose network usage is to be tightly controlled)FlowEnforcer '-- Control, Visibility, Security for Smaller EnterprisesFlowEnforcer is designed for small- to medium-sized enterprise users. It has the innovative capabilities and features of FlowCommand without the service provider and large enterprise elements, such as Net Neutrality. The control, visibility, security, ease of use and third-party integration you need, without the stuff you don't.
FlowVision '-- Real-Time Visibility and AnalyticsFlowVision is designed for network operators who want an unprecedented level of real-time visibility of all the activity on their network but who do not currently wish to exercise control. All the scalability and performance of FlowCommand are included in FlowVision, which can either sit in-line like FlowCommand or can run off of a network tap or SPAN/mirror port.
FlowVision is ideal for real-time investigation of network issues and comes with comprehensive reporting capabilities, including historical reporting. FlowVision can be easily upgraded to FlowEnforcer or FlowCommand to realize all the potential of next-generation Network Performance Enforcement.
VIDEO-Student tackled by officers over cell phone tells her side of the story
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 02:59
Kevin Reece, KHOU 11 News5:45 p.m. CDT September 3, 2014
Ixel Perez, with her mom and her brother by her side, described the chain of events that led to the officers wrestling her to the floor.(Photo: KHOU)
HOUSTON -- The day after HISD police officers wrestled a 10th grade girl to the hallway floor of Sam Houston High School, the girl and her family protested in front of the campus demanding an investigation and an apology.
In cell phone video first aired on KHOU Tuesday night, three HISD police officers surround Ixel Perez, two of them have her pinned to the floor face down. One officer has his knee pressed to the side of her head.
"Both of the cops just tackled her down to the floor. They put her knee on her head and after that they just arrested her, took her phone," said student Gustavo Lucio who took the video on his cell phone. "The cop just said you can't use your phone and after that, no words no nothing, just actions, grabbed her, threw her down."
"It was embarrassing," said Perez outside the high school Wednesday morning.
The day after HISD police officers wrestled a 10th grade girl to the hallway floor of Sam Houston High School, the girl and her family protested in front of the campus demanding an investigation and an apology.
Perez, with her mom and her brother by her side, described the chain of events that led to the officers wrestling her to the floor.
She says her reading teacher caught her using her cell phone in class, which is against school rules, and told her to go to the hallway. That's where Perez says she was confronted by an assistant principal who demanded she relinquish the phone. Students caught using phones in class are required to turn them over to school administrators and then retrieve them at the end of the school day, for a fee.
"I just didn't want to give up my phone," said Perez who said she was talking to her mom who suffers from medical conditions. Perez said she was trying to make sure her mom was OK.
"She asked me for the phone and I didn't want to give it to her, because I was scared. I ended up walking down the stairs trying to get away from the AP (assistant principal) and then she had already called the cops."
The HISD resource officers also demanded she hang up the phone and hand it to them. Perez admitted she refused again.
'He grabbed my hand, one of them was right here, one grabbed my hand, I didn't want to let go of my phone because I was on the phone with mom," she said.
Perez was detained. Her mom says she was turned away when she rushed to the school to make sure her daughter was OK. And as of Wednesday morning Perez said school officials had not returned her cell phone, in lieu of a $15 fee she would need to pay.
"We all know it was wrong," said Perez' brother Chris Cardenas. "It doesn't take three cops to take down one teenage girl, especially a 70-pound teenage girl!"
A spokesperson for HISD would only respond with a brief written statement:
"The safety of our students at Sam Houston High School and of all our schools is always our absolute top priority. The HISD police department and the school's administration are continuing their investigations of what led to the detainment of a female student yesterday. "
Meanwhile Perez and her family says she will not return to Sam Houston High School. They will attempt to get her transferred to another school.
Related:
3 police officers allegedly restrain HS student for using cell phone
Read or Share this story: http://www.khou.com/story/news/local/neighborhood/2014/09/03/student-tackled-by-officers-over-cell-phone-tells-her-side-of-the-story/15040013/
VIDEO-Blackhat - Movie Trailers - iTunes
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 01:57
Blackhat - Movie Trailers - iTunesPlease enable JavaScript to view this page properly.
Blackhat rIn Theaters January 16th, 2015|(C) 2015 Universal Pictures
Set within the world of global cybercrime, Legendary's Blackhat follows a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta. Directed and produced by Michael Mann, the film stars Chris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Tang Wei and Wang Leehom, and it is written by Morgan Davis Foehl and Mann. Legendary's Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni produce alongside Mann, while Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod serve as the executive producers.
DirectorMichael MannWritersMorgan Davis Foehl, Michael MannActorsChris Hemsworth, Viola Davis, Tang Wei, Wang LeehomGenreAction and Adventure, Thriller
VIDEO-Don't click on nude photos, ISIS videos (Opinion) - CNN.com
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 01:51
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Sally Kohn: Don't click on nude photos of celebrities or ISIS videos of beheadingsKohn: When you click on those thing, you're encouraging the hackers and terroristsShe says the new stories we click on affect media coverage, which want online trafficKohn: Consumers have an important power - use it wisely, click responsiblyEditor's note:Sally Kohn is an activist, columnist and television commentator. Follow her on Twitter @sallykohn. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
(CNN) -- When you click on nude pictures of celebrities or ISIS videos of beheadings, you're part of the problem.
At the very least, you're complicit in the moral crime committed by those who post such pictures or videos. At worst, you're actively perpetuating the incentives behind posting such things in the first place. Want to be a responsible and considerate human being? Then for crying out loud, don't click on those things!
This week hackers released what they say are nude pictures of celebrity women, including Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Rihanna and Mary-Kate Olsen. These photos came on the heels of other leaked nude photos, also of celebrity women, which must have gotten enough attention to make the hackers want to do it again.
Sally Kohn
A week before, ISIS posted another video claiming to show the beheading of a British aid worker. The video -- mind you, not just its existence but people actually seeing it -- fueled the same sort of revenge mindset in Britain that previous such videos fueled in the United States.
President Obama himself has noted that the videos in which ISIS beheads American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff "resulted in the American public's quickly backing military action." Yesterday, another such video was posted of ISIS supporters in Algeria beheading a French tourist.
Media outlets have struggled with whether to broadcast photos and videos that are on the one hand newsworthy -- and incidentally, salacious and thus, traffic-generating -- but on the other hand may perpetuate the harm or offense committed in the first place. For instance, CNN didn't air the Foley video, opting instead to show only a few images and audio. Some news organizations, however, were less restrained.
Speaking with Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" about the latest ISIS video showing British journalist James Cantlie speaking in captivity, CNN International managing director Tony Maddox said, "We know that ISIS wanted us to show it. And if we're in a situation where ISIS wants us to show anything, we should think really carefully about any way we can avoid doing that."
Let that sink in for a moment: ISIS wants you to watch those videos. The hackers who stole the celebrity pictures want you to look at them. When you click, you're doing precisely what the bad guys want you to do.
This summer, I gave a TED Talk about the changing landscape of American media and how we the consumers are becoming the new editors. Because online traffic performance drives media in the digital age, our clicks matter more than ever before. I used to think writing essays like this or going on television is a public act of making media, but that browsing the Web at home, clicking on this and that, is a private act of consuming media.
Wrong. Clicking is a public act of making media because it feeds what gets attention. Your clicks matter.
I imagine that most Americans wouldn't buy things they knew had been stolen out of someone else's home. Isn't clicking on stolen photos the same thing? Or worse?
The Guardian's Van Badham writes that clicking on or sharing stolen celebrity nude photos is "an act of sexual violation" that in effect perpetuates the abuse of the theft in the first place. The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern writes that some actively spreading the pictures online feel so entitled to violate these celebrity women's privacy that they imply the celebrities might have leaked the pictures themselves -- as though all the slut-shaming and misogyny would be an enjoyable PR boost.
Let's be clear, even if you aren't the scuz-bucket making rape jokes in chat rooms, just by curiously clicking on these nude celebrity pictures you're giving the hackers attention and the publishers traffic. You're basically encouraging them to keep doing it.
By the same token, I know most Americans would never want to support or encourage the murderous ISIS extremists. But does public obsession with and outrage around ISIS beheading videos do just that?
Analyzing the political and psychological motives for beheadings, the Boston Globe's Jeff Jacoby writes, "Clearly the terrorists relish the horror beheading evokes in America and other Western democracies." Beheading Americans naturally provokes that very human reaction.
Still, if we had only heard about Foley and Sotloff being beheaded, would it have generated the same attention and outrage? Or was it the videos, or even just the still images from the videos, that incited and inflamed our anger?
According to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, in 2013, 78% of Americans had heard about the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision, 77% of Americans were aware of the debt ceiling fight in Congress, and 79% of Americans had heard about the alleged use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. But fully 94% of Americans were aware that ISIS killed James Foley.
How much is the tail of these deeply vile and upsetting videos wagging the dog of our emotions and prompting us to military action?
In my TED Talk, I said that clicking on a train wreck "just pours gasoline on it and makes it worse." The result? "Our whole culture gets burned." If in our new media-driven universe, what gets the most clicks wins, "we have to shape the world we want with our clicks."
The good news there is that you -- yes you -- have the power as just one individual to decide what we see more of or what we see less of in the media; to discourage disgusting videos and pictures and encourage positive, productive media coverage.
That is an incredible and important power. Use it wisely. Click responsibly.
Read CNNOpinion's new Flipboard magazine.
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VIDEO-Van Rompuy address to the UN Security Council on Vimeo
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 00:15
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Herman VAN ROMPUY, President of the European Council, at the UN Security Council on 24 September 2014, New York.
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VIDEO-Holder resigning as attorney general after tumultuous term | Fox News
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 22:28
Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning from the Obama administration, capping a tumultuous six-year term marked by several high-profile clashes with Congress.
President Obama formally announced the decision, made public earlier in the day, at the White House late Thursday afternoon. Calling Holder's resignation "bittersweet," Obama touted Holder's record on civil rights, as well as terror and corruption prosecutions.
"Eric has done a superb job," Obama said.
Holder is one of the few Cabinet officials to have stayed on since the beginning of the Obama presidency, and Obama said Holder has agreed to stay on until a successor is confirmed.
Holder, choking up several times during brief remarks at the White House, said: "I will leave the Department of Justice, but ... I will never leave the work."
The attorney general, who previously worked in private practice and before that was a federal prosecutor, was one of the most controversial members of the administration. Republicans made clear Thursday they would not miss him in the Obama Cabinet.
"Eric Holder is the most divisive U.S. attorney general in modern history," House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement. "By needlessly injecting politics into law enforcement, Attorney General Holder's legacy has eroded more confidence in our legal system than any attorney general before him."
Holder was held in contempt of Congress by the Republican-led House in 2012 -- a vote in which Issa played a central role -- for failing to provide key information about the botched Operation Fast and Furious program. He is the only sitting Cabinet member to have been held in contempt of Congress.
Holder and GOP lawmakers routinely clashed, over Fast and Furious but also over his department's handling of the IRS targeting scandal, its civilian prosecution of terror cases, surveillance of media outlets and other issues. His hearing appearances were at-times combative; some lawmakers even sought to impeach him.
During the contempt fight, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, was quoted saying Holder's "arrogance knows no bounds."
In that debate, Holder was blasted by Republicans for not turning over documents related to the gun-running probe along the Southwest border. Democrats decried the contempt push, in an election year, as political.
Holder is the fourth-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history, and the first black attorney general. Rumors about his departure have circulated for a while. According to a Justice official, Holder had discussed his plans with Obama on "multiple occasions" in recent months.
"[He] finalized those plans in an hour-long conversation with the president at the White House residence over Labor Day weekend," the official said. The official added that Holder has "no immediate plans" after leaving the post.
A White House official said the president has not made any final decision about a possible replacement for Holder.
Of the outgoing attorney general, the official said: "Holder's accomplishments have established a historic legacy of civil rights enforcement and restoring fairness to the criminal justice system. Holder revitalized the Department's praised Civil Rights Division, protected the rights of the LGBT community, successfully prosecuted terrorists, and fought tirelessly for voting rights, to name a few."
The 63-year-old former judge and prosecutor, who took office in early 2009, grappled with divisive questions on the handling of captured terrorism suspects.
In his first few years on the job, Holder weathered a firestorm over an ultimately-abandoned plan to try terrorism suspects in New York City. The attorney general gave up the effort, but he continued to maintain that civilian courts were the most appropriate venue. He argued that his original plan was vindicated by the successful prosecution in New York of Usama bin Laden's son-in-law -- this week, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Under Holder's watch, the Justice Department also cracked down on news media reporting on national security matters. The department secretly subpoenaed phone records from Associated Press reporters and editors and used a search warrant to obtain some emails of Fox News' James Rosen as part of a separate leak investigation.
Holder eventually agreed to overhaul department policies with regard to dealing with media.
The attorney general was often outspoken in his public remarks. He even referred to America in 2010 as a "nation of cowards" in discussing matters of race. He later lamented that "systemic and unwarranted racial disparities remain disturbingly common."
He was known to weigh in on matters of racial fairness, taking steps to improve police relations with minorities, enforce civil rights laws and remove racial disparities in sentencing. Most recently he became the Obama administration's face in the federal response to the police shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Mo. In the shooting's aftermath, he enlisted a team of criminal justice researchers to study racial bias in law enforcement.
A former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, Holder was pulled away from private practice to reshape a Justice Department that had been tarnished by a scandal involving fired U.S. attorneys and that had authorized harsh interrogation methods for terrorism suspects.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and Ed Henry and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO-SHORT-President Obama Closes the U.N. Security Council Summit | The White House
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:26
United NationsNew York, New York
3:11 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you, His Excellency, the Secretary-General, for his statement. I'll now make a statement in my capacity as President of the United States.
Mr. Secretary-General, heads of state and government distinguished representatives, thank you for being here today.
In the nearly 70 years of the United Nations, this is only the sixth time that the Security Council has met at a level like this. We convene such sessions to address the most urgent threats to peace and security. And I called this meeting because we must come together -- as nations and an international community -- to confront the real and growing threat of foreign terrorist fighters.
As I said earlier today, the tactic of terrorism is not new. So many nations represented here today, including my own, have seen our citizens killed by terrorists who target innocents. And today, the people of the world have been horrified by another brutal murder, of Herve Gourdel, by terrorists in Algeria. President Hollande, we stand with you and the French people not only as you grieve this terrible loss, but as you show resolve against terror and in defense of liberty.
What brings us together today, what is new is the unprecedented flow of fighters in recent years to and from conflict zones, including Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Libya, and most recently, Syria and Iraq.
Our intelligence agencies estimate that more than 15,000 foreign fighters from more than 80 nations have traveled to Syria in recent years. Many have joined terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda's affiliate, the Nusrah Front, and ISIL, which now threatens people across Syria and Iraq. And I want to acknowledge and thank Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq for being here today.
In the Middle East and elsewhere, these terrorists exacerbate conflicts; they pose an immediate threat to people in these regions; and as we've already seen in several cases, they may try to return to their home countries to carry out deadly attacks. In the face of this threat, many of our nations -- working together and through the United Nations -- have increased our cooperation. Around the world, foreign terrorist fighters have been arrested, plots have been disrupted and lives have been saved.
Earlier this year at West Point, I called for a new Partnership to help nations build their capacity to meet the evolving threat of terrorism, including foreign terrorist fighters. And preventing these individuals from reaching Syria and then slipping back across our borders is a critical element of our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.
The historic resolution that we just adopted enshrines our commitment to meet this challenge. It is legally binding. It establishes new obligations that nations must meet. Specifically, nations are required to ''prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping'' of foreign terrorist fighters, as well as the financing of their travel or activities. Nations must ''prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups'' through their territory, and ensure that their domestic laws allow for the prosecution of those who attempt to do so.
The resolution we passed today calls on nations to help build the capacity of states on the front lines of this fight -- including with the best practices that many of our nations approved yesterday, and which the United States will work to advance through our Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund. This resolution will strengthen cooperation between nations, including sharing more information about the travel and activities of foreign terrorist fighters. And it makes clear that respecting human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law is not optional -- it is an essential part of successful counterterrorism efforts. Indeed, history teaches us that the failure to uphold these rights and freedoms can actually fuel violent extremism.
Finally, this resolution recognizes that there is no military solution to the problem of misguided individuals seeking to join terrorist organizations, and it, therefore, calls on nations to work together to counter the violent extremism that can radicalize, recruit, and mobilize individuals to engage in terrorism. Potential recruits must hear the words of former terrorist fighters who have seen the truth -- that groups like ISIL betray Islam by killing innocent men, women and children, the majority of whom are Muslim.
Often it is local communities -- family, friends, neighbors, and faith leaders -- that are best able to identify and help disillusioned individuals before they succumb to extremist ideologies and engage in violence. That's why the United States government is committed to working with communities in America and around the world to build partnerships of trust, respect and cooperation.
Likewise, even as we are unrelenting against terrorists who threaten our people, we must redouble our work to address the conditions -- the repression, the lack of opportunity, too often the hopelessness that can make some individuals more susceptible to appeals to extremism and violence. And this includes continuing to pursue a political solution in Syria that allows all Syrians to live in security, dignity, and peace.
This is the work that we must do as nations. These are the partnerships we must forge as an international community. And these are the standards that we now must meet. Yet even as we're guided by the commitments that we make here today, let me close by stating the obvious. Resolutions alone will not be enough. Promises on paper cannot keep us safe. Lofty rhetoric and good intentions will not stop a single terrorist attack.
The words spoken here today must be matched and translated into action, into deeds -- concrete action, within nations and between them, not just in the days ahead, but for years to come. For if there was ever a challenge in our interconnected world that cannot be met by any one nation alone, it is this: terrorists crossing borders and threatening to unleash unspeakable violence. These terrorists believe our countries will be unable to stop them. The safety of our citizens demand that we do. And I'm here today to say that all of you who are committed to this urgent work will find a strong and steady partner in the United States of America.
I now would like to resume my function as President of the Council. And I will now give the floor to the other members of the Security Council.
END3:19 P.M. EDT
Close Transcript
VIDEO-DUTCH-KERRY-Remarks at a Reception for the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:25
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you. Listen, thank you very, very much for being patient and hanging in here, though I noticed a lot of you have glasses in your hand with some liquid in it and therefore you haven't been completely deprived, I can tell.
This city during these days of UNGA does not lend itself well to diplomatic speed dating, and unfortunately, I sort of scheduled one too many. And I just came from a meeting with my counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, and obviously, we had a lot to talk about. And that's why I'm running a little bit late, and I apologize for that.
Let me thank Nancy, Dr. Nancy Stetson, for her work, and I'll say a word about her in a minute. But I'm also very, very privileged and I want to say thank you to the Dutch Government, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and to Agriculture Minister Sharon Dijksma. I'm very, very pleased, and her director-general is here somewhere. I don't know, he was here a moment ago. I met him. There he is. (Applause.) But thank you so much for being here and being part of this and helping to launch this alliance. The Dutch Government is extraordinarily committed and forward-thinking about this kind of issue, and that's exactly what we need to be right now, putting this critical connection, this nexus between climate change and food security, at the center of the agenda.
I wish it were otherwise. I've been involved in this effort '' Nancy alluded to it '' going back to the 1970s. The first thing I did when I returned from Vietnam was not protest the war, which I shortly did, but become active in Earth Day 1970, the first Earth Day, and helped to organize it in my home state of Massachusetts, when 20 million Americans came out and said we don't want to live next to toxic waste sites, we don't want to be getting cancer from Woburn dump, things like that in Massachusetts. Particularly we had the Cuyahoga River that lit on fire, literally.
And those 20 million people ultimately engaged in a way that became very political. They targeted the 12 worst voters in Congress, labeled them the ''Dirty Dozen'' and in the very next election beat seven of the 12. That is what brought us the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, and actually created the Environmental Protection Agency we didn't have when that first took place.
So there's been a hell of a journey from there to here. And I went to Rio and the Earth Summit in the 1990s and so forth. Unfortunately, it was a voluntary process. It didn't work and we now are where we are, the hottest year in history last year, the last ten years have been the hottest ten years in history. I mean, it's an extraordinary statement about the lack of willpower of governments on a global basis, ours included, to have been able thus far to be able to do what we need.
I'm proud to say that President Obama is changing that. We are moving rapidly now. We have ten times the amount of solar power in place that we had five years ago. We have three times the amount of renewables in place that we had. We have new automobile standards, new building standards, so forth and so on.
Why do I mention all of this in the context of food security? Well, for the very simple reason that the real solution is not to be talking about just moving things and coming up with resistant seed and doing our work in the laboratory. The real solution is not to damage it in the first place and to be able to preserve an ecosystem that functions.
But we all know we're on a path right now that's probably going to make the '' that deprives us of the right of not worrying about mitigation and deprives us of the opportunity to avoid adaptation. So we are where we are, and the only responsible thing that we can do as a consequence of that is work at this.
That's why I brought Nancy Stetson on board, because Nancy and I worked for two decades side by side when I served in the Senate. And through her work on malaria, TB, and AIDS, principally, I saw her ability to be able to break down things that were very complex and multi-layered, and make them happen. You are looking at the woman who really wrote the first piece of AIDS legislation '' no joke. And we passed it. We even got Jesse Helms to support it. And that became the foundation of what became known as PEPFAR. So Nancy Stetson, thank you for your leadership and your effort and everything you did. (Applause.)
So that's what we're going to try and do with this alliance. When climate change and food security present these new challenges that they do, we need new partnerships and new solutions in order to tackle them. And the vitality of our ecosystem, the ability of the ecosystem to provide billions of people with food, is under stress, regrettably, like never before.
I was chairman of the fisheries, oceans subcommittee for a long period of time in the Senate, and I saw what has been happening in the major fisheries of the world. Even as we went and tried to ban driftnet fishing and rewrite the Magnuson laws and do all these things '' still overfished, still too much money chasing too few fish, still major shifts in the ecosystem as the result of increases in acidity, the acidification of the oceans, the changes in ocean currents, what's happening with the melting of the icecaps and so forth has a profound impact on the future of food. And all you have to do is talk to farmers or even talk to garden club members in America and they will tell you how things that used to grow in certain places don't grow anymore, how there's been a migration of certain species and capacities for growth, a band in the center of America that's moved north and south.
So the link is clear: Climate change affects how much food we're able to produce, and it affects '' and how much food we produce actually affects climate change at the same time. Now we see this drought that's hitting in various parts of the world, but particularly in Central America.
And this alliance is going to try to bring capable partners together who have the ability to find solutions. Climate-smart agriculture, it's that simple. And the World Bank and the FAO have been working together for a long time and making successful investments in drought-resistant corn, soybeans, other climate-resilient crops for a number of years now.
For our part, we have some of the most advanced laboratories and research institutions. And as Secretary Vilsack told all of you yesterday, we're targeting more of our resources to support agricultural innovation. The President doubled down on this approach yesterday in his executive order, making support for climate resilience a first-tier priority across our development programs.
And if you look at what's happening in Central America, you can understand why. Sixteen of 22 provinces in Guatemala have been declared by the government a state of emergency. Crop losses in El Salvador have now reached 60 percent of their crops. In Nicaragua, staples like corn and beans cost four times more today than what they cost last spring.
So at the State Department, we're going to look immediately at what we can do to help in Central America and other parts of the world where we can find our partners to apply our talents to this challenge.
In Ethiopia, we've partnered with DuPont to help farmers increase maize production by 50 percent.
In Mali, we're supporting an aggressive agroforestry program, helping farmers to tackle the problem of desertification, and promoting the planting of fruit and fodder and fuel-wood for income generation.
In Bangladesh, we're investing with private sector partners in intensified rice production, and helping farmers to diversify into high-value, nutrient-rich commodities like fish. But again, fish '' it's going to be dependent on your overall management of the ecosystem and is it sustainable. It has to be done in a sustainable fashion.
So these are the kinds of successful investments in food security, innovation, and resilience that we plan to showcase to 20 million-plus visitors next year at the Milan Expo. And we hope to attract new partners and new investments in this effort in doing that.
Every nation has an ability to be able to play a part in this. I hate the idea that '' I mean, I don't want to see all our energy going '' I want to see us do it because we have to. But I still preach the notion that we have time still to turn this around if we make tough choices about carbon, carbon pricing, where we're going with respect to the overall issue of climate change, so we minimize the need to do this. And in the end, confronting these challenges means we're going to have to, unfortunately, invent; we're going to have to innovate. Maybe I shouldn't say unfortunately because you benefit anyway, but it's the wrong way to come at it, and I think everybody here knows that.
That said, we're going to do it, and I'm proud to be part of this alliance. I'm proud for this announcement tonight, and I'm delighted that you're all here to share in it. Let's get the job done.
Thank you all very, very much. (Applause.)
VIDEO- Stephen King Interview, Pt. 2 - Late Night with Seth Meyers - YouTube
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:37
VIDEO0-Cameron Says to Defeat ISIS We Must Also Defeat Ideology Peddled by Muslim 'Preachers of Hate' | MRCTV
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:11
patrick.goodenoughPatrick covered government and politics in South Africa and the Middle East before joining CNSNews.com in 1999. Since then he has launched foreign bureaus for CNSNews.com in Jerusalem, London and the Pacific Rim. From October 2006 to July 2007, Patrick served as Managing Editor at the organization's world headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Now back in the Pacific Rim, as International Editor he reports on politics, international relations, security, terrorism, ethics and religion, and oversees reporting by CNSNews.com's roster of international stringers.
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Agenda 21

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Battle for the Homeland

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Caliphate!

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Drunk or Not Drunk

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Sandy Hook

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