700: Bidentification

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 27m
March 1st, 2015
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Executive Producers: Lee Kenyon, Sir Bashir Osman, Anonymous, Sir Steven Van Der Have Count de Money, Sir AJ Rystad Baron of Yellowstone National Park, Sir David Foley Grand Duke of the USA, Sir Jason Fortun Baron of Fox Valley, Sir Tom Staniszewski of Great Bay, Alan Woodyard

Associate Executive Producers: Nicholas Raimondi, Rogue, Jeremy Cooper, Kristoffer Walker, Black Knight Sir Bryan Barrow, Sir Mark Wilson Baron of Glasgow

Cover Artist: 20wattbulb

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
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TODAY
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Talking to myself. amen fistbump
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Alexa customer service and self censoring
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Magnetic Loop antenna
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700
At the end of the day song
Hi Adam,
Time sure flies...
It was for show 400 I made the "Fact of the Matter" song.
Now for show 700 I present to you "At the End of the Day"
I really hope you can run it at the end of the show; I've been compiling since I started the "Fact of the Matter" song a few years ago.
Thanks,
Secret Agent Paul.
PS...
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Presidential Proclamation -- American Red Cross Month, 2015
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:19
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 27, 2015
AMERICAN RED CROSS MONTH, 2015 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
For more than 130 years, the devoted women and men of the American Red Cross have responded to challenges at home and abroad with compassion and generosity. In times of conflict and great tragedy, they deliver humanitarian relief, save lives, and offer hope for a brighter tomorrow. Their service has meant so much to so many, and it reflects a fundamental American truth: we look out for one another and we do not leave anyone behind. This month, we renew our sense of common purpose and honor all those whose sacrifices have made our society more prepared, resilient, and united.
As a nurse and educator, Clara Barton dedicated her life to caring for others and alleviating suffering. After years of tending to soldiers and families in their hour of need, she established the American Red Cross, creating a force for peace and recovery in the wake of the Civil War and opening paths for millions across our Nation to serve their brothers and sisters. In the generations that followed, the American Red Cross and other service and relief organizations have combated pandemics, supported our Armed Forces, and provided disaster relief and mitigation worldwide.
In big cities and rural towns, American Red Cross volunteers support their communities, helping people donate blood, teaching first aid, and increasing local preparedness. Last year, our Nation once again bore witness to their grit and resolve as thousands mobilized in response to devastating mudslides, tornadoes, wildfires, and other emergencies. As selfless individuals step forward -- as neighbors assist neighbors, schools transform into shelters, and donations become hot meals and dry clothes -- they carry forward Barton's legacy and safeguard the promise that in moments of darkness, there is hope. They remind us that when we stand together, America emerges stronger.
Our Nation has always been shaped by ordinary Americans who dedicate their lives to achieving the extraordinary. During American Red Cross Month, let us ask what we can do for those around us and resolve to make service to others a part of our everyday lives.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America and Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 2015 as American Red Cross Month. I encourage all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities, and by supporting the work of service and relief organizations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
BARACK OBAMA
Presidential Proclamation -- Irish-American Heritage Month, 2015
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:19
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 27, 2015
IRISH-AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH, 2015 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
The vibrant culture and rich heritage of the Irish people shaped many of the earliest chapters of America's story. Our common values and shared vision for the future laid the foundation for an eternal friendship between Ireland and the United States, and today, daughters and sons of Erin continue to enrich our Nation. This month, we reaffirm the bonds of affection between our two great countries, and we honor the courage and perseverance of the Irish-American community. From ethereal green shores, generations of Irishmen and women set out across an ocean to seek a new life in the New World. Often without family or funds, these brave souls put their faith in the ideas at the heart of our democracy -- that we make our own destiny, and if we work hard and live responsibly, we can build a better future for our children and grandchildren. Early immigrants from Ireland shaped our founding documents, and in the decades and centuries since, Irish-American heroes -- like the courageous members of the Fighting 69th -- have fought and died to protect a Government of, by, and for the people. Today, tens of millions of Americans proudly trace their heritage to the Emerald Isle. They are descendants of our Founding Fathers, heirs to a resilient spirit forged during the Great Hunger and painful periods of discrimination, and the latest in a long line of Irish Americans who have poured their energy and passion into perfecting our Union. With grit and determination, they have enhanced our communities, bolstered our economy, and strengthened our Nation. And their brogue continues to ring out from our halls of government and every place people strive to make our society more free, more fair, and more just. The Irish story is one of hope and resolve -- in it Americans see our own dreams and aspirations. Our pasts are bound by blood and belief, by culture and commerce, and our futures are equally, inextricably linked. During Irish-American Heritage Month, let us celebrate the people-to-people ties between our nations and continue together our work to forge a brighter tomorrow for every American and Irish child. 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 March 2015 as Irish-American Heritage Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
BARACK OBAMA
Presidential Proclamation -- Read Across America Day, 2015
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:19
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 27, 2015
READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY, 2015 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
As a Nation, one of our greatest responsibilities is to ensure every American child can experience the transformative power of reading. Literacy is the gateway to all other learning, and it is the most basic building block of opportunity in an economy increasingly built on knowledge and innovation. On Read Across America Day, we celebrate the ways literacy has enhanced our lives and recommit to empowering every student with a strong start and a passion for reading. The written word provides a window to a larger world. From prose and poetry, we learn our earliest lessons about tolerance and empathy, and on the pages of great books, children can see for the first time that their potential is limited only by the size of their dreams and the power of their imaginations. Literature captures moral dilemmas that persist across generations, chronicles our greatest achievements as a people, and reminds us of painful chapters in our past so we do not repeat our mistakes. In powerful tales and in the voices of complex characters, we learn eternal truths that illuminate the spirit of America and the intimacy of the human condition. Brilliant writers enable us to stand in someone else's shoes and identify with their hopes and struggles -- even if they do not look like us or share our beliefs. They transport us to distant times and faraway lands, and today we honor a storyteller who brought these new worlds into classrooms and bedrooms all around the globe. The works of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to us as Dr. Seuss, have sparked a love for reading in generations of students. His whimsical wordplay and curious characters inspire children to dream big and remind readers of all ages that "a person's a person no matter how small." Reading is the means by which we discover new ideas and unlock the potential of tomorrow's leaders. As we recognize the importance of literacy, let us resolve to play a part in developing the next generation of readers and writers. As mentors, friends, and caring adults, we can raise our voices to support the resources our students need in classrooms and libraries, and take time to engage young people in this critical endeavor. Together, we can enrich our souls, strengthen our society, and give every child a chance to succeed. 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 March 2, 2015, as Read Across America Day. I call upon children, families, educators, librarians, public officials, and all the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-seventh day of February, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
BARACK OBAMA
Notice -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Cuba
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 01:13
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 25, 2015
NOTICE
- - - - - - -
CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TOCUBA AND OF THE EMERGENCY AUTHORITY RELATING TO THE REGULATION OF THE ANCHORAGE AND MOVEMENT OF VESSELS
On March 1, 1996, by Proclamation 6867, a national emergency was declared to address the disturbance or threatened disturbance of international relations caused by the February 24, 1996, destruction by the Cuban government of two unarmed U.S.-registered civilian aircraft in international airspace north of Cuba. On February 26, 2004, by Proclamation 7757, the national emergency was extended and its scope was expanded to deny monetary and material support to the Cuban government. The Cuban government has not demonstrated that it will refrain from the use of excessive force against U.S. vessels or aircraft that may engage in memorial activities or peaceful protest north of Cuba. In addition, the unauthorized entry of any U.S.-registered vessel into Cuban territorial waters continues to be detrimental to the foreign policy of the United States. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing the national emergency with respect toCuba and the emergency authority relating to the regulation of the anchorage and movement of vessels set out in Proclamation 6867 as amended by Proclamation 7757.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
BARACK OBAMA
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Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
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''700, 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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Ministry of Truth
The viral tale of what color this stupid dress is
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:35
The Internet lost its collective mind Thursday over the color of a dress originally posted by a Tumblr user.
Swiked/Tumblr
swiked:guys please help me - is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can't agree and we are freaking the fuck outSome users see the dress as white and gold. Others see black and blue. Some report being able to see both colors at different times, or swap the colors at will. #TheDress began trending on Twitter, along with otherhashtags, and everyone started to weigh in with their their own theories'--emotions, light and color influences, simply a hoax.
(Sorry, this embed was not found.)
BuzzFeed tapped Ben, a post-production supervisor, for some insight. According to Ben, the photo'--taken with a camera phone in poor lighting'--casts the whites in a blue tone and mutes the gold to a darker color.People who see blue and black are seeing the photo at face value. People who see gold and white are compensating to the photo's lighting and aesthetic. There's been no consensus or total explainer yet, but that hasn't stopped dress memes from popping up.
We think it's a dress from Roman Originals, specifically this make and model, a black and blue offering that comes in other colors. Roman Originals could not be reached for comment.For what it's worth, here's what Google thinks.
Google
The dress is likely blue and black. But with doctored lighting appears convincingly white and gold.
Update 5:24am CT, Feb. 27: We got in touch with Roman, the maker of what we believe to be the dress. They confirmed the dress has never been made in white and gold before. However, that doesn't mean your pipe dream has to die: "I can confirm that we are in contact with the suppliers to establish if we can get style 70931 manufactured in white and gold." Hope lives.
Photo via Cajsa Lilliehook/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
F-Russia
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US Mulls Replacement for Poroshenko '' Stephen Cohen / Sputnik International
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 15:54
Europe17:58 01.03.2015(updated 18:11 01.03.2015)
89902
President Poroshenko is not a strong leader capable of implementing his own strategy, and on many key issues he is forced to depend on other people's opinion, both inside and abroad, Stephen Cohen, a scholar of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, said during the recent John Batchelor Show '-- a radio news magazine hosted by American author and radio personality John Batchelor.Implementing the hard-won Minsk accords may prove a near-impossible task for Poroshenko given the number of dyed-in-the-wool ultranationalists now in high places in Kiev in the wake of the recent parliamentary elections.
These people will under no circumstances talk to the pro-independence forces in Donbas.
Moreover, the radical Right Sector organization said loud and clear that they did not recognize the terms of the ceasefire agreed in Minsk. The leaders of the volunteer battalions are no less determined to fight to the bitter end.Hard as Poroshenko is trying to picture the Debaltseve debacle as a victory, few people are ready to buy it. The battalion commanders openly challenge the authority of their Commander-in-Chief, who, in turn, can do nothing about it because he and his government depend much on the volunteer units fighting in Donbas.
Whether there is a ''fascist coup'' now brewing in Kiev is hard to say, but the great deal of power wielded by the radicals is something Poroshenko and his friends in the US and the EU should really worry about, Stephen Cohen warned.
He sees Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the most viable candidate to replace Poroshenko. In a telephone linkup with the US Ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, early last year Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland mentioned Yatsenyuk as a good choice for Ukrainian Prime Minister.Stephen Cohen believes that Washington still holds Yatsenyuk in very high regard as a man who knows how the economy works and could become the ''IMF's man'' in Kiev.
What makes the present Ukrainian prime minister even more attractive to Washington is his hardline stance toward Moscow and a desire to build a wall around Ukraine to ''defend'' it from Russia, Stephen Cohen emphasized.
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Lithuania to see energy independence as liquid gas terminal arrives
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 13:30
Brussels, 28. Oct 2014, 09:27
A floating liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal arrived at the Lithuanian city Klaipeda on Monday (27 October) where it was greeted by locals as the guarantor of the Baltic region's energy supply.
The vessel, called The Independence, is expected to reduce the Baltic states' dependence on Russian gas.
''This is a strategic geopolitical project that may decide the future of the whole region. Lithuania will become an energy-security guarantor for the whole Baltic region'', Lithuania's president Dalia Grybauskaite said according to media reports.
"From now on, nobody will dictate us the price for gas - or buy our political will," she said.
More than a third of Lithuania's energy comes from natural gas. It and its Baltic neighbours have been completely dependent on Russia for their gas supply, due to historical and geographical reasons.
While natural gas is transported via pipelines, liquefied natural gas, or LNG, can be transported by sea. But a country needs a terminal to import LNG.
Lithuania ordered the vessel in 2011, but the Ukrainian crisis, which has seen a bellicose Moscow seek to extend its sphere of influence, means it is arriving at a timely point.
According to the Lithuanian president's press service, ''the Klaipeda LNG terminal can serve and fulfill about 90 percent of the gas supply needs of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia''.
The terminal should be operational before the end of 2014. Lithuanian gas company Litgas has signed a five-year agreement with Norwegian Statoil to import 540 million cubic metres of gas annually from 2015.
The Independence is 294 metres long, 46 metres wide and 26 metres deep.
In a recent 'stress test' on the resilience of the European gas system, the European Commission concluded that with the LNG terminal in Klaipeda, the impact of a cut in the supply of Russian gas should be limited.
''Once the Klaipeda LNG terminal enters into operation the supply for the protected customers [all households] would be ensured in the three Baltic States in all scenarios.''
RT‰ Mobile - Lithuania signs US deal to replace Russian gas
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 13:24
18 hours ago
The Baltic states' reliance on Russia for gas is a legacy of its five decades of Soviet ruleLithuania said it had signed a trade agreement to buy liquified natural gas from the United States in a move aimed at reducing the EU Baltic state's heavy dependence on Russian gas deliveries.
Under the deal with Houston-based Chenier Energy company, the first LNG fuel is expected to arrive in Lithuania as early as next year, state-owned company Litgas said in a statement.
The Baltic states' reliance on Russia for gas is a legacy of its five decades of Soviet rule, which ended in 1991.
Members of the EU and NATO since 2004, Lithuania and fellow Baltic states Latvia and Estonia are concerned about Russia's actions in Ukraine and fear that Moscow could attempt to destabilise its Soviet-era Baltic backyard.
"LNG exports by the US may weaken the position of Russia which uses its energy resources as an energy weapon to blackmail countries dependent on Russian gas," Lithuania's Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis said this week.
"This agreement entered into with Cheniere ... will provide us access to the prolific US natural gas market," Litgas General Manager Dominykas Tuckus said.
Lithuania's first floating LNG terminal started commercial activity in January, becoming the first such facility to sever Moscow's grip on gas deliveries to the Baltic states.
The nation of three million will initially import 0.54 billion cubic metres of gas from Statoil in 2015, covering about one-fifth of its demand.
The first US LNG export terminal is expected to start its operations later this year.
Read next:Thousands of pensioners charged too much tax
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The Vineyard of the Saker: Nemtsov murder: Putin warned about exactly this type of "false flag" two years ago
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:48
Already in February 2012 (two years ago!) Putin was warning Russians about exactly the kind of false flag which we just saw happening with the murder of Nemtsov. See for yourself:Note: the Russian word "provocatsiia" is often translated as "provocation" which is not incorrect as long as you are aware that in Russian "provocation" can mean "false flag", as it does in this context. Putin is clearly warning about a false flag "sacrifice".This video was emergency-translated by one of our "brother in arms", Tatzhit, to whom I am most grateful for this ultra-rapid translation.As for the"liberal" or "democratic" "non-system" opposition it has already announced that it will convert the planned protest into a memorial rally.We will keep you posted.The SakerSaker note @EVERYBODY PLEASE POST YOUR COMMENTS ON THE NEW BLOG!This blog will CLOSE for comments on March 1st. The new one has the popular threaded comments and faster moderation:http://thesaker.is/blog/
Ukrainian Girlfriend of Slain Russian Key to the Case | Observer
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:26
Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya, 23, had a 4-year romance with slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and was with him when he was assassinated.
Ukrainian model Anna Duritskaya became a witness to the murder of the prominent Russian opposition leader 55-year-old Boris Nemtsov, the charismatic opposition figure and critic of President Vladimir Putin who was shot earlier today.
Ms. Duritskaya, a 23-year-old Ukrainian citizen, was being interrogated by the police all night tonight. According to a source in the Russian police, the young woman had ''a very close personal romantic relationship'' with the murdered politician, says TV program Vesti. That relationship is already four years old '' since she was 19 years-old, in other words.
Thanks to Ms. Duritskaya, the police have been able to establish the chronology of the events of this tragic night. According to her account, she was waiting for Mr. Nemtsov since 10 pm at the Bosco-caf(C) of the GUM shopping mall at the Red Square right across the Kremlin.
The couple had dinner at around 11 pm Moscow time and then left the mall and went for a walk toward Vasilievsky embankment right by the Kremlin walls. Their intended destination was the posh building half a mile away from the Kremlin where the murdered politician had an apartment.
As they were crossing the Big New-Moskva Bridge, an unidentified man ran out of the underpass of the bridge and shot Mr. Nemtsov multiple times. Then he jumped into the passing white car without a license plate.
Mr. Nemtsov died on the scene.
According to the Speaker for Prosecutor General Office, the ''Ukrainian trace'' of the brazen murder is one possible motive of the crime because of Ms. Duritskaya's origin and recent arrival from Kiev.
Other motives include a hit by his political enemies, including Russian nationalists and Islamic terrorists; business deals of the victim; and even the variant of Mr. Nemtsov's murder being the 'sacred sacrifice' by the Russia enemies that want to destabilize the political situation in the country.
Boris Nemtsov is survived by his four children from three of his different 'wives'.
Mr. Nemtsov had a very unusual'--some would say scandalous'--relationship with a row of women. Although never divorced from his wife Raisa, during the last 20 years of his life he lived openly with a number of different female civil partners. He has one daughter with his wife Raisa, a son and a daughter with the socialite and TV host Ekaterina Odintsova and a daughter with his former secretary Irina Koroleva, who used to work for the Administration of the Russian President.
Bozhena Rymsky earned the victim's ire in a leaked phone call.
According to Mr. Nemtsov's friend, while celebrating his 50th anniversary, Mr. Nemtsov had all his ''wives'' and children at the same table. He also never hid the fact that for a number of years he had a ''relationship'' with one Anastasia Ogneva, Dni.ru reports.
The spotlight on the complicated personal life of the opposition leader burned brightly after the organized leak of his private telephone conversation about opposition journalist and socialite Bozhena Rynska exactly two years ago. During this conversation, Mr. Nemtsov had this to say about his colleague from the opposition: ''Fuck her! She is The Bitch! Just because I did not fuck her she was washing my dirty laundry and putting me down in her paper for a year. And she was writing not on the theme of me fucking her. Let's organize the Club of Those Who Never Fucked Bozhena Rynsky!''
Back then, the opposition believes, the leak was organized by the FSB security service and was directed at Mr. Nemtsov to discredit the politician.
The 23-year-old Ms. Duritskaya, who just arrived from Kiev, is not a suspect, but possibly was used by the criminals without her knowledge. She calls herself a model and an actress, although is not known for having any parts in movies or on the scene. She studied bookkeeping at Kiev University and worked for obscure model agencies that she left after having found the friendship of Mr. Nemtsov.
Mr. Nemtsov did not feel safe in Russia and two years ago seriously considered the possibility of applying for political asylum in Lithuania, according to the ex-Prime Minister of that country.
The victim, his 'wife' Ekaterina Odintsova, and their children. Nemtsov's complicated romantic life has introduced irresistible intrigue into the fast-moving investigation.
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Le Pen Trusts Russia to Conduct Fair Investigation Into Death of Nemtsov
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 15:48
Politics18:06 01.03.2015(updated 18:24 01.03.2015)
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Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French right-wing party Front National (FN), said she is confident that the Russian judicial system will conduct a fair investigation into the death of politician Boris Nemtsov.''I trust the Russian judicial system, there are no reasons why I shouldn't. Obviously, everyone wants to find, arrest and condemn these cowardly assassins who shot him [Nemtsov] in the back. I expect that justice will prevail. We must be careful and let the police and judges to do their job,'' Le Pen told TV Channel France 3.
Earlier, Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that the Russian leader was immediately informed about the assassination of Boris Nemtsov. Putin then expressed his condolences to the parents and relatives of the deceased and told the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Federal Security Service (FSB) to create a special investigation unit to find out who was behind the killing of Nemtsov.Nemtsov was killed on Friday night in central Moscow. The politician was walking with a female companion across the Zamoskvoretskiy bridge when assassins opened fire from a car driving nearby.
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Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Putin critic may have been murdered by Islamic extremists, says president-led committee - Europe - World - The Independent
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 13:35
Other possible motives listed by the Investigative Committee, which has Vladimir Putin as its executive, included an attempt to destabilise Russia, the Ukraine conflict and his personal life.
Mr Nemtsov was shot four times in the back by a gunman in a car as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin just before midnight on Friday, police said.
The 55-year-old was walking with a Ukrainian woman after they ate at a restaurant in Red Square. She escaped unhurt.
A statement from the Investigative Committee said Mr Nemtsov may have been a ''sacrificial victim for those who do not shun any method for achieving their political goals'', echoing the comments by Mr Putin's spokesperson and other Russian politicians calling the attack a ''provocation''.
Possible connections to the Ukrainian conflict and Islamic extremism are also being investigated, it said.
Read more: Boris Nemtsov thought Putin would have him killedRussian opposition politician shot dead in shadow of KremlinBarack Obama condemns brutal murder of Putin opponentThe Committee announced it was considering whether there was "personal enmity" towards the politician in his private life as state-controlled television gave considerable attention to the woman he was gunned down in front of, identifying her as a Ukrainian model 30 years his junior.
Officials did not address accusations by the former Deputy Prime Minister's supporters that he was killed for being one of Mr Putin's most prominent critics. Outspoken Russian opposition politician Boris Nemsov has been killed
Speaking to Russia's Sobesednik news website on 10 February, Mr Nemtsov had said he feared for his life.
"I'm afraid Putin will kill me,'' he added. ''I believe that he was the one who unleashed the war in the Ukraine. I couldn't dislike him more."
Hours before his death, Mr Nemtsov denounced the President's policies as "mad, aggressive and deadly" and was due to lead an anti-government Spring March on Sunday protesting against the Kremlin's alleged involvement and the economic crisis in Russia. Russian police investigate the the body of Boris Nemtsov, a former Russian deputy prime minister and opposition leader
He was also working on a report containing evidence that he believed proved Russia's direct involvement in the separatist rebellion that has raged in eastern Ukraine since April.
Moscow has continually denied accusations it is supporting the rebels with troops and sophisticated weapons.
Mr Putin condemned the murder of Mr Nemtsov, which his spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said could be a possible "provocation" coming just a day before the march. Mourners in Kiev's Independence Square hold a placard reading "'Putin killed my friend' during a memorial ceremony for Boris Nemtsov in Ukraine on 28 February
Organisers have since cancelled the rally and instead called for a demonstration to mourn him on Sunday in central Moscow.
The city gave quick approval for that gathering, in contrast to its usual slow and grudging permission for opposition rallies.
Through Saturday morning, hundreds of people came to the site of Mr Nemtsov's death in the shadow of the Kremlin to lay flowers. People gather at the site where Boris Nemtsov was murdered, with St. Basil's Cathedral seen in the background, in central Moscow, February 28, 2015.
Mr Putin has ordered Russia's top law enforcement chiefs to personally oversee the investigation.
Britain, the US, Germany and other countries have all expressed sadness and called for a full and transparent inquiry to bring the perpetrators to justice.
David Cameron said he was "shocked and sickened" at the "callous murder".
"This despicable act must be fully, rapidly and transparently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice," the Prime Minister added. Nemsov has been an outspoken critic of Putin
"Boris Nemtsov was a man of courage and conviction. His life was dedicated to speaking up tirelessly for the Russian people, to demanding their right to democracy and liberty under the rule of law, and to an end to corruption.
"He did so without fear, and never gave in to intimidation. He was greatly admired in Britain, not least by his friend Lady Thatcher, who visited him in Russia and who would have been appalled by today's news.
"The courage of Nemtsov's life contrasts with the utter cowardice of his murder.
"I extend my condolences to Boris Nemtsov's family and friends. The Russian people have been deprived of a champion of their rights. Boris Nemtsov is dead. But the values he stood for will never die."
Mr Nemtsov served as a regional governor and then Russia's Deputy Prime Minister in the 1990s and once was seen as a possible successor to Boris Yeltsin, the first elected President.
After Mr Putin came to power in 2000, Nemtsov became one of his most vocal critics and fell out of favour with the Kremlin.
Additional reporting by PA
Nemtsov's Assassination: A Propaganda Attack On Putin? - PaulCraigRoberts.org
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 05:48
Copyright .(C) Paul Craig Roberts 2014.- Please contact us for information on syndication rights.
This site offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. IPE has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor.
Caught On Tape: The Moment Boris Nemtsov Was Assassinated | Zero Hedge
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 03:07
As the world contemplates the various 'provocation' scenarios - a Russian act, a CIA act meant to look like a Russian act, or a Russian act meant to look like a CIA act? - the following clip suggests this was anything but an ad hoc shooting...
The narrator suggests, as Nemtsov and his companion are walking along the road, a garbage truck (or cleaning vehicle) is behind them. When the garbage truck comes alongside the couple, it slows down, then moves ahead, then stops... and another man leaves the vehicle and jumps in a following car, which speeds away with tires smoking...
* * *
As Ukraineatwar blog concludes,
The video seems to be real, because the location EXACTLY fits the know murder spot. It does not seem likely that such a video could have been prepared in advance.
The murder EXACTLY takes place when the cleaning vehicle passes by. It is absolutely unclear where the assassin come from. Nobody can be seen walking towards or behind Nemtsov and his companion. Neither can somebody be seen walking to that specific spot to wait for them.
Therefore it seems very likely that the cleaning vehicle has something to do with it and the assassin could have traveled with the vehicle.
Since Nemtsov was shot from behind and the cleaning vehicle already caught up with them when the murder took place, it does not seem likely that the assassin traveled on the passenger seat next to the driver. He had to open and close the door and that may have drawn their attention. It seems likely that he had traveled on the back of the car. He could easily jump on and off and could also estimate if there were other people to close to them to do the operation at all at that moment.
Using a cleaning vehicle gives a lot of advantage: you can drive slowly, draw no attention, wait if necessary and thus pick exactly the right moment (with no other people nearby).
It does seem like the assassin had been following the couple already when he jumped on the vehicle. They may have crossed the road where the cleaning car was waiting. After seeing them pass by, it started entering the bridge. When they passed the assassin, he jumped on. In this way they could be sure that they had the right person AND they could pick the right moment without running to catch them up.
All the getaway car had to do was to wait until the cleaning vehicle got on the bridge, see the hit man jumped on and then get to follow from a distance to slowly catch up.
It all does look like a REALLY WELL orchestrated operation.
Totally weird is that there is no traffic at all behind them. Such a moment is very hard to pick, especially when you can see that there are many cars before the assassination moment. Right after the car picks up the assassin, new cars start arriving again. This indicates there had been some 'orchestration' here too. Either traffic lights had been red on all fronts or traffic had been halted in another way.
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Of course - while this seems very coordinated - one might question the fact that surely they would be aware that cameras would be everywhere?
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Questions remain, but Soviet ex-President Mikail Gorbachev is sure, the assassination of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov as an attempt to destabilize Russia. As Sputnik News reports,
"The assassination of Boris Nemtsov is an attempt to complicate the situation in the country, even to destabilize it by ratcheting up tensions between the government and the opposition,'' Gorbachev said.
''Just who did this is hard to say, let's not jump to any conclusions right now and give the investigators time to sort this all out,'' he added.
Gorbachev did not rule out that the high-profile murder could encourage some people to urge the authorities to introduce a state of emergency, which he said would only exacerbate what is already a difficult situation.
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Opposition to Hold Funeral March in Memory of Boris Nemtsov in Moscow
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:49
Russia01:50 01.03.2015(updated 01:52 01.03.2015)
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Nemtsov was killed in Moscow at 11:40 pm on Friday, Moscow time (20:40 GMT), after four shots were fired in his back while he was walking with a female companion cross the Zamoskvoretskiy bridge, according to the Russian Interior Ministry.Thousands of people laid flowers and lit candles on Saturday on a bridge near his murder site.
The authorities agreed procession of up to 50 thousand people. The procession is planned to move from Kitaygorodskiy pr-d to Moskvoretskaya embankment, the Bolshoy Moskvoretskiy bridge, and it will end on the Malyy Moskvoretskiy bridge. Participants will reportedly start gathering at 02:00 p.m. Moscow time (11:00 a.m. GMT) and the march itself is scheduled to start at 03:00 p.m. Moscow time (12:00 a.m. GMT).
Moscow authorities said the police would take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the protesters.
In addition, a Moscow official said that the previously agreed opposition march in not to take place today, as the opposition withdrew its bid.
Nemtsov was deputy prime minister under Russia's former President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, a co-chair of the RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia '-- People's Freedom Party) since 2012, and one of the leaders of the liberal Solidarnost movement.
An investigation into the politician's murder was launched by the Russian Investigative Committee, which is considering several versions, including possible connection between Nemtsov's death and the events in Ukraine, the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris and his business activity.
Nemtsov will be buried on March 3 Troekurov Cemetery in Moscow. A memorial service will be held in the morning at the Sakharov Center.
Statement by the President on the Murder of Boris Nemtsov | The White House
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:25
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 27, 2015
The United States condemns the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov, and we call upon the Russian government to conduct a prompt, impartial, and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his murder and ensure that those responsible for this vicious killing are brought to justice. Nemtsov was a tireless advocate for his country, seeking for his fellow Russian citizens the rights to which all people are entitled. I admired Nemtsov's courageous dedication to the struggle against corruption in Russia and appreciated his willingness to share his candid views with me when we met in Moscow in 2009. We offer our sincere condolences to Boris Efimovich's family, and to the Russian people, who have lost one of the most dedicated and eloquent defenders of their rights.
Gorbachev: Murder of Opposition Leader Was a False Flag | Zero Hedge
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:43
Sniper attacks are commonly used as a form of false flag terror.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says the the killing is aimed at ''destabilizing the situation in the country, at heightening confrontation'' with the West.
Gorbachev says:
The assassination of Boris Nemtsov is an attempt to complicate the situation in the country, even to destabilize it by ratcheting up tensions between the government and the opposition.
The Saker notes that Putin warned years ago that a false flag of this nature might occur.
Michael Rivero notes:
Another reason to doubt the ''Blame Putin'' chorus we are already seeing in the corporate media is the manner in which the shooting took place, in public, in front of the girlfriend, to generate the maximum publicity. If Putin had really wanted to kill this guy, it would have been a ''suicide'' in private or a small plane crash, the way the US Government handles assassinations.
Sniper Attacks As False Flag TerrorRandom shootings are a type of false flag terror '...
For example, in 1985 '' as part of the ''Gladio'' (11-21) false flag operations '' snipers attacked and shot shoppers in supermarkets randomly in Brabant county, Belgium killing twenty-eight and leaving many wounded.
Both Sides?Additionally, shooting both sides is a tip off that it may be a false flag.
Specifically, when authoritarian regimes want to break up protests, they might shoot protesters.
Likewise, when violent protesters shoot government employees, they might be trying to overthrow the government.
But when secretive snipers kill both protesters and the police, it is an indication of a ''false flag'' attacks meant to sow chaos, anger, disgust and a lack of legitimacy.
This has happened many times over the years. For example:
Unknown snipers reportedly killed both Venezuelan government and opposition protesters in the attempted 2002 coupSnipers Fired At BOTH Police and Protesters In UkraineThis happened during the Maidan protests which resulted in the overthrow of the Ukrainian government, as well. Indeed, the ruthless slaughter of people by snipers was the event which turned world opinion against the then-current Ukrainian Prime Minister, and resulted in him having to flee the country.
BBC recently interviewed the head of the opposition's security forces at the time, who confirms that snipers were killing both protesters and police:
The former Ukranian government security boss said the same thing. Specifically, he said:
Former chief of Ukraine's Security Service has confirmed allegations that snipers who killed dozens of people during the violent unrest in Kiev operated from a building controlled by the opposition on Maidan square.
Shots that killed both civilians and police officers were fired from the Philharmonic Hall building in Ukraine's capital, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine Aleksandr Yakimenko told Russia 1 channel. The building was under full control of the opposition and particularly the so-called Commandant of Maidan self-defense Andrey Parubiy who after the coup was appointed as the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Yakimenko added.
So both the chief of the government's security forces and the head of the opposition's security forces said that the same snipers were killing both protesters and police. While they disagree about who the snipers were, they both agree that the snipers were attempting to sow chaos.
Similarly:
[Current Ukrainian Health Minister Oleh] Musiy, who spent more than two months organizing medical units on Maidan, said that on Feb. 20 roughly 40 civilians and protesters were brought with fatal bullet wounds to the makeshift hospital set up near the square. But he said medics also treated three police officers whose wounds were identical.
Forensic evidence, in particular the similarity of the bullet wounds, led him and others to conclude that snipers were targeting both sides of the standoff at Maidan '-- and that the shootings were intended to generate a wave of revulsion so strong that it would topple Yanukovych and also justify a Russian invasion.
And the Estonian foreign minister '' after visiting Ukraine '' told the EU foreign affairs minister that the Maidan opposition deployed the snipers '' and fired on both the protesters and the police '' to discredit the former government of Ukraine.
Was It Maidan Who Fired?While the American media has proclaimed that the sniper fire was definitely from government forces, some of the above-cited sources dispute that claim.
Additionally, BBC reported at the time:
Reporting for Newsnight, Gabriel Gatehouse said he saw what looked like a protester shooting out of a window at the BBC's Kiev base, the Ukraine Hotel.
And BBC recently interviewed a Maidan protester who admitted that he fired a sniper rifle at police from the Conservatory, and that he was guided by a military veteran within the Maidan resistance. Here are actual pictures a reporter took of Maidan snipers, recently published by BBC:
(There were reportedly at least 10 Maidan snipers firing from the Conservatory.)
The Frankfurther Allgemein reported last year that Maidan commander Volodymyr Parasjuk controlled the Conservatory at the time:
Volodymyr Parasjuk '' the leader in ''self-defense units'' of the revolution who had called the night of Yanukovich's escape, on the stage of Maidan to storm the presidential residence one year ago.
On the day of the massacre Parasjuk was staying with his unit in the colonnaded building of the Kiev Conservatory right at the Maidan. In the days before the death toll had risen, and the fighters grew the conviction alone with limited power as before will not be able to overthrow Yanukovych. ''There were at that time many guys who said you have to take the weapon and attack,'' said Parasjuk recalls. ''Many,'' he himself had since long ago it had firearms, often their officially registered hunting rifles.
Tagesschau '' a German national and international television news service produced by state-run Norddeutscher Rundfunk on behalf of the German public-service television network ARD '' also reported in 2014 that at least some of the sniper fire came from protesters.
And there are other photographs of protesters with rifles, such as this one from Reuters:
Reuters/Maks Levin
So the snipers might have been Maidan opposition forces shooting their own.
But '' whoever the snipers were '' the one thing that is clear is that they were shooting people from both as part of a ''strategy of tension'' to create maximum chaos. This hints that it may ave been a highly-organized campaign of terror.
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Poroshenko, US Vice President Express Concern Over Nemtsov Killing
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:42
KIEV (Sputnik) '' According to the statement, Poroshenko and Biden held telephone talks on Saturday, expressing "concern in connection with the killing of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov".According to the Russian Interior Ministry, Nemtsov was killed in the Russian capital at 11:40 p.m. Moscow time on Friday (20:40 GMT), after several shots were fired at him from a car, which drove by while the Russian politician was walking across the Zamoskvoretskiy bridge with a female companion from Ukraine.
Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page after the murder that Nemtsov was "a bridge between Ukraine and Russia" that was now destroyed.Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has condemned the killing, saying in a Friday statement that he admired Nemtsov's ''courageous dedication to the struggle against corruption in Russia'' and appreciated the politician's ''willingness to share his candid views" with him when Nemtsov met with Obama in Moscow in 2009.
The Russian Investigative Committee is at the moment considering several crime scenarios, with some of them linking Nemtsov's murder to events in Ukraine, the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris and the politician's business activity.
Meanwhile, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the murder was a provocation and most likely a contract killing. Nemtsov was killed a day before the Vesna ("Spring") opposition rally planned to be held in Moscow on March 1.
Nemtsov's family lawyer Vadim Prohorov told RIA Novosti early on Saturday that there were most likely political motives behind the killing, as, to his knowledge, Nemtsov did not have any personal or business-related problems.Prohorov also said that Nemtsov had received several threats on social media prior to the murder. Meanwhile, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Saturday that investigators had information that Nemtsov had been receiving threats linked to his stance on the January shooting at the Paris office of the Charlie Hebdo magazine.
Nemtsov has been in Russian politics for over two decades. He served as deputy prime minister and energy minister under the country's former President Boris Yeltsin. He voiced opposition to the current Russian government, co-chaired the RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia '' People's Freedom Party) since 2012 and was also one of the leaders of the liberal Solidarnost movement.
UN Secretary General 'Shocked' by Boris Nemtsov Killing / Sputnik International
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:41
UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) '' UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, saying he was "shocked" by the killing and hopes that those responsible will be found soon."The Secretary-General was shocked by and condemns the brutal killing of Boris Nemtsov in Moscow on 27 February," the United Nations said in a statement published on its official website on Saturday, adding that Ban Ki-moon is aware that an investigation into the murder has been announced and "expects the perpetrators to be brought to justice swiftly".
According to the statement, the UN Secretary General also "wishes to express his deepest condolences to Mr. Nemtsov's family, friends and supporters".
According to the Russian Interior Ministry, Nemtsov was killed in the center of Moscow at 11:40 p.m. local time on Friday (20:40 GMT), when several shots were fired at him from a passing car.Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian Investigative Committee, the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service to set up an investigative team to look into the murder of Boris Nemtsov.
Putin claimed that the murder was likely a contract killing.
The Russian Investigative Committee is at the moment considering several crime scenarios, with some of them linking the politician's murder to events in Ukraine, the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris and Nemtsov's business activity.
Nemtsov has been in Russian politics for over two decades. He served as deputy prime minister and energy minister under the country's former President Boris Yeltsin. He co-chaired the RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia '' People's Freedom Party) since 2012 and was also one of the leaders of the liberal Solidarnost movement.
Nemtsov voiced opposition to the current Russian government, President Vladimir Putin and his policies but was more actively involved in business in recent years.
The Vineyard of the Saker: Breaking news: FALSE FLAG IN MOSCOW!
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:45
Boris Nemtsov has been shot dead in Moscow. He was one of the most charismatic leaders of the "liberal" or "democratic" "non-system" opposition in Russia (please understand that in the Russian context "liberal" and "democratic" means pro-US or even CIA-run, while "non-system" means too small to even get a single deputy in the Duma). He was shot just a few days before the announced demonstration of the very same "liberal" or "democratic" "non-system" opposition scheduled for March 1st. As I have already explained many times on this blog, the "liberal" or "democratic" "non-system" opposition in Russia has a popular support somewhere in the range of 5% (max). In other words, it is politically *dead* (for a detailed explanation, please read "From Napoleon to Adolf Hitler to Conchita Wurst"). In the hopes of getting a higher number of people to the streets the "liberal" or "democratic" "non-system"opposition allied itself with the ultra-nationalists (usually useful idiots for the CIA) and the homosexual activists (also useful idiots for the CIA). Apparently, this was not enough.And now, in *perfect* timing, Nemtsov is murdered.We all know the reaction of the AngloZionists and their propaganda machine. It will be exactly the same as for MH-17: Putin the Murderer!!! Democracy Shot!! Freedom Killed!! etc. etc. etc. etc.There is no doubt in my mind at all that either this is a fantastically unlikely but always possible case of really bad luck for Putin and Nemtsov was shot by some nutcase or mugged, or this was a absolutely prototypical western false flag: you take a spent politician who has no credibility left with anyone with an IQ over 70, and you turn him into an instant "martyr for freedom, democracy, human right and civilization".By the way if, as I believe, this is a false flag, I expect it to be a stunning success in the West and a total flop in Russia: by now, Russians already can smell that kind of setup a mile away and after MH-17 everybody was expecting a false flag. So, if anything, it will only increase the hostility of Russians towards the West and rally them around Putin. In the Empire, however, this will be huge, better than Politkovskaya or Litvinenko combined. A "Nemtsov" prize will be created, a Nemtov statue will be place somewhere (in Warsaw?), the US Congress will pass a "Nemtsov law" and the usual combo package of "democratic hagiography" will be whipped-up.What worries me most is that the Russian security services did not see this one coming and let it happen. This is a major failure for the FSB which will now have a lot at stake to find out who did it. I expect them to find a fall-guy, a patsy, who will have no provable contacts with any western services and who, ideally, might even have some contacts with the Russian services (like Andrei Lugovoi).As for the "liberal" or "democratic" "non-system" - it will probably re-brand the upcoming protests as a "tribute to Nemtsov" thereby getting more people into the streets.There are folks in Langley tonight who got a promotion.The Saker-------Saker note @EVERYBODY PLEASE POST YOUR COMMENTS ON THE NEW BLOG!This blog will CLOSE for comments on March 1st. The new one has the popular threaded comments and faster moderation:http://thesaker.is/blog/
U.S. Ambassador Tefft lays flowers at Nemtsov murder scene | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:45
U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft on Saturday visited the place where Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov was killed on Friday evening, an Interfax correspondent reported.
Tefft, escorted by bodyguards, approached the place where Nemtsov was killed and laid flowers.
Speaking to journalists, Tefft said his embassy colleagues and he had decided to come there to show their respect for Boris Nemtsov.
He pointed out that U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and other policymakers had condemned the opposition leader's killing and also expressed their respect for him.
After that, Tefft left the crime scene.
Nemtsov was shot by an unidentified killer on Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge near the Kremlin in central Moscow late on Friday.
Read more: Nemtsov murder
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Packet Equality
Origins of Free and Open Internet
Google has warned that a forthcoming UN-organised conference threatens the "free and open internet".
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:02
21 November 2012Last updated at 09:49 ET Google has warned that a forthcoming UN-organised conference threatens the "free and open internet".
Government representatives are set to agree a new information and communications treaty in December.
It has been claimed some countries will try to wrest oversight of the net's technical specifications and domain name system from US bodies to an international organisation.
However, the UN has said there would be consensus before any change was agreed.
Google has asked web users to add their name to an online petition to support its view.
"The [UN agency] International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is bringing together regulators from around the world to renegotiate a decades-old communications treaty," it wrote on its Take Action site.
"Some proposals could permit governments to censor legitimate speech - or even allow them to cut off internet access.
"Other proposals would require services like YouTube, Facebook, and Skype to pay new tolls in order to reach people across borders. This could limit access to information - particularly in emerging markets."
Google added that it was concerned that "only governments have a voice at the ITU" and not companies or others who had a stake in the net, concluding that the World Conference on International Telecommunications (Wcit) was "the wrong place" to make decisions about the internet's future.
However, the ITU has said that each country could invite whoever it likes to be part of its delegation at the meeting.
Leaked documentsThe ITU has said a new treaty was needed to ensure "the free flow of information around the world, promoting affordable and equitable access for all and laying the foundation for ongoing innovation and market growth".
It added that the growth of the internet and adoption of mobile phones meant the existing agreement - signed in 1998 - needed to be updated.
The agency is not openly publishing each government's proposals ahead of the conference, however a site called Wcitleaks, run by researchers at George Mason University, has revealed some of the details.
Most recently these included a proposal from Russia suggesting that the US should have less control over the internet's operation.
"Member states shall have equal rights to manage the internet, including in regard to the allotment, assignment and reclamation of internet numbering, naming, addressing and identification resources and to support for the operation and development of basic internet infrastructure," it said in a document submitted on 17 November.
This would mark a shift from the current set-up in which such matters are looked after by non-profit bodies which are officially under the remit of the US Department of Commerce, but in effect operate at arm's length from the US government.
The Russia Today news service had previously reported that China and India backed the Kremlin's view that the ITU could take over these functions.
However, the US's ambassador to the conference, Terry Kramer, has already signalled he would not support this saying the existing institutions had "functioned effectively and will continue to ensure the health and growth of the internet".
Tolled trafficParts of the US tech industry have also been concerned by remarks by the ITU's secretary general, Dr Hamadoun Toure, that the meeting should "address the current disconnect between sources of revenue and sources of costs, and to decide upon the most appropriate way to do so".
Dr Toure said that the new treaty should be designed to help encourage broadband rollout and investment, later adding that telecom companies had the "right to a return on [the] investment" needed to avoid congestion.
But Google is not alone in fearing some countries will suggest the best way to do this will be to introduce "tolls" in which popular sites have to pay developing nations money if they send a lot of traffic through their data networks.
"Many countries are used to getting revenue from telephone calls, and those telephone calls have gone away in favour of various internet-based video services which don't produce revenue for them," Gary Shapiro, president of the US's Consumer Electronics Association, told the BBC.
"So they are looking to recover it and they are trying to put a charge on incoming internet access. So if you have a website which is very popular worldwide you would have to pay to get access to them - we think that is wrong.
"We think the value of the internet is that it is available to everyone for free without international barriers."
Unanimous decisionsThe ITU is hosting the conference to draw up the treaty between 3 to 14 December in Dubai.
Dr Toure has signalled that if there were any serious disagreements he would try to avoid putting an issue to a majority vote.
"We never vote because voting means winners and losers and you can't afford that," he told the BBC in July.
"Whatever one single country does not accept will not pass."
But experts warn this poses a risk that participants leave some issues unresolved.
"In the worst case there's a danger you could see a splintering of the internet," said Prof Alan Woodward, from the department of computing, University of Surrey.
"Some countries including Russia already restrict which sites can be accessed, but if people start going off and doing their own things in term of naming conventions and net addresses you could end up with different parts of the internet being unable to send traffic to each other.
"It would be the online equivalent of not being able to make a telephone call from one nation to another."
free and open internet eric schmidt - Google Search
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:03
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Google executives lead by Eric Schmidt visit Cuba for first ...m.tech.firstpost.com/.../google-executives-lead-by-eric-schmidt-visit-cub...The Google team, led by Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, met with Cuban ... A team of top Google executives is visiting Cuba to promote open Internet ... Google is on an official two-day visit ''to promote the virtues of a free and open Internet,'' ...Eric Schmidt - Google+https://plus.google.com/+EricSchmidt/posts/X8UXDYZEwduJun 29, 2014 - With the goal of promoting a free and open Internet, Jared Cohen and I and two others traveled to Havana on a business visa (more on that ...Google's Eric Schmidt allegedly visits Cuba to advocate ...www.caribbean-events.com/.../googles-eric-schmidt-allegedly-visits-cuba...Google's Eric Schmidt allegedly visits Cuba to advocate for open internet ... with Cuban technology officials to promote the benefits of a free and open Internet.Google's Eric Schmidt calls for open Internet in North Korea ...www.cbsnews.com/.../googles-eric-schmidt-calls-for-open-inte...Jan 9, 2013 - Google's Eric Schmidt calls for open Internet in North Korea. Executive Chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, back row left, and former .... Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Net neutrality secrecy: No one knows what the FCC approved (BUT Google has a good idea) ' The Register
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:47
Analysis US watchdog the FCC formally approved new net neutrality rules on Thursday for America. But you're out of luck if you want to know exactly how your access to the internet will be now be governed.
Despite getting the green light, the exact rules have not been revealed and will remain a mystery for some unspecified length of time.
"We will publish the order on our website as soon as next two steps are completed," said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler when quizzed after the vote.
"First, we have to get the dissents in, and second have to look at those dissents '' and we are required to be responsive to the dissents. Then we will put it on the web. And at that point also file it with the Federal Register." He refused to give a timeframe for that process.
Nor did the FCC's general counsel Jonathan Sallet. "This is not a 'secret plan'," he responded to one reporter who asked again why the FCC was making decisions on unpublished documents. "It's part of a process." He also referenced a judgment by a Washington DC court that the FCC was obliged to respond to dissents put forward by commissioners '' namely, the two Republican commissioners who voted against Wheeler's secret plans.
But, of course, that court decision does not preclude the FCC chairman from publishing the documents as they stand now. In fact, it is entirely within his power, and Wheeler could also have shown us the regulations when they were provided to the FCC's commissioners for the first time three weeks ago.
DeniedIn fact, the chairs of both Congressional committees that deal with telecoms issues requested that the rules be put out for public review, as did two of Wheeler's four commissioners, who complained they wanted to publish the documents but were barred from doing so.
Pushed on the topic of publication a third time, Wheeler called the rules a "work in progress." "Why do we not release a rough draft? Because it's a rough draft; it's a work in progress. There's no difference in the result, just the way in which to go about it," he said.
That is seemingly true, with the report suddenly dropping 15 pages to 317 pages following a last-minute letter from Google.
Dissenting commissioner Ajit Pai complained that he could only refer to page counts when discussing changes made to the proposals during their development: "This again illustrates the absurdity of how much I can reveal without violating the rule against sharing non-public information.
"I will say what has been publicly reported is that in response to a last minute submission from a major California based company, an entire core part of the document was removed with respect to broadband subscriber access service."
Pai and fellow commissioner Michael O'Rielly also revealed that there had been a number of revised versions in the past 12 to 24 hours as changes were made all the way up to the vote.
It gets worseBut that's not all. Both commissioners expect changes to be made to the document after it has been formally approved by them, with the "OGC" '' office of general counsel '' given extraordinary leeway to edit and revise the rules even following formal approval.
That is problematic because "most of the specifics haven't been addressed. They're very vague. Intentionally vague," said O'Rielly. His criticisms appeared to be confirmed when reporters, who repeatedly asked for specifics on the plan from chairman Wheeler and general counsel Sallet, were told repeatedly that those details had not been decided yet.
It is likely that Sallet will start adding new text between now and when the rules are finally sent to the Federal Registry. And no one will know what has changed, with commissioner Pai and O'Rielly pointing out that they will have to keep a constant eye on the documents to see what has been tweaked.
"It will be interesting to see how you figure out how you can write stories about what has just been approved when you aren't allowed to see the details," Pai told reporters after the vote.
Same oldIncredibly, this is not anything new. An academic study of FCC documents going all the way back to 1934 dug into its baffling habit of delaying the publication of official orders long after they had been approved.
Published earlier this month and titled "Administrative Procedures, Bureaucracy, and Transparency: Why Does the FCC Vote on Secret Texts?" [PDF], the report's author Scott Wallsten found that dawdling between approval and publication had actually become the norm at the FCC.
"More controversial orders yield more dissent and longer delays," Wallsten notes, "implying either that commissioners engage in substantive negotiating following a vote or that the commission pays extra attention to the details of an order the more likely the commissioners believe it will be challenged in court."
The secrecy surrounding the net neutrality regulations is something Commissioner O'Rielly has been complaining about for some time, repeatedly pushing within the FCC for documents to be published ahead of meetings, but each time pushed back by the FCC's staff.
DeniedBack in August, O'Rielly, a new commissioner, argued that the rules that forbid publication of documents before a vote were leading to "routine confusion" and were a barrier that "can be extremely frustrating for all involved."
"At the very moment that I learn the particulars of an important rule-making upon which I will spend the next few weeks in ex parte meetings listening to stakeholder concerns, I am not permitted to disclose any details of the draft text in order to extract more thoughtful responses," he noted.
In other words, he has to hold meetings to discuss upcoming rules but isn't allowed to tell anyone what is actually in the paperwork being discussed.
O'Rielly sought to change that situation and despite getting what he claimed was positive feedback, the commission's staff found procedural objections to making the documents available.
In a second post last month, O'Rielly noted: "The reason that nothing has happened, I am told, is that there are two basic concerns with the proposal: 1) that it could be harder to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA); and 2) that it could be more difficult to withhold documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I do not find either argument persuasive or insurmountable."
He then went into some detail as to why he doesn't feel either legislation should block the provision of information and why he feels the current situation is unworkable.
And againO'Rielly raised the issue again today after reporters pressed on why no one was allowed to see the net neutrality rules that had just been approved: "I've made a larger push that we make all items that are circulated - that are made available for open meetings - publicly available. We can put them on our website'... I've highlighted the arguments that people respond to me with'... the truth of the matter is, it's a resource management issue, and under the current rules, the chairman has the right to make those documents available if he so chooses. Here, he chose not to, and I suspect he's going to continue that course of action."
It's unclear whether Wheeler and the FCC's staff recognize the irony that while extending their reach over broadband access in order to protect a free and open internet they are at the same time running processes that go against the very ethos of the network they claim to be protecting.
Pai felt that this was one situation where the chairman's ability to forego secrecy should have been applied: "I would argue that if ever there a reason to depart from that practice, I would argue this is it. It's own proponents say this is unprecedented action. The American people should be able to see what is being decided."
Wheeler did allude to the impact that the spotlight of public attention had had on the FCC. "Let me start the process towards that vote," he noted as he opened his remarks, "by thanking the nearly four million people who participated in this proceeding. You told us you were concerned about the future of the internet, and your participation has made this the most open proceeding in FCC history. Not all of you agreed with each other and not all of you agreed with the action that we are going to take today. But you made our process, and thus our decision, stronger. We listened and we learned."
What Pai and O'Rielly would no doubt argue is that while Wheeler and the FCC's staff may have listened to those in favor of their rules, the dissenting voices '' including those arguing that the FCC needs to bring itself into the modern internet era '' have so far received much less of a hearing. ®
Sponsored:New Forrester Research: More attacks on keys and certificates
Google reverses decision to ban adult content on Blogger | The Verge
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:59
Google has reversed its decision to ban sexually explicit content on Blogger, according to a post on the company's product forums by Social Product Support Manager Jessica Pelegio. Users of the blogging platform were told earlier this week that Google would no longer allow "graphic nude images or video" on the site from March 23rd. However, Pelegio's post states that this is no longer the case, with Google deciding the ban would've had a "negative impact on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities."
The ban would have affected accounts that have been running for "10+ years."
"Rather than implement this change, we've decided to step up enforcement around our existing policy prohibiting commercial porn," writes Pelegio. She says the users submitted a "ton of feedback" after the announcement, particularly regarding the retroactive enforcement of the new policy, which would have affected accounts that have been running for "10+ years." Pelegio adds that as before, "blog owners should continue to mark any blogs containing sexually explicit content as 'adult' so that they can be placed behind an 'adult content' warning page."
Obama Escalates Crackdown on the Open Internet - TechFreedom
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:24
Today, the Obama Administration proposed new legislation to dictate how American companies use data to provide services.
''Yesterday, many in Silicon Valley cheered the FCC's adoption of President Obama's plan to regulate net neutrality as preserving today's Internet,' said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom, ''but today, the White House proposed new rules on how Internet companies use consumer data that would fundamentally change the way Internet businesses work, especially new ones. We've already seen how Europe's draconian privacy rules have crippled digital innovation, despite lackadaisical enforcement. Combine that with serious American enforcement, and the results will be disastrous for consumers.''
''The good news is: this bill is dead in the water,'' continued Szoka. ''That much should be obvious from the timing of the release: 4 p.m. on a Friday. With its credibility on privacy in tatters, the Administration apparently gave up on finding Congressional sponsors for the bill. The bad news is that the proposal itself will shift the global debate about consumer protection online towards more top-down, heavy-handed solutions '-- and away from how to apply and adapt existing consumer protection laws to new technologies.''
''Unsurprisingly, the bill does nothing at all to rein in the real privacy threat: government,'' concluded Szoka. ''It takes real chutzpah for the White House to talk about a 'Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights' when the real Bill of Rights has never been more under siege '-- and this Administration has done precious little to defend them.''
We can be reached for comment at media@techfreedom.org. See more of our work on consumer privacy:
Statement in Support of the FCC Net Neutrality Vote
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 01:16
Washington, D.C. '' Internet Association President and CEO Michael Beckerman issues the following statement in support of the FCC's passage of net neutrality rules:
''Today's FCC vote on net neutrality is a welcome step in our effort to create strong, enforceable net neutrality rules that apply to both mobile and fixed broadband '-- banning paid prioritization, blocking, and discrimination online. The Internet Association remains outcome-oriented, and it looks forward to seeing the full text of the order to ensure that the end user experience and the free and open Internet is fully protected by the FCC's action. Today will not be the end of the discussion. The Internet Association is prepared to work with all stakeholders to ensure that net neutrality rules are meaningful and lasting for Internet companies and users of today and tomorrow.''
###
FC 5 Pages net neutrality
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:21
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GOP vows steps to thwart FCC's new Internet regulation | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:08
Republicans in the House and Senate vowed Thursday to find some way to moderate or stop the Federal Communications Commission's now-approved plan to regulate the Internet.
In the past, Republicans have passed legislation to stop what they see as regulatory overreach, and that's an option the GOP could consider in the coming weeks. But for now, they said only that they'd be looking at some way to blunt the impact of the FCC's new rule.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler gestures near the end of a hearing for a vote on 'net neutrality' on Thursday. Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
''[L]ike Obamacare, the Obama administration's plan for the Internet may not work, but it will create years of uncertainty and lead to expensive legal fights,'' said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). ''More mandates and regulations on American innovation and entrepreneurship are not the answer, and that's why Republicans will continue our efforts to stop this misguided scheme.''
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the regulation marks a shift from the ''light touch'' that the federal government had been showing, one that allowed the Internet to flourish.
''The Obama administration needs to get beyond its 1930s rotary-telephone mindset and embrace the future,'' McConnell said. ''That means encouraging innovation, not suffocating it under the weight of an outdated bureaucracy and poorly named regulations like this one.''
McConnell was silent on what the Senate might do about the regulation, but another Republican, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), suggested that Congress needs to step in.
''t upends the longstanding hands-off approach to the Internet that has been taken since its advent '' one that has encouraged innovation and allowed the Internet to become what it is today,'' McCain said. ''This is a matter for Congress to carefully consider and correct.''
In a party-line vote, the FCC voted to pass a massive new rule that would allow the FCC to regulate the Internet like a public utility. Democrats have indicated their goal is to prohibit Internet service providers from favoring some data over other data, and preventing entities from paying more for faster service.
But opponents of the regulation say it ignores the reality that some websites need special consideration, and that the FCC rule is just a first step for the government to impose even more objectionable rules.
Boehner noted that Congress hasn't even seen the regulation, and noted that the FCC hasn't wanted to share any details of it until after it was approved.
''The text of the proposal is being kept hidden from the American people and their elected representatives in Congress, and the FCC's chairman has so far refused to testify about it,'' Boehner said. ''This total lack of transparency and accountability does not bode well for the future of a free and open Internet, not to mention the millions of Americans who use it every day.''
Dear FCC: Thanks for Listening to Team Internet! | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:04
As expected, the FCC's new rules forbid ISPs from charging Internet users for special treatment on their networks. It will also reach interconnection between ISPs and transit providers or edge services, allowing the FCC to ensure that ISPs don't abuse their gatekeeper authority to favor some services over others.
That's great for making sure websites and services can reach ISP customers, but what about making sure customers can choose for themselves how to use their Internet connections without interference from their ISPs? To accomplish this, the FCC has banned ISPs from blocking or throttling their customers' traffic based on content, applications or services'--which means users, hackers, tinkerers, artists, and knowledge seekers can continue to innovate and experiment on the Internet, using any app or service they please, without having to get their ISP's permission first.
Even better, the rules will apply to wireless and wired broadband in the same way, so you don't have to worry that your phone switching from Wi-Fi to a 4G network will suddenly cause apps not to work or websites to become inaccessible. Lots of people use mobile devices as their primary way of accessing the Internet, so applying net neutrality rules to both equally will help make sure there is ''one Internet'' for all.
So congratulations, Team Internet. We put the FCC on the right path at last. Reclassification under Title II was a necessary step in order to give the FCC the authority it needed to enact net neutrality rules. But now we face the really hard part: making sure the FCC doesn't abuse it's authority.
For example, the new rules include a ''general conduct rule'' that will let the FCC take action against ISP practices that don't count as blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization. As we said last week and last year, vague rules are a problem. The FCC wants to be, in Chairman Wheeler's words, ''a referee on the field'' who can stop any ISP action that it thinks ''hurts consumers, competition, or innovation.'' The problem with a rule this vague is that neither ISPs nor Internet users can know in advance what kinds of practices will run afoul of the rule. Only companies with significant legal staff and expertise may be able to use the rule effectively. And a vague rule gives the FCC an awful lot of discretion, potentially giving an unfair advantage to parties with insider influence. That means our work is not yet done. We must stay vigilant, and call out FCC overreach.
The actual order is over 300 pages long, and it's not widely available yet. Details matter. Watch this space for further analysis when the FCC releases the final order.
Net Neutrality: A Free and Open Internet | The White House
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:03
November 10, 2014
An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.
''Net neutrality'' has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation '-- but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.
When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it. Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules '-- not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it believed the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach.
The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe. These bright-line rules include:
No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player '-- not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP '-- gets a fair shot at your business.No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others '-- through a process often called ''throttling'' '-- based on the type of service or your ISP's preferences.Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs '-- the so-called ''last mile'' '-- is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a ''slow lane'' because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet's growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.If carefully designed, these rules should not create any undue burden for ISPs, and can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital. But combined, these rules mean everything for preserving the Internet's openness.
The rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device. I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.
To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information '-- whether a phone call, or a packet of data.
So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act '-- while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone '-- not just one or two companies.
Investment in wired and wireless networks has supported jobs and made America the center of a vibrant ecosystem of digital devices, apps, and platforms that fuel growth and expand opportunity. Importantly, network investment remained strong under the previous net neutrality regime, before it was struck down by the court; in fact, the court agreed that protecting net neutrality helps foster more investment and innovation. If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above '-- principles that most ISPs have followed for years '-- it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet.
The Internet has been one of the greatest gifts our economy '-- and our society '-- has ever known. The FCC was chartered to promote competition, innovation, and investment in our networks. In service of that mission, there is no higher calling than protecting an open, accessible, and free Internet. I thank the Commissioners for having served this cause with distinction and integrity, and I respectfully ask them to adopt the policies I have outlined here, to preserve this technology's promise for today, and future generations to come.
Net Neutrality: FCC Votes to Keep Internet 'Fast, Fair and Open' | Rolling Stone
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:03
The FCC has officially voted in favor of "net neutrality," setting new rules to keep broadband Internet in the United States "fast, fair and open." The hotly debated resolution, which USA Today reports took place in front of a standing room-only crowd, passed three to two.
SidebarQ&A: Tim Berners-Lee >>"No one...should control free and open access to the Internet," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. "It's the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. The Internet is too important to allow broadband providers to make the rules."
NPR reports Wheeler exclaimed, "Today is a red-letter day."
A statement from the FCC described the new measures as "sustainable rules of the road." Among other updates, the new provisions to the government organization's Open Internet Order prevent service providers from blocking access to legal content, applications, services and non-harmful devices. It stops broadband providers from throttling upload and download speeds with regard to content, apps and services (e.g., Netflix and Spotify). And it has deemed it illegal for providers to prioritize traffic to companies they have deals with.
The new rules, which update ones from 2008 that were later overturned by a U.S. Court of Appeals in 2013, help protect free expression online and the FCC hopes they will promote investment in broadband networks. They also classify Internet as a public utility, similar to phone service. The organization detailed all of the changes, including technical specifications, in a press release on its website.
President Barack Obama applauded the decision in an open letter. "Today's FCC decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs '' and it wouldn't have happened without Americans like you," he wrote. "More than 4 million people wrote in to the FCC, overwhelmingly in support of a free and fair Internet. Countless others spoke out on social media, petitioned their government, and stood up for what they believe."
Telecom industry slams FCC net neutrality move | Fox News
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:54
The FCC ogo is seen before the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington Feb. 26, 2015. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
The telecom industry on Thursday slammed the The Federal Communications Commission's adoption of sweeping new Internet regulations, warning that the rules are a "radical step" that spells bad news for consumers and the economy.
Following a contentious meeting, the commission voted 3-2 to adopt its so-called net neutrality plan. The new regulations, which aim to bar service providers from creating paid Internet ''fast lanes,'' were sought by President Obama. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the plan would ensure an "open, unfettered network."
However, major telecom industry players were scathing in their reaction to the vote, which looks set to be challenged in the courts.
''FCC's 'Throwback Thursday' Move Imposes 1930s Rules on the Internet,'' wrote Verizon, in a blog post. To illustrate its point, the company wrote its statement in Morse code, but added a link to a translated version for ''readers in the 21st century.''
Further emphasizing Verizon's displeasure, the translation uses a smudged, inky, typewriter-style typeface.
''Today's decision by the FCC to encumber broadband Internet services with badly antiquated regulations is a radical step that presages a time of uncertainty for consumers, innovators and investors,'' said Michael Glover, Verizon senior vice president for public policy and government affairs, in the statement. ''It is likely that history will judge today's actions as misguided,'' he added.
The CTIA, which represents the wireless industry, described the FCC's decision as ''disappointing and unnecessary.''
''Consumers across the U.S. have '' and will always have '' access to an open mobile Internet,'' it said. ''By ignoring the fundamental differences in wireless networks and disregarding the intense competition throughout the mobile ecosystem, the FCC abandoned a long-standing policy framework responsible for fostering America's world-leading wireless industry.''
The CTIA also questioned the legality of the FCC's move.
''The agency's action runs counter to an express Congressional directive prohibiting the agency from treating mobile broadband like a utility service, making today's decision not only unwise, but unlawful,'' it said. ''The economic and legal uncertainty that will inevitably follow from the FCC's unilateral action underscores the importance of, and urgent need for, bipartisan Congressional action that can end the net neutrality debate and allow our country's mobile ecosystem to focus on what it does best '' innovating, investing and empowering Americans' mobile connected lives."
The new rules would put the Internet in the same regulatory camp as the telephone by classifying it like a public utility.
Net neutrality is the idea that websites or videos load at about the same speed. That means you won't be more inclined to watch a particular show on Amazon Prime instead of on Netflix because Amazon has struck a deal with your service provider to load its data faster.
For years, providers mostly agreed not to pick winners and losers among Web traffic because they didn't want to encourage regulators to step in and because they said consumers demanded it. But that started to change around 2005, when YouTube came online and Netflix became increasingly popular. On-demand video began hogging bandwidth, and evidence surfaced that some providers were manipulating traffic without telling consumers.
By 2010, the FCC enacted open Internet rules, but the agency's legal approach was eventually struck down in the courts. The vote Thursday was intended by Wheeler to erase any legal ambiguity by no longer classifying the Internet as an "information service" but a "telecommunications service" subject Title II of the 1934 Communications Act.
That would dramatically expand regulators' power over the industry and hold broadband providers to the higher standard of operating in the public interest.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), which represents the manufacturers and suppliers of communications networks, also expressed its dismay at the FCC's decision.
''We share the goal of an open Internet, but Title II regulation is unnecessary and will harm consumers and the economy more than it will help,'' it said, in a statement. ''A light regulatory approach has resulted in nearly two decades of remarkable technology progress and increasing speeds, access and choice.''
The TIA also noted that private sector investment has led to a 250 percent increase in connection speeds since 2010 '' jumping from 4.6 Mbps to 11.4 Mbps.
''We are confident that Title II regulation will be rejected as Congress, the courts and consumers fully understand how it will hold back investment, innovation and growth,'' the TIA added. ''While we support the coming legal challenges, our plan is to work with Congress to find a reasonable, balanced approach to an open Internet.''
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers
FCC Adopts Strong, Sustainable Rules to Protect the Open Internet | FCC.gov
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 21:41
NEWS
Federal Communications Commission
News Media Information 202 / 418-0500
445 12th Street, S.W.
Internet: http://www.fcc.gov
Washington, D. C. 20554
TTY: 1-888-835-5322
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
February 26, 2015
Mark Wigfield, 202-418-0253
E-mail: mark.wigfield@fcc.gov
FCC ADOPTS STRONG, SUSTAINABLE RULES TO PROTECT THE OPEN INTERNET
Rules Will Preserve the Internet as a Platform for Innovation, Free Expression and Economic Growth
Washington, D.C. '' Ending lingering uncertainty about the future of the Open Internet, the Federal
Communications Commission today set sustainable rules of the roads that will protect free expression and
innovation on the Internet and promote investment in the nation's broadband networks.
The FCC has long been committed to protecting and promoting an Internet that nurtures freedom of
speech and expression, supports innovation and commerce, and incentivizes expansion and investment by
America's broadband providers. But the agency's attempts to implement enforceable, sustainable rules to
protect the Open Internet have been twice struck down by the courts.
Today, the Commission'--once and for all'--enacts strong, sustainable rules, grounded in multiple sources
of legal authority, to ensure that Americans reap the economic, social, and civic benefits of an Open
Internet today and into the future. These new rules are guided by three principles: America's broadband
networks must be fast, fair and open'--principles shared by the overwhelming majority of the nearly 4
million commenters who participated in the FCC's Open Internet proceeding.
Absent action by the FCC, Internet openness is at risk, as recognized by the very court that struck down
the FCC's 2010 Open Internet rules last year inVerizon v. FCC.
Broadband providers have economic incentives that ''represent a threat to Internet openness and could act
in ways that would ultimately inhibit the speed and extent of future broadband deployment,'' as affirmed
by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The court upheld the Commission's finding
that Internet openness drives a ''virtuous cycle'' in which innovations at the edges of the network enhance
consumer demand, leading to expanded investments in broadband infrastructure that, in turn, spark new
innovations at the edge.
However, the court observed that nearly 15 years ago, the Commission constrained its ability to protect
against threats to the open Internet by a regulatory classification of broadband that precluded use of
statutory protections that historically ensured the openness of telephone networks. The Order finds that
the nature of broadband Internet access service has not only changed since that initial classification
decision, but that broadband providers have even more incentives to interfere with Internet openness
today. To respond to this changed landscape, the new Open Internet Order restores the FCC's legal
authority to fully address threats to openness on today's networks by following a template for
sustainability laid out in the D.C. Circuit Opinion itself, including reclassification of broadband Internet
access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act.
With a firm legal foundation established, the Order sets three ''bright-line'' rules of the road for behavior
known to harm the Open Internet, adopts an additional, flexible standard to future-proof Internet openness
rules, and protects mobile broadband users with the full array of Open Internet rules. It does so while
preserving incentives for investment and innovation by broadband providers by affording them an even
more tailored version of the light-touch regulatory treatment that fostered tremendous growth in the
mobile wireless industry.
Following are the key provisions and rules of the FCC's Open Internet Order:
New Rules to Protect an Open Internet
While the FCC's 2010 Open Internet rules had limited applicability to mobile broadband, the new rules'--
in their entirety'--would apply to fixed and mobile broadband alike, recognizing advances in technology
and the growing significance of wireless broadband access in recent years (while recognizing the
importance of reasonable network management and its specific application to mobile and unlicensed Wi-
Fi networks). The Order protects consumers no matter how they access the Internet, whether on a desktop
computer or a mobile device.
Bright Line Rules: The first three rules ban practices that are known to harm the Open Internet:
‚·
No Blocking: broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services,
or non-harmful devices.
‚·
No Throttling: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the
basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.
‚·
No Paid Prioritization: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over
other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration of any kind'--in other words, no ''fast lanes.''
This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.
The bright-line rules against blocking and throttling will prohibit harmful practices that target specific
applications or classes of applications. And the ban on paid prioritization ensures that there will be no
fast lanes.
A Standard for Future Conduct: Because the Internet is always growing and changing, there must be a
known standard by which to address any concerns that arise with new practices. The Order establishes
that ISPs cannot ''unreasonably interfere with or unreasonably disadvantage'' the ability of consumers to
select, access, and use the lawful content, applications, services, or devices of their choosing; or of edge
providers to make lawful content, applications, services, or devices available to consumers. Today's
Order ensures that the Commission will have authority to address questionable practices on a case-by-
case basis, and provides guidance in the form of factors on how the Commission will apply the standard
in practice.
Greater Transparency: The rules described above will restore the tools necessary to address specific
conduct by broadband providers that might harm the Open Internet. But the Order recognizes the critical
role of transparency in a well-functioning broadband ecosystem. In addition to the existing transparency
rule, which was not struck down by the court, the Order requires that broadband providers disclose, in a
consistent format, promotional rates, fees and surcharges and data caps. Disclosures must also include
packet loss as a measure of network performance, and provide notice of network management practices
that can affect service. To further consider the concerns of small ISPs, the Order adopts a temporary
exemption from the transparency enhancements for fixed and mobile providers with 100,000 or fewer
subscribers, and delegates authority to our Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to determine
whether to retain the exception and, if so, at what level.
The Order also creates for all providers a ''safe harbor'' process for the format and nature of the required
disclosure to consumers, which the Commission believes will lead to more effective presentation of
consumer-focused information by broadband providers.
Reasonable Network Management: For the purposes of the rules, other than paid prioritization, an ISP
may engage in reasonable network management. This recognizes the need of broadband providers to
manage the technical and engineering aspects of their networks.
‚·
In assessing reasonable network management, the Commission's standard takes account of the
particular engineering attributes of the technology involved'--whether it be fiber, DSL, cable,
unlicensed Wi-Fi, mobile, or another network medium.
‚·
However, the network practice must be primarily used for and tailored to achieving a legitimate
network management'--and not business'--purpose. For example, a provider can't cite reasonable
network management to justify reneging on its promise to supply a customer with ''unlimited''
data.
Broad Protection
Some data services do not go over the public Internet, and therefore are not ''broadband Internet access''
services (VoIP from a cable system is an example, as is a dedicated heart-monitoring service). The Order
ensures that these services do not undermine the effectiveness of the Open Internet rules. Moreover, all
broadband providers' transparency disclosures will continue to cover any offering of such non-Internet
access data services'--ensuring that the public and the Commission can keep a close eye on any tactics
that could undermine the Open Internet rules.
Interconnection: New Authority to Address Concerns
For the first time the Commission can address issues that may arise in the exchange of traffic between
mass-market broadband providers and other networks and services. Under the authority provided by the
Order, the Commission can hear complaints and take appropriate enforcement action if it determines the
interconnection activities of ISPs are not just and reasonable.
Legal Authority: Reclassifying Broadband Internet Access under Title II
The Order provides the strongest possible legal foundation for the Open Internet rules by relying on
multiple sources of authority including both Title II of the Communications Act and Section 706 of the
Telecommunications Act of 1996. At the same time, the Order refrains '' or forbears '' from enforcing 27
provisions of Title II and over 700 associated regulations that are not relevant to modern broadband
service. Together Title II and Section 706 support clear rules of the road, providing the certainty needed
for innovators and investors, and the competitive choices and freedom demanded by consumers, while not
burdening broadband providers with anachronistic utility-style regulations such as rate regulation, tariffs
or network sharing requirements.
‚·
First, the Order reclassifies ''broadband Internet access service'''--that's the retail broadband
service Americans buy from cable, phone, and wireless providers'--as a telecommunications
service under Title II. This decision is fundamentally a factual one. It recognizes that today
broadband Internet access service is understood by the public as a transmission platform through
which consumers can access third-party content, applications, and services of their choosing.
Reclassification of broadband Internet access service also addresses any limitations that past
classification decisions placed on the ability to adopt strong open Internet rules, as interpreted by
the D.C. Circuit in theVerizoncase. And it supports the Commission's authority to address
interconnection disputes on a case-by-case basis, because the promise to consumers that they will
be able to travel the Internet encompasses the duty to make the necessary arrangements that allow
consumers to use the Internet as they wish.
‚·
Second, the proposal finds further grounding in Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of
1996. Notably, theVerizoncourt held that Section 706 is an independent grant of authority to the
Commission that supports adoption of Open Internet rules. Using it here'--without the limitations
of the common carriage prohibition that flowed from earlier the ''information service''
classification'--bolsters the Commission's authority.
‚·
Third, the Order's provisions on mobile broadband also are based on Title III of the
Communications Act. The Order finds that mobile broadband access service is best viewed as a
commercial mobile service or its functional equivalent.
Forbearance: A modernized, light-touch approach
Congress requires the FCC to refrain from enforcing '' forbear from '' provisions of the Communications
Act that are not in the public interest. The Order applies some key provisions of Title II, and forbears
from most others. Indeed, the Order ensures that some 27 provisions of Title II and over 700 regulations
adopted under Title II will not apply to broadband. There is no need for any further proceedings before
the forbearance is adopted.The proposed Order would apply fewer sections of Title II than have applied
to mobile voice networks for over twenty years.
‚·
Major Provisions of Title II that the Order WILL APPLY:
o
The proposed Order applies ''core'' provisions of Title II: Sections 201 and 202 (e.g., no
unjust or unreasonable practices or discrimination)
o
Allows investigation of consumer complaints under section 208 and related enforcement
provisions, specifically sections 206, 207, 209, 216 and 217
o
Protects consumer privacy under Section 222
o
Ensures fair access to poles and conduits under Section 224, which would boost the
deployment of new broadband networks
o
Protects people with disabilities under Sections 225 and 255
o
Bolsters universal service fund support for broadband service in the future through partial
application of Section 254.
‚·
Major Provisions Subject to Forbearance:
o
Rate regulation: the Order makes clear that broadband providersshall notbe subject to
utility-style rate regulation, including rate regulation, tariffs, and last-mile unbundling.
o
Universal Service Contributions: the OrderDOES NOTrequire broadband providers to
contribute to the Universal Service Fund under Section 254. The question of how best to
fund the nation's universal service programs is being considered in a separate, unrelated
proceeding that was already underway.
o
Broadband service will remain exempt from state and local taxation under the Internet
Tax Freedom Act. This law, recently renewed by Congress and signed by the President,
bans state and local taxation on Internet access regardless of its FCC regulatory
classification.
Effective Enforcement
o
The FCC will enforce the Open Internet rules through investigation and processing of
formal and informal complaints
o
Enforcement advisories, advisory opinions and a newly-created ombudsman will provide
guidance
o
The Enforcement Bureau can request objective written opinions on technical matters
from outside technical organizations, industry standards-setting bodies and other
organizations.
Fostering Investment and Competition
All of this can be accomplished while encouraging investment in broadband networks. To preserve
incentives for broadband operators to invest in their networks, the Order will modernize Title II using the
forbearance authority granted to the Commission by Congress'--tailoring the application of Title II for the
21st century, encouraging Internet Service Providers to invest in the networks on which Americans
increasingly rely.
‚·
The Order forbears from applying utility-style rate regulation, including rate regulation or tariffs,
last-mile unbundling, and burdensome administrative filing requirements or accounting standards.
‚·
Mobile voice services have been regulated under a similar light-touch Title II approach, and
investment and usage boomed.
‚·
Investment analysts have concluded that Title II with appropriate forbearance is unlikely to have
any negative on the value or future profitability of broadband providers. Providers such as Sprint,
Frontier, as well as representatives of hundreds of smaller carriers that have voluntarily adopted
Title II regulation, have likewise said that a light-touch, Title II classification of broadband will
not depress investment.
Action by the Commission February 26, 2015, by Report and Order on Remand, Declaratory Ruling, and
Order (FCC 15-24). Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel with Commissioners
Pai and O'Rielly dissenting. Chairman Wheeler, Commissioners Clyburn, Rosenworcel, Pai and
O'Rielly issuing statements.
Docket No.: 14-28
-FCC-
News about the Federal Communications Commission can also be found
on the Commission's web sitewww.fcc.gov.
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Caliphate!
Next Islamic State beheading will be here: Column
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 01:06
James S. Robbins6:30 p.m. EST February 25, 2015
A police officer patrols outside the Federal District Courthouse where three men who arrested for allegedly providing material support to the group ISIS were arraigned, in Brooklyn, New York, 25 February 2015. The men were arrested for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State extremist group and planning to travel abroad to join the group, the US Department of Justice said.(Photo: EDUARDO MUNOZ, EPA)
If the Islamic State released another beheading video it might make headlines. But imagine the impact if, instead of the Syrian desert, the video was shot in the American heartland.
The threat of domestic terror attacks is a hot topic. Last week the al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab terror group issued a video calling for radical sympathizers in the United States and elsewhere to carry out attacks on shopping malls and other public places. This prompted a warning from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that the video reflects "the new phase we've evolved to in the global terrorist threat," and for shoppers to use caution. On Wednesday three men were arrested in New York City who had planned to join ISIL in Syria or, failing that, to conduct a series of domestic terror attacks, targeting local police, the FBI and even President Obama.
Also on Wednesday FBI Director James Comey said that there were ongoing "investigations of people in various stages of radicalizing in all 50 states." He said that ISIS is "putting out a siren song with their slick propaganda through social media," and summed up their message as, "Troubled soul, come to the caliphate, you will live a life of glory, these are the apocalyptic end times, you will find a life of meaning here, fighting for our so-called caliphate. And if you can't come, kill somebody where you are."
We have seen these types of domestic attacks recently in the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013, the October 2014 attack in Ottawa, Canada by home grown radical Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, and the January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices and a kosher market in Paris. These operations were small scale (compared, for example, to the September 11, 2001 attacks), involved few terrorists and apart from the people wounded and tragic loss of life did minimal physical damage. However from the point of view of the terrorists they had the intended strategic effect, dominating the news cycle for days and spreading the jihadist message of fear.
USA TODAY
Watch Africa in fight against ISIL: Column
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Terrorists are well aware of their asymmetric advantage in harnessing the media. Any domestic attack is by its nature so shocking that its impact will be amplified beyond whatever harm it causes. Also as Director Comey points out, the current generation of jihadists are skilled in the use of images that are designed to capture attention instantly and spread virally through social media. They are able to bypass established news organizations that exercise editorial discretion when it comes to videos of beheadings or immolations. And once the story has been established by other means, the media has no choice but to go where the web hits are.
The next logical move is for ISIL to export its particular brand of medieval barbarism to the United States. An attack on a shopping mall, bombing Times Square or killing a police officer would focus public attention and capture the news cycle. But how much more frightening, more personal, more menacing, if ISIL kidnapped a random unsuspecting person inside the United States and subjected them to the same macabre ritual beheading they have visited on scores of people in the areas they control in the Middle East. Picture it happening not in Syria or Libya, but New York, California or Texas. Imagine ISIL declaring victories from what it considers the belly of the beast.
There is a reason why they are called terrorists.
James S. Robbins writes weekly for USA TODAY and is author of The Real Custer: From Boy General to Tragic Hero.
In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more columns like this, go to the Opinion front pageor sign up for the daily Opinion email newsletter.
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Turkish President Denounces Austria's New Law on Islam
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:59
ANKARA (Sputnik) '-- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leveled sharp criticism Saturday against Austria's newly adopted law on Islam, calling it inconsistent with the European Union's legislation."On the one hand you say EU acquis [accumulated legal acts and court decisions encompassing the body of European Union law], but on the other hand you take steps which totally oppose EU acquis," Erdogan in Istanbul before departing for an official visit to Saudi Arabia.
On Wednesday, the Austrian parliament passed an amendment to a 1912 bill on Islam banning the foreign financing of Muslim organizations and limiting foreign imams' activities to curb the influence of radical Islam.
The Turkish leader cited the latest sentiments of Islamophobia in the West and the European Union, stressing the need for his counterparts to "stop these biases."According to national media, about 60 out of Austria's 300 imams are sent from Turkey through the Austrian Turkish Islamic Union (ATIB), its largest Muslim umbrella organization.
This week's adoption of new legislation comes amid increased radicalization of Europeans, who travel to Iraq and Syria to join extremist groups.
The European Union is home to some 13 million of Muslim immigrants, concentrated mainly in Germany and France. According to the Pew Research Center, France, Britain and Germany view Muslim immigrants more favorably than other European countries.
In Austria, Islam is the fastest-growing religion with over 570,000 Austrians identifying themselves as Muslims in 2013, amounting to 7 percent of the country's population.
The 1912 law on Islam was adopted by Emperor Franz Joseph I to ensure the integration of Austro-Hungarian Empire's Muslim population after Bosnia and Herzegovina was annexed four years prior.
WTF!?-Funders | START.umd.edu
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 05:01
A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) is a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) Center of Excellence (COE) headquartered at the University of Maryland. Funding is provided through a grant from the DHS S&T Office of University Programs COE program as well the funders listed below. The work of individual researchers should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of START or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or any other agency or department of the United States Government.
START funders include:
Chiner$
Pjotr reports from China
You do realize that you are probably the only uncensored news feed into here….
But now that I mentioned it, I wonder if that will change… hmm….
You are like the Voice of America during the cold war. The only way to get it was thru short wave radio… and those were in high demand….
High Hopes For World's Longest Railway That Links China To Spain | EMerging Equity
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 15:09
The world's longest railway, connecting China to Spain. Image courtesy of The Independent.
A cargo train has just completed its maiden round trip journey of 16,156 miles on the world's longest railway line that connects China to Spain and hopes are high that the new rail link will boost trade, according to an article on The Independent.
The new Yixin'ou rail line spans from China and runs through Kazakhstan, Belarus, Poland, Germany, and France before finally reaching Spain in a round trip journey that takes nearly four months to complete.
In November, an 82-container cargo train began its debut journey from the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu '-- packed with items for Christmas '-- and arrived in Madrid just ahead of the holiday on December 14.
Prior to the opening of the Yixin'ou line, goods that were traded between Europe and China were at the mercy of inefficient sea or air transportation, which meant higher prices in Europe.
''The cargo train will boost economic exchange between Yiwu, the world's largest small commodity market, and Madrid, Europe's largest small commodity market,'' according to Li Huihuan, the manager of Yiwu CF International Logistics, whom operates the train.
The new Yixin'ou rail line is 450 miles longer than the previous record holder, the Trans-Siberian Railway, which connects Vladivostok in the east of Russia, to Moscow.
Hopes are running high that the new rail service will boost trade between the European Union (EU) and China, which currently stands around '‚¬1bn per day, as the train provides a vastly faster and superior service for shipping in comparison to that of seaborne shipping and is substantially cheaper than air cargo.
China's eastern city of Yiwu, is the world's largest wholesale market for small consumer goods according to Xinhua, a booming example of modern China according to The Independent, as the city's small commodities market is growing at an exponential rate with combined imports and exports valued at $23.7 Billion, a 28.6 percent increase year-over-year.
Agenda 21
7 out of 10 Doctors: Climate Change Is Already Harming Patients' Health
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:03
Brian DeeseFebruary 26, 201502:08 PM EST
Two-thirds of the American people believe climate change is a serious problem, and that the government should take action to address it. It shouldn't be surprising that our nation's doctors do, too '-- nearly 90 percent of them.
Today, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) will hit the halls of Congress to educate our representatives about a new survey of more than 900 ATS members, which found the majority of doctors believe climate change is already negatively affecting the health of their patients. In fact, 77 percent of respondents reported that increases in air pollution due to climate change are worsening the severity of illnesses in their patients, and they expect these health impacts will further increase in the future.
ATS members also indicated that their patients are experiencing other climate-related health problems '-- including injuries due to severe weather, allergic reactions, and heat-related impacts. These findings are in line with the results of a survey of the National Medical Association's members last year, which also found that the sick, elderly, and people living below the poverty line will be disproportionately impacted by climate change.
Already, 1 in 10 children in the U.S. suffers from asthma. Heat-related health problems are growing. Pollen concentrations are up. Rising temperatures are only going to bring more smog, more asthma, and longer allergy seasons that put more Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital.
As the evidence shows us, we can't stand on the sidelines and be the first generation to fail at that most basic human instinct '-- to leave our children a safer, more prosperous world.
That is why we are so committed to executing the President's Climate Action Plan.
To learn more about how the Obama administration is acting on climate, visit WhiteHouse.gov/climate-change.
Brian Deese is Senior Advisor to President Obama.
James Cameron to Launch Nation's First Vegan Elementary School : UNAgenda21
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 00:48
Exposing the comprehensive UN plan to bring about an authoritarian world government via international regulations and treaties under the guise of environmentalism and social justice.
SECTION I. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS: Chapter 2.1.
In order to meet the challenges of environment and development, States have decided to establish a new global partnership. This partnership commits all States to engage in a continuous and constructive dialogue, inspired by the need to achieve a more efficient and equitable world economy, keeping in view the increasing interdependence of the community of nations and that sustainable development should become a priority item on the agenda of the international community. It is recognized that, for the success of this new partnership, it is important to overcome confrontation and to foster a climate of genuine cooperation and solidarity. It is equally important to strengthen national and international policies and multinational cooperation to adapt to the new realities.
Remember, a lot of this is heavy doublespeak. I.E. "Commuter Friendly" = Commuter hell, at the mercy of public transportation, unfriendly-to-cars, no leaving the area etc., "Walkable" = car unfriendly, literally poverty infrastructure
New UrbanismTriple Bottom LineSustainability/Sustainable DevelopmentSocial EquityEconomic EmpowermentSocial Responsibility"Smart" i.e. Smart GrowthEconomic/Environmental JusticeCorporate Social Responsibility(CSR)Liveable/WalkableNew NormalComplete StreetsMixed-Use (property)"Green"Commuter Friendly"Well-Being"Community ActionResilience/Resilient CommunitiesTransition TownNext/New EconomyNo Racism
No Abusive/threatening language.
Any posts that attack the sub, the users or the mods can be removed. Breaking this rule more than once can earn a ban.
We are all different here, and you may find that have different beliefs, but please be respectful of each other.
LGBBTQQIAAP
Housing for LGBBBTQQIAAP
BiDentification
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 01:40
Housing154 Church StreetOpen House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.
Lead Paint DisclosureHousing built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead from paint, paint chips, and dust can pose health hazards if not taken care of properly. Lead exposure is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women. Before renting pre-1978 housing, landlords must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the dwelling. Tenants must also receive a Federally approved pamphlet on lead poisoning prevention. The pamphlet may be viewed at: http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/library/enforcement/pyf_eng.pdf. The University recognizes that any housing built prior to 1978 may contain lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards. By accepting your housing contract, you are affirming that you have reviewed the pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead In Your Home.
All Wesleyan housing was built before 1978 with the exception of the following: Bennet Hall, Fauver Apartments, 19 Fountain Avenue, 20 Fountain Avenue, 25 Fountain Avenue, 231 Pine Street, and 14 Warren Street.
Lead Paint Reports for 154 Church Street
Floor PlansApplications
EuroLand
Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Greece Negotiations Resume Again; "Constructive Ambiguity"; Sch¤uble Outmaneuvered!
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:49
On Friday, the German Bundestag Backed the Greek Bailout Extension. Ahead of the vote, many commented that Greece collapsed.
It's not all that simple as I have explained.
The likely explanation for the alleged collapse of Syriza is Greece did not have a primary account surplus. Had it left now, it would have been forced off the euro, violating a campaign promise of Syriza.
Caving in required temporary caving in of other campaign promises.
Both Sides Got Something
The four-month extension gives Greece a better chance to prepare for default while allowing Greece to stay on the euro. The extension also give the ECB four more months to prepare for Grexit or default.
Properly analyzed, both sides got something. Isn't that what usually happens in complex negotiations?
Third Bailout Needed
Meanwhile, it's pretty clear that Greece needs yet another bailout.
I wrote about the bailout issues and the primary surplus issues on February 11 in Third Greek Bailout? Another '‚¬53.8 Billion Needed? Primary Account Surplus Revisited.
"Real" Negotiations Begin
Given that Greece does indeed need a third bailout, today's headline story should not be at all surprising: Greece Seeks Negotiations on ECB Bond Repayment.
Greece called into question on Saturday a major debt repayment it must make to the European Central Bank this summer, after acknowledging it faces problems in meeting its obligations to international creditors.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said Athens should negotiate with the ECB on 6.7 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in Greek government bonds held by the Frankfurt-based bank that mature in July and August.
Varoufakis did not say what he hoped to achieve in any talks, but he accused the ECB of making a mistake in buying the bonds around the time Greece had to take an EU/IMF bailout in 2010.
"Shouldn't we negotiate this? We will fight it," he said in an interview with Skai television. "If we had the money we would pay ... They know we don't have it."
With tax revenue falling far short of target last month and an economic recovery faltering, the state must repay an IMF loan of around 1.6 billion euros in March and find 800 million in interest payments in April. It then needs about 7.5 billion in July and August to repay the bonds held by the ECB and make other interest payments.
Varoufakis, who has staged a media blitz in recent days to sell the euro zone deal to the Greek people, singled out former ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet for criticism.
"One part of the negotiations will be on what will happen to these bonds which unfortunately and wrongly Mr Trichet bought," he said. "I see it as a mistake - but the ECB did this with the aim of keeping us in the markets in 2010. They failed."
Varoufakis argued that if the bonds had remained in investors' hands, their value would have been cut by 90 percent under a restructuring of Greece's privately held debt in 2012, reducing the burden on the state.
The ECB bought the bonds at a deep discount and made large profits because their value rose as the euro zone debt crisis eased. Under Greece's second bailout deal, these profits were due to be returned to Athens to help it repay debt.
Athens received a partial payment in 2013 but euro zone countries are withholding a further 1.9 billion euros pending the review of Greece's economic plans. Varoufakis wants this money sent directly to the IMF to meet the March payment.
Curious TimingAlthough the above headline and details are not surprising, the timing may appear somewhat curious. Even though the Bundestag signed off, the eurogroup as a whole has not ratified the extension.
Today's call for further negotiations ahead of that vote are sure to raise more than a few eyebrows.
Why now?
I have two possible game theory explanations
Varoufakis wants to quell Greek parliament sentiment that Syriza collapsed, and he feels the need to do that right awaySyriza really does not care if it is forced out of the eurozone as long as Greece can 100% without a doubt place the blame elsewhereAdvocates of position number two may argue that by caving into the demands and getting Germany to go along, it will not appear to anyone as if Syriza was responsible for Grexit, should the eurogroup parliament reject the extension.Which is more reasonable?
As a fan of Occam's Razor (the rationale that requires the fewest assumptions is most often the correct explanation), I vote for number one.
Option 1 is self-explanatory. Option 2 requires a lie by Syriza (that it does not really want to stay on the euro), and a complex way to make that happen, absolving themselves of blame because the Greek population as a whole does want to keep the euro.
Constructive Ambiguity
As a result of the timing, I expect still more bickering accompanied by still more warnings. Nonetheless, the extension will be approved.
Also in support of theory number one is Intentional Vagueness.
Greece's finance minister says the country's agreement with its European creditors to extend its international loan agreement by four months was intentionally vague to ensure the European countries that need to have it ratified by their parliaments would be able to do so.
Greece was granted the extension by its European creditors last week in exchange for a commitment to budget reforms Varoufakis laid out in a document sent to Brussels. The list is a policy plan but does not contain specific measures or figures.
Varoufakis said that "we are very proud of the degree of ambiguity. And I use a term, constructive ambiguity."
Using Time WiselyIn the next four months, the real negotiations begin. Expect Syriza to announce it really did not cave in at all, because the document is purposely vague.
Let's revisit a couple of statement from my February 22 article Tspiras Claims to have "Won a Battle, Not the War"; Greece to Combat Tax Evasion; Illusion Shattered; Another Bailout?
"Once you get them into the safe space for the next four months, there'll be another set of discussions which will effectively involve the negotiation of a third program for Greece," said Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan. German finance minister Wolfgang Sch¤uble rubbed Greek capitulation in Tsipras' face with his comment "The Greeks certainly will have a difficult time to explain the deal to their voters. As long as the programme isn't successfully completed, there will be no payout."Sch¤uble Outmaneuvered In retrospect, number two is rather amusing. How will Syriza explain this to the Greeks?
Like this: We got a four-month extension in return for vague promises at our discretion. Essentially we got the extension for free. Now we can negotiate payments to the ECB and IMF!
I suggest Sch¤uble was outmaneuvered by game theory book author Varoufakis. (See Mish's Game Theory Math)
If Syriza uses that time wisely, it can get back to a state of primary account surplus. And if it does, it will be in a far position to tell the much hated Troika where to go.
I still have odds of default (with or without Grexit), well over 50% by June. Which one depends on the state of primary account surplus in June when this extension ends.
All that happened in February was approval of four month extension giving both sides time to prepare for the inevitable.
Mike "Mish" Shedlockhttp://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
IMF Seeks to Bypass U.S. Veto in Bid to Empower Self, Tyrants
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:57
Right now, the International Monetary Fund is trying to forward controversial ''reforms,'' changes that are strongly supported by the Obama administration and most IMF member regimes, that would massively expand the institution's power and the burden it imposes on taxpayers '-- particularly American taxpayers '-- by doubling IMF resources. The scheme would also diminish U.S. influence in IMF decisions while boosting the voice of the communist dictatorship ruling mainland China, Putin's Kremlin, the pro-Castro Brazilian government, and various other regimes that the UN refers to as ''emerging markets.''
As it stands, however, the U.S. government has veto power because it controls more than 15 percent of the voting shares, and 85 percent approval is required to adopt the reforms. And the International Monetary Fund is facing a U.S. Congress that has refused to do its bidding '-- so far at least.
Intense lobbying, threats, and even an offer by IMF boss Christine Lagarde (shown) to ''belly dance'' for lawmakers have failed to persuade the American people's elected representatives to go along with the plot. So, frustrated and outraged, the IMF board got together last month to discuss ''two options'' for moving forward with the plan without the United States, according to media reports citing primarily unnamed sources close to the discussions.
According to sources cited by Reuters and Bloomberg, the two primary proposed maneuvers include taking away Washington, D.C.'s veto power at the institution, essentially allowing the IMF to run wild at the whims of foreign governments and dictatorships, and asking the Obama administration to ''temporarily'' give up the U.S. government's controlling share of IMF votes '-- shares acquired using the American people's money '-- so that the IMF's other members can ram through the deeply controversial reforms.
As to the first option, Putin, who has been pocketing billions of Obama-backed IMF bailout money sent to Ukraine, has been fairly open in his threats to bypass the U.S. Congress in the effort to supersize the IMF and obtain more say in its decisions. As The New American reported in March of last year, the Kremlin and its allies openly threatened that if U.S. lawmakers refused to do their bidding by approving the IMF empowerment agenda, they would start ''taking more aggressive measures'' to accomplish their goal. With Congress still not cooperating, those ''more aggressive'' schemes to push the agenda are now apparently underway.
Putin and the Kremlin are, with Obama and Beijing, still leading the charge to reduce U.S. influence and boost IMF power. One of the Moscow-backed proposals being considered to empower the IMF without U.S. approval '-- which is deemed ''de-linking'' '-- would split the radical reforms into two parts. Essentially, the doubling of taxpayer resources for the fund and the further empowerment of Third World regimes in IMF decisions would each stand independently rather than as one package. ''In our view the de-linking would be the most logical,'' Putin's Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was quoted as saying.
Siluanov, who also served in the Soviet regime's Finance Ministry, noted that the Obama administration had asked IMF member regimes for an additional six months to lobby Congress on the ''reforms'' before it would seek to bypass U.S. lawmakers and act unilaterally. Apparently the U.S. Treasury is also working ''intensively'' to prod Congress into supporting Putin and Beijing's sought-after IMF reforms, too. In fact, the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress unsuccessfully sought to insert approval for the reforms into unrelated bills in their desperation to do what Beijing and the Kremlin are demanding. Almost incredibly, one of the reasons cited by the New York Times and others for empowering the IMF was to stand up against Putin!
As The New Americanreported in November, IMF chief Lagarde and her cohorts have also been lobbying Congress intensely toward the same end. ''I spent a lot of time with members of Congress last year trying to show them how ridiculous it is to stand in the way of change,'' Lagarde said, dismissing as ''ridiculous'' the concerns of Americans and their elected representatives about the drastic changes they are expected to fund at the IMF. ''I will keep pushing and pushing on this '-- I will belly dance if I have to, to get there.'' So far it does not appear that any members of Congress have taken her up on the belly dancing offer, but Lagarde shows no signs of letting up. Lagarde previously said the IMF might one day move its headquarters from D.C. to Beijing.
Of course, all of the ''BRICS'' '-- the socialist and communist-minded regimes ruling Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa '-- have been strongly pushing for more control over a more powerful IMF in recent years. Beyond that, they have also joined Western globalists and the IMF in pushing for even more extreme expansions of the IMF's mandate to include issuing and managing a planetary fiat currency. ''We support the reform and improvement of the international monetary system, with a broad based international reserve currency system providing stability and certainty,'' the five BRICS regimes said in a joint 2013 declaration, calling for Third World dictators to have a greater say in the IMF and the emerging global monetary regime. ''We welcome the discussion about the role of the [IMF's] SDR [a proto-global currency known as Special Drawing Rights] in the existing international monetary system including the composition of SDR's basket of currencies.''
In a press release posted on its website, the IMF, using diplomatic language, made clear its frustration with not having consent from the U.S. Congress to adopt is ''reforms.'' The IMF's Executive Board even pushed the Board of Governors to adopt a resolution expressing ''deep regret'' about the issue. ''The proposed resolution also emphasizes the importance and urgency of the 2010 Reforms for the Fund's credibility, legitimacy, and effectiveness, and reiterates the commitment to their earliest possible implementation, while urging the remaining members who have not yet accepted the Fourteenth Review quota increases and the Board Reform Amendment to do so without further delay,'' the IMF said in the statement.
In simpler terms, the IMF resolution would urge Congress to immediately do what the IMF, Obama, Beijing, and Putin are demanding: approve the ''reforms'' and hand over billions more American tax dollars in exhcnage for less influence. In fact, the resolution, which was not released publicly by the IMF, also appeared to call on the executive board to work on issues covered by the reforms that Congress has refused to approve. It seems that, if Congress does not submit to the IMF-Beijing-Putin-Obama threats within six months, the IMF and its member regimes will move ahead with their schemes anyway, sparking a potentially historic showdown.
The threats by the IMF and its members to bypass the American people's elected representatives only serve to underscore the need for the U.S. government to formally withdraw from it. From promoting higher taxes and a global currency to openly advocating that humanity be fleeced with a ''one-time wealth tax'' to prop up mega-banks and bloated governments, the institution is clearly out of control. At the United Nations, meanwhile, globalist forces and dictators are also working to strip the U.S. government of its veto. The best way to deal with the threats would be for Congress to de-fund all of the international outfits and permanently withdraw U.S. membership.
As Greece Scrambles To End Its Bank Run, JPM Throws A Wrench: Says Deposit Outflows Continued After "Deal"
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 02:51
Now that Greece and the Eurogroup are back on the same page and "cooperating" to use a game theory term, and any attempts of Eurozone "defection", pardon the pun, by the Syrizia government have been postponed until the 4 month bailout extension runs out in June when the entire charade is set to repeat, it is critical for Greece to undo the mess that the Troika did when heading into the mid-February negotiations, the ECB did everything in its power to foment a massive bank run by spooking both banks and citizens that their funds may be Corzined, or otherwise capital controlled, thereby crushing any negotiation leverage the Tsipras government may have (just as we had laid out previously).
What we do know, is that it didn't take much, and sure enough in the month of January, Greek banks suffered the biggest deposit outflow in both absolute and relative terms in Greek history.
One can only guess how bad it must have gotten in February, when rumors of '‚¬1 billion daily outflows were a daily occurence, and when even the likes of Stratfor reported (incorrectly as per official denials) that one of the largest Greek banks, Piraeus had run out of cash into month end.
As a result, everyone in Greece is now in full-blown confidence rebuilding mode in a desperate attempt to restore some of the deposit outflows, which have pushed total Greek deposits back to 2005 levels, even though nothing has been resolved vis-a-vis long-term Greek sustainability. As the WSJ reported late last week, "according to one senior banking official, more than '‚¬800 million ($905 million) in deposits have been put back into the Greek banking system since Monday when Greece's banks were closed for a public holiday. ''We saw '‚¬700 million return on the first day and another '‚¬150 million yesterday,'' the banking official, speaking on the sidelines of central bank conference, told journalists. ''Things are going well.''
Maybe, or maybe this is just yet another attempt to play off the public mood, because while as recently as 2 weeks ago the western media was desperate to see lines in front of Greek ATMs to accelerate the Greek government's folding to the Troika's demand (which ultimately happened), now it is just trying to talk back some of these destructive, confidence-crushing innuendos.
To be sure, the WSJ noted as much: "But, in fact, the money that has dribbled back since last Friday's deal, pales in comparison with the amount withdrawn in the past three months, say analysts, and it will take several months of inflows to confirm that the trend is here to stay. And, if past experience serves as precedent, many of the deposits that have left, may never come back."
''These figures are a good starting point but a reversal of this trend will take a few more quarters to appear,'' said Nikos Magginas, a senior economist of National Bank of Greece . ''People are waiting for more signs of stability, such as the successful review of the country's reforms program. Two to three more supportive events are needed to secure this stability but this takes time.''
There is an even less pleasant possibility: namely that Greek bankers and media outlets, knowing just how close they are to total collapse if the deposit outflow continues, which itself is a function of confidence in the local financial system (or lack thereof), even as the ECB refuses to grant Greece any further funding, are simply lying.
This is the possibility articulated, in more politically correct phrasing of course, by JPM's Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, in his latest "Flows and Liquidity" piece:
Our daily proxy of deposit outflows based on the purchases of offshore money market funds by Greek citizens, which is one way for Greek citizens to deploy their withdrawn deposits, was '‚¬64m this week (Mon to Thu), sharply lower than the '‚¬153m during the previous week (between Feb 13th and Feb 20th), '‚¬104m during the week between Fed 6th and Feb 13th, and '‚¬62m between Jan 30th and Feb 6th. While it is encouraging that the latest Eurogroup agreement with the Greek government caused a sharp decline in deposit outflows this week, our deposit outflow proxy suggests that Greek banks have not stopped bleeding. This is inconsistent with the statement by the Greek finance minister that '‚¬700m returned to Greek banks after Eurogroup's deal.
So yet another accusation, as diplomatic as it may have been phrased, that Varoufakis lied. There seems to be quite a few of those lately...
Of course, maybe Varoufakis did not lie: he simply forgot to let the European Commission check the math (they seem to do a good job of at least converting his doc files to pdfs).
It is possible that the rise in retail deposits referred to by the Greek finance minister included the month-end payment of pensions which typically results in a transfer of bank deposits from government organizations to households.
So what does the math come out to?
What do the above offshore money market fund purchases imply about Greek bank deposit outflows? The rule of thumb we used before based on Decemberflows was that each '‚¬100m of purchases of offshore money market funds are associated with around '‚¬3bn of deposit outflows. January data point to a somewhat lower ratio with '‚¬562m of offshore money fund purchases corresponding to '‚¬12bn of deposit outflows. Applying January's proportionality to February, we calculate that the '‚¬292m of purchases of offshore money market funds in February were associated with bank deposit outflows of around '‚¬6bn. This week's '‚¬64m of purchases of offshore money funds mechanically point to deposit outflows of around '‚¬1bn.
In other words, if JPM is correct, not only did the January outflows not cease in February, but what's even worse, is that in the last week of the month, when after the "deal", people would feel confident enough to return to their banks, another '‚¬1 billion of deposits were withdrawn. In total, this means that Greek deposits will have fallen to just about '‚¬140 billion as of today - the lowest level since March of 2005.
Worse, assuming an NPL ratio of around 40%...
... the continued deposit flight suggests that Greek banks indeed have at most a few days of cash left, and the Cyprus "blueprint" scenario is increasingly likely, unless the ECB either boosts its ELA allotment for Greece, or once again allows Greek debt to be used as collateral in ECB operations. So far, the ECB has been mum on the possibility of either of those.
All of this, of course, assumes that Greece somehow manages to get its already unconfident citizens to resume paying taxes, or else the government will have no remaining cash with which to either run the country or repay the IMF's significant loan maturity in March, which as we preciously noted, is an increasingly possible outcome.
In short: assuming JPM's math is accurate, not only is Greece not out of the woods despite the "bailout extension deal", but the woods are getting darker and more deadly with every passing minute.
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Words Matter
Yeah No
ITM:
My wife is a non-native English speaker who watches no English-language television and has no contact with native speakers. Here in the wilds of southern Europe where there is no English spoken, there is no way by which she could have picked up 'yeah, no'.
Other than your show.
For a couple weeks now, I have observed with increasing alarm 'yeah, no' creeping into her conversation. At first when I heard it I thought it was a one-off, but the second time I was filled with horror. It is now a semi-routine thing about which I have so far remained completely silent.
She is not a dedicated NA listener but as I listen to it twice a week, she's always hearing it in the background. Cue all caps: YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS STOP.
The reason for 'yeah, no' seems pretty clear to me. Conversation is very different than it used to be when people maintained a certain distance when they spoke. Today people speak very intently - and in a way that makes you inhabit what somebody else is saying (because they give you no choice). This is especially true in heated or fast-moving conversations involving a free-flow of ideas.
As result, you have to literally clear your mind of what somebody is saying before you can formulate and move on to what you want to say. So what you do first is affirm that you have heard and understood, and then negate in order to clear it out of your mental space. The 'yeah' part is 'yeah, I got what you're saying and your meaning entirely'. The 'no' is 'no, but now I have something to say'.
There's an analog for this in computer programming (teach our children to 'code'!) where you call something into memory and then explicitly clear it out. The 'yeah' is calling it to mind/affirming that it is in working memory, and the 'no' is clearing it out (making room for the next thing).
Regardless, you guys need to purge your show of this 'yeah, no' business because it is a plague upon my house!
Hitting everyone in the mouth I can,
Todd Shrimp
Shut Up Slave!
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Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links - 28 February 2015 - New Scientist
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:09
The trustworthiness of a web page might help it rise up Google's rankings if the search giant starts to measure quality by facts, not just links
THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free "news" stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix '' rank websites according to their truthfulness.
Google's search engine currently uses the number of incoming links to a web page as a proxy for quality, determining where it appears in search results. So pages that many other sites link to are ranked higher. This system has brought us the search engine as we know it today, but the downside is that websites full of misinformation can rise up the rankings, if enough people link to them.
A Google research team is adapting that model to measure the trustworthiness of a page, rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the system '' which is not yet live '' counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. "A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy," says the team (arxiv.org/abs/1502.03519v1). The score they compute for each page is its Knowledge-Based Trust score.
The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.
There are already lots of apps that try to help internet users unearth the truth. LazyTruth is a browser extension that skims inboxes to weed out the fake or hoax emails that do the rounds. Emergent, a project from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, New York, pulls in rumours from trashy sites, then verifies or rebuts them by cross-referencing to other sources.
LazyTruth developer Matt Stempeck, now the director of civic media at Microsoft New York, wants to develop software that exports the knowledge found in fact-checking services such as Snopes, PolitiFact and FactCheck.org so that everyone has easy access to them. He says tools like LazyTruth are useful online, but challenging the erroneous beliefs underpinning that information is harder. "How do you correct people's misconceptions? People get very defensive," Stempeck says. "If they're searching for the answer on Google they might be in a much more receptive state."
This article appeared in print under the headline "Nothing but the truth"
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Google's fact-checking bots build vast knowledge bank - tech - 20 August 2014 - New Scientist
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:08
Continue reading page |1|2The search giant is automatically building Knowledge Vault, a massive database that could give us unprecedented access to the world's facts
GOOGLE is building the largest store of knowledge in human history '' and it's doing so without any human help.
Instead, Knowledge Vault autonomously gathers and merges information from across the web into a single base of facts about the world, and the people and objects in it.
The breadth and accuracy of this gathered knowledge is already becoming the foundation of systems that allow robots and smartphones to understand what people ask them. It promises to let Google answer questions like an oracle rather than a search engine, and even to turn a new lens on human history.
Knowledge Vault is a type of "knowledge base" '' a system that stores information so that machines as well as people can read it. Where a database deals with numbers, a knowledge base deals with facts. When you type "Where was Madonna born" into Google, for example, the place given is pulled from Google's existing knowledge base.
This existing base, called Knowledge Graph, relies on crowdsourcing to expand its information. But the firm noticed that growth was stalling; humans could only take it so far.
So Google decided it needed to automate the process. It started building the Vault by using an algorithm to automatically pull in information from all over the web, using machine learning to turn the raw data into usable pieces of knowledge.
Knowledge Vault has pulled in 1.6 billion facts to date. Of these, 271 million are rated as "confident facts", to which Google's model ascribes a more than 90 per cent chance of being true. It does this by cross-referencing new facts with what it already knows.
"It's a hugely impressive thing that they are pulling off," says Fabian Suchanek, a data scientist at T(C)l(C)com ParisTech in France.
Google's Knowledge Graph is currently bigger than the Knowledge Vault, but it only includes manually integrated sources such as the CIA Factbook.
Knowledge Vault offers Google fast, automatic expansion of its knowledge '' and it's only going to get bigger. As well as the ability to analyse text on a webpage for facts to feed its knowledge base, Google can also peer under the surface of the web, hunting for hidden sources of data such as the figures that feed Amazon product pages, for example.
Tom Austin, a technology analyst at Gartner in Boston, says that the world's biggest technology companies are racing to build similar vaults. "Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and IBM are all building them, and they're tackling these enormous problems that we would never even have thought of trying 10 years ago," he says.
The potential of a machine system that has the whole of human knowledge at its fingertips is huge. One of the first applications will be virtual personal assistants that go way beyond what Siri and Google Now are capable of, says Austin.
"Before this decade is out, we will have a smart priority inbox that will find for us the 10 most important emails we've received and handle the rest without us having to touch them," Austin says. Our virtual assistant will be able to decide what matters and what doesn't.
Other agents will carry out the same process to watch over and guide our health, sorting through a knowledge base of medical symptoms to find correlations with data in each person's health records. IBM's Watson is already doing this for cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York.
Knowledge Vault promises to supercharge our interactions with machines, but it also comes with an increased privacy risk. The Vault doesn't care if you are a person or a mountain '' it is voraciously gathering every piece of information it can find.
"Behind the scenes, Google doesn't only have public data," says Suchanek. It can also pull in information from Gmail, Google+ and YouTube. "You and I are stored in the Knowledge Vault in the same way as Elvis Presley," Suchanek says. Google disputes this, however. In an email to New Scientist, a company spokesperson said, "The Knowledge Vault does not deal with personal information."
Google researcher Kevin Murphy and his colleagues will present a paper on Knowledge Vault at the Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining in New York on 25 August.
As well as improving our interactions with computers, large stores of knowledge will be the fuel for augmented reality, too. Once machines get the ability to recognise objects, Knowledge Vault could be the foundation of a system that can provide anyone wearing a heads-up display with information about the landmarks, buildings and businesses they are looking at in the real world. "Knowledge Vault adds local entities '' politicians, businesses. This is just the tip of the iceberg," Suchanek says.
Knowledge vaultRicher vaults of knowledge will also change the way we study human society "This is the most visionary thing," says Suchanek. "The Knowledge Vault can model history and society."
Continue reading page |1|2If you would like to reuse any content from New Scientist, either in print or online, please contact the syndication department first for permission. New Scientist does not own rights to photos, but there are a variety of licensing options available for use of articles and graphics we own the copyright to.
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Facebook launches new suicide alert system to allow user to report their friends | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 15:28
New system allows concerned friends to report content for reviewFacebook will send user notifications stating that a friend is worriedWill offer access to suicide prevention resourcesInitially offered in the US, but expected to be expanded to other countries By Mark Prigg For Dailymail.com
Published: 19:47 EST, 26 February 2015 | Updated: 22:20 EST, 26 February 2015
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Facebook has rolled out a new system to try and identify and help users having suicidal thoughts.
It allows concerned friends to report content for review.
After reviewing a report and confirming that it may indicate suicidal feelings in a user, Facebook will send that user notifications stating that a friend has attempted to help and offering access to suicide prevention resources.
The San Francisco social network's new system allows concerned friends to to report content for review, and Facebook can then offer the user more help.
The tools build on a reporting feature implemented in 2011, which passed details to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the US, and the Samaritans in the UK.
'Keeping you safe is our most important responsibility on Facebook,' said Rob Boyle of Facebook.
'Today, at our fifth Compassion Research Day, we announced updated tools that provide more resources, advice and support to people who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts and their concerned friends and family members.'
The firm said it had worked with mental health organizations Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Save.org and others on the updates, and consulted with people who had lived experience with self-injury or suicide.
'One of the first things these organizations discussed with us was how much connecting with people who care can help those in distress.
'If someone on Facebook sees a direct threat of suicide, we ask that they contact their local emergency services immediately.
'We also ask them to report any troubling content to us.'
Facebook has set up teams working around the world, 24/7, who review any report that comes in.
They prioritize the most serious reports, like self-injury, and send help and resources to those in distress.
The firm said it had worked with mental health organizations Forefront, Now Matters Now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Save.org and others on the updates, and consulted with people who had lived experience with self-injury or suicide.
For those who may need help we have significantly expanded the support and resources that are available to them the next time they log on to Facebook after we review a report of something they've posted.
Besides encouraging them to connect with a mental health expert at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, we now also give them the option of reaching out to a friend, and provide tips and advice on how they can work through these feelings.
All of these resources were created in conjunction with our clinical and academic partners.
We're also providing new resources and support to the person who flagged the troubling post, including options for them to call or message their distressed friend letting them know they care, or reaching out to another friend or a trained professional at a suicide hotline for support.
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Dude named Ben
IRS Employee Looking for Lois Lerner Emails Was Blind, Literally! | Rule of Law
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:49
by J. Christian Adams
February 27th, 2015 - 4:46 pm
(VIDEO: Click here to watch Adams on Fox and Friends discussing this story.)
An IRS employee tasked with trying to restore and obtain emails on Lois Lerner's IRS computer's hard drive was legally blind. Stephen Manning, the deputy chief information officer for strategy and modernization at the IRS, submitted an affidavit in the True the Vote vs. IRS litigation regarding the persons and procedures used to attempt to recover Lois Lerner's hard drive containing emails pertaining to Tea Party targeting.
The affidavit can be read here. Paragraph 14 describes the educational background of the person searching for data on Lois Lerner's hard drive:
''According to the Specialist, prior to joining the Internal Revenue Service '... training was completed through Lions World Services for the Blind.''
Sources familiar with the litigation confirm to me that the government confirmed that the IRS employee searching for the lost data was legally blind.
It was also revealed today that backup tapes of Lois Lerner's emails were discovered in an off-site storage facility in West Virginia. The inspector general of the Treasury Department learned that the tapes existed and drove to West Virginia to retrieve them. Lawyers for the Justice Department as well as IRS officials have stated under oath or to the federal courts that no such backup tapes existed. They were ''recycled,'' DOJ lawyers told the court.
Haven't we seen this movie before?
Government officials working with leftist organizations decided to target the president's political opponents just before the president faced reelection. When the bad behavior is discovered, top officials in the administration and at the Justice Department use their power to hide the truth about the targeting of political opponents. Officials at the Justice Department fight disclosure of information about the administration's wrongdoing. They even deny that tapes exist documenting communications about the wrongdoing by top government officials. We then learn the stunning news that tapes with all of the information detailing who knew what and when, actually do exist.
Next we'll hear that the backup tapes in West Virginia have a 17-minute gap.
NWO
Terrorist attack in India may lead to nuclear war: US experts - Newspaper - DAWN.COM
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 15:01
WASHINGTON: A major terrorist attack in India might lead to a large-scale military assault on Pakistan, which then could lead to a nuclear war in one of the world's most populous regions, the US Congress was told.
Two US experts on South Asian affairs '-- George Perkovich and Ashley Tellis '-- presented the doom's day scenario before a Senate panel earlier this week.
The US Senate and the House of Representatives held a series of hearings this week to consider the Obama administration's budget proposals for 2016.
While debating the US State Department's proposals for foreign aid, lawmakers invited senior US officials '-- including Secretary of State John Kerry '-- and think-tank experts to explain the administration's foreign policy.
Take a look: Pakistan's support to LeT will likely be an irritant: US Intelligence Director
During one of these hearings, the two experts argued that Pakistan might use nuclear weapons against India if the latter launched a large-scale military assault in retaliation for a major terror attack from across the border.
''South Asia is the most likely place nuclear weapons could be detonated in the foreseeable future. This risk derives from the unusual dynamic of the India-Pakistan competition,'' said Mr Perkovich, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Mr Tellis of the same institute urged the United States to use its influence to preventing a terrorist attack.
''Other than this, there is little that the United States can do to preserve deterrence stability between two asymmetrically-sized states where the gap in power promises to become even wider tomorrow than it is today,'' he said.
Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2015
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Weekly Hooker Report
Most UK sex workers have had jobs in health, education or charities '' survey
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 08:46
Some previous jobs of sex workers included road haulier manager, merchant navy caterer and life coach. Photograph: Zave Smith/Corbis
More than 70% of UK sex workers have previously worked in healthcare, education or charities, while more than a third hold university degrees, according to one of the largest surveys of the industry ever undertaken.
The academic research, carried out by Leeds University and funded by the Wellcome Trust, also reveals the pressures that lead people to enter the sex industry, with one respondent saying she could not keep up her mortgage repayments while earning £50 a day as an NHS care assistant.
The study of 240 sex workers '' including 196 women, 28 men and 12 transgender people '' focused on those who were not trafficked or coerced into selling sex but had chosen to do so, and most worked from within premises rather than on the streets.
Of those surveyed, 172 (71%) had previously worked in health, social care, education, childcare or charities. The second most common former area of employment was retail, with 81 people (33.7%) having worked in the industry.
Some of the more unusual previous jobs of sex workers to emerge in the study include road haulier manager, merchant navy caterer and life coach.
Ninety of those surveyed had an undergraduate degree (38%), while 40 (17%) had a postgraduate degree. More than 97% of those surveyed had either GCSEs, A-levels or their equivalents.
The Leeds University study, carried out by Dr Teela Sanders in partnership with National Ugly Mugs, a scheme to encourage sex workers to raise the alarm about violent men they encounter, precedes a much larger study funded by the European Social Research Council, which starts in September.
Sanders said: ''This research focuses on working conditions for sex workers and the degree of job satisfaction sex workers have. It also looks at the safety of sex working.
''We hope to get a real picture of working conditions for sex workers. Around 70% of sex workers are indoor workers so this study is more representative than many others that are used to reflect sex work as a whole.''
Use of the internet as a medium to sell sex has exploded in recent years, and in some parts of the UK has largely replaced brothels and saunas. Adultwork and Punternet are two of the most popular sites,
which offer a range of local sex workers available within 30 minutes.
It is not illegal for individuals to buy or sell sex from each other but soliciting and sex workers working together as a group are illegal.
Related:Listen to sex workers '' we can explain what decriminalisation would mean | Niki Adams
The study invited 2,800 sex workers from across the industry and from different parts of the UK to take part.
Sanders said: ''Sex workers from across the board were invited to respond. Many of those who did were women doing escort work but we did get a minority of responses from sex workers working in other parts of the sex industry.''
Fourteen per cent of respondents said they felt they were being exploited and just under a quarter of respondents said they did not feel able to leave sex work, Sanders added.
One sex worker in her early 50s, known as Abbie, said the research reflected her experience. She had worked for many years in the NHS as a care assistant in a hospital before deciding to change direction and become a sex worker.
''I was doing six 13-hour shifts a week in a hospital just so that I could keep up my mortgage payments. Even working such long hours I failed to keep up the repayments and lost my home. I decided I wanted an easier life and as a sex worker that's what I've got. In the NHS I was earning £50 a day, now I earn £100 an hour and work on average just 163 days a year.
''I worked in the care sector for 20 years. A lot of empathy is required for that work and the same is true of sex work. Eight out of 10 of the men I see don't actually want to have sex with me, some just want affection and someone to talk to.
''As a care assistant I spent all my time cleaning up shit and watching people die. I woke up one morning and decided I wanted an easier life '' that's what I've got now. I didn't get into sex work until I was in my late 40s but I wish I had started sooner.''
Many of the sex workers surveyed earn less than £1,000 per month and some combine sex work with other work. A minority surveyed earn more than £5,000 per month.
While 91% of respondents found their work flexible and 56% found it rewarding, 71% experienced stigma and said they had lied about their job and lived in fear of being recognised.
The research found 113 sex workers (47%) had been victims of crime, including rape and robbery, while 86 (36%) had received threatening texts, calls or emails.
''I've had a stalker for almost the entire time I've been working,'' said one respondent. Another said: ''I am single because most men don't want to date a prostitute.''
Intimidation was another problem raised, and one sex worker cited ''clients that mess with your head'' as a problem. ''There are some very clever, sick men out there who abused my mind,'' she said.
One woman asked what the negative parts of the job were said: ''Rape, not being able to fall in love, and the things some men ask you to do in order to make lots of money.''
The policing of sex work was another issue raised. Some sex workers reported a positive response when they reported crimes to the police, while others had had a more negative experience. Police enforcement such as regular brothel raids was cited as another reason for the reduction in brothels and move towards the internet.
Leeds is one area where there has been a lot of police enforcement against brothels and very few now remain, with many sex workers in the city working off the internet. In contrast, in nearby Manchester where police have a less enforcement-based approach towards brothels, there are more of these establishments.
Sanders said: ''We recommend that sex workers be allowed to work legally together. This is the main way they believe their safety will be enhanced. Societal attitudes need to change in order to minimise the stigma underpinning sex work and consequently reduce the harm that prejudice has on sex workers.
''A policy with decriminalisation as its focus ought to be recommended to improve relationships with police by removing threats of enforcement. Police resources should be channelled into dealing with exploitative situations in sex work.''
The research will be launched at a conference in Manchester on Monday.
Haiti
AP News : Officials in Haiti celebrate completion of Marriott hotel
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:32
Published: 51 minutes agoPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - A second international-branded hotel opened Tuesday in the Haitian capital in what backers of the project and officials hope will be a spur to further economic development in the impoverished country.
The 175-room Marriott Port-au-Prince is a four-star hotel geared primarily toward travelers looking to do business in Haiti, said Denis O'Brien, chairman of Digicel, the telecommunications company that developed the project adjacent to its Haiti headquarters in the Turgeau neighborhood of the capital.
"If a foreign direct investor is going to Haiti, they have to have a good first impression," O'Brien, whose company is the largest private employer in Haiti, said in an interview before the event. "Normally, American foreign direct investors like to stay in an American-branded hotel."
Digicel invested $45 million and contracted with Marriott to operate it. O'Brien, an Irish billionaire whose company recently completed building 150 schools in Haiti and restored the historic Iron Market that was damaged in the January 2010 earthquake, said the hotel will directly create about 200 jobs, but that he hopes it will lead to more.
A ceremony to mark the opening of the hotel drew President Michel Martelly, Prime Minister Evans Paul and former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Actor Sean Penn, who has been criticized for what some felt was an insensitive joke about Mexican-born Oscar-winner Alejandro Inarritu's immigration status during at the Academy Awards on Sunday, also attended the event but declined to speak with The Associated Press.
In March 2013, the Best Western in the Petionville district of the capital became the first internationally branded hotel since Holiday Inn left in 1998 as the country's tumultuous political situation caused the collapse of the economy. Last year, Hilton Worldwide announced it would open a hotel in the country in 2016.
Science!
After 8 centuries, rats exonerated in spread of Black Death. Gerbils implicated. - The Washington Post
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:37
After nearly eight centuries of accusing the black rat for spreading the bubonic plague, scientists say they have compelling evidence to exonerate the much-maligned rodent. In the process, they've identified a new culprit: gerbils.
It's always the cute ones you have to watch out for, isn't it?
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, climate data dating back to the 14th century contradicts the commonly held notion that European plague outbreaks were caused by a reservoir of disease-carrying fleas hosted by the continent's rat population.
''For this, you would need warm summers, with not too much precipitation,'' Nils Christian Stenseth, an author of the study, told the BBC. '''... And we have looked at the broad spectrum of climatic indices, and there is no relationship between the appearance of plague and the weather.''
Instead, the fearsome ''Black Death,'' as the epidemic was known, seemed curiously tied to the climate in Asia. Analysis of 15 tree-ring records, which document yearly weather conditions, shows that Europe always experienced plague outbreaks after central Asia had a wet spring followed by a warm summer '-- terrible conditions for black rats, but ideal for Asia's gerbil population. Those sneaky rodents and their bacteria-ridden fleas then hitched a ride to Europe via the Silk Road, arriving on the continent a few years later to wreak epidemiological havoc.
The findings absolve Europe's black rats of responsibility for the deaths of more than 100 million people in the ''second plague pandemic,'' which began with the Black Death in the mid-14th century and recurred until the 1800s. They also explain why the disease popped up intermittently century after century, rather than lingering on the continent as long as rats were around to carry it.
This isn't the first time scientists have challenged a popular understanding of the disease. Last year, researchers examining plague DNA found in 25 14th-century skeletons said they found evidence that the disease was airborne rather than distributed via flea bites.
So Stenseth says his team will fact-check their findings by analyzing DNA from a variety of ancient European skeletons. If the samples show significant genetic variation across time, that would indicate successive outbreaks were caused by newly arrived waves of the disease rather than a resurgence from the continent's rat reservoir.
''If we're right, we'll have to rewrite that part of history,'' Stenseth said.
And hundreds of elementary school classrooms will have to rethink their class pet.
More from Morning Mix
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Brits Demand 'Game Changer' HIV Pill Be Made Available Through NHS
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:22
News02:49 26.02.2015(updated 03:04 26.02.2015)
12310
A major UK trial of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) found that the drug can cut the risk of HIV infection among gay men considered to be at high risk by 86%, the Independent reported.
Leading specialists have called the findings ''extremely exciting'' and a ''game-changer.''
In the UK, infection rates among men who have sex with men remain high, despite major advances in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Now, with such promising findings from the government-funded trial, people are campaigning for the NHS to offer PrEP for free.
Now the NHS has to determine if the pills, which will cost £423 per month for each patient, can be cost-effective, and what the criteria should be for accessing them, the Independent reported.
PrEP has been available to at-risk groups in the United States since 2012.
More than 500 HIV-negative men in six cities across England took part in the study. The men were sexually active and had recently had unprotected sex.
The pill used in the trial, Truvada, is a combination of two antiretroviral drugs which has previously been used to treat HIV infection.
Among the 276 men given PrEP immediately, there were only three HIV infections in the first year of the study, compared with 19 among the deferred group, the Independent reported.
Those lobbying for the NHS to provide the drug to high-risk groups say doing so would result in long-term financial savings.
A one-month supply of Truvada, developed by Gilead, costs £423 total.
''During the study period there were 19 HIV infections in the group not taking PrEP,'' Deborah Gold, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, told the Independent. ''If we can stop people getting HIV by giving them PrEP, we have an ethical duty to do so.
''Furthermore, over the course of their lifetime, the treatment of those 19 men will cost the NHS nearly £7 million. So the financial argument is clear, as is the ethical one: PrEP needs to be available on the NHS as soon as possible for all those who need it.''
Taking the drug did not lead men to change their use of condoms, which was evidenced by sexually transmitted infection rates that were similar in both groups.
''Concerns that PrEP would not work so well in the real world were unfounded,'' said Sheena McCormack, professor of clinical epidemiology at the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at University College London.
''These results show there is a need for PrEP, and offer hope of reversing the epidemic among men who have sex with men in this country. The findings we've presented today are going to be invaluable in informing discussions about making PrEP available through the NHS.''
An estimated 2,800 gay men acquired HIV in the UK in 2013. Six percent of gay and bisexual men are now living with HIV; that number rises to 13% in London.
The pill would probably only be made available to high-risk people '' those who are having sex with several partners, sometimes unprotected, the Independent reported.
About 18,000 men who have sex with men are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection each year. If around 25% of those men were likely to benefit from PrEP, that would equal 4,500 people taking PrEP a year, at a total cost of £22.8 million.
The NHS has to compare that cost to the lifetime cost of treating someone with HIV, which is estimated to be as high as £360,000 per person. The NHS also already provides expensive drugs to stop the infection from developing in people recently exposed to the virus.
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Study: Pills Before and After Sex Can Help Prevent HIV
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:59
SEATTLE (AP) '-- For the first time, a study shows that a drug used to treat HIV infection also can help prevent it when taken before and after risky sex by gay men.
The results offer hope of a more appealing way to help prevent the disease beyond taking daily pills and using condoms, although those methods are still considered best.
The study, done in France and Canada, is the first to test "on demand" use of Truvada, a pill combining two AIDS drugs, by people planning to have risky sex. The uninfected men who took it were 86 percent less likely to get HIV compared to men given dummy pills.
"That impressed me," Dr. Scott Hammer said of the size of the benefit. He is an AIDS specialist at Columbia University in New York and heads the Retrovirus Conference going on in Seattle, where the results were discussed Tuesday.
Daily Truvada pills are used now to prevent HIV infection in people at high risk for it, and studies show the drug helps even when some doses are skipped. Health officials have been leery of billing it as a "chemical condom" out of fear that people will not use the best prevention methods, but many won't use condoms all the time or take daily pills.
The study of Gilead Science's Truvada was led by the French national HIV research agency.
Men were given fake or real Truvada and told to take two pills from two to 24 hours before sex, a third pill 24 hours later, and a fourth pill 48 hours after the first dose. The men also were given condoms and disease prevention counseling.
The study was stopped early, in November, after 400 men were enrolled and researchers saw that the drug was working; there were two new HIV infections among those on Truvada and 14 in those on dummy pills. The two infections in the Truvada group were in men who stopped using the pills after more than a year in the study.
The drug was safe, but nausea and diarrhea were more frequent among men who used it. Only one stopped using it because of side effects.
Dr. Susan Buchbinder, an AIDS specialist at the San Francisco Department of Public Health, called the results exciting but warned that it can't be assumed they would apply to male-female sex, because different types of sex expose partners to differing amounts of virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends daily Truvada pills for prevention, and many men in the French study ended up taking them nearly that often because of how frequently they had sex, said the CDC's HIV prevention chief, Dr. Jonathan Mermin.
"We need all the options we can get" for preventing HIV infection, Mermin said. "People choose different prevention methods. What we want is for them to choose effective ones and to use them regularly."
One advocate for wider use of prevention pills '-- Damon Jacobs, a New York City psychotherapist '-- agreed.
For years, the public health message was "condoms only, condoms only, condoms only," he said in a speech at the conference. "People are having sex for pleasure" and need alternate ways to reduce their risk, Jacobs said.
A second study presented at the conference by the U.K. Medical Research Council found that daily use of Truvada cut the risk of infection by 86 percent in a "real world" test of gay men aware they were taking Truvada for HIV prevention.
Researchers assigned 545 gay men to get Truvada right away or a year later. The study was stopped in October after HIV infections occurred in only three men given Truvada but in 19 of those assigned to get it after a year.
As in the French study, rates of other sexually spread diseases were similar in both groups, leading researchers to conclude that use of the prevention pills was not increasing risky behavior.
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Nu legaal: E(C)n baby uit drie ouders | Spitsnieuws.nl
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:49
M. van Sas | 24-02-15 | 22:39 '--
Groot-Brittanni kan als eerste land ter wereld een speciale ivf-techniek invoeren. De techniek, waarbij DNA van een tweede vrouw wordt gebruikt, zorgt ervoor dat het kind gespaard blijft van bepaalde erfelijke ziekten. Het Britse Hogerhuis ging vandaag zoals verwacht akkoord met een wetsverandering die invoering van de techniek mogelijk maakt.
Lees ook: Moeder maakt moedermelkporno, kind verhongert
Het Hogerhuis gaf het groene licht na een debat van drie uur. Bij de techniek wordt het klein deel van het DNA van de moeder vervangen door dat van een donormoeder. Bepaalde ziekten worden dan niet doorgegeven door de moeder via dat zogenoemde mitochondriaal DNA.
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PedoBear
Newspaper headlines: Sir Cliff inquiry widens, and a Helmand hero - BBC News
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:04
31 front and back pages on the new #tomorrowspaperstoday Facebook page: https://t.co/RItvr9YdgXhttp://t.co/yBuMkZ72ig
2 hours ago
Thursday's Sun back page:Demon Berba!#tomorrowspaperstoday#bbcpapers#ARSvMON#AFChttp://t.co/rFkE2AMDwR
2 hours ago
Thursday's Sun front page:The fallen Madonna#tomorrowspaperstoday#bbcpapers#BRITAwardshttp://t.co/IaMeapRRqf
2 hours ago
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-John McCain's Goof-up - YouTube
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 15:06
VIDEO-Mourning march for slain opposition leader Nemtsov under way in Moscow '-- RT News
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:39
Published time: March 01, 2015 10:54Edited time: March 01, 2015 13:38People visit the site where Boris Nemtsov was recently murdered, with St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin walls seen in the background, February 28, 2015. (Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev)
A rally in commemoration of the opposition leader Boris Nemtsov is being held in the Russian capital Sunday. Demonstrators are set to march through the center of Moscow, crossing over the bridge near the Kremlin where the politician was shot dead.
The rally participants are marching in silence. Those in the front row are holding a banner reading, ''Heroes don't die and these bullets target each of us. ''
Other rally participants are carrying flags, flowers and copies of Nemtsov's portrait.
The procession spans several hundred meters, Tass reports.
Around 16,500 people are so far taking part in the rally, according to the Moscow police, cited by RIA Novosti. Organizers expect that up to 50,000 people could take part.
The mourning march is instead of the Vesna (Spring) opposition rally, that had been planned for Sunday, but was canceled due to Nemtsov's death.
The slain politician was one of the organizers of the rally and called on people to come join it in an interview given just hours before he was shot.
Thousands of people have laid flowers at the scene of the murder.
Boris Nemtsov was shot several times just before midnight Friday, while he walked across the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge leading from the Red Square, allegedly in the company of a Ukrainian model, Anna Duritskaya.
READ MORE: Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov killed in the center of Moscow
It was first reported that the fatal shots were fired from a passing-by vehicle. Later a CCTV footage of the incident emerged, which suggests that a killer could have been waiting for Nemtsov on the bridge and then escaped on a car parked nearby.
The footage is a low-resolution one and only allows to distinguish the cars on the bridge and the figures of people moving along it.
READ MORE: Opposition leader Nemtsov's murder caught on CCTV camera (VIDEO)
Investigators are currently looking into five possible motives behind the assassination, according to Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee.
The politician's murder could have been a provocation to destabilize the political situation in Russia, Markin said. It could have also been linked to the threats Nemtsov received over his stance on Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris or the current civil war in the east of Ukraine. The politician's business activities and a possible assault related to his personal life are also being looked into.
READ MORE: Nemtsov murder: Russian investigators probing several possible motives
Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised that everything will be done to punish those responsible for the organization and execution of the murder, which he described as ''vile and cynical.''
The crime has been condemned by leading politicians in and outside Russia, with US President Barack Obama, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel urging a thorough investigation of the crime.
Nemtsov, 55, came into the spotlight as governor of Nizhny Novgorod region from 1991-97. He also served as energy minister and deputy prime minister under former President Boris Yeltsin.
After 1998 he participated in the creation of several liberal movements and parties, serving as a member of parliament.
Since 2012, he co-chaired the liberal party RPR-PARNAS (Republican Party of Russia '' People's Freedom Party).
He ran for mayor of Sochi in 2013, but lost the race with only 13.6 percent of the popular vote. The same year, he was elected a member of the Yaroslavl Region parliament.
READ MORE: Boris Nemtsov: From reformist wonder boy to disgruntled opposition leader
VIDEO- Psaki: Kerry and Lavrov. 27 Feb 2015 (Ukraine) - YouTube
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 14:33
VIDEO-Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis Wants Austerity ... for the Rich - Truthdig
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:56
''The finance ministers of Europe are not all in favor of balancing the budget if it has to be balanced by taxing the rich,'' economist Michael Hudson told The Real News Network amid the ongoing confrontation over the Greek debt crisis.
A transcript of the interview is below.
'--Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
SHARMINI PERIES, EXEC. PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore.
The four-month extension secured by the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, on Friday came with the condition that Greece provide a list of measures to quell the concerns of its international lenders, especially the German banks represented by the finance ministers in Brussels, who feared that Athens might bail on the promises to cut spending and implement austerity measures. So, on Sunday, Athens provided that list.
Now joining us to discuss the tabled plan is Michael Hudson. He is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His upcoming book is titled Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroyed the Global Economy.Thank you so much for joining us, Michael.
MICHAEL HUDSON, ECONOMICS PROF., UNIV. MISSOURI, KANSAS CITY: Thank you.
PERIES: So, Michael, these international banks represented by the finance ministers now in Brussels, when they were in crisis and we the public treasury bailed them out, they had no problem with that. Why are they now refusing to assist Greece at a time of need when in fact some politicians and even the troika is being more receptive to what Greece is saying?
HUDSON: Because what's at issue really is a class war. It's not so much Germany versus Greece, as the papers say. It's really the war of the banks against labor. And it's a continuation of Thatcherism and neoliberalism.
The problem isn't simply that the troika wants Greece to balance the budget; it wanted Greece to balance the budget by lowering wages and by imposing austerity on the labor force. But instead, the terms in which Varoufakis has suggested balancing the budget are to impose austerity on the financial class, on the tycoons, on the tax dodgers. And he said, okay, instead of lowering pensions to the workers, instead of shrinking the domestic market, instead of pursuing a self-defeating austerity, we're going to raise two and a half billion from the powerful Greek tycoons. We're going to collect the back taxes that they have. We're going to crack down on illegal smuggling of oil and the other networks and on the real estate owners that have been avoiding taxes, because the Greek upper classes have become notorious for tax dodging.
Well, this has infuriated the banks, because it turns out the finance ministers of Europe are not all in favor of balancing the budget if it has to be balanced by taxing the rich, because the banks know that whatever taxes the rich are able to avoid ends up being paid to the banks. So now the gloves are off and the class war is sort of back. Originally, Varoufakis thought he was negotiating with the troika, that is, with the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the Euro Council. But instead they said, no, no, you're negotiating with the finance ministers. And the finance ministers in Europe are very much like Tim Geithner in the United States. They're lobbyists for the big banks. And the finance minister said, how can we screw up this and make sure that we treat Greece as an object lesson, pretty much like America treated Cuba in 1960?
PERIES: Hold on, hold on for one second, Michael. Let's explain that, because Yanis Varoufakis, the finance minister of Greece, is very well-briefed and very well-positioned to negotiate all of this. Now, why did he think he was negotiating with the troika when in fact he was negotiating with [crosstalk]
HUDSON: Because officially that's who he's negotiating with. He went and he took them at their word. And then he found out'--and yesterday, Jamie Galbraith, who went with him to Europe, published in Fortune a description saying, wait a minute, the finance ministers are fighting with the troika. The troika don't have their story straight. The troika and the finance ministers are all fighting among themselves over what exactly is to be done. And to really throw a monkey wrench in, the German finance minister, Sch¤uble, said, wait a minute, we've got to bring in the Spanish government and the Portuguese government and the Finnish government, and they've got to agree.
Well, all of a sudden the position of Spain, for instance, is, wait a minute, we're in power, we're a Thatcherite neoliberal party. If Greece ends up not going along with austerity and saving its workers, then Podemos Party in Greece, in Spain, is going to win the next election and we'll be out of power. We have to make sure that Varoufakis and the SYRIZA Party is a failure, so that we ourselves can tell the working class, you see what happened to Greece? It got smashed, and we're going to smash you if you try to do what they do; if you try to tax the rich, if you try to take over the banks and prevent the kleptocracy, there's going to be a disaster.
So, obviously, Greece and Portugal want to impose austerity on'--Spain and Portugal want to impose austerity on Greece. And even Ireland now has chimed in and said, my God, what have we done? We have imposed austerity for a decade in order to bail out the banks. Even the IMF has criticized us for going along with Europe and bailing out the banks and imposing austerity. If SYRIZA wins in avoiding austerity in Greece, then all of our sacrifice of our population, all of the poverty that we've imposed, all of the Thatcherism that we've imposed has been needless, and we didn't have to do it.
So there's a whole demonstration effect, which is why they're treating Greece almost as a symbol for'--the class war as a symbol for labor saying, wait a minute, we don't have to impose austerity, we can collect taxes from the tax dodgers.
Remember a few years ago when Europe said, Greece owes 50 billion euros in foreign debt? Well, it turned out that the central bank had given to the Greek parties a list called the Lagarde list (for Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF) of all of the tax dodgers, Greek tax dodgers who had Swiss bank accounts. Well, the Swiss bank accounts that the tax dodgers had ended up to about 50 billion euros. So Greece could pay off the debt that it's borrowed simply by moving against the tax dodgers.
But, of course, this would be at the expense of the Swiss banks and the other banks. So in effect the banks would be paying themselves. And they don't want to pay themselves. They want to squeeze it out of labor and let the tax dodgers and the Greek tycoons succeed in stealing the money from the government. So, in effect, the troika'--not the troika, the finance ministers, really, are backing the tax dodgers and the crooks in Greece that SYRIZA is trying to move against, whereas the IMF is actually, for once, taking a softer position towards the whole thing. And even President Obama has chimed in by apparently calling German Prime Minister Merkel and saying, look, you can't just push austerity beyond the point, because you're going to push them out of the euro, and you'll push them out of the euro on SYRIZA's terms, where SYRIZA can then turn to the Greek population and say, wait a minute, we did what we promised here. We stopped the austerity. We didn't withdraw from the euro; we were driven out as part of the class war.
PERIES: Michael, earlier you were also making an analogy between what's going on in Greece and what happened to Cuba [crosstalk]
HUDSON: Cuba under Castro had an alternative social system. He wanted to spread the wealth around (it was a Marxist system) in his way. He wanted to get rid of really the crooks around Batista who were running the country, the rich who didn't pay taxes, and he wanted to have a social revolution there. So the American government said, wait a minute, if Cuba succeeds, then they're going to be a revolution all throughout Latin America. Latin Americans can realize, wait a minute, we can take over the American sugar companies there, we can take over the American banana companies there, we can make the rich pay the taxes and the corporations pay the taxes and the exporters pay the taxes, not simply the labor. We can unionize labor, we can educate it, and if Cuba can educate labor, that would be a disaster for the neoliberal plan, because if labor's educated and has a program, then it'll realize that there is an alternative to Thatcherism.
Well, this is the problem that Varoufakis wrote about in an article earlier this month in The Guardian on how he came out of the Marxist movement. He said, the whole problem that we're facing in Greece is that if we withdraw from the euro, if we're forced out, there's going to be an economic trauma, and the left wing throughout Europe, as in America, doesn't really have an economic program. It has a political program, but not really an economic program. And the only alternative to SYRIZA with an economic program are the New Dawn movement and the neo-Nazis. And what Varoufakis is worried about is he's not only contending with the European finance ministers on one front, but he's contending on the Greek front with the right-wing parties that are the nationalist parties, like Marie Le Pen in France, the parties that are saying, yes, we have an alternative: withdraw from the euro. But it's not the kind of withdrawal and alternative that the left wing would have, because there really isn't much of a left wing in Greece, apart from the small SYRIZA party, certainly not Papandreou's socialist party, and certainly not the socialist parties nominally socialist party in Spain, which is a Thatcherite party, and it's certainly not the British Labour Party, which has gone the way of Tony Blair.
So the problem is that Varoufakis has about four months to educate the Greek public in the fact that, yes, there is alternative, here's what it is. The alternative to neoliberalism doesn't have to be right-wing nationalism. There is a socialist alternative, and we're trying to work out as many arrangements we can, so if we're driven out of the euro and if the banks go under, we have a fallback plan. He can't come right out and say this is the plan right now, because it has to be made very clear that it's the finance ministers of Germany, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, and Finland that are driving Greece out, not the IMF, not the European Central Bank, and not even centrist governments.
PERIES: Michael, thank you so much for joining us on The Real News Network today, and we'll be following this story at The Real News. So do join us very soon again.
HUDSON: It's always good to be here. Thank you.
PERIES: Thank you very much for joining us on The Real News Network.
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VIDEO-TSA Warns of 'Catastrophic' New Threat to Aviation
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:52
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recently issued a bulletin warning its agents of the danger of thermite-based incendiary devices.
Thermite is a mixture of rust and aluminum that can elude bomb detectors. When ignited, it produces a toxic gas that can act as a nerve poison, in addition to creating thick black smoke.
The warning stated that thermite "could result in catastrophic damage and the death of every person onboard."
Commercial pilot and publisher of JetWhine.com, Robert Mark, appeared on "Fox and Friends Weekend" to share insight on thermite and other threats to air travel.
"If one were able to be smuggled onto an airplane, it would be pretty disastrous," Mark said. "Because the heat that is produced by one of these things is so intense it would probably melt right through the airplane alone."
Mark said that when he tried to talk to some of his contacts at the Department of Homeland Security about the threat posed by thermite, they told him the issue was classified.
Mark also weighed in on the troubling report that 1,400 TSA security badges have gone missing at some of America's biggest airports.
He revealed this isn't as big a threat as some might fear, because the badges can be deactivated, much like a stolen ATM card. Plus, he said, another layer of security is a PIN ID that an employee must punch in as they swipe their card.
FoxNews.com reported:
Neither the FBI nor TSA said there was a specific threat by terrorists involving thermite, and a source ''with knowledge of current threats'' overseas told The Intercept that extremists are currently interested in other incendiary devices that do not involve the deadly chemical combo.
In addition, while it would be difficult to spot in metal detectors, experts it would be an unwieldy weapon: a terrorist would have to bring a lot of it on board to do any real damage '' which would raise suspicion -- and they would have to find a way to both place it and ignite it.
Still, TSA officials who spoke with The Intercept expressed frustration that while they were provided the intelligence, they weren't given much guidance on what to do with it. For example, they were told they had to use a non-water or non-halon extinguisher against a thermite reaction, but offered no instructions onhow, or what to use otherwise.
Aviation officials concurred. ''They say to identify something we don't know how to identify and say there is nothing we can do,'' one federal air marshal said. ''So basically, we hope it's placed somewhere it does minimal damage, but basically we're [screwed].''
Watch more above.
VIDEO-Islamic State fighters smash historic statues in Iraq - Channel 4 News
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:24
It looks terrible - vandals of the Islamic State attacking ancient Assyrian statues with sledge-hammers.
Nineveh, on the site of modern day Mosul, was the capital of the Assyrian empire that lasted nineteen centuries from 2500 to 605 BC.
But, according to archaeologists, most if not all the statues in the Mosul museum are replicas not originals. The reason they crumble so easily is that they're made of plaster.
"You can see iron bars inside," pointed out Mark Altaweel of the Institute of Archaeology at University College, London, as we watched the video together. "The originals don't have iron bars."
According to Eleanor Robson, chair of the British Institute for the Study of Iraq, the majority of original statues have been taken to the Baghdad Museum for safe-keeping.
Nonetheless, the stone winged bull you can see being destroyed is an original, probably one at the gates to Nineveh, dating back to the seventh century.
"I think the Winged Bull is very important locally, because it's one of the few objects that hasn't left the country or gone to Baghdad," said Dr Robson.
The demolition squad of the Islamic State are following in the tradition of the Taliban who blew up the Buddhas at Bamyan, in Afghanistan, and the Malian jihadi group Ansar al Dine which destroyed mud tombs and ancient Islamic manuscripts in Timbuktu.
They quote suras from the Koran that they say demand the destruction of idols and icons. But iconoclasm isn't just a Salafi Islamic idea. In the 17th Century, puritans, under the rule of Oliver Cromwell, destroyed Catholic holy objects and art in Britain.
"We pulled down two mighty great angells, with wings, and divers other angells . . . and about a hundred chirubims and angells," wrote William Dowsing, Cromwell's chief wrecker, after leading his henchmen into Peterhouse college chapel in Cambridge in December 1643.
Countless works of art were lost to history. But such vandalism doesn't just destroy objects. It's also an attempt to deny people their sense of self.
"What ISIS does by destroying cultural sites is fundamentally to undermine people's hope," said Dr Robson. "It undermines the cohesion that holds communities and societies together. That's why it's so damaging and so hard."
VIDEO-Microchip hand implants offered to Swedish office staff - video | World news | The Guardian
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:11
A new office block in Sweden is offering workers the chance to have a microchip implanted under their skin to allow them to access to various services within the building. The tiny chip, the size of a grain of rice, is implanted in employees hands, allowing them to open doors, or use the photocopier, without a traditional pass card
VIDEO-Intelligence Director: '2014 Will Have Been the Most Lethal Year for Global Terrorism' | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 05:01
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing on global terror threats Thursday that after the final accounting is complete, "2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled."
VIDEO-State Dep't Says it's Not Suggesting Lack of Opportunity 'is the Only Factor' in Terror Recruitment | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 04:49
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not comment Thursday on reports saying an ISIS terrorist who has beheaded Americans is an educated, middle-class Briton, but speaking in general, she said the adminstration was not suggesting that a lack of opportunity was ''the only factor'' in terrorist recruitment.
VIDEO-Boehner Blowing Kisses Brings Back Bad Memories for Brzezinski | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 04:45
On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski suffered an acute bout of PKSD Post Kiss Stress Disorder.
After a clip was rolled of John Boehner blowing kisses at a reporter, Mika got all verklempt, exclaiming "I know a lot of dirty old men who did that to me. I'm throwing up. That brought back bad memories." Things got so bad for poor Mika that she eventually fled the set and had to be coaxed back.
I'll be back with the transcript. In the meantime, makes you wonder just who those "dirty old men" might have been?
VIDEO-NBC Devotes Nearly Four Minutes to Dress Debate, Seconds to Clinton Corruption | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 04:22
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
On Friday, NBC finally noticed the corruption scandal swirling around Hillary Clinton. However, the coverage on the Today show was relegated to a 49-second mention within a story slamming Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. By contrast, the morning show devoted 3 minutes 56 seconds to a social media debate about the color of a dress.
Downplaying the Clinton controversy as something ginned up by partisan critics, correspondent Kelly O'Donnell declared: "Conservatives seized on The Washington Post report that seven foreign governments donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state, violating an ethics agreement made with the Obama administration."
VIDEO-Perry: 'ISIS Represents Worst Threat to Freedom Since Communism' | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 04:17
If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.
Rick Perry: 'ISIS Represents Worst Threat to Freedom Since Communism' See More at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/rick-perry-isis-represents-worst-threat-freedom-communism
VIDEO-Nets More Interested in Dresses Than IRS Scandal; Omit Latest on Lerner | MRCTV
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 04:14
On Friday evening, the Big Three networks continued their blackouts on the Thursday revelation that the Treasury Department's deputy inspector general, Timothy Camus, is conducting an "active investigation" into the "potential criminal activity" at the IRS over Lois Lerner's supposedly missing e-mails. Camus disclosed that 32,000 e-mails had been uncovered from backup tapes stored at an IRS facility. Instead, ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News all devoted full segments to the viral photograph of a dress that appears to be either black and blue or gold and white.On Fox News Channel's Special Report With Bret Baier, correspondent Doug McKelway spotlighted Deputy Inspector General Camus's Thursday testimony before the House Oversight Committee
VIDEO- TEDxAcademy - Yanis Varoufakis - A Modest Proposal for Transforming Europe - YouTube
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 03:41
VIDEO- Protester Wants To Know Why Intel Chief Clapper Is Above The Law And Not In Prison! - YouTube
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 03:26
VIDEO-Panel Recommends New, Better HPV Vaccine - NBC News.com
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 19:20
Children and young adults should get Merck's new HPV vaccine to prevent various forms of cancer, including cervical cancer, federal advisers said Thursday.
The Gardasil 9 vaccine protects against more strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer, throat cancer and several other cancers. It can replace the older version of the vaccine, which protected against four strains.
The five new HPV types covered by the vaccine '-- 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 '-- cause about 20 percent of cervical cancers.
HPV is very, very common.
The viruses cause warts and other lesions and two in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, cause cancers of the cervix, anus and penis, as well as the mouth and throat. Types 6 and 11 can cause lesions and genital warts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 14 million people become newly infected each year with the cancer-causing forms of HPV.
All boys and girls are supposed to get three doses of the vaccine, starting at age 11 or 12.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices says young males and females getting the series can just start getting the new Gardasil 9 vaccine instead. The panel will meet later to decide if boys and girls who have completed the series of three shots should come back for a dose of Gardasil 9.
-- Maggie FoxFirst published February 26 2015, 2:02 PM
VIDEO-Byron Allen Unloads on Sharpton, Obama, Comcast | The Daily Caller
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:05
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12:51 AM 02/26/2015
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Legendary TV talk show host Byron Allen is taking on Al Sharpton, President Obama, and the most powerful media corporations in the world in a battle to spotlight the crisis at the heart of American race relations. It's a daunting mission. But for some reason he doesn't sound scared.
Allen told The Daily Caller that top media interests are actively freezing out and in some cases destroying black-owned media companies '-- and they're paying Reverend-turned-MSNBC host Al Sharpton to give them racial cover to do it.
As for Washington politicians like Obama? According to Allen, they're bought out by the very same interests, and they're playing a part.
Allen, 53, is the chairman and CEO of the production company Entertainment Studios, which joined with the National Association of African-American Owned Media to file a $20 billion racial discrimination lawsuit this week against Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Sharpton's National Action Network, the NAACP, the Urban League, and former FCC commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker. Allen and his fellow plaintiff also filed a $10 billion suit against AT&T and DirectTV.
''It's cheaper to give Al Sharpton money than it is to do business with real African-American owned media,'' Allen told TheDC. ''What Comcast does is they give Al Sharpton money so he doesn't call them racist. That is the issue here.''
It's an issue that Allen, the cool longtime host of shows like ''Real People'' and ''Entertainers,'' talks about with off-the-air passion.
Comcast's more than $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable is waiting on approval at the FCC, with a decision expected soon. If approved, the merger would make Comcast the most powerful media corporation in the world. But as Allen, who owns seven upstart cable networks, points out: Comcast pays out $11 billion in licensing fees to networks that it carries on its platform. How much of that money goes to 100 percent African-American owned media companies? $3 million. A fraction of one percent.
Sharpton's curious takeover of the 6 pm timeslot on Comcast-owned MSNBC in late 2010 was predicated on the Reverend signing off on Comcast's last merger: its historic acquisition of NBCUniversal, which the FCC and Department of Justice approved in January 2011 after a tough regulatory fight from California Rep. Maxine Waters on racial discrimination grounds. Comcast lavished donations upon Sharpton's National Action Network and other civil rights groups to get them to sign off on the deal, according to Allen's suit.
''Why is Sharpton on TV every night on MSNBC? Because he endorsed Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal. He signed the memorandum of understanding back in 2010. He endorsed the merger. Next thing you know we're watching him on television trying to form a sentence. Every night we have the privilege of watching adult illiteracy.''
''Al Sharpton is nothing more than a black pawn in a very sophisticated white economic chess game,'' Allen continued. ''He's not even bright enough to know he's on the chess board and he's being used by his white masters at Comcast, specifically [executive vice president] David Cohen and [chairman and CEO] Brian Roberts.''
AT&T, which is looking to acquire DirectTV for $67 billion including assumption of debt, also pays off Sharpton for racial cover, Allen said.
''I find it outstanding that AT&T is the biggest sponsor of Sharpton's 60th birthday party,'' Allen said. ''AT&T spent more money on Al Sharpton's birthday party than they have on 100 percent African-American owned media combined. [Sharpton] should return the money because AT&T doesn't even celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday. The employees there take it as a sick day.''
''Reverend Jesse Jackson, you were on the balcony when Martin Luther King was assassinated. Why are you taking money from AT&T? Why is Al Sharpton getting more money from AT&T than Ebony Magazine, which has been around for 70 years?''
''[Corporations] trick people like, 'I got the diversity award.' Well, diversity is defined as women and white women.''
''My wife happens to be white and I ask her who is the white guy who speaks for all white people? You can't even think that. That idea is racist. That's wrong. So why do I have some black guy who speaks for me? Why is he cutting deals that somehow I don't benefit from but somehow he's on television every night?''
Sharpton's power, including his informal adviser role at the White House, is just part of the game.
''I think that Obama uses him to control the Negroes,'' Allen said of Sharpton.
''DC has been taking payoffs. Comcast owns every politician in that town including President Obama,'' Allen said, noting Comcast executives' fundraising for the president. ''Obama has been bought and paid for.''
''President Obama, you control a couple billion dollars in advertising. What have you done to make sure African-American owned media is participating in government advertising? We got more respect from President Clinton.''
''Shame on you, President Obama,'' Allen said. ''I think African-Americans would have done much better with a white president. They are murdering us on the street and murdering us in the boardrooms.''
But maybe, Byron Allen just might be able to tell enough truth to change things.
''No one's ever called them out and said it's time to be accountable,'' Allen said of the defendants in the case, stressing the need to fight for black ownership of media, so that black people can control their own image in the world.
''If we don't have an economic divide, you don't have the race issues you see today.''
Sharpton, for his part, told The Hollywood Reporter that he ''welcomes the opportunity to answer the frivolous allegations.''
''We do not generally comment on pending litigation, but this complaint represents nothing more than a string of inflammatory, inaccurate, and unsupported allegations,'' said Comcast.
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Caliphate!

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