705: Lying Weasels

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 36m
March 19th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir Rob Alter, David Johnson, Rendertank

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Richard Gardiner, Sir Hendrick, knight of the blank saber

Cover Artist: Pookie


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Hello to tall the new Ducth listeners
Sir Dave on ME being the distraction
ITM Adam, I have long subscribed to your theory that our elites use media distractions to, well, distract the public.
Have you ever given thought to the notion that when you go back to the Netherlands, YOU are the distraction?
If King Max gets overthrown while you are there my theory will be proven. And I hope you are well paid for your services.
Sir Dave
Über is going to be big. ALL transportation on demand - Cab companies first-then trains, busses etc
Trajekt controle 200 euros per pop
Hold hands and braid each others hair
iOS flaw Huge! Keyboard changes for spelling and predictive text. Why not smartly? Like the Text app?
Perfect365 beauty app
Most women in Italy don't use a tampon
Dutch ruling parties pledge to continue despite Senate loss
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:27
By Thomas Escritt
AMSTERDAMThu Mar 19, 2015 4:01am EDT
Netherlands' Prime Minister Mark Rutte gestures during the Europe's Twin Challenges: Growth and Stability event in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 22, 2015.
Credit: Reuters/Ruben Sprich
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Leaders of the Dutch ruling coalition pledged to remain in government on Thursday despite losing provincial elections that will leave them scrambling to command a majority in the country's Senate.
The local ballot determines the composition of the upper house because the winners get to chose new senators in May.
According to a forecast made after more than 97 percent of votes had been counted, the Liberal party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and its Labour coalition partner together will lose almost a third of their seats in the 75-member upper house.
Even before the result, the two parties did not hold an absolute Senate majority, but were able to pass laws with the support of three "constructive opposition" parties.
Now, Rutte's government lacks a majority even with their support, meaning it will have to do deals with different parties if it wants to proceed with an ambitious reform of the tax system or pass a budget later this year.
"It's good that so many of the Dutch want this government to continue ... and that's what we will do," said Rutte, whose party looked set to remain the single largest in an increasingly fragmented political landscape, despite losing three of its 16 Senate seats.
Big winners from Wednesday's nationwide ballot included the Christian Democrat CDA party, who were vying with Rutte's Liberals for first place, as well as the socially liberal D66 party and the hard left Socialist Party.
One of the losers was the far right Freedom Party of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, which came just equal fourth despite leading in the polls earlier in the year.
It looked set to shed one of its 10 Senate seats, although it also became the biggest single party in the ethnically diverse industrial city of Rotterdam.
The Labour Party came off worst, deserted by many of its left-wing voters for backing the Liberals' austerity drive, which is designed to cut the budget deficit. It was forecast to fall from 14 seats to eight.
Labour leader Diederik Samson said he would plow ahead in government regardless: "We took this responsibility for four years, and we will stick to it."
CDA leader Sybrand Buma hinted that he might be prepared to lend his support to the governing coalition in the upper house.
"The government must adjust its course. It must listen to the Senate majority," he said, as his party looked set to become the second largest party in the Senate with 12 seats.
According to the latest forecasts, published in the early hours, the government and its three "constructive opposition" partners will have just 36 seats, short of the 38 needed.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Crispian Balmer)
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Certified Nurses Day
Are you certified in a nursing specialty? If so, then today, March 19, is your day of honor!
Congratulations to the 783 Seton Healthcare Family nurses who have accepted the certification challenge and succeeded. We appreciate your dedication and commitment to the nursing profession and to the population we serve in Central Texas.
Certified Nurses Day is an annual worldwide event, held on March 19, honoring specialty nursing certification by memorializing the birthday of the late Margretta “Gretta” Madden Styles. Gretta was an international pioneer of nursing certification who designed the first comprehensive study of nurse credentialing.
Certification validates a nurse’s specialty knowledge for practice in a defined functional or clinical area of nursing. According to data collected by the American Board of Nursing Specialties in 2013, more than 683,684 nurses in the U.S. and Canada hold certifications. This is an increase of more than 87,111 certificants compared to 2012 survey data! The certifications were granted by 27 certifying organizations and represent 122 different credentials.
In addition, certification benefits patients and their families, validating that the nurse caring for them has demonstrated experience, knowledge and skills in the complex specialties of patients. Nurses with specialty certifications are more engaged in the workplace and have a greater sense of professional pride.
No Agenda Replay Segments noagendaplayer.com
Congressional Dish on The Stream
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''705, 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.
No Agenda CD Keep on Truckin'
In The Morning!
I have printed up 1,000 NACDs and am packaging them up in lots of 33 sets of two CDs. More details can be found on the website. I will happily supply long haul truckers with as many CDs as they can eat if any are interested in handing them out and hitting truck-stop denizens in the mouth.
The business I work for ships many truckloads of product per day and I used to have my desk in the shipping office. Truckers typically have a very cordial relationship with shipping managers and personnel and could easily hit them in the mouth as well.
If you'd be so kind to mention it on the show and re-tweet my soon to be message on Twitter, I'd be much obliged.
Thank you for your courage,
Sir Ramsey Cain
No Agenda Replay Segments noagendaplayer.com
Scores injured in anti-austerity riots against ECB's new HQ - Yahoo News
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 11:32
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Banco de Madrid sluit deuren na bankrun | NOS
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 11:25
Banco de Madrid heeft uitstel van betaling aangevraagd EPA
De Spaanse bank Banco de Madrid heeft uitstel van betaling aangevraagd. Maandagochtend zijn de filialen gesloten. Dat meldt de Spaanse krant El Pais.
Vorige week werd het moederbedrijf van de bank, de Banca Privada d'Andorra (BPA) door de Amerikaanse overheid beschuldigd van witwassen. De BPA zou volgens de Amerikanen geld hebben doorgesluisd van Russische, Chinese en Venezolaanse criminelen.
Sindsdien hebben klanten van de bank massaal hun spaargeld weggehaald. Spanje heeft een depositogarantiestelsel, waardoor spaarders tot 100.000 euro van hun geld terugkrijgen als de bank omvalt. Volgens El Pais heeft Banco de Madrid vooral rijke klanten met meer dan 500.000 euro spaargeld.
Door de bankrun zou de Banco de Madrid nu te weinig geld hebben om de lopende verplichtingen te voldoen. Daarom heeft de bank alle activiteiten stilgelegd.
De directeur van BPA, Joan Pau Miquel Prats, is vrijdag al opgepakt. Aanklagers in de witwaszaak hebben voor nog twee andere managers een arrestatiebevel gevraagd. BPA kocht de relatief kleine Spaanse bank in 2011 voor 100 miljoen euro.
Agenda 21
State of Fear - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 00:26
State of Fear is a 2004 techno-thriller novel by Michael Crichton in which eco-terrorists plot mass murder to publicize the danger of global warming. Despite being a work of fiction, the book contains many graphs and footnotes, two appendices, and a twenty-page bibliography in support of Crichton's beliefs about global warming. Most climate scientists dispute Crichton's science as being error-filled and distorted,[1][2][3][4][5][6] and it was described as "pure porn for global warming deniers" by one skeptical science journalist.[7]
The novel had an initial print run of 1.5 million copies and reached the #1 bestseller position at Amazon.com and #2 on the New York Times Best Seller list for one week in January 2005. The novel itself has garnered mixed reviews, with some literary reviewers stating that the book's presentation of facts and stance on the global warming debate detracted from the book's plot.
State of Fear is, like many of Crichton's books, a fictional work that uses a mix of speculation and real world data, plus technological innovations as fundamental storyline devices. The debate over global warming serves as the backdrop for the book. Crichton supplies a personal afterword and two appendices that link the fictional part of the book with real examples of his thesis.
The main villains in the plot are environmental extremists. Crichton does place blame on "industry" in both the plot line and the appendices. Various assertions appear in the book, for example:
The science behind global warming is speculative and incomplete, meaning no concrete conclusions can be drawn regarding human involvement in climate change.Elites in various fields use either real or artificial crises to maintain the existing social order, misusing the "science" behind global warming.As a result of potential conflicts of interest, the scientists conducting research on topics related to global warming may subtly change their findings to bring them in line with their funding sources. Since climatology can not incorporate double-blind studies, as are routine in other sciences, and climate scientists set experiment parameters, perform experiments within the parameters they have set, and analyze the resulting data, a phenomenon known as "bias" is offered as the most benign reason for climate science being so inaccurate.A key concept, delivered from the eccentric Professor Hoffman, suggests, in Hoffman's words, the existence of a "politico-legal-media" complex, comparable to the "military industrial complex," of the Cold War era. Hoffman insists climate science began using more extreme, fear-inducing terms such as "crisis," "catastrophe," and, "disaster," shortly after the fall of The Berlin Wall, in order to maintain a level of fear in citizens, for the purpose of social control, since the specter of Soviet Communism was gone. This "state of fear" gives the book its title.Numerous charts and quotations from real world data, including footnoted charts which strongly suggest mean global temperature is, in this era, lowering. Where local temperatures show a general rise in mean temperature, mostly in major world cities, Crichton's characters infer it is due to urban sprawl and deforestation, not carbon emissions.
Crichton argues for removing politics from science and uses global warming and real-life historical examples in the appendices to make this argument. In a 2003 speech at the California Institute of Technology he expressed his concern about what he considered the "emerging crisis in the whole enterprise of science'--namely the increasingly uneasy relationship between hard science and public policy."[8]
Plot summaryEditThe plot is built around a group of eco-terrorists who are working in concert with the directors of a well known environmental activist group. By coordinating eco-terrorist acts, a slick media campaign, and a curious lawsuit by a small Pacific nation against the EPA, an attempt is made to create, or sustain a state of fear to further advance their differing agendas. The eco-terrorists want to save the earth, albeit at the cost of human lives, and the directors want to perpetuate the funding they receive from public concern over global warming.
The protagonist is an environmentalist lawyer named Peter Evans. Evans' chief client is a millionaire philanthropist, George Morton. Evans' main duties are managing the legal affairs surrounding Morton's contributions to an environmentalist organization, the National Environmental Resource Fund (NERF) (modeled after the Natural Resources Defense Council [NRDC]).[9]
Morton becomes suspicious of NERF's director, Nicholas Drake, after he discovers that Drake has misused some of the funds Morton had donated to the group. Soon after, Morton is visited by two men, John Kenner and Sanjong Thapa, who appear on the surface to be researchers at MIT, but, in fact, are international law enforcement agents on the trail of an eco-terrorist group, the Environmental Liberation Front (ELF) (modeled on the Earth Liberation Front). The ELF is attempting to create "natural" disasters to convince the public of the dangers of global warming. All these events are timed to happen during a NERF-sponsored climate conference that will highlight the "catastrophe" of global warming. The eco-terrorists have no qualms about how many people are killed in their manufactured "natural" disasters and ruthlessly assassinate anyone who gets in their way (their preferred methods being ones few would recognize as murder; the venom of a rare Australian blue-ringed octopus which causes paralysis, and "lightning attractors" which cause their victims to get electrocuted in electrical storms). Kenner and Thapa suspect Drake of involvement with the ELF to further his own ends (garnering more donations to NERF from the environmentally-minded public).
Morton pulls his funding from NERF and has Evans rewrite the contract so that Drake can't access the money except in small amounts. This earns Drake's wrath resulting in strained relations between Evans and the partners at his firm (Drake is a major client of the firm and accuses Evans of being a spy for corporate industry). NERF holds a banquet in Morton's honor citing him as "NERF's Concerned Citizen of the Year"; at the event Morton gives a rambling speech in which he announces the pulling of his funding. Morton subtly makes this look due to his having drunk too much on the flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco where he was accompanied by two of NERF's biggest supporters (Ted Bradley, an actor and celebrity endorser of NERF, and Ann Garner, a wealthy socialite) and Evans. Soon after the speech, Morton dies in a car accident under mysterious circumstances. Following Morton's last instructions, Evans teams up with Kenner and Thapa on a globe-spanning trip to thwart various ELF disaster schemes. Also along for the ride is Morton's beautiful assistant, Sarah Jones. Evans is intimidated by Jones because of her beauty and because she possesses a self-confidence Evans lacks. By the same token, Jones also finds Evans attractive, but is put off by his lack of bravado.
A subplot parallels the main plot and is the driving force for many of Evans' actions later on, at the behest of Morton. Morton has promised to donate $10 million to support a class action lawsuit on behalf of the people of the island nation Vanutu (not to be confused with real island nation of Vanuatu.) The suit claims that by its inaction to curb global warming the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has doomed Vanutu to destruction, technically an act of war, because when sea levels increase by the amount that most climate models predict the nation will be underwater. At Morton's behest, Evans pays a visit to the offices of the legal team that is preparing the suit, where he volunteers to be a pre-jury selection interviewee. The interviewer is Jennifer Haynes, who presents him with various pieces of evidence that she feels the defense will use in an attempt to discredit the "science" behind the lawsuit. Later she reveals that the lawsuit is just an elaborate publicity stunt. The parties who initiated it know that it will never succeed. They only want to create a legal action that will drag on for years, giving them numerous opportunities to dramatize the plight of the islanders as they cope with the "catastrophe" of global warming. Later, Haynes reveals herself to be Kenner's niece and in league with him.
Kenner, Sanjong, Evans and Jones travel to various locations to sabotage the ELF's planned "natural" disasters: first, the detonation of several explosives in an Antarctic ice shelf to release an enormous iceberg, then the use of special rockets and filament wire to produce a man-made lightning storm and flood in a crowded national park. During his travels, Evans finds his convictions about global warming challenged by Kenner and Sanjong who present him with reams of data suggesting that global warming may not be happening at all, may be insignificant if it is, and may not be caused by human activity. Evans' convictions are further shaken as he observes the ELF trying to manufacture disasters that will kill thousands of people, discovers that Drake is directing these terrorist acts, and narrowly escapes several ELF assassination attempts. He also begins to shed his weak-willed demeanor and grows more enamored of Jones after he saves her life on several occasions. After NERF disbands the legal team that was preparing the Vanutu suit Haynes joins the group for the final leg of the trip.
In the finale of the story, the group travels to a remote island in the Solomons to stop the ELF's "piece de resistance", a tsunami that will inundate the coastline of California just as Drake is winding up the international conference on the "catastrophe" of global warming. Along the way they battle man-eating crocodiles and cannibalistic tribesmen (who feast on Ted Bradley, whom Drake had sent to spy on Kenner and his team). The rest of the group are rescued in the nick of time by Morton who resurfaces. It turns out that he faked his own death to throw Drake off the trail so that he could keep watch on the ELF's activities on the island while he waited for Kenner and his team to arrive. The group has a final confrontation with the elite ELF team on the island during which Haynes is almost killed and Evans kills one of the terrorists who had tried to kill both him and Jones in Antarctica. The rest of the ELF team is killed by the backwash from their own tsunami, which Kenner and his team have sabotaged just enough to prevent it from becoming a full-size tsunami and reaching California. Morton, Evans and Jones return to Los Angeles. Evans quits the firm to work for Morton's new (unnamed) organization, which will practice environmental activism as a business, free from potential conflicts of interest. He hopes Evans and Jones will take his place in the new organization after his death.
Allegorical charactersEditSeveral critics have suggested that Crichton uses the major characters as proxies for differing viewpoints on the topic of global warming in order to allow the reader to clearly follow the various positions portrayed in the book.
Joseph Romm suggests that Kenner is a stand-in for Crichton himself.[10]David Roberts suggests that Evans is the stand-in for the reader (who Crichton presumes accepts most of the tenets of global warming without any detailed study of it, but not unquestioningly) and also that Ted and Ann are stand-ins for people who accept the "environmentalist" party line without question.[11]Ronald Bailey suggests that Drake is a stand-in for the environmental movement "professional" activist.[12]Bruce Barcott suggests that Sarah,[13] and Michael B. McElroy and Daniel P. Schrag suggest that Jennifer[14] are stand-ins for the academic community (intelligent enough to follow the debate but undecided until the evidence is presented) with Sarah being the portion of the community likely to believe in global warming on less than undeniable evidence (they will accept "Likely, but not proven" as sufficient proof) and Jennifer representing the part of the community that accepts undeniable evidence only.Michael B. McElroy and Daniel P. Schrag also suggest that Jennifer is simultaneously a stand-in for conflicts of interest created by how the research is funded (i.e. her "official" story changes based on who is paying the bills but in private she makes her true feelings known).[14]Gregory Mone suggests that Sanjong is a stand-in for the local university library/reputable Internet source verification, etc.[15]Author's afterword/appendicesEditCrichton included a statement of his views on global climate change as an afterword. In the "Author's message", Crichton states that the cause, extent, and threat of climate change is largely unknown and unknowable. He finishes by endorsing the management of wilderness and the continuation of research into all aspects of the Earth's environment.
In Appendix I, Crichton warns both sides of the global warming debate against the politicization of science. Here he provides two examples of the disastrous combination of pseudo-science and politics: the early 20th-century ideas of eugenics (which he directly cites as one of the theories that allowed for the Holocaust) and Lysenkoism.
This appendix is followed by a bibliography of 172 books and journal articles that Crichton presents "...to assist those readers who would like to review my thinking and arrive at their own conclusions." (State of Fear, pp, 583).
ReceptionEditLiterary reviewsEditThe novel has received mixed reviews from professional literary reviewers.[16]
The Wall Street Journal's Ronald Bailey gave a favorable review, calling it "a lightning-paced technopolitical thriller" and the "novelization of a speech that Mr. Crichton delivered in September 2003 at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club."[17]Entertainment Weekly's Gregory Kirschling gave a favorable A- review and said it was "one of Crichton's best because it's as hard to pigeonhole as greenhouse gas but certainly heats up the room."[18]
In The New Republic, Sacha Zimmerman gave a mixed review. Zimmerman criticized Crichton's presentation of data as condescending to the reader but concluded that the book was a "globe-trotting thriller that pits man against nature in brutal spectacles while serving up just the right amount of international conspiracy and taking digs at fair-weather environmentalists."[19]
Much criticism was given to Crichton's presentation of global warming data and the book's portrayal of the global warming debate as a whole. In the Sydney Morning Herald, John Birmingham criticized the book's usage of real world research and said it was "boring after the first lecture, but mostly in the plotting... It's bad writing and it lets the reader ignore the larger point Crichton is trying to make."[20] In The Guardian, Peter Guttridge wrote that the charts and research in the book got "in the way of the thriller elements" and stated the bibliography was more interesting than the plot.[21] In The New York Times, Bruce Barcott criticized the novel's portrayal of the global warming debate heavily, stating that it only presented one side of the argument.[22]
In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Allan Walton gave a mostly favorable review and offered some praise for Crichton's work. Walton wrote that Crichton's books, "as meticulously researched as they are, have an amusement park feel. It's as if the author channels one of his own creations, "Jurassic Park's" John Hammond, and spares no expense when it comes to adventure, suspense and, ultimately, satisfaction."[23]
EditThis novel received criticism from climate scientists,[1][6][24] science journalists[7][25] and environmental groups[26][27] for inaccuracies and misleading information. Sixteen of 18 U.S. climate scientists interviewed by Knight Ridder said the author was bending scientific data and distorting research.[6]
Several scientists whose research had been referenced in the novel stated that Crichton had distorted it in the novel. Peter Doran, leading author of the Nature paper,[28] wrote in the New York Times stating that
"... our results have been misused as ''evidence'' against global warming by Michael Crichton in his novel ''State of Fear''[24]Myles Allen, Head of the Climate Dynamics Group, Department of Physics, University of Oxford, wrote in Nature in 2005:
"Michael Crichton's latest blockbuster, State of Fear, is also on the theme of global warming and is likely to mislead the unwary. . . Although this is a work of fiction, Crichton's use of footnotes and appendices is clearly intended to give an impression of scientific authority."[1]The American Geophysical Union, consisting of over 50,000 members from over 135 countries, states in their newspaper Eos in 2006:
"We have seen from encounters with the public how the political use of State of Fear has changed public perception of scientists, especially researchers in global warming, toward suspicion and hostility."[29]James E. Hansen, head of the NASAGoddard Institute for Space Studies at the time, wrote "He (Michael Crichton) doesn't seem to have the foggiest notion about the science that he writes about."[4]Jeffrey Masters, Chief meteorologist for Weather Underground, writes: "Crichton presents an error-filled and distorted version of the Global Warming science, favoring views of the handful of contrarians that attack the consensus science of the IPCC."[2]
The Union of Concerned Scientists devote a section of their website to what they describe as misconceptions readers may take away from the book.[27]
RecognitionEditU.S. CongressEditDespite being a work of fiction, the book has found use by global warming skeptics. For example, United States Senator Jim Inhofe, who once pronounced global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people",[30][31] made State of Fear ''required reading''[32] for the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which he chaired from 2003''2007, and to which he called Crichton to testify before in September 2005.[32]
Al Gore said on March 21, 2007 before a US House committee: "The planet has a fever. If your baby has a fever, you go to the doctor [...] if your doctor tells you you need to intervene here, you don't say 'Well, I read a science fiction novel that tells me it's not a problem'". Several commentators interpreted this as a reference to State of Fear.[33][34][35][36]
AAPG 2006 Journalism AwardEditThe novel received the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) 2006 Journalism Award. AAPG Communications director Larry Nation told the New York Times, "It is fiction, but it has the absolute ring of truth". The presentation of this award has been criticized as a promotion of the politics of the oil industry and for blurring the lines between fiction and journalism.[29][37] After some controversy within the organization, AAPG has since renamed the award the "Geosciences in the Media" Award.[38]
Daniel P. Schrag, Director of the Center for the Environment at Harvard University, called the award "a total embarrassment" that he said "reflects the politics of the oil industry and a lack of professionalism" on the association's part. As for the book, he added "I think it is unfortunate when somebody who has the audience that Crichton has shows such profound ignorance".[37]
ReferencesEdit^ abcMyles Allen (2005-01-20). "A novel view of global warming '-- Book Reviewed: State of Fear" (PDF). Nature433 (7023): 198. Bibcode:2005Natur.433..198A. doi:10.1038/433198a. PDF version from climateprediction.net site^ abReview of Michael Crichton's State of Fear : Weather Underground^Doran, Peter (July 27, 2006). "Cold, Hard Facts". Opinion (New York Times). ^ abMichael Crichton's ''Scientific Method'' James E. Hansen^Union of Concerned Scientists Crichton's Thriller State of Fear: Separating Fact from Fiction^ abcBorenstein, Seth (2005-02-10). "Novel on global warming gets some scientists burned up". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-08-17. ^ abMooney, Chris (2005-01-18). "Bad Science, Bad Fiction". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Retrieved 2008-08-20. ^Aliens Cause Global Warming a speech give at the California Institute of Technology January 17, 2003^Bruce Barcott (2005-01-30). "'State of Fear': Not So Hot". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-09-15. ^Romm, Joseph (May 2005). "Greenhouse GasMichael Crichton's new novel fingers the wrong villains in global warming". Technology Review. ^http://www.grist.org/advice/books/2005/02/01/roberts-fear/^Wall Street Journal Review^Barcott, Bruce (January 30, 2005). "'State of Fear': Not So Hot". Sunday Book Review (New York Times). ^ abMcElroy MB, Schrag DP (March''April 2005). "Overheated RhetoricA new novel misrepresents global warming and distorts science". Harvard Magazine. ^Popular Science's Review^"State of Fear. What the Critics Said". Metacritic.com. Archived from the original on 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2008-09-13. ^Ronald Bailey (2004-12-10). "A Chilling Tale. Michael Crichton's "State of Fear"". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-08-13. ^Gregory Kirschling (2004-12-13). "Book Review State of Fear (2004)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-13. ^Sacha Zimmerman (2005-01-20). "Review-A-Day: State of Fear. Weather Man". The New Republic. Retrieved 2008-09-13. ^John Birminghamn (2005-01-15). "Books: State of Fear". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2008-09-13. ^Peter Guttridge (2005-01-16). "Well, the bibliography sings". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-09-13. ^Bruce Barcott (2005-01-30). "'State of Fear': Not So Hot". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-13. ^Allan Walton (2004-12-24). "'State of Fear': 'State of Fear' by Michael Crichton". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-11-22. ^ abPeter Doran (2006-07-27). "Cold, Hard Facts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-14. ^Evans, Harold (2005-10-07). "Crichton's conspiracy theory". BBC NEWS. Retrieved 2008-08-17. ^"Michael Crichton's State of Fear: They Don't Call It Science Fiction for Nothing". Natural Resources Defense Council. 2004-12-16. Archived from the original on 2008-07-18. Retrieved 2008-08-17. ^ ab"Crichton's Thriller State of Fear". Union of Concerned Scientists. 2005-06-27. Retrieved 2008-08-17. ^Doran PT; Priscu JC; Lyons WB et al. (2002-01-13). "Antarctic climate cooling and terrestrial ecosystem response". Nature415 (6871): 517''520. doi:10.1038/nature710. PMID 11793010. as PDF^ ab (5 September 2006). "American Geophysical Union, Petroleum Geologists' Award to Novelist Crichton Is Inappropriate" (PDF). Eos87 (36). ^Mooney, Chris (2005-01-11). "Warmed Over '-- American Prospect: Sen. James Inhofe's Science Abuse". CBS News. Retrieved 2008-08-15. ^Coile, Zachary (2006-10-11). "Senator says warming by humans just a hoax". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-08-15. ^ abJanofsky, Michael (2005-09-29). "Michael Crichton, Novelist, Becomes Senate Witness". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-15. ^Glenn, Joshua (1 April 2007). "Climate of fear". The Boston Globe. ^"More from 'Inconvenient Gore'". Alaska Report. 22 March 2007. ^"What Al Gore Really Wants". FOX News. 25 March 2007. ^Ansible 237, April 2007^ abDean, Cornelia (2006-02-09). "Truth? Fiction? Journalism? Award Goes to '...". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-17. ^President 06:2006 EXPLORERExternal linksEdit
U.N.: 24 dead, 3,300 displaced in Vanuatu after a tropical cyclone devastates the islands - The Washington Post
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 23:56
At least 24 people are dead and 3,300 have been displaced in the cyclone-ravaged country of Vanuatu, the United Nations humanitarian office announced on Monday.
U.N. officials arrived in the island nation on Monday, three days after it was struck by a tropical Category 5 cyclone. Vanuatu's president, Baldwin Lonsdale, asked for ''immediate'' international aid as the South Pacific country attempts to recover. ''This is a very devastating cyclone in Vanuatu. I term it as a monster, a monster,'' Lonsdale told the Associated Press.
The death toll could rise over the next few days as humanitarian groups continue to assess the damage, which is extensive. ''Tropical Cyclone Pam is likely to be the worst natural disaster the South Pacific has seen,'' the U.N. humanitarian office said Sunday.
Three islands were hit particularly hard by the cyclone, which struck late Friday and had wind gusts of up to 200 mph at its peak: Efate, where Vanuatu's capital Port Vila is located; Erromango; and Tanna. Lonsdale estimated to the AP that ''more than 90 percent of the buildings and houses in Port Vila have been destroyed or damaged.''
Vanuatu's president says some 90 percent of the buildings in the capital sit damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Pam. (AP)
Aerial assessments found ''severe and widespread damage,'' the United Nations reported. The outer islands haven't yet restored radio and telephone communication with the center of the country, where the United Nations is focusing its initial response.
And according to Reuters, the Australian Red Cross has reports of ''total devastation'' on Tanna, in the south. As of Monday, the U.N. death toll included five dead from Tanna, 11 from Tafea and eight from Efate.
The World Health Organization said Monday it is dispatching personnel and supplies to Vanuatu. ''WHO is also communicating with the governments of Australia and New Zealand, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations, to ensure Vanuatu gets the right resources to meet their health needs,'' the WHO said in a statement. Before the cyclone struck, the public health agency was working with Vanuatu's Ministry of Health on a meals immunization campaign.
''We are working closely with our partners to get the people of Vanuatu what they need as quickly as possible to respond to this devastating cyclone,'' said Shin Young-soo, the WHO's regional director for the Western Pacific. ''We have activated our emergency operations center and put a support team in place to assess needs and deploy critical resources to help in the response.''
Jacqueline de Gaillarde, chief execution of Red Cross Vanuatu, told Reuters that disease (including dengue fever and malaria) and food shortages are a major and immediate concern. Residents, she told Reuters, had stockpiled food ahead of the storm, then lost their supplies when their homes were destroyed.
''We need food for the coming weeks, and we need humanitarian people to do assessments, and we need transport,'' she said. ''We need boats to access the islands because lots of the airports on the islands are grass only, and they are flooded so we cannot land.''
More from Reuters:
Perched on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire, one of the world's poorest nations suffers from frequent earthquakes and tsunamis and has several active volcanoes, in addition to threats from storms and rising sea levels.
President Lonsdale, who had been in Japan for a U.N. disaster conference when the storm hit, said it would take time for his country to recover.
''What is happening now is that, as I've seen over and over again, the people of the Republic of Vanuatu need humanitarian assistance at the moment,'' he said. ''And I'm very pleased with the international community that they have responded to my appeal.''
Aid officials said the storm was comparable in strength to Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013 and killed more than 6,000 people.
Lonsdale said climate change was to blame for the disasters in his country.
Abby Ohlheiser is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.
Vanuatu, devastated by typhoon, has few amateur radio operators. No contact yet.
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:09
Please use /r/baofeng for Baofeng related posts/spotsReddit's very own ham radio club. All topics relating to the hobby are welcome here, from purchasing and building equipment, to operating techniques and activities, and everything in between.
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Nuclear expert warns of 'Chernobyl on steroids' risk from proposed nuclear plant 200km from Irish coast
He's wrong. The AP1000 is the design used for the four reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina. It's a good, safe design that has no possibility of an event like Chernobyl.
Gundersen, by the way, has a history of absurd statements about nuclear energy. He's been carrying a grudge for 25 years.
Rod Adams
Nuclear expert warns of 'Chernobyl on steroids' risk from proposed nuclear plant 200km from Irish coast - Independent.ie
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 08:27
Published 16/03/2015 | 13:20
An American nuclear expert has warned that Westinghouse's proposed reactor for Cumbria needs a '‚¬100m filter to safeguard against a leak that would turn the region into ''Chernobyl on steroids''.
Arnie Gundersen lifted the lid on safety violations at a nuclear firm in 1990 '' he claimed to have found radioactive material in a safe '' and was CNN's resident expert during the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011.
Mr Gundersen told The Independent of London that he is concerned by designs for three reactors proposed for a new civil nuclear plant in Cumbria,.
A nuclear engineering graduate by background, Mr Gunderson believes that the AP1000, designed by the US-based giant Westinghouse, is susceptible to leaks. The reactor has been selected for the proposed £10bn Moorside plant, a Toshiba-GDF Suez joint venture that will power six million homes. It is going through an approval process with the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).
Mr Gundersen, who visited the Sellafield nuclear facility in Cumbria last week, warned that any leak would be like ''Chernobyl on steroids'', referring to the 1986 nuclear disaster that killed 28 workers within four months. He passed on some of these fears to MPs at an event in Parliament during his visit to the UK.
He said: ''Evacuation of Moorside would have to be up to 50 miles. You could put a filter on the top of the AP1000 to trap the gases '' that would cost about $100m, which is small potatoes.
''If this leaks it would be a leak worse than the one at Fukushima. Historically, there have been 66 containment leaks around the world.''
A spokeswoman for the ONR said that the regulator is currently ensuring that the reactor will be safe. She said: ''We have received revised plans from Westinghouse for 51 outstanding issues. These will have to be resolved before the ONR can make any decisions [to approve the reactor].''
A Westinghouse spokeswoman said: ''The AP1000 nuclear power plant design offers unequalled safety through innovative passive safety systems and proven technologies that are based on Westinghouse's 50-year leadership in nuclear energy technology.''
Independent News Service
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Irish people should ignore Arnie Gundersen because he's wrong - Atomic Insights
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:13
A friend who often gets involved in discussions about nuclear energy stories with frightened people in his social media network contacted me to find out what I thought of an article titled Nuclear plant could be a 'Chernobyl on steroids,' says expert. Then the same story showed up on one of my daily news feeds.
As part of my service to the public, I read the story. My first impression was that the publication hosting the story was a marginal one '-- I could tell by the large banner ''belly fat'' ad that greeted me and by the dozens of margin ads on both side of the ugly page. My second impression was to realize that once again, Arnie Gundersen has decided to sell his fear mongering to an international audience that might not know much about him.
Like Professor Harry Hill in The Music Man Gundersen often arrives in a new venue actively promoting his self-assigned title of ''nuclear expert'' and proceeds to do what he can to win the confidence of the inhabitants of that new area. He may sound credible and he speaks well after many years of practice as a private school math teacher, but he stopped working in the nuclear energy industry more than 25 years ago. His departure was not voluntary.
Since his 1990 forced departure from the industry, with its accompanying 75% pay cut, he has been a professional opponent to nuclear energy, an ''expert witness'' for hire to any government body or antinuclear group with the means to pay his fees.
His latest whopper is to attempt to portray the Westinghouse AP1000, a nuclear reactor design that has passed through the stringent licensing review process of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as being vulnerable to an accident that would be worse than the 1986 accident that occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power station Unit #4.
A nuclear expert has warned that the design of proposed new nuclear reactors in Cumbria could turn the region into ''Chernobyl on steroids'' in the event of an accident.
Expert Arnie Gundersen said a leak from one of the proposed reactors would be devastating.'...The American nuclear expert, who was CNN's resident expert during the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, said the proposed AP1000 reactors were susceptible to leaks.
There are four AP1000 reactors under construction in the U. S., two in Georgia and two in South Carolina. Mr. Gundersen's statements are technically unsupportable for a number of reasons. He is actively questioning the integrity and technical competence of hundreds of real experts and responsible safety regulators. If he was actually a professional engineer, he would be violating several sections of the ethical code of his profession by spreading inaccurate information, not serving the public interest, and by making public comments about engineering topics in areas well outside his expertise.
It may not be apparent to people outside the profession, but a Masters Degree in Nuclear Engineering does not indicate expertise in all areas of nuclear power plant design. A certification to operate a 100 watt research reactor on a college campus is not the same as a reactor operator license for a commercial nuclear power plant.
The AP1000 reactor design is safe. It is not subject to dangerous leaks. Unlike the Chernobyl reactor, it does not have a positive void coefficient and does not have a graphite moderator that has the potential to smolder for days. It has a full containment and can keep itself cool for several days even without any source of electricity or off site source of cooling water. There is no need for anyone in Ireland to worry about the safety aspects of building and operating three AP1000 units in Cumbria.
Additional Reading About GundersenFebruary 11, 2010 '' Is Arnie Gundersen Devious or Dumb? (Or is He Simply a Professional Fear-Monger?)
February 26, 2011 '' Arnie Gundersen has inflated his resume, yet frequently claims that Entergy cannot be trusted
June 18, 2011 '' Arnie Gundersen going international
December 13, 2011 '' Crowd sourced debunking of Gundersen lies about AP1000 & Fukushima
April 6, 2013 '' Was Arnie Gundersen a Licensed Reactor Operator and Senior VP Nuclear Licensee?
In a situation where a flimflam man misrepresents his credentials and expertise for both monetary compensation and for nefarious purposes '-- like getting personal revenge on an industry that stopped employing him 25 years ago '-- a detailed expose of his statements and real credentials is not a logical fallacy. It is the right action to take to correct the public record and enable knowledge-based decision making.
Greg about AAAS signup
Hi John and Adam. I decided a couple of weeks ago to sign up with the AAAS like Bryan the Gay Crusader, and just received this gem. I was never asked to present any credentials when signing up, just 50 bucks, but I do get discounts on car insurance and rental cars. Totally worth it. Attached is the actual survey with questions. For 50 bucks I get to shape public policy. Enjoy
DOOM: Australian scientists say climate change will drastically affect taste of food
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:02
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.
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.
SXSW: Gore says climate-change deniers should pay political price - Chicago Tribune
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:00
AUSTIN, Texas '-- Former Vice President Al Gore on Friday called on SXSW attendees to punish climate-change deniers, saying politicians should pay a price for rejecting ''accepted science.''
Gore said smart investors are moving away from companies tied to fossil fuels and toward companies investing in alternative energy.
"We need to put a price on carbon to accelerate these market trends,'' Gore said, referring to a proposed federal cap-and-trade system that would penalize companies that exceeded their carbon-emission limits. ''And in order to do that, we need to put a price on denial in politics."
SXSW Interactive brings together designers, developers, investors, entrepreneurs and politicians for several days of talk about technology, innovation and the future. The massive annual festival also includes film and music portions.
Also at the festival Friday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker swore in former Google attorney Michelle K. Lee as director of the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office. Lee is the first woman to hold the job.
Pritzker used the swearing in to highlight the need for more women in technology.
''This is a very special moment,'' she said. She added in an interview after the event that she wanted the tech-heavy SXSW crowd "to see that one of their own is here."
In an hourlong question-and-answer session, Pritzker said she aimed to make the Commerce Department more responsive to business.
''We are basically a service business, and you are our customer, the private sector,'' she said, pointing to the audience.
Gore, who has made climate change an overriding theme since he lost to George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election, made no mention of his political future. He took several questions from Twitter after his talk. None asked whether he was considering another run for the White House.
He said he hoped his third SXSW appearance would help promote the fight against climate change and to help put pressure on those who say it's not a problem.
''We have this denial industry cranked up constantly,'' Gore said. ''In addition to 99 percent of the scientists and all the professional scientific organizations, now Mother Nature is weighing in.''
He led a presentation on major weather events that he said could be attributed to human activity. He linked troubles in the Middle East at least partially to climate change, saying that drought drove more than a million Syrian refugees into cities already crowded with refugees from the Iraq war.
At one point, Gore's presentation showed a slide of Pope Francis. ''How about this Pope?'' Gore said.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, a Vatican official who helped draft the Pope's anticipated encyclical on the environment, said recently that the planet was getting warmer and that Christians needed to address the problem. Gore said he looks forward to release of the Pope's document, expected in June or July.
''I'm not a Catholic,'' Gore said, ''but I could be persuaded to become one.''
Copyright (C) 2015, Chicago Tribune
EPA Wants to Monitor How Long Hotel Guests Spend in the Shower | Washington Free Beacon
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:11
BY:Elizabeth HarringtonMarch 17, 2015 5:00 am
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants hotels to monitor how much time its guests spend in the shower.
The agency is spending $15,000 to create a wireless system that will track how much water a hotel guest uses to get them to ''modify their behavior.''
''Hotels consume a significant amount of water in the U.S. and around the world,'' an EPA grant to the University of Tulsa reads. ''Most hotels do not monitor individual guest water usage and as a result, millions of gallons of potable water are wasted every year by hotel guests.''
''The proposed work aims to develop a novel low cost wireless device for monitoring water use from hotel guest room showers,'' it said. ''This device will be designed to fit most new and existing hotel shower fixtures and will wirelessly transmit hotel guest water usage data to a central hotel accounting system.''
The funding is going toward creating a prototype and market analysis for the device. The goal of the project is to change the behavior of Americans when they stay at hotels.
''This technology will provide hotel guests with the ability to monitor their daily water online or using a smartphone app and will assist hotel guest in modifying their behavior to help conserve water,'' the grant said.
The project was filed under ''Water conservation,'' ''Urban water planning,'' and ''Sustainable water management.''
The EPA also has a WaterSense program that challenges hotels to track their water use and upgrade their restrooms with low-flow toilets and showerheads.
The program also encourages ''linen and towel reuse programs'' in guest rooms.
The EPA is concerned that the average shower, which lasts just eight minutes, uses 18 gallons of water, and has asked Americans to reduce their shower length by at least one minute.
Tyler W. Johannes, Ph.D., an associate professor in the University of Tulsa's School of Chemical Engineering who is working on the project, told the Washington Free Beacon that the researchers hope to see the technology ''adopted by all major hotels and used across the country.''
He said the device seeks to get hotel guests to limit their showers to seven minutes as a start.
Johannes and his team assumed the average hotel shower lasts 8.2 minutes, using 17.2 gallons of water per guest per shower.
''Initially our device/app seeks to get hotel guests to reduce their water use by 10 percent or to reduce their showers by about one minute,'' he said.
Johannes provided a link to Home Water Works, which recommends taking a five minute shower to reduce water use.
The website, which is a project of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, also suggests watering plants with discarded cold water from showers that take a long time to heat up, and taking ''navy showers.''
''The method requires three steps: 1) turn on water to rinse body and hair; 2) turn off water while shampooing hair and washing body with soap and washcloth; 3) resume water flow and rinse off all shampoo and soap,'' the group said. ''Using this technique, the total duration of water flow can easily be reduced to 5 minutes or less.''
Following publication of this story, EPA deputy press secretary Laura Allen, said the ''EPA is not monitoring how much time hotel guests spend in the shower.''
''Let us be very clear, EPA is not monitoring how much time hotel guests spend in the shower,'' Allen said. ''As part of the People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3), a student design competition for sustainability, students at the University of Tulsa are conducting research to develop a novel low-cost wireless device for monitoring water use from hotel guest room showers. The marketplace, not EPA, will decide if there is a demand for this type of technology. It's ultimately up to hotels to use technology like the monitors being developed at the University of Tulsa. EPA is encouraging creativity with water conservation efforts.''
ISIS releases SIGN LANGAUGE propaganda video featuring two deaf mutes | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:11
Men claim to be deaf mute brothers working as traffic police in Mosul, IraqThey demonstrate their job while urging European Muslims to go and fightFighters pledge to 'slaughter' Britain, America and their Arabian alliesAt the end of the film they are shown firing missiles at Kurdish troops By Chris Pleasance for MailOnline
Published: 22:22 EST, 8 March 2015 | Updated: 06:00 EST, 9 March 2015
The Islamic State has released a new propaganda video showing two deaf fighters speaking in sign language and urging more Westerners to join the terror group.
The video is titled 'From Who Excused [sic] To Those Not Excused' - suggesting that disability is no excuse for not serving for ISIS.
In the five minute clip the two men, who are deaf-mutes and brothers, are shown working as traffic police in Iraq's second city Mosul, which has been under ISIS control since last summer.
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Two deaf-mute brothers who claim to be fighting for ISIS in Iraq have taken part in the group's latest propaganda video, in an attempt to recruit more people with disabilities to fight for the terror group
The footage, which features the Islamic State flag in the top right hand corner, also shows them working for the traffic police in Mosul, in an attempt to depict an normal life as part of the terror group's Caliphate
Speaking in sign language with English and Arabic subtitles, one of the men says: 'I am a deaf mute who works in the traffic police in the Islamic State with my brother Abu Abdur-Rahman.
'As for my message to the apostate peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) we will strike you soon, by Allah's permission. I am living in a land in which Allah's sharia is established.'
Wearing black jumpsuits, ammunition pouches and carrying what appear to be M16 assault rifles, the pair also speak about their desire to 'slaughter' their enemies including Britain, America, France and Italy, saying 'you will not stop our advance'.
The fighters also threaten Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and those who have allied with the West, vowing to destroy them.
In the final section of the slickly produced and professionally edited film, the brothers are shown assembling simple rocket launchers which they claim are used to fire at Kurdish fighters.
The weapons consist of little more than crudely made explosives balanced on a metal frame which is tilted upwards and held in place using a few rocks.
In the last seconds of the film, which features the Islamic State's logo in the top right hand corner, one of the men presses a trigger, launching the rockets.
ISIS use sign language to recruit deaf fighters
The last seconds of the film show the pair wiring up and launching two crude missiles which they claim are being aimed at Kurdish peshmerga fighters
Alex Kassirer, a researcher at Flashpoint Intelligence, who spoke to NBC News, said the video 'represents an attempt by the group to recruit other physically or otherwise impaired individuals, as well as demonstrates the multifaceted responsibilities of those in its ranks.'
ISIS's ability to recruit western jihadis using online propaganda films and its monthly magazine, Dabiq, is well documented, and the films often feature fighters speaking about their daily lives, in an attempt to present life under the extremist Caliphate in a positive light.
However this is thought to be the first film which deliberately features disabled people in an attempt to recruit more from Europe and the West.
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Anonymous released 9,200 ISIS supporter Twitter account names to apply pressure on Twitter to suspend them
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:47
The #OpISIS campaign was launched earlier this year by Anonymous, the hacker group and they claim that they have disrupted many websites, email accounts and VPN connections that were related to ISIS. This time the hacker team has been teaming up with GhostSec and Ctrlsec (two other hacker teams) and released 9,200 Twitter account names as a part of #OpISIS.
A member of Anonymous involved in the operation told IBTimes UK:
''This is historic amongst the digital world as it's the first time these groups have come together for something this large, Usually they are very closed off and not willing to work outside of their circles but this has become so large of a problem they're willing to form an alliance for what is seen as a greater good. The outcome of hundreds of hackers across all three major groups is the largest compiled and verified list ever to be released to the public.''
The @xrsone, the Twitter account that has released the account names is highly encouraging people to share these accounts to apply pressure on Twitter to remove or suspend them as soon as possible:
ISIS uses what is known as swarm accounts to stay active despite Twitter's suspensions. On March 2, ISIS threatened Twitter founder and other employees for blocking ISIS supporter accounts.
Also Check: US officials struggling to arrest JPMorgan Hackers
A published article from Foreignpolicy written by Emerson Brooking, has some interesting ideas for fighting against ISIS online activities. The article is titled ''The U.S. Government Should Pay Anonymous in Bitcoin to Fight ISIS'' which clearly explains itself:
''How is it that the US government, capable of coordinating a complex air campaign from nearly 6,000 miles away, remains virtually powerless against the Islamic State's online messaging and distribution network?
''If the United States is struggling to counter the Islamic State's dispersed, rapidly regenerative online presence, why not turn to groups native to this digital habitat? Why not embrace the efforts of third-party hackers like Anonymous to dismantle the Islamic State '' and even give them the resources to do so?''
Common Core
Anne Smith - Teacher in spé
Hello Adam,
I wanted to thank both you and John for the recent shows which have been top-notch. I sent in a donation of $40 via paypal but it didn't allow me to send any message.
I just wanted to thank you both for your courage, as a soon-to-be teacher I am being forced to prepare students for the PARCC. I am surprisingly the only person in my graduate program that sees any problem with it (or voices my concern).
Also, thought I would share some Deaf culture news: apparently ISIS is now using sign language to recruit. It's great to know that they are equal-opportunity terrorists.
Many thanks,
And as always: if you see something, say nothing and drink to forget.
PARRC Glitches
In the morning sir,
I'm just catching up on show 703 and 705 and wanted to share some information concerning the PARCC or "park" tests here in NJ.
This weekend we had a St Patrick's Day party and my aunt and uncle were both there. Both are NJ teachers, my aunt northern Jersey teaches second grade and uncle in central Jersey and teaches high school.
The topic? PARCC of course. Or as the teachers joke, "What's PARCC spelled backwards? Crap." They were asking how my daughter did with her testing. She is in fourth grade and was really confused. I told her not to worry because the test didn't effect her grade. Their principal told them that it does, vice principal told them it didn't matter and her teacher said if the kids did bad, she would lose her job. No pressure right?
My Aunt's class of second graders didn't "officially" have to take the test, but rather a practice test. She said it was plagued with tech "glitches". She was unable to start the test for two hours due to sitting on the phone with Pearson because her log in didn't work.
Once she was able to start the test, the kids were getting stressed out because they would answer in question, click next, and the site would jump three or four questions ahead. This would show that the child never answered those questions and they were unable to go back.
Worse, the school doesn't have enough computers and there are talks about raiding the teacher's retirement fund to off set the expense.
My Uncle has similar stories about lack of computers causing the testing to take almost two and a half weeks.
No one protested or walked out of their schools but they heard plenty of occurrences in surrounding towns.
All is great here in New Jersey…Not.
Hope you're flight back to Gitmo in a safe one.
Chris Mader
PARCC | Home
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:38
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers.
These high quality K''12 assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy give teachers, schools, students, and parents better information whether students are on track in their learning and for success after high school, and tools to help teachers customize learning to meet student needs.
Six Week Cycle
FBI Pins 'Terrorist' Nametag On 'Retarded Fool' Without A 'Pot To Piss In' | Techdirt
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 03:45
The FBI's preference for easily-investigated terrorism is well-documented. We're routinely assured that all sorts of domestic surveillance tech and agency opacity is necessary to protect us from a whole host of threats, but for the most part, the terrorists "apprehended" by the FBI seem to be people who've had the misfortune of being "befriended" by undercover agents and/or confidential informants.When over 90% of the funding, idea generation, transportation and motivation comes from those saving us from terrorism, we have reason to be worried. While the FBI performs its predatory handcrafting of "extremists," the real terrorists -- who don't need someone else to provide weapons, money and motivation -- are still going about the business of terrorism.
This isn't to say that all, or even a majority, of the FBI's anti-terrorist resources are devoted to digging a hole and filling it back up. But a portion of it is, and that portion is squandered completely. And these numbers, gathered by The Intercept, put the squandered portion at nearly 50% of the total.
Informant-led sting operations are central to the FBI's counterterrorism program. Of 508 defendants prosecuted in federal terrorism-related cases in the decade after 9/11, 243 were involved with an FBI informant, while 158 were the targets of sting operations.
The (supposed) terrorist in this case -- who was 25 years old when FBI agents dressed him up as a terrorist (having provided the weapons and bomb-making material) and recorded a so-called "martyrdom video" written and directed by undercover agents -- was broke and apparently unable to aspire to anything, much less a series of bombings culminating in death-by-suicide-vest.The agents referred to Sami Osmakac as a "retarded fool" without a "pot to piss in." According to The Intercept's in-depth report, Osmakac couldn't have financed his own glorious Muslim "revenge." He couldn't even afford to replace the dead battery in his '94 Honda. He had no money, no social life and no wheels. And yet, the FBI portrayed him as capable of doing the following:
After recording this video in a rundown Days Inn in Tampa, Florida, Osmakac prepared to deliver what he thought was a car bomb to a popular Irish bar. According to the government, Osmakac was a dangerous, lone-wolf terrorist who would have bombed the Tampa bar, then headed to a local casino where he would have taken hostages, before finally detonating his suicide vest once police arrived.
And yet, when it came down to it, the FBI had to supply everything, including a ride.The FBI provided all of the weapons seen in Osmakac's martyrdom video. The bureau also gave Osmakac the car bomb he allegedly planned to detonate, and even money for a taxi so he could get to where the FBI needed him to go.
To the government, Osmakac was a dangerous "lone wolf." To several psychiatrists and psychologists, he was a "very disturbed" young man. To the agents actually on the case, he was a joke -- a small-minded wannabe with minimal aspirations and "pipe dreams." The audio captured after the "martyrdom video" -- which was never meant for public consumption -- contains plenty of mockery from his FBI handlers.''When he was putting stuff on, he acted like he was nervous,'' one of the speakers tells Amir. ''He kept backing away '...''
''Yeah,'' Amir agrees.
''He looked nervous on the camera,'' someone else adds.
''Yeah, he got excited. I think he got excited when he saw the stuff,'' Amir says, referring to the weapons that were laid out on the hotel bed.
''Oh, yeah, you could tell,'' yet another person chimes in. ''He was all like, like a, like a six-year-old in a toy store.''
Because Osmakac couldn't be counted on to follow through with the FBI's conceived plan, agents had to go on the offensive. They forced $500 into Osmakac's hands to use as a down payment on weapons. To the DOJ, the money that was hesitantly accepted was an indicator of Osmakac's willingness to kill for his ideology. But the FBI couldn't do it directly, or it would be open to claims of entrapment. Instead, it laundered it through a confidential informant -- who was also Osmakac's employer and who was paying the would-be terrorist out of his FBI paycheck.Then, the FBI helped Osmakac load up a vehicle with pretend bombs and real weapons and pounced as soon as the task was completed. To be sure, Osmakac was a disturbed man with dreams of becoming a devout Muslim in another country, but he was also professionally diagnosed with schizophrenia -- something that certainly would have made him appear unhinged and potentially dangerous.
But would he have turned terrorist without the FBI's extensive help? That's a bit harder to answer, especially since the FBI kind of took a lot of the uncertainty out of the equation. Rather than simply surveil a possible threat, it stepped in to push him in a direction he'd only talked about -- and even then, in mostly delusional terms. But this is what passes for "investigation" with the FBI: sting operations, overactive informants and undercover agents, and no small amount of self-congratulatory backpatting when all the work is done.
How the FBI Created a Terrorist - The Intercept
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:37
IN THE VIDEO, Sami Osmakac is tall and gaunt, with jutting cheekbones and a scraggly beard. He sits cross-legged on the maroon carpet of the hotel room, wearing white cotton socks and pants that rise up his legs to reveal his thin, pale ankles. An AK-47 leans against the closet door behind him. What appears to be a suicide vest is strapped to his body. In his right hand is a pistol.
''Recording,'' says an unseen man behind the camera.
''This video is to all the Muslim youth and to all the Muslims worldwide,'' Osmakac says, looking straight into the lens. ''This is a call to the truth. It is the call to help and aid in the party of Allah '... and pay him back for every sister that has been raped and every brother that has been tortured and raped.''
Osmakac in his ''martyrdom video.'' (YouTube)
The recording goes on for about eight minutes. Osmakac says he'll avenge the deaths of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere. He refers to Americans as kuffar, an Arabic term for nonbelievers. ''Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,'' he says. ''Woman for a woman, child for a child.''Osmakac was 25 years old on January 7, 2012, when he filmed what the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice would later call a ''martyrdom video.'' He was also broke and struggling with mental illness.
After recording this video in a rundown Days Inn in Tampa, Florida, Osmakac prepared to deliver what he thought was a car bomb to a popular Irish bar. According to the government, Osmakac was a dangerous, lone-wolf terrorist who would have bombed the Tampa bar, then headed to a local casino where he would have taken hostages, before finally detonating his suicide vest once police arrived.
But if Osmakac was a terrorist, he was only one in his troubled mind and in the minds of ambitious federal agents. The government could not provide any evidence that he had connections to international terrorists. He didn't have his own weapons. He didn't even have enough money to replace the dead battery in his beat-up, green 1994 Honda Accord.
Osmakac was the target of an elaborately orchestrated FBI sting that involved a paid informant, as well as FBI agents and support staff working on the setup for more than three months. The FBI provided all of the weapons seen in Osmakac's martyrdom video. The bureau also gave Osmakac the car bomb he allegedly planned to detonate, and even money for a taxi so he could get to where the FBI needed him to go. Osmakac was a deeply disturbed young man, according to several of the psychiatrists and psychologists who examined him before trial. He became a ''terrorist'' only after the FBI provided the means, opportunity and final prodding necessary to make him one.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI has arrested dozens of young men like Osmakac in controversial counterterrorism stings. One recent case involved a rudderless 20-year-old in Cincinnati, Ohio, named Christopher Cornell, who conspired with an FBI informant '-- seeking ''favorable treatment'' for his own ''criminal exposure'' '-- in a harebrained plot to build pipe bombs and attack Capitol Hill. And just last month, on February 25, the FBI arrested and charged two Brooklyn men for plotting, with the aid of a paid informant, to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State. The likelihood that the men would have stepped foot in Syria of their own accord seems low; only after they met the informant, who helped with travel applications and other hurdles, did their planning take shape.
FBI Tampa Florida Field Office. (Trevor Aaronson)
Trevor Aaronson
Informant-led sting operations are central to the FBI's counterterrorism program. Of 508 defendants prosecuted in federal terrorism-related cases in the decade after 9/11, 243 were involved with an FBI informant, while 158 were the targets of sting operations. Of those cases, an informant or FBI undercover operative led 49 defendants in their terrorism plots, similar to the way Osmakac was led in his.In these cases, the FBI says paid informants and undercover agents are foiling attacks before they occur. But the evidence suggests '-- and a recent Human Rights Watch report on the subjectillustrates '-- that the FBI isn't always nabbing would-be terrorists so much as setting up mentally ill or economically desperate people to commit crimes they could never have accomplished on their own.
At least in Osmakac's case, FBI agents seem to agree with that criticism, though they never intended for that admission to become public. In the Osmakac sting, the undercover FBI agent went by the pseudonym ''Amir Jones.'' He's the guy behind the camera in Osmakac's martyrdom video. Amir, posing as a dealer who could provide weapons, wore a hidden recording device throughout the sting.
The device picked up conversations, including, apparently, back at the FBI's Tampa Field Office, a gated compound beneath the flight path of Tampa International Airport, among agents and employees who assumed their words were private and protected. These unintentional recordings offer an exclusive look inside an FBI counterterrorism sting, and suggest that, even in the eyes of the FBI agents involved, these sting targets aren't always the threatening figures they are made out to be.
Film by Jeff Stimmel (no audio)
ON JANUARY 7, 2012, after the martyrdom video was recorded, Amir and others poked fun at Osmakac and the little movie the FBI had helped him produce.
''When he was putting stuff on, he acted like he was nervous,'' one of the speakers tells Amir. ''He kept backing away '...''
''Yeah,'' Amir agrees.
''He looked nervous on the camera,'' someone else adds.
''Yeah, he got excited. I think he got excited when he saw the stuff,'' Amir says, referring to the weapons that were laid out on the hotel bed.
''Oh, yeah, you could tell,'' yet another person chimes in. ''He was all like, like a, like a six-year-old in a toy store.''
In other recorded conservations, Richard Worms, the FBI squad supervisor, describes Osmakac as a ''retarded fool''who doesn't have ''a pot to piss in.'' The agents talk about the prosecutors' eagerness for a ''Hollywood ending'' for their sting. They refer to Osmakac's targets as ''wishy-washy,''and his terrorist ambitions as a ''pipe-dream scenario.''The transcripts show FBI agents struggled to put $500 in Osmakac's hands so he could make a down payment on the weapons'-- something the Justice Department insisted on to demonstrate Osmakac's capacity for and commitment to terrorism.
''The money represents he's willing to do it, because if we can't show him killing, we can show him giving money,'' FBI Special Agent Taylor Reed explains in one conversation.
These transcripts were never supposed to be revealed in their entirety. The government argued that their release could harm the U.S. government by revealing ''law enforcement investigative strategy and methods.'' U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli not only sealed the transcripts, but also placed them under a protective order.
The files, provided by a confidential source to The Intercept in partnership with the Investigative Fund, provide a rare behind-the-scenes account of an FBI counterterrorism sting, revealing how federal agents leveraged their relationship with a paid informant and plotted for months to turn the hapless Sami Osmakac into a terrorist. Neither the FBI Tampa Field Office nor FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. responded to requests from The Intercept for comment on the Osmakac case or the remarks made by FBI agents and employees about the sting.
Osmakac as a boy. (Photo courtesy of the Osmakac family)
Photo courtesy of the Osmakac family
SAMI OSMAKAC WAS 13 years old when he came to the United States with his family. Fleeing violence in Kosovo in 1992, they had first traveled to Germany, where they stayed until 2000, when they were granted entrance to the U.S. He was the youngest of eight children, and he and his older brother Avni struggled at first to adapt to a new land, a new language and a new culture.
''We came to Tampa, and at first we lived in this really bad neighborhood,'' Avni recalls, wearing blue jeans, spotless white Nikes and a white New York Yankees Starter cap. ''It was tough, but as we learned the language, things got easier. We adapted.''
The Osmakac family opened a popular bakery in St. Petersburg, across the bay from Tampa. They were Muslim, but they rarely attended the mosque. They didn't usually fast during Ramadan, and Sami's sisters did not cover their hair. Growing up, Sami wasn't particularly drawn to Islam either, according to his family. He suffered the concerns many young men in the United States do, like getting a job and saving up for a car.
In July 2009, one of Sami's older brothers had returned to Kosovo to get married, and just before Sami was to fly to the Balkans with his brother Avni for the wedding, he had a terrible dream. ''An angel grabbed me by the face and pushed me into the hellfire,'' he would later tell a psychologist. At the wedding, Avni took a photograph of Sami; he's clean-shaven and wearing a pressed white suit. He looks happy. On the flight back from the wedding, during the final leg of the journey to Tampa, the plane Sami and his brother were on hit turbulence, losing altitude quickly. ''I thought we were going to crash,'' Avni remembers. Sami looked horrified.
Osmakac in 2009. (Photo courtesy of Osmakac family)
Photo courtesy of the Osmakac family
That's when something changed in him, according to his family and mental health experts hired by both the government and the defense. Osmakac began to isolate himself from his siblings and attend the mosque frequently. He spoke of dreams about killing himself, and chastised family members for being more concerned about this life than what comes after.In December 2009, Osmakac met a red-bearded Muslim named Russell Dennison at a local mosque. Dennison, who was American-born, was described by Osmakac as a ''revert.'' Muslims believe that all people are born with an understanding of the unity of Allah, so when a non-Muslim embraces Islam, some Muslims refer to this as reversion rather than conversion. Dennison went by the chosen name Abdullah; he says in a YouTube video that after being introduced to Islam, his faith grew stronger during a prison term in Pennsylvania.Osmakac's dress changed after he met Dennison. Whereas he had once saved his money to buy nice shoes and Starter caps, he suddenly began to dress like Dennison, according to family members '-- cutting his pants high at the ankle, buying cheap plastic sandals and sometimes wearing a keffiyeh on his head.He refused to cut his beard, which he struggled to grow with any thickness, and he wouldn't wear deodorant that contained alcohol.
It wasn't just his physical appearance that was changing; by the beginning of 2010, his family also believed he was deteriorating mentally.He'd become paranoid and delusional. His skin was pale.He was sleeping on the floor of his bedroom and complained about nightmares in which he burned in hell.He stopped working at the family bakery because they served pork products.Near the end of the year, his family repeatedly asked him to see a doctor. He rebuffed them, saying that the doctors would want to kill him.(Osmakac later told a psychiatrist he in fact ''was scared to go to a mental home.'')
Russell Dennison (YouTube)
Meanwhile, Osmakac's friendship intensified with the red-bearded revert. Dennison, whose videos on YouTube are posted under the username ''Chekdamize7,'' frequently preached about Islam and ranted about the corruption of nonbelievers. Osmakac's family believed that Dennison encouraged his extreme views, often recruiting him to make videos. Among their efforts was a two-part series in which they argued combatively about religion with Christians they confronted on the sidewalk.Over the next year, Osmakac, who was without steady employment, established a reputation as a firebrand in the local Muslim community. He was kicked out of two mosques, and lashed out at local Muslim leaders in a YouTube video, calling them kuffar and infidels. In March 2011, Osmakac made his way to Turkey, in the hopes of traveling by land to Saudi Arabia, according to his brother. He'd been told that holy water from Mecca was a cure-all, Avni says '-- that if he drank it, the nightmares would cease. But Osmakac never got much farther than Istanbul, after encountering multiple transportation mishaps, and getting turned away at the Syrian border by officials who refused to let him cross without a visa. He quickly ran out of money, lost his will and called home for help. His family in Tampa helped purchase a plane ticket for him to return to Florida.
Osmakac would later tell several mental health professionals that he was in fact more interested in traveling to Afghanistan or Iraq to fight American troops, and perhaps even find a bride there. ''If I got to Afghanistan or Iraq, someone would marry me to their daughter,'' he mentioned to one psychologist.Osmakac got back in touch with Dennison in Florida, and would talk often of returning to a Muslim land so he could marry.
Osmakac's altercation with Keffer, April 16, 2011. (YouTube)
ON APRIL 16, 2011, Osmakac was outside of a Lady Gaga concert in Tampa. Larry Keffer, a Christian street preacher with short-cropped brown hair and a thick, white beard, was outside the concert as well. Keffer was wearing a fishing hat, a green camouflage shirt and blue pants.
''Sin is a slippery slope,'' Keffer yelled through a megaphone to the Lady Gaga fans as someone else recorded the demonstration.
Most of the crowd ignored Keffer. A few concertgoers taunted him. He taunted them back. A police officer directing traffic refused to acknowledge the demonstration, while Keffer ranted about Lady Gaga and the devil. Osmakac finally confronted Keffer, pointing his finger in the preacher's face.
''You infidel, I know the Bible better than you,'' Osmakac told the preacher.
''What's your message?'' Keffer replied, talking into the megaphone.
''My message is, if y'all don't accept Islam, y'all going to hell,'' Osmakac said.
The men continued to provoke each other as people milled into the concert venue.
''Go have yourself a bacon sandwich,'' Keffer told Osmakac.
''You infidel,'' Osmakac said. ''You infidel.''
As the argument escalated, Osmakac charged one of Keffer's fellow demonstrators and head-butted him, bloodying the man's mouth and breaking a dental cap. He then charged Keffer. Each wrapped his arms around the other, turning and twisting, until they broke free. The police officer managing traffic charged Osmakac with battery, giving him notice to appear in court. Osmakac was later arrested after failing to show up, Avni says, and his family had to bail him out; in just a few months' time, Osmakac's red-bearded friend would lead him straight into an FBI trap.
Java Village, owned by FBI informant Abdul Raouf Dabus. (Google Maps)
SAMI OSMAKAC AND Russell Dennison lived in Pinellas County, across the bay from Tampa. In September 2011, Dennison told Osmakac he knew a guy who ran a Middle Eastern market in Tampa. They should go see him, Dennison suggested. To this day, Osmakac doesn't know why Dennison suggested this, or why he agreed to accompany him on the 45-minute drive to the store, called Java Village, near the Busch Gardens theme park.
When they arrived, Dennison introduced Osmakac to the owner, Abdul Raouf Dabus, a Palestinian. Dabus had flyers in his store promoting democracy, and he and Osmakac argued about the subject, with Osmakac contending that democracy and Islam were incompatible.
''Democracy makes the forbidden legal and the legal forbidden, and that's greater infidelity,'' Osmakac would tell Dabus. ''Whoever enforces it is an infidel, is a Satan. Hamas is Satan. Muslim Brotherhood is Satan '... If you don't accept that God is the only legislator, then you become a polytheist, and that's why I'm telling you.''
Osmakac didn't know that Dabus would become an FBI informant. His work for the government has until now been secret.
According to the government's version of events, Osmakac asked Dabus if he had Al Qaeda flags, or black banners. Osmakac disputes this, saying he never asked anyone for Al Qaeda flags.
Whatever the truth, the sting had just begun.
A psychologist appointed by the court later diagnosed Osmakac with schizoaffective disorder.
''He asked me if he can work a couple of hours, working and other stuff,'' Dabus said in a phone interview from Gaza, where he now lives. ''But it wasn't really like a job. So basically, he was helping whenever he comes. And he got paid.''Dabus acknowledged he was paying Osmakac as the FBI was paying him.
In Tampa's Muslim community, Dabus is well known. A former University of Mississippi math professor, Dabus was an associate of Sami Al-Arian, the University of South Florida professor who was indicted for allegedly providing material support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, in a case prosecutors argued proved successful intelligence-gathering under the Patriot Act. Dabus had worked at the Islamic Academy of Florida, an elementary and secondary private school for Muslims that Al-Arian had helped to found in Temple Terrace, a suburb of Tampa.
Dabus was among the witnesses in the Al-Arian trial, and his testimony was damaging to the government's case. He testified that he had known Al-Arian only to raise money for charitable purposes, not for violence. During cross-examination, Dabus told the defense that he feared that Al-Arian's trial meant Palestinians in the United States could no longer speak openly about the occupied territories. ''There is no longer any security for the dog that barks in this country,'' Dabus said.
He also questioned whether Al-Arian's indictment suggested Muslims had become a new target for the U.S. government. ''Our kids, will they have a future here?'' he asked. ''I don't know.''
While Al-Arian would continue to battle federal prosecutors, living under house arrest in Virginia until finally agreeing to deportation to Turkey this year, Dabus remained in Tampa, active in the local religious and business community. But he acquired a reputation during this time for running up debts. From 2005 to 2012, he faced foreclosure actions on his home and businesses, as well as breach-of-contract and small-claims cases.In fact, when Dabus met Osmakac, he was in rough financial straits, records show. In July 2011, the bank holding the mortgage on his business's building was granted approval to sell the property through foreclosure; Dabus owed $779,447.
It's unclear why Dabus became an FBI informant, or for how long he worked with the government. He says he was doing his civic duty in reporting Osmakac and the young man's interest in acquiring weapons, and had not previously worked with the FBI, though an FBI affidavit in the Osmakac case described Dabus as having ''provided reliable information in the past.''Money is a common motivator for FBI counterterrorism informants, who can earn $100,000 or more on a single case. Dabus estimates the FBI paid him $20,000 for his role in the Osmakac sting, though insists money did not motivate him.
On November 30, 2011, after Osmakac had begun working for Dabus, the two drove around the Tampa area together as Dabus secretly recorded their conversation for the FBI. Osmakac asked if Dabus could help him obtain guns and an explosive belt. However, transcripts suggest he was also having trouble separating reality from fantasy.''In the dream, I was shown that everywhere you go, everything you do, hush your mouth,'' Osmakac says. ''Don't say nothing. So, yes, the dream is real. Allah showed me that dream for a reason. And he's also protected me for a reason.''
A psychologist appointed by the court later diagnosed Osmakac with schizoaffective disorder.
Osmakac and undercover FBI agent ''Amir Jones.'' (YouTube)
ABOUT THREE WEEKS after this conversation, on instructions from the FBI, Dabus introduced Osmakac to ''Amir Jones,'' an undercover agent. He might be able to help Osmakac obtain weapons, Dabus told him.
''What are you looking for, so that I know if it's something I can get you or not?'' Amir asks Osmakac.
''I'm looking for, even if '... one AK, at least,'' Osmakac says.
''And maybe a couple of Uzi, 'cause they're better to hide.''
''OK. OK.''
''If you can get the long extension like for the AK and the Uzi, the long magazines'--''
''They're called banana magazine,'' Amir says. ''OK.''
''And '... couple of grenades, 10 grenades minimum, if you can,'' Osmakac says.
''Now, and that's it?'' Amir asks.
''And a [explosive] belt.''
For all Osmakac's talk, the FBI's undercover videos suggest he was less a hardened terrorist and more a comic book villain. While driving around Tampa with Amir, a hidden FBI camera near the dashboard, Osmakac described a plot to bomb simultaneously the several large bridges that span Tampa Bay.
''That's five bridges, man,'' Osmakac says. ''All you need is five more people '.... This would crush everything, man. They would have no more food coming in. Nobody would have work. These people would commit suicide!''
Amir Jones, behind the wheel of the car, offered a hearty laugh.
BACK AMONG FEDERAL law enforcement agents, according to the secret transcripts of their private conversations, there were plenty of reasons to joke at Osmakac's expense. FBI employees talked about how Osmakac didn't have any money, how he thought the U.S. spy satellites were watching him, and how he had no concept of what weapons cost on the black market.
The source of their amusement was also their primary source of concern. Osmakac was, in the FBI's own words, ''a retarded fool'' who didn't have any capacity to plan and execute an attack on his own. That was a challenge for the FBI.
''Once [the source] gives it to him, it's his money, whether we orchestrated it or not.'''' Special Agent Taylor Reed
''Part of the problem is they want to catch him in the act,'' FBI Special Agent Steve Dixon says, referring to federal prosecutors. ''The attorneys do and stuff, but the problem is you can't show up at a nightclub with an AK-47, in the middle of a nightclub, and pretend to start shooting people, or I mean people '--''
''Right,'' another speaker interrupts.
'''-- would get killed, just a stampede, just to get away from him,'' Dixon finishes.
In constructing the sting, FBI agents were in communication with prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, the transcripts show. The prosecutors needed the FBI to show Osmakac giving Amir Jones money for the weapons. Over several conversations, the FBI agents struggled to create a situation that would allow the penniless Osmakac to hand cash to the undercover agent.
''How do we come up with enough money for them to pay for everything?'' asks FBI Special Agent Taylor Reed in one recording.
''Right now, we have money issues,'' Amir admits in a separate conversation.
Their advantage was that Dabus, the informant, had given Osmakac a job. If they could get Dabus to pay Osmakac, and then make sure Osmakac used his paycheck to make a payment toward the weapons, the agents could satisfy the Justice Department.''Once he gives it to him, it's his money, whether we orchestrated it or not,'' Reed says.
In conversations about this plan, FBI agents refer to Dabus as the ''source,'' short for confidential human source. ''Jake'' is FBI Special Agent Jacob Collins, who transcripts indicate worked closely with Dabus.
''The source has to tell him, 'Hey, listen! You are gonna have to give [Amir] the three hundred bucks,''' says Richard Worms, the squad supervisor. ''And that's something Jake has the source tell him. 'And I'll take care of the rest '... and here's three hundred of my money for you.' Is that something you accept?''
''That's a feasible scenario,'' Amir Jones answers.
''That's what you're going to do,'' Worms says. ''That way, the source has to be coached what to do.''
In order to avoid being vulnerable to entrapment claims, the FBI agents didn't want their money being used to purchase their weapons in the sting. So they laundered the money through Dabus. In an interview, Dabus implicitly confirmed that arrangement, describing the $20,000 he estimates he received from the FBI as a mix of expenses and compensation.
''It also shows good intent,'' Worms says of giving Osmakac the money, according to the transcripts. ''He was willing to cough up almost his entire paycheck to get this thing going.''
''That does look really good,'' concurs FBI Special Agent Taylor Reed.
Osmakac and Amir at a Days Inn in Tampa on January 7, 2012. (YouTube)
AMIR AND OSMAKAC arranged to meet at a Days Inn in Tampa on January 7, 2012. The FBI had the room wired with two cameras, a color one facing the headboard and a black-and-white one looking over the bed and toward the closet door, in front of which Osmakac would film his martyrdom video. Just as the FBI had orchestrated, Osmakac provided the cash to Amir as a down payment on the weapons.
The hotel surveillance video starts at 8:38 p.m. Osmakac is kneeling down on the floor and praying. He then stands and greets Amir, who has laid out the weapons on the bed. There are six grenades, a fully automatic AK-47 with magazines, a handgun and an explosive belt. Outside, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device is assembled in the bed of Amir's truck. None of the guns or explosives was functional, but Osmakac didn't know that.
''You know, they saying they like three trillion in debt, they like 200 trillion in debt,'' Osmakac had said, describing their plot. ''And after all this money they're spending for Homeland Security and all this, this is gonna be crushing them.''
Amir shows Osmakac the weapons one by one. He demonstrates how to reload the guns, and how to arm and throw the grenades, as Osmakac had never received weapons training.
''This one's fully automatic,'' Amir says, as Osmakac holds the AK-47.
Osmakac then slips on the suicide vest, as Amir showed him, and sits down in front of the closet, where he'll record his video. Amir is seated in a chair facing Osmakac, holding the digital camera out in front of him.
The FBI was making a movie '-- all the agents needed was, in their words, a ''Hollywood ending.'' Osmakac would give them that final scene.
Osmakac had settled on an Irish bar, MacDinton's, as his target. The supposed plan, which Osmakac dreamed up with Amir, was for Osmakac to detonate the bomb outside the bar, and then unleash a second attack at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, before finally detonating his explosive vest once the cops surrounded him.
But that didn't happen. Instead, FBI agents arrested him in the hotel parking lot. He was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction '-- a weapon the FBI had assembled just for him.
After the arrest, according to the sealed transcripts, the FBI agents intended to celebrate their efforts over beers.
''The case agent usually buys,'' one of the FBI employees is recorded as saying. Another adds: ''That's true '-- the case agent usually pops for everybody.''
Osmakac loading the fake car bomb with Amir. (YouTube)
HOW OSMAKAC CAME to the attention of law enforcement in the first place is still unclear. In a December 2012 Senate floor speech, Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, cited Osmakac's case as one of nine that demonstrated the effectiveness of surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act. Senate legal counsel later walked back those comments, saying they were misconstrued. Osmakac is among terrorism defendants who were subjected to some sort of FISA surveillance, according to court records, but whether he was under individual surveillance or identified through bulk collection is unknown. Discovery material referenced in a defense motion included a surveillance log coversheet with the description, ''CT-GLOBAL EXTREMIST INSPIRED.''
If he first came onto the FBI's radar as a result of eavesdropping, then it's plausible that as part of the sting, the FBI manufactured another explanation for his targeting. This is a long-running, if controversial process known as ''parallel construction,'' which has also been used by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration when drug offenders are identified through bulk collection and then prosecuted for drug crimes.
In court records, the FBI maintained that Osmakac came to agents' attention through Dabus. The informant reached out to the FBI after meeting Osmakac, and soon offered him a job at Java Village.
At trial starting in May 2014, Osmakac's lawyer, George Tragos, argued that the Kosovar-American was a young man suffering from mental illness, who had been entrapped by government agents.
A difficult defense to raise, entrapment requires not only that the government create the circumstances under which a crime may be committed, but also that the defendant not be ''predisposed'' toward the crime's execution. ''This entire case is like a Hollywood script,'' Tragos told the jury, pointing out that the central piece of evidence was that Osmakac used government money to buy government weapons.
A psychologist retained by the defense, Valerie McClain, testified that Osmakac's psychotic episodes, along with other mental health issues, made him especially easy for the government to manipulate. ''When I talked to him most recently, he was still delusional,'' McClain testified. ''He still believed he could become a martyr.''Six mental health professionals examined Osmakac before his trial. Two hired by the defense and two appointed by the court diagnosed Osmakac with psychotic disorder or schizoaffective disorder. The pair hired by the prosecution said Osmakac suffered from milder mental problems, including depression and difficulty adapting to U.S. culture.
Tragos wasn't able to tell the jury that FBI agents might have agreed with McClain's assessment of Osmakac. The transcripts of the accidentally recorded conversations among FBI agents weren't allowed into evidence, but after the trial, District Judge Mary S. Scriven did agree to unseal a number of them, which were heavily redacted by the government before being entered into the court file.
Prosecutors relied on the undercover FBI recordings and Osmakac's own words to convict him. They played for the jury Osmakac's so-called martyrdom video. They showed footage of Amir slipping over Osmakac's shoulder the strap for the AK-47. They filled the courtroom with exchange after exchange of Osmakac's hateful and violent rhetoric. Prosecutors played up Osmakac's most ridiculous remarks, including his desire to bomb simultaneously the bridges that cross Tampa Bay. ''The most powerful thing you can see are the defendant's own words. His intent was to commit a violent act in America,'' prosecutor Sara Sweeney told the jury.
Following a six-hour deliberation, jurors convicted Osmakac of possessing an unregistered AK-47 and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. In November 2014, he was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison.
''I wanted to go and study the religion '... hoping that Allah is gonna cure me one day from the evil inside that I used to believe. But the doctors are saying it's not evil '-- it's mental illness.'''' Sami Osmakac
Entrapment has been argued in at least 12 trials following counterterrorism stings, and the defense has never been successful. Neither Abdul Raouf Dabus nor Russell Dennison testified in or provided depositions for Osmakac's trial.
The government couldn't produce Dabus, the FBI's informant, because he had traveled to Gaza and Tel Aviv, where he says he was receiving treatment for cancer. He says his involvement with the FBI was limited to the Osmakac case '-- to reporting a suspicious man who was asking about Al Qaeda flags. Dabus disputes the FBI's claim in court records that he was known to provide reliable information in the past.
''I did my job with them. I went away, and it is over,'' Dabus says. ''But I do not regret, and I would never regret to call again.''
Before Dabus left the country, the bank was granted approval to sell his Tampa home through foreclosure. His family owed $302,669,or about $50,000 more than the house was worth. Java Village is now shuttered. The signs are still on the outside of the building. Inside, the shelves are knocked over. Canned and dry goods litter the floor. Two dogs now guard the property.
Dennison, the red-bearded man who introduced Osmakac to Dabus, remains a mystery. He left the area shortly after Osmakac's arrest, and emails he sent in late 2012 to a mutual friend he shared with Osmakac suggest he was fighting in Syria.
Osmakac's family suspects much of Dennison's story is a lie, and that he was, and likely still is, working with government agents. How else could Dennison have so conveniently delivered Osmakac to Dabus?
Confidential FBI reports on Dennison, copies of which were provided to The Intercept, do not address whether he's been linked to a government agency. But the reports suggest the red-bearded man had a peculiar knack for becoming friendly with targets of FBI stings. After Osmakac's arrest, FBI Special Agents Jacob Collins and Steve Dixon interviewed Dennison at Tampa International Airport, according to one report.Dennison was headed to Detroit, and from there, he said he hoped to go to Jordan to teach English. Dennison described how he was in contact with Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, whose real name is Joseph Anthony Davis, a 36-year-old Seattle man who, like Osmakac, was troubled and financially struggling, lured by a paid informant into an FBI counterterrorism sting in June 2011.Abdul-Latif is serving 18 years for his crime.
Osmakac is now in USP Allenwood, a high-security prison north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
''I was manipulated by [the FBI],'' Osmakac says in a phone call from prison. He says he only wanted to move to a Muslim country, where he hoped to find a wife. Instead, he says, Dabus and the FBI exploited his mental problems and pushed him in different direction.
''I wanted to go and study the religion and get married, have children, just have nothing to do with this Western world,'' Osmakac says. ''I wanted to study Arabic and the religion in depth, hoping that Allah is gonna cure me one day from the evil inside that I used to believe. But the doctors are saying it's not evil '-- it's mental illness.''
Osmakac's family is trying to raise money for an appeal.
''If my brother was truly part of a plot to kill people, I'd be the first one in line to condemn him,'' Osmakac's brother Avni says. ''But my brother was mentally ill. We were trying to get him help. The FBI got to him first.''
This story was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.
Illustration by Jon Proctor for The Intercept
Document: U.S. vs Osmakac Exhibit 2
US turns to rewards in hunt for overseas cyber criminals
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:24
Phys.Org Mobile: US turns to rewards in hunt for overseas cyber criminalsHTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:24:58 GMT Server: Apache Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Encoding: gzip Content-Length: 4368 Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
04:40, Technology/Security
This image provided by the FBI shows the FBI's wanted poster of Evgeniy Bogachev. The FBI considers Bogachev one of the world's most prolific and brilliant cyber criminals, slapping his photos -- bald, beefy-faced and smiling faintly -- on "Wanted" fliers posted online. The Russian would be an ideal target for prosecution -- if only the Justice Department could find him. Unable to bring him into custody in the nine months since his indictment, the government has turned to a time-honored technique long used for more conventional crime: putting a bounty on Bogachev's head. (AP Photo/FBI)
The FBI considers Evgeniy Bogachev one of the world's most prolific and brilliant cyber criminals, slapping his photos'--bald, beefy-faced and smiling faintly'--on "Wanted" fliers posted online. The Russian would be an ideal target for prosecution'--if only the Justice Department could find him.
Unable to bring him into custody in the 10 months since his indictment, the government has turned to a time-honored technique long used for more conventional crime: putting a bounty on Bogachev's head.
It's too soon to say whether the $3 million reward for information leading to his arrest'--the first of its kind offered under a special State Department program'--will ever pay off. But federal officials say they intend to use the strategy in additional cyber cases involving international hackers whose whereabouts are either unknown to the U.S. government or who are holed up in nations that have little or no diplomatic relations with the United States.
"We've really not done something like this" in cyber cases, Robert Anderson, an FBI executive assistant director, said in announcing the reward. "All of a sudden, somebody's putting an 'x' on somebody, saying, 'Bring him to justice, you get $3 million.'"
The reward is also a reminder of how many accused masterminds of cyberattacks on U.S. targets remain out of reach for federal law enforcement.
Five Chinese military officials were indicted last spring on charges of siphoning away corporate secrets from the networks of major American business. Federal officials say they're committed to bringing them to justice, but they won't speak publicly about what they're doing to nab them. Experts are skeptical that the military officials will ever see the inside of a courtroom.
Roman Zolotarev, charged in Nevada with masterminding a massive underworld marketplace of credit card fraud and identity theft, also is not in federal custody even as multiple lower-level members of the operation, called Carder.Su, have been convicted.
The U.S. has not publicly identified individuals involved in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking but has linked it to the North Korean government.
Some defense lawyers for more peripheral players charged in cybercrimes have seized on the absence of accused ringleaders, highlighting a potential vulnerability in the government's cases. The argument was raised in the 2013 trial of David Ray Camez, who was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement in the Carder.Su organization.
"And they talk about all these people that created Carder.su, the real people, the bad guys in this case, where are they at?" Camez's lawyer, Chris Rasmussen, told the jury. "They don't have any of these Russians here. There's no Russians in this courtroom. Where are they?"
There's generally limited recourse against hackers committing crimes from countries like Russia and China, where the U.S. lacks formal extradition treaties and where foreign governments may be reluctant to turn them over for prosecution. Justice Department officials say they're hopeful that as more countries are harmed by international cybercrime, there will be fewer sanctuaries for such criminals. Sometimes the best hope is for criminals to become careless over time and travel to countries where they're exposed to arrest.
"It can be a long, cold winter in Russia. A lot of these people have a lot of money. It's pretty tempting to travel somewhere warmer," Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, said in an interview.
There are isolated examples of that happening, though not as many as the U.S. would like.
Roman Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker, was arrested last July after he traveled to the Maldives and is awaiting trial in Seattle on charges that he hacked computers at American businesses and led a marketplace for stolen credit cards that raked in millions of dollars.
Vladimir Drinkman was arrested in Amsterdam in 2012 and extradited to New Jersey last month to face charges in a massive computer hacking scheme involving the theft of credit and debit card numbers from businesses including JC Penney and 7-Eleven.
Bogachev was indicted in Pittsburgh last year, accused of running two schemes that authorities say caused widespread financial losses. One, Cryptolocker, was a ransom-demanding virus that infected hundreds of thousands of computers. Another, Gameover Zeus, involved malicious software that intercepted customer bank account numbers and passwords that victims typed in. Both have been dismantled.
The FBI hasn't revealed much about the 31-year-old Bogachev, but the agency says he's believed to be in Russia and may travel by boat to locations along the Black Sea.
The $3 million reward is offered under a 2-year-old State Department program that so far has paid out more than $20 million and has posted rewards for people suspected of wildlife trafficking and international smuggling. This is the first reward offered under the program for this type of cybercrime.
Shawn Henry, a retired executive assistant director of the FBI and president of CrowdStrike Services, a security technology company, said it's challenging to find suspects in cyber cases, and a reward can attract tips. But other tactics, such as negotiations among governments, also are needed to deter attacks, he said.
"Time will tell whether this is a successful tactic or not," Henry said. "It's a strategy, and it's certainly not the sole strategy."
(C) 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Phys.Org Mobile: US turns to rewards in hunt for overseas cyber criminalsHTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:24:58 GMT Server: Apache Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Encoding: gzip Content-Length: 4368 Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
04:40, Technology/Security
This image provided by the FBI shows the FBI's wanted poster of Evgeniy Bogachev. The FBI considers Bogachev one of the world's most prolific and brilliant cyber criminals, slapping his photos -- bald, beefy-faced and smiling faintly -- on "Wanted" fliers posted online. The Russian would be an ideal target for prosecution -- if only the Justice Department could find him. Unable to bring him into custody in the nine months since his indictment, the government has turned to a time-honored technique long used for more conventional crime: putting a bounty on Bogachev's head. (AP Photo/FBI)
The FBI considers Evgeniy Bogachev one of the world's most prolific and brilliant cyber criminals, slapping his photos'--bald, beefy-faced and smiling faintly'--on "Wanted" fliers posted online. The Russian would be an ideal target for prosecution'--if only the Justice Department could find him.
Unable to bring him into custody in the 10 months since his indictment, the government has turned to a time-honored technique long used for more conventional crime: putting a bounty on Bogachev's head.
It's too soon to say whether the $3 million reward for information leading to his arrest'--the first of its kind offered under a special State Department program'--will ever pay off. But federal officials say they intend to use the strategy in additional cyber cases involving international hackers whose whereabouts are either unknown to the U.S. government or who are holed up in nations that have little or no diplomatic relations with the United States.
"We've really not done something like this" in cyber cases, Robert Anderson, an FBI executive assistant director, said in announcing the reward. "All of a sudden, somebody's putting an 'x' on somebody, saying, 'Bring him to justice, you get $3 million.'"
The reward is also a reminder of how many accused masterminds of cyberattacks on U.S. targets remain out of reach for federal law enforcement.
Five Chinese military officials were indicted last spring on charges of siphoning away corporate secrets from the networks of major American business. Federal officials say they're committed to bringing them to justice, but they won't speak publicly about what they're doing to nab them. Experts are skeptical that the military officials will ever see the inside of a courtroom.
Roman Zolotarev, charged in Nevada with masterminding a massive underworld marketplace of credit card fraud and identity theft, also is not in federal custody even as multiple lower-level members of the operation, called Carder.Su, have been convicted.
The U.S. has not publicly identified individuals involved in the Sony Pictures Entertainment hacking but has linked it to the North Korean government.
Some defense lawyers for more peripheral players charged in cybercrimes have seized on the absence of accused ringleaders, highlighting a potential vulnerability in the government's cases. The argument was raised in the 2013 trial of David Ray Camez, who was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement in the Carder.Su organization.
"And they talk about all these people that created Carder.su, the real people, the bad guys in this case, where are they at?" Camez's lawyer, Chris Rasmussen, told the jury. "They don't have any of these Russians here. There's no Russians in this courtroom. Where are they?"
There's generally limited recourse against hackers committing crimes from countries like Russia and China, where the U.S. lacks formal extradition treaties and where foreign governments may be reluctant to turn them over for prosecution. Justice Department officials say they're hopeful that as more countries are harmed by international cybercrime, there will be fewer sanctuaries for such criminals. Sometimes the best hope is for criminals to become careless over time and travel to countries where they're exposed to arrest.
"It can be a long, cold winter in Russia. A lot of these people have a lot of money. It's pretty tempting to travel somewhere warmer," Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, chief of the Justice Department's criminal division, said in an interview.
There are isolated examples of that happening, though not as many as the U.S. would like.
Roman Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker, was arrested last July after he traveled to the Maldives and is awaiting trial in Seattle on charges that he hacked computers at American businesses and led a marketplace for stolen credit cards that raked in millions of dollars.
Vladimir Drinkman was arrested in Amsterdam in 2012 and extradited to New Jersey last month to face charges in a massive computer hacking scheme involving the theft of credit and debit card numbers from businesses including JC Penney and 7-Eleven.
Bogachev was indicted in Pittsburgh last year, accused of running two schemes that authorities say caused widespread financial losses. One, Cryptolocker, was a ransom-demanding virus that infected hundreds of thousands of computers. Another, Gameover Zeus, involved malicious software that intercepted customer bank account numbers and passwords that victims typed in. Both have been dismantled.
The FBI hasn't revealed much about the 31-year-old Bogachev, but the agency says he's believed to be in Russia and may travel by boat to locations along the Black Sea.
The $3 million reward is offered under a 2-year-old State Department program that so far has paid out more than $20 million and has posted rewards for people suspected of wildlife trafficking and international smuggling. This is the first reward offered under the program for this type of cybercrime.
Shawn Henry, a retired executive assistant director of the FBI and president of CrowdStrike Services, a security technology company, said it's challenging to find suspects in cyber cases, and a reward can attract tips. But other tactics, such as negotiations among governments, also are needed to deter attacks, he said.
"Time will tell whether this is a successful tactic or not," Henry said. "It's a strategy, and it's certainly not the sole strategy."
(C) 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
[Home] [Full version] [RSS feed] [Forum]
Packet Inequality
Email about Packet Inspection
The Lawful Content clause in the rules is setup to ensure only lawful content is transmitted over the Internet. In order to determine if your data/packet is lawful, the government will have to analyze your data. In order to do that, they will only allow an encryption to be used that they can quickly decrypt (similar to what they did with Fax machines -the clipper chip). This will still allow encryption to perform email and internet transactions to keep the tech and private security companies happy.
This is the launch board to end private encryption, and will finally allow government to have free and open access to all data transmitted on the internet. Because of this, all devices that connect to the Internet will have to follow the same guidelines, this being phones, printers, tablets, PC’s etc. This will end all debate about companies providing devices that government cannot easily gain access.
This clause is much larger than just making hate speech - opposite political views, etc, unlawful content, this is the purpose to gain access to all the Internet data traffic.
AP News : GOP says Obama aides meddled in 'net neutrality'
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:57
By ANNE FLAHERTYPublished: YesterdayWASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional Republicans on Tuesday accused the Federal Communications Commission of bowing to White House pressure on its "net neutrality" decision, which has angered the nation's cable and wireless giants. They said the agency's inspector general has opened an investigation into whether the FCC had violated any rules.
Samples of 1,600 pages of emails and other documents released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee - while falling short of any blatant impropriety - raise questions about whether senior Obama aides went to unusual lengths to engage independent regulators on a popular issue, and if the FCC gave these aides too much access to internal deliberations while shutting out Congress.
"A president should be able to weigh in, make his opinions known. I don't have a problem with that. But this seems to be very one-sided," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Still, the political sparring on Capitol Hill was unlikely to affect the recent decision by the FCC to impose tough new regulations on Internet service providers.
Chaffetz said he had been told that the FCC Inspector General's office launched an investigation into the agency's deliberations process on its net neutrality decision. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said he was not aware of any investigation, but said he would cooperate.
Jay Keithley, assistant IG for investigations at the FCC, said he could neither "confirm nor deny" any ongoing investigations.
An openly defiant Wheeler told the House committee that keeping the White House up to date on FCC dealings isn't unusual and that he won't apologize for what he considers a transparent deliberations process.
"There were no secret instructions from the White House," Wheeler told the committee. "I did not, as CEO of an independent agency, feel obligated to follow the president's recommendation."
Much of the focus was on behind-the-scenes talks last year among lobbyists, agency staffers and White House aides as Wheeler struggled with how exactly to regulate Internet service. A court had knocked down the FCC's previous legal approach, which had prohibited cable and wireless companies from blocking or slowing Internet traffic. The idea is known as net neutrality because it suggests Internet service providers shouldn't discriminate against various web traffic.
On one hand were Internet activists who wanted regulators to treat the Internet much like the telephone, applying Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. This would require that companies act in the public's best interest and not employ unfair business practices.
Industry officials warned this approach would be much too drastic and could freeze infrastructure investments.
Throughout the process, Wheeler gave the White House a front-row seat to the deliberations process, according to the emails. In one April 2014 email exchange, Wheeler loops in John Podesta, a close aide to Obama, denouncing a story by The New York Times that suggested the FCC would be too soft on net neutrality.
"Brutal story. Somebody going on the record to push back?" Podesta asks Wheeler in an email.
Wheeler responds: "Yes. I did with a statement similar to what I emailed you."
Contact between the FCC and the White House escalated in the fall. On Nov. 6, Obama's top assistant on economic policy - Jeffrey Zients - took the unusual step of meeting with Wheeler on the chairman's turf at FCC headquarters. Zients told Wheeler that the president planned to call out the FCC to impose Title II rules.
The meeting raised some eyebrows. An AT&T lobbyist's email to a top Wheeler aide suggested it was "bad for any semblance of agency independence." The FCC aide, Philip Verveer, circulated the commentary among his colleagues with the note "FYI."
Four days later, Obama released his YouTube video announcing his support for Title II. That same morning, a group of civilian protesters were outside Wheeler's house blocking his car. Wheeler notes the timing cynically in an email that day to top aides.
"FYI. Isn't it interesting," Wheeler wrote. "The day of the (net neutrality) demonstration just happens to be the day folks take action at my house" and after the White House sends an email to its supporter list calling on "anyone who cares about saving the Internet."
"Hmmm..." he concludes, signing his email "T."
While Wheeler was exchanging emails and meeting with Obama's aides, he declined to testify before Congress or pass along documents until after his decision was made.
"I think Mr. Zients on Nov. 6th, strong-armed you," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.
Follow Anne Flaherty at http://twitter.com/AnneKFlaherty
Ministry of Truth
White House office to delete its FOIA regulations
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 23:49
Melting snow and barricades sit in front of the White House on March 12, 2015, in Washington, D.C.(Photo: Mark Wilson, Getty Images)
WASHINGTON '-- The White House is removing a federal regulation that subjects its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act, making official a policy under Presidents Bush and Obama to reject requests for records to that office.
The White House said the cleanup of FOIA regulations is consistent with court rulings that hold that the office is not subject to the transparency law. The office handles, among other things, White House record-keeping duties like the archiving of e-mails.
But the timing of the move raised eyebrows among transparency advocates, coming on National Freedom of Information Day and during a national debate over the preservation of Obama administration records. It's also Sunshine Week, an effort by news organizations and watchdog groups to highlight issues of government transparency.
"The irony of this being Sunshine Week is not lost on me," said Anne Weismann of the liberal Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW.
"It is completely out of step with the president's supposed commitment to transparency," she said. "That is a critical office, especially if you want to know, for example, how the White House is dealing with e-mail."
Federal agencies stiff-arm FOIA requests: Our view
White House: We're committed to openness
Unlike other offices within the White House, which were always exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, the Office of Administration responded to FOIA requests for 30 years. Until the Obama administration, watchdog groups on the left and the right used records from the office to shed light on how the White House works.
"This is an office that operated under the FOIA for 30 years, and when it became politically inconvenient, they decided they weren't subject to the Freedom of Information Act any more," said Tom Fitton of the conservative Judicial Watch.
That happened late in the Bush administration, when CREW sued over e-mails deleted by the White House '-- as many as 22 million of them, by one accounting. The White House at first began to comply with that request, but then reversed course.
"The government made an argument in an effort to throw everything and the kitchen sink into the lawsuit in order to stop the archiving of White House e-mails," said Tom Blanton, the director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which has used similar requests to shed light on foreign policy decisions.
New players join newspapers in using FOIA requests
In 2009, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that the Office of Administration was not subject to the FOIA, "because it performs only operational and administrative tasks in support of the president and his staff and therefore, under our precedent, lacks substantial independent authority."
The appeals court ruled that the White House was required to archive the e-mails, but not release them under the FOIA. Instead, White House e-mails must be released under the Presidential Records Act '-- but not until at least five years after the end of the administration.
In a notice to be published in Tuesday's Federal Register, the White House says it's removing regulations on how the Office of Administration complies with Freedom of Information Act Requests based on "well-settled legal interpretations."
The rule change means that there will no longer be a formal process for the public to request that the White House voluntarily disclose records as part of what's known as a "discretionary disclosure." Records released by the Office of Administration voluntarily include White House visitor logs and the recipe for beer brewed at the White House.
"You have a president who comes in and says, I'm committed to transparency and agencies should make discretionary disclosures whenever possible, but he's not applying that to his own White House," Weismann said.
The White House did not explain why it waited nearly six years to formally acknowledge the court ruling in its regulations.
Blanton said the outdated regulation is part of a larger problem of outdated FOIA regulations: Most federal agencies haven't updated their rules to take into account changes in law, many of which benefit requesters.
White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine said the administration remains committed "to work towards unprecedented openness in government."
"Over the past six years, federal agencies have gone to great efforts to make government more transparent and more accessible than ever, including by making more information available to the public via our Open Government initiative and improving the FOIA process," she said.
In the notice to be published Tuesday, the White House said it was not allowing a 30-day public comment period, and so the rule will be final.
"It's a little tone deaf to do this on Sunshine Week, even if it's an administrative housecleaning," said Rick Blum, coordinator of the Sunshine in Government initiative for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
The bigger issue, Blum said, is that the Office of Administration is itself responsible for presidential record-keeping. Given the controversy over former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of a personal e-mail account to conduct official business, there ought to be more scrutiny of record-keeping practices, he said.
"I think what we've all learned n in the last few weeks is the person who creates a record '-- whether it's running a program or writing an e-mail '-- is the one who gets to decide whether it's an official record," Blum said. "And there ought to be another set of eyes on that. That's the essential problem."
Follow @gregorykorte on Twitter.
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Federal Register | Removal of Published Rules To Align Published Policy with Current Sources of Law
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:14
The Executive Office of the President, Office of Administration, is removing regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations related to the status of records created and maintained by the Executive Office of the President. This action is being taken in order to align Office of Administration policy with well-settled legal interpretations of the Office of Administration's status under Federal law and Executive Orders, including the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and Executive Order 13526. The Office of Administration, as an entity whose sole function is to advise and assist the President of the United States, is not an agency under the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act of 1974, nor does its implementation of Executive Order 13526 affect members of the public. Accordingly, the provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations to be removed are without legal effect.
This rule is effective March 17, 2015.
Hugh L. Brady, General Counsel, Executive Office of the President, Office of Administration, 202-395-1268.
The Executive Office of the President, Office of Administration, removes the following provisions from the Code of Federal Regulations: Chapter XV, title 5, comprising 5 CFR parts 2500, 2502, and 2504; and 3 CFR 101.3. This action is being taken in order to implement well-settled legal interpretations of the Office of Administration's status under Federal law and Executive Orders, including the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and Executive Order 13526. The Office of Administration, as an entity whose sole function is to advise and assist the President of the United States, is not an agency within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552(f), and thus is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) or the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a). The Office of Administration's implementation of Executive Order 13526 does not affect members of the public and the Office of Administration is therefore not required to publish its internal policies. Accordingly, the provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations to be removed are without legal effect.
This rule removing 5 CFR parts 2500, 2502, and 2504, and 3 CFR 101.3 is issued pursuant to, among other authorities, C.R.E.W. v. Office of Admin., 566 F.3d 219 (D.C. Cir. 2009); Whether the Office of Admin. Is an ''Agency'' for Purposes of Freedom of Information Act, 31 Op. O.L.C. (Aug. 21, 2007); Franklin v. Mass., 505 U.S. 788 (1992); and Kissinger v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 445 U.S. 136 (1980). In C.R.E.W., the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that the Office of Administration is not an agency within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552(f). Accordingly, the Office of Administration is not an agency for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) or the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a). All records of the Office of Administration are Presidential records under the Presidential Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 2201-2207, and are not available to the public until the fifth anniversary of the last year of an Administration.
Additionally, Office of Administration procedures recorded at 5 CFR part 2500 reflect an internal process that has been discontinued. The Office of Administration does not have regulations implementing Executive Order 13526 that affect members of the public and is therefore not required to publish its internal policies.
This rule removes all rules previously issued by the Executive Office of the President, Office of Administration, that are without legal effect under well-settled interpretations of the law by the courts, the Department of Justice, and the current provisions of Executive Order 13526. The Office of Administration therefore removes chapter XV, title 5 and 3 CFR 101.3.
The provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act requiring notice of proposed rulemaking, the opportunity for public participation, and a 30-day delay in effective date set forth in 5 U.S.C. 553 are inapplicable because they are ''unnecessary'' under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's holding in C.R.E.W. The court's holding in C.R.E.W. clarifies that the Freedom of Information Act has no legal effect on the Office of Administration because the Office of Administration is not an agency within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. 552(f). This rule is published solely to align relevant provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations with well-settled law. Thus, this rule involves no agency discretion, so notice of proposed rulemaking, the opportunity for public participation, and a 30-day delay in effective date would be unnecessary.
If this rulemaking were delayed to allow for notice and comment and a 30-day delay in effectiveness, it would delay alignment of the Code of Federal Regulations with existing Federal law as interpreted by the courts, the Department of Justice, and the current provisions of Executive Order 13526, as well as Office of Administration policy.
Further, no other law requires that a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment be issued for this rule. Because a notice of proposed rulemaking and an opportunity for public comment are not required to be given for this rule under the Administrative Procedure Act or by any other law, the analytical requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601-612) are not applicable. Therefore, this regulation is issued in final form.
Executive Orders 13563 and 12866 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. This rule has not been designated a ''significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521), unless that collection of information displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget Control Number. This rule does not involve any collection of information subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act.
This rule does not contain ''policies that have federalism implications'' as that term is defined under Executive Order 13132.
Accordingly, under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 553 and as discussed in the preamble, amend 3 CFR part 101 and chapter XV of title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows.
begin regulatory text
Title 3'--The President Back to Top1.The authority citation for part 101 continues to read as follows:
§ 101.3 [REMOVED]2.Remove § 101.3.
Title 5'--Administrative Personnel Back to Top3.Remove chapter XV, consisting of parts 2500 through 2599.
end regulatory text
Dated: February 23, 2015.
Beth A. Jones,
Deputy Assistant to the President,Director, Office of Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-05899 Filed 3-16-15; 8:45 am]
White House Exempts Office of Administration from FOIA Requests | Ben Swann Truth In Media
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:13
On Tuesday, the White House published a notice in the Federal Register, deleting the regulation that required the Office of Administration to be subject to public information requests, which would have required a response under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The Office of Administration is made up of seven offices that are in charge of overseeing the general administration of the entire Executive Office.
The notice published in the Federal Register said that the White House is ''removing regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations related to the status of records created and maintained by the Executive Office of the President.''
''This action is being taken in order to align Office of Administration policy with well-settled legal interpretations of the Office of Administration's status under Federal law and Executive Orders, including the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and Executive Order 13526,'' stated the notice.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed that even with the change in rules, the Obama administration is the ''most transparent administration in history.'' He referred to the repeal as an ''administrative change,'' and said that it has ''no impact on our compliance with the Freedom of Information Act.''
''This change in the regulations is merely an effort to comply with a court ruling that was issued almost six years ago,'' said Earnest, referencing an appeals court ruling from 2009 that made the Office of Administration exempt from FOIA. The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed against the Bush administration by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
Anne Weismann, a member of CREW, told USA Today that the repeal is ''completely out of step with the president's supposed commitment to transparency.''
''You have a president who comes in and says, 'I'm committed to transparency and agencies should make discretionary disclosures whenever possible,' but he's not applying that to his own White House,'' Weismann said.
According to The Hill, the Obama administration has ''censored or denied access to records more frequently than ever in 2013'' and has ''cited more legal reasons than ever for exempting them.''
USA Today noted that the timing of the repeal has ''raised eyebrows among transparency advocates,'' due to the fact that it was made on National Freedom of Information Day, in the midst of a debate over the preservation of Obama administration records, and during Sunshine Week, which is devoted to news organizations and watchdog groups highlighting issues of government transparency.
The following two tabs change content below.Rachel Blevins is a student in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. She aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning authority as she establishes her Journalism career.
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Obama Nation
Gay Marriage Or States Rights?
Fri, 13 Mar 2015 03:34
Brother NathanaelMarch 11, 2015 @ 8:19 pmText ''Text'' Text
Gay Marriage Or States Rights?By Brother Nathanael KapnerCopyright 2015
It's coming down to the wire.
In April, the Supreme Court decides if states have the right to ban same-sex marriage.
If the court denies that right then ''States Rights'' are over forever and only a federal ruling class will henceforth decide what states and individuals of those states can and cannot do.
With four Jews on the highest bench holding a pro-same-sex stance, the death of liberty is only one month away.
Does the 14th Amendment which guarantees 'equal protection' forbid states from treating homosexual couples differently than heterosexual ones?
Does discriminating against homosexual couples have as its main component, 'animus,' that is, 'bearing malice,' toward homosexuals?
This is how the debate is being spun by the legal apparatus who've turned the Constitution into a 'living Constitution' far from the original intent of the Founding Fathers.
An evolving, I mean, mutating 'living Constitution' is not even law at all. It's silly putty in the hands of Jewish judges to impose their will on the rest of us.
For instance, Judge Richard Posner recently ruled that restricting who can marry derives from a ''tradition of hate.''
Following Posner, Judge Dale Cohen of Florida overturned the state's ban on sodomite marriages citing the 14th Amendment.
But Congress passed the 14th Amendment after the Civil War to grant citizenship to former slaves. It has nothing to do with homosexuals.
The Founding Fathers considered sodomy and same-sex relations as morally repugnant crimes.
That's why the Thirteen States adopted British sodomy laws which carried the death penalty.
But this is not what the debate is about. It's not a ''14th Amendment'' debate. It's not an 'animus' debate. It's a States Rights issue. Period.
What people do in private will have repercussions for them.
You want to be a homosexual, go ahead. But don't override States Rights, our last shelter of freedom.
Come April, ''States Rights'' is about to be sodomized forever.
Brother NathanaelMarch 11, 2015 @ 8:21 pmWatch This NEW Video Worldwide & In All EU Countries CENSOR FREE:
''Gay Marriage Or States Rights?'' @
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Brother NathanaelMarch 11, 2015 @ 8:26 pmStreets Across America!'...HAVE CROSS WILL TRAVEL!
Here's my UPDATED Schedule of my Street Evangelism: (ALL sponsored trips)
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Brother NathanaelMarch 11, 2015 @ 8:34 pmDear Real Jew News Family,
''States Rights'' IS our last protection against the FEDERALIZED JEW agenda.
JEWS have taken TOTAL CONTROL of the CENTRAL Government and DEEPLY EMBEDDED in every political, juridical, financial, and information venue in this JEW-RUINED country.
Now the wicked FREEDOM-HATING, TRUTH-HATING, MORALITY-CORRUPTING (for the goys) want to shove their HOMOSEXUAL depravity ''same=sex'' marriages down our throats by DENYING states to BAN morally repugnant same-sex marriages.
Even Thomas Jefferson, who wanted to mitigate the ''death penalty'' for homosexual acts, wanted to have the homosexuals CASTRATED.
But today, with JEWS infesting our court system, everything the Founding Fathers envisiones and encscribed BY LAW has morphed into a ''Living Constitution'' where SICK JEWS twist and turn the ORIGNINAL INTENT of our founding document, the US Constitution.
Woe to your country when Jews, queers, and women, rule over you!'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--''On A Very Discouraging Note
I'm broke. Totally broke. VERY FEW are donating to me.
The only reason I decided to go ahead with this ''regular weekly'' Video production (which are VERY EXPENSIVE to produce) is hoping that some generous contributers will be motivated to KEEP THE VIDEOS COMING on a WEEKLY basis.
I sent out an Appeal yesterday to 4,000 regular readers and viewers and ONLY 4 responded with donations.
How to get really discouraged? Put out the BEST truth-telling Internet venue and go to the poorhouse real quick.
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hvtMarch 11, 2015 @ 9:14 pmWOW! You tell it like it is dear Brother! You hold back no punches and I salute you!
America, you are staggering like a drunken whore,Even to the point of entrance at Hell's door!Your foundational motto: IN GOD WE TRUST'...You have trampled underfoot! Can't you see the dustOf decaying morals? Of lust, pride and vanity?You are on the verge of losing your very sanity!
America, home of Miss Liberty'...land of the free (?)'...Your slip is showing'...dragging in filth and debris!Still, you plod along shunning all of God's holy ways.Even Nineveh applied for an extension of days!But you say, ''Attention I want. I'll be a global shocker.''Listen-up! Surely, Jesus will be your boat-rocker!
America, you are no longer little sweet sixteen'...Nor are you a dainty ballerina or a beauty queen.Having joined in the stoning of His prophets and saints,Your make-up's make-up clearly resembles war-paint!If you could see all things from beginning to end'...To which side, God's or satan's, would your knees bend?
America, open up the Book, the end is not hidden!Are you not concerned that you are backslidden?Redeem the time for good. Check out God's Holy Writ!See where in His blueprint you might exactly fit.The sinfulness abounding throughout your storied landIs hideous mocking of Heaven's most righteous plans.
America, won't you obey His ageless, instructive words?You can't run from them'...even in your souped-up Birds!The Day of the Lord, like a thief in the night, will comeFor a people listening for His trump'...not a bongo drum!It's up to you, America! Wha'd'ya say you get in His Mood?He is coming'...ready or not'...and His name is not dude'...But, Jesus. Yes, Jesus!
America, He loves you so!
CyclingSimmonsMarch 11, 2015 @ 9:44 pmAmazing to think that the Jews just do whatever they want, and that they actually run America.
They are out to destroy the Christian Faith, and their biggest supporters are Christian Zionist Evangelicals.
My uncle was a lawyer for the US Government, and many years ago would warn me that the Government had unspeakable plans for redefining marriage.
He couldn't even bring himself to speak of it for it is/was a shame to even speak of these things once upon a time. Now darkness is light, and light is said to be darkness.
Check Out St George the Dragon Slayer @www.CrushTheSerpent.BlogSpot.com
RogerMarch 11, 2015 @ 9:45 pmIt is not only about States' Rights!
The SCUS case is about States' Rights, but the real issue is about God's rights delegated by a much higher law to the Church.
It is about the freedom of the Church to teach, mandate and follow a moral code. The freedom of the Church to govern where the federal government has no right '-- in the consciences and souls of individuals, and to rule and to judge the actions of individuals - and civil rulers as to the morality of their actions.
To bind and loose in Heaven and on earth.
Same-sex marriage is an attack on God and religion and the sacraments '-- on families and on the innocence of children '-- on the good conscience of every individual in the state of grace.
It is a SIN that cries to Heaven for vengeance! This unholy rite of the Synagogue of Satan is set to destroy our nation!
CorneliusMarch 12, 2015 @ 5:39 amObamaCare was also a States Rights issue.
That was never mentioned by the opponents of the program, instead they argued the details of the program. This guaranteed they would lose.
This case will prove once again that Congress is nothing but a group of traitors in hoc to the Jews who run this country.
The Elder of Zyklon-BMarch 12, 2015 @ 6:21 am''Come April, ''States Rights'' is about to be sodomized forever.''
That's right RJN readers. This kosher sodimization will open the door wide open for more usurpation of rights that will be denied the Jew worshiping and Negroid deifying American sports fan.
''USA, USA!'' the well trained Chris Kyle worshiping goyim shout as King Bibi comes to Congress again to stoke the fires for war with Iran.
That's right sports fans. Go ahead while you are at it and get on board another Talmudically inspired war against Christian Russia.
That will be great for the economy you know.
Decadent antichrist Jewmerica under the leadership of Jews, queers, and brainless women takes on Russia, China and the rest of the world while simultaneously declaring war on its own people who reject the Jew World Order and all of the accompanying depravity and decadence.
Do you really think that in the days to come under Talmudic governance that it won't be a hate crime punishable by death to criticize die Juden?
Think again sports fans because that is what the Judeo Bolsheviks did in Russia when the tiny minority seized power, and you can bet your last vaccine that they will do it here in the ''home of the free and the brave.''
''Die Juden sind unser ungl¼ck.''
MichaelMarch 12, 2015 @ 7:06 amAnd to add insult to the ruling, Easter is 5 April if I am correct.
The gay marriage (oxymoron) ruling will be handed down very near this date. Bet on it.
This country is crucified upside down by Jews. God's judgment will follow afterward.
steviebMarch 12, 2015 @ 7:29 amYou're exactly right Roger.
This is about religious freedom as well as state's rights.
If they do pass this it will be ignored, and there won't be a thing they can do about it'...
JohnMarch 12, 2015 @ 8:02 amThe ''Living Constitution'' is bad but is only made possible by Christians who believe in a ''Living Bible''.
The Constitution is a man made instrument that is subject to the whims of man. It was designed to ''Form a more perfect Union'' and to keep it's citizens obedient to that union through deception, NOT to guarantee human rights and freedom as many believe.
Scripture has also erroneously been subjected to the whims of mans ''interpretation'' which is why Christianity doesn't resembles Scriptural teaching.
Thankfully Yahweh will soon put an end to mans faulty documents of repression, restore His truth, His Kingdom and relieve us of corrupt leaders, deviants and false ''Christian'' teachers, and of course false Jews.
Our so called ''Constitutional rights'' and our natural right to control ''OURSELVES'' were abolished when we were forced by mandate to buy into an ungodly insurance and medical industry.
Scripture teaches us to have Faith in Yahweh and Yahshua Messiah and repent of sin. But the world we live in teaches us to continue in sin and have faith in the medical establishment for salvation.
Can anyone say ''The mark of the Beast?''
CitizenfitzMarch 12, 2015 @ 9:21 amWe all know which way the SCOTUS ruling will go.
Jews are predictable like that.
sandorMarch 12, 2015 @ 9:42 amWhile I'm hesitant to adjudge the legitimacy, veracity or sinfulness of homosexual practices, I can see clearly its tactical importance as yet one more method to bewilder, splinter and alienate the population from one another.
The masters of destruction and chaos are at it again. If you succumb to the homosexual marriage 'raging debate', you've taken you eye off the ball once again.
They're plying the politics of division everywhere they can.
DanMarch 12, 2015 @ 2:34 pmHere in IL we have legal gay marriage and it isn't banned. I guess it could be banned by the IL government in the future. So that is why they want to prevent a possible future ban, on a Federal level.
But it is just on the gay marriage issue, state rights would still apply on other issues. For the time being.
BMarch 12, 2015 @ 3:12 pmPlease explain why it is that Judaism and Zionism stands for killing, stealing, and lying to the Goyim.
Maybe the name of Zion National Park could be disputed in a court trial, because of the reason of great immorality.
OonaMarch 12, 2015 @ 5:37 pmBrother Nathanael '... you're brilliant.
I'm still chuckling over the way you skewered the Supreme Court nincompoops in one sharp phrase:
''The US Constitution is, indeed, nothing but ''silly putty'' in their hands.''
Single-payer health care - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 15 Mar 2015 09:03
Many nations worldwide have single-payer health insurance programs. These programs generally provide some form of universal health care, which are implemented in a variety of ways. In some cases doctors may be employed, and hospitals run by, the government such as in the United Kingdom[4] or Spain.[5] Alternatively the government may purchase healthcare services from outside organizations, such as the approach taken in Canada.
AustraliaEditHealth care in Australia is provided by both private and government institutions. Medicare is the publicly funded universal health care venture in Australia. It was instituted in 1984 and coexists with a private health system. Medicare is funded partly by a 1.5% income tax levy (with exceptions for low-income earners), but mostly out of general revenue. An additional levy of 1% is imposed on high-income earners without private health insurance. As well as Medicare, there is a separate Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme that considerably subsidises a range of prescription medications. The Minister for Health, currently Peter Dutton, administers national health policy, elements of which (such as the operation of hospitals) are overseen by individual states.
CanadaEditHealth care in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded health care system, which is mostly free at the point of use and has most services provided by private entities.[6] It is guided by the provisions of the Canada Health Act of 1984.[7] The government assures the quality of care through federal standards. The government does not participate in day-to-day care or collect any information about an individual's health, which remains confidential between a person and his or her physician. Canada's provincially based Medicare systems are cost-effective partly because of their administrative simplicity. In each province each doctor handles the insurance claim against the provincial insurer. There is no need for the person who accesses health care to be involved in billing and reclaim. Private insurance represents a minimal part of the overall health care system.
Competitive practices such as advertising are kept to a minimum, thus maximizing the percentage of revenues that go directly towards care. In general, costs are paid through funding from income taxes, except in British Columbia, the only province to impose a fixed monthly premium which is waived or reduced for those on low incomes.[8] There are no deductibles on basic health care and co-pays are extremely low or non-existent (supplemental insurance such as Fair Pharmacare may have deductibles, depending on income). A health card is issued by the Provincial Ministry of Health to each individual who enrolls for the program and everyone receives the same level of care.[9] There is no need for a variety of plans because virtually all essential basic care is covered, including maternity and infertility problems. Depending on the province, dental and vision care may not be covered but are often insured by employers through private companies. In some provinces, private supplemental plans are available for those who desire private rooms if they are hospitalized. Cosmetic surgery and some forms of elective surgery are not considered essential care and are generally not covered. These can be paid out-of-pocket or through private insurers. Health coverage is not affected by loss or change of jobs, as long as premiums are up to date, and there are no lifetime limits or exclusions for pre-existing conditions.
Pharmaceutical medications are covered by public funds for the elderly or indigent,[10] or through employment-based private insurance. Drug prices are negotiated with suppliers by the federal government to control costs. Family physicians (often known as general practitioners or GPs in Canada) are chosen by individuals. If a patient wishes to see a specialist or is counseled to see a specialist, a referral can be made by a GP. Canadians do wait for some treatments and diagnostic services. Survey data shows that the median wait time to see a special physician is a little over four weeks with 89.5% waiting less than three months. The median wait time for diagnostic services such as MRI and CAT scans[11] is two weeks, with 86.4% waiting less than three months.[12] The median wait time for surgery is four weeks, with 82.2% waiting less than three months. In addition, there is concern of a "brain drain" as high-quality medical graduates leave Canada for better-paying careers in the U.S.[13]
SpainEditBuilding upon less structured foundations, in 1963 the existence of a single-payer healthcare system in Spain was established by the Spanish government.[14] The system was sustained by contributions from workers, and covered them and their dependents.[15] The universality of the system was established later in 1986. At the same time, management of public healthcare was delegated to the different autonomous communities in the country.[16]
While previously this was not the case, in 1997 it was established that public authorities can delegate management of publicly funded healthcare to private companies.[17] Additionally, in parallel to the single-payer healthcare system there are private insurers, which provide coverage for some private doctors and hospitals. Employers will sometimes offer private health insurance as a benefit,[18] with 14.8% of the Spanish population being covered under private health insurance in 2013.[19]
In 2000, the Spanish healthcare system was rated by the World Health Organization as the 7th best in the world.
TaiwanEditHealthcare in Taiwan is administrated by the Department of Health of the Executive Yuan. As with other developed economies, Taiwanese people are well-nourished but face such health problems as chronic obesity and heart disease.[20] In 2002 Taiwan had nearly 1.6 physicians and 5.9 hospital beds per 1,000 population.[20] In 2002, there were a total of 36 hospitals and 2,601 clinics in the country. Per capita health expenditures totaled US$752 in 2000.[20] Health expenditures constituted 5.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2001 (or US$951 in 2009[21]); 64.9 percent of the expenditures were from public funds.[20] Overall life expectancy in 2009 was 78 years.[22]
The current health care system in Taiwan, known as National Health Insurance (NHI), was instituted in 1995. NHI is a single-payer compulsory social insurance plan which centralizes the disbursement of health-care funds. The system promises equal access to health care for all citizens, and the population coverage had reached 99% by the end of 2004.[23] NHI is mainly financed through premiums, which are based on the payroll tax, and is supplemented with out-of-pocket payments and direct government funding. In the initial stage, fee-for-service predominated for both public and private providers. Most health providers operate in the private sector and form a competitive market on the health delivery side. However, many health care providers took advantage of the system by offering unnecessary services to a larger number of patients and then billing the government. In the face of increasing loss and the need for cost containment, NHI changed the payment system from fee-for-service to a global budget, a kind of prospective payment system, in 2002.
United KingdomEditHealthcare in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter, meaning England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales each have their own systems of private and publicly funded healthcare, generally referred to as the National Health Service or NHS. Each country having different policies and priorities has resulted in a variety of differences existing between the systems.[24][25] That said, each country provides public healthcare to all UK permanent residents that is free at the point of need, being paid for from general taxation. In addition, each also has a private healthcare sector which is considerably smaller than its public equivalent, with provision of private healthcare acquired by means of private health insurance, funded as part of an employer funded healthcare scheme or paid directly by the customer, though provision can be restricted for those with conditions such as AIDS/HIV.[26]
The individual systems are:
United StatesEditA number of proposals have been made for a universal single-payer healthcare system in the United States, most recently the United States National Health Care Act, (popularly known as H.R. 676 or "Medicare for All") but none have achieved more political support than 20% congressional co-sponsorship.
Advocates argue that preventative health care expenditures can save several hundreds of billions of dollars per year because publicly funded universal health care would benefit employers and consumers, that employers would benefit from a bigger pool of potential customers and that employers would likely pay less, would be spared administrative costs of health care benefits, and inequities between employers would be reduced. Advocates also argue that single payer could benefit employers by reducing health care costs, producing a more competitive labor market and reducing inequities between employers, producing a more fluid economy and increasing economic growth, aggregate demand, corporate profit, and quality of life.[27][28][29] Also, for example, cancer patients are more likely to be diagnosed at Stage I where curative treatment is typically a few outpatient visits, instead of at Stage III or later in an emergency room where treatment can involve years of hospitalization and is often terminal.[30][31] Others have estimated a long-term savings amounting to 40% of all national health expenditures due to preventative health care,[32] although estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and The New England Journal of Medicine have found that preventative care is more expensive.[33]
Any national system would be paid for in part through taxes replacing insurance premiums, but advocates also believe savings would be realized through preventative care and the elimination of insurance company overhead and hospital billing costs.[34] An analysis of a single-payer bill by Physicians for a National Health Program estimated the immediate savings at $350 billion per year.[35] The Commonwealth Fund believes that, if the United States adopted a universal health care system, the mortality rate would improve and the country would save approximately $570 billion a year.[36]>
Recent enactments of single-payer systems within individual states, such as in Vermont in 2011, are seen as possible routes to enacting single-payer on the federal level.[37][38] In December 2014, Vermont canceled its plan for single payer health care.[39]
National policies and proposalsEditMedicare in the United States is a single-payer healthcare system, but is restricted to only senior citizens over the age of 65, people under 65 who have specific disabilities, and anyone with End-Stage Renal Disease.[40] Government is increasingly involved in U.S. health care spending, paying about 45% of the $2.2 trillion the nation spent on individuals' medical care in 2004.[41] However, studies have shown that the publicly administered share of health spending in the U.S. may be closer to 60% as of 2002.[42] According to Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt, U.S. Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) represent "forms of 'social insurance' coupled with a largely private health-care delivery system" rather than forms of "socialized medicine." In contrast, he describes the Veterans Administration healthcare system as a pure form of socialized medicine because it is "owned, operated and financed by government."[43] In a peer-reviewed paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers of the RAND Corporation reported that the quality of care received by Veterans Administration patients scored significantly higher overall than did comparable metrics for patients currently using United States Medicare.[44]
The United States National Health Care Act, is a perennial piece of legislation introduced in the United States House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) every year since 2002.[45] The act would establish a universal single-payer health care system in the United States, the rough equivalent of Canada's Medicare, the United Kingdom's National Health Service, and Taiwan's Bureau of National Health Insurance, among other examples. Under a single payer system, all medical care would be paid for by the Government of the United States, ending the need for private health insurance and premiums, and probably recasting private insurance companies as providing purely supplemental coverage, to be used when non-essential care is sought. The bill was first introduced in 2002,[45] and has been reintroduced in each Congress since. During the 2009 health care debates over the bill that became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. H.R. 676 was expected to be debated and voted upon by the House in September 2009,[46] but was never debated.[47]
The Congressional Budget Office and related government agencies scored the cost of a single payer health care system several times since 1991. The General Accounting Office published a report in 1991 noting that "[I]f the US were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single payer, as in Canada, the savings in administrative costs [10 percent of health spending] would be more than enough to offset the expense of universal coverage.''[48] The CBO scored the cost in 1991, noting that "the population that is currently uninsured could be covered without dramatically increasing national spending on health" and that "all US residents might be covered by health insurance for roughly the current level of spending or even somewhat less, because of savings in administrative costs and lower payment rates for services used by the privately insured.[49] A CBO report in 1993 stated that "[t]he net cost of achieving universal insurance coverage under this single payer system would be negative" in part because "consumer payments for health would fall by $1,118 per capita, but taxes would have to increase by $1,261 per capita" in order to pay for the plan.[50] A July 1993 scoring also resulted in positive outcomes, with the CBO stating that, "[a]s the program was phased in, the administrative savings from switching to a single-payer system would offset much of the increased demand for health care services. Later, the cap on the growth of the national health budget would hold the rate of growth of spending below the baseline."[51] The CBO also scored Sen. Paul Wellstone's American Health and Security Act of 1993 in December 1993, finding that "by year five (and in subsequent years) the new system would cost less than baseline."[52]
State proposalsEditSeveral single-payer state referendums and bills from state legislatures have been proposed, but, with the exception of Vermont,[53] all have failed. In December 2014, Vermont canceled its plan for single payer health care.[39]
CaliforniaEditCalifornia attempted passage of a single-payer bill as early as 1994,[54] and the first successful passages of legislation through the California State Legislature, SB 840 or "The California Universal Healthcare Act" (authored by Sheila Kuehl), occurred in 2006 and again in 2008.[55] Both times, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.[56] State Senator Mark Leno has reintroduced the bill in each legislative session since.[57]
HawaiiEditIn 2009, the Hawaii state legislature passed a single-payer health care bill that was vetoed by Republican Governor Linda Lingle. While the veto was overridden by the legislature, the bill was not implemented.[58]
IllinoisEditIn 2007, the Health Care for All Illinois Act was introduced and the Illinois House of Representatives' Health Availability Access Committee passed the single-payer bill favorably out of committee by an 8''4 vote. The legislation was eventually referred back to the House rules committee and not taken up again during that session.[59]
MassachusettsEditMassachusetts had passed a universal health care program in 1986, but budget constraints and partisan control of the legislature resulted in its repeal before the legislation could be enacted.[60] Question 4, a nonbinding referendum, was on the ballot in 14 state districts in November 2010, asking voters, "[S]hall the representative from this district be instructed to support legislation that would establish health care as a human right regardless of age, state of health or employment status, by creating a single payer health insurance system like Medicare that is comprehensive, cost effective, and publicly provided to all residents of Massachusetts?" The ballot question passed in all 14 districts that offered the question.[61][62]
MinnesotaEditThe Minnesota Health Act, which would establish a state-wide single payer health plan, has been presented to the Minnesota legislature regularly since 2009. The bill was passed out of both the Senate Health Housing and Family Security Committee[63] and the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee[64] in 2009, but the House version was ultimately tabled.[65] In 2010, the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on a voice vote[66] as well as the House Health Care & Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee.[67] In 2011, the bill was introduced as a two-year bill in both the Senate[68] and House,[69] but did not progress. It has been introduced again in the 2013 session in both chambers.[70][71]
MontanaEditIn September 2011, Governor Brian Schweitzer announced his intention to seek a waiver from the federal government allowing Montana to set up a single payer health care system.[72] Governor Schweitzer was unable to implement single-payer health care in Montana, but did make moves to open government-run clinics[73] and, in his final budget as governor, increased coverage for lower-income Montana residents.[74]
OregonEditThe state of Oregon attempted to pass single payer health care via Oregon Ballot Measure 23 in 2002, and the measure was rejected by a significant majority.[75] Previous bills, including the Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Act, have been introduced in the legislature but have never left committee. The Affordable Health Care Act may be reintroduced in the 2013 session.[76]
PennsylvaniaEditThe Family Business and Healthcare Security Act has been introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature numerous times, but has never been able to pass.[77][78][79]
VermontEditIn December 2014, Vermont canceled its plan for single payer health care.[39] Vermont passed legislation in 2011 creating Green Mountain Care.[80] When Governor Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law, Vermont became the first state to functionally have a single payer health care system.[81] While the bill is considered a single-payer bill, private insurers can continue to operate in the state indefinitely, meaning it does not fit the strict definition of single-payer. Representative Mark Larson, the initial sponsor of the bill, has described Green Mountain Care's provisions "as close as we can get [to single-payer] at the state level."[82][83]
Vermont abandoned the plan in 2014, citing costs and tax increases as too high to implement.[84]
Public opinionEditAdvocates for single payer point to support in polls, although the polling is mixed depending on how the question is asked.[85] Polls from Harvard University in 1988,[86] the Los Angeles Times in 1990,[87] and the Wall Street Journal in 1991[88] all showed strong support for a health care system comparable to the system in Canada. More recently, however, polling support has declined.[85][89] A 2007 Yahoo/AP poll showed a majority of respondents considered themselves supporters of "single-payer health care,"[90] and a plurality of respondents in a 2009 poll for Time Magazine showed support for "a national single-payer plan similar to Medicare for all."[91] Polls by Rasmussen Reports in 2011[92] and 2012[93] showed pluralities opposed to single payer health care.
A 2001 article in the public health journalHealth Affairs studied fifty years of American public opinion of various health care plans and concluded that, while there appears to be general support of a "national health care plan," poll respondents "remain satisfied with their current medical arrangements, do not trust the federal government to do what is right, and do not favor a single-payer type of national health plan."[89]Politifact rated a statement by Michael Moore "false" when he stated that "[t]he majority actually want single-payer health care." According to Politifact, responses on these polls largely depend on the wording. For example, people respond more favorably when they are asked if they want a system "like Medicare."[85]
Advocacy groupsEditPhysicians for a National Health Program[94] the American Medical Student Association[95] and the California Nurses Association[96] are among advocacy groups that have called for the introduction of a single payer health care program in the United States. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that 59% of physicians "supported legislation to establish national health insurance" while 9% were neutral on the topic, and 32% opposed it.[97]
EMail Question
If you discuss Single Payer on the next show please consider responding to these questions and comments.
The term Single Payer is deceptive. Why isn't it called Government Health Care, Welfare Medicine or any name that reflects what it really is?
If the government is paying for the maintenance of your body won't they then be in a position to directly or indirectly tell you how to use it?
Mandatory vaccines and fines for people who need treatment for something they did not get the vaccine to prevent.
Direct taxes on behaviors that increase medical costs, e.g. motorcycles, alcohol, child birth and anything perceived to be an unnecessary risk.
Won't this system provide medical care that will be the same as what is received by those in V.A. hospitals?
Today if I need to see a doctor I can see a doctor immediately or at least the same day. Is it not true that in other counties where the government pays there is a long wait for service?
If two people need a knee operation and there is a waiting list will the government give the same service to a 22 year old unemployed skate boarder and 30 year old construction worker? Or, will the government give priority to the one of them and make the other wait?
I live in a city where you send your kid to Catholic schools until they go to college if you want them to have a chance, parents pay for those schools. The government pays for the public schools, the charter schools and the STEM schools; 50% of those kids fail to graduate.
Do you think the government will provide better medical care than it does education?
I see single payer as a slave system. The government pays to maintain your body so they will get to tell you how to use it. I'll be listening on Sunday, if I'm wrong about this let me know.
Attitude Magazine >> Sir Elton John leads Dolce & Gabanna boycott call as designers speak out against same-sex families
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 00:52
Sir Elton John and Courtney Love are among the celebrities who have hit back at comments made by designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana.
In an interview with Italian news magazine Panorama, the duo, who split after a long relationship in 2005, strongly spoke out against same-sex parents.
''We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed,'' they are quoted as stating.
Dolce went on to add that children born via egg donors or artificial insemination are ''children of chemistry, synthetic children'', adding: ''Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catlogue''.
Gabbana concluded: ''The family is not a fad. In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.''
Reacting to the news, Sir Elton called for a Dolce and Gabbana boycott, writing:
How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ''synthetic''. And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF '' a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana
Gabbana responded directly on Sir Elton's Instagram post, branding him a ''fascist'', adding a hashtag to boycott the father of two.
Courtney Love echoed his call, stating that she wanted to ''burn'' any items she owned.
Gabbana first spoke of his views in 2006, stating: ''I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents. A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother. I also believe that it is cruel to take a baby away from its mother.''
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Putin drops his American PR company - Mar. 12, 2015
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:18
The door is that way -- Vladimir Putin fires his PR company.Ketchum, part of global marketing group Omnicom(OMC), worked for the Russian government for nine years. But that relationship is now over, apparently a victim of the growing hostility between Russia and the West triggered by the conflict in Ukraine.
"We decided not to renew the contract because of the anti-Russian hysteria, the information war that is going on," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNNMoney.
Ketchum said it no longer represents Russia in the U.S. or Europe but will keep an office in Moscow. It declined further comment.
The firm was hired by Russia in 2006 -- ahead of the G8 summit in Saint Petersburg -- to help the Kremlin reach Western media.
Its biggest success was a controversial opinion piece in The New York Times written by Putin himself. The 2013 article criticized "American exceptionalism," and sparked a media backlash against the agency.
Related: Ukraine hires internet army to fight Russian trolls
Ketchum charged Russia nearly $30 million for its services over nine years, according to company filings with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The filings show how Ketchum reached out to western media, including Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, to promote a summit of the BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Ketchum was also involved in campaigns promoting the Sochi Winter Olympics and Russia's membership in the World Trade Organization.
"If you spend a lot of money on communication, you want it to be fruitful -- and that is not possible in this hateful environment," Peskov said.
Ketchum's work for Russia had already fallen off sharply. The firm made $1.5 million from its campaigns for the government in 2013, and just half that in 2014.
A separate contract with Russia's Gazprom(GZPFY) is still running, although the firm didn't bill the state gas giant for any work in the six months to November 30, 2014. Ketchum has received about $30 million from Gazprom since 2007.
Related: How billions of rubles flow secretly into the U.K.
CNNMoney (London)March 12, 2015: 12:51 PM ET
B92 - News - NATO officials on "EU army," Kiev's "peacekeepers" idea
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:37
Source: TanjugMONS -- NATO leaders have reacted with restraint to the proposal of EC President Jean-Claude Juncker to create the army of the European Union.
"The EU decides on its defense strategy, while it's important to us to avoid duplication of capacities," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was quoted as saying on Wednesday at the NATO headquarters Mons, Belgium.
The NATO commander in Europe, U.S. General Philip Breedlove, told a joint press conference that the western military alliance is "not worried" because of Junker's idea of '‹'‹a European army, and repeated that "duplication of capacities" should be avoided.
He said that EU member-states' armies should "complement, not overlap" one another.
The NATO officials also reacted with restraint to the request of the Ukrainian government to deploy international peacekeeping force under the auspices of the EU or the United Nations in eastern Ukraine, saying that it was now crucial to implement the agreement from Minsk.
"We support every effort to find a peaceful solution for Ukraine, including the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons, but for now we do not see that both sides agreed to ask for peacekeepers," said Stoltenberg.
Both assessed that Russian troops and weapons are "still present in eastern Ukraine," but welcomed reports about withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front lines.
According to Breedlove, thee border between Russia and Ukraine is wide open and without supervision, making it impossible to know "what goes in, out, and where," but added that it was "good that heavy artillery was being withdrawn."
Commenting on the criticism coming from some German politicians that NATO was exaggerating the extent of Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian conflict, Breedlove said that NATO'sa assessment was based on intelligence reports of member-states, and that when there are 33 reports from as many countries, it is "natural" they will not be identical.
Stoltenberg added that the debate within NATO was "helpful and not a sign of weakness," because it reflects "the democratic character of the alliance."
"As long as we are united in condemning the Russian aggression in Ukraine and support the search for a peaceful solution, we will remain strong," he said.
The NATO officials also spoke in favor of providing "all support and security guarantees" to the OSCE observers who monitor the implementation of the agreement from Minsk.
They also expressed regret that Russia has decided to withdraw from the agreement on reduction of conventional forces in Europe, stressing that NATO "supports arms control."
Edward Snowden issues 'call to arms' for tech companies in secret SXSW meeting | The Verge
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 11:35
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a highlight of last year's SXSW, where he gave one of his first public speeches. This year, Snowden was back at SXSW '-- but only a few people even knew it was happening. Snowden held a streamed question-and-answer session with roughly two dozen people from across the technology and policy world, which participant Sunday Yokubaitis, president of online privacy company Golden Frog, described as a "call to arms" for tech companies to foil spying with better privacy tools.
According to Yokubaitis, Snowden said that as policy reform lagged, companies should adopt more secure technology that could block surveillance altogether or make it too difficult to pursue en masse. A big focus was end-to-end encryption, which would mean no one (including companies) could see the contents of communications except the sender and recipient. "The low-hanging fruit is always [the] transit layer," he reportedly said. "It raises the cost. Every time we raise the cost, we force budgetary constraints." This is especially relevant as tools that are originally built for targeted use overseas slowly grow into broader programs. "We hope that they start with North Korea and by the time they end up in Ohio, they run out of budget."
Snowden described common security systems like SSL, meanwhile, as "critical infrastructure" that didn't receive enough investment and became vulnerable as a result. And if encryption isn't common enough, simply using it can mark a message as suspicious, which is part of the reason companies should be working on better encryption options. "Him saying that validates that companies should try and fill the holes, and not wait for policy," said Yokubaitis after the meeting.
"Spying programs are worth more than the interests of justice."
On the policy side, Snowden criticized proposals to expand rules that make phone companies open their networks for government wiretapping. FBI director James Comey has warned that internet services and tech products need similar backdoors to stop cases from "going dark" as criminals moved to the internet. "We can't have CALEA '-- Part 2," he said, according to Yokubaitis. He also said that penalties were too light for NSA employees who spied on spouses or lovers '-- informally referred to as LOVEINT. "This proves that spying programs are worth more than the interests of justice." And he thought that the public should pay more attention to NSA programs that tried to discredit enemies by spying on their online sexual activities. "How does using porn habits to discredit people make us much different than [the] Turkish government? We need to maintain moral leadership."
"I really got the sense that I'm helping to improve lives."
Contacted for comment, Hugh Forrest of SXSW said that the meeting was kept private to create a more "intimate" atmosphere. "Last year, having Edward Snowden in the big room was fantastic. But for 2015, we wanted to do something a lot more intimate," he said. "So, this morning's event was an invite-only session with about 30 tech leaders who are attending SXSW. The smaller group allowed for more in-depth questions, answers, ideas, brainstorms and discussion that simply can not be done in the kind of space where we hosted his talk in 2014." Besides Yokubaitis, the meeting was reportedly attended by between 20 and 30 people, including Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, Twitter senior product counsel Matthew Zimmerman, and Evernote CEO Phil Libin, among others. There was no directive to keep the meeting secret after the fact, so some participants, like Center for Democracy and Technology director Nuala O'Connor, tweeted Snowden selfies.
Snowden made clear that he wasn't leaking any new information in his meeting. But according to Yokubaitis, he did speak on a slightly more personal note, saying that he would like to see enough public support to safely return home. "[The] government hasn't felt the pressure; they don't care about petitions, they need higher-level pressure. It is not a legal issue, it is a political issue." He also said, as he had before, that he'd do it again. "I have gained so much. I have the ability to contribute in a much more meaningful way. I really got the sense that I'm helping to improve lives. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning. And that's something that you can't get from almost anything other than maintaining a guiding principle that you believe in very strongly."
US intel report scrapped Iran from list of terror threats | The Times of Israel
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:38
An annual report delivered recently to the US Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats, after years in which they featured in similar reports.
The unclassified version of the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Communities, dated February 26, 2015 (PDF), noted Iran's efforts to combat Sunni extremists, including those of the ultra-radical Islamic State group, who were perceived to constitute the preeminent terrorist threat to American interests worldwide.
In describing Iran's regional role, the report noted the Islamic Republic's ''intentions to dampen sectarianism, build responsive partners, and deescalate tensions with Saudi Arabia,'' but cautioned that ''Iranian leaders'--particularly within the security services'--are pursuing policies with negative secondary consequences for regional stability and potentially for Iran.
''Iran's actions to protect and empower Shia communities are fueling growing fears and sectarian responses,'' it said.
The United States and other Western nations, along with a coalition of regional allies, both Sunni and Shiite, has been launching attacks against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in recent months. The Sunni group, also known by its acronyms IS, ISIS and ISIL, is an offshoot of al-Qaeda that has carved out a self-proclaimed caliphate across large swaths of Syria and Iraq, both of whose governments are allied with Iran's.
The Shiite Lebanese group Hezbollah, which is funded and mentored by Tehran, has been fighting the Islamic State, independently of the American-led campaign, both in Syria and Iraq.
Meanwhile, the US has been engaged in marathon talks with Iran in an effort to reach an agreement on its nuclear program. Tehran, according to the National Intelligence threat assessment, has ''overarching strategic goals of enhancing its security, prestige, and regional influence [that] have led it to pursue capabilities to meet its civilian goals and give it the ability to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons, if it chooses to do so.''
The report said that it was unclear whether or not Iran would eventually decide to build nuclear weapons, but noted that should the Iranian government decide to pursue such a course, it would face no ''insurmountable technical barriers to producing a nuclear weapon.'' It lingered on Iran's pursuit of intercontinental ballistic missile technology as a likely delivery system for a nuclear weapon, and delineated Iranian threats in the realms of counterintelligence and cyber warfare.
According to one Israeli think tank, the removal of Iran and its proxy Hezbollah from the list of terror threats, where they featured in previous years, was directly linked to the campaign against the Islamic State.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in Washington, DC, February 26, 2015 (photo credit: Evy Mages/Getty Images/AFP)
''We believe that this results from a combination of diplomatic interests (the United States' talks with Iran about a nuclear deal) with the idea that Iran could assist in the battle against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and maybe even in the battle against jihadist terrorism in other countries,'' the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said in an analysis of the report (Hebrew PDF). It also noted the Iran and Hezbollah were both listed as terrorism threats in the assessment of another American body, the Defense Intelligence Agency.
''Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and Lebanese Hezbollah are instruments of Iran's foreign policy and its ability to project power in Iraq, Syria, and beyond,'' that assessment, also submitted to the Senate of February 26, said in its section on terrorism. ''Hezbollah continues to support the Syrian regime, pro-regime militants and Iraqi Shia militants in Syria. Hezbollah trainers and advisors in Iraq assist Iranian and Iraqi Shia militias fighting Sunni extremists there. Select Iraqi Shia militant groups also warned of their willingness to fight US forces returning to Iraq.''
Israel, as well as Sunni allies of the US, has often warned that Iran, through Hezbollah and other proxies, has been sowing instability in the region. An escalating dispute between Jerusalem and Washington over the terms of an eventual agreement on Iran's nuclear program has seen Israeli official rail against the relatively conciliatory tone adopted by US officials toward Iran, in light of the shared interest in combating the Islamic State.
In a polarizing speech before a joint session of Congress on March 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to persuade American lawmakers of the folly of signing an agreement with Iran, and, comparing its leaders to those of the Nazi regime of World War II, cautioned that it ''poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also [to] the peace of the entire world.''
Iran has made bellicose statements toward Israel, threatening to destroy the Jewish state, often citing Israeli talk of attacking its nuclear facilities, which it maintains are for peaceful purposes.
Hezbollah, which is based to Israel's north in Lebanon and the Syrian Golan Heights, has largely refrained from attacking Israeli targets since the bloody Second Lebanon War of 2006, although there have been skirmishes along the border.
In one recent confrontation, Israel struck first, purportedly destroying a Hezbollah unit near the front line of the Golan Heights. Among the seven dead on January 18 were an Iranian general, a top Hezbollah commander and the son of another former commander in chief. Some two weeks later, Hezbollah took revenge, killing two Israeli soldiers and wounding seven in a cross-border attack.
AFP contributed to this report.
Shut Up Slave!
Police recording bill presumes to authorize journalists, threaten gun owners - National gun rights | Examiner.com
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:14
Police can record us up close and personal, but we can't keep tabs on them, especially if lawfully armed?
''HB 2918 is meant to protect officers, NOT restrict the ability to keep them accountable,'' Texas State Representative Jason Villalba tweeted in response to critics of his bill mandating members of the public to keep set distances away from a peace officer exercising authority. ''It DOES NOT prohibit filming.''
Responders on Villalba's Twitter feed were, to put it mildly, not convinced, prompting him to double down and tweet again about his interview on Time Warner Cable News Austin ''Capital Tonight,'' in which he denied wanting to limit anyone by ''creating a halo.'' He presented his bill as a ''reasonable measure'' and as ''common sense,'' something law enforcement had asked him for so that they aren't endangered.
''All we're trying to do is get them [people video-recording police activities] to back down a few feet,'' he insisted.
Not quite. Villalba's bill makes ''interruption, disruption, impediment, or interference'' a crime that includes ''filming, recording, photographing, or documenting the officer within 25 feet of the officer,'' and ''filming, recording, photographing, or documenting the officer within 100 feet of the officer while carrying a handgun,'' just in case there are any lawful concealed carry permit holders who also happen to be interested in documenting police activities to ensure accountability. And as written, the bill appears to criminalize the act of recording one's own interactions with police.
There are, of course, the typical exemptions, privileged categories I call ''Only Ones'' (my designation for members of law enforcement demonstrating Lee Paige elitism) and ''Authorized Journalists'' (sometimes referred to as ''Fourth Estate Fifth Columnists.'') The "official" press category raises special concerns for those of us who are part of alternative -- as opposed to establishment -- media. That's because HB 2918 defines ''news media'' as ''a radio or television station that holds a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission; a newspaper that is qualified under Section 2051.044, Government Code, to publish legal notices or is a free newspaper of general circulation and that is published at least once a week and available and of interest to the general public in connection with the dissemination of news or public affairs; or a magazine that appears at a regular interval, that contains stories, articles, and essays by various writers, and that is available and of interest to the general public in connection with the dissemination of news or public affairs.''
That fits in nicely with Joe Biden's designation of flacks for administration citizen disarmament edicts as ''legitimate media,'' and Dianne Feinstein's characterization of them, for shield law protection exclusivity, as ''real reporters.'' It also reinforces the caste snobbery exemplified by Juan Williams, dismissing anyone not enjoying his seat at the insiders' table as ''a blogger,'' and thus his inferior in status.
''Thank god for the BLOGGERS who broke open the #fastandfurious scandal & paved the way for #realreporters to follow,'' blogger, author and political commentator Michelle Malkin tweeted to Williams, eliciting rousing agreement that escalated to a trending phenomenon.
She was right on point, as this chronicle of the first days of ''Project Gunwalker'' investigative journalism by Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars and this column documents. Look at the developments that were reported on (and sometimes generated) before anyone from Williams' world gave the story the time of day, and then note how few in the establishment press made any significant contributions to the investigation, as opposed to showing deliberate indifference or acting as administration apologists and enablers.
As one of the two ''mere'' bloggers banging pots and pans to get that noticed, I take personal exception to government issuing de facto press licenses with criminal penalties should an independent upstart act like all he has rights, too -- probably because I was once threatened with arrest for daring to ask a question of a public figure at a public press conference. I was again threatened by a U.S. Marshal for reporting on ATF inspector harassment of a gun shop, and had to defy ATF when they complained to a judge and presumed to define who could cover their activities.
Meanwhile, "progressive" attorney Dusty Horwitt proposed a (you guessed it) ''progressive'' tax on the internet because all those citizen journalists ''siphon audiences and revenues from newspapers.''
Note to Jason Villalba: You don't get to determine who an authorized journalist is. You don't get to decide how citizen oversight of law enforcement actions will be conducted. You don't get to insult and persecute lawfully-armed citizens by painting them as an extraordinary threat warranting special penalties should they cross inside your stupid wandering gun-free ''halo'' zone.
If a police officer is performing his duty and decides someone is interfering with it, he will need to respond to each situation as it happens and then decide if further action on his part is lawfully justified. You don't get to impose invisible shields via prior restraints on their behalf. And if voters in your district are wise, you won't get to treat their rights as secondary to the desire of public employees to complicate scrutiny of their activities.
Politician, you're sucking up to the wrong constituency.
Protesters stage anti-robot rally at SXSW
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 18:20
Behind the scenes timelapse footage of day 2 at SXSW. (Kaveh Rezaei, USA TODAY)
Protesters warn of the dangers of unchecked artificial intelligence at the tech and entertainment gathering SXSW in Austin on March 14, 2015.(Photo: Jon Swartz, USA TODAY)
AUSTIN '-- "I say robot, you say no-bot!"
The chant reverberated through the air near the entrance to the SXSW tech and entertainment festival here.
About two dozen protesters, led by a computer engineer, echoed that sentiment in their movement against artificial intelligence.
ALL SXSW:Stories, videos and photos
"This is is about morality in computing," said Adam Mason, 23, who organized the protest.
Signs at the scene reflected the mood. "Stop the Robots." "Humans are the future."
The mini-rally drew a crowd of gawkers, drawn by the sight of a rare protest here.
The dangers of more developed artificial intelligence, which is still in its early stages, has created some debate in the scientific community. Tesla founder Elon Musk donated $10 million to the Future of Life Institute because of his fears.
Stephen Hawking and others have added to the proverbial wave of AI paranoia with dire predictions of its risk to humanity.
The topic is an undercurrent in Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, a documentary about the fabled Apple co-founder. The paradoxical dynamic between people and tech products is a "double-edged sword," said its Academy Award-winning director, Alex Gibney. "There are so many benefits '-- and yet we can descend into our smartphone."
As non-plussed witnesses wandered by, another chant went up. "A-I, say goodbye."
Several of the students were from the University of Texas, which is known for a strong engineering program. But they are deeply concerned about the implications of a society where technology runs too deep.
"Planes can fly themselves, but the person who is ultimately responsible for landing a plane is a human," Mason said.
Meet Jibo, your new robotic roommate
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Last SlideNext SlideThe anti-bot protest has some of the brightest minds in AI puzzled.
"I am amazed at the movement," says Stephen Wolfram, a British computer scientist, entrepreneur and former physicist known for his contributions to theoretical physics. "AI has changed life in ways as dramatic as the Industrial Revolution."
Adds Ben Medlock, co-founder of mobile-communications company SwiftKey: "Machines have already taken over. If you drive a car, much of what it does is technology-driven."
Phil Libin, CEO of software firm Evernote, frames the protest and movement as the latest iteration of the man vs. machine debate. "People worry about robots taking over the world, but I assure you there are much more dangerous things (income inequality and global warming) in front of the line," he said.
"Humans should be more worried about other humans," Libin said.
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NA-Tech News
Autonomous Friendly Corridor - Central North American Trade Corridor Association
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 15:22
On March 20, 2014 at the Trade & Transportation Summit in Bismarck, ND, an announcement that the CNATCA would begin work to create a corridor that would utilize autonomous vehicles (unmanned vehicles both land and air based) for commerce through the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. We also welcome the countries of Canada and Mexico to participate.Update:We are now assembling a team to develop a plan for introduction of this initiative in 2015 to the six states involved in the corridor. If you wish to be part of this team, please contact Marlo Anderson at 701-204-6674.
Click here to watch a presentation on the Autonomous Friendly Corridor.
Baby dies in Stechford 'after truck hits wall' - BBC News
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 23:59
Queens Road has been closed between Sedgemere Road and Broadstone Road A one-year-old boy was killed when a recovery truck reportedly hit a wall which then fell on top of him, police have said.
The child suffered a fatal head injury and was pronounced dead at the scene in the Stechford area of Birmingham.
West Midlands Police said Queens Road was likely to be closed for a considerable time while they investigated the crash.
Insp Paul Bennett said it was "a very tragic set of circumstances".
"Words cannot describe what his family are going through and our thoughts are with them at this time," he said.
Specialist officers will be supporting the boy's family, he added.
West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) said it was called to the road just after 16:55 GMT.
A spokesman said various vehicles, including an air ambulance, were sent to the scene.
"Ambulance staff carried out advanced life support but sadly nothing could be done to save him and he was confirmed dead at the scene by the doctor," he said.
Police said the road had been closed between Sedgemere Road and Broadstone Road.
Anyone with information about what happened should call police on 101.
Hillary 2016
BREAKING NEWS: Spam Filtering Service had access to Clinton Classified Emails Dvorak News Blog
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 11:39
Not often do we break news on Dvorak News but today we do. Hillary Clinton used a spam filtering service MxLogic to filter her spam and viruses. What this means is '' employees at MxLogic, now owned by McAfee '' had full access to all her classified state department email in unencrypted form.
Here's the MX records for clintonemail.com.
clintonemail.com. 7200 IN MX 10 clintonemail.com.inbound10.mxlogicmx.net.clintonemail.com. 7200 IN MX 10 clintonemail.com.inbound10.mxlogic.net.
I'm Marc Perkel '' I'm an email expert and I run a competing spam filtering service Junk Email Filter. (yes '' I'm jealous) So I know how email system work. Email from the Internet is routed by DNS records called MX records what are used to look up where to deliver email destined for a recipient. When someone uses a Spam Filtering service they point their MX records to that service and all email for that domain goes to the spam filtering service first '' they clean it '' and forward the good email on to the recipient server which is secret to the world.
Internet '--''> MxLogic '--'--> Hillary's Server
What this means is that when Obama or anyone in the State Department emailed Hillary, the email went to MxLogic. It was then decrypted, checked for spam and viruses, and then reencrypted and sent over the open internet to Hillary's server. While it was at MxLogic it could be read, tapped, archived, or forwarded to anyone in the world without anyone knowing.
This system has serious security implications. Email to McAfee's servers might be encrypted and email out of McAfee might be encrypted, but while it's at McAfee any employee who has access to the filtering system can tap and read any email going to that domain. So '' for example '' if I'm a Russian spy, ISIS, North Korea, or Fox News, or a 14 year old hacker, all I have to do is bribe someone at McAfee or hack their work login, and they get to read all the email of the Secretary of State. WooHoo!
And '' this is one of many reasons they have a rule at the State Department that you have to use their servers.
For what it's worth I was imagining that I was the email security tech at the State Department and I'm aware that Hillary isn't playing by the rules. What do I do? If I confront her about it do I get fired? Or does the State Department even have email security? How does this get past the tech guys.
So if I'm in the job I'm thinking that I would require VPN tunnels with SSL down the tunnel. Might even wrap the SSL inside an SSH tunnel creating 3 layers. Might even require PGP keys on top of that. I mean '' I have the ability to do that '' so why not the State Department?
But '' maybe she's super stealth? While the Russians are trying to hack her state department account, which doesn't exists, no one would ever think she's stupid enough to have her email on a private server in her home. Security through obscurity. And that is assuming that she's telling the truth about that.
Although we don't know what IP address Clinton's real email is on. It's interesting to note IP addresses in the DNS for the clintonemail.com domain. Most host names like www.clintonemail.com all map to some holding page of no importance. However that host mail.clintonemail.com maps to a different IP address, which is in a data center in the New York area, Internap.com. Interesting that her ''home server'' resolves to a data center. Seems worth investigating to me. mail.presidentclinton.com resolves to the same IP address and also uses MxLogic.
So I thought, what if she has web mail? And sure enough '' I GOT A LOGIN PROMPT! https://mail.clintonemail.com And I have verified by the SSL certificate that this is indeed the clintonemail.com server '' still online! Click here and type in mail.clintonemail.com
I already tried hillary2016 for the password and that didn't work. But I'm looking at this and thinking WTF!
Is Hillary's server secure? It get's a B rating here. Only supports weak protocols. Uses only SHA1. TLS 1.0.
Another SSL testing site. https://www.whynopadlock.com/check.php '' type in mail.clintonemail.com. In contrast type in mail.junkemailfilter.com. My server passes '' Hillary's doesn't.
Shouldn't the Secretary of State of the United States of America use a server that isn't weak?
What email went through this system that could have been tapped? Emails about Libya, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Putin, ISIS, the Bin Laded raid, and Chelsea's wedding guest list! OMG!
I have been a Clinton supporter. Here's a pic with me and Hillary in 1992.
If she's the candidate I would still vote for her in the general election over any Republican. But in the primary '' I still dream of Elizabeth Warren, but I'll settle for Biden. And isn't that just a little sad.
And '' for those of you who make this argument, ''Republicans did it too! (Therefore Hillary should get away with it.)'' My response '' ''Are you F'...ing kidding me!''
The bottom line - none of this would have happened if she had just played by the rules.
Is the Chinese dragon losing its puff? | canberratimes.com.au
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 11:17
Peter Hartcher -Mar 16, 2015
Endgame: The collapse of the Chinese Communist Party has been predicted many times before. Photo: John Shakespeare
While Australia's government argues over whether to join a China-sponsored infrastructure fund, a larger debate has started on a much grander question '' can China's ruling regime survive?
The collapse of the Chinese Communist Party has been predicted many times before. But never by David Shambaugh, an eminent US Sinologist of some 40 years' standing. That changed last week when he wrote a much-discussed essay in the Wall Street Journal titled "The Coming Chinese Crackup".
"The endgame of Chinese communist rule has now begun," wrote the professor of political science at George Washington University. "Its demise is likely to be protracted, messy and violent."
China under the Communist Party has been described as history's most successful dictatorship. China is not just a rising power: it has risen. While average income per person in the US grew fourfold from 1980 to 2013, and sixfold in Australia in the same years, in China it burgeoned by a factor of 35, measured in current US dollar terms, according to the World Bank.
China today is the second biggest economy and military spender on the planet. The Communist Party regime is now in its 66th year.
So where does Shambaugh see evidence of imminent collapse? He lists five "telling indications of the regime's vulnerability".
First is that "China's economic elites have one foot out the door, and they are ready to flee en masse if the system really begins to crumble". He cites a survey of 393 millionaires and billionaires by Shanghai's Hurun Research Institute; 64 per cent said that they were emigrating, or planning to do so.
Second is Xi's harsh political repression: "A more secure and confident government would not institute such a severe crackdown. It is a symptom of the party leadership's deep anxiety and insecurity".
Third is the hollowness of official belief in Xi's doctrines. Officials are only going through the motions, he says. He recalls sitting through a conference on Xi's call for a "China Dream" where it was "evident that the propaganda had lost its power". Demand for a pamphlet by Xi was so feeble at the Central Party School bookshop that the sales staff were giving it away.
Fourth, Shambaugh says, corruption runs deep and will outlive Xi's anti-corruption purge, which will succeed only in enraging powerful interests.
Finally, the economy "for all the Western views of it as an unstoppable juggernaut is stuck in a series of systemic traps from which there is no easy exit," he says. Xi's attempt to break the traps, his economic reform plan, is encountering stiff internal resistance.
The exact manner and timing of collapse, says Shambaugh, is impossible to predict.
Predicting the demise of China's regime is not quite as startling as it might seem. In some ways it's entirely routine.
The blindness of the West to the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union was a chastening experience. Analysts since have been hyperalert to a Chinese Communist downfall.
Hundreds of supposed seers and Chinawatchers have cried wolf in the past quarter-century, falling into embarrassed silence when their phantom wolves are consumed by the rampaging Chinese dragon. This church of false prophets even has a name '' "collapsists".
Nor is it just a Western thing. As a historian of China, director of the ANU's Australian Centre on China in the World, Geremie Barme, points out: "The Communists themselves speculate internally about whether the party will collapse. They speculate about it constantly."
No party can rule forever, anywhere. The big questions are exactly when and exactly how the regime will collapse. And David Shambaugh himself says he cannot answer either.
The Soviet collapse was, at core, a crisis of confidence. The Communist party was not challenged by another party, by a coup or by an uprising. The party yielded much of its power because its leadership had lost the self-belief and the will to go on.
China's Xi Jinping may have many deficits, but a deficit of confidence is not one of them. "Confidence is rising, not falling," says Barme. The well-regarded China economist, Arthur Kroeber, concurs: "Xi Jinping's government is not weak and desperate, but forceful and adaptable."
Kroeber adds a fundamental consideration: "The forces that might push for systemic political change are far weaker than the Party."
There is a major economic crunch beginning, certainly. But the Communist regime has prevailed through much worse. There is no sign that the instruments of coercion are wilting.
Barme, a longstanding acquaintance of Shambaugh, laughs at his anecdotes of hollowing faith among officialdom: "Every political conference I've been to in China in 42 years, the officials are always bored. Everyone's bored. The leader's works never sell. They always have to give them away."
Barme suspects that Shambaugh's conversion into the church of "collapsism" tells us more about today's America than it does about China.
"If this were written by a Spanish author or a Greek author or an Italian author, they'd say, 'Yes, we have capital flight, corruption, a lack of reform, massive popular dissent '' sounds like a normal day," Barme argues.
"However, we are looking at an American writing about Chinese collapse amid huge anxiety about US politics and its future. I agree that Xi's China is uglier, more repressive and narrow, yet it's more confident, more articulate and more focused than at any time since Mao Zedong. That's why an American is worried."
Peter Hartcher is the international editor.
Hot Pockets
A data genius computes the ultimate American road trip - The Washington Post
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 08:32
This post comes via Know More, Wonkblog's social media site.
Who needs an atlas when you have an algorithm? Data tinkerer Randy Olson, who previously developed the optimal search path for finding the bespectacled main character of the "Where's Waldo?" books, has used this same algorithm to compute the ultimate American road trip.
At the urging of Tracy Staedter from Discovery News, Olson set out to find the quickest driving route that would stop at a national natural landmark, national historic site, national park or national monument in all of the lower 48 states. He also included Washington, D.C. and added another stop in California to get to a total of 50 stops. Here is the route:
Calculating the fastest way to drive between all 50 landmarks '' 2,500 individual routes '' could theoretically take forever by hand, but Olson used the same genetic algorithm he used to find a search pattern for Where's Waldo. This algorithm starts with a handful of solutions, takes the best one, and then compares that to other solutions until it can't find a better one. Here's that algorithm at work for "Where's Waldo?":
The result is the route pictured above, which includes stops at the Grand Canyon, the Alamo, Mount Vernon, Graceland, the White House, the Statue of Liberty, and much more. You can start in any state and follow the path in either direction.
If you didn't sleep, stop or hit traffic, Olson calculates that this would take roughly 9.33 days of driving. In reality, you probably need a good two to three months to do justice to this epic American road trip.
Olson also created a bonus map for U.S. cities. The route below travels through every Trip Advisor-rated "Best City to Visit" in the lower 48 states, plus (for convenience sake) Cleveland.
More stories from Know More:
- What if America's zip codes were one big game of connect-the-dots?
- A beautiful visualization shows how men and women see color differently
- Data art: A million digits of pi, visualized
Ana Swanson writes for Know More and Wonkblog.
Mac & Cheese
Kraft Recalls 6.5 Million Boxes Of Mac & Cheese
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 11:20
By Sky News US Team
Kraft Foods is recalling about 6.5 million boxes of its signature Macaroni & Cheese because some of the boxes may contain small pieces of metal.
The recall applies to 7.25oz packs of original flavour boxes that have "best when used by" dates ranging from 18 September 2015 through 11 October 2015 and are marked with the code "C2''.
They were sold throughout the US, Puerto Rico, and in some countries in the Caribbean and South America.
Some 242,000 cases of the product are being recalled.
Kraft said it was aware of eight incidents of consumers finding metal in the boxes, but has not been informed of any injuries.
It told consumers not to eat the macaroni and return it to the store where it was purchased for a full refund.
"We believe a piece of stainless steel got wedged in a metal piece of equipment, which may have generated friction that resulted in small pieces of metal potentially falling into the product," Joyce Hodel, a Kraft spokeswoman, said in a statement.
"We deeply apologise to the consumers we have disappointed."
The recall comes at a time when Kraft's Macaroni & Cheese products, a staple for generations of Americans, face increasing competition from smaller brands with more natural ingredients.
War on Guns
Senate Republicans pass open carry bill for handguns in Texas | Dallas Morning News
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:50
Licensed Texans would be allowed to openly carry handguns in a shoulder or belt holster '' like the Old West '' under legislation tentatively approved by the Senate Monday after emotional debate that sharply divided Democrats and Republicans.
The measure by Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, would join Texas with most other states in authorizing open carry of handguns '' as long as the person has a state handgun license. Currently, about 826,000 Texans have a concealed handgun license, nearly 3 percent of the state's population.
The bill, approved on a 20-11 straight, party-line vote, would be effective on Jan. 1, 2016. Texans can already carry long guns, like rifles, openly.
In seeking approval for the measure, Estes said the change in law ''is the way to go'' for those who believe in freedom. Further, he asserted, the 800,000-plus handgun license holders ''have been vetted and trained, and can decide what is best for them. I have great confidence in our license holders that they will do the right thing.''
Estes said his legislation is similar to what Oklahoma enacted a few years ago '' and there have been few problems in that state with open carry. ''If it becomes an issue later on (in Texas), we will deal with it,'' he said in response to critics.
Regarding concerns that many Texans will be fearful of people openly displaying guns in public places like parks, Estes suggested they should ''get help somewhere.''
Senate Democrats tried unsuccessfully to amend the bill to soften its impact. Among those were proposals to require annual background checks for license holders, more handgun training for licensees and retention clips on all holsters used to carry handguns. Most amendments were tabled on partisan 20-11 votes.
Democrats also claimed to have the support of the law enforcement community in Texas, which mostly testified in opposition to the bill at an earlier public hearing.
One amendment that was adopted, by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, exempted college campuses from the open carry measure.
''Have you thought about the dangers you will expose to the men and woman who make up law enforcement in our state?'' asked Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, speaking against the proposal.
Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, suggested that someone shooting a person displaying a handgun could raise an argument of self-defense by saying he was threatened by the exposed weapon.
West also pressed Estes to name any law enforcement agencies or leaders who support his open carry proposal. ''If none testified in favor, would you still move forward on this bill?'' he asked, suggesting there was a good reason marshals and sheriffs in the Old West required cowboys to hang up their guns when coming into town.
The Republican tide on the open carry measure was aided by a change in Senate rules this session that reduced the number of votes needed to bring a bill up for debate. Instead of the previous two-thirds margin that was needed in the past (21 votes), the required margin is now three-fifths, or 19 votes. Republican currently hold 20 seats in the 31-member chamber.
Bill would offer money for video footage of idling vehicles | New York Post
Sun, 15 Mar 2015 12:30
If you see something, they'll pay something.
Two city lawmakers want to recruit everyday New Yorkers to help battle the scourge of idling vehicles by paying them for video footage that results in fines.
City Council members Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) and Donovan Richards (D-Queens) will introduce a bill Wednesday that would give citizens up to 50 percent of the summons revenue if they catch someone breaking the idling law, take a video and submit it to the Department of Environmental Protection.
The exact cut for videographers would be determined by the DEP, they said. But citizen enforcers could makes hundreds '-- even thousands '-- of dollars.
The bill would keep first-time idling violations punishable by just a warning, but would boost fines for second offenses to between $350 and $1,500.
Any subsequent violations within a two-year period would yield even heftier fines of between $440 and $2,000.
Citizens seeking to cash in on their videos would first have to undergo training by the DEP, which would be offered five days per year under current plans.
''On my block alone, I could produce 20 tickets a day, easily,'' said banker George Pakenham, an anti-idling advocate who made a documentary on the issue called ''Idle Threat'' in 2012.
He says that he has documented his own encounters with roughly 2,900 idlers over a five-year period, and that he was successful in getting 80 percent of them to turn off their engines by pointing out the environmental impact and the city laws.
''This is going to be the thing that makes the entire difference,'' Pakenham said of the bill. ''This will be just the tonic to have people engaged and earn a great deal of money along the way.''
According to council documents, idling limits of three minutes have been in place in the city since 1971. The restrictions were recently shortened to just one minute for vehicles standing in front of schools.
But data show that despite repeated efforts by lawmakers to toughen the law, enforcement has remained sporadic at best.
In 2002, 325 idling violations were issued by three city agencies combined, while 526 violations were issued in 2007, according to council records.
Last year, just 209 violations were issued '-- yielding a paltry $93,010 in total fines, according to the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.
''We can pass these laws, we've strengthened the fines . . . but the real problem is enforcement,'' said Rosenthal. ''You're obviously upping the interest by having people share in the fine.''
She said her office has fielded hordes of complaints about tour buses that linger in front of the Upper West Side's Dakota Building, where John Lennon was killed.
''It's been such a challenge to get police or DEP enforcement out there,'' Rosenthal said.
Drone Nation
Federal Employee Will Not Face Criminal Charges in Drone Crash at White House - NYTimes.com
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 11:22
WASHINGTON '-- The Justice Department said Wednesday that it would not criminally charge a federal employee who was operating a hobbyist's drone that crashed on the South Lawn of the White House in January.
The Federal Aviation Administration, however, has begun an investigation of the incident to determine whether the man, Shawn Usman, should be fined, the Justice Department said.
It is against federal regulations to fly a drone in Washington.
The crash of the DJI Phantom drone, a 2-foot-by-2-foot quadcopter, on the lawn of the White House generated deep concern among law enforcement officials, who said it exposed a vulnerability in the security around the White House. Officials said radar designed to stop planes was not designed for drones that are so small.
Law enforcement and national security officials have said that such drones could carry explosives, cameras or other potentially dangerous equipment. In recent weeks, officials said that the Secret Service and other agencies were flying drones in the skies above Washington to test methods of detecting and stopping them.
The drone that Mr. Usman was flying added to the list of embarrassing security breaches at the White House. It followed an incident in September in which a man jumped the iron fence around the White House and made it into the building's ornate East Room.
Senior Secret Service officials had wanted federal prosecutors to charge Mr. Usman, who has worked at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and maintained a security clearance to work with secret government material.
Secret Service officials believed there was enough evidence to indict him. But they have said it is not clear to them whether the laws intended to protect the airspace around the White House would have applied to unmanned aircraft like drones.
There was also no evidence that the man deliberately tried to fly the drone over the White House, they said.
''Mr. Usman is pleased and grateful that the U.S. attorney's office has decided not to pursue charges in this matter,'' his lawyer, James M. Garland, said in an emailed statement. ''This entire incident, while unfortunate and understandably alarming, was totally inadvertent and completely unintentional.''
The statement went on: ''Mr. Usman wishes to express his sincere apologies to all those affected '-- especially to the president and his family, as well as to those responsible for ensuring their safety.''
Mr. Garland said that his client would cooperate fully with the F.A.A. investigation.
The Justice Department said that its investigation found that Mr. Usman had borrowed the drone from a friend and was flying it out of his apartment window in the overnight hours when he lost control of it.
''Around 3 a.m., the drone was outside over 10th Street when he saw it ascend to an altitude of about 100 feet and head in a westerly direction,'' the United States attorney's office for the District of Columbia said in a statement. ''He tried to regain control over it, but to no avail. He called his friend, who was unable to advise him how to gain control over the drone.''
Mr. Usman, the statement continued, ''knew that the drone's battery was nearing the end of its charge and expected that it would crash somewhere over the Mall.'' He then went to sleep, not knowing where the drone had fallen.
When he woke up the next morning, he saw news reports about the crash and then reported the incident to the Secret Service. A ''forensic analysis'' performed on the drone by the authorities determined that Mr. Usman was not controlling it when it crashed at the White House.
The DJI Phantom drone, which sells for as much as $2,000, is one of the most popular drones among hobbyists. Company officials said the drone uses GPS technology to help amateur operators control where it goes.
Some users have reported instances in which the wireless connection between the controller and the drone is lost, leading the drone to shoot up into the sky and then head off in an unknown direction at high speed. Those reports are similar to what Mr. Usman told investigators.
Company officials blamed user error for most of those incidents and said that in some cases, users have accidentally programmed in an erroneous ''go home'' address for when the drone loses contact with the controller.
U.S. loses drone over Syria, which claims to have brought it down
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 03:32
Tue Mar 17, 2015 6:42pm EDTBEIRUT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States lost contact with an unarmed Predator drone over Syria on Tuesday, U.S. officials said, stopping short of confirming the plane was taken down by Syrian air defenses, as reported by Syrian state media.
"At this time, we have no information to corroborate press reports that the aircraft was shot down," a U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"We are looking into the incident and will provide more details when available."
Another U.S. official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said flatly the United States could not "determine the cause yet," without elaborating.
It was the first such incident since the U.S.-led coalition began carrying out air strikes against the hardline militant Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria last summer.
U.S. officials have previously described Syrian skies as relatively passive, noting that the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad had not taken aim at coalition aircraft flying over its territory.
But earlier on Tuesday, Syria's state news agency SANA said Syria's state news agency SANA said on Tuesday its air defenses brought down a U.S. surveillance plane in the coastal province of Latakia.
"Syrian air defenses brought down a hostile U.S. surveillance plane in northern Latakia," SANA said in a bulletin, without giving further details.
(Reporting by Mariam Karouny in Beirut and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by Alison Williams, John Stonestreet and Ken Wills)
Email Article>> Next Article: Alibaba investors face lock-up battered but largely unbowed
As Race for UN Chief Begins, New Campaigns Demand a Woman - ABC News
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:23
At a private working lunch for the five most powerful members of the United NationsSecurity Council, the conversation turned to the question of the next U.N. secretary-general.
A European ambassador reminded colleagues of a General Assembly resolution nearly as old as the 70-year organization itself, a guiding document for a selection process for U.N. chief that has remained secretive and almost completely male. The January 1946 resolution says a "man of eminence and high attainment" should hold the post.
Perhaps, the ambassador suggested, some might want to add the words "or a woman."
No doubt. Just three female candidates have been included in past closed-door votes and straw polls that the Security Council has used to make its choice for decades, but now two campaigns are launching to make sure the next "Your excellency" is a she.
"There have been eight men and no women. To me, it's time," said Jean Krasno, a lecturer at Yale who leads the new Campaign to Elect a Woman Secretary-General.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will remain in office through Dec. 31, 2016, but the talk about his successor has already started, especially among U.N. watchers who've gone as far as scrutinizing the handwriting on paper ballots after Security Council straw polls. Ban's successor is expected to be chosen late next year, though there is no official date.
On Sunday, the campaign will launch WomanSG.org to feature around a dozen women it says are outstanding possible candidates with political experience. Every few weeks, another group of possible candidates will be posted online.
Next month, the international women's rights group Equality Now will launch a similar Time for a Woman campaign while urging the public to pressure the U.N. and member states to make "gender a serious consideration for the first time," said the group's legal adviser, Antonia Kirkland.
Women that they're pointing out include Helen Clark, former New Zealand prime minister and the head of the U.N. Development Program; Bulgarian European commissioner Kristalina Georgieva; Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite; Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
"And obviously, you could have some sort of dream thoughts around (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel," said Laura Liswood, the secretary-general of the Council of Women World Leaders, a collection of 53 current and former female heads of state that's not part of either campaign.
Another name floating around is International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde, though as a Frenchwoman, she is likely a long shot. Candidates from the five permanent council members' countries '-- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China '-- are by tradition not considered.
The topic is a popular one as women's organizations from around the world assemble at the U.N. for this week's meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women and side events featuring Hillary Rodham Clinton and Melinda Gates. "More women are leading businesses, governments and global organizations. At the same time, progress remains unacceptably slow," Ban told the meeting Monday.
The world currently has fewer than 20 female heads of state and government, and women make up about a quarter of posts in the U.N. Secretariat's most senior levels. A female secretary-general "will be a cherry on top," the head of the U.N. agency promoting equality for women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, told reporters Friday.
Stop Spying on Wikipedia Users - NYTimes.com
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 10:30
SAN FRANCISCO '-- TODAY, we're filing a lawsuit against the National Security Agency to protect the rights of the 500 million people who use Wikipedia every month. We're doing so because a fundamental pillar of democracy is at stake: the free exchange of knowledge and ideas.
Our lawsuit says that the N.S.A.'s mass surveillance of Internet traffic on American soil '-- often called ''upstream'' surveillance '-- violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects the right to privacy, as well as the First Amendment, which protects the freedoms of expression and association. We also argue that this agency activity exceeds the authority granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that Congress amended in 2008.
Most people search and read Wikipedia anonymously, since you don't need an account to view its tens of millions of articles in hundreds of languages. Every month, at least 75,000 volunteers in the United States and around the world contribute their time and passion to writing those articles and keeping the site going '-- and growing.
On our servers, run by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, those volunteers discuss their work on everything from Tiananmen Square to gay rights in Uganda. Many of them prefer to work anonymously, especially those who work on controversial issues or who live in countries with repressive governments.
These volunteers should be able to do their work without having to worry that the United States government is monitoring what they read and write. Unfortunately, their anonymity is far from certain because, using upstream surveillance, the N.S.A. intercepts and searches virtually all of the international text-based traffic that flows across the Internet ''backbone'' inside the United States. This is the network of fiber-optic cables and junctions that connect Wikipedia with its global community of readers and editors.
As a result, whenever someone overseas views or edits a Wikipedia page, it's likely that the N.S.A. is tracking that activity '-- including the content of what was read or typed, as well as other information that can be linked to the person's physical location and possible identity. These activities are sensitive and private: They can reveal everything from a person's political and religious beliefs to sexual orientation and medical conditions.
The notion that the N.S.A. is monitoring Wikipedia's users is not, unfortunately, a stretch of the imagination. One of the documents revealed by the whistle-blower Edward J. Snowden specifically identified Wikipedia as a target for surveillance, alongside several other major websites like CNN.com, Gmail and Facebook. The leaked slide from a classified PowerPoint presentation declared that monitoring these sites could allow N.S.A. analysts to learn ''nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet.''
The harm to Wikimedia and the hundreds of millions of people who visit our websites is clear: Pervasive surveillance has a chilling effect. It stifles freedom of expression and the free exchange of knowledge that Wikimedia was designed to enable.
During the 2011 Arab uprisings, Wikipedia users collaborated to create articles that helped educate the world about what was happening. Continuing cooperation between American and Egyptian intelligence services is well established; the director of Egypt's main spy agency under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi boasted in 2013 that he was ''in constant contact'' with the Central Intelligence Agency.
So imagine, now, a Wikipedia user in Egypt who wants to edit a page about government opposition or discuss it with fellow editors. If that user knows the N.S.A. is routinely combing through her contributions to Wikipedia, and possibly sharing information with her government, she will surely be less likely to add her knowledge or have that conversation, for fear of reprisal.
And then imagine this decision playing out in the minds of thousands of would-be contributors in other countries. That represents a loss for everyone who uses Wikipedia and the Internet '-- not just fellow editors, but hundreds of millions of readers in the United States and around the world.
In the lawsuit we're filing with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, we're joining as a fellow plaintiff a broad coalition of human rights, civil society, legal, media and information organizations. Their work, like ours, requires them to engage in sensitive Internet communications with people outside the United States.
That is why we're asking the court to order an end to the N.S.A.'s dragnet surveillance of Internet traffic.
Privacy is an essential right. It makes freedom of expression possible, and sustains freedom of inquiry and association. It empowers us to read, write and communicate in confidence, without fear of persecution. Knowledge flourishes where privacy is protected.
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is a board member of the Wikimedia Foundation, of which Lila Tretikov is the executive director.
Wikipedia Sues NSA Over Dragnet Internet Surveillance - The Intercept
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 10:30
Wikipedia is suing the NSA over surveillance programs that involve tapping internet traffic en masse from communications infrastructure in the U.S. in order to search it for intelligence purposes.
The lawsuit argues that this broad surveillance, revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, violates the First Amendment by chilling speech and the open exchange of information, and that it also runs up against Fourth Amendment privacy protections.
''The surveillance that we're challenging gives the government virtually unfettered access to U.S. communications and the content of those communications,'' said Patrick Toomey, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is bringing the litigation on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, and a group of human rights and media organizations including The Nation magazine and Amnesty International, who say that their sensitive overseas communications are imperiled by the NSA's snooping.
So-called ''upstream'' surveillance involves direct access to the physical cables, switches, and routers that enable the flow of information across the internet. With its upstream efforts, the agency essentially copies virtually all international text-based communications '-- emails, instant messages, web searches, and the like '-- and searches them for terms related to its investigations. In the process, purely domestic conversations can also be swept up and retained by the NSA.
''The NSA copies and reviews the communications of millions of innocent people to determine whether they are discussing or reading anything containing the NSA's search terms,'' ACLU lawyers wrote in their complaint filed today in the United States District Court in Maryland. ''Its purpose is to identify not just communications that are to or from the NSA's targets but also those that are merely 'about' its targets.''
In an op-ed in today's New York Times announcing the lawsuit, Wikipedia's co-founder, Jimmy Wales, and Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, cited the tens of thousands of volunteers who write and edit Wikipedia entries around the world.
Many of those volunteer contributors, they note, ''prefer to work anonymously, especially those who work on controversial issues or who live in countries with repressive governments.'' The fear that the NSA could be collecting information on contributors, and perhaps sharing that intelligence with other governments, ''stifles freedom of expression and the free exchange of knowledge that Wikimedia was designed to enable.''
With billions of users worldwide, Wikipedia processes countless international communications and requests for data from its servers. As one NSA slide from the Snowden files indicates, the NSA is interested in HTTP, the protocol for those requests, ''because nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet uses'' it. The slide includes a picture of Wikipedia's logo. (An administration official told Reuters, ''We've been very clear about what constitutes a valid target of electronic surveillance. The act of innocuously updating or reading an online article does not fall into that category.'')
Upstream collection occurs under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, a law passed in the 1970s to regulate overseas spying, and amended in 2008 to allow collection of Americans' international communications under more expansive terms '' so long as the NSA's target is a foreigner outside the U.S., and it involves broadly defined ''foreign intelligence information.''
In addition to constitutional questions, the new lawsuit argues that the 2008 law, expansive though it is, still ''authorizes surveillance only of targets' communications; it does not authorize surveillance of everyone.''
Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman with the Justice Department, said in an email that the department is ''reviewing the complaint.''
If the case moves forward at all, it will reflect the impact of Snowden's revelations.
A previous challenge by Amnesty International and others to warrantless spying on Americans' international conversations was tossed out because the court said the plaintiffs couldn't prove that their communications could be monitored under the 2008 FISA Amendments Act. The Supreme Court upheld that decision in February 2013, just a few months before the first Snowden documents were published.
The Snowden documents, and subsequent admissions by the government, said Toomey, ''have made clear that the government it not just monitoring targets, but that in order to find the communications of those targets it is monitoring the communications of nearly everyone. That broadens the scope of the surveillance at issue, and removes some of the obstacles [to getting standing] that we encountered in the previous case.''
Separate challenges to the constitutionality of collecting metadata on domestic calls, under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, are awaiting decisions in three federal appeals courts.
Photo: Gregory Bull/AP
Rearranging the Chairs at CIA | Consortiumnews
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 10:49
CIA Director Brennan wants to make his mark on the spy agency by shifting around the lines of authority to merge analysts and operatives into specialized ''mission centers,'' but the disadvantages may outweigh the advantages, according to ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
By Paul R. Pillar
Re-arranging bureaucracies has long been a favorite Washington way of pretending to make improvements. It is a handy recourse in the absence of good ideas to make real improvement.
Revising a wiring diagram is the sort of change that can be made visible to the outside world. It does not require reaching consensus about significant increases or decreases in the priority given particular programs or their budgets. It offers a basis for convincing ourselves that the bureaucracies involved will perform better, even if the main reasons we don't get everything we would like to get from those bureaucracies are to be found in the inherent, unavoidable challenges of the tasks they are assigned to perform.
CIA Director John Brennan.
The urge to reorganize is not limited to government. Revising wiring diagrams is alluring to senior managers in private sector organizations as well. It is a way of showing initiative and appearing to be dedicated both to improving the organization and keeping pace with changes in the outside world. It is one of the most visible ways for any senior manager to leave a mark and establish a legacy.
Now the Central Intelligence Agency is being hit again with the reorganization bug, with changes that Director John Brennan announced last week. The intelligence community has been subjected to this sort of thing at least as much as other parts of the federal bureaucracy.
The most notable instance was a reorganization of the community a decade ago as the most visible part of the 9/11 Commission's response to a popular demand to shake things up after a terrible terrorist attack. That change added new bureaucracy on top of continuing old organizations, and in the years since has given us little or no reason to believe that it was a net improvement.
The principal feature of the changes that Brennan announced is to move all of the agency's operational and analytical work, and not just selected parts of it, into integrated ''mission centers'' covering issue areas defined either geographically or functionally.
As with most other reorganizations, both criticism and praise tend to be overstated. Any change in a bureaucracy's performance, for good or for ill, resulting from changing the wiring diagram will not be nearly as pronounced as either critics or promoters usually would lead us to believe.
A criticism of this newest reorganization, for example, is that it would lead to still more focus on current doings at the expense of longer-range analysis. But within each issue area there is no reason to believe that worthwhile long-range analysis cannot be done in the mission centers.
Another line of criticism involves a feared compromise of the integrity of analysis because of overly close association of the analysts with operators. This would only be a problem, however, where covert action is involved.
Although some unfortunate experiences involving Central America in the 1980s demonstrate the corrupting potential, covert action '-- despite the public image of what the CIA does '-- constitutes a small (and usually well-compartmented) portion of the agency's work.
There is a substantial hazard of policy preferences influencing analysis stemming from relations with policy-makers, but that is a separate matter from relations between analysts and operators within an intelligence agency.
The justification for the changes is also overstated '-- or fuzzy and hardly compelling. MarkMazzetti's article in the New York Times about the announced changes mentions that Brennan relied heavily on ''management jargon'' to try to explain and justify what he was doing. There were all the unsurprising buzzwords about needing to ''wring inefficiencies'' out of the system and having to modernize and about not wanting to become as obsolete as Kodak, but how this makes one particular wiring diagram better than another one is difficult to see.
Brennan talked about the ''array of very challenging, complex and serious threats to our national security'' '-- the sort of language that any CIA director, at any time, uses '-- but what does that say about the supposed advantages of a particular organizational scheme? He said a central aim was to eliminate ''seams'' in coverage, but aren't there seams in any organizational arrangement, including the seams that will exist between the mission centers?
The particular organizational issues involving the CIA entail, as many such issues in other organizations do, inherent trade-offs, with each possible wiring diagram presenting both advantages and disadvantages when compared to other possible schemes.
The main advantage of the announced new arrangement is to make the interface between analysts and collectors working on the same substantive issue as close and smooth as possible. This helps the analysts to understand better the sources of some of the information on which they are relying, and it helps the collectors to understand how the information they are collecting is being used and where are the most important information gaps that still need to be filled.
A significant disadvantage is that bureaucratizing whatever is considered at the moment to be worthy of its own mission center makes for a less flexible and less nimble organization as issues change and especially as new (and sometimes difficult to recognize initially as important) issues emerge.
The seeds of future intelligence failures can be found in the seams between the centers. Interface is important not just between collectors and analysts but also between analysts working issues that are different but may turn out to be related in important ways.
Another set of disadvantages stems from breaking up what would otherwise have been critical masses of people working in the same discipline and with the same skill set. Doing so is generally not conducive to enhancing specialized skills, whether those skills involve the craft of espionage, or of analysis, or something else.
Particular mission centers, depending on who leads them and what are the relative weights of different types of people assigned to them, may tend to be co-opted by certain disciplines at the expense of the necessary professional care and feeding of those in other disciplines.
The further separation of missions and operational control from the management of employees' careers (and the new scheme will retain existing directorates, including those for operations and for analysis, for that latter purpose) will tend to exacerbate issues of personnel management, including loosening the tie between effective contribution to a specific assigned mission and reward in the form of promotions. Retention of the existing directorate structure in addition to more mission centers also makes the whole organizational structure of the agency more complicated.
A principle too rarely recognized is that the advantages of a new organizational structure are uncertain (when compared to the existing structure, which is apt to have to have evolved over time as experience has shown what works and what doesn't), but the costs and disruptions associated with any major reorganization are certain and substantial.
The disruption involves everything from having to forge new relationships with bosses, co-workers, and customers, to having to figure out exactly where new lines of responsibility are to be drawn. Rather than impeding accomplishment of the mission with such disruption, it often is better just to let people get on with their jobs '-- although anyone who makes this observation risks being rebuked as a stuck-in-the-mud resistor of change.
In the face of the inevitable trade-offs, the current organizational arrangement in the CIA, in which there are some integrated centers for selected issues such as terrorism but not for everything, is probably a reasonable compromise.
Unmentioned in much of the commentary so far on the announced changes is how much had already been done, outside the centers, to enhance communication and cooperation between collectors and analysts. This includes physical changes made years ago to locate in adjacent office space the analysts and operations officers working on the same geographic areas.
What we most need to be wary of with these latest announced changes in the CIA's organization is not some wave of corrupting influences that will destroy the integrity of analysis. We should instead ask whether this is yet another of the many examples of a senior manager using reorganization to try to make his mark and leave a legacy, especially a legacy that won't be centered on unflattering matters such as strained relations with Congressional oversight committees.
Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency's top analysts. He is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest's Web site. Reprinted with author's permission.)
Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was filmed stalking streets before laying explosive | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 10 Mar 2015 12:13
Footage compiled by FBI shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on day of bombingSeen walking through Boston with brother Tamerlan before twin blastsTsarnaev stops outside restaurant, calls brother and waits for explosionWhile shocked crowds turn to look, he escapes before second blastSecurity footage has him still in the frame when deadly blast occurs Later seen running through the streets without his backpackTsarnaev, who is facing death penalty, admits carrying out the attackDefense attorneys say he was influenced by his older brother, who was killed days later in a gun battleBy Kieran Corcoran For Dailymail.com and Associated Press
Published: 21:53 EST, 9 March 2015 | Updated: 04:43 EST, 10 March 2015
New surveillance footage of a Boston bomber laying an explosive then fleeing the scene has been shown in court.
Footage shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev walking through the city before pausing near the finish line, where he dropped an explosive charge that killed an eight-year-old boy.
He is seen standing in the crowd for several minutes, before calling his brother, Tamerlan. Shortly after the call, the first bomb explodes - at which point he pushes his way through the stunned crowd.
Tsarnaev managed to clear the blast zone in the 12 seconds between the first bomb exploding and his going off - but is still in the shot from a surveillance camera at the scene.
Scroll down for videos
Shock: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, cirlced top left, is pictured above in FBI surveillance video standing in a crowd the moment the first bomb goes off at the Boston marathon. While most of the crowd looks towards the blast, he heads off in the other direction
Explosion: Pictured above is the moment Tsarnaev's pressure cooker bomb exploded. It killed two people and wounded dozens more
Killer: The blast ended the life of 8-year-old Martin Richard, and also robbed his sister of one of her legs
New surveillance footage: Boston bomber fleeing explosion
Some 12 seconds later, a second explosion takes place precisely where he was standing. He is later shown running from the scene without the backpack he was carrying earlier.
It is unclear exactly how the bomb was detonated - though early claims that it primitive kitchen-timer device seem to be endorsed by the fact that Tsarnaev was still fleeing when the bomb went off.
The blast killed eight-year-old Martin Richard, as well as Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old student. Martin's younger sister, Jane, lost a leg in the blast and hundreds were injured.
The footage was shown to jurors weighing up whether to sentence Tsarnaev to death for the bombing - which his lawyers do not deny he did.
The video - nine and a half minutes in total - was compiled by FBI investigators from surveillance footage around the city.
Plotting: Dzhokhar, circled in white, is pictured here before the blasts. His brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed in a gun battle days later, is circled in black
Surveillance shows Tsarnaev brothers at Boston Marathon
It shows both brothers walking the streets before splitting up to set down the pressure cooker bombs near the finish line on April 15, 2013.
He is the only surviving bomber, as Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a gun battle days after the attacks.
Defense attorneys have argued that Tamerlan persuaded his brother to carry out the attacks, and as such he is not as culpable.
Seconds later, the second bomb explodes, and Tsarnaev, who prosecutors say detonated the second bomb, is seen running with a crowd of people who also are running. People are also shown jumping over metal barriers as smoke wafts over the scene.
In wait: Tsarnaev is pictured above just down the street from the site of the bomb blast
Approaching: Tsarnaev, circled in white, is seen here walking up to the spot where he dropped the explosive
Less than 30 minutes later, Tsarnaev calmly walked into a Whole Foods store in Cambridge and bought a half-gallon of milk. Jurors also saw store surveillance video of him making the purchase.
Prosecutors also showed jurors tweets from what they identified as two accounts of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
'If you have the knowledge and the inspiration all that's left is to take action,' he tweeted April 7, a little over a week before the bombings.
'I want the highest levels of Jannah,' he tweeted March 10, referring to the Islamic concept of paradise. 'I want to be able to see allah every single day for that is the best of pleasures.'
In January, three months before the bombings, he tweeted: 'I don't argue with folks who say islam is terrorism it's not worth a thing, let an idiot remain an idiot.'
Jurors also heard from victims of the bombing.
Jessica Kensky told how she and her husband, Patrick Downes, each lost a left leg in the 2013 attack. After more than 18 months of surgeries and consultations with doctors around the country, she came to the painful conclusion that her right leg would have to be amputated, too, she said.
On the run: This FBI video shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev fleeing the scene of the Boston bombing after setting his explosive. He was pictured carrying the backpack earlier in the day
Fleeing: Tsarnaev is pictured again, highlighted above, fleeing from the carnage he helped create
Facing death: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21, is picturted above with a defense attorney in a court sketch from Monday 9 March. Federal prosecutors hope to secure the death penalty against him for his role in the bombings
Chilling: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev tweeted this message around two hours after he detonated the bomb
'I did not want to become a bilateral amputee,' Kensky said. 'I wanted to paint my toenails, I wanted to put my feet in the sand, and I wanted to do all these things. To lose the second leg was a gut-wrenching, devastating decision.'
Also testifying Monday was a woman whose close friend, 23-year-old Lingzi Lu, died in the second bomb blast.
Danling Zhou said Lu grabbed her arm after the first bomb exploded, looking panicked, and said 'What happened?' and 'What should we do?'
Before Zhou could answer her, the second bomb exploded.
Zhou said she looked in front of her and saw a man whose legs had been blown off. When she looked at Lu, she thought she would be OK because she seemed to still have her arms and legs, Zhou said.
Trial: Tsarnaev's case is being heard at The John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston
She found out later in the hospital that Lu had died. Both women grew up in China and were graduate students at Boston University.
Prosecutors say the Tsarnaevs carried out the bombing to retaliate against the U.S. for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During opening statements, a prosecutor cited a hand-scrawled note Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left on the walls of the boat he was captured hiding in and said he believed 'he was a solider in a holy war against Americans' and had 'taken a step toward reaching paradise.'
Three people died and more than 260 were injured when two pressure-cooker bombs filled with shrapnel exploded near the finish line.
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New surveillance footage traces route of alleged Boston bombers | KFOR.com
Sat, 14 Mar 2015 06:19
BOSTON (CNN) '-- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's own words may determine whether he lives or dies, even if he never speaks a word at his trial.
The admitted Boston Marathon bomber has sat in silence as people who lost limbs sobbed or glared at him from the witness stand. He slouched in his chair as jurors watched videos of him both before and after two nail-packed pressure cooker bombs exploded, killing three people, claiming 17 limbs and hurting more than 260 others.
He didn't utter a peep as his tweets and words he had scribbled on the side of a pleasure boat flashed up on a big screen and were quoted in court.
At issue: Was Tsarnaev a terrorist looking to punish the United States for policies he believed were harmful to Muslims? Or, was he a goofball stoner who simply followed the lead of his older, more radical brother?
The defense team tried to portray Tsarnaev as a confused college kid who, like countless others, watches Comedy Central and cracks crass jokes. ''I wanna study a broad or two,'' he posted on his Twitter account as @J_tsar. He jokes about not seeing commercials featuring the Trix rabbit, and about ''whale watching'' outside a McDonald's fast-food restaurant.
Miriam Conrad, a member of his defense team, tried Tuesday to apply a more benign spin on tweets the government contends show him as a would-be jihadist eager for martyrdom and a free pass to paradise.
His brother was dead and police knew who he was; they were scouring the Boston suburb of Watertown for Tsarnaev when he slipped under a tarp and climbed aboard the Slip Away II, a fishing boat dry-docked in a Watertown backyard. He hid for hours before being discovered.
Bleeding, he picked up a pencil and wrote what Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb called his ''manifesto.''
Tsarnaev wrote he was jealous that his brother, Tamerlan, had achieved paradise by dying like a holy warrior; he was killed the night before during a gunbattle with police. The indictment against him says Tsarnaev helped in his brother's demise by running him over and dragging him along the road as he tried to run down police.
About the bombings, Tsarnaev wrote on the boat that he didn't enjoy killing innocent civilians, but that circumstances excused it.
''The US Government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that,'' he wrote. ''Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel of your gun and see heaven, now how can you compete with that. We are promised victory and we will surely get it.''
Streaks of blood cover portions of his message. More than a dozen bullet holes obliterate parts of words. So ended one of the biggest manhunts in U.S. history.
While in the boat, he wrote that he couldn't stand to see the U.S. government ''go unpunished'' for killing Muslims. ''We Muslims are one body, you hurt one you hurt us all.''
He ended with: ''Now I don't like killing innocent people it is forbidden in Islam but due to said '' '-- the word was lost to a bullet hole '-- ''it is allowed.''
Judge George O'Toole viewed the boat Tuesday afternoon so he could rule on a defense request to show the entire boat ''in context'' to the jury. He turned down requests by the media to accompany him.
The defense said the government only presented about 45 tweets out of about 1,100. Many were benign, about girls, cars and food as well as sleeping and disliking studying, the defense argued.
On Monday, FBI agent Steven Kimball testified about two Twitter accounts used by Tsarnaev. One account shows he tweeted on the day of the April 15, 2013, bombing:
''Ain't no love in the heart of the city, stay safe people''
His last tweet was on April 17. He sent it while on the run:
''I'm a stress free kind of guy''
His other account carried seven tweets, including this:
''strive to be a better muslim, be greedy with your time, devote most of it to the Almighty for it is his satisfaction that you need #islam''
The jury also has now seen Tsarnaev in videos, trailing his brother onto Boylston Street. Both carried heavy backpacks. He paused for four minutes, standing next to a tree in front of the Forum restaurant. In front of him stood a line of children who were leaning over the barricade and watching the race. He put his backpack down at his feet and made a phone call.
When his brother's bomb went off a block away, heads swiveled in surprise in the direction of the noise. And there was Tsarnaev walking through the crowd, looking back over his shoulder as his own bomb went off 12 seconds later. Martin Richard, an 8-year-old standing in the line of kids, took the full brunt of the blast, which tore him apart.
The bombs went off at 2:49 and 2:50 p.m., about the same time as he exchanged phone calls with his brother. The next video showed Tsarnaev in the crowd running. Other videos show him carrying on as usual: buying milk and swiping his card at his college gym. But FBI agents were already in pursuit, collecting store security videos and looking for somebody suspicious in the marathon crowd.
By Wednesday night, authorities had a good idea who they were looking for. By Thursday night, his photo had been released to the public. By the next morning, his brother was dead, and Tsarnaev was hiding in the boat, writing of martyrdom and paradise.
The Boston Marathon bombing trial: not a question of guilt or innocence but life or death
Tue, 10 Mar 2015 12:07
Bombing survivor Marc Fucarile leaves first day of Boston trial Brian Snyder/ReutersThe trial of the Boston Marathon bomber started with an eye-opening twist on March 4, 2015. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's lawyer melodramatically announced in open court that ''it WAS him'' who planted one of the bombs that killed three, maimed dozens and terrified an entire city.
This admission of guilt is, however, not the equivalent of the entry of a plea of guilty, as might come about through a plea bargain with the government. (In which case the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a sentence of life).
The case is thus no longer directly about guilt or innocence, although the jury will still have to find beyond a reasonable doubt that each count has been proven.
Now, it's all about the sentence.
Does the Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserve to die for his crimes? Or should he serve life in prison without possibility of parole? This is what the federal jury will decide.
The factsThe basic facts of this case are not in doubt. Dzhokhar and his older brother Tamerlan planted two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.
In the resulting explosions, three people were killed, including a young boy, and hundreds were seriously injured. This crime was committed to avenge alleged offenses by the United States against Muslims and ''innocent civilians.'' In June 2013, the United States obtained a 30-count indictment against Dzhokhar; 17 counts carried the death penalty.
As I pointed out in my book on the historic 2004-2005 Hearings into whether or not the death penalty should be re-instated in New York state, the United States Supreme Court has said that the death penalty primarily serves three purposes: retribution, deterrence, and incapacitation.
The criteria for the death penaltyRetribution concerns moral equivalency and society's right to inflict the harshest punishment available in our criminal justice system - death - on behalf of victims and their families. In fact, the Supreme Court has refused to authorize capital punishment for crimes short of murder.
Under the Eighth Amendment ''cruel and unusual punishments'' clause, only the ''worst of the worst'' killers may be executed. The manner of the killing and the characteristics and culpability of the defendant must be carefully assessed. In 2005, for example, the Supreme Court abolished the death penalty for juvenile offenders.
With deterrence, we ask: would execution of this 21 year old deter other terrorists from committing similar crimes? Whether the death penalty actually deters continues to be hotly debated, but it will surely be argued in Tsarnaev's case that dedicated jihadists will not only not be deterred but are prepared for death as a path to matyrdom.
The final question regarding incapacitation is a straightforward one to answer: an executed murderer can never kill again.
The judge and jury in Tsarnaev's trial must agree that one or more of these justifications for the death penalty is present in the case.
The importance of federal involvementIt is critically important that the Tsarnaev prosecution is being brought by the United States and not the state of Massachusetts.
Massachusetts excludes the death penalty as a sentence in a murder case. Indeed, polls showed that Massachusetts citizens generally opposed charging Dzhokhar with capital murder (a crime eligible for the death penalty.)
Outside the Boston courtBrian Snyder/Reuters
But, none of that matters in a federal prosecution. Federal law '' the anti-terrorism laws of the United States '' provides multiple categories of death penality-eligible crimes. These include such acts as using a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and conspiracy to bomb a place of public use. These categories have been aggressively invoked by federal prosecutors in the indictments in this case.
Defense counsel strategy for the remainder of this trial is to make out Dzhokhar as a pawn of his older brother. Because of that, the argument will go, his culpability is insufficient to support a capital sentence.
Will the facts show that he was substantially under Tamerlan's influence or was he independently motivated to kill Americans?
Did his youth, apparent timidity, or simplistic views on American military actions remove him from the ''worst of the worst'' category of killers? Or, is he in the same category as terrorists like the assassin ''Jihadi John,'' or the leader of Al-Shabaab?
By starting off its case with victim testimony, the prosecution is painting the picture of a cruel, heartless and unremorseful killer, the ''worst of the worst,'' who caused the death of three innocent people, including a young boy.
The government is saying, in other words, that this is a case of simple justice in which the death penalty is the only fair sentence for one whose crimes have caused so much suffering.
Republish this articleWe believe in the free flow of information. We use a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives license, so you can republish our articles for free, online or in print.
RepublishTagsBoston Marathon Bombing, death penalty
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MIT States That Half of All Children May be Autistic by 2025 due to Monsanto | New Eastern Outlook
Thu, 12 Mar 2015 10:39
A senior scientist at MIT has declared that we are facing an epidemic of autism that may result in one half of all children being affected by autism in ten years.
Dr. Stephanie Seneff, who made these remarks during a panel presentation in Groton, MA last week, specifically cites the Monsanto herbicide, Roundup, as the culprit for the escalating incidence of autism and other neurological disorders. Roundup, which was introduced in the 1970's, contains the chemical glyphosate, which is the focal point for Seneff's concerns. Roundup was originally restricted to use on weeds, as glyphosate kills plants. However, Roundup is now in regular use with crops. With the coming of GMO's, plants such as soy and corn were bioengineered to tolerate glyphosate, and its use dramatically increased. From 2001 to 2007, glyphosate use doubled, reaching 180 to 185 million pounds in the U.S. alone in 2007.
If you don't consume corn- on- the -cob or toasted soybeans, however, you are hardly exempt from the potential affects of consuming glyphosate. Wheat is now sprayed with Roundup right before it is harvested, making any consumption of non- organic wheat bread a sure source for the chemical. In addition, any products containing corn syrup, such as soft drinks, are also carrying a payload of glyphosate.
According to studies cited by Seneff, glyphosate engages ''gut bacteria'' in a process known as the shikimate pathway. This enables the chemical to interfere with the biochemistry of bacteria in our GI tract, resulting in the depletion of essential amino acids .
Monsanto has maintained that glyphosate is safe for human consumption, as humans do not have the shikimate pathway. Bacteria, however, does'--including the flora that constitutes ''gut bacteria.''
It is this ability to affect gut bacteria that Seneff claims is the link which allows the chemical to get on board and wreak further damage. The connection between intestinal flora and neurological functioning is an ongoing topic of research. According to a number of studies, glyphosate depletes the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine, which can then contribute to obesity, depression, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Monsanto disagrees. The food and chemical giant has constructed a webpage with links to scientific studies pronouncing the safety of glyphosate.
Other science writers have also taken up the Monsanto banner, scoffing at the scientific studies that prompted Seneff to make her claims. ''They made it up!'' pronounced Huffpost science writer Tamar Haspel, in an article thin on analysis but heavy on declarative prose.
Others, such as Skeptoid writer and PhD physicist Eric Hall, take a more measured approach, and instead focus on the studies which prompted the glyphosate concerns. According to Hall, Seneff is making an error known as the ''correlation/causation error,'' in which causality is inaccurately concluded when there exists only the fact that two separate items'--in this case, the increased use of glyphosate and the increased incidence of autism'--may be observed but are not, in fact, directly related.
Seneff's pronouncements focus specifically on the glyphosate issue. As we know, there are other potential tributaries which may be feeding the rise in autism and also causing age-related neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer's. These may include contents of vaccines, aluminum cooking ware as well as other potential sources for chemical consumption.
Some individuals, such as M.D. and radio host Rima Laibow have speculated on the intentionality behind this ostensible chemical siege against our gray matter. Laibow believes that the impetus may be to create an entire class of autistic individuals who will be suited only for certain types of work.
This harks back, eerily, to Aldous Huxley's classic Brave New World, in which individuals were preprogrammed from ''conception'' for eventual placement in one of five groups, designated as Alpha, Beta, and so on down to Epsilon, based on their programmed brain power. In Huxley's dystopian world, this class delineation by intellectual ability enabled society to function more smoothly.
Whatever may driving the autistic/Alzheimer's diesel train, one thing is for certain: the spectre of half of our children coming into the world with significant brain damage constitutes a massive and undeniable wound to humanity. The rate of autism has skyrocketed from roughly one in every two thousand in the 1970's to the current rate of one in every sixty eight. Alzheimer's has become almost universal in the elderly. Seneff's predictions can only be ignored at grave risk to the human race.
Janet C. Phelan, investigative journalist and human rights defender that has traveled pretty extensively over the Asian region, an author of a tell-all book EXILE, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook
The Good Fight of the Polish Farmers
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 12:18
Poland's farmers are in a very important and very good fight with their government and with their parliament. They are literally fighting for the future health and safety of their families, their grandchildren's generation, their countrymen and even for the health and safety of the rest of the European Union that believes they have a right to enjoy eating healthy, nutritious food. That's good and in my view should get more attention for the good it is.
In the week of February 12, all across Poland, thousands of farmers with tractors protested the right-wing Polish government's planned farm legislation. Many were organized by the farmers' arm of the Solidarność trade union organization. More than 150 tractors have blockaded the A2 motorway into Warsaw since February 3, hundreds more have closed roads and are picketing governmental offices in other regions. The farmers are vowing to continue the struggle until the government agrees to enter talks with the union and commit to addressing what they see as a crisis in Polish agriculture. And they are right.
ICPPC directors, Jadwiga Lopata and Julian Rose, joined more than 200 farmers at a Solidarity protest in Kielce, South East Poland. The actions represent a dramatic escalation of protests that have been taking place on a smaller scale across the country over the last year. Edward Kosmal, chairman of the farmers protest committee for West-Pomeranian Region said: ''We are ready for dialogue. We look forward to meeting with you Prime Minister and beginning a comprehensive government commitment to solving the problems of Polish agriculture. If you do not enter into a dialogue with the Union, we would be forced to tighten our forms of protest.''
What is of vital importance are the demands of the farmers to the new government of Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz. They are four:
Land rights: implement regulation to prevent land-grabs by Western companies and to protect family farmers' rights to land. Beginning 2016 the government plans to allow foreign buyers to buy Polish farmland for the first time.
Legalize direct sales of farm produce: the government must take action to improve farmers' position in the market, including the adoption of a law enabling direct sales of processed and unprocessed farm products (Right now Poland has the most exclusionary policies in Europe around on-farm processing of food products and direct sales, making it impossible for family farmers to compete with bigger food companies. Oppressive 'food hygiene' and other regulations effectively prevent small scale farmers from selling their produce on-farm and in local markets, where their mostly organic but 'uncertified' produce is widely respected as of higher quality than food gown on modern industrial agribusiness farms.
Ban the cultivation and sale of Genetically Modified Organisms in Poland. A new EU rule passed in the European Parliament in January essentially leaves it up to national governments to permit GMO planting or not. Poland
Extend inheritance laws to include land under lease as a fully legal form of land use.
Defending honest agriculture
In an official statement Solidarność declared, ''We demand a legal ban on GMO crops in Poland. The value of Polish agriculture, unique in Europe, is the unpolluted environment and high quality food production. That's decisive concerning our competitiveness in global markets.''
Following a meeting with Poland's Minister of Agriculture, Marek Sawicki, on February 11, the protesting farmers widened their protest to demand Sawicki's resignation when he refused point blank to entertain any change of policy. Significantly, the protesting farmers, who vowed to bring 100,000 to the streets of Warsaw in the next days to continue the pressure, claimed the Polish government was spending money on senseless aid to Ukraine that should in fact be going into supporting Poland's agriculture. The farmer protests to date are the largest and longest in modern Polish history.
At stake is more than the survival of small family farmers in Poland. Aside from the soils of Russia and of Ukraine, Poland is one of the few places in Europe with highest quality soil that has not been destroyed by massive dosages of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Ukraine's rich agriculture land, as part of the rape of the country by the IMF and western agribusiness will soon be sold off for the first time to foreign corporations like Monsanto, Cargill, ADM and others where cultivation of GMO crops will proceed unhindered. That makes the battle for Poland's farm culture even more vital to the future of food security in Europe.
Poland's ''pro-business'' government is eager to lure foreign agribusiness giants into the country, something the Polish farmers know well will destroy them as well as the high-quality traditional Polish family farm. Already, Smithfield Farms of the USA, the world's biggest pig producer, bought Poland's Animex SA in 1999. Smithfield now runs a string of 16 or more huge hog farms where conditions have been described as ''horrendous.'' With growing environmental pollution pressures in the US against the massive fecal pollution of its factory farms that typically house tens of thousands of hogs in tight cages until they are slaughtered, Smithfield has sought countries where pollution laws are more lax such as Mexico.
As well, Aviagen, one of the world's largest industrial factory farm producers of chickens, has moved into Poland. Their German parent company, PHW Group of Lower Saxony and its daughter, Lohmann/Aviagen Cuxhaven, were fined for massive violations of the German animal welfare protection laws in their facilities where day-old chicklings are run on assembly belts in the thousands, sorted, thrown out, feet cut off, others run through meat grinding machines live with feathers.
Such is the nature of agribusiness today, a project of the Harvard Business School and the Rockefeller Foundation begun in the USA in the 1950's to do to agriculture what the Rockefellers did to oil'--create a global agribusiness cartel of a handful of companies so powerful they run over national health and food safety laws with impunity.
The new laws that are slated to take effect in 2016 would open Poland's doors wide to destruction of one of the highest-quality food production in Europe. That would be a ridiculous thing. Indeed, Poland's NATO-loyal Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister are rather stupid.
With neighbor Ukraine about to destroy the rich soils of Ukraine by allowing Monsanto and western agribusiness to rape the land with their chemicals like glyphosate and GMO, if Poland's government goes ahead as they say, Russia stands to be the big winner in the long term.
On February 4 the Russian Government submitted a bill to Parliament that would ban cultivation and breeding of genetically modified organisms (GMO). The bill bans ''the cultivation and breeding of genetically modified plants and animals on the territory of the Russian Federation, except for the use in expertise and scientific research.'' Further, importers of GMOs would have to register and the government would be enabled to prohibit the import of such products to Russia after monitoring their effects on humans and the environment.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook''.
Out There
Mars One Is Broke, Disorganized, and Sketchy as Hell
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:36
Remember Mars One? The mega-hyped, one way ticket to go start a colony on Mars assuming it could get a ship and funding and capable colonists and training facilities and the major technological advances necessary to make it all happen? Surprise! According to one finalist, the whole thing is pretty much a scam.
In an article published on Medium's Matter earlier today, Dr. Joseph Roche, a professor at Trinity College's School of Education in Dublin and Ph.D in physics and astrophysics, spilled on some of Mars One's many potential pitfalls. Chief among them: some wildly sketchy means of funding. As Roche explained to Matter:
You get points for getting through each round of the selection process (but just an arbitrary number of points, not anything to do with ranking), and then the only way to get more points is to buy merchandise from Mars One or to donate money to them....
In February, finalists received a list of "tips and tricks" for dealing with press requests, which included this: "If you are offered payment for an interview then feel free to accept it.We do kindly ask for you to donate 75% of your profit to Mars One."
At least they asked kindly.
What's more, for a mission presumably seeking four ideal human specimens to survive in an impossibly harsh environment, the selection process seems awful lax. According to Roche, what was initially going to be a several-day-long, in-person interview and testing process eventually got whittled down to a measly, 10-minute Skype call. And from the sound of it, they weren't even a particularly illuminating 10 minutes:
Roche said he then had a short Skype conversation with Mars One's chief medical officer, Norbert Kraft, during which he was quizzed with questions from literature about Mars and the mission that Mars One had provided to all the applicants. No rigorous psychological or psychometric testing was part of the appraisal. Candidates were given a month to rote-learn the material before the interview.
It certainly doesn't help that the TV production company, Endemol, which would supposedly have brought in $6 billion, is now totally out of the picture. So, uh, good luck with those media points, guys.
You can head over to Matter to read more about Mars One's vast and varied flaws. And if it still sounds like a good idea after that, we have a great timeshare opportunity we'd love to discuss with you. [Matter]
Contact the author at ashley@gizmodo.com.
Mars One Finalist Explains Exactly How It's Ripping Off Supporters '-- Matter '-- Medium
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:21
When Joseph first signed up with Mars One'Š'--'Šthe media-hyped, one-way mission to colonize the red planet being floated by a Dutch non-profit'Š'--'Šhe didn't think much of it. The former NASA researcher said he never really took the application seriously; he was just putting his hat in the ring mostly out of curiosity, and with the hope of bringing public attention to space science.
But eventually Joseph'Š'--'Šwho is actually Dr. Joseph Roche, an assistant professor at Trinity College's School of Education in Dublin, with a Ph.D. in physics and astrophysics'Š'--'Šfound himself on the group's shortlist of 100 candidates all willing to undertake the theoretical journey. And that's when he started talking to me about the big problems he was seeing with Mars One.
It was difficult for him to break his silence, but he was spurred into speaking out by the uncritical news coverage. Many basic assumptions about the project remain unchallenged. Most egregiously, many media outlets continue to report that Mars One received applications from 200,000 people who would be happy to die on another planet'Š'--'Šwhen the number it actually received was 2,761.
As Roche observed the process from an insider's perspective, his concerns increased. Chief among them: that some leading contenders for the mission had bought their way into that position, and are being encouraged to ''donate'' any appearance fees back to Mars One'Š'--'Šwhich seemed to him very strange for an outfit that needs billions of dollars to complete its objective.
''When you join the 'Mars One Community,' which happens automatically if you applied as a candidate, they start giving you points,'' Roche explained to me in an email. ''You get points for getting through each round of the selection process (but just an arbitrary number of points, not anything to do with ranking), and then the only way to get more points is to buy merchandise from Mars One or to donate money to them.''
Dr. Joseph Roche''Community members'' can redeem points by purchasing merchandise like T-shirts, hoodies, and posters, as well as through gifts and donations: The group also solicits larger investment from its supporters. Others have been encouraged to help the group make financial gains on flurries of media interest. In February, finalists received a list of ''tips and tricks'' for dealing with press requests, which included this: ''If you are offered payment for an interview then feel free to accept it.We do kindly ask for you to donate 75% of your profit to Mars One.''
The result, said Roche, is that high-profile prospects'Š'--'Šincluding those in a list of ''Top 10 hopefuls'' published last month in The Guardian'Š'--'Šare, in fact, simply the people who have generated the most money for Mars One. A spokeswoman confirmed by email that the positions were ''based on the supporter points that our community can earn,'' but said that ''this number of points is unrelated to our selection process.''
As Roche also told me, that secretive selection process is hopelessly, and dangerously, flawed.
''I have not met anyone from Mars One in person,'' he said. ''Initially they'd said there were going to be regional interviews'... we would travel there, we'd be interviewed, we'd be tested over several days, and in my mind that sounded at least like something that approached a legitimate astronaut selection process.
''But then they made us sign a non-disclosure agreement if we wanted to be interviewed, and then all of a sudden it changed from being a proper regional interview over several days to being a 10-minute Skype call.''
Mars One's selection process to date has required candidates to complete a questionnaire, upload a video to the project's website, and get a medical examination with each candidate's local doctor (which they had to arrange themselves). Roche said he then had a short Skype conversation with Mars One's chief medical officer, Norbert Kraft, during which he was quizzed with questions from literature about Mars and the mission that Mars One had provided to all the applicants. No rigorous psychological or psychometric testing was part of the appraisal. Candidates were given a month to rote-learn the material before the interview.
Mars One's testing methods fall well short of NASA's stringent astronaut corps requirements'Š'--'Šnot least in the case of anyone who would be training to be the mission commander, the individual who would actually pilot a theoretical craft to Mars. Commanders at NASA are required to have logged 1,000 jet aircraft flight hours to even be considered as training candidates for spaceflight.
Applicants were told they did not have permission to record the interview or to take any notes. Today, Roche said, he has still never had an in-person meeting with anyone associated with Mars One, and he is not aware that any candidate has ever been interviewed in person to assess their suitability to be sent one-way, forever, on a deep-space mission.
''That means all the info they have collected on me is a crap video I made, an application form that I filled out with mostly one-word answers'... and then a 10-minute Skype interview,'' Roche said. ''That is just not enough info to make a judgment on someone about anything.''
Cyril Smith spared court because he would have exposed other high-profile child abusers | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:45
Detective says his investigation into 29-stone Liberal MP was also blocked Jack Tasker said officers took 'every scrap' of evidence and threatened himSmith was also snared by undercover police sting on child abuse but let offPolice allegedly targeted London houses suspected of hosting sex partiesSmith was reportedly held at property in Streatham but released hours laterOfficers were then ordered to hand over all notebooks and video footageExtraordinary claims made by sources in BBC Newsnight investigation Smith was outed as serial child abuser in Parliament by MP Simon DanczukCalls for PM to lift Official Secrets Act to allow whistleblowers to speak outTheresa May today insisted police with evidence should come forwardShe said officers would not be prosecuted under the Official Secrets ActBy Jaya Narain for the Daily Mail and Martin Robinson for MailOnline
Published: 18:23 EST, 16 March 2015 | Updated: 12:32 EST, 17 March 2015
Cyril Smith avoided prosecution because other establishment paedophiles feared he would spill their secrets in court, a former senior police officer said today.
Lancashire detective Jack Tasker spent years compiling evidence on the 29-stone Liberal MP's child abuse only to have his investigation shut down and threatened with the sack himself.
Mr Tasker believes there was a network of spies and obstructive forces at a local and national level to protect Smith from facing justice.
It came as it emerged today that Smith was arrested at a sex party with teenage boys but police were told to cover it up and threatened with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act, according to an investigation.
Home Secretary Theresa May today insisted police officers with evidence of child abuse had nothing to worry about if they came forward today.
Detained: The late Liberal MP Cyril Smith (pictured) was apparently arrested at a sex party involving boys but was released without charge
EDITOR CLAIMS POLICE SNATCHED SMITH EVIDENCE IN OFFICE RAID A former newspaper editor has described how police raided his office in the 1980s and took documents relating to alleged child abuse by senior political figures including the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith.
Don Hale told BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast he was working for the Bury Messenger when the former cabinet minister Barbara Castle passed the documents to him.
He said he is 'certain' that the police raid happened a day after Cyril Smith came and threatened him about the investigation.
Don Hale told BBC Radio 5 live's Nicky Campbell: 'In 1984, I started making enquiries to get a response from various MPs I'd spoken to a number of Liberal MPs named in the document. Cyril Smith came into to see me.
'He came storming in, said it was all rubbish, demanded that I hand everything over to him straight away and he was really aggressive. I mean he was quite a big guy anyway. He was about six foot tall and quite heavy and he was really poking his fingers at me, threatening, spitting at me, all sorts of things. He was a real horror.
'In the end I refused to give it. He walked out of the office, stormed out the office. And the very next day Special Branch arrived with three plain clothes officers and about a dozen police, you know, raided the place, pushed me against the wall, were very, very aggressive again, threatened to arrest me on the spot for perverting the course of justice if I didn't hand over the documents to them. I agreed obviously to do that, showed them what the documents were and they took them and then disappeared.'
Mr Tasker told Sky News: 'Other people were rather worried that if Cyril Smith went before a court, he would open his mouth.'
He described how his investigation into the child abuser was closed abruptly despite having evidence from at least eight of the MP's young victims.
Mr Tasker said other police officers told him: 'We're taking over the inquiry. We want every scrap of paper, every statement, every recording, every lead.'.
He said he knew he had no choice but to comply. 'After they'd bagged it up, they asked: 'Is that everything? If it isn't, and we find out you've held something back, there will be trouble.' Then they left.'
Last night Newsnight revealed that the 29-stone Liberal MP was snared by an undercover police operation gathering evidence of child abuse only to be released without charge.
Sources say officers had targeted several properties in south London suspected of hosting sex parties and the paedophile was secretly filmed and photographed abusing boys.
According to the BBC programme, Smith was seized at a house in Streatham. But within hours of being taken to a police station he was released, with officers being ordered to hand over all their evidence '' including notebooks and video footage.
They were then warned to keep quiet about the investigation into the MP or face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.
The Home Secretary Theresa May today said police should not be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act if they give evidence on historic child sex abuse.
Mrs May told the Home Affairs Select Committee: 'I am concerned about the issue that has been raised '' as to whether individuals are able to give evidence of child abuse to the child abuse inquiry or to the police because of the official secrets act.'
She added: 'If people are giving evidence of child abuse I would not expect them '' I would hope them not to be prosecuted under the official secrets act.'
The Home Secretary's remarks came amid growing pressure from MPs to protect police and intelligence officers who give evidence on an alleged Westminster paedophile ring.
Campaigning backbenchers Tom Watson and Simon Danczuk said David Cameron must guarantee officers will not face official secrets charges for aiding an inquiry into Scotland Yard.
Mr Watson, the Labour MP who first made allegations in Parliament about a Westminster paedophile ring in October 2012, said: 'It is now clear that the Prime Minister must guarantee that former police and intelligence officers who wish to help the IPCC with their inquiries will have the threat of the Official Secrets Act lifted.
'With this new inquiry it is also clear that the duty of all former police officers, intelligence officers and civil servants who have knowledge of a cover-up to come forward.'
Mr Danczuk, who is MP for Smith's old seat of Rochdale and helped expose the late Liberal MP as a child sex abuser, also said ex-officers must be given the 'freedom to speak out'.
'There has to be a more formal response from government which says that former police officers who co-operate, give evidence and share their knowledge of what went on with regard to this alleged cover-up should not be disciplined in any way, with regard to the Official Secrets Act or in any other way,' he said.
The Home Secretary Theresa May today said police should not be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act if they give evidence on historic child sex abuse
Conspiracy: Cyril Smith was close to facing a prosecution by Lancashire detective Jack Tasker, right, said he was approached by other police officers who took 'every scrap' of evidence he had compiled
The claims last night came after the Daily Mail revealed the full sordid past of the Rochdale MP who died in 2010. The serialisation of Smile for the Camera: The Double Life of Cyril Smith by MP Simon Danczuk laid bare the full scale of his crimes.
Outing him in Parliament as a serial child abuser, Mr Danczuk revealed that Smith used his profile to groom and sexually abuse young boys, frequently in children's homes he had helped to establish.
His victims, often troubled boys from broken homes, had no voice against their attacker and, though rumours were rife, Smith's appalling crimes went unnoticed by the public.
They also went unpunished by the authorities and Mr Danczuk is convinced Smith, who was knighted in 1988, was protected by powerful friends.
Labour MP Simon Danczuk outed Smith as a serial child abuser during a session of Parliament
Last night Mr Danczuk said: 'Time and again what we have learned more recently is that a number of police officers investigated Smith up and down the country and those investigations were quashed and officers were told to stop investigating.
'It is my view that Smith was being protected and being protected by some fairly powerful people. It is my view he was protected because he knew of other paedophiles in the networks in which he operated and had he been prosecuted then I think those other people would have been named by Smith and that's why they ensured they would never be put before the courts.'
The latest revelations come after an investigator, fearful of being identified, spoke to Newsnight about Smith's arrest through an intermediary. They told the BBC a three-month inquiry was launched in 1981 and officers working on shifts had gathered a substantial amount of evidence of men abusing boys aged around 14.
The detectives were stationed at Gilmore House, a large police headquarters in South Kennington Road, south London.
They targeted six or more addresses but one focus was a flat in Coronation Buildings, in Lambeth '' a rundown tenement block less than a mile from the House of Commons.
The evidence included pictures and video taken from inside the flat '' a hidden camera had been installed with the help of a caretaker.
According to sources Smith was seized at a different property in Streatham at a sex party involving teenage boys and taken to the former Canon Row police station '' opposite the House of Commons. But he was released that same night with the police desk sergeant being harshly reprimanded for wanting to keep the MP in custody.
The BBC was told the squad also had evidence on a member of the intelligence agencies and two senior police officers. Boys from care homes were apparently being provided 'to order' for sex parties.
Business Secretary on Cyril Smith 'cover up' allegations
Extraordinary accusations of police corruption go to the heart of the Establishment child sex ring scandal. Among the 14 claims now under scrutiny are:
Police are accused of dropping criminal allegations against a top-level politician suspected of abusing young boys at Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London, in the 1970s and 1980s. Officers are also suspected of deliberately failing to investigate rumours of abuse at the property, leaving boys to be suffer for years.
An elaborate undercover operation monitoring the Elm Guest House and other 'sex party' venues that ensnared Smith was scrapped after his arrest, it is claimed. Police are investigating whether officers were sworn to secrecy and had their evidence seized after the bust.
A 'pro-active operation' targeting young men at the exclusive apartment complex is believed to have been stopped after the intervention of 'prominent people'. It is now suspected that Dolphin Square was the scene for dozens of horrific child abuse 'sex parties', attended by the wealthy and powerful.
It has been claimed that a sex abuse victim, now aged in his 40s and living in the US, named his abuser '' a 'senior figure' who worked at the 'big house' [Parliament] '' in an interview he gave police in 1982. This information was later discovered to have not been included in witness statements or submitted into evidence handed to prosecutors.
Police are investigating whether 'bigger fish' were let off the hook after the Old Bailey conviction of notorious paedophile Sidney Cooke and his closest associates. He is suspected of procuring boys for VIPs but none of his 'customers' was prosecuted.
The actions of former Tory home secretary William Whitelaw are in the spotlight over claims he demanded that police drop inquiries into the VIP paedophile ring. He allegedly told a senior officer to quash a year-long investigation into a gang accused of abusing 40 children, the youngest being six.
Police are probing claims by veteran campaigning journalist Don Hale that a dossier of information about the activities of 16 MPs and peers was confiscated by Special Branch officers in the mid-1980s. It had been given to him by former Labour Party minister Barbara Castle.
Unbelievably, police themselves are suspected of sexually abusing a boy and following him, the IPCC said. This allegation is believed to focus on a raid at the Elm Guest House in which undercover officers are suspected of having sex with a 'gay masseur', who was then 16.
Other allegations focus on claims highly-sensitive surveillance operations were shut down prematurely, claims against a 'senior politician' were shelved and orders came down from 'on high' at Scotland Yard to cease inquiries.
The IPCC is still considering two further cases, including that of shadowy murder of eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra in July 1981. His father believes he may have died at the hands of members of the VIP sex ring.
According to the source, the investigating squad was called together for a meeting and told to hand over all their notebooks, photographs and any video footage.
They were then read passages from the Official Secrets Act to stop them from speaking out, according to one account.
After a shouting match, the inquiry was closed and officers were assured those who had been caught 'would not be playing a role in public life any more'. In fact, Smith continued as an MP for Rochdale until 1992 with Nick Clegg paying fulsome tribute to him when he died.
It is my view that Smith was being protected by some fairly powerful people
MP Simon Danczuk
The Metropolitan Police has refused to discuss the Smith case but yesterday confirmed the force was investigating allegations that police officers acted inappropriately in relation to historical child abuse investigations.
Former Scotland Yard detective Clive Driscoll told Newsnight he thought the claims were 'credible'. Mr Driscoll, who investigated claims of child abuse in Lambeth in the 1980s and 1990s and was the officer who convicted the killers of Stephen Lawrence, said: 'I have looked at them as I probably would have done as a police officer and I have to say on the balance of probability they look very credible.
'Never forget that detectives are fathers, husbands, sons, they have their own families.
'It's incredibly difficult. If you felt that by coming forward and just telling the truth that you might have your livelihood taken away from you or you, worse still, may be taken to prison, then that's very difficult.
'If it's true that there are officers that want to come forward but they feel inhibited by the Official Secrets Act and if the general information that appears to come from them is true, it's disgraceful.
'It's just wrong and it would undermine our democracy.'
'Certainly the timing and the type of allegations that are made are ones the Met would take very, very seriously and it is my personal view they probably are looking at them but keeping their cards very close to their chests, which sometimes the police do, for the right reasons but I certainly found them to be very credible and very frightening.'
Channel 4's Dispatches uncover Cyril Smith's dark past (related)
Corruption probe over decades of VIP sex crimes: Yard in dock on FOURTEEN abuse cover-ups
By Chris Greenwood, Crime Correspondent for The Daily Mail
Scotland Yard stands accused of orchestrating an astonishing 14 cover-ups of VIP child sex abuse.
Over 35 years, officers are said to have protected 'untouchable' figures by shutting down inquiries that reached the heart of government.
The 14 alleged paedophilia cover-ups were referred to watchdogs by the Metropolitan Police Service itself yesterday. It threatens to be the biggest investigation into police corruption since the 1970s.
Investigation: The Metropolitan Police is being probed over allegations of high-level corruption
Hailed as a 'momentous milestone' by one MP, the probe could lead to five former Met chiefs being interviewed. But campaigners are angry that the Met will remain in charge of the investigation.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission insists it will closely monitor their work. The watchdog said the inquiries were 'closely linked and well under way' and it made no sense to start again.
The complex web of allegations was uncovered by detectives probing claims of historical sex abuse first raised by Labour MP Tom Watson in October 2012.
Those on the inquiry, known as Operation Fairbank, are understood to have raised concerns after studying files kept in storage. They have also been faced with horrifying allegations from child victims that their complaints were ignored or covered up. The claims include one that police deliberately stalled their inquiries into the Elm Guest House, in Barnes, south-west London, leaving dozens of boys to be abused.
Probe: Police allegedly stopped investing a child sex ring based in Dolphin Square in Westmister, pictured
Victims claim that high-profile politicians, diplomats and civil servants visited the property to abuse boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
Officers are also accused of releasing paedophile MP Cyril Smith without charge after he was caught in an undercover operation at a sex party involving teenage boys.
Police are also accused of failing to end sex parties at the now notorious Dolphin Square complex, in Pimlico, central London, following the intervention of 'prominent people'.
It is claimed that members of a wealthy and powerful elite believed they were 'untouchable' after police were warned off shutting down the sordid activities.
One senior figure under the spotlight is former Tory home secretary William Whitelaw, who is accused of demanding that police drop an inquiry into a paedophile ring.
Allegations: Sarah Green of the IPCC will oversee the investigation into the corruption claims
The politician, one of Margaret Thatcher's closest allies, is suspected of quashing a year-long investigation into a gang accused of abusing 40 children.
Other inquiries focus on claims that the names of high-profile sex attackers were removed from witness statements and that police deliberately let senior politicians off the hook. One inquiry is examining allegations that Special Branch seized a dossier naming 16 MPs and peers handed to an investigative journalist by a former Labour minister.
Unbelievably, two undercover officers are themselves suspected of sexually abusing a boy during a raid at the Elm Guest House. The IPCC is still considering two further cases, including the shadowy murder of eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra in July 1981.
His family believes he may have fallen into the hands of members of the VIP sex ring and evidence leading to their door was deliberately ignored.
Sarah Green, of the IPCC, said police and her officials were examining claims that evidence was suppressed, investigations were hindered and halted and offences covered up.
'These allegations are of historic, high level corruption of the most serious nature,' she said. 'Allegations of this nature are of grave concern and I would like to reassure people of our absolute commitment to ensuring that the investigations are thorough and robust.'
Defending the decision to 'manage' the Met inquiry, rather than undertake an independent one, she said: 'The new criminal investigations looking at alleged police corruption are closely linked and well under way.'
Mrs Green said this decision remained under review and could be changed if new evidence came to light. Responding to the inquiries, Mr Watson said many child abuse victims will have mixed feelings but will be pleased that their voices are now being heard.
He said: 'It is a potentially momentous milestone in the pursuit of justice that many survivors have been calling and campaigning for over many decades.'
Peter Garsden, president of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers, said those who had suffered abuse themselves would want the inquiry to be conducted transparently.
He said: 'They will believe that even this investigation, I suspect, will be yet another cover-up.'
A Met spokesman said the force recognised the 'severity of the allegations' and therefore 'voluntarily' referred them to the IPCC. He said: 'Ongoing investigations and recent convictions '... have shown that the Met is fully committed to investigating non-recent allegations of sexual abuse.'
The biggest police anti-corruption investigation in modern history was Operation Countryman which focused on links between police and the criminal underworld.
The investigation, which cost £3million and was conducted over four years until 1982, saw eight officers being prosecuted. None was convicted.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper criticised the decision to leave the inquiries in the hands of the Met and said another force could have been called in.
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VIDEO-Europeans defy US to join China-led development bank
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:42
Britain tried to gain "first mover advantage" last week by signing up to the fledgling Chinese-led bank before other G7 members. The UK government claimed it had to move quickly because of the impending May 7 general election. The move by George Osborne, the UK chancellor of the exchequer, won plaudits in Beijing.
Britain hopes to establish itself as the number one destination for Chinese investment and UK officials were unrepentant. One suggested that the White House criticism of Britain was a case of sour grapes: "They couldn't have got congressional approval to join the AIIB, even if they wanted to."
More from the FT:Australia shifts stance on China-led AIIBAIIB '' China's money magnetChina gives UK bank move a mixed reaction
The US Treasury said on Monday night that it recognised the need for greater infrastructure investment around the world. However, it said any new institution should "incorporate the high standards that the international community has collectively built", and that new members of the AIIB should "push for the adoption of these same high standards".
Privately, US and Australian officials have suggested that the British decision to break ranks and join the bank was driven by commercial considerations and that London was blind to the broader geopolitical implications in the Asia-Pacific region.
South Korean media have reported that Seoul will also now rethink its decision not to join the AIIB. Japan, the US ally in the region that is most worried by China's growing influence, is not expected to become a member.
VIDEO-Ukrainian parliament backs peacekeeper appeal to EU and UN - watch on - uatoday.tv
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:17
341 members of parliament out of 450-seat assembly support appeal to UN and EU for peacekeepers
The Ukrainian Parliament has passed a bill which calls for deployment of EU and UN peacekeepers to the country's war-torn eastern areas. 341 members of parliament out of the 450-seat assembly supported the bill according to the parliament's press service.
The bill, which was submitted earlier this week by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, anticipates peacekeeping and security missions in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions which will observe the implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement. The deal was reached on Februrary 12 by the leaders of Ukraine, Germany, Russia, and France.
Ukraine's Security and Defense Council has appealed to the UN and EU to deploy peacekeepers along the border which divides the militant held Donetsk region and government-controlled areas and along some parts of the Ukraine-Russia border.
VIDEO-State Dept.: 'We Don't Have Record of' Hillary Clinton Signing Required Legal Form When She Left State Dep't. | MRCTV
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 12:28
If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.
No Record of Hillary Clinton Signing Required Legal Form When She Left State Dep't. See More at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/no-record-hillary-clinton-signing-required-legal-form-when-she-left-state
VIDEO-C-SPAN caller launches into the 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' theme song | TheHill
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:37
A C-SPAN call-in discussion on the Iran nuclear talks on Wednesday got sidetracked by an homage to''The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.''
The unsuspecting C-SPAN anchor aired a live call from a man who identified himself as Jack Strickland from Bel-Air. But the man quickly clarified that he was originally from West Philadelphia, just like the Will Smith character in the hit 1990s television show.
''I was actually discussing this issue with a friend of mine when I was in Philly, it occurred on a basketball court,'' he said, setting up the theme song for the show.
''At some point during the conversation, a couple of guys who were up to no good essentially started causing trouble in my neighborhood.
''I got in one little fight and my mom got scared and said 'You're moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air,''' the caller said.
C-SPAN cut him off at that point, ending the call.
The "Fresh Prince" prank has appeared on Internet message boards and television shows as a popular Internet meme.
It's not the first time a funny call has made it through C-SPAN screeners.
During a December interview with Brad and Dallas Woodhouse, brothers who are political operatives from the opposite ends of the party spectrum, their mother called in to jokingly scold them on air.
VIDEO-Jack Lew Refuses To Testify About Hillary Clinton, Can't Remember Her Email Address - YouTube
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:35
VIDEO-Generals March To A Neocon Tune | Real Jew News
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:21
Brother NathanaelMarch 18, 2015 @ 6:13 pmText ''Text'' Text
Generals March To A Neocon TuneBy Brother Nathanael KapnerCopyright 2015
When neocon Nuland says jump Generals ask ''how high.''
It's about killing Russians and Nudelman gives the marching orders.
[Clip: ''Even as Ukraine is building a more peaceful, democratic, independent nation across 93% of its territory, Crimea and parts of Ukraine'...eastern Ukraine have suf'...have suffered a reign of terror.
In eastern Ukraine, Russia and its separatist puppets have unleashed unspeakable violence and pillage. This is a manufactured conflict controlled by the Kremlin, fueled by Russian tanks and heavy weapons, and financed at Russian taxpayers' expense.'']
You liar. There's no reign of terror by Russia in Crimea. They prefer Russia to DC-led Kiev.
The reign of terror is waged by Nuland's neo-nazis who slaughtered civilians in East Ukraine and now engaged in mass arrests in Konstantinovka. That's Nudelman's 'democracy' in action.
But the real reign of terror is back home where generals make a living out of killing.
[Clip: ''It's game set and match in the Ukraine. The only way the United States can have any effect in this region and turn the tide is to start killing Russians. Killing Russians by'... killing so many Russians that even Putin's media can't hide the fact that Russians are returning to the Motherland in bodybags.'']
What do you expect from a general who takes orders from a Jew?
Nudelman nods her head and the bombs start flying. Sanctions fly too.
[Clip: ''Throughout this conflict, the United States and the EU have worked in lockstep to impose successive rounds of tough sanctions, including sectoral sanctions on Russia and its separatist cronies as the cost for their actions.
Our unity with Europe remains the cornerstone of our policy tow'...towards this crisis, and a fundamental source of our strength.'']
But you said, ''F the EU!'' Now Kiev's getting 'F'd' by the IMF.
It's the same tribe that wrote the sanctions on Russia, Jacob Lew and David Cohen.
Whether it's killing or sanctioning it's all part of a Jewish script.
America was once Christian, now it's run by Jews. That's why Christian Russia is now Jewish America's number one enemy.
And brainless generals march to a neocon tune.
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Brother NathanaelMarch 18, 2015 @ 6:23 pmDear Real Jew News Family,
Ain't it a shame that brainless and crass generals tout the JEW lines of Jew bitches like Nuland?
Ain't it a shame that the ignoramus general who wants Russians ''killed'' and ''sent home in body bags'' TAKES ORDERS from a neocon JEW bitch?
That's what JEWmerica has come to.
Asinine, brainless generals who can't figure out that Russia WILL defend itself (it has a massive nuclear arsenal at its disposal) and this could bring on a horrible genocide of half the human race.
But in JEWmerica career soldiers must bow before the gates of wicked JEWS and take their marching orders.
Ain't that a shame.'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--''AND wouldn't it be a SHAME if +Brother Nathanael was no longer on the net?
That's what it's coming down to.
FEWER and FEWER donations are coming in and I am AGAIN officially broke.
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EdwardMarch 18, 2015 @ 7:08 pmNudelman or Nuland is going to fat.
She lies, lies and lies again and again.
Expose this crepuscule, Brother Nat.
KoolzMarch 18, 2015 @ 7:16 pmDid you see the Joke that Russia created against Nuland about Crimea, and how people were suffering in Crimea? Whahaha it's pretty funny!
It's amazing how they there are so open about there murdering and lying. Right on their own Jew-owned news they call for the murder of Russians!
What is really amazing about this is we have to bring into context, what kind of mind has a disregard for peoples, emotions, life, and the pain they would inflict on them.
Truly Psychopaths!
Yes that's right folks Neocon Zionists are Psychopaths, this is the same thought processes that puts profits before nature, before human lives.
Irene Bonney FaulkesMarch 18, 2015 @ 7:50 pmNudelman and those who pump her with lies have no wisdom.
American Generals must be paper ones to follow her orders.
Surely they realise the modern build up of Russia's war machine? It is mind dazzling to see the photos and news of it that appear from time to time.
America or any other nation, that dares to make strikes against her would be doomed. Pride in one's country can be so delusionary that the actualities are missed.
This is done by many an ignoramus. Flippantly, they would throw down the gauntlet against this might not knowing disaster would be the outcome.
The Jews have a predetermined programme that Nuland follows.
They want a One World Order with them in such complete control, that billions would have been eliminated leaving just a sufficient number of the goyim cattle to be their slaves.
All Christians and Moslems definitely have to go is part of their program.
There is a powerful but evil force driving them. Those at the helm are in league with demons of their sorceries.
They will not hesitate to use any means, whether financial, economic, psychological, mind control, technological input or in relation to the food chain and diseases with engineered vaccinations and pharmaceuticals to achieve their goals.
The horrors imposed on humanity in different nations in the past reveal their total commitment to being the gods over the cattle that are to be goaded, tortured and massacred.
The U.S.A. now is under Judaism with its Kabbalism that smells of putrid evil in unrestrained lusts connected with depraved sexuality that to them is a sign of good instead of the evil it actually is.
Russia with its Orthodox Church revival now bears the brunt of the antipathy of the Jews controlling the U.S.A. and their despots entrenched in London and part of Germany.
Is the writing already on the wall from heaven against them, as it was for King Belteshazzar?
KathJulianeMarch 18, 2015 @ 7:58 pmExcellent video, dear +BN.
It smacks a person right in the face with Neocon hawk Nudelman and Cold War hawk epitomizing the Jewmerican mentality of the one-sided Strangelovian Cold War II.
''We want Yats'' Nudelman's tongue just stumbles all over the Freudian place because of her conscious lies:
''Even as Ukraine is building a more peaceful, democratic, independent nation across 93% of its territory, Crimea and parts of Ukraine'...eastern Ukraine have suf'...have suffered a reign of terror.
In eastern Ukraine, Russia and its separatist puppets have unleashed unspeakable violence and pillage. This is a manufactured conflict controlled by the Kremlin, fueled by Russian tanks and heavy weapons, and financed at Russian taxpayers' expense.''
Hey, Victoria! Let me fix this up for ya, hon'.
''Even as Ukraine is building a reign of terror across 93% of its territory, Crimea and parts of Ukraine'...eastern Ukraine, are attempting to build more peaceful, democratic, independent republics.
In eastern Ukraine, Kiev and its Jew-puppetmasters in DC, Brussels & Tel Aviv have unleashed unspeakable violence and pillage on the Russian-speaking peoples who have taken up arms in self-defense. This is a manufactured conflict controlled by the White House & US State Department, fueled by Ukrainian tanks and heavy weapons, and financed at US taxpayers' expense.''
There, that's better.
Scales is nothing but a bitter old man who didn't get a chance to kill some evil Russkies during the Cold War.
You can just see Poland-born Brzezinski's toxic fingerprints all over everything the US has done and everyone's mentality for the past 30 years and more. His Russian-hating attitude is little different from the NATO loving Polish hawks today.
I found Nudelman's official written statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in PDF, and it is apalling. I just listened to her opening reading of her statement on CSPAn, and there are actually parts she skipped reading.
Apart from calling up imagery and by her propaganda trying to open up old wounds from circumstances in the Soviet-Afghanistan war and the 'Cargo 200'² in her allegations about Russian soldiers being sent home from Ukraine in zinc coffins and surviving families being told not to ask questions, there is so far only one source for this.
Valentina Melnikova, head of the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers, the main organisation representing the troops' families, has claimed an estimated 7,000-8,000 Russian troops were believed to be in Ukraine.
As Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute wrote:
''A major component in the latest western government and media claims of a Russian invasion of Ukraine is protests of the various Russian ''Soldiers' Mothers Committes'' over the supposed disappearance of their soldier sons in Ukraine. Absent compelling visual evidence of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, these NGOs are said to provide the evidence that, as NATO claims, 1,000 young Russians have been forced to go fight in Ukraine.''
Committee of Soldiers' Mothers are now required to register as a foreign agent in the Russian Federation as it has received funding:
McAdams continues:
''The US government has in the past been generous in funding the Russian Soldiers' Mothers Committes.
In a 2011 report of the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy, we learn that the US government granted the Committees more than $150,000. In 2010 they received approximately the same amount from the US government, and in 2009 they received nearly $200,000.''http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/peace-and-prosperity/2014/august/30/russian-soldiers-mothers-committees-a-us-covert-op/
So, is this another black propaganda ''Iraqi Babies Thrown Out of Incubators'' noble lie? Grey propaganda fashioned from a grain of truth?
Numerous Russian nationals, including inactive military veterans have volunteered along volunteers from elsewhere in the world, to Donbass to fight with the Novorossian armed forces.
Some may in fact be active duty personnel on official leave acting in an advisory and combat capacity as specialists, and there may also be fighters on special ops through a para-military branch of the security and intelligence services.
There may be official story that these personnel have taken personal leave to go fight as a diplomatic fig leaf, but really, so what if Putin did order some kind of special forces into the Donbass?
But Nudelman has no problem being the pot calling the kettle black.
Didn't Kennedy send at least 5,000 special forces advisors to Viet Nam in the early phase of that civil war?
Down through time, and through the Cold War, there are plenty of American families who have been told by the government whose family members have served in either top secret military intelligence and special ops or civilian intelligence agencies, such as the NSA and CIA, who have been told not to ask questions about their loved ones coming home in boxes, too.
CIA Intelligence Agency: The Stars on the Wall
The CIA Memorial Wall is one of the first things visitors see when entering the Original Headquarters Building lobby.
The wall '' located on the lobby's north wall '' stands as a silent memorial to those CIA employees ''who gave their lives in the service of their country.'' Currently, there are 87* stars carved into the marble of the CIA Memorial Wall.
The''Book of Honor'' lists the names of 54 employees who died while serving their country.
The names of the remaining 33 employees must remain secret, even in death; each of these officers is remembered in the book by a star.''
And this is just one US government alphabet intelligence agency. with What about the NSA and other alphabet agencies, and the various branches of military intelligence and special operations whose identities are secret as well, or whose bodies came home as ''Cargo 200'" themselves, and to this day, their families don't know the exact circumstances of their deaths.
I can think of a couple of soldiers who came home in sealed coffins during the Viet Nam war decorated posthumously, but to this day their loved ones have no idea what their military awards are for.
All I can say at this point, Victoria, you ridiculous sow and Jewish American faux patriot, is shut up.
DotMarch 18, 2015 @ 8:06 pmBrother Nathanael, I realize this is a deep topic, but I would like to know how long organized Jewry has had an anti-Russia agenda.
Obviously today's Jewish anti-Russia agenda is strongly linked to a plan to seize control of Russian assets by international Jewish-led robber barons, that is, to complete the job they started after the fall of the Soviet Union, a plan that was nipped in the bud by Putin and partly reversed under his leadership.
And it's clear that Bolshevism was both a Jewish-planned ideology and Jewish-led movement, leading to the revolution of 1917.
But I would like to know to what extent there is evidence that the pogroms in Russia and Ukraine in the late 1800's were mainly false flag events, instigated by certain Jews themselves with the aim of building Jewish support for a revolution against the Tsar and for Zionism.
JustinMarch 18, 2015 @ 8:48 pmIts the same crap from the Cold War. Lets kills Russians because they are bad.
They actually are throwing a Zionist temper tantrum, because Holy Russia doesn't kowtow to Jewish capital or money control.
The Jews are trying to resurrect the Bolshevik Revolution and begin a massacre of Christians, like they have in Middle East. I can say from hearing everything from ISIS to Russia, that the Zionist American government is completely insane and anti-Christ, although it takes little to figure out that they hate Christ and the Church.
It's Cold War part II, or more accurately a deranged Judeo-Masonic police action by Judeo-Masonic America, and they're taking orders from the Devil himself.
LyndaMarch 18, 2015 @ 9:38 pm''A manufactured conflict'' - well Nudelman got that right.
The Jew owned, operated and occupied gov'ts of Europe and the West manufactured that conflict. Every president is their action goy; every general is their toy soldier.
The ZOGs led by the JewCons in DC are jewing another global conflict.
KathJulianeMarch 18, 2015 @ 9:52 pmMore on Nudelman's black fairy tale about Crimea:
Peter Hobson, the business editor at the English-language Moscow Times based in Moscow, owned up until yesterday, March 18, by the Finnish publishing group Sanoma,and is about as critical, anti-Putin and Western-leaning as it gets, is calling B.S. on Nudelman's black fairy tale about a ''reign of terror'' in Crimea.
It was originally founded by a Dutch entrepeneur in 1992 for the purpose of English-speaking news for Anglophone ex-pats in Moscow. Russians regularly publish in it, and is increasingly being read by English-speaking Russians.
In a self-reporting deal with Sanoma, the Moscow Times and a minority stake in its sister publication Vedomosti are being sold by Sanoma to Demyan Kudryavtsev, former CEO of major Russian publishing house Kommersant.(themoscowtimes.com/business/article/russian-businessman-to-buy-the-moscow-times''report/517604.html)
Anyway, reading between the lines, the Moscow Times essentially tells Nudelman to go back under her rock, shrivel up, and die.~~~*~~~
No, Crimea Is Not 'Suffering Reign of Terror' Under Russian Rule
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland last week told an influential group of U.S. senators that due to Russian actions in Ukraine, ''Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine are suffering a reign of terror.''
Nuland, who spearheads White House policy in Eastern Europe, is persona non grata in Russia and Crimea, which Moscow annexed last year. Perhaps because she has not talked to anyone who actually lives in Crimea, the evidence she gave to the senators was wrong.
Fear may be rife in separatist eastern Ukrainian regions that have endured months of heavy fighting and more than 5,000 deaths, but Crimea is not suffering from either war or terror.
Three reporters from The Moscow Times have visited Crimea in the last month. More than fear, the vast majority of Crimeans feel relief that the region has escaped the violence engulfing eastern Ukraine and satisfaction that they no longer have to live in Ukraine.
The feature of local life most often stressed by Crimeans is peace, not terror. They see the conflict between eastern Ukrainian separatists and the Ukrainian army and think they dodged a bullet. Far from an aggressor, Russia to them is a protector.
Western sanctions and a Ukrainian economic blockade have driven price inflation and damaged Crimea's vital tourism industry by cutting the number of foreign visitors. But massive Russian subsidies pouring into Crimea have offset price rises for many by sharply raising pensions and state employee salaries. Ukraine is meanwhile suffering an even deeper economic crisis.
Nuland's use of the word ''terror'' conjures up images of Stalinist purges. Nothing similar exists. Those who do not want to live under Russian rule are free to leave, and many have.
Fleshing out her testimony in Washington, Nuland said, ''Crimea remains under illegal occupation and human rights abuses are the norm, not the exception, for many at risk groups there.'' Tatars, Ukrainians, gays, lesbians, journalists and others are at risk of persecution, she said. [This was only in her published opening official statement read at the hearing. As said before, she selectively omitted reading this out loud].
There is some truth in this '-- Russia has a weak culture of minority rights and an often heavy-handed bureaucracy. But while many in these communities are disappointed, few, if any, are terrified. [Including the sodomite community. I'll get to that in a minute.]
The vast majority of Crimeans are Russians or half-Russians, and most of these feel less oppression and less terror than when they were governed from Kiev '-- another culture with a weak understanding of minority rights.
This majority has felt impinged by a decade of nationalist rule in Kiev that aimed to make them Ukrainian, and has felt threatened by the eruption of violence in Ukraine last year.
While sounding off about terror, Nuland ignores the fact that Crimea's accession to Russia reflects the desires of a majority of the population. The form of Crimea's change of sovereignty may be illegal and deserve condemnation, but the substance is pure democratic justice.
This is a point rarely made in the West. Instead, Nuland-style demagoguery is stoking hawkish public opinion and driving aggressive policy in the West toward Russia, a nuclear superpower.
And while Nuland may not be talking to residents of Crimea, she is at the center of U.S.-Russia policy and the debate on arming Ukraine. The people who will make those decisions are relying on her for information and advice.http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/517433.html
Nudelman read part of this paragraph in her official Written Statement starting at 18:31 on the CSPAN video, but omitted reading the part of the statement beginning with ''Today Crimea remains under illegal occupation'...''
''Which brings me to my second point ''even as Ukraine is building a peaceful, democratic, independent nation across 93% of its territory, Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine are suffering a reign of terror.
''Today Crimea remains under illegal occupation and human rights abuses are the norm, not the exception, for many at-risk groups there '' Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians who won't surrender their passports, journalists, LGBT citizens and others.''http://www.foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Nuland_Testimony2.pdfhttp://www.c-span.org/video/?324727-1/victoria-nuland-testimony-us-policy-toward-ukraine-russia
Mario HerreraMarch 18, 2015 @ 10:28 pmJews have been toppling governments since at least the Roman times, that is not news.
But also Jews like Nuland cannot do this alone, it has been done with the HELP of millions of corrupts useful-Goyim along the history.
Here is an example of my ''Cuban'' sayanim Florida senator from Florida State, Marco Rubio (Marrano), who the Jew Mark Levin, the propaganda czar behind Marco Rubio upraises, is right now at full speed fabricating the new Manchurian-candidate like Jews did with Obama.https://twitter.com/NoRightsForYou/status/578133126666399744
So, whole Americans should be on alert about this Cuban-Politician-Rat.
We, Cuban-Americans in Florida, we are on alert that this is a Marrano. We Cubans smell Marranos way long. No all Cubans support this Marrano. As a matter of fact the whole staff of Cuban politicians in Florida are Marranos-Sayanim. Which most of Cubans peoples we feel ashamed.
Understand that Cuba since 1947 is the only non-Islamic country in the whole world that does NOT recognized the creation of the blasphemy of Israel. So, Jews have been working HARD for decades and decades on Cubans to change this fact.
Mario Herrera.Cuban-backgroundUSA citizenHialeah.Florida State.
Marranos - It's how in Spanish language we call those Jew conversos to Christianity who were baptized to escape Queen Isabel La Catolica expulsion, but most of them in reality they kept practicing Judaism secretly in the basements of their houses out of public view.
Krypto-Jews, Sephardi, whatever you want to call them.
GeoffreyMarch 18, 2015 @ 10:58 pmThe real aim of the Jews is to genocide the White race. Hitler was an agent in this also.
He called all Slavic nations ''subhuman'' even though he knew they were mostly White people. He called the 90% white USA a ''mongrel nation'' in his book in 1925.
Today, Ukraine is whiter than all Western nations. All Western countries hate White babies, bar none. Because unelected Jews make their rules, not the voters or the politicians.
So the Jews have intentionally collapsed the currency of Ukraine to reduce the value of the baby bonus and to exterminate White pensioners.
This generous pro-baby scheme, which also exists in Russia, has resulted in the births of large numbers of White babies in the past 7 years or so. This baby boom has never been reported by the Western MSM.
''Kill Russians'' really means to use Whites to kill Whites while allowing non-Whites to take over as the core population under the control of Jews. That is the Jew agenda which is wildly successful in all Western countries.
The baby bonus in Ukraine has fallen in value by 70% in just 12 months, especially under the US citizen Jewess from Chicago who now runs the Ukrainian Central Bank.
There is now an epidemic of beggars on street corners in Ukraine. Most with fake crutches and fake deformed walking injuries. Ukrainians are a proud people so this is a major step down. There are also military begging boxes, everywhere, for bullets to kill white Russians and Eastern Ukrainian white people.
Last and not least both Ukrainian TV and Russian TV now have unending propaganda leading to hate and fear of the other.
As a result many Russians are leaving Ukraine for good, and many Ukrainians are leaving Russia also. This is a bit like the partition of India and Pakistan. This level of hatred between two White peoples is entirely a USA creation and a Jew creation.
Just so that faggots can continue to molest and rape boys, two great nations might destroy each other.
The USA is being run by traitors. Looking back, WWI and WWII both could easily have been avoided. The problem was that both sides leaderships and their Jew bankers wanted a war. Israel and the USA are the only rogue states in the world today.
KathJulianeMarch 18, 2015 @ 11:01 pm1st Anniversary '-- Crimea and Sevastopol's Independence Day and Reunion with Russia
On March 18, Putin, very much alive and in hearty spirits, appeared at the We're Together! concert and meeting celebrating the first anniversary of Crimea and Sevastopol's reunification with Russia and gave a short speech.
The concert took place on Moscow's Vasilyevsky Spusk, just near the Kremlin. Popular Russian music groups and singers performed at the event.
English transcript of his speech @ http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/23729
If the still photos don't convince that Putin is still alive and kicking, the video of the concert was posted to the official President of Russia YouTube site about 18 hours ago:
Just prior to the concert, Putin held a meeting on socioeconomic development in Crimea and Sevastopol.
The English transcript of Putin's statement to the meeting is worth the read. He gives kind of annual report card about improved conditions in Crimea, and then spells out where improvement is needed by his administration to make better socioeconomic progress integrating Crimea with Russia and improving Crimea's self-sufficiency : http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/23728
On 17 March, following the official announcement of the referendum results, the Supreme Council of Crimea declared the formal independence of the Republic of Crimea, comprising the territories of both the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, which was granted special status within the breakaway republic.
Parliament also formally requested that the Russian government admit the breakaway republic into Russia.
On same day, the de facto Supreme Council renamed itself the Crimean State Council, declared the Russian ruble an official currency alongside the hryvnia,and announced that Crimea would switch to Moscow Time (UTC+4) on 30 March.
Putin officially recognized the Republic of Crimea by decree and approved the admission of Crimea and Sevastopol as federal subjects of Russia.
The Treaty on Accession of the Republic of Crimea to Russia was signed on 18 March 2014 between representatives of the Republic of Crimea (including Sevastopol, with which the rest of Crimea briefly unified) and the Russian Federation on 18 March 2014 to lay out terms for the immediate admission of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol as federal subjects of Russia and part of the Russian Federation.
It was ratified by the Federal Assembly by 21 March.
Belated best wishes Crimea on your Independence Day and the Day of the Treaty on Accession of the Republic of Crimea!
Long live Crimea!Long live Russia!
Ð--а здÑавствует КÑым!Ð--а здÑавствует Россия!
KathJulianeMarch 18, 2015 @ 11:42 pmThis is big news!
RT: Russia signs major alliance treaty with South Ossetia, pledges military protection
Published time: March 18, 2015 15:50
The presidents of Russia and South Ossetia have signed a key treaty according to which the two nations will partially join their military forces, and Russia will provide full military protection to its ally.
The treaty introducing the collective security principle was signed by Vladimir Putin and Leonid Tibilov on Wednesday, after the two presidents held talks in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin said the document was another step not only in improving mutual legal systems, but also in economic development between the two nations.
Leonid Tibilov added the friendship between the two countries and the stepping up of integration processes, were an answer to threats and challenges existing in the modern world.
''We know the Russian Federation is the only guarantor for our people and for our republic,'' Tibilov said, adding that South Ossetia supported all Moscow's political moves, such as the reunification with the republic of Crimea one year ago.
The document sets out that Russia would provide for the security and defense of South Ossetia, including constant protection of its state border.
In return, South Ossetia would allow part of its military to join Russian military forces. The details of the process must be developed jointly by the two countries within six months of signing the treaty.
The procedure will be financed by the Russians and 1 billion rubles (about $16 million) will be allocated from the Russian budget for this purpose.
The treaty with South Ossetia is very similar to the agreement with the Caucasus republic of Abkhazia signed in 2014 and ratified by the Russian parliament in January this year.
Both republics were recognized by Russia after a brief war in 2008, which took place after Georgia tried to reclaim South Ossetia by military force, in violation of ceasefire agreements and despite Russian peacekeepers' presence.
In December 2013, Russia introduced a free trade regime with Abkhazia and South Ossetia.http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/23724http://rt.com/politics/241929-russia-ossetia-treaty-alliance/
VIDEO-FPI Eurasia Analyst Hannah Thoburn Discusses Vladimir Puin on BBC World Service | Foreign Policy Initiative
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:43
By Hannah Thoburn | March 14, 2015 | BBC World Service's Business Matters
In an appearance on BBC World Service's Business Matters, FPI Eurasia Analyst Hannah Thoburn discussed Vladimir Putin's lack of public appearances.
You can listen to hear appearance via the BBC by clicking here. Thoburn's segment begins at timemark 4:30
VIDEO: FPI Board Member William Kristol Discussed Nuclear Negotiations with Iran on C-SPAN
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:42
The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America's global economic competitiveness.Read More
VIDEO-Emergency Broadcast System Test (1993) - YouTube
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:25
VIDEO-Do Antidepressant Drugs Really Work? | NutritionFacts.org
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:27
Freedom of Information Act documents show drug companies hid critical findings from doctors and the public.
VIDEO- Tom Cotton Explains Iran Letter to Bob Schieffer - YouTube
Wed, 18 Mar 2015 13:25
VIDEO-Official: United flight turns around after passenger runs up aisle yelling 'jihad' - CNN.com
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 14:28
Story highlightsNothing has been found that ties the passenger to terrorism, official saysA passenger runs toward the cockpit, and other passengers subdue himThe plane turns back to Dulles International Airport in WashingtonThere is nothing, so far, in the man's background to suggest he has a connection to terrorists, the government source said. His mental state at the time is unknown, and no weapons were found after he was subdued.
Still, his words are alarming, coming at a time when the United States and its allies have been targeted by Islamist extremist groups like ISIS, and with memories of the September 11, 2001, hijackings of four U.S. commercial airliners still etched in many Americans' minds.
They were spoken aboard United Flight 1074, shortly after it took off around 10:15 p.m. Monday from Dulles International Airport in suburban Washington.
The Boeing 737 jet was supposed to take its 33 passengers and six crew members to Denver, but was turned back because the unnamed passenger "failed to comply with crew instructions," United Airlines spokesman Luke Punzenberger said.
The pilots told air traffic controllers that after the passenger acted violently, other passengers subdued him, according to LiveATC.net, which provides audio of air traffic control transmissions.
"He ran forward towards the cockpit, and he is being restrained by passengers," one of the pilots said. "The cockpit is secure, and we would just like to return to the airport and have the authorities meet him."
A cell phone video shows the man, bruised on his face, held down by other passengers.
At one point, he pleads, "Please stop, please stop, they said call it off." At another, the man seems to cry as he says, "I'm so sorry."
"Don't move," one passenger said, apparently trying to calm the man. "You're OK. We're going to get you off this plane, buddy."
The plane landed at Dulles around 10:40 p.m. ET, said Kimberly Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which runs the northern Virginia airport.
"A passenger was removed from the plane and transported to a local hospital for evaluation," she said.
Hours later, it was not clear if the man was still at the hospital, what condition he was in or what trouble he might be in legally.
As to his once fellow passengers -- none of whom were injured -- United Airlines said they'd be flown to Denver on Tuesday.
CNN's Rene Marsh, Javi Morgado and Diane Ruggiero contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Jen Psaki Can't find Hillary Clinton's Separation Statement Form. Where Oh Where Could It Be? (Video) | Nice Deb
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 07:55
A key form that could determine whether or not Hillary Clinton broke any laws when she left state without returning her emails, seems to have been misplaced at the State Department. After being queried about the formal separation statement form, last week, State Dept. Spox Jen Psaki had no answers for reporters. And again today, she had nothing new for them regarding the whereabouts of the form.
AP reporter Matt Lee grilled her over why this standard form would be so difficult to produce.
''I don't have an update on this Matt,'' Psaki intoned. ''We're still working on it.''
''The Human Resources Dept. presumably has a file on every employee '' it can't be that difficult'...:'' Lee began before Psaki cut him off.
''I don't think our Secretaries are standard employees,'' Psaki explained patiently.
''They may not be,'' Lee shot back, ''but how hard can it be to find..''
Psaki interrupted him again to say, ''I understand why you're asking, we're looking for an answer, I don't have an answer, today.''
Via The Right Scoop:
And that concludes today's Regime stonewall. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for another edition of the Regime's Daily Stonewall which may be a continuation of today's stonewall, with perhaps a brand new one in addition.
Former *Justice Dept. official, Shannen Coffin, speculating that she may have committed a crime by not complying with federal records laws, recently asked at National Review, ''did Clinton falsely certify the return of all records upon her departure from State?''
Coffin explains that the Department of State's own records-management manual has a provision titled ''Removal Procedures.''
'...the manual sets forth the process that each Department of State employee must go through upon separation (i.e., resignation or retirement) from the department. In addition to relinquishing classified materials, all employees are required to clear the removal of any unclassified materials through records-management officials.
The form that the State Department seems to have misplaced, is Form OF-109.
It is a formal separation statement, in which the departing official certifies the return of any classified materials, and, more relevant for present purposes, that the departing official has ''surrendered to responsible officials all unclassified documents, and papers relating to the official business of the Government acquired by me while in the employ of the Department.'' The form makes very clear that a false statement in the certification is punishable as a crime, including under 18 U.S.C. § 1001, which makes it a crime to knowingly and willfully falsify or conceal facts in statements made to federal agencies concerning a matter within its jurisdiction. According to the department's procedures, then, every departing official is required to certify the return of all government documents under penalty of law. Did Hillary Clinton sign such a certification upon her separation from government? Did she knowingly swear that she had returned all records, when in fact she had retained at least 55,000 pages of official e-mails (and perhaps more)? And if she did not sign such a certification, why not? Every other departing employee and official of the State Department is required to do so. Did she ignore her obligations to return the records and thus avoid a false certification? It seems that the one document in all of this that we need to see, if it exists, is Hillary Clinton's Form OF-109.
*Originally stated Shannen Coffin was a State Dept. official which is incorrect.
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VIDEO-Playing House | Pitchfork
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 07:47
Playing House | PitchforkHTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: nginx/1.4.6 (Ubuntu) Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 Content-Encoding: gzip Content-Length: 19052 Accept-Ranges: bytes Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2015 07:48:05 GMT X-Varnish: 2149776137 Age: 0 Via: 1.1 varnish Connection: keep-alive X-F: 0
Damien Juradoleans back in a wooden chair, eyes closed, in the berber-carpeted basement of a ranch duplex in the Westwood neighborhood of Cincinnati. To his left, a swirly peace-sign banner covers part of the white cinderblock wall. To his right, beer-bellied friends of the homeowner teeter on stools next to a built-in bar. Red-and-green ceiling lights give the room a holiday glow even though it's February. Occasionally, water flowing through the pipes overhead sounds like rain, but it's too cold outside for that. And while the orange electronic flickers coming from the fireplace behind Jurado don't provide any warmth, it's a cozy spot nonetheless.
Jurado, who has released a mix of solemn and psych-tinged albums on Sub Pop and Secretly Canadian since the late '90s, is playing an unadorned tune called ''Medication''. The song involves a narrator's mentally ill brother, and he prefaces it by offering insight on how the recording came to be. ''I would sit in a chair, like I am now, but with a microphone in front of me,'' he tells the 50 or so people seated in front of him. ''I never play this song live, by the way. If I'm in a crowded club, and it's super noisy, and someone's like, 'Hey! Play that song ''Medication''!' I'm like, 'This is not the right setting.'''
But as Jurado plays tonight, the only noises other than his voice and guitar are the occasional crack-pop of a beer can and the fussing of a baby girl who will not be appeased by breastfeeding. ''Lord, do me a favor/ It's wrong but I ask you/ Take my brother's life,'' he softly sings. '''Cause he's sick of the suffering/ The pills he's inhaling/ The cross he is bearing/ That is his troubled mind.'' There's applause, prompting barks from the homeowner's tiny dog, Jacque. When the clapping subsides, a fan sitting near the front wants to know more.
''Is it all autobiographical?'' he asks Jurado.
''No, it's fiction,'' says the singer. ''Every song I write is pretty much fiction.''
''There's so much feeling to it'...'' the fan trails off, sounding a little disappointed. Jurado tries to reassure him. ''They're not my shoes, but I'm really trying to fit into those shoes,'' he says. ''I think that's the feeling and emotion you hear.''
''When that record came out,'' the fan responds, ''my dad was like the brother in that song, and that was kind of my thought'--take away his pain. I still don't listen to that song very often.'' The fan chuckles nervously, catching himself in some undefined nether region between public and private. ''I didn't expect to pay $25 and get a therapy session,'' he says. ''This is the cheapest therapy I've ever had!''
The audience laughs, releasing some of the emotional tension. ''Thanks for sharing that,'' Jurado says. ''That's really cool to hear.'' The basement bursts into applause, completing the group-therapy circle.
It's rare to witness this kind of interaction at a rock club, but it's not unusual at house shows like these. The lack of barriers between artist and audience is a main reason more and more musicians'--many of whom, like Jurado, could sell out larger venues'--are choosing to play in living rooms and basements. The economics aren't bad, either. Without venue and promoter fees or other band members to pay, most of the money goes directly to the artist.
Fans, too, love the direct access to their favorite songwriters, not to mention the early start times and lack of sticky floors. Perhaps emboldened by the sharing-economy business models of Airbnb, Uber, and other companies built on trust, these concertgoers are fine with walking into unknown homes or even hosting strangers themselves. Some fans have become so smitten by the concept they've turned their homes into regular venues. Others have been inspired to turn the alt-venue model into businesses like Fanswell, Sofar, and Concerts in Your Home.
In one sense, house shows are as old as music itself, from orchestras playing in opulent parlors to Appalachian bluegrass jams on porches. And networks of DIY venues with names like Legion of Doom have provided literal homes for the hardcore, noise, and punk-rock scenes for decades. But the fastest-growing segment is at the more genteel end of the spectrum, with singer/songwriters and their followers taking the underground concept of loud, sweaty house shows and bringing it into a calm, carpeted environment.
''For people who've been playing shows in basements for decades, it seems like, 'What's everybody so excited about?''' says K Records alum Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn. ''But at the same time, I have met a number of people at [house] shows for whom it's the most awesome new thing in their life.''
Most of the money from house shows goes directly to the artist. Photo by Michael Wilson.
Toward the end of 2008, David Bazan'--best known as the former frontman of Seattle indie rockers Pedro the Lion'--learned that the release date for his first solo record, Curse Your Branches, was getting pushed back. That wouldn't have been a huge deal, except that his label, Barsuk, didn't want him to do a club tour until the record came out. ''It was going to be about 11 months with no income,'' Bazan says.
Aided by some beer, the singer and his manager, Bob Andrews of Undertow Music, started brainstorming in the basement of Andrews' home in Champaign, Illinois. Andrews was in a tight spot, too. ''At that point, [Bazan] was my primary source of income,'' he says. ''We were both like, 'What do we do now?'''
Bazan told Andrews he was up for anything that involved playing his music for money'--even house shows. Andrews was hesitant at first. He wondered if a house tour would look bad for an artist who was previously playing for hundreds of fans in rock clubs, but Bazan quickly sold him on the idea. Andrews first tried to tap into a network of people who host house shows regularly, but few were interested; they were more into rootsy, Americana songwriters. So Andrews and Bazan went directly to the fans.
''We put an email out to do 30 shows, and we had 300 offers back in two days,'' Andrews says. ''So we put those together, and they all sold out in two days. It was crazy.''
Even with the great response, there was some trepidation. Would the model work? Would it be awkward? Would a crazy fan kidnap Bazan? ''For the first few shows, I was waiting for the phone call: 'I'm in the basement, somebody send the cops,''' Andrews says. ''But it worked out fine.'' Bazan's booking agent and former Pedro the Lion bandmate, Trey Many, suggested early on that Undertow brand the gigs ''Living Room Shows'' to communicate the difference between these low-key acoustic performances and a typical rock gig. ''You don't want people to think there's a keg and you bring a cup,'' Andrews says.
Bazan enjoyed the shows so much he became an ambassador for the concept, inspiring his friend Will Johnson of Centro-matic to try it. Undertow has since added more artists to its Living Room roster each year: Califone, Mirah, Laura Gibson, Tim Kasher of Cursive, S. Carey, Richard Buckner, Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, John Vanderslice, and others. The list includes a lot of musicians who've been touring with indie-rock acts since the '90s, and these Living Room gigs allow them to age gracefully while getting a break from neverending bar shows; they've grown up, but they don't want to stop'--or, even worse, devolve. Their fans are often of the same generation. They rocked out to Clem Snide in bars back in the day, but now that they're married with children, it's more appealing and convenient to see that band's frontman, Eef Barzelay, at 8 p.m. in someone's house'--possibly with their kids'--before hitting the sack a couple of hours later (see also: Netflix vs. movie theaters).
Andrews has tweaked the process over the years, but he still runs the tours in much the same way as those first Bazan shows: Undertow and the band request hosts near certain cities, vet the hosts over email, and look at photos of the spaces. Once the tickets go on sale, only attendees receive the address of a house. All the other relevant info for hosts and guests is on Undertow's website (e.g. ''Put on some background music at moderate to low volume so people can meet each other and chat before the show'').
It's a replicable model. Jurado, also an Undertow alum, put together his most recent house tour with his booking agent, Seth Fein, who credits Andrews and Bazan for blazing the trail. Jurado rarely tours with a full band, but even when touring solo, he says rock clubs make things more complicated and costly than they need to be. The sound and lighting crews, promoter, venue owner, door guy'--they all take a cut. These days, even a percentage of the band's merchandise often goes to the club.
In the Undertow system, PayPal gets 4%, the booking agent gets 10%, and Undertow gets 15%, meaning an artist goes home with about 70% of the ticket sales, plus merch money. At the very beginning, some fans objected to the ticket prices, which range from $15-$25. ''People were like, '20 bucks? It's a house show! It's supposed to be $5!''' Andrews says. ''But once we called them 'Living Room Shows,' nobody complained about the price.'' Bazan says he recently increased ticket prices from $20 to $25 without any gripes from fans.
Still, just as Andrews was initially skeptical of house tours, others in the industry remain resistant. For one, Undertow bands are playing primarily to their core fan bases, while labels and managers want to see a band growing its base. Plus, there's the stigma: Doing a tour of only houses can be seen as a fall from grace. ''There seems to be this weird misconception that if you play a private house show you're downgrading yourself,'' Jurado says. ''But what's the upgrade? Playing a giant venue where they're taking your money?''
Much of the appeal of these shows is, of course, the intimacy'--for both the fans and the artist. ''It's a special experience to these people, but it's also a special experience for me,'' says singer/songwriter Zeitlyn. ''It's not scene-y at all. All the people gathered here tonight, they like listening to my music, and that's the thing they have in common. It's not because they're the same age, or go to the same school, or have the same fashion sense or political ideas.''
The ticketed, fan-hosted model works best for artists who have a fan base large enough to support a tour but not so rabid that things could get weird. ''If Sufjan Stevens or Justin Vernon did a tour, word might get out,'' Fein says. ''They might be too famous.'' Lesser-known artists would likely have trouble using Undertow's model, too. But that isn't the only way to do living room shows. In the last several years, entrepreneurs have tried to capitalize on the trend by launching house-show companies, each with overlapping goals but different emphases.
Musician Fran Snyder fell in love with hosting and playing house concerts around 2006, but there wasn't a good website to promote the idea at the time. To solve that problem, he launched Concerts in Your Home, a network of 250-300 artists and about twice as many hosts; artists pay $45 to apply and, if accepted, pay another $300 annually to access the website's network of hosts. The site's artists tend to be of the folk/singer-songwriter variety (nothing with a full drum kit), and all are paid through suggested donations at the gigs. Attendance ranges from 10 to 50, with the occasional larger concert.
While both Undertow and Snyder rely heavily on the generosity of hosts, Snyder's concept differs quite a bit. An Undertow artist doesn't usually stay the night at a host's home (''You need an exit strategy,'' Andrews says), but Snyder estimates that more than 90% of his network's musicians crash at a host's place. ''For a lot of our hosts, it's their favorite part,'' Snyder says.
Snyder and his team screen potential hosts by making phone calls part of the activation process. Like other businesses partaking in the sharing economy, trust is a prerequisite in these transactions, which means liability issues could arise. Undertow includes a disclaimer with all tickets (categorized as ''donations'') and sees its living room shows as private events; no money changes hands at the door. Concerts in Your Home takes it a step further and makes the events invite-only. ''It's one thing to invite a friend who brings a friend you don't know,'' Snyder says. ''But to have complete strangers buying tickets online and going to your living room, that's a liability.''
Snyder says most of his site's artists wouldn't be able to tour if it weren't for house concerts, which can serve as weekday stopovers between weekend shows at larger clubs. But the network has been transformative for hosts, too. ''It often turns a bored, middle-aged couple into the talk of the town,'' Snyder says. ''We had one host in Arkansas who said, 'My wife was gravely ill, and when the doctors let her come back home, they said to keep things interesting for her or she's not gonna be with you long.' So he started a house concert series and invited the neighborhood over, and she sits at the door when everybody comes in. It's her social event of the month.''
''This is like bringing the punk ethic into the acoustic form,'' says Jurado. Photo by Michael Wilson.
Musician Graham Colton felt the touring industry change in recent years. To play the right club in the right city on a weekend, he had to book the date six months in advance. And weeknight gigs were stressful; he never knew if he could sell enough tickets. So he started playing more nontraditional gigs to fill out his schedule.
''The more I started to embrace going directly to my fans, I had these magical shows,'' Colton says. But as more and more requests came in, working out the details was uncharted territory. ''Do you tell them how much it costs? Do you send it to your agent? Do you tell your manager and let him work it out? It got very sticky,'' he says.
Colton and his team built Fanswell to help both artists and fans make one-of-a-kind events possible, whether it's in a living room, backyard, or the backstage area of a larger venue. In less than a year, about 500 artists have signed up. Creating an account is free; all the shows are booked by credit card, and the site takes 7.5% of the artist's cut.
Fanswell does a lot of the same things Undertow does, but in a streamlined, contractually binding online platform, and usually for artists who might not have a fan base as large as someone like Jurado. But in this model, Colton says an artist only needs one motivated fan in a city to make a show happen.
''People think that if they play a show in Columbus, they need to get 30 of their superfans all under one roof, but that's exactly the opposite of what we want to do,'' he says. ''I would rather have 30 shows in Columbus, all of which are hosted by one superfan, and have that fan invite friends and family.''
''Artists have to connect with their core fans,'' he continues. ''Those are the people that are gonna support you forever. If you don't engage those people, you're not going to survive.''
The genesis of Sofar came not from a beleaguered musician but a frustrated fan. ''A friend and I were at a gig, and half the room was talking,'' says Sofar originator Rafe Offer, who's based in London. ''Other people were buried in their phones, and you could hear the clanging of beer bottles in the background. We launched into a long discussion: Why do people pay to go hear bands and talk so much? There's gotta be a better way.''
Offer decided to organize a small show at a friend's house, and it was everything he wanted live music to be. ''It was so quiet you could hear the clock ticking in the background,'' he says. Once Offer began organizing monthly house shows in London, the lines were out the door. Before long, Offer secured investor money and expanded Sofar to 110 cities worldwide.
Like the other hosting services, the location of Sofar's shows are secret. But so are the lineups. Showgoers have to trust that the artists Sofar chose will be worthwhile. A concert typically has several artists on the bill, and while Offer says there's no headliner, the shows have attracted a few big names, including Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Hozier, and Bastille. Offer prides himself on the teams who curate Sofar lineups in each city. ''We became really obsessive about selecting good music,'' he says.
Unlike the other house-show business models, Sofar artists don't necessarily walk away with money in their pockets. They have to choose whether they'd rather pass a hat around and get a cut of the donations or have Sofar create a professionally recorded video of the performance. Offer says most of them go for the video. ''It's really about getting unknown or less-known artists and giving them more exposure,'' Offer says. ''If you have 50 people sitting in a living room, that's great. But if you can have 5,000 more watching it [online], you're gonna give them more of a boost.''
Of course, artists and fans don't need a network or a website to do a house show. Some fans are hosting islands, operating on their own terms. Doug Hacker lives in southern Vermont and found it hard to travel to larger, nearby cities for shows after he had kids, so he started the Billsville House Concert series in 2011, hosting bands like Strand of Oaks, Field Report, Anais Mitchell, and Zammuto in his living room for about 65 people. Hacker's 15-year-old son runs the sound (a full PA with monitors and 16-channel mixer) and his other son works the door. Tickets run about $15, and the band gets 100% of the door, minus $75.
Then there's the vibrant house-show scene in Indianapolis' Fountain Square neighborhood, which has just the right mix of artists, cheap rent, and cops who overlook loud volumes. If you crack a window on a weekend night in the summer, you'll often hear multiple house shows'--usually of the raucous, basement/garage variety. But it's not limited to just punk rock and hardcore. Local rapper Oreo Jones has played houses alongside touring acts like Cave and the Soft Moon. Bands like Jimmy Whispers, Meatbodies, and Obnox come through town to play Debbie's Palace of Noise and Laundry, the home of Indy house-show guru Jake Gardner, who used to put on a music festival consisting of 40 bands all playing house shows.
Those sweaty, feedback-laden, DIY shows may seem far removed from hushed, acoustic living room shows, but the idea is essentially the same. ''My greatest teachers in music were people like Beat Happening and Fugazi,'' Jurado says. ''I remember going to see Fugazi multiple times when either Guy [Picciotto] or Ian [MacKaye] were working the door as people came in. Five minutes later they were on the stage, and you saw them after the show! So for me, this is almost like bringing the punk-rock ethic into the acoustic form.''
Back in the Cincinnati basement, Jurado closes his set with ''Ohio'' (naturally) and mingles with the crowd, just like his Fugazi forebears. Showgoers chit-chat and finish their beers. John Lee, one of a handful of fans who drove hours for the concert, says the evening started awkwardly'--''It's kind of weird walking into someone's house'''--but now he wants to host shows himself.
I make my way into the tiny upstairs kitchen of homeowner John Maddux, a 65-year-old English professor at the University of Cincinnati. This was his first time hosting a show'--his friend, a longtime Jurado fan, helped him put it together with the booking agent. ''I was nervous,'' Maddux says. ''I didn't know what to expect!''
Dick Smith, 58, rents one side of the duplex from Maddux. He was initially rattled, too. ''It's a bunch of strangers!'' he says. But the housemates were more than pleased with how the evening went and would love to host again. ''I'm going to work on Conor Oberst next,'' Maddux says.
Jurado is sold on the idea, too'--so much that he has no desire to book a full-band club tour any time soon. He remembers one of his more traditional tours from a few years ago, where he was playing with some of the best musicians he'd ever shared a stage with. ''But at the end of the night,'' he says, ''the crowd couldn't wait for the encore, when it was just me and my guitar.''
VIDEO-President Barack Obama Denies Knowledge of Aliens - YouTube
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 07:43
VIDEO-Obama: opmars IS mede mogelijk door VS - Buitenland - TROUW
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 07:24
Islamitische Staat (IS) is een 'directe uitloper van al-Qaeda in Irak' en die terreurbeweging is weer 'ontstaan uit onze invasie' in dat land. Dat zegt de Amerikaanse president Barack Obama in een interview met VICE News. Obama noemt het een 'onbedoeld gevolg'.
Obama zegt verder dat hij ervan overtuigd is dat IS wordt teruggedrongen. Hij is wel bezorgd dat als IS wordt verslagen, het onderliggende probleem niet is verholpen.
Er is volgens Obama geen toekomst voor jongeren in gebieden waar IS een opmars heeft gemaakt. 'Een jonge man die daar opgroeit heeft geen opleiding en geen vooruitzichten voor de toekomst. Hij kijkt rond en de enige manier waarop hij respect kan krijgen is door een strijder te worden.'
Er moet meer worden nagedacht over diplomatie, ontwikkeling en onderwijs, aldus de Amerikaanse president.
VIDEO-Caught On Tape: State Department's Psaki Smirks About US Policy Supporting Coups | Zero Hedge
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 06:48
Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
In case you weren't aware, Venezuelan authorities recently accused the U.S. of attempts to overthrow its government. In a press conference, U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, vehemently denied such claims and then went ahead and spouted talking points so ridiculous, only a complete ignoramus could believe them. She said:
As a matter of long-standing policy, the United States does not support political transitions by non-constitutional means.
Interesting, because it seems to me that the primary role of U.S. foreign policy throughout my lifetime has been specifically to initiate political transitions by non-constitutional means.
The line was simply too much to bear for some members of the press. One guy in particular, incredulously asked her to elaborate on her definition of ''long-standing'' in light of the historical reality that the U.S. government has been constantly involving itself in coups all over the world, particularly in Latin America.
What's even more amazing than the fact that the ''authorities'' remain so willing to publicly spout such easily disprovable propaganda, is her reaction once see realizes she's been caught. She backpedals and squirms, but the most disturbing thing is you can see a subtle smirk come across her face. She knows how ridiculous the statement is and can't keep it together once she's called out. I guess coups are funny to people in power. To those victimized by them, not so much.
Watch the clip below, and pay particularly close attention to Jen Psaki's face from around the 57 second mark. She's clever enough to quickly try to cover it up with a joke.
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VIDEO-Officials blame climate change as Vanuatu picks up the pieces after 'monster' storm - The Washington Post
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 00:21
Vanuatu's president says some 90 percent of the buildings in the capital sit damaged or destroyed by Cyclone Pam. (AP)
Two days after the vicious Cyclone Pam lashed the tiny island country of Vanuatu, residents are beginning the brutal business of accounting for its causes and costs.
In Port Vila, the capital, homes were flattened like so many cardboard boxes. Bridges collapsed and power lines are down, possibly for days or even weeks.
''It looks like the town center has been hit by a bomb,'' one aid worker told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
Viewed from above, the once lush, green group of islands is now a mess of muddy brown: ''It doesn't look like the Vanuatu I remember,'' Hanna Butler, a spokeswoman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said in a phone interview after flying in on Monday.
And from the islands to the south, home to more than 30,000 people, there is only silence. Lines of communication from those areas have been severed since the storm made landfall Friday night. On a Facebook page set up to connect residents with missing loved ones, pictures of smiling people are accompanied by pleas for help in finding them.
Aid workers reach Vanuatu to scenes of devastation after Cyclone Pam hit the Pacific island nation over the weekend. (Reuters)
As of early Monday morning, six people were confirmed dead and 90 percent of homes reported damaged because of the catastrophic Category 5 storm '-- but those numbers came only from Port Vila. Aid workers, who first reached the country on Sunday said it will take weeks to account for the storm's devastation and that the final death toll will likely be much higher.
''It's becoming increasingly clear that we are now dealing with worse than the worst case scenario in Vanuatu,'' Oxfam Executive Director Helen Szoke said in a statement on Sunday. ''We hold grave fears for the people on these outer and remote islands.''
[Tropical cyclone slams into Vanuatu, leaving death and destruction in its wake]
In an emotional interview with the Associated Press on Monday, Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale called the storm a ''monster.''
''It's a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu,'' he said. ''After all the development that has taken place, all this development has been wiped out.''
Lonsdale spoke from Sendai, Japan, where he'd been attending a United Nations conference on disaster risk reduction when the cyclone hit. The news of the storm cast the significance of the meeting into sharp relief.
''This conference is about disaster risk reduction. What is happening in Vanuatu is the reality,'' he said, adding: ''Climate change is contributing to the disasters in Vanuatu.''
Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale said Cyclone Pam has threatened the country's future and appealed for help for the ravaged island-nation. (Reuters)
Lonsdale's statements were echoed by Anote Tong, president of nearby Kiribati, also affected by the storm.
''For leaders of low-lying island atolls, the hazards of global warming affect our people in different ways, and it is a catastrophe that impinges on our rights '... and our survival into the future,'' he said in a speech at the United Nations conference on Sunday. ''There will be a time when the waters will not recede.''
[Tropical Cyclone Pam thrashes Vanuatu with direct hit as a Category 5]
This is a disaster many saw coming. Earlier this month, Port Vila was named the city most exposed to natural disasters by risk analysis company Verisk Maplecroft. Eight of the other top 10 most-threatened cities were in the Philippines, another nation made up of mostly sea-level islands. Leaders of Pacific island nations have repeatedly called for action on climate change in recent years, attributing the rising sea levels and intensified storms that threaten their countries to global warming.
In addition, many homes in Vanuatu '-- a nation of more than 260,000 people spread over 65 islands '-- are built with flimsy materials vulnerable to storms and floods, according to UNICEF.
Butler, the Red Cross representative, spoke with a man in Port Vila who was working to replace the corrugated roof on his home. His building was one of the few among his neighbors' homes that was made of concrete. When the surrounding wooden houses collapsed, about 30 people sought refuge with him.
''The wind outside was screaming, and the children inside were screaming,'' he told Butler.
Environmental law researcher Margaretha Wewerinke moved to Port Vila just last Monday to take up a lectureship at the University of South Pacific. She waited out the storm with two other families in the concrete garage of the lodge where she had been staying.
''The storm itself sounded as if it we had reached the end of the world: There was the thundering noise of the wind and water flying around; very loud whistle-like noises probably caused by wind creeping through windows; and every now and then the terrifying noise of some part of a roof or tree going down,'' she told The Washington Post in an e-mail.
When the wind and rain receded Saturday morning, Wewerinke emerged to a changed city '-- what once were houses are now piles of rubble, and where she once saw lush vegetation she now has an unobscured view of a nearby lagoon.
Within hours, residents were checking on their neighbors and starting to rebuild. Butler says the recovery effort in Port Vila was well underway when aid groups arrived '-- running water is now restored, and much of the debris has been piled along roadsides for removal.
Wewerinke, who studies the relationship between climate change and human rights and moved to Vanuatu because of its relevance to her work, had no idea she would experience the phenomenon directly so soon after her arrival. She said she has no doubt that global warming contributed to Cyclone Pam's intensity.
''Vanuatu is, like most other small island developing states, a canary in the coal mine when it comes to the dangerousness of climate change,'' she wrote.
Initially forecast to track 100 miles east of Efate, Vanuatu's main island where Port Vila is located, the storm instead bore down on the vulnerable city. Sustained wind speeds reached 165 miles per hour, powerful enough to ''blow away'' whole villages, World Vision emergency response officer Chloe Morrison told the Sydney Morning Herald.
In a phone interview from the U.N. conference in Sendai, U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokeswoman Orla Fagan said Cyclone Pam was one of the worst Pacific storms in memory.
''There is no comparing it,'' she said.
Several U.N. aid teams arrived in Vanuatu on Monday, she said. Their priority will be providing food, water and shelter to affected residents and working to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases. The United Nations, Oxfam, the Red Cross and other aid agencies issued appeals for donations to help with the relief effort.
Sarah Kaplan is a reporter for Morning Mix.
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Agenda 21

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War on Guns

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