709: Terror Factory

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 54m
April 2nd, 2015
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Executive Producers: David Fugazzotto, Thomas Butterick, Eric Hoff

Associate Executive Producers: Ash, Joshua Shiney

Cover Artist: MartinJJ


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Presidential Proclamation -- National Child Abuse Prevention Month, 2015
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:06
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 31, 2015
- - - - - - -
Every child is born into a world filled with limitless possibilities, and as a Nation, we must ensure all our young people have the support they need to realize their enormous potential. Regardless of who they are or the circumstances of their birth, each child deserves to be cared for, cherished, and kept safe from harm. Tragically, abuse and neglect erode this promise for hundreds of thousands of America's daughters and sons each year. This is an injustice. It is contrary to the values of good caretaking and the principles of our Nation, and it must not be tolerated. This month, we celebrate the love and courage it takes to raise a child; we reaffirm the fundamental human rights of all children to live free from violence and abuse; and we rededicate ourselves to ending the cycle of harm too many girls and boys face.
A strong, stable family is the best foundation for a promising childhood, and when parents and caregivers have support -- from loved ones, friends, and their community -- they are more likely to provide safe and healthy environments for children. It is important for all people to recognize the signs of child neglect and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, including sudden changes in behavior or school performance and untreated physical or medical issues. Reporting any concerns could protect a child and connect a family with the help they need. To learn more about how to prevent and report child abuse, visit www.ChildWelfare.gov/Preventing.
My Administration is committed to strengthening our Nation's families and doing everything we can to make it easier for mothers and fathers to care and provide for their children. We are also investing in evidence-based State and local programs that promote positive parenting and caregiving to help prevent child abuse and neglect. These efforts can help decrease the number of children entering the foster care system and provide better outcomes for those in it. We will continue to work with the faith community and the private sector to bolster all those who support our Nation's young people, and I encourage leaders across all levels of government to invest in services for victims and provide the resources and protections our kids need.
The work of raising our children is the most important job in our country, and it is also the most challenging. At times, it can be difficult to live up to the enormous responsibilities that come with being a parent, especially when families face hardship. But parenthood does not demand perfection. If we do our best for our children -- to nurture their healthy development, seek assistance when needed, and meet our obligations to them -- we can demonstrate to our daughters and sons that they are always our first priority.
As a Nation and as individuals, our attitudes toward our children set a powerful example that shapes their character and influences the kind of people they will become. During National Child Abuse Prevention Month, we renew our commitment to protect the safety and well-being of every child, and we resolve to continue the hard work of raising a generation that can dream bigger and reach higher than ever before.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2015 as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities that help prevent child abuse and provide for children's physical, emotional, and developmental needs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Presidential Proclamation -- National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, 2015
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:06
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 01, 2015
- - - - - - -
As Americans, we each have the power to shape our country's course and contribute to the extraordinary task of perfecting our Union. For more than two centuries, progress has been won by ordinary citizens -- women and men who joined arms and marched toward justice. This month, we are once again reminded that we can change our culture for the better by standing together against the quiet tolerance of sexual assault and refusing to accept the unacceptable.
Nearly one in five women in America has been a victim of rape or attempted rape. Every year, too many women and too many men are sexually assaulted and abused. This is an affront to our basic decency and humanity, and it must end. Sexual assault harms our communities, weakens the foundation of our Nation, and hurts those we love most. For survivors, the awful pain can take years to heal -- sometimes it never does. When an individual's possibilities are limited by the scars of violence and abuse, our country is deprived of enormous potential. Sexual assault takes a collective toll on all of us, and it is everyone's responsibility not only to speak out, but also to take action against this injustice.
More than two decades ago, then United States Senator Joe Biden did both. At a time when many victims were stigmatized or left to suffer in silence, he authored the Violence Against Women Act, which would forever improve the way our country responds to sexual assault and domestic violence. In the decades since, our Nation has built on that progress. We have taken strides toward changing the way people think about sexual misconduct, making it clear that every person has the fundamental human right to be free from sexual assault and domestic violence.
Thanks to the work of advocates, community leaders, public servants, and courageous survivors who shared their stories, our Nation has come an incredibly long way. But from schools to military bases and throughout all communities in America, we must do more to end the crime of sexual assault. My Administration has made this a priority since day one, beginning with the establishment of the first-ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. And we will keep fighting as long as it takes.
We have taken action to strengthen our criminal justice system, uphold the civil rights of victims and survivors of sexual assault, and ensure that all people can live free from sexual violence. Now in its second year, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault is helping schools live up to their obligations to educate students in safe environments. We continue to address the impact of sexual assault on persons living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS. I have also made clear that violence and abuse have no place in the finest military this world has ever known. And last fall, we launched the "It's On Us" campaign to let people know everyone has a role to play in preventing and effectively responding to sexual violence.
It's on parents and caregivers to teach their children to respect and value others. It's on teammates, classmates, and colleagues to recognize sexual misconduct and intervene to stop it. It's on all of us to work for the change we need to shift the attitudes and behaviors that allow sexual assault to go unnoticed, unreported, and unpunished. During National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, let us commit to being part of the solution and rededicate ourselves to creating a society where violence is not tolerated, survivors are supported, and all people are able to pursue their fullest measure of happiness without fear of abuse or assault.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2015 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. I urge all Americans to support survivors of sexual assault and work together to prevent these crimes in their communities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Presidential Proclamation -- National Donate Life Month, 2015
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:05
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 01, 2015
- - - - - - -
At this moment, more than 123,000 Americans are in need of a life-saving organ transplant. Our Nation continues to face a critical shortage of donors, and every day, 21 people die waiting for an organ. This month, we renew our call for organ, eye, and tissue donors, and we honor all those who have given the extraordinary gift of life.
The decision to become a donor can save up to eight lives and enhance many more -- men, women, and children who depend on the generosity and sacrifice of others to receive the vital care they require. I encourage individuals of all ages and backgrounds to consider this unique opportunity to help those in need and to discuss this choice with friends and family. For more information and to learn how to join your State's donor registry, visit www.OrganDonor.gov.
In the face of uncertainty and suffering, Americans have always joined together, drawing strength and comfort from our commitment to one another; we find hope through faith and our enduring belief that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers. During National Donate Life Month, let us stand with all those who know the pain of an uncertain tomorrow and redouble our efforts to save and improve the lives of Americans across our country.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2015 as National Donate Life Month. I call upon health care professionals, volunteers, educators, government agencies, faith-based and community groups, and private organizations to join forces to boost the number of organ, eye, and tissue donors throughout our Nation.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Presidential Proclamation -- National Cancer Control Month, 2015
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:05
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 01, 2015
- - - - - - -
For generations, the United States has been committed to combating cancer. It is a battle fought by our finest medical researchers, devoted health care professionals, and the many loved ones who have known the pain of this disease. Over decades, our Nation has made extraordinary progress. The overall rates of cancer deaths are decreasing for both women and men, and most survivors live longer and enjoy a better quality of life than ever before. Still, cancer remains the second most common cause of death in America, and there is more work to do. This month, we stand with all those touched by cancer and redouble our efforts to prevent, detect, and treat this disease.
All people can take steps to reduce their chances of developing cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight, protecting skin from exposure to ultraviolet radiation, and limiting alcohol consumption can help individuals live healthier lives. Because cigarettes are a major cause of cancer, quitting smoking and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke can also decrease risk. For advice on how to quit smoking, go to www.SmokeFree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. I also encourage Americans to visit www.Cancer.gov for more information on cancer prevention.
When cancer is found in an early stage, it can be easier to treat and the chances of survival often increase. My Administration has fought to make this possible for more Americans. Protections under the Affordable Care Act require most insurance plans to cover recommended preventive services without copays, including some cancer screenings for qualifying individuals. These protections also eliminate annual and lifetime dollar limits on coverage and prohibit insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions, including cancer.
New technologies and strategic investments have made the difference between life and death for many of today's cancer patients. But as Americans, we have never been satisfied to rest on the accomplishments of our past; we reach for the future and stretch the boundaries of what is possible. That is why earlier this year, I announced my plan to lead a new era of medicine -- one that delivers the right treatment at the right moment and brings us closer to curing cancer in our time. By investing in new research methods that will enable clinicians to tailor treatments to individual patients, the Precision Medicine Initiative will revolutionize how our Nation combats disease.
As we continue the urgent work of improving research, treatment, and care, let us remember those lost to cancer. During National Cancer Control Month, we recognize all who dedicate their lives to advancing the fight against this disease, and we recommit to achieving a future free from cancer in all its forms.
The Congress of the United States, by joint resolution approved March 28, 1938 (52 Stat. 148; 36 U.S.C. 103), as amended, has requested the President to issue an annual proclamation declaring April as "Cancer Control Month."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim April 2015 as National Cancer Control Month. I encourage citizens, government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other interested groups to join in activities that will increase awareness of what Americans can do to prevent and control cancer.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Presidential Proclamation -- National Financial Capability Month, 2015
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:07
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 31, 2015
- - - - - - -
Our Nation is built on the idea that we do best when everyone gets a fair shot. Six years after a devastating recession shook many Americans' faith in our financial system, our economy is steadily growing and creating new jobs -- but we must do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every person. We believe responsibility should be rewarded, and that begins by empowering all people with the tools and knowledge they need to share in America's prosperity. During National Financial Capability Month, we renew our efforts to support the informed financial decisions that will open doors into the middle class and help ensure economic security for all.
Critical decisions -- from financing higher education to saving for retirement -- can have lasting consequences for individuals and for our country's economy. Financial literacy enables people of all ages to make smart choices and set goals to protect their hard-earned income. And increasing individuals' understanding of debt, including mortgages and credit cards, helps guarantee every person receives equal treatment and is able to secure lasting opportunity. By strengthening the financial capability of all Americans, we are investing in the fundamental promise of a brighter future and building a more prosperous Nation.
My Administration continues to take action to provide all Americans with the resources they need to get ahead. We launched the "Know Before You Owe" campaign so students and families have a straightforward tool to compare financial aid offers from different colleges, and we simplified mortgage forms so homeowners are better able to comprehend their terms. We started the myRA program, a new type of savings account to help Americans take control over their future, and we are proposing new rules to require financial advisors to put their clients' interests before their own -- ensuring all who responsibly prepare for retirement receive the best information possible. To focus on increasing financial capability in our schools, workplaces, and communities, I created the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, and last year, I signed legislation to support programs that teach young people personal finance skills.
Increasing financial capability across our Nation is an essential component of middle-class economics. This month, let us all take time to increase our knowledge of our finances and encourage our friends and family to do the same. To start, all Americans can take advantage of the free, reliable financial resources at www.MyMoney.gov, www.ConsumerFinance.gov, and 1-800-FED-INFO.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of theUnited States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2015 as National Financial Capability Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with programs and activities to improve their understanding of financial principles and practices.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Presidential Proclamation -- Cesar Chavez Day, 2015
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 23:22
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 30, 2015
For more than two centuries, the arc of our Nation's progress has been shaped by ordinary people who have dedicated their lives to the extraordinary work of building a more perfect Union. It is a story of achievement and constant striving that has found expression in places where America's destiny has been decided -- in Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall, and in the golden fields of California where an American hero discovered his mighty voice. Today, we honor C(C)sar Chvez and his lifetime of work to make our country more free, more fair, and more just, and we reaffirm the timeless belief he embodied: those who love their country can change it.
A son of migrant workers and a child of the Great Depression, C(C)sar Chvez believed every job has dignity and every person should have the chance to reach beyond his or her circumstances and realize a brighter future. When no one seemed to care about the farm workers who labored without basic protections and for meager pay to help feed the world, C(C)sar Chvez awakened our Nation to their deplorable conditions and abject poverty -- injustices he knew firsthand. He organized, protested, fasted, and alongside Dolores Huerta, founded the United Farm Workers. Slowly, he grew a small movement to a 10,000-person march and eventually a 17-million-strong boycott of table grapes, rallying a generation around "La Causa" and forcing growers to agree to some of the first farm worker contracts in history. Guided by a fierce commitment to nonviolence in support of a righteous cause, he never lost faith in the power of opportunity for all.
As a Nation, we know the struggle to live up to the principles of our founding does not end with any one victory or defeat. After C(C)sar Chvez fought for higher wages, he pushed for fresh drinking water, workers' compensation, pension plans, and protection from pesticides. He strove every day for the America he knew was possible. Today, we must take up his work and carry forward this great unfinished task.
When immigrants labor in the shadows, they often earn unfair wages and their families and our economy suffer -- that is one reason why we have to fix our broken immigration system and why I keep calling on the Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. We need to continue to defend the collective bargaining rights countless individuals have fought so hard for and ensure our economy rewards hard work with a fair living wage, paid leave, and equal pay for equal work.
C(C)sar Chvez knew that when you lift up one person, it enriches a community; it bolsters our economy, strengthens our Nation, and gives meaning to the creed that out of many, we are one. As we celebrate his life, we are reminded of our obligations to one another and the extraordinary opportunity we are each given to work toward justice, equal opportunity, and a better future for every one of our sisters and brothers.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2015, as C(C)sar Chvez Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate service, community, and education programs to honor C(C)sar Chvez's enduring legacy.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Presidential Proclamation -- Education and Sharing Day, 2015
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 23:21
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 30, 2015
- - - - - - -
In every child -- every girl dreaming big dreams and every boy hungry to make something of himself -- there exists limitless potential. Our young people are the problem-solvers, thinkers, and visionaries of tomorrow who will change the world as we know it, and they deserve the chance to fulfill their enormous promise, no matter who they are or where they live. A good education can open the door to opportunity, and it should be within the reach of all who yearn for the chance to develop their minds and talents. Today, we celebrate the transformative power of education and honor a man who inspired a passion for learning among a generation of students.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, dedicated his life to promoting education as the cornerstone of humanity. A tireless advocate for youth around the world, he believed that "as long as there is still one child that does not receive an adequate education, we can neither be satisfied nor slacken our efforts." In an era where a woman's education was not valued the same as a man's, the Rebbe worked to tear down barriers that stood in the way of girls who wanted to learn. He established a Jewish organization for women and directed his teachings of service and scholarship equally to young girls and boys. He was even known to write, "There must be a girl!" on educational materials that depicted only boys.
Because of leaders like the Rebbe, we have made great strides toward achieving quality education for all -- but his legacy is not only a story of progress, it is also a call to remember his words and take up this unfinished task. Today, 62 million girls around the world who should be in school are not. Children who deserve an education, who have the power to change the course of history, face unacceptable obstacles because of their gender, the circumstances of their birth, or the customs of their society.
If we want to strengthen families and communities, bolster economic growth, and promote stability worldwide, we must work to increase the number of girls in school and empower all children with the resources they need to reach for a brighter future. This is not only a humanitarian issue; it is also critical to our security and global economic prosperity. That is why First Lady Michelle Obama and I recently launched a new initiative called Let Girls Learn. As part of this effort, my Administration will be supporting hundreds of community-driven projects around the world that will build on investments we have made and successes we have achieved in global primary school education. At the same time, we are making it clear to any country who wants to work with us that they must address the challenges preventing young women from attending and completing school -- such as fees, threats of violence, and the false belief that girls are not worthy of an education.
We are committed to making a global and generational impact, but Let Girls Learn is also about reminding Americans about the importance of high-quality education for all. As we help lift up children worldwide, my Administration will continue to fight for every young person here at home. We will not let up on our efforts to deliver the best possible education to all people in the United States, including our work to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child and provide our Nation's classrooms with the best technology. And we are expanding our strategy to make higher education more affordable by promoting a Student Aid Bill of Rights and calling for 2 years of free community college for anyone who is willing to work for it.
Across the globe, girls have pushed forward to pursue an education in the face of poverty and threats to their safety. They are bold, ambitious, and undeterred by immense challenges. Today, we are called to meet their resolve with a commitment worthy of their character. On Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., we recognize educators, pioneers of change, and all those who have unlocked the spark of something extraordinary within a child, and we rededicate ourselves to building a world where the destiny of every young person is limited only by the size of their dreams and the power of their imagination.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 31, 2015, as Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
Presidential Proclamation -- World Autism Awareness Day, 2015 | The White House
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:37
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 01, 2015
- - - - - - -
On World Autism Awareness Day, our Nation recognizes all those around the globe who live on the autism spectrum. We celebrate the countless ways they strengthen our communities and enrich our world -- and we reaffirm their fundamental rights to participate fully in society, live with respect, and achieve their greatest potential.
In the United States, millions of adults and young people live with autism spectrum disorder, including 1 out of every 68 children. They are our colleagues, classmates, friends, and loved ones, and they each have something to contribute to the American story. In large cities and small towns, individuals with autism live independent and productive lives, and our Nation is better because of their unique talents and perspectives. Their example reminds us that all people have inherent dignity and worth, and that everyone deserves a fair shot at opportunity.
My Administration is committed to helping Americans with autism fulfill their potential by ensuring access to the resources and programs they need. The Affordable Care Act prohibits companies from denying health insurance because of pre-existing conditions such as autism, and the law also requires most insurance plans to cover preventive services -- including autism and developmental screenings for young children -- without copays. Last year, I was proud to sign the Autism CARES Act of 2014, which bolstered training and educational opportunities for professionals serving children or adults on the autism spectrum. And as part of the BRAIN Initiative, we continue to invest in innovative research that aims to revolutionize our understanding of conditions like autism and improve the lives of all who live with them.
The greatness of our Nation lies in the diversity of our people. When more Americans are able to pursue their full measure of happiness, it makes our Union more perfect and uplifts us all. Today, let us honor advocates, professionals, family members, and all who work to build brighter tomorrows alongside those with autism. Together, we can create a world free of barriers to inclusion and full of understanding and acceptance of the differences that make us strong.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 2, 2015, World Autism Awareness Day. I encourage all Americans to learn more about autism and what they can do to support individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
World "Put the smart kids down day"
Notice -- Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to South Sudan
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 23:34
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 31, 2015
- - - - - - -
On April 3, 2014, by Executive Order 13664, I declared a national emergency to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the situation in and in relation to South Sudan, which has been marked by activities that threaten the peace, security, or stability of South Sudan and the surrounding region, including widespread violence and atrocities, human rights abuses, recruitment and use of child soldiers, attacks on peacekeepers, and obstruction of humanitarian operations.
The situation in and in relation to South Sudan continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared on April 3, 2014, to deal with that threat must continue in effect beyond April 3, 2015. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13664.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
Tiny people with big heads are very succesful on TV
Stec on the easter donation amount newsletter
Contrary to Dvorak Sunday newsletter ... The date of Easter and Passover for that matter is not a convoluted formula. It is a simple measure determined by the day of the full moon.
Just blame the Jews who developed the formula before the Pope stole it. And for that matter the Orthodox Greeks for being a week later most years and sometimes not. The Greeks were always a pain in the ass. In fact some of my Greek in laws still are.
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''709, 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. § 1709^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.
Walmart CEO asks Arkansas governor to veto religion legislation - Fortune
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 06:31
March 31, 2015, 7:08 PM EDTE-mailTweetFacebookGoogle PlusLinkedinShare iconsWalmart CEO Doug McMillon is asking Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson to step up and veto a 'religious freedom' law, HB1228, that the state's lawmakers approved on Tuesday.
A great deal of Walmart's WMT corporate character is shaped by the state of Arkansas. It is where Sam Walton founded the retail giant in 1962, with the first store in the town of Rogers. It is home to the company's ''Home Office,'' its U.S. headquarters, in Bentonville, where some 16,000 of of its 2.2 million employees are based.
In a statement posted to the company's Walmart Newsroom Twitter account, McMillion said that the legislation, ''threatens to undermine the spirit of inclusion present throughout the state of Arkansas and does not reflect the values we proudly uphold.'' Hutchinson has expressed concerns about the law, but has also said that he would sign it if it ''reaches my desk'' in a similar form to what has been passed in some 20 other states.
It is the same law that is causing trouble for Indiana and its governor Mike Pence, who passed the bill, which is seen as discriminatory, a week ago. Since then, Indiana has seen a public outcry from corporations, celebrities, and athletes.
In speaking out against the law, McMillon joins other prominent executives, such as Salesforce CRM CEO Mark Benioff and Apple AAPL CEO Tim Cook, who have voiced opposition to the legislation. In the sports world, the NCAA is set to hold the Final Four of its basketball tournament in the state, but NCAA president Mark Emmert has said that the law, ''strikes at the core values of what higher education in America is all about.'' ESPN's Keith Olbermann, in his program on Tuesday, went further and suggested the NCAA ought to pull the Final Four from Indiana and relocate it immediately.
''Every day, in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates,'' said the Walmart statement. ''We are asking Governor Hutchinson,'' it concluded, ''to veto this legislation.''
UPDATE, 12:15 p.m.: Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson has reacted to concerns quickly, and, today, responded. Hutchinson has asked lawmakers in his state to either amend or completely recall the controversial bill, the Times and others are reporting. Hutchinson expressed concern over the legislation, said that his own son urged him to veto it, and, according to the Times story, added that the bill, ''in ordinary times would not be controversial. But these are not ordinary times.''
In another tweet from its Newsroom account, Walmart commended Hutchinson's action, and encouraged him to, ''make certain any legislation does not encourage discrimination.''
The overblown hypocrisy of Tim Cook's business boycott of Indiana
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:57
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) vowed on Tuesday to "clarify and fix" the state's new Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, after major corporations threatened to boycott the state. These businesses '-- and many caterwauling progressives '-- claim that the law gives religiously inclined business owners a "license to discriminate," especially against gay customers.
But here's the thing: It would be deeply ironic if these national and multinational companies were able to wield their right to do business with whomever they pleased (in this case, by boycotting Indiana) in a way that took away the same right of Indiana businesses.
So what's to be done? Well, instead of tinkering with a perfectly legitimate law, Pence should simply strengthen gay rights.
Indiana is hardly the first state to embrace a law like this. The federal government '-- and 19 other states '-- already have RFRA laws on the books. The reason that the Hoosier State's law has produced what The Week's Michael Brendan Dougherty aptly dubbed a "national freak-out" is that these other laws mostly protect individuals seeking relief from government intrusions into their religious beliefs. For example, thanks to the federal RFRA, Uncle Sam can't deny unemployment benefits to American Indians who consume an illegal hallucinogen like peyote during religious ceremonies because that would unduly burden the right to the free exercise of their religion.
The Indiana law goes farther, and also applies to disputes between private parties. This "would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors," alleges Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has become a liberal hero by leading the corporate campaign to boycott Indiana.
This is a horrible caricature.
For starters, the Hoosier RFRA allows private individuals to discriminate only when that is absolutely necessary to avoid violating their core religious principles. A Christian restaurant owner's refusal to serve gays wouldn't fit the bill. However, a Jewish baker who refuses to make sacramental bread for a Catholic Mass or an Evangelical photographer who declines to photograph a gay wedding might '-- might, mind you, not will. That's because the law provides merely an argument for courts to weigh when evaluating discrimination complaints against such individuals '-- not an automatic defense. Judges could still decide '-- in fact have decided '-- that equal treatment is a compelling enough government interest that such discriminatory actions against gays are prohibited.
Now, there would be an argument to deny business owners even this little space to live by their spiritual sensibilities if the discriminated individuals couldn't obtain the services they needed elsewhere '-- as was the case with blacks in the Jim Crow South prior to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But discrimination isn't as institutionalized now as it was then, especially against gays, who have gained rapid acceptance in recent years. If one establishment refuses to service gay customers, there are myriad others that will, imposing no severe hardship on them. To insist on being served by the few people whose beliefs would be violated seems more like a projection of power rather than a plea to secure legitimate rights.
Furthermore, if Cook merely boycotted Christian businesses whose beliefs he found abhorrent, it would be one thing. But what's truly obnoxious about his campaign is that he is using his right not to do business with Indiana, because it's doing something he disagrees with, to obtain a law that would deny Indiana businesses the same right not to do business with folks who they don't agree with. This is simply intolerance masquerading as a crusade for justice and equality '-- a naked use of brute market power to legislate his views.
That said, the "national freak-out" against Indiana hasn't emerged in a vacuum. Gov. Pence unsuccessfully tried to outlaw gay marriages in Indiana, after all. So there is little reason for gays to trust him, notwithstanding his protestations that he finds discrimination against gays personally abhorrent. He might be right that Hoosier State residents are hospitable, tolerant, and inclusive people. Indiana is not known as a cornucopia of anti-gay sentiment and we don't hear too many stories about Hoosier businesses refusing to serve gay customers.
Still, the fact of the matter is that the state doesn't have a statute barring discrimination by sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, education, and public accommodation as it does by race. The Indianapolis Star, the state's leading newspaper, wrote a front-page editorial urging the governor to pass such a law. As Brooking Institute's Jonathan Rauch notes, this would go a long way toward dispelling the impression that Indiana is offering religious-minded businesses state protection for their lifestyle and values '-- but gays "zilch."
Such a law would offer gays standing protection against discrimination, but allow RFRA to carve out some exceptions for religious conscientious objectors, balancing both sides' interests. This is an accommodation worthy of a country founded to protect religious liberties and the promise of equal treatment that fair-minded people and corporations ought to appreciate.
Backlash is swift and furious after Indiana pizza restaurant owner brags about 'no gays' policy
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:21
A small Indiana pizza and ice cream parlor is coming under fire after its owners went on the news and boasted that their establishment would not cater gay or non-Christian functions.
After Crystal and Kevin O'Connor of Memories Pizza appeared on ABC 57 to declare their support for Governor Mike Pence and the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act yesterday, the backlash was immediate.
''If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,'' Crystal said as she stood in the restaurant, which is festooned with Christian paraphernalia.
''We're not discriminating against anyone, that's just our belief and anyone has the right to believe in anything,'' she added. ''I do not think it's targeting gays. I don't think it's discrimination. It's supposed to help people that have a religious belief.''
Despite not believing that the bill would lead to targeted discrimination against members of the LGBT community, O'Connor told the station that her establishment would use the bill to avoid having to cater events like gay or non-Christian weddings.
Her father, Kevin, said everything came down to the issue of choice. ''''That lifestyle is something they choose. I choose to be heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual. Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?'' he asked.
Members of the online foodie community did not take kindly to Memories' ownership bragging about being the first business to publicly implement the discriminatory power granted by the RFRA. Robert S. pointed out the obvious on Yelp, writing that ''in all my queer life, I've never known a gay to cater their wedding with pizza.''
Carol M. wondered if they had ''Gaydar installed at the door,'' and whether the O'Connors ''ever considered that you may be serving closeted homosexuals.''
John S. kindly informed the establishment that despite its protestations of religiosity, it was violating a number of Biblical dietary laws.
But it was Michael N. who figured out what the O'Connors were probably up to. ''This is a transparent attempt to fly the Christian martyr 'mean Gays are calling us bigots' flag in the hopes that other mouth-breathers in the area will rally to them and their crappy pizza the way Southerners rallied to Chick Fil-A,'' he wrote.
''Deny them the oxygen of your outrage, and their uninspired fare will put them out of business in due course.''
Watch a report via ABC 57 below.
ABC57 News '' See the Difference Michiana
An Indiana Professor on the 'Religious Freedom' Law: 'Students Are Appalled' - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 15:56
Indiana U.-Purdue U. at Fort Wayne Jeannie DiClementi, an associate professor of psychology at Indiana U.-Purdue U. at Fort Wayne: ''The vast majority of students are appalled at the legislation. There's probably a small number of students who are in favor of it.''
Even as Indiana's governor calls for "a clarification" and "a fix" for the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, higher education is bracing for the law's fallout.
University leaders have expressed concern that the controversy over the law could dissuade prospective students from enrolling in the state's colleges. And there are fears that the law could also make it harder for universities to recruit and retain faculty members.
Supporters say the law is simply meant to protect religious liberty, but many others '-- in Indiana and across the country '-- have said it will lead to discrimination if businesses are allowed to turn away lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender customers. Gov. Mike Pence defended the law on Tuesday, but he said that he wanted it to be clarified and changed by the end of the week.
Meantime, many organizations, including the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Naspa '-- Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, have condemned the law and said they were rethinking future events they have planned to hold in the state. And many of Indiana's university presidents have released statements criticizing the law and distancing their institutions from it.
Faculty members are concerned, too, particularly those who work with gay and lesbian students. One such professor is Jeannie D. DiClementi, an associate professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, known as IPFW, who is on the advisory committee of the university's certificate program in LGBT studies. The Chronicle interviewed Ms. DiClementi about the mood on her campus amid national controversy. The following transcript has been edited and condensed for publication.
Q. This law has become the center of a national firestorm. What has it been like on the ground in Indiana, particularly in a university setting?
A. The vast majority of students are appalled at the legislation. There's probably a small number of students who are in favor of it.
I had a student in class on Thursday, the day the governor signed it into law, who asked me: "Hypothetically, if you disagree with my religion or my lifestyle, could you refuse to teach me?" We have a really good nondiscrimination policy here, but the fact that they thought of that question is what I found to be interesting. They're worried that this is going to be affecting their education.
There's some companies that want to work with IPFW around creating internships for students. They're already contacting the university because they're concerned about what the climate is like here with our students. The questions were: Do we need to not come in and do this programming? What's the university's stance on this? How inclusive is your campus, and how safe is it for LGBT students? They were that clear.
Q. So this could have some unintended effects on students.
A. Yes, on opportunities for students at the university. The administration is scrambling.
Our campus has not been upfront in taking a stance against the law. IPFW did issue a kind of generic statement on Facebook.
Q. That statement isn't as strong as some of the other ones issued by universities in the state. Were people expecting a stronger stance?
A. I think they would like to see it, but I think they recognize that we're not going to get it because we are governed by Purdue University. Our chancellor answers to the Purdue Board of Trustees and President [Mitchell E.] Daniels, who was our Republican governor for a number of years before going to Purdue. We all know where he stands.
Q. Is anyone in the university community questioning their future in Indiana?
A. Everybody is. People are wondering if it's time to be looking elsewhere for jobs, in other states, in other parts of the country. That's the conversation all over town, among particular groups of people '-- not just LGBTQ people but also people of color, people who may not be right-wing conservative Christians. Anyone outside of that group is talking about "maybe it's time to move."
I think potentially we could see a real brain drain if Indianapolis doesn't do something about this and fix it. That's going to affect our students.
Q. Several college presidents have said that many prospective students are concerned about going to school in Indiana now.
A. The university itself might be a safe place, but do people really want to come to school in Indiana? In any community in Indiana? They see our policy, and we try to say we're inclusive and we're safe, but then they look at the climate for the state of Indiana, and it could cancel it out.
People could decide to go elsewhere, and we could lose a lot of really good students. And we'll lose out on a lot of really good, productive faculty members who may otherwise want to come here and work and do their research and teach the kids. I think definitely that's in the air.
Q. What is Indiana's social climate like for LGBT citizens? Is this law's passage surprising?
A. The first thing I did when I was considering working here was Google Fort Wayne and look up the LGBTQ community. There's a sizable community here. A lot of it's hidden, but I haven't experienced anything particularly negative in Fort Wayne, and I think a lot of people would tell you the same thing.
But the rest of the state is conservative, and I hear horror stories from students who grew up in this small town or this community, and they were bullied and they were threatened and it was an awful experience. So on one hand I'm kind of surprised; on the other hand, not so much.
Q. Governor Pence has said the law will be clarified. What are you expecting? Do you think that could be significant?
A. No, I don't expect any kind of significance. The only way they could clarify anything is if, one, they repealed the law '-- that would be the preference. Second, if they're not going to repeal the law, add specific exceptions for LGBTQ persons.
What I think they're going to do is try to drag it out and stall it until everyone gets bored and moves on to another issue.
GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project | GLAAD
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:28
The GLAAD Commentator Accountability Project (CAP) aims to put critical information about frequent anti-gay interviewees into the hands of newsrooms, editors, hosts and reporters. Journalists or producers who are on deadline often don't have the time to dig into the histories of a commentator. Audiences need to be aware that when they're not talking to the mainstream media, these voices are comparing LGBT people to Nazi Germany, predicting that equal treatment of LGBT people will lead to the total collapse of society, and even making accusations of satanic influence.
The Commentator Accountability Project is bringing all of these statements to light, while calling attention to the sentiments behind them. We will show that the commentators who are most often asked to opine on issues like marriage equality or non-discrimination protections do not accurately represent the "other side" of those issues. They represent nothing but extreme animus towards the entire LGBT community.
Have you seen these anti-LGBT voices in your local media? Let GLAAD know today.
Tim Cook: Pro-discrimination 'religious freedom' laws are dangerous - The Washington Post
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:42
By Tim CookMarch 29 at 8:21 PM
Tim Cook is chief executive of Apple.
There's something very dangerous happening in states across the country.
A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.
Others are more transparent in their effort to discriminate. Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples '-- even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas' marriage ban later this year. In total, there are nearly 100 bills designed to enshrine discrimination in state law.
These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.
America's business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business. At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers' lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That's why, on behalf of Apple, I'm standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation '-- wherever it emerges. I'm writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms.
I have great reverence for religious freedom. As a child, I was baptized in a Baptist church, and faith has always been an important part of my life. I was never taught, nor do I believe, that religion should be used as an excuse to discriminate.
I remember what it was like to grow up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s. Discrimination isn't something that's easy to oppose. It doesn't always stare you in the face. It moves in the shadows. And sometimes it shrouds itself within the very laws meant to protect us.
Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination.
Men and women have fought and died fighting to protect our country's founding principles of freedom and equality. We owe it to them, to each other and to our future to continue to fight with our words and our actions to make sure we protect those ideals. The days of segregation and discrimination marked by ''Whites Only'' signs on shop doors, water fountains and restrooms must remain deep in our past. We must never return to any semblance of that time. America must be a land of opportunity for everyone.
This isn't a political issue. It isn't a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it's time for all of us to be courageous.
Continue reading10 minutes left
Industrial Society and its Future
Chris Hollman find
Adam – I know you often reference Kaczynski’s “Industrial Society and Its Future” often and think it’s a fantastic read, but was wondering if you’ve also read his Unnamed Essay from 1971? I found it in this Amazon giblet that included Industrial Society. Even written over 40 years ago, I found it even more prescient today than it probably ever has been and it speaks directly to several No Agenda. If you haven’t read it, here are a couple excerpts to entice you:
The effect of media on society
Foreshadowing of Common Core
Facebook, anyone?
From French TV show
Hey Adam,
The first part of the video has clips from CNN and France24 very shortly after the crash when the initial reporting was that the pilots declared an emergency. The second part of the video in German deals with cockpit fumes (I don't speak much German, my girlfriend does, I'm taking her word for it :) ). The video is a bit over the top but if you haven't seen the CNN/F24 stuff it's worth checking out the first couple minutes.
This article points out some of the discrepancies between the official story and reality. There is video from Canal+ of Gerard Arnoux (pilot with Air France for 18 years) speaking to:
a) The impossibility of hearing pilots' breath on the CVR.
b) The investigators' claim of hearing a "beep" when Lubitz sets the new altitude on the autopilot (that function produces no audible "beep" in the cockpit.)
c) Asking why the investigators didn't mention the sound made by the cockpit door system which would make sounds in the cockpit upon the captain attempting re-entry with the code.
Hope this isn't stuff you've already seen (...you probably have already seen it...)
Love you no homo (slightly curious), thank you for what you & John do, your work is much appreciated.
DUTCH-Germanwings crash video inside the cabin found by investigators | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:00
Video allegedly taken from inside the cabin moments before plane crashedGerman daily Bild and French magazine Paris Match said reporters were shown the 'few seconds'-long videoParis Match said footage found 'among wreckage by source close to probe'But official involved in recovery operation denied footage had been foundBy Steph Cockroft and Simon Tomlinson and Darren Boyle for MailOnline
Published: 15:06 EST, 31 March 2015 | Updated: 17:46 EST, 31 March 2015
Harrowing mobile phone footage taken on board the doomed Germanwings flight has recorded the devastating moment that screaming passengers knew they were going to die, it has been claimed.
The video, reportedly found amid the wreckage of last week's crash, allegedly captures the sound of terrified passengers crying 'Oh God' as the plane plunged into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.
The clip, said to be just a few seconds long, was reportedly taken from a memory card which was found at the crash scene by a source close to the investigation.
Mobile phone video which allegedly show the last moments of the doomed Germanwings flight have reportedly been discovered among wreckage of plane by investigators
According to two European newspapers who claim to have seen the footage, cries of 'oh God' can be heard in several different languages as chaos breaks out inside the cabin.
They also describe the sound of metallic banging from inside the aircraft. Both papers suggest the bangs could be the sound of the frantic captain attempting to break open the cockpit door with an axe or metal object, as Andreas Lubitz set the aircraft onto a collision course into the mountain.
German daily Bild and French magazine Paris Match said their reporters were shown the video after it was found on a memory chip that could have come from a mobile phone inside the aircraft.
It comes as Paris Match also published a conversation between Lubitz and the captain which was transcribed from one of aircraft's black boxes by a special investigator, which suggested Lubitz had urged the captain to leave him alone in the cockpit.
Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Marc Menichini, a high ranking official involved in the recovery operation, categorically denied that any mobile phone footage had been found by investigators at the site.
But Paris Match said the footage, thought to have been filmed from the rear of the plane, was found 'among the wreckage by a source close to the investigation'.
Bild, which described the scene as 'chaotic, totally blurred and completely shaky', also insisted that the accuracy of the video 'is beyond question'.
According to Paris Match, cries of 'My God' can be heard in several languages, before three metallic bangs ring out. They added that the footage captures the plane shaking heavily, before the screaming 'intensifies'.
Bild added that the aircraft appears to be touching a mountain, as more screams are heard. The camera then cuts out.
Both papers say the footage supports the idea that the passengers 'knew what desperate situation they were in'. It added that no individuals could be identified.
Although the two publications described the video in detail, neither posted the footage.
Bild said it was just 'a few seconds' and that it is not clear whether a passenger or crew member had filmed it.
German daily Bild and French magazine Paris Match said their reporters were shown the video after it was found on a memory chip that could have come from a mobile phone inside the aircraft
Lieutenant Colonel Jean-Marc Menichini, a high ranking official involved in the recovery operation, categorically denied that any mobile phone footage had been found by investigators at the site
'I HOPE SO': CHILLING WORDS FROM LUBITZ AS CAPTAIN TELLS HIM HE IS IN CONTROL OF PLANE, JUST MINUTES BEFORE HE CRASHES IT INTO ALPSParis Match also obtained information from the 'Cockpit Voice Recorder,' one of the aircraft's two black boxes, which recorded the sounds and conversations in the cockpit.
Its contents were described for the periodical by a special investigator. Here is his account:
10am: The airplane takes off.
10:10am: The Captain says to Lubitz: 'I didn't have time to use the bathroom before taking off.' Lubitz replies: 'Go whenever you'd like.'
10:27am: The plane reaches cruising altitude, which is 38000ft (11,500m).
The captain asks Lubitz to prepare the approach for landing and to verify that the plane can begin the landing process. Lubitz obeys. He repeats to the captain again: 'You can go. You can go now.'
10:28am: Noise can be heard coming from a seat. The captain removes his seatbelt. The door is opened. The captain says to Lubitz: 'You are in control now.'
Lubitz answers with a seemingly light tone of voice: 'I hope so.'
10:30am: Lubitz is alone in the cockpit. He locks the door with the 'Lock' button: it is no longer possible to open the door from the outside.
The sounds can be heard of automatic pilot being reprogrammed to accelerate the descent, pushing the plane from 38,000ft (11,000m) to 100ft (30m) in a matter of minutes.
10:33am: The landing begins. The plane drops 3000ft (900m) per minute. Air traffic controllers detect the problem. They try several times to contact the airplane by radio. Lubitz does not respond.
The captain's voice can be heard as he tries to open the door: 'It's me!' The captain is facing a camera connected to the cockpit. Lubitz sees him on screen but does not react.
The captain grabs an oxygen tank or fire extinguisher in order to break down the door.No response from Lubitz. The captain yells: 'For the love of God, open this door!'
10:34am: A first alarm goes off, audible and visual: 'SINK RATE, PULL UP.' No reaction from Lubitz.
Through the cockpit door, the first sounds of passengers running in the aisles can be heard.
10:35am: The captain asks for the crowbar hidden in the back of the plane. Louder bangs can be heard hitting the door, followed by metallic sounds. The captain tries to bend the door with the crowbar.
10:37am: A second alarm is set off, audible and visual: 'TERRAIN, PULL UP.' Still no reaction from Lubitz. The captain yells: 'Open this f*****g door!'
10:38am: Despite the deafening noises, Lubitz's breathing can cleary be heard through an oxygen mask he put on. He is breathing normally. The plane is at 13,000 feet (4000 ms).
10:40am: A violent sound can be heard outside. At the same time, inside, screaming. The Airbus hits the mountain with its right wing. No other sound, save for the alarms and the screaming passengers.
10:41am: The airplane hits the Estrop mountain range at 5,000 feet (1500m) at 800 km/h.
Source: Paris Match
Mobile phone tester Dirk Lorenz told Bild: 'It's very unlikely a mobile phone could have survived such an impact.
'However, a memory card can be very durable. Even if a mobile phone smashes into a thousand pieces the memory card can remain intact. For example when the impact was somewhat cushioned.'
In a statement, Lufthansa said it was aware of reports about the footage but questioned whether a mobile phone could have withstood the impact.
A spokesman for the company said: 'We have also read of reports in a French newspaper about the video.
'But we have not seen the video and we do not know if it exists. Therefore we cannot confirm if the video is genuine.
'Considering that everything on the plane was destroyed, it would be unusual for a mobile phone to survive the impact.'
Investigators have also revealed how a transcription of one of the aircraft's black boxes recorded the moment that Captain Sondenheimer left Lubitz alone in the cockpit, telling him 'you are in control now'.
According to the transcription, Lubitz chillingly replies: 'I hope so'.
Andreas Lubitz locked his captain out of the cockpit before commanding the aircraft to crash into a mountain
Then, when the door closed behind him, Lubitz is said to have flicked a switch which disabled the keypad on the cabin side of the door, triggering the descent.
According to the investigator, the captain returns to the cockpit and can be heard banging on the cockpit door, urging his colleague to open up.
As he attempts to break down the door with a fire extinguisher and a crowbar, he is heard shouting: 'Open this f*****g door!'
By that time, Lubitz has switched the five-minute door look on, something which he is believed to have done twice during the eight-minute descent.
Authorities have said Andreas Lubitz purposely crashed Flight 9525 into the French Alps on March 24, killing all 150 people aboard the flight from Barcelona to Duesseldorf.
The transcription backs the view of French prosecutors, who say Lubitz urged his captain to leave the flight deck before disabling the key pad, which controls access to the cockpit.
Today, Lufthansa Airlines admitted they knew six years ago that Lubitz suffered from a 'serious depressive episode'.
The airline said that as part of its internal research it found emails Lubitz sent to the Lufthansa flight school in Bremen when he resumed his training there after an interruption of several months.
Today, Lufthansa Airlines (left and right) admitted they knew six years ago that Lubitz suffered from a 'serious depressive episode'
Hundreds of supporters of pilot Andreas Lubitz have taken to Facebook to make outlandish claims that he is being framed for murder by Lufthansa to hide mechanical faults with the plane
In them he informed the school that he had suffered a 'serious depressive episode' which had since subsided.
The airline said Lubitz subsequently passed all medical checks and that it has provided the documents to prosecutors. It declined to make any further comment today.
Meanwhile pictures of Lubitz at various ages while a pupil at Mons-Tabor Gymnasium High School in Montabaur, Germany, were released today - the same day it emerged Lubitz's girlfriend knew he had psychological issues.
Kathrin Goldbach reportedly told investigators she 'did not know the extent of the problems' despite her boyfriend seeing doctors a number of times in the months leading up to the disaster.
Prosecutors said he had been treated for suicidal tendencies as a younger man and had been seen by doctors for depression on at least three occasions since February.
He had also been to see an eye specialist over fears he was going blind, a condition that could have seen him stripped of his licence.
Investigators are now increasingly certain this was the prime motive for his act of suicide and mass murder.
But Miss Goldbach is said to be as shocked as anyone that his mental health problems would lead to him deliberately crashing his jet, killing all 150 people on board.
A European government official close to the probe told CNN that Miss Goldbach knew he had seen two doctors - an eye consultant and a neuropsychologist - who both deemed him unfit for work.
Andreas Lubitz (pictured front row, seated left) in a class picture in 2002 with fellow pupils at the Mons-Tabor Gymnasium High School, in Montabaur, Germany - the picture is from a 2002 year book
Andreas Lubitz with class mates in 1999 at the Mons-Tabor Gymnasium High School in Montabaur, Germany. (He is pictured with curtain style haircut and squared patterned top)
The eye doctor had diagnosed his failing eyesight as merely psychosomatic, the source added, confirming previous reports that the condition was not physical at all.
He was given sick notes - found torn up at his home in Dusseldorf - and ordered by doctors to take time off work.
But he feared this would increase his chances of being grounded, so he hid his sickness from his employers.
Bild newspaper, quoting a source close to the investigation, reported the official as saying: 'A main motive seems to be the fear that Lubitz had of losing his ability to fly because of medical problems.'
But Lubitz's friends have claimed the 27-year-old is being framed for murder as part of an elaborate cover-up by his airline company to hide mechanical faults with the plane.
They have set up a Facebook page titled 'Andreas Lubitz A320, we are against the hunt' where they have been sharing their theories about the cause of the Alps disaster.
Some suggest the black box voice recorder had been tampered with by Germanwings parent company, Lufthansa, to make it appear as if Lubitz had deliberately crashed the plane.
It also emerged that Lubitz's home that he shared with his girlfriend in Dusseldorf has been blurred out on Google Maps in an apparent attempt by family to quell frenetic focus on his life.
The move came at some point over the last week since the Alps disaster.
Individuals and governments can ask for Google Maps images to be blurred over privacy concerns.
Military vehicles arrive to help with Germanwings crash search
Military vehicles arrive ahead of operations at the site of the Germanwings plane crash in Seyne-les-Alpes
Passengers watch candles and flowers for the victims of the Germanwings plane crash at Dusseldorf airport
The flat has been the scene of intense focus since the crash and reported claims that Miss Goldbach, 26, discovered that she was expecting his baby as little as two weeks ago.
The pair, who are said to have had a patchy relationship over the last seven years, were letting the pregnancy news sink in when Lubitz crashed the jet, according to German newspaper Bild.
Meanwhile, French aviation investigators said they were examining 'systemic weaknesses' such as cockpit entry rules and psychological screening procedures that could have led to the Germanwings plane crash - issues that could eventually change worldwide aviation practices.
French aviation agency BEA signalled the latest rethink about airline procedures in the wake of the Germanwings crash. The incident jolted an aviation industry already reeling, after one passenger plane disappeared into an ocean and another was shot out of the sky over war-torn eastern Ukraine.
Jan Cocheret 'predicted' the Germanwings crash several weeks ago in an article written in a specialist flight magazine
The goal of the BEA investigation is to make recommendations to aviation authorities - not just in France but anywhere - about what can be done to prevent similar crashes.
French prosecutors are carrying out a separate crash probe to pinpoint possible criminal wrongdoing.
The Germanwings crash has already produced some changes in aviation procedures.
Europe's aviation regulator now says all airlines in Europe should require two people in the cockpit at all times during a flight. Many airlines have already imposed the new rule, which has been in place in the US since the September 11 attacks.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation, which brings together 191 nations, said state agencies such as the BEA must officially determine the causes and contributing factors of crashes and give recommendations on ways to avoid recurrences.
ICAO could then bring such recommendations to its member states - possibly leading to changes in international aviation standards.
German airline Lufthansa also said it has set aside $300 million to deal with potential civil claims against the company following the Germanwings disaster.
The French crash investigators BEA said they will look into methods of preventing a similar incident in future.
A spokesperson said: '(We will study) systemic weaknesses (that) might possibly have led to this aviation disaster.'
Earlier today, it emerged that Dutch pilot Jan Cocheret 'predicted' the Germanwings crash several weeks ago in an article written in a specialist flight magazine.
Mr Cocheret, who flies a Boeing 777 for Emirates airlines warned: 'I hope I never find myself in the situation where I go to the toilet and return to find a cockpit door that won't open.'
The pilot was writing for Dutch flying magazine Piloot en Vliegtuig (Pilot and Plane) where he expressed his fears, posing the question: 'I seriously wonder who's sitting next to me.'
His article warned that someone could use the security procedures introduced in the aftermath of the 9/11 atrocities to prevent an aircraft's captain re-entering the flight deck after a rest break.
Mr Cocheret later wrote on his Facebook page: 'Unfortuantely, this terrible scenario has become a reality.'
His original article predicted the exact way such an atrocity could be carried out.
He said: 'I seriously sometimes wonder who's sitting next to me in the cockpit. How can I be sure that I can trust him? Perhaps something terrible has just happened in his life and he's unable to overcome it.
'There indeed does exist a way to get back into the cockpit, but if the person inside disables this option (the security code to get in), one could do nothing but sit with the passengers and wait and see what happens.'
A LEGACY OF WWII: STRICT PRIVACY LAWS BROUGHT IN BECAUSE OF NAZISStrict German privacy laws which prevented doctors treating Andreas Lubitz from telling his airline about his 'suicidal tendencies' were introduced as a consequence of the Nazis.
The Germanwings pilot had been forced to stop his training because of severe depression and had received psychotherapy for several years before last week's Alps disaster.
But German law meant it was left entirely up to him to volunteer his mental health problems to his employer, something he failed to do with devastating consequences after tearing up a sick note for the day of the crash.
The findings from the investigation have prompted heated debate in Germany on a patient's right to privacy, with Chancellor Angela Merkel proposing an inquiry to re-examine the law.
Draconian legislation was initially brought in after World War Two to prevent a repeat of government spying during the Nazi era and subsequently the Stasi secret police in East Germany.
This extends far beyond confidential medical data, however, to stringent protection of someone's identity, meaning many German publications only referred to Lubitz as Andreas L, even after his death.
Further data protection laws traced back to 1907, which enshrines the 'right to your own picture', also mean images can only be published with the individual's consent.
With respect to medical data, the criminal code means doctors are only allowed to breach confidentiality when they have reason to believe that sharing their knowledge could prevent 'a particularly serious crime' or a threat to someone's life.
They can face a year in prison if they wrongly breach privacy, but up to five years in jail for withholding 'credible information about the planning or commission' of serious acts like murder.
Despite the variation in sentences, doctors have tended to favour the individual's privacy.
Many in Germany are now debating whether the potential to neutralise threats to public safety should trump doctor-patient privilege.
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Doubts Intensify About Reports of a Video Made During Germanwings Flight's Final Moments - NYTimes.com
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 04:10
It has been described as the chilling final seconds of blurry pandemonium before the crash, with metallic banging and passengers screaming, ''My God!'' in multiple languages, captured on a cellphone video shot from the rear of the cabin.
What has been conspicuously absent is the video.
Reports of its existence created breathless attention Tuesday on television cable channels and social media in the frenetic coverage of the co-pilot's apparently deliberate crash of a Germanwings jetliner last week in the French Alps, which killed all 150 people aboard.
But there has been no precise explanation from Paris Match and Bild, the European publications that exclusively reported the video's existence, on how they were able to see it, how they can vouch for its provenance and why they do not have physical proof.
Doubts about the video's authenticity intensified after the French police asserted that the reports about it were false and the French prosecutor leading the crash investigation said no videos were known to have been recovered so far from the wreckage.
Continue reading the main storyPassengers from at least 15 countries were aboard the flight from Barcelona, Spain, to D¼sseldorf, Germany, including 72 Germans and 35 Spaniards. Here are profiles of some of the 123 victims whose families have been notified.
Journalism ethics experts in the United States said Wednesday that the video story synthesized what they described as a confluence of disturbing trends shaping the news business in the 24/7 Internet age: reckless urgency, absence of healthy skepticism and disregard for the consequences to credibility if a story is wrong.
''There is this insatiable desire for instantaneous reporting,'' said Jane E. Kirtley, director of the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota. ''We tend to feed the beast in that way, by passing along this stuff before it's been verified, simply because someone else has reported it. I find that really troubling.''
It is entirely possible that such a video exists, journalism ethicists said. But the public is at least entitled to a more detailed explanation of its veracity than has been forthcoming so far.
The lead reporter on the story for Paris Match, Fr(C)d(C)ric Helbert, who said he was one of several people at the publication to watch the video, sought in a follow-up article published Wednesday in question-and-answer format to buttress its credibility.
He said the video ''had been found among the wreckage by a source close to the investigation'' and had been viewed by Paris Match's editorial staff dozens of times.
Continue reading the main storySlide Show''It is not a trashy video,'' he said. ''It is from a passenger who filmed from the back of the plane. The sound is atrocious. It shows the human dimension of panic, distress, screaming people on board. That is what is terrible.''
That anguish is why Paris Match decided not to disseminate the video, Mr. Helbert said, and ''people should stop attacking us for that.'' He also said the video ''doesn't provide any information that might be useful for the investigation.''
Asked to respond to a police official's assertion that the video was fake, he said: ''Did he see it? That proves that the video exists.''
The Bild article differed from Paris Match's in a few respects. While it asserted that the video had been recorded from the rear of the plane, it said: ''It is unclear whether this was done while standing or sitting. It is also not known whether a passenger or crew member'' filmed it. Bild's article also described the video as ''an important piece of evidence.''
But there was no explanation for why neither Paris Match nor Bild was in possession of the video. Todd Gitlin, chairman of the doctoral program in communications at the Columbia University School of Journalism, said videos of questionable provenance had become increasingly problematic in reporting. But even in instances in which a fraudulent video is suspected, there are ways to ascertain its authenticity. In this case, there is not even independent proof that a video exists, at least not yet, Dr. Gitlin said, and he found that ''actually rather chilling.''
''At this stage of frantic media competition, and I would say unscrupulous competition, the right is being claimed to offer up claims of truth with relative indifference to whether they are the case,'' he said.
Professor Kirtley said that the first question she had upon hearing the reports of the video was its authenticity. ''How do you know this is what it purports to be?'' she said. ''I want to know how you know this is what it is.''
Laure Fourquet contributed reporting from Paris, Melissa Eddy from Berlin and Francesca Barber from New York.
A version of this article appears in print on April 2, 2015, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Doubts Surface About Reports of a Video Made During Jet's Final Moments .
ADHD drugs may increase risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours in some people; benefits still outweigh risks - Recalls & alerts - Healthy Canadians Website
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:52
IssueStronger, clearer warnings on the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours are being incorporated into the prescribing information for drugs used in the management of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
The new warnings advise that there have been reports of suicide-related events in patients treated with ADHD drugs. The reports involved thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, and in a very small number of cases, completed suicide. These events have been reported at various times during treatment, particularly at the start or during dose changes, and also after stopping the drug treatment.
There are different types of ADHD drugs and the evidence varies with respect to the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours. This risk is already known for one ADHD drug, Strattera (atomoxetine), and was incorporated into its prescribing information and communicated in 2005.
New information has emerged since to suggest that the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours may apply to all other ADHD drugs. There is little evidence to establish that these drugs cause suicidal thoughts and behaviours, but it is possible that they may contribute to the risk.
It is important to note that people with ADHD may already have a slightly increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours. ADHD may also affect people who have other mental health conditions that are associated with an increased risk of suicide, such as depression or bipolar disorder.
The prescribing information for all ADHD drugs is being revised to include standardized warnings that better reflect the available evidence on the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours, except the monograph for Strattera which already includes detailed safety information on this risk.
ADHD drugs are available by prescription only and are authorized for use in adults and children over the age of six years. There are several brand name and generic drugs available in Canada:
ADDERALL XR (mixed salts amphetamine extended-release)BIPHENTIN (methylphenidate controlled release)CONCERTA (methylphenidate extended release)DEXEDRINE (dextroamphetamine sulfate)INTUNIV XR (guanfacine extended release)RITALIN (methylphenidate)RITALIN SR (methylphenidate extended release)STRATTERA (atomoxetine)VYVANSE (lisdexamfetamine dimesylate)It is Health Canada's view that the benefits of these drugs in the effective management of ADHD continue to outweigh their risks. The possible occurrence of psychiatric side effects with ADHD drugs is included in the prescribing information (product monographs) in a warning section that emphasizes the importance of monitoring moods, behaviours, thoughts and feelings in adults and children taking these medications, and the importance of taking psychiatric disorders into account when prescribing these drugs.
For more information, Health Canada has posted Summary Safety Reviews on the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviours and ADHD drugs containing amphetamines and methylphenidate.
What you should doPatients taking ADHD medications, as well as their parents, families and friends, should monitor for suicidal thoughts and behaviours.Report any distressing thoughts or feelings immediately to your doctor. This applies even after ADHD therapy has been stopped.Consult your doctor if you are considering stopping your ADHD medication or if you have stopped it, as stopping the medication could worsen your ADHD symptoms.Before starting an ADHD medication, tell the doctor or pharmacist if you or your child have experienced or have a family history of mental health problems, including psychosis, mania, bipolar illness, depression or suicide.Talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your or your child's ADHD therapy.What industry professionals should doAdditional information for health professionals:Healthcare professionals should monitor the mental health of patients taking ADHD medications. If concerns arise, appropriate measures to deal with the underlying mental health condition should be taken, and a possible change in the ADHD treatment should be considered.
Report health or safety concernsTo report a side effect to a health product to Health Canada:
Call toll-free at 1-866-234-2345Visit MedEffect Canada's web page on Adverse Reaction Reporting for information on how to report online, by mail or by fax.Health Canada613-957-2983
Public enquiries613-957-29911-866-225-0709
For more information
Stay connected with Health Canada and receive the latest advisories and product recalls using social media tools.
German newspaper reports timeline of Germanwings flight - CNN.com
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:31
Story highlightsFrance's accident investigation agency, BEA, "dismayed" by the voice recording leakGerman newspaper Bild releases a timeline of the flight's final momentsAndreas Lubitz suffered from "generalized anxiety disorder," and from severe depression in the past, Le Parisien newspaper reports"For God's sake, open the door!" Capt. Patrick Sondenheimer screamed as he banged on the cockpit door, pleading with the co-pilot.
Thirteen minutes later, the plane slammed into the French Alps.
The audio from the plane's cockpit voice recorder has not been released, but the German newspaper Bild published Sunday what it claims is a summary of the transcript from the recording.
CNN translated Bild's report -- which the newspaper says is based on the 1.5 hours of audio that was on the cockpit voice recorder -- but cannot independently verify the information.
France's accident investigation agency, BEA, told CNN that the agency is "dismayed" by the voice recording leak to Bild.
Martine Del Bono, a spokeswoman for the agency, said the leak could not have come from a BEA agent. She said the agency considers the report mere "voyeurism."
According to Bild's report, Sondenheimer told co-pilot Andreas Lubitz that he didn't manage to go to the bathroom before takeoff. Lubitz tells him he can go anytime.
Lubitz is believed to have locked the pilot of Flight 9525 out of the cockpit before putting the plane on a rapid descent into the mountains, French authorities have said.
The flight took off 20 minutes late. After reaching cruising altitude, Sondenheimer asked Lubitz to prepare the landing.
Once that's finished, Lubitz again tells the captain he "can go anytime."
There is the sound of a seat being pushed backward after which the captain says, "You can take over."
At 10:29 a.m., air traffic radar detects that the plane is starting to descend.
Three minutes later, air traffic controllers try to contact the plane and receive no answer -- shortly after which an alarm goes off in the cockpit, warning of the "sink rate," Bild reported.
Next comes the banging.
Sondenheimer begs Lubitz to let him in. Passengers then begin to scream, according to the transcript obtained by Bild.
Another three minutes pass. A loud metallic bang is heard at 7,000 meters (almost 23,000 feet).
A minute and half later and 2,000 meters (about 6,500 feet) lower to the ground, an alarm says "Terrain -- pull up!"
"Open the damn door!" the pilot says.
It's 10:38, and the plane is at 4,000 meters (about 13,000 feet). Lubitz's breathing can still be heard on the voice recorder, according to Bild's report.
Two minutes later, investigators think they hear the plane's right wing scrape a mountaintop.
Screams can be heard one final time.
'Unbelievable' leakCockpit recordings are some of the most sensitive and closely held parts of aviation crash investigations. They're never officially released, according to CNN aviation reporter Richard Quest.
Quest called it "unbelievable" that the black box audio would be leaked in this manner.
Communications between air traffic control and a plane's cockpit can be downloaded privately, but that's less common in Europe than it is in the United States.
An edited and redacted version of the transcript is usually published in part of a final report on an incident.
Although search teams have recovered the cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder remains missing. That device could reveal crucial details about what happened during the final moments of the flight.
What authorities knowJean Pierre Michel, lead investigator for the French inquiry, said on Saturday that investigators are not ruling out any scenario with respect to the crash out at this point.
But French authorities have said that Lubitz appeared to have crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 deliberately into the Alps on Tuesday as it flew from Barcelona, Spain, toward Dusseldorf, Germany, with 150 people on board.
Much attention has focused on Lubitz's state of mind since then, with suggestions that he may have had mental health issues.
Lubitz, 27, passed his annual pilot recertification medical examination in summer 2014, a German aviation source told CNN.
An official with Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, said that the exam only tests physical health, not psychological health.
The official also said that the company was never given any indication Lubitz was depressed, and that if he went to a doctor on his own, he would have been required to self-report if deemed unfit to fly.
A Dusseldorf clinic said he'd gone there twice, most recently on March 10, "concerning a diagnosis." But the University Clinic said it had not treated Lubitz for depression.
The speculation about Lubitz' mental state is based on a letter found in a waste bin in his Dusseldorf apartment.
The note, which was "slashed," said Lubitz was not able to do his job, city prosecutor Christoph Kumpa said Friday.
The fact that investigators found "ripped, recent medical leave notes, including for the day of the offense, leads to the preliminary conclusion that the deceased kept his illness secret from his employer and his professional environment," prosecutors said.
Germanwings corroborated that assertion, saying it had never received a sick note from Lubitz.
Anxiety, burnout and depressionA handful of publications, citing unnamed sources, have reported that Lubitz suffered from various psychological maladies.
CNN has not been able to confirm these reports.
Lubitz suffered from "generalized anxiety disorder," and from severe depression in the past, Le Parisien newspaper reported Sunday, citing sources close to the investigation. In 2010, Lubitz received injections of antipsychotic medication, the paper said.
He was also prescribed a medication that influences neurotransmitters, but it's unclear when that happened, according to Le Parisien.
The newspaper said investigators found a handful of pills in his apartment in addition to two sick notes, which forbade him from working from March 16 to March 29.
The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported Friday that Lubitz suffered from mental illness and kept his diagnosis concealed from his employer.
A subsequent report from the Times on Saturday, citing two officials with knowledge of the investigation, said Lubitz sought treatment before the crash for vision problems that might have put his career at risk. However, an official with Lufthansa, said that if Lubitz had vision problems, they would have been discovered during his pilot recertification medical examination.
Authorities have not ruled out the vision problems could have been psychosomatic, according to the Times.
Citing an unidentified senior investigator, German newspaper Die Welt said that Lubitz suffered from a severe "psychosomatic illness" and that German police seized prescription drugs that treat the condition. Lubitz suffered from a "severe subjective burnout syndrome" and from severe depression, the source told the newspaper.
News reports also stated that antidepressants were found during the search of his apartment.
Investigators are expected to question his relatives, friends and co-workers as they try to pin down what could have prompted the co-pilot to steer a jetliner full of people into a mountainside.
Lubitz had a girlfriend, a teacher at a school in Dusseldorf not far from his apartment, according to German media.
Who was co-pilot Andreas Lubitz?
'This is a man whose life is totally broken'Dozens of people attended a remembrance ceremony Saturday for the victims of the crash at a church in a nearby town, Digne-les-Bains, France. Most of the people on the plane were from Germany and Spain.
Relatives of the victims and local residents also gathered Saturday afternoon by a simple stone memorial set up near the crash site, in the village of Le Vernet. Flowers have been laid there, in the shadow of the snow-covered peaks of the French Alps.
The mayor of one local community said he had seen Lubitz's father on Thursday evening, describing him as "a man in deep distress."
"We get the impression that that man is bearing the whole weight of the disaster on his shoulders," Bernard Bartolini, the mayor of Prads-Haute-Bleone, said Saturday.
"I can tell that this is a man whose life is totally broken," Bartolini said. "He had so much emotion in him."
Germanwings co-pilot mental illness: Suicide is linked to depression but mass murder is not.
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 04:52
Relatives stand at a monument to honor the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525 in front of the mountains near the crash site on March 26, 2015, in Le Vernet, France.Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
Because Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz killed himself when he purposefully drove a plane carrying 149 other people into a mountain in the Alps, there has been an assumption that he suffered from ''depression'''--an assumption strengthened by the discovery of antidepressants in his home and reports that he had been treated in psychiatry and neurology clinics. Many patients and other interested parties are rightly concerned that Lubitz's murderous behavior will further stigmatize the mentally ill.
It is certainly true that stigma may lead those in need to avoid treatment. When I was a psychiatrist at an HIV clinic, I was baffled by the shame associated with a visit to see me. Patients at the clinic had advanced AIDS, often contracted through IV drug use or sex work, and many had unprotected sex despite their high viral loads. Some were on parole. Many had lost custody of their children. Many lived in notorious single-room occupancy housing and used cocaine daily. But these issues, somehow, were less embarrassing than the suggestion that they be evaluated by a psychiatrist.
Even doctors invoke ''depression'' to explain anything a reasonable adult wouldn't do.
For my clinic patients, it was shameful to be mentally ill. But to engage in antisocial behavior as a way of life? Not so bad.
I think my patients were on to something. Bad behavior'--even suicidal behavior'--is not the same as depression. It is a truism in psychiatry that depression is underdiagnosed. But as a psychiatrist confronted daily with ''problem'' patients in the general hospital where I work, I find that depression is also overdiagnosed. Even doctors invoke ''depression'' to explain anything a reasonable adult wouldn't do.
For instance: Act completely blas(C), then lock the pilot out of the cockpit, and deliberately crash a plane full of people.
I don't know what that is, but it's not depression.
In the hospital where I practice, a small but regular population of patients are young men who sustained gunshot wounds during or in proximity to gang-related activities. Now paralyzed, they are admitted for pressure ulcers or urinary tract infections. These men were accustomed to getting their needs met through intimidation and even murder. Now they are dependent on nurses and aides for intimate care, and it hasn't made them any nicer. They terrorize staff by throwing urinals and food and sexually harassing them. When I am asked to evaluate for ''depression,'' I see hopelessness, entitlement, and rage.
And it's not just antisocial behavior that is explained away by calling it ''depression.'' I'm often asked to see patients with poorly managed chronic diseases; for example, diabetics who neglect to do fingersticks to draw blood and test their blood sugar. Recently I did a consultation for a patient who is on dialysis and ignores the low-salt ''renal diet'' prescribed by her doctor. Her insistence on eating chips led her nephrologist to wonder if she were depressed; after all, wouldn't a mentally healthy person give up junk food to save her own life?
We all know the answer to that.
On a daily basis in the hospital, I see sad, lonely, elderly widows. Many live in walk-up apartments, but can no longer walk, and neither can their friends. Their children live in another country. When I ask what they enjoy doing, they say they enjoy knitting or dancing or visiting their grandchildren. But nudged a little, they admit that they haven't been able to do any of those things for years. They spend their whole lives watching television. Are they depressed? Or ''depressed''?
''Depression'' seems to signify social ills for which we have no solution, from violent, homicidal behavior, to health illiteracy, to our culture's neglect of the elderly. Constructing societal deficits as a medical problem does everyone a disservice'--because treatment specific for depression won't work for people who don't really have depression. People who need social support can be expected to benefit most from programs that provide social support'--not from psychiatrists.
The patient with bona fide depression will benefit from treatment with antidepressants or proven psychotherapies. For the lonely great-grandmothers, the junk food addicts, and the violent paraplegics, there has to be another form of intervention. We must turn from the inappropriate use of the disease model of emotional distress and understand that individuals' psychological pain arises within social systems as well as within their own brains.
Was Andreas Lubitz depressed? We don't know; a torn-up doctor's note and bottles of pills don't tell us much. Most people who commit suicide suffer from a mental illness, most commonly depression. But calling his actions suicidal is misleading. Lubitz did not die quietly at home. He maliciously engineered a spectacular plane crash and killed 150 people. Suicidal thoughts can be a hallmark of depression, but mass murder is another beast entirely.
Using the word ''depression'' to describe inexplicable or violent behavior sends two false signals: First, that society has no obligations with regard to our happiness'--because misery is a medical problem'--and second, that a depressed person is in danger of committing abhorrent acts.
Depressed people need help. ''Depressed'' people do, too'--but not the same kind.
German Wings accident in France: War Andreas L. unconscious? Why can hear his breathing? Five Questions for A320 crash - World News - ABC Online - News
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 04:49
Google TranslateHTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2015 04:49:41 GMT Expires: Fri, 01 Jan 1990 00:00:00 GMT Cache-Control: no-cache, must-revalidate X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN Pragma: no-cache Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 Content-Language: en X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff Content-Encoding: gzip Server: HTTP server (unknown) X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block Set-Cookie: PREF=ID=324a70e96f480d5b:TM=1427690981:LM=1427690981:S=Vs_d4odB6pxPpDOQ; expires=Wed, 29-Mar-2017 04:49:41 GMT; path=/; domain=.google.com Alternate-Protocol: 443:quic,p=0.5 Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Germanwings co-pilot mental illness: Suicide is linked to depression but mass murder is not.
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 03:53
Relatives stand at a monument to honor the victims of Germanwings flight 4U9525 in front of the mountains near the crash site on March 26, 2015, in Le Vernet, France.Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
Because Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz killed himself when he purposefully drove a plane carrying 149 other people into a mountain in the Alps, there has been an assumption that he suffered from ''depression'''--an assumption strengthened by the discovery of antidepressants in his home and reports that he had been treated in psychiatry and neurology clinics. Many patients and other interested parties are rightly concerned that Lubitz's murderous behavior will further stigmatize the mentally ill.
It is certainly true that stigma may lead those in need to avoid treatment. When I was a psychiatrist at an HIV clinic, I was baffled by the shame associated with a visit to see me. Patients at the clinic had advanced AIDS, often contracted through IV drug use or sex work, and many had unprotected sex despite their high viral loads. Some were on parole. Many had lost custody of their children. Many lived in notorious single-room occupancy housing and used cocaine daily. But these issues, somehow, were less embarrassing than the suggestion that they be evaluated by a psychiatrist.
Even doctors invoke ''depression'' to explain anything a reasonable adult wouldn't do.
For my clinic patients, it was shameful to be mentally ill. But to engage in antisocial behavior as a way of life? Not so bad.
I think my patients were on to something. Bad behavior'--even suicidal behavior'--is not the same as depression. It is a truism in psychiatry that depression is underdiagnosed. But as a psychiatrist confronted daily with ''problem'' patients in the general hospital where I work, I find that depression is also overdiagnosed. Even doctors invoke ''depression'' to explain anything a reasonable adult wouldn't do.
For instance: Act completely blas(C), then lock the pilot out of the cockpit, and deliberately crash a plane full of people.
I don't know what that is, but it's not depression.
In the hospital where I practice, a small but regular population of patients are young men who sustained gunshot wounds during or in proximity to gang-related activities. Now paralyzed, they are admitted for pressure ulcers or urinary tract infections. These men were accustomed to getting their needs met through intimidation and even murder. Now they are dependent on nurses and aides for intimate care, and it hasn't made them any nicer. They terrorize staff by throwing urinals and food and sexually harassing them. When I am asked to evaluate for ''depression,'' I see hopelessness, entitlement, and rage.
And it's not just antisocial behavior that is explained away by calling it ''depression.'' I'm often asked to see patients with poorly managed chronic diseases; for example, diabetics who neglect to do fingersticks to draw blood and test their blood sugar. Recently I did a consultation for a patient who is on dialysis and ignores the low-salt ''renal diet'' prescribed by her doctor. Her insistence on eating chips led her nephrologist to wonder if she were depressed; after all, wouldn't a mentally healthy person give up junk food to save her own life?
We all know the answer to that.
On a daily basis in the hospital, I see sad, lonely, elderly widows. Many live in walk-up apartments, but can no longer walk, and neither can their friends. Their children live in another country. When I ask what they enjoy doing, they say they enjoy knitting or dancing or visiting their grandchildren. But nudged a little, they admit that they haven't been able to do any of those things for years. They spend their whole lives watching television. Are they depressed? Or ''depressed''?
''Depression'' seems to signify social ills for which we have no solution, from violent, homicidal behavior, to health illiteracy, to our culture's neglect of the elderly. Constructing societal deficits as a medical problem does everyone a disservice'--because treatment specific for depression won't work for people who don't really have depression. People who need social support can be expected to benefit most from programs that provide social support'--not from psychiatrists.
The patient with bona fide depression will benefit from treatment with antidepressants or proven psychotherapies. For the lonely great-grandmothers, the junk food addicts, and the violent paraplegics, there has to be another form of intervention. We must turn from the inappropriate use of the disease model of emotional distress and understand that individuals' psychological pain arises within social systems as well as within their own brains.
Was Andreas Lubitz depressed? We don't know; a torn-up doctor's note and bottles of pills don't tell us much. Most people who commit suicide suffer from a mental illness, most commonly depression. But calling his actions suicidal is misleading. Lubitz did not die quietly at home. He maliciously engineered a spectacular plane crash and killed 150 people. Suicidal thoughts can be a hallmark of depression, but mass murder is another beast entirely.
Using the word ''depression'' to describe inexplicable or violent behavior sends two false signals: First, that society has no obligations with regard to our happiness'--because misery is a medical problem'--and second, that a depressed person is in danger of committing abhorrent acts.
Depressed people need help. ''Depressed'' people do, too'--but not the same kind.
Germanwings crash: Not the full story? -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:48
When I heard about the crash of Germanwings Flight GWI9525 in the French Alps on the morning of March 24th, I was shocked, but to be honest, not that shocked. It's not that I expected it to happen, but this was the fifth such incident in the last year. If that frequency is maintained, the statistically-very-low chances of meeting an untimely end on a commercial flight will have to be recalculated.In the immediate aftermath of the crash I, like many others around the world, waited patiently for the details. What could possibly cause a modern, albeit a little aged, first-generation Airbus A320 to suddenly drop out of the sky and slam into a mountain side? I had a few theories, among them the incapacitating effects of an 'EMP' from an exploding overhead space rock. The shocking rise in fireball/meteorite sightings over the past 10 years makes this plausible, and might well have been the cause of the crash of AF447 into the South Atlantic ocean in 2009. But I waited, and I expected to wait because investigations of this sort can, and should, take quite a while to complete.
When dealing with airplane crashes, the most important information, even more important than the cockpit voice recordings, is the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) or ADR (Accident Data Recorder). The FDR records instructions sent to all electronic systems on an aircraft, including the auto-pilot and the security system for the entry to the cockpit.
Whatever information might be provided by the conversation between the pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit would have to be corroborated or confirmed by the hard data from the FDR. Analyzing this data naturally takes several days or weeks, so it was surprising that, within 24 hours of the crash, the New York Times had cited an unnamed "senior French military official" as saying that one of the pilots was locked out of the cockpit by the other and that was what caused the crash. The NY Times quotes the military official:
"The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer," the investigator said. "And then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer. You can hear he is trying to smash the door down. [...] what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door."
The precipitous release of this information appears to have undermined the official investigation that is being conducted by the French 'Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety' (BEA) a civilian, not military, agency of the French government responsible for investigating aviation accidents, and established a narrative that has become the official truth of what happened to the plane - it was deliberately crashed by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz.As the NY Times went to print on Wednesday, the head of the BEA was giving a press conference that was rightly cautious. BEA head Remi Jouty told reporters that while the CVR had yielded sounds and voices, there was not the "slightest explanation" of why the plane crashed and that days or weeks would be needed to decipher them. "There's work of understanding voices, sounds, alarms, attribution of different voices," he said.
Despite this, one day after the premature conclusions of the military official as revealed by the NY Times and the cautious comments of the BEA chief, public prosecutor Brice Robin agreed with the military official's conclusion and decided to open a criminal prosecution case, saying: "the intention was to destroy the plane". This is a disturbingly premature approach for a public prosecutor to take and it makes us wonder if someone wanted to quickly establish a narrative that would become the official story rather than wait for the results of a thorough investigation. Indeed, the act of declaring the crash a criminal case means that the investigation will no longer be primarily conducted by the BEA.
Whether or not a full investigation by anyone can even take place has, however, been thrown into doubt with conflicting stories about the all-important second "black box" or Flight Data Recorder. In the same story where it first published the comments by the French military official that established the "suicide co-pilot" narrative, the New York Times claimed that the second black box housing the FDR had been found but the data card containing the information was missing. More recently, official sources in Europe have said that the FDR box itself "may never be found". I have to say, that's a little too convenient for my taste.
(C) Maxppp /LandovWreckage from the crash. The plane virtually disintegrated.
After the initial release of the basic information from the CVR about the "voices" and "lock out" from the cockpit, further details have been added and the story fleshed out by the mainstream media, with some pundits going so far as to 'imagine' what the pilot was thinking. Chief reporter for the UK Telegraph Gordon Rayner, for example, mused:Something changed when Capt Sonderheimer began briefing Lubitz on the landing programme. Lubitz, 27, became "curt" in his replies, but, fatefully, Capt Sonderheimer thought nothing of it.
Amid this navel gazing, scant media coverage has been given to the eyewitnesses who heard an explosion and saw smoke coming out of the plane shortly before it crashed. A helicopter pilot in the French Air Force based in Orange, 30 minutes away from the site of the crash, said that the French Air Force had received a number of corroborating witness testimonies on this point. He also confirmed that debris was found upstream from the crash site - which he said confirmed the fact that the piece of fuselage had "been detached from the aircraft before impact".But the mainstream media rumor mill was already in full flow, and in the space of four days, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz went from an enthusiastic, outgoing young aviator with no sign of depression and dreams of becoming a long-haul flight captain, to a raging narcissistic depressive with a vision problem and a homicidal death wish, and 'evidence' taken from his house to back it up.
One of the major pieces of data used to justify the "suicide pilot" story comes from the alleged CVR recording where, we are told, Lubitz's 'breath' can be heard. This claim has been directly contested by Gerard Arnoux, an 18-year Air France captain and spokesperson for the national monitoring committee on aviation safety, who appeared on 'Le Grande Journal' two days after the crash. Arnoux stated that there were three errors in the official story:
1) It is not possible to hear a pilot's breath on the CVR. Arnoux states that the cockpit of 1st generation A320s are very noisy, so much so that, in flight, pilots had to use headsets to speak to each other. The idea that the CVR could pick up Lubitz's breath with so much ambient noise is not possible, according to Arnoux.
2) The official story claims that investigators heard the 'beep' of the knob that Lubitz used to start the plane on its descent. Arnoux states categorically that this knob makes no sound.
3) Arnoux also wonders why no mention was made by investigators of hearing the loud strident beeping made by the cockpit door console when the emergency access code is entered to open the cockpit door. Arnoux recognizes that the emergency unlock code could have been overridden by someone in the cockpit manually holding the lock button down, but this would not have prevented the beeping once the code was entered outside. This would have been the clearest confirmation that one of the pilots had been locked out. Yet no mention was made of it. Instead, we are asked to accept the word of those privy to the CVR that someone was "banging on the door" and shouting "open the damn door". And with all that ambient noise in the cockpit too. They must have very good hearing.
It is interesting to hear the response to Arnoux's comments from another member of the panel on the show. He says "so why would the public prosecutor disseminate false information? Are they hiding something?" The response from the others is that he must simply be "misinformed"...In terms of the way this 'investigation' has been handled, it bears similarities to the case of Egypt Air Flight 990. That crash was most likely the result of an anomalous weather event that proved too much for the mechanical constraints of the aircraft, but from Boeing's point of view, a "suicide pilot" is a much more financially-appealing explanation, so they went with that and opened a criminal investigation, much to chagrin of the Egyptian authorities.
My heart goes out to all the families of the victims of this crash, but I feel particular sympathy for the family of Andreas Lubitz. Not only have they lost a son and brother, but their memories of him will be forever tainted by the character assassination currently underway in the mainstream media that always prefers a dramatic Hollywood-style story to a sober and honest investigation.
Dude named Ben debunks attacks
Not sure if you saw it, but there was a minor kerfuffle last week regarding some state government sites being brought down by a new Russian hacking group, "Vikingdom2015." Local news article here: http://www.pressherald.com/2015/03/24/maine-gov-website-down-for-second-day/
I'm a dude named Ben for a company that does traveler information services for 15 state/city transportation agencies, several of which were on the Vikingdom target list posted to pastebin: http://pastebin.com/4FtKhSRN
The relevant part and reason I'm writing is that this had **nothing to do** with Russia at all. When they tried to overwhelm our systems, I caught them in the act after our monitoring went off a few days in a row at the exact same time. The IP addresses they were attacking from were in IP space owned by the US military, and the reverse DNS was all af.mil.
See for yourself: https://imgur.com/7xSp5L7. The IP is registered in WHOIS to the 754th Electronic Systems Group, and is listed in reverse dns as offutt-pxyw4e.afnoc.af.mil. I have no idea what good it does for the chair force to attack government contractors, other than to try to pin it on Russia, but you'd think they'd at least bother to spoof their IP in that case.
Love the show, keep up the good work, etc.
Our Latest Tool to Combat Cyber Attacks: What You Need to Know | The White House
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:12
"Starting today, we're giving notice to those who pose significant threats to our security or economy by damaging our critical infrastructure, disrupting or hijacking our computer networks, or stealing the trade secrets of American companies or the personal information of American citizens for profit." -- President ObamaFor the first time, President Obama is giving our country a new tool to combat the most significant cyber threats to our national security, foreign policy, or economy. It's an important step, and many people may be wondering how it will work. Take a look at a few answers to some questions you may have on how the President's latest Executive Order will bolster our cybersecurity:
1. Why is President Obama issuing an Executive Order? We live in an information age '' almost every aspect of our daily lives is entwined in some way with the Internet. Here's the problem: The very networks that we rely on to enable many aspects of our increasingly digital lives are vulnerable to cyberattack. Every day, malicious actors are targeting our businesses, trade secrets and critical infrastructure, and sensitive information '' and many of these attacks originate from outside our borders.
When it comes to the worst actors, one of the biggest challenges we currently face is developing tools that will allow us to respond appropriately, proportionately, and effectively to malicious cyber-enabled activities, and to deter others from engaging in similar activities. With this Order, President Obama is taking action to give America a new way to confront the growing threat posed by significant malicious cyber actors that may be beyond the reach of our existing capabilities.
2. What does the Executive Order do exactly? This Executive Order authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on those individuals and entities that he determines to be responsible for or complicit in malicious cyber-enabled activities that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, economic health, or financial stability of the United States.
3. What kinds of malicious cyber-enabled activities does this Exectuive Order cover? The Executive Order is tailored to address and respond to the harms caused by significant malicious cyber-enabled activities. These activities include:
Harming or significantly compromising the provision of services by entities in a critical infrastructure sectorSignificantly disrupting the availability of a computer or network of computers, including through a distributed denial-of-service attackMisappropriating funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers, or financial information for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gainKnowingly receiving or using trade secrets that were stolen by cyber-enabled means for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gainAttempting, assisting, or providing material support for any of the harms listed aboveOur focus will be on the most significant cyber threats we face '' namely, on actors whose malicious activities could pose a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, economic health, or financial stability of the United States.
4. Who will we target with this new tool? This tool will be used to go after the worst of the worst of malicious cyber actors: Those whose cyber activities '' whether directed against our critical infrastructure, our companies, or our citizens '' could threaten the national security, foreign policy, economic health, or financial stability of the United States.
5. How effective will sanctions really be? Malicious cyber actors often rely on U.S. infrastructure to commit the acts described in the Order, and they often use our financial institutions or partners to transfer their money. By sanctioning these actors, we can limit their access to the U.S. financial system and U.S. technology supply and infrastructure. Basically, sanctioning them can harm their ability to both commit these malicious acts and to profit from them.
6. What about the Sony Pictures hack? Could this Executive Order have been used then? The President signed an Executive Order in January 2015 authorizing additional sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). That Executive Order was a response to the DPRK Government's ongoing provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies, particularly its destructive and coercive cyber attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment and threats against movie theaters and moviegoers.
President Obama took the Sony attack seriously and you can read more about that Executive Order and his response here.
7. If this is just one tool, what are the other ways we can respond to cyber threats? The President is using a broad range of tools '' including diplomatic engagement, trade policy, and law enforcement mechanisms '' to address cybersecurity threats like these. We are bolstering the government's network defenses, sharing more information with the private sector, and standing up the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC) to provide integrated analysis of foreign cyber threats within the federal government and help ensure that our government centers that are responsible for cybersecurity and network defense have access to the intelligence they need to perform their missions.
Moreover, we have sent Congress legislation to further enhance our cybersecurity by strengthening protections for victims of identity theft, modernizing law enforcement tools for investigating and deterring cybercrimes, and promoting increased cyber threat information-sharing among the private sector and government.
8. So when and how will the U.S. government decide to actually use these sanctions? This authority will be used in a targeted and coordinated manner in response to the most significant cyber threats we face, whether they are directed against our critical infrastructure, our companies, or our citizens, when the activities could threaten the national security, foreign policy, the economic health, or financial stability of the United States.
In addition, it's important to know who we are not targeting. These sanctions will in no way target the victims of cyberattacks, like people whose computers are unwittingly hijacked by botnets or hackers. Nor is this Order designed to prevent or interfere with the cybersecurity research community when they are working with companies to identify vulnerabilities so they can improve their cybersecurity. The targets of these sanctions are malicious actors whose actions undermine our national security.
Dig Deeper:
Michael Daniel is Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator
On-the-Record Press Call on the President's Executive Order, ''Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities''
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:17
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 01, 2015
Via Telephone
10:05 A.M. EDT
MS. MEEHAN: Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining this press call to discuss the President's executive order, ''Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.'' It's a mouthful.
This call is on the record but will be embargoed until the end of the call, so please no social media until the call is over. On the record means obviously that you can quote the senior administration officials by name and title. They are Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator, Michael Daniel. And our second official is Department of the Treasury Acting Director for the Office of Foreign Assets Control, otherwise known as OFAC, John Smith.
So with that, I'll turn it over to our first official, Michael Daniel.
MR. DANIEL: Thank you, Bernadette. Thank you, everyone, for taking the time to talk with me today. As we are all very much aware in this day and age, cyber threats are some of the most serious national security and economic challenges facing the United States. And over the last few years, the administration has been pursuing a comprehensive strategy to confront this threat. And in particular, what I want to talk to you about today is one new element of that strategy that we're rolling out -- a sanctions E.O. to respond to the most significant cyber threats.
In particular, we believe that we very much need the full range of tools across the spectrum in order to actually confront the cyber threats that we face. So diplomatic, law enforcement, economic, military, intelligence -- all of those tools are necessary in order to combat this threat.
So we have been over the past several years putting those tools into place and expanding our capabilities and abilities to confront this threat, and this sanctions E.O. is one particular piece of that.
So what this sanctions E.O. is really designed to do is it is designed to fill in a gap that we have identified where individuals carrying out significant malicious cyber activity are located in places that it's difficult for our diplomatic and law enforcement tools to reach, whether because they're behind the borders of a country that has weak cyber security laws, or the government is complicit in, or turning a blind eye to, the activity that's happening and we don't have good law enforcement relationships or other kinds of relationships.
So what we are doing is putting in place a tool that will enable us to impose costs on those actors. And in particular, what we are doing is we are focusing on those actors that pose a significant threat to the national security, the foreign policy, or the economic health or security of the United States as a whole, and that carry out one of four explicit kinds of harms through cyberspace: damaging attacks on our critical infrastructure; disrupting computer networks, say, through a widespread distributed denial of service attack; widespread or significant thefts of personal information, financial data, trade secrets or intellectual property; and the knowing use and receipt of those stolen goods.
So it's important to note that we very much intend this tool be one that is targeted and judicious in its use. It's not one that we are expecting to use every day. In most cases, our diplomatic and law enforcement and other tools will be the ones that we turn to first. But it's important that we have this capability in our toolbox in order to go after the threats that we face. We will not certainly be using this to target free speech or interfering with the free and open Internet, and we're not going to be going after the innocent victims of people whose computers were taken over and used by malicious actors. So it's a very targeted and limited authority.
So we know that sanctions are not a cure-all for this particular threat, but it is an important tool for us to have. The last thing I would say is we are not -- and Treasury can go into this in more detail -- we are not announcing any designations under this new authority today. We are putting in place the framework so that it's available for us to respond, if we needed to rapidly, to an emerging cyber threat. In the future, we will use this tool in a targeted and coordinated way against the worst of the worst, the most serious overseas malicious actors, the ones that could actually threaten the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States.
So with that, I'll turn it over to John over at Treasury.
MR. SMITH: Good morning. This is John Smith from the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Thanks for joining us this morning. I'm going to briefly discuss some of the details of the new executive order. I should start by saying we are excited about this new tool that will allow us to expose and isolate those behind malicious cyber activity. The executive order allows us to put a name to those who go to great lengths to mask their identity, to expose our adversaries behind these attacks for the world and, of course, financial institutions to see.
As Michael noted, this new executive order authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on individuals or entities that engage in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health, or financial stability of the United States.
Since Michael went through some of the details of the executive order, I'll highlight a few points and I'm happy to take more detailed questions afterward about today's action. This authority is focused on significant threats, threats that endanger the national security or foreign policy of the United States, or our economic health and financial stability. It's also focused on protecting critical infrastructure. This action builds on efforts by the U.S. government and public-private partnerships to disrupt threats and hasten response-and-recovery efforts by punishing malicious cyber actors.
I think it's important to note that while this authority is powerful, it is a piece of the larger U.S. government response to enhancing cyber security. This means that we intend to use this tool judiciously and in extraordinary circumstances. It will not replace law enforcement mechanisms, and we intend to work closely with law enforcement in the careful application of this tool.
Finally, as Michael noted, this authority is not designed to police the Internet or stifle technological innovations. Just as we have a responsibility to protect the U.S. financial system from abuse by malicious actors, we have a responsibility to protect the United States from those who exploit our information technologies to threaten our critical infrastructure, our economic health and financial stability, and other core interests.
With that said, I'm happy to answer any questions.
Q I want to focus on the potential sanctions against companies that knowingly benefit from the fruits of cyber espionage. When the Justice Department indicted those five Chinese military hackers, FBI Director James Comey said, ''For too long, the Chinese government has blatantly sought to use cyber espionage to obtain economic advantage for its state-owned industries.'' From that, one presumes that the U.S. government has evidence that Chinese state-owned industries have knowingly benefitted. Can you talk about whether you do have that evidence and how far it extends? And what's the potential universe of companies here that could be sanctioned?
MR. DANIEL: Sure, so I'll start at the top and then I'll ask Treasury to sort of comment on kind of the standards of evidence that we use.
I'm certainly not in any position to speculate on the particulars of any given company and what we might have in terms of evidence. What I can say from a broad standpoint is that we know that in many cases, not just in any one country, but across a wide swath of the planet, actually, there are companies that hire hackers to steal intellectual property. And we don't want to just deter those that are actually with their fingers on the keyboard, but also those that are behind those groups and that are funding those groups and are enabling those groups to carry out their activity.
So that's why we felt it was important to have a broader tool that encompassed more than just kind of the individual hackers that are carrying out the activities, as important as that is to deter, but we also wanted to deter those who are paying for it.
John, do you want to add anything to that?
MR. SMITH: Sure, I agree with what you said, Michael. And I would just emphasize, as I think we've said, that this executive order is not targeted at any one country or region. As Michael noted, this is activity that we see coming from regions and countries and jurisdictions around the world. And we're focused on the activity and the threats that the activity poses to the U.S. and the U.S. financial system.
I can't talk about any evidence that we have or any targets that we may go after; that's something that we work very cooperatively with our interagency partners, including the Justice Department, on where we may go next. I can say that we will work aggressively to make sure that the U.S. government and our whole-of-government approach is able to go after the cyber threats that we face.
Q Hey, guys, thanks for doing the call. Tell me, how do these sanctions that were outlined here, how is it different from the sanctions that the President went ahead and ordered on the North Korean individuals and North Korean intelligence agency after the Sony attack? And would the Sony attack have qualified for these types -- in other words, would that attack meet the conditions that you're outlining here at justifying these sanctions?
MR. DANIEL: So I think in broad terms -- again, I'll let Treasury follow up and comment on the specific details. In my view, what sets this executive order apart is that it is focused on malicious cyber activity. And it's the first of its kind in this space where we don't have to rely on a sanctions regime that is, in fact, targeted at a particular country or group of actors within a country, but is more broad-brushed than that.
At the same time, it's narrow in the sense that it's not just any malicious activity; it's specific activity that is of a significant level to affect the national security or the economic health of the United States, and that it is associated with one of those four really important harms that I was talking about.
It's very difficult to speculate whether or not we would have used this tool with respect to Sony. I can say that obviously we will now -- this will become one of the tools that we will have in our toolbox. And going forward, if we face similar incidents like that, it will certainly be something that we will consider, and we will consider whether we have the evidence in a form that we are willing to disclose publicly, that we would be willing consider using this tool.
John, do you want to add something from Treasury's perspective?
MR. SMITH: Sure. I think I agree once again, Michael, with much of what you've said in terms of how does a Sony attack differ and what would our response be. I look at sanctions programs as coming in two broad types, and we have sanctions programs that focus on jurisdictions like North Korea, Iran, other jurisdictions that are really in the news and that we have particular criteria that relate to those jurisdictions. And then we have some sanctions, executive orders that allow us to target activity wherever the attack activity that threatens the U.S. interests may occur, may arise from.
And this joins the ranks of our counterterrorism authorities, our narcotics authorities, our transnational and criminal organization authorities that allow us to go after activity and the threat that that activity poses to the United States wherever it may come up. So it wouldn't matter to me whether the next threats come from North Korea or anywhere else, if this gives us the tool in our toolbox to go after that activity. Whether or not that attack would qualify under this executive order isn't something that we've calculated. What I'm looking from the future is what can we do under this executive order, and that's what our focus will be.
Q Can you be more specific about how you define ''malicious''? What would the tipping point be to trigger something like this? And also, do you have a sense of when you expect to name individuals or groups in this first round of sanctions, if that's already on your radar?
MR. DANIEL: So, I'll let John handle the first part of that question. The second half -- no, we don't have a particular timeline. We wanted this authority in place to deal with any emergent threat. Obviously, we have a robust -- very robust interagency process to identify particular targets that we would consider. And we are going through that process, and we will see what comes out of it. But we certainly don't have any particular timeline on that at this point.
MR. SMITH: And I'll just add from the Treasury perspective. If you look at malicious cyber-enabled activities and kind of the title and the preamble to the executive order, how we define or characterize what ''malicious'' would be is really with respect to the harms that you see in sections 1(a)i and then A through D of the executive order, when the executive order has harming or compromising the provision of services by a computer or network of computers that support a critical infrastructure sector, or significantly compromising the provision of services by entities in that sector. Those would be what we would consider to be -- those are examples of some of what we would consider to be the malicious cyber-enabled activities.
Q I just want to follow up on Peter Baker's question if I can, and see if I can get a little more specificity, understanding you don't want to look back. But is there something about this executive order that would open up a new tool box in a case like Sony? Or is it really more about location as opposed to the types of sanctions, in that case? I'm just, for our own edification, trying to figure out would this have changed the game there and going forward, or no because of it being North Korea.
MR. DANIEL: So I think in my mind, the way that I look at this would be what we are trying to do is enable us to have a new way of both deterring and imposing costs on malicious cyber actors wherever they may be, and across a range of threats that we face, both to our critical infrastructure and to our intellectual property and personally identifiable information.
And in that realm, we wanted to separate out location from that, because obviously cyber incidents tend to flow very easily across international boundaries, and so trying to tie that to particular locations just didn't make sense sort of in the cyber area. So we had to look at the kinds of regimes, like John alluded to, of CT and narcotics and transnational crime where what you're focused on is the activity and the harm involved.
Certainly, our experience of looking at how to craft the proportional response that the President called for in response to the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, certainly that process informed us as we are finishing up this executive order and highlighted the need for us to have this capability and to have this tool. But I think that's really how I would frame up an answer to your question.
MR. SMITH: And this is John, and I'd just add in that we should emphasize that what we did with each one of the executive orders -- the North Korea authority versus the authority here -- the North Korea authority gave us the authority to designate officials of the government of North Korea, officials of the Workers' Party, and those that materially assist or support the government or those officials.
And so we took the actions that we did in the beginning of January as a response to certain provocative activities in North Korea, including the Sony Pictures attack. But it wasn't directly a response in the executive order criteria to cyber-enabled activities -- malicious cyber-enabled activities of the government.
This allows us to have an executive order that actually focuses directly on the activities of concern, whether they arise in North Korea or another jurisdiction. And we can directly target those malicious cyber-enabled activities that are of concern, rather than targeting as a response to an attack -- officials of the government or other persons who meet our criteria.
Q Hi, thanks so much for taking my call. The order talks about interruption of computers and networks not just within the 16 critical sectors of infrastructure, but also organizations that support those sectors. If you look at the sectors, they're fairly wide-ranging. They include information technology; they include the financial services sector. I guess my question is, it seems that, in fact, any sector of the economy affected by a foreign attack would be potential fodder for a sanctions. Is that a correct reading of the order?
MR. SMITH: I think that in the short term, if it is something -- to answer your question, if it was an attack that actually rose to the level, or a disruption of service that rose to the level of posing a significant threat, or materially contributing to a threat to the national security, foreign policy, or the economic health or financial stability of the United States -- which is quite a mouthful to keep repeating -- but if it meets one of those tests, then we wanted to be sure that we could actually use this tool against it.
So, yes, if you were affecting a network of some entity in the -- some group of entities probably in the United States that rose to that level -- that it was actually posing a threat, for example, to our overall economic health -- then I think most people would say, yes, that's the kind of thing you would want the U.S. government to be combatting. And this is one way that we could do that.
But obviously we would have to be able to make the case that, in fact, that group of entities that were being affected by that disruption met that significance test.
Q Hi, thanks very much. Two questions. One is, attribution can be very hard. So what level of evidence would you need? Is it reasonable cause or (inaudible) standards? And separately, (inaudible) I'm still a little bit lost about what does this new executive order allow you to do that you couldn't already do in that --
MR. DANIEL: John, do you want to take the first part of that?
MR. SMITH: Sure, I can start off. The standard of evidence is reasonable basis to believe or reasonable cause to believe. It's the basic standard of evidence that administrative agencies across the government use under the Administrative Procedure Act, under which we operate. And so that's the standard of evidence that we use. When we do a designation or target someone under the authority we always do it publicly, we identify it publicly. And we put out a fact sheet or press release, outlining the unclassified aspects of the case so that the international community and the U.S. financial system know the reasons that we're taking the action.
In terms of what this authorizes us to do that we could not do before is, before we had country-specific executive orders that allowed us to designate. For example, with respect to North Korea, we had the authority under the executive order to designate officials -- if we chose -- to designate officials of the government, officials of the Workers' Party. We did not have the authority to designate based on the activities of threatening the U.S. through their malicious cyber-enabled activities. Now we have that authority based on the malicious cyber-enabled activities that they do that we can target directly those activities and not indirectly officials of a government where we may have a sanctions program. So this allows us to go much broader beyond those countries, beyond those areas where we have sanctions programs, and this allows us to target the activity itself wherever it arises.
Q So a couple questions. I'm just wondering, are there any past examples, recent examples in the last few years in which you think this authority would have been used, that you would have looked to this authority? For example, maybe the (inaudible) attacks against the banks. And then I'm also wondering, what would the sanctions actually look like? What kind of punishment would anybody who is designated under these sanctions actually face?
MR. DANIELS: I think that sort of speculating how we would have used this tool in the past is very difficult because the circumstances are going to vary, and we didn't have the benefit of having this tool when we went through the policy discussions. Certainly, I can say that the class of activities that are, again, something that has the potential to cause widespread disruption to our financial sector, obviously something that would meet the significance test for the financial stability of the United States if we felt that we could make the case, as John just laid out -- in the way that he laid out, that we would consider using this tool.
And also, keep in mind that some of our view here is that we want to have this tool available as a deterrent and through those that would consider carrying out some of these activities. So it's not just actually composing the sanctions where we hope to have the effect. So I think that certainly it's both targeted, in the sense it has to be very significant and meet those four harms, but it's also very broad in that those harms cut across a wide swath of activity.
John, do you want to follow up on that?
MR. SMITH: Sure. I agree again with what you said, Michael. I would say that, from our view, the past informs the present. And in terms of the examples that we've seen in the past helps us shape the executive order to make sure that we have the maximum flexibility of targeting so that we can go after the targets that are really of concern, while also demonstrating that those targets have engaged in the significant level of threat and activity to fall within the scope of the executive order.
In terms of what the punishment is, as you -- I think the word you used, what would the sanctions look like. What happens as a result of our sanctions authority is we freeze the assets -- anyone subject to U.S. jurisdiction would have their assets frozen. Also, it prevents U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with those named under our executive order. So it basically freezes in place now any assets, and it also prevents future activity, future transactions; any further assets coming through the country would be frozen. And it also has a visa ban restriction that the State Department administers.
Q I know you said you don't want to target innocent victims. I just want to get into the question of, is there any due process involved if somebody feels they are wrongly targeted, wrongly sanctioned? Is there any judicial review, is there any process to appeal this?
MR. SMITH: The answer is, yes, there is due process involved. Anyone who is sanctioned under this authority has the ability to challenge their designation with OFAC. They can bring an administrative petition with us, or they can go -- at the same time, choose not to come to the agency and they can file suit in any federal district court in the country.
Q You said that part of the problem in cybersecurity is going after people who are in fairly obscure jurisdictions around the world where you don't have legal authority. How many of the people do you think that are engaged in cyber-attacks actually have assets in the U.S. or in places where you can get them? And how much money do you think there is in terms of assets held by cyber-attackers in the United States?
MR. DANIEL: So that's a good question. I think that that's a very difficult one to answer with any degree of specificity. But obviously, given the scope and breadth of the U.S. financial system and the fact that many, many actors try to convert their malicious -- what they steal through cyberspace and to launder it into open money, it means that a lot of that does wash through the U.S. financial system. And so I think that we do believe that there is an opportunity to impact those entities financially. It's I think very difficult to sort of get the scope and scale of it.
The other thing I would say is that we would also hope that some of our allies and aligned countries would consider joining us in creating these kinds of regimes so that it would not just be the United States that would be able to impose these sanctions but other countries as well. And if we started building a coalition of those kinds of authorities you could really start to have a financial impact.
MR. SMITH: And I would add that the prevalence of the U.S. dollar in the international financial system means that many transactions come through the United States that, frankly, people did not intend. If you engage in a transaction in third countries, often the transaction may be -- the contract may be specified in U.S. dollars and may send transactions from their banks in countries that are far away from U.S. borders and they come through the U.S. financial system to be dollarized. So more often than you would expect, actors in third countries that attempt to engage in international transactions have their monies frozen when they run afoul of U.S. sanctions, even if they never knew that they had a U.S. footprint in their transactions before.
I'd also mention that the effect of the sanctions is a prohibition on dealings with U.S. persons. That means U.S. technology; that means U.S. goods. And when we're talking about the Internet and the use of the Internet and technologies around the world, many of these actors may try to rely on the sophistication of the U.S. technology sector, and this will also hinder them in that area as well.
The final piece that I would add, adding to Michael's point about hoping that other countries may join with us in a coalition -- we also don't have to wait for that to occur, because what we find with our sanctions authorities is that foreign financial institutions voluntarily comply with our sanctions list. They, frankly, do not want to deal with terrorists, narco-traffickers, transnational criminal organizations, or, after today, malicious cyber actors that we may put on our list. Foreign financial institutions voluntarily choose to comply, often close those accounts, and frequently freeze the assets as well.
We have much more cooperation offshore than many may expect. And that's been the strength of the U.S. sanctions authorities over recent years.
Q Can you speak a little bit about -- you're obviously going to have to have some pretty precise attribution to sanctioned individuals or entities who are responsible for this. So can you talk a little bit about how you think attribution has improved or why you think it's at the level that you can now use a precise tool like this? And related, are you concerned that you're going to have a lot of companies now coming to the administration and asking you to sanction people who are stealing their intellectual property, since we know that that is really a quite widespread problem, that a lot of companies are targeted?
MR. DANIEL: So I think that certainly our ability to do attribution has improved. You rightly note that it continues to be a challenge, and it was one that we will have to weigh very carefully when we consider designating a target about do we have the level of attribution that we are confident in and that meets the test that John laid out, and that we would be willing to provide that evidence openly.
I feel that the investments that we have made in our capabilities over the last few years make that a more tenable prospect, but certainly one that is not a foregone conclusion; that we will always be able to use this tool in every instance because of that. But I do believe that we are getting better at that, and that is something that we are continuing to pursue, honing our skills and improving our ability to do that kind of attribution.
I think that, in broad terms, whether we would expect a whole flood of requests, I don't think so. But to the extent that it does encourage companies to come forward and work more closely with U.S. law enforcement and give us a better picture of how truly widespread that is -- as you note, we do believe, based on the evidence that we have, that it is incredibly widespread and we want to encourage companies to work with us in a way that we can try to use all the tools that we have available to us, not just this one, but all the tools that we have to go after those that are stealing our intellectual property. So I would hope that the addition of this tool shows the commitment of the administration to protecting U.S. intellectual property and support our efforts in that regard. And that it does encourage more companies to come forward.
But I should be clear that this tool is not meant to protect any one individual U.S. company. It is designed to -- where we have widespread theft of our intellection property on a scale that actually affects the economic health of the United States as a whole. There are other tools that we have to go after -- through law enforcement and other things -- to go after those that are related to just individual companies. But certainly to the extent that we see a pattern emerge of an actor that is stealing intellectual property left and right from numbers or scores of U.S. companies and that is certainly something that we would consider.
MR. SMITH: I'll just echo what Michael said. In terms of the -- on the second point on having companies come to us and do we have any concern with that, and the answer is absolutely not. Again, echoing what he said, I think the more information about trade secret theft, the better off we are -- not only is the Treasury Department, the Justice Department, and all agencies of the U.S. government. So we would welcome the input from the private sector and others that may have relevant information on trade secret theft that would be covered by the executive order.
Q I know you guys are looking forward in terms of future cases for these new sanctions authorities, but I was wondering if they could be applied to many of the open cases in which suspects have been named in unsealed indictments or through other methods, but the suspects are residing in countries like Russia or elsewhere, where it's difficult to extradite them or bring them to the U.S. through other means. Could you be looking at some of these open cases where there are still suspects who were out there who haven't been caught or arrested yet?
MR. SMITH: So what I would say from -- this is John from the Treasury Department. I would say that certainly we'll look at all of the relevant information that we receive, and we will aggressively work with our interagency colleagues to make sure that we target those that deserve to be targeted under this executive order.
So we're going to look at all of the information that we have, all of the information that we receive, to determine what the target sets should be. And this is a widespread cooperative effort that we'll engage in to make sure that we go after those that are engaging in the significant types of threats and activities that this executive order is intended to cover.
Q Actually, she just asked the question that I was going to ask. This is a point that I wanted to sort of combine two questions. One is, going after cases where we have suspects in Russia. Currently, when you can't reach those, you often wait until they go on vacation in Thailand or some other place where you can nab them. And so I'm wondering if this is sort of another tool to go after those that you can't get in those -- or that you've waited in the past.
But I wanted to talk to the attribution questions that came from NPR. We had questions with the North Korea hack where the government did come out with some level of evidence that it had toward attribution. And I'm wondering what will be the threshold for what's publicly disclosed in terms of attributions to back a case, to make a case. You keep on talking about how you will make a case and whether you will have evidence for a case. But I'm wondering to what degree will that be publicly available for someone to either bring a case to dispute or for others to judge it on the merit.
MR. SMITH: I think the answer to the first question that you asked is I think this authority is intended to complement our existing authorities. We intend to work with other law enforcement and other agencies within the U.S. government to make the most of this authority. And so I think we will make a decision within the U.S. government as to how to best target any particular actor that we may be concerned about falling in with the scope of this executive order.
It may be to simply pursue the Justice Department criminal remedies that can be very powerful. It may also be for us to engage, because the sanctions tool would be seen to be a better fit and we may decide to wait until the moment is right. And you gave an example of when the moment could be right for certain actions. There are many, many moments in an investigation when it may be right for us to take action, when it may be the most beneficial, the most advantageous to our cases, and we will work those with the interagency to make sure that we strike when we should, when it's the most opportune moment.
In terms of what's publicly disclosed, with each and every designation action that we take under every one of our sanctions authorities, what we do is, to the extent that we're relying on classified information, we go through a rigorous process before that time to see -- before the designation is announced to see what we can declassify or what we can announce at the time so that with each and every designation we have some declassified information that can be included to explain the basis for our designation.
Sometimes we have more, sometimes it's more highly classified and there may be less that we can share publicly. But we do endeavor with each and every designation to go out with a public press release that outlines the reason we're taking the action.
Q Hi there. Thank you very much. My question is pretty simple. Would the enactment of CISA, if that happens, assist you guys in identifying parties that could be targeted with sanctions? And related, have there been any conversation with lawmakers about this framework?
MR. DANIEL: So certainly from my perspective, the enacting information-sharing legislation would, obviously to the extent that it increases the information flow between the government and the private sector, would certainly enable us to do a better job of amassing evidence, in identifying targets, and basically building the cases that we would need to use this tool. So, yes, it would certainly work in concert.
And, yes, we did do consultations with the Hill, as we do with all executive orders, as we were getting ready to roll this out. So there were definitely consultations with the appropriate congressional staff.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much. That will conclude this morning's call. I would like to thank very much Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel, and Department of Treasury Acting Director for the Office of Foreign Assets Control John Smith.
As a reminder, this call was on the record, and you can quote the two officials I just cited by name. And since the call is now over, the embargo is now lifted.
Thanks very much, everyone, for your attention and participation.
END 10:47 A.M. EDT
Executive Order '' Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 23:55
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 01, 2015
- - - - - - -
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, find that the increasing prevalence and severity of malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with this threat.
Accordingly, I hereby order:
Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:
(i) any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or indirectly, cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States and that have the purpose or effect of:
(A) harming, or otherwise significantly compromising the provision of services by, a computer or network of computers that support one or more entities in a critical infrastructure sector;
(B) significantly compromising the provision of services by one or more entities in a critical infrastructure sector;
(C) causing a significant disruption to the availability of a computer or network of computers; or
(D) causing a significant misappropriation of funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers, or financial information for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain; or
(ii) any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State:
(A) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have engaged in, the receipt or use for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain, or by a commercial entity, outside the United States of trade secrets misappropriated through cyber-enabled means, knowing they have been misappropriated, where the misappropriation of such trade secrets is reasonably likely to result in, or has materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States;
(B) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, any activity described in subsections (a)(i) or (a)(ii)(A) of this section or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;
(C) to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(D) to have attempted to engage in any of the activities described in subsections (a)(i) and (a)(ii)(A)-(C) of this section.
(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.
Sec. 2. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.
Sec. 3. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:
(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 4. I hereby find that the unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1(a) of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of such persons. Such persons shall be treated as persons covered by section 1 of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).
Sec. 5. (a) Any transaction that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 6. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the term "person" means an individual or entity;
(b) the term "entity" means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
(c) the term "United States person" means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States;
(d) the term "critical infrastructure sector" means any of the designated critical infrastructure sectors identified in Presidential Policy Directive 21; and
(e) the term "misappropriation" includes any taking or obtaining by improper means, without permission or consent, or under false pretenses.
Sec. 7. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 8. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
Sec. 9. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to submit the recurring and final reports to the Congress on the national emergency declared in this order, consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c)) and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).
Sec. 10. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
THE WHITE HOUSE,April 1, 2015.
'‹Obama announces hacker sanctions amid cyber-security 'national emergency' '-- RT USA
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 22:23
Published time: April 01, 2015 18:15Reuters / Pawel Kopczynski
An executive order signed by President Barack Obama gives the United States government the go-ahead to sanction suspected cyber-criminals with financial and travel restrictions amid a wave of high-profile hacks.
Citing the surge of assaults against the computer networks of US entities in recent months, Pres. Obama said Wednesday that he has declared a ''national emergency'' and accordingly authorized the US Treasury Department to sanction suspected hackers operating abroad in an effort to discourage future cyber-assaults.
On the heels of attacks suffered by Sony Pictures Entertainment, Target and a seemingly ever-expanding list of other victims as of late, this Obama administration newest effort is intended to amplify the government's ability to go after hackers and deter future online assaults that may otherwise have crippling effects. Coupled with the Department of Justice's recent promise to ramp-up its ability to counter foreign cyber-criminals through the creation of a new threat integration center, the latest memo from the White House reveals yet another option in the administration's growing toolkit with regards to its ability to tackle malicious actors who operate online. The language included in this week's directive is already raising concerns, however, and could be broad enough to give the federal government unmatched new powers in the digital realm.
The ''increasing prevalence and severity of malicious cyber-enabled activities'' originating overseas is posing an ''unusual and extraordinary threat'' to America's national security, foreign policy and economy, reads part of the 6-page executive order, ''Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,'' published by the White House on Wednesday. Being able to restrict those resources of individuals thought responsible, according to the president, provides his administration with ''a targeted tool for countering the most significant'' threats to be waged against the nation's critical infrastructure.
''This executive order supports the administration's broader strategy by adding a new authority to combat the most serious malicious cyber-threats that we face,'' the president said in a statement.
In an explanation published by the Treasury, the directive is described as ''intended to address situations where, for jurisdictional or other issues, certain significant malicious cyber actors may be beyond the reach of other authorities available to the US government.''
Under the directive, the Departments of the Treasury, Justice and State may consult with one another and come up with a list of persons believed to be responsible for or complicit in cyberattacks waged against US networks determined by the administration to be detrimental enough to warrant a reaction, be it by restrictions of the financial or travel variety.
Specifically, the order says an individual can be sanctioned if the government believes them to be involved in a cyberattack that harms, compromises or disrupts a computer network integral to critical US infrastructure. Also subject to sanctions, however, are any persons purported to have electronically pilfered or otherwise intercepted trade secrets or financial information with the intent of achieving monetary gain.
''No one connected to the internet is immune from these harms '' not businesses, not private citizens and not the government,'' Lisa Monaco, the homeland security adviser to the president, said of the threats posed by hackers in a statement this week. ''Moreover, the implications of these harms are as real as they are complex '' everyone can feel the effects of malicious cyber-activity, from the consumer who is forced to deal with the consequences of a data breach affecting a business with whom he or she deals, to the company whose trade secret is stolen by faraway competitors.''
''By freezing assets of those subject to sanctions and making it more difficult for them to do business with US entities, we can remove a powerful economic motivation for committing these acts in the first place,'' Monaco said. ''With this new tool, malicious cyber actors who would target our critical infrastructure or seek to take down Internet services would be subject to these costs when designated for sanctions.''
Officially, critical infrastructural components include vital systems and assets that could cause a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety and covers the communication, commercial and transportation sectors, among others, according to the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Sanctions for secret-spilling?Given that the executive order authorizes action to be taken against entities accused of assisting ''deliberate activities accomplished through unauthorized access to a computer system,'' though, concerns have already gave way regarding the possible use of the directive to censor foreign news outlets depending on how their source material has been obtained. Marcy Wheeler, an independent national security reporter formerly with The Intercept, wrote on her blog on Wednesday that there is the possibility that the administration might use the executive order to target foreign entities that disclose secret documents if they happened to be acquired in a method the doesn't cut the administration's mustard.
According to the Treasury, ''malicious cyber-enabled activities'' as described in the president's order includes ''deliberate activities accomplished through unauthorized access to a computer system, including by remote access; circumventing one or more protection measures, including by bypassing a firewall or compromising the security of hardware or software in the supply chain.''
''Does WikiLeaks' publication of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations qualify? Does Guardian's publication of contractors' involvement in NSA hacking?'' Wheeler asked.
Indeed, the Treasury said this week that the order ''is tailored to address cyber-enabled activities that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy or economic health or financial stability of the United States.''
''As this language indicates, it is intended to counter the most significant cyber-threats that we face, whether they target our critical infrastructure, our companies, our citizens or our economic health or financial stability,'' the Treasury said.
Previously, though, lawmakers have blamed WikiLeaks, the infamous secret-spilling organization, for being a danger to national security, especially after it published State Dept. and Pentagon documents taken by a US Army intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning, and successfully lobbied PayPal, Visa and MasterCard to stop processing donations to the anti-secrecy group. Last December, attorneys for the credit card processor used by WikiLeaks filed a lawsuit over what the blockade.
The Intercept, the Guardian and other publications with staff composed of US and non-US citizens alike have referenced classified US National Security Agency files provided by NSA contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden, and those disclosures have not only been detrimental to counterterrorism measures, according to administration officials, but have also exposed the US government's own reliance on tactics now considered sanction-worthy, as of this week's executive order. According to government documents provided by Snowden, the NSA has physically and remotely broken into computer systems to eavesdrop on intelligence targets and has routinely led efforts to compromise the security of major tech manufacturers' products.
For their role in the disclosures, Manning and Snowden have both been charged with espionage, with the former currently serving a 35-year prison sentence; Chicago hacktivist Jeremy Hammond is serving 10-years in prison for hacking a private intelligence company, Stratfor, and providing stolen company details to WikiLeaks; and several foreigners alleged to be operatives of Anonymous, the hacktivist movement Hammond acted with when he broke into Stratfor, remain wanted in the US for an array of attacks on government and corporate targets waged by the online collective.
One supposed former member of Anonymous from abroad who is still under indictment in the US for cyber-intrusions suffered by American entities jokingly told RT's Andrew Blake they didn't find fault with the administration's latest offering, ''as long as the rest of the world reserves the multilateral right to block, freeze, disrupt and appropriate all and any assets of the US government for its extensive, unilateral, unlawful and covert computer hacking activities in every country on the planet.''
'Aimed at United States activists'?Andrew ''weev'' Auernheimer, a 29-year-old computer hacker who was sentenced to prison for disclosing a security vulnerability that effected AT&T and Apple, added that the administration's latest order may be ineffective given the realm in which cyber-actors operate today.
''This measure would have been something to pass in the nineties, when technologies for irreversible currency transactions didn't exist,'' Auernheimer told Blake. ''As it stands, this is just going to hasten the advance of Bitcoin's adoption by criminal enterprises. Courts cannot seize Bitcoin without seizing the keys, which are held in countries hostile to United States enforcement arms.''
''Obama's administration continually attempts to give the impression they're fighting foreign cyber-crime, but every single indictment seems to be aimed at United States activists. I was falsely imprisoned by the Obama administration and tortured for legitimate and lawful public criticisms of his corporate allies,'' Auernheimer added. ''Before passing more regulations, his administration should do their duty of making amends to me for the terroristic violence it performed upon me.''Auernheimer's conviction for computer fraud wasvacatedby a federal appeals court in 2014.
Last month, John Carlin, chief of the Justice Department's National Security Division, said that the Justice Dept. is ramping up its ability to track down suspected cyber-criminals through the establishment of a new agency, the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center. Monaco, the president's homeland security adviser, said that the new center will ensure ''information is shared rapidly among existing cyber-centers and other elements within our government and supporting the work of operators and policy makers with timely intelligence about the latest cyber-threats and threat actors,'' and ''connect the dots'' between cyber-threats ''so that relevant departments and agencies are aware of these threats in as close to real time as possible.''
New Firefox version says ''might as well'' to encrypting all Web traffic | Ars Technica
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 22:22
Developers of the Firefox browser have moved one step closer to an Internet that encrypts all the world's traffic with a new feature that can cryptographically protect connections even when servers don't support the HTTPS protocol.
Further ReadingOpportunistic encryption, as the feature is known, acts as a bridge between plaintext HTTP connections and fully compliant HTTPS connections based on transport layer security or its predecessor, protocol secure sockets layer. These traditional Web-based encryption measures require site operators to obtain a digital credential issued by a browser-recognized certificate authority and to implement TLS protection through OpenSSL or a similar code library. Even then, many sites are unable to fully encrypt their pages because they embed ads and other third-party content that's still transmitted in plaintext. As a result, large numbers of sites (including this one) continue to publish some or all of their content in HTTP, which can be readily manipulated by people with the ability to monitor the connection.OE, as opportunistic encryption is often abbreviated, was turned on by default in Firefox 37, which was released this week. The move comes 17 months after an Internet Engineering Task Force working group proposed OE become an official part of the HTTP 2.0 specification. The move garnered critics and supporters alike, with the former arguing it may delay some sites from using the more secure HTTPS protections and the latter saying, in effect, some protection is better than none. The chief shortcoming of OE is its lack of authentication for cryptographically validating that a connected server is operated by the organization claiming ownership.
In a recent blog post, Mozilla developer Patrick McManus laid out some of the thinking and technical details behind the move to support HTTP 2 in Firefox:
OE provides unauthenticated encryption over TLS for data that would otherwise be carried via clear text. This creates some confidentiality in the face of passive eavesdropping and also provides you much better integrity protection for your data than raw TCP does when dealing with random network noise. The server setup for it is trivial.
These are indeed nice bonuses for http:// - but it still isn't as nice as https://. If you can run https you should - full stop. Don't make me repeat it :) Only https protects you from active man in the middle attackers.
But if you have long tail of legacy content that you cannot yet get migrated to https, commonly due to mixed-content rules and interactions with third parties, OE provides a mechanism for an encrypted transport of http:// data. That's a strict improvement over the cleartext alternative.
Two simple steps to configure a server for OE
Install a TLS based h2 or spdy server on a separate port. 443 is a good choice :). You can use a self-signed certificate if you like because OE is not authenticated.Add a response header Alt-Svc: h2=":443" or spdy/3.1 if you are using a spdy enabled server like nginx.When the browser consumes that response header it will start to verify the fact that there is a HTTP/2 service on port 443. When a session with that port is established it will start routing the requests it would normally send in cleartext to port 80 onto port 443 with encryption instead. There will be no delay in responsiveness because the new connection is fully established in the background before being used. If the alternative service (port 443) becomes unavailable or cannot be verified Firefox will automatically return to using cleartext on port 80. Clients that don't speak the right protocols just ignore the header and continue to use port 80.
This mapping is saved and used in the future. It is important to understand that while the transaction is being routed to a different port the origin of the resource hasn't changed (i.e. if the cleartext origin was http://www.example.com:80 then the origin, including the http scheme and the port 80, are unchanged even if it routed to port 443 over TLS). OE is not available with HTTP/1 servers because that protocol does not carry the scheme as part of each transaction which is a necessary ingredient for the Alt-Svc approach.
McManus may be overstating the ease many site operators will have in supporting OE. At the moment, implementing HTTP 2 is anything but trivial, mainly because popular Web servers such as Apache and nginx don't yet ship with HTTP 2 support. Still, Mozilla's overture is a start. In February, McManus said nine percent of all Firefox release channel HTTP transactions were already happening over HTTP 2, as users with Firefox 35 or 36 beta connected to sites, such as Google and Twitter, that had implemented the updated protocol. Now that Mozilla offers fuller support in version 37, OE could gain wider use.
Über Sources
Goodluck Jonathan will be voted out
US had meeting with Buhari last year
Stole so much oil
$270m Off-Opec oil EVERY MONTH [Reuters reference]
Seperate pipelines to syphon it off
NOBODY got kidnapped (boko haram girls)
IRAN is also backing IS
Sunni Shia war is now a religious war
Iran to bring the Farsi empire back with Bagdahd as the capitol
IRAN will police the region
From our NEW economic Hit-Man
Nuke requirements and uses
How many centrifuges does Iran need to a) supply for atomic energy
programs b) build the bomb:
The key to nuclear fission weapons is based on enrichment. That means
that from a lump of dust you want to increase the concentration of
certain isotopes. The isotopes need to be fissionable (U-235 is the
target here) and they must come in a certain density to allow for
various types of chain reactions.
For energy production, the density (amount of U-235 vs anything else)
required is relatively low and the purity (presence of certain other
isotopes) required is also low. For weapons, the density must only be
slightly bigger (it starts at 20% but that gives you a very unreliable
and inefficient device, usually 85% is the target). However, purity
becomes a critical issue.
Now, enrichment works in stages. You essentially put the input material
into a solution, transform that into a gas, and then pump that through
a centrifuge. The centrifuge separates atoms (which is why you need
the gas stage, liquid or solid doesnt work on atoms but
molecules or lumps) by mass. U-235 has a mass different from other
elements and their isotopes. However, centrifuges only separate into
two masses. So, you get a "heavy" and a "light" output. Since the
input is a mixture of all kind of stuff, you need several stages for
enrichment. For density increase only few stages are required, for
purity increase you need lots of stages (you cut the input down more
and more finely). Furthermore, it takes a while to run a sample through
a centrifuge. It's not an instant process and only operates on minute
amounts of matter.
The various stages of centrifuges put in a series is called a
"cascade". Multiple cascades in parallel are called a "matrix". So, the
longer the cascades the better for purity. The bigger the matrix, the
more total output amount.
So, this is not a big conspiracy or mystery. It's plain old easy
Now, what does that mean:
For doing weapons grade (85% enriched, very low amounts of capturing
isotopes) Uranium you need a lot of stages, which means a lot of
centrifuges. To get enough Uranium of that isotope you also have to run
many cascades in parallel (have a big matrix).
However, to get fuel for nuclear power production, you need shorter
cascades but many more of them (since you need far more fuel). One thus
has to calculate the amount of Uranium needed for power production,
regulate the setup of the cascades, and from that calculate the number
of centrifuges. Simple "you need this many cascades to build a bomb" is
utter bullshit. The question is "how long to build it", and how are the
centrifuges arranged. Sure, you can build a bomb with a couple of
hundred centrifuges, but it takes a century to do so and the purity
will be so low that it will be unreliable and quickly self-degrading.
But you wont be able to ever get enough fuel for a nuclear power plant
from that - you burn it quicker than you can produce it.
From that, the negotiation goes to finding out how to regulate the
enrichment program so that the Iranians have a certain configuration of
cascades present (for nuclear fuel production) AND keep the total
number of centrifuges at a level that would create a warning time to
allow the "international community" to react IF Iran reconfigures their
cascades for nuclear bomb production.
The current numbers in negotiation are 3000-5000 centrifuges plus
import of pre-enriched Uranium for nuclear power production. The
critical mass of existing centrifuges that would reduce the warning
time below an acceptable limit (we're talking 18-24 month) is 8000
So, the variables are: Number of centrifuges, configuration of
cascades, warning time, inspections.
Again, forget the "we give them just enough centrifuges for building a
bomb". That is utter bullshit. Total lack of any understanding of the
technology in question.
Iran to control it all
With Iran and the Sauds pushing each other around, what's the role
of the West in this?
A moderate, non-nuclear but strong Iran is a perfect counterbalance to
the Sauds. Don't forget that there are interests to be protected that
do not allow for constant armed intervention. The Sauds must be
contained, Turkey must be contained. Iraq DID that when Hussein was
still in place. Now Iraq is waiting to be cut up between the Jordan,
Saudi-Arabia, the Kurds and Iran. But the result of that will be that
there will be a power shift. Somebody (the Sauds) will have the
majority of access to both oil and gas, together with the Kurds in the
north. But how can the Kurds bank on this? Only by either going through
Turkey or through the Sauds. Not a good idea. If the Turks and the
Sauds fuck with each other then, the whole balance will tip and the tap
will be closed. So, rather set up a three-way. If two of them fight,
have a third that can moderate (and ensure access). So, instead of
having Turkey and Saudi Arabia step into the next round of becoming the
dominant power (and remain to be it), introduce a third power that
keeps the other two from finishing each other. And that is Iran. It's
like putting a stool on three legs instead of one. Create a
controllable stability by having enough semi-equal parties. That should
ensure that no power there will be strong enough (and have the time
for) to create a leading power of the region. If any would, the West
would not just lose access to a little oil and gas, but it would also
see itself depend on this new player for the African access, AND it
would create a new power block that would include the middle and near
east, much of northern Africa and parts of the Turk countries. Look at
the map. That would be shit.
So, maintain a balance that has no clear dominance and that does not
allow anybody to break out of the scheme without making oneself
vulnerable. When Iraq was pulled out, and I do think that the plan
there simply went south, the West was trusting to be able to contain it
themselves. But Turkey and Saudi-Arabia didn't agree. Hence we have to
pull in Iran again to create a balance. Make Iran strong enough to be
that counter-balance that it historically has been in the past.
If you need more hints for why this is the actual story, rememb
Agenda 21
Kids Show
I am Bill from Indy. Long time boner, and I apologize for that, but in my defense I have a wife, two kids, a house, still drive my '98 Camry, and don't even have cable or a data plan, and strive to keep my family fed on a Dude Named Ben phone support job. I probably deserve a douchebag, but hopefully this will help out my standing with the Best Podcast in the Universe.
Attached I have clipped audio from the following YouTube clip:
Pocoyo Uses His Power at Earth Hour 2015
Pocoyo Uses His Power at Earth Hour 2015
View on www.youtube.com
Preview by Yahoo
When clipping I took out spaces, and got it down to 1:21. The show is obviously for toddlers/preschoolers, and some would find it disgusting brainwashing kids with this at a young age. Usually this is It seems something that you guys would like to deconstruct.
Also attached is my daughter's reaction to the video. She is 2 and her name is Lotte. Actually, I got a new mic and was testing it, when she came up, so I had her start saying boom shaka laka, and she messed up, and that was the way she corrected herself.
Enjoy, and thanks for putting out so much entertainment that gets me though so many difficult times.
Bill from Indy
U.N. Climate Chief: We're 'Intentionally' Transforming The World Economy | Truth Revolt
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 03:42
The United Nation's top climate change official Christiana Figueres announced this week that the group is actively working to "intentionally transform" the world's economic development model, a task she called the "most difficult" one the group has ever undertaken.
"This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history," UNFCCC Executive Secretary Figueres stated at a press conference in Brussels Tuesday.
The "intentional" reordering of the global economy, she told reporters, "will not happen overnight" due to the "depth of the transformation":
"This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 - you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation."
Figueres is optimistic that a new international treaty, the so-called "Lima draft"'--which she hopes will be adopted at climate change conference in Paris at the end of the year'--will be yet another step to the "transformation" of the world's economic model. The new treaty, she pointed out, was one of four parts of the process of economic reordering. UNRIC reports:
In addition to the treaty, there are the current Climate Change actions from now and until 2020, the financing packages and the so-called Intended National Determined Contributions (INDCs). These are the actions that countries intend to take under a global agreement from 2020 and have to be publicly outlined before the start of the conference. It is expected that all major economies will deliver their plans in time: the US, China, and the European Union have already shown their cards.
"We need to get to the maximum level of ambition of collective INDCs because what we are going to have to do all of the time is to close the gap between what science tells us where we have to be and where we actually are'...." said Figueres. "But the point is will we be at the end destination? I would argue, yes."
H/T TheDC.
California's First Mandatory Water Restrictions Ordered By Brown
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:40
Nope, no global warming here:
Gov. Jerry Brown, standing on a patch of brown grass in the Sierra Nevada that is usually covered with several feet of snow at this time of year, on Wednesday announced the first mandatory water restrictions in California history.
"It's a different world," he said. "We have to act differently."
Brown was on hand Wednesday as state officials took stock of historically abysmal levels of snowpack in the Sierra Nevada amid the state's grinding drought.
Brown ordered the California Water Resources Control Board to implement mandatory restrictions to reduce water usage by 25%. The water savings are expected to amount to 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months.
Other elements of Brown's order would:
--Require golf courses, cemeteries and other large landscaped spaces to reduce water consumption.
--Replace 50 million square feet of lawn statewide with drought-tolerant landscaping as part of a partnership with local governments.
--Create a statewide rebate program to replace old appliances with more water- and energy-efficient ones.
--Require new homes to have water-efficient drip irrigation if developers want to use potable water for landscaping.
--Ban the watering of ornamental grass on public street medians.
--Call on water agencies to implement new pricing models that discourage excessive water use.
--Require agricultural to report more water usage information to the state so that regulators can better find waste and improper activities.
--Create a mechanism to enforce requirements that water districts report usage numbers to the state.
"It is such an unprecedented lack of snow," said Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Survey Program. He's been attending the snowpack measurements since 1987 and said he had never before seen the ground barren of snow on April 1. "It's way below the records."
Obama's Strategy on Climate Change, Part of Global Deal, Is Revealed - NYTimes.com
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 05:54
WASHINGTON '-- The White House on Tuesday introduced President Obama's blueprint for cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by nearly a third over the next decade.
Mr. Obama's plan, part of a formal written submission to the United Nations ahead of efforts to forge a global climate change accord in Paris in December, detailed the United States' part of an ambitious joint pledge made by Mr. Obama and President Xi Jinping of China in November.
The United States and China are the world's two largest greenhouse gas polluters. Mr. Obama said the United States would cut its emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025, while Mr. Xi said that China's emissions would drop after 2030.
Mr. Obama's new blueprint brings together several domestic initiatives that were already in the works, including freezing construction of new coal-fired power plants, increasing the fuel economy of vehicles and plugging methane leaks from oil and gas production. It is meant to describe how the United States will lead by example and meet its pledge for cutting emissions.
But the plan's reliance on executive authority is an acknowledgment that any proposal to pass climate change legislation would be blocked by the Republican-controlled Congress.
At the heart of the plan are ambitious but politically contentious Environmental Protection Agency regulations meant to drastically cut planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's cars and coal-fired power plants. The plan also relies on a speedy timetable, which assumes that Mr. Obama's administration will issue and begin enacting all such regulations before he leaves office.
''We can achieve this goal using laws that are already on the books, and it will be in place by the time the president leaves office,'' said Brian C. Deese, Mr. Obama's senior adviser on climate change.
But the plan has also intensified opposition from Republican lawmakers who object to Mr. Obama's effort to build a climate change legacy. Republicans have called the rules a ''war on coal'' and an abuse of executive authority. Nearly every potential Republican presidential candidate has criticized Mr. Obama's climate change agenda. The issue is expected to be important in 2016 political campaigns, with Republican candidates vowing to undo Mr. Obama's E.P.A. regulations.
Republican leaders immediately savaged the plan Tuesday and announced their intent to weaken or undo it '-- and, by extension, to block the international efforts to reach a climate accord in Paris.
''Even if the job-killing and likely illegal Clean Power Plan were fully implemented, the United States could not meet the targets laid out in this proposed new plan,'' said Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader and Republican from Kentucky, who has been a vocal critic of the president's plan.
''Considering that two-thirds of the U.S. federal government hasn't even signed off on the Clean Power Plan and 13 states have already pledged to fight it,'' Mr. McConnell continued, ''our international partners should proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal.''
Environmental groups praised the plan, particularly the president's effort to work around Congress.
''The United States' proposal shows that it is ready to lead by example on the climate crisis,'' said Jennifer Morgan, an expert on international climate negotiations at the World Resources Institute, a Washington research organization. The research of Ms. Morgan's group has concluded that the United States can substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions under existing federal authority.
However, environmental groups also said far deeper cuts are necessary beyond 2025 to stave off the most devastating effects of climate change.
''In fact the U.S. must do more than just deliver on this pledge '-- the 28 percent domestic target can and must be a floor, not a ceiling,'' said Lou Leonard, vice president for climate change policy with the conservation group World Wildlife Fund.
Republicans also adamantly oppose Mr. Obama's efforts to reach the United Nations accord in Paris. To bypass the Senate '-- which would have to ratify United States involvement in a foreign treaty '-- Secretary of State John Kerry and other diplomatic officials are working closely with their foreign counterparts to ensure that the Paris deal does not legally qualify as a treaty.
Senator Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican, has put together legislation intended to nullify Mr. Obama's international climate change agreements. Republican leaders may try to add that as an amendment to must-pass legislation, like a critical spending measure later this year, to force the hands of Mr. Obama and other Democrats.
''Just as we witnessed throughout recent negotiations with Iran and during the previous climate agreement with China, President Obama and his administration act as if Congress has no role in these discussions. That's just flat-out wrong,'' Mr. Blunt said in a written statement.
''We will not stand by and allow the president to unilaterally enact bad energy policies that hurt our nation's poorest families and young people the most,'' he added. ''I'll continue working with my colleagues to ensure Americans' voices are heard.''
Todd D. Stern, the State Department's chief envoy on climate change, is telling other countries that the elements of Mr. Obama's plan will stay in place despite Republican opposition.
''Undoing the kind of regulation we're putting in place is very tough,'' he said.
However, the rules have already come under legal assault. Republicans intend to stress to other nations that the regulations could still fall to legal challenges.
There is also growing concern that most other countries have yet to submit similar plans. At a United Nations accord signed in Lima, Peru, in December, countries agreed to submit their plans to one of the organization's websites by the end of March. Climate policy experts said keeping to that timetable was important, so that each government prepared and analyzed its own domestic climate change plans and those of other nations.
But as of Tuesday, only the European Union, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland had done so. Most of the rest of the world's major polluters '-- including China, India, Brazil and Russia '-- are not expected to submit plans until at least June, and some expect delays until at least October.
The longer countries wait to submit their plans, experts say, the harder it could be to achieve a substantial agreement in December.
FACT SHEET: U.S. Reports its 2025 Emissions Target to the UNFCCC
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 23:24
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
March 31, 2015
State Department Submits President Obama's Ambitious 2025 Target to Cut U.S. Climate Pollution by 26-28 Percent from 2005 Levels
To view the INDC submission, click HERE.
Building on the strong progress made under President Obama to curb the emissions that are driving climate change and lead on the international stage, today the United States submitted its target to cut net greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The submission, referred to as an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), is a formal statement of the U.S. target, announced in China last year, to reduce our emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, and to make best efforts to reduce by 28%.
Last November, President Obama and President Xi '' leaders of the largest economies and largest polluters '' made the historic announcement of the respective post-2020 climate targets for the United States and China. For the first time, China committed to limit its greenhouse gas emissions, with a commitment to peak emissions around 2030 and to make best efforts to peak early, and to increase its share of non-fossil energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030. Following that historic announcement, the European Union put forward an ambitious and achievable INDC to cut their emissions 40% by 2030. And just last week, Mexico announced that it would peak its overall net greenhouse gases by 2026, backed by strong unconditional policies and a new bilateral task force to drive climate policy harmonization with the United States.
With these actions, as well as strong INDCs submitted by Norway and Switzerland, countries representing over 50% of global CO2 emissions have either announced or formally reported their targets. Today's action by the United States further demonstrates real momentum on the road to reaching a successful climate agreement this December in Paris and shows President Obama is committed to leading on the international stage.
The U.S. target will roughly double the pace of carbon pollution reduction in the United States from 1.2 percent per year on average during the 2005-2020 period to 2.3-2.8 percent per year on average between 2020 and 2025. This ambitious target is grounded in intensive analysis of cost-effective carbon pollution reductions achievable under existing law and will keep the United States on the pathway to achieve deep economy-wide reductions of 80 percent or more by 2050. The Administration's steady efforts to reduce emissions will deliver ever-larger carbon pollution reductions, public health improvements, and consumer savings over time and provide a firm foundation to meet the new U.S. target.
Building on Progress
Our leadership at the international level starts at home. In 2009, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were projected to continue increasing indefinitely. When entering office, President Obama set an ambitious goal to cut emissions in the range of 17 percent below 2005 levels in 2020. Throughout the first term, the Administration took strong actions to cut carbon pollution, including investing more than $80 billion in clean energy technologies under the Recovery Act, establishing historic fuel economy and appliance energy efficiency standards, doubling solar and wind electricity, and implementing ambitious energy efficiency measures.
Early in his second term, President Obama launched an ambitious Climate Action Plan focused on cutting carbon pollution, preparing the nation for climate impacts, and leading on the international stage to bring nations large and small to the table to pledge to act on climate change. In addition to bolstering first-term efforts to ramp up renewable energy and efficiency, the Plan is cutting carbon pollution through new measures, including:
Clean Power Plan: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed guidelines for existing power plants in June 2014 that would reduce power sector emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 while delivering $55-93 billion in annual net benefits from reducing carbon pollution and other harmful pollutants.
Standards for Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles: In February 2014, President Obama directed EPA and the Department of Transportation to issue the next phase of fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by March 2016. These will build on the first-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (model years 2014 through 2018), proposed and finalized by this Administration.
Energy Efficiency Standards: The Department of Energy set a goal of reducing carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 through energy conservation standards issued during this Administration. The Department of Energy has finalized multiple measures addressing buildings sector emissions including energy conservation standards for 29 categories of appliances and equipment as well as a building code determination for commercial buildings. These measures will also cut consumers' annual electricity bills by billions of dollars.
Economy-Wide Measures to Reduce other Greenhouse Gases: EPA and other agencies are taking actions to cut methane emissions from landfills, coal mining, agriculture, and oil and gas systems through cost-effective voluntary actions and common-sense regulations and standards. At the same time, the State Department is working to slash global emissions of potent industrial greenhouse gases, called HFCs, through an amendment to the Montreal Protocol; EPA is cutting domestic HFC emissions through its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program; and, the private sector has stepped up with commitments to cut global HFC emissions equivalent to 700 million metric tons through 2025.
Shut Up Slave!
Meatless Mondays Mom
Hi Adam! I am listening a day behind so another producer may have already emailed about this. We don’t have to wait for Veggie Thursdays. Various animal rights and global warming types already are pushing meatless Mondays on the slavelets. Many of the cafeterias have all vegetarian menus on Mondays to Save The Planet! My kids opt out of the government meal plan anyway, making the impact on them negligible. But they do delight on packing bacon on Monday because they don’t want the man telling them what to eat.
Also, wanted to bolster your idea that chickens need bugs. Our chickens love meat of all kinds, even chicken. Whenever we see “vegetarian fed hens” on the cartons, we feel those poor birds are being abused.
Love the show & have a great Easter! Katie
Feds Financing System to 'Automatically Detect' Cyberbullying | Washington Free Beacon
Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:20
BY:Elizabeth HarringtonMarch 27, 2015 5:00 am
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is financing the creation of a system for the ''automatic detection'' of cyberbullying.
The project was awarded this month to Rutgers University, which has received $117,102 so far. The real-time, automatic detection of hurtful online speech is necessary, according to the NSF grant, because cyberbullying is a ''critical social problem.'' The grant said 40 percent of American teenagers have reported being cyberbullied.
''This project aims to define new approaches for automatic detection of cyberbullying by integrating the relevant research in social sciences and computer science,'' the grant said.
The project will involve searching for keywords and studying the relationships between teenagers who send and receive mean online messages.
''Specifically, this research will advance the state of the art in cyberbullying detection beyond textual analysis by also giving due attention to the social relationships in which these bullying messages are exchanged,'' the grant said.
''A higher accuracy at detection would allow for better mitigation of the cyberbullying phenomenon and may help improve the lives of thousands of victims who are cyberbullied each year,'' it said.
The project hopes to employ ''social intervention mechanisms'' to prevent cyberbullying. Data on cyberbullying will also ''be made available to the larger research community.''
The project begins in July and is set to last through June 2017.
The goal of the project is to create ''better cyberbullying detectors.''
''By analyzing the social relationship graph between users and deriving features such as number of friends, network embeddedness, and relationship centrality, the project will validate (and potentially refine) multiple theories in social science literature and assimilate those findings to create better cyberbullying detectors,'' the grant said. ''The project will yield new, comprehensive models and algorithms that can be used for cyberbullying detection in automated settings.''
The grant added that ''text mining'' of cyber conversations is not enough, as the project also seeks to conduct data analysis on a ''much bigger scale.''
Vivek K. Singh, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University, is leading the project.
''I have worked on multiple projects including designing a novel media sharing application, detecting patterns in large scale Twitter feeds, and analyzing community behavior in social media to design mechanisms to 'nudge' people into suitable behaviors,'' he writes on his website.
Singh previously studied Twitter hashtags, arguing that people, ''make a conscious decision to hash-tag their post, because they want to relate it to an event which is relevant to others in the same spatio-temporal volume.''
Singh did not respond to a request for comment.
The Obama administration has placed a priority on preventing cyberbullying. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) runs a website to stop cyberbullying that encourages Americans to report mean online behavior to law enforcement and schools.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the first ever White House conference on the subject in 2011.
''If there is one goal of this conference, it is to dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up,'' President Obama said.
Other measures to counter cyberbullying have raised concerns about privacy and government overreach.
A new law in Illinois to combat cyberbullying allows school administrators to demand the passwords of student's social media accounts. Schools only need a ''reasonable cause to believe that a student's account on a social network contains evidence that a student has violated a school's disciplinary rule of policy,'' FOX 2 in St. Louis reported.
Australia is seeking to establish an ''Office of the Children's e-Safety Commissioner,'' who can fine social media networks AU$17,000 a day for not taking down a post that the government has deemed cyberbullying. A bill working its way through the Australian senate defines cyberbullying as ''seriously threatening, seriously intimidating, seriously harassing, or seriously humiliating.''
Liberal Australian senator Cory Bernardi warned that the legislation might go too far.
''Ultimately, children need to be taught a bit of resilience in some ways,'' he said. ''There is not always going to be someone there to pick up the hurt feelings.''
beard trend unraveled by scientists: Report
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 22:30
Unlike many hipster trends, there is at least one that science may have successfully demystified. Men are growing beards to assert dominance over other men and appeal to women, a report suggests.
Those are the findings of a new study commissioned by The University of Western Australia, according to a report in the UK publication The Telegraph. Published in the journal of Evolution and Human Behaviour, researchers studied 154 different species of primates, and found many males developed "badges" that boosted their sex appeal and made them more attractive to the females of its species.
Read MoreReal men don't cry, but they are exfoliating
The study underscores what has become a nettlesome problem for major shaving product companies like Gillette. The movement to "kill the shave" has upended traditional male grooming patterns, and is at least partly faulted for waning razor sales.
As a consequence, social media groups extolling the virtues of being hirsute have proliferated online, even marketing apparel and beard grooming accessories to the hairy and proud.
Dr. Cyril Gueter told The Telegraph that the distinguishing characteristics among apes and monkeys correlated to beards in humans. The recent boom in male facial hair, Gueter says, is related to intra-societal competition among males.
Accordingly, the more crowded with men a society is, the more they view other men as potential competitors, and display badges ostentatiously. The busier and more crowded with males a society becomes, the more competition there is and the more flamboyant the badges are.
Read MoreWorst holiday idea ever, so bad it's good
"In large groups where individuals are surrounded by strangers, we need a quick reliable tool to evaluate someone's strength and quality, and that's where these elaborate ornaments come in," Gueter told the publication
"In the case of humans, this may also include phenotypic extensions such as body decoration, jewellery and prestige items," he added.
The Telegraph's full report can be found here:
Ripped jeans cycle?
CRUISE SHIP TERROR ATTACK-Why President Obama is coming to Jamaica - Editorial - JamaicaObserver.com
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:04
Sunday, March 29, 2015
THE highly anticipated visit of United States President Barack Obama to Jamaica has raised the question as to why he chose this island.
While Jamaica has an advantage in location, which makes it the ideal place to meet Caribbean leaders, this cannot be the whole story. Air Force One can certainly make it from Washington, DC to Panama without stopping and without overflying Cuba and Jamaica.
In our view, Mr Obama's visit has both multilateral and regional dimensions. At the global level, the US has been preoccupied with terrorism, the Middle East (Syria, Israel and Palestine) and with extricating its armed forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. There have also been domestic political distractions due to the fundamentalist Republican majority in Congress. The result is that, for a time, US attention has been one of quiet complacency.
Now, the global pandemic of terrorist acts means that the Caribbean, which the US regards as its "Fourth Border", is actually one of the most vulnerable spots for US interests. Millions of American tourists visit the Caribbean each year, and those on cruise ships and American-owned airlines are very exposed because of the limited Caribbean security capacity and the need for more US security assets and personnel in the region.
At the regional level, the Caribbean is the region most severely affected by the global economic crisis following 2008. The mono-export economies are sinking in a sea of debt, partly of their own making. The perceived unwillingness to undertake the necessary and difficult economic adjustment is compounded by the ineligibility for most concessional development assistance facilities due to their high per capita incomes.
In the midst of the regional economic crisis, the US has been quietly observing, with a benign attitude, the increased presence of China and the influence which accompanied the dependence of many Caribbean countries on Venezuela's PetroCaribe.
In this context, Mr Obama's visit signals two developments. First, the US is reasserting itself in the region. It is putting pressure on the Maduro Government in Venezuela, anticipating its implosion. President Obama correctly and courageously is pressing ahead with the process of normalisation of relations with Cuba.
The US has also decided to help Caricom. While there is no reduction or huge US aid in the offering, the US will be pushing the IMF, World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank to do more to complement Chinese financing in preparation for less aid from Venezuela.
America now sees a market for its energy in the Caribbean and, apart from any economic gains, it would strengthen US influence.
Second, Mr Obama, like the IMF's Christine Lagrade, is signalling to the Caribbean and other indebted countries that the way Jamaica is pursuing an extremely difficult IMF programme is the way to go and is a prerequisite for future financial assistance. It is also an international endorsement of Jamaica, which is being held up as a model to the rest of the Caribbean.
In geo-political terms, Mr Obama is meeting the Caribbean for the first time since the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, and is conscious of the visits since then of the president of China and the prime minister of Japan. Finally, he is paving the way for a cordial reappearance of Cuba into the Inter-American system.
Whatsupic - Top 2 Pentagon Intelligence Officials Abruptly Quit
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:38
Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn abruptly announced his retirement Wednesday as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, after what current and former officials said were clashes with his boss and other opponents inside the Pentagon spy service.
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (left) and David Shedd, deputy director. DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Flynn's deputy, David R. Shedd, is also retiring, according to a statement from the agency.
The agency collects and analyzes foreign intelligence to support the U.S. military. The better-known CIA is a civilian agency that reports to the president.
A senior Defense official said Flynn, who took over the agency in July 2012, clashed repeatedly with his superior, Michael Vickers, the Pentagon's undersecretary for intelligence.
''He was trying to take DIA in a direction the rest of the department didn't want to go,'' the official said.
A former agency official and Flynn supporter said Flynn was undermined by an ''old guard'' at the agency who resisted changes he wanted to make. He sought to cut what he viewed as outdated intelligence programs in favor of allocating resources to newer threats, including cyber.
''Gen. Flynn wanted to take advantage of the budget pressures and the demand for a more adaptive agency to bring change and find efficiencies,'' the former official said. ''DIA is a bloated bureaucracy with overstaffed analytical elements still focusing on requirements that have been overtaken by applications in technology.''
No immediate successor was announced. One potential candidate mentioned in the Pentagon is Lt. Gen. Mary A. Legere, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence.
Flynn served as a top intelligence advisor to Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2010, he wrote a scathing report titled ''Fixing Intel'' arguing that military intelligence was largely irrelevant to the counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan.
This article was originally published in Stripes and can be accessed here.
Greece tells creditors it will run out of cash by April 9
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:45
Greece has told its creditors it will run out of money on April 9, making an appeal for more loans before reforms on which new disbursements hinge are agreed and implemented, but the request was rejected, euro zone officials said.
The appeal was made by Athens at a teleconference of euro zone deputy finance ministers on Wednesday organised to assess how far Athens still was from meeting the conditions for unlocking new financial aid.
Greece's appeal echoed remarks by Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis on Wednesday that the country would have to choose whether to pay back 450 million euros to the International Monetary Fund on April 9th or pay salaries and pensions. He said it would choose the latter.
A government spokesman later denied that Greece would miss the IMF repayment deadline. But the choice Athens said it would face was repeated at the closed teleconference with creditors.
Greece can get 7.2 billion euros of new loans from the euro zone and the IMF if it implements reforms that the previous government agreed would be the condition for disbursement.
The new government does not want to implement most of these measures because they go against its election promises of ending budget consolidation policies. It is now negotiating a new list of steps that would keep both sides satisfied.
The Greek representative on the call said that a deal on the reforms should not be a "post mortem" for the country as "there is no way we can go beyond April 9th", euro zone officials said.
He added that holding off with new loans until a deal with creditors can be reached was unrealistic.
But others on the call, including Germany, reiterated that for Greece to get the reminder of the 240 billion euro bailout, Athens would have to agree on the reforms and implement them and there was no chance of releasing the funds on April 9.
Euro zone officials pointed out to Greece that it could manage its liquidity by tapping funds of various entities in the Greek general government and those of state-owned companies, even if it had to pass appropriate laws to do so if necessary.
But Greece repeated that this would not be enough to cover both the IMF repayments and its wage and pension obligations in April after next week.
No resolution was reached on the call regarding what would happen if the talks continue beyond April 9.
New reform list far from satisfactory
Greece sent a more detailed list of planned reforms to institutions representing the creditors -- the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF -- earlier on Wednesday.
Alkis Konstantinidis | Reuters
People are seen in front of a Eurobank branch in Athens, Greece, March 19, 2015.
But the list was work in progress and far from satisfactory, representatives of the institutions said on the call.
Some policies, like social measures, went in the right direction, while others still lacked detail or an estimation of how much they would cost, they said.
Others still, like some measures on tax, the labour market, a law to allow the payment of tax debt in instalments or steps to limit the autonomy of public revenue administrations, went clearly against earlier agreed objectives, officials said.
Fiscal reform assumptions were far too optimistic, some officials on the call said.
Euro zone officials said on the call that even though teams of creditor representatives have been in Athens for three weeks, useful work went on only in the last four days and at this rate reaching a deal by the end of April was impossible.
They said creditor representatives were struggling to get information on the policy intentions of the Geek government because Greek officials were sometimes unaware of plans or not allowed to talk about them.
Euro zone deputy finance ministers and the institutions representing the creditors will hold further discussions on Greece on April 8, but it is unlikely that a deal could be reached by then, officials said.
They said the aim was to have an agreed list of reforms, including their impact on the Greek budget by the week of the next meeting of euro zone finance ministers on April 24 in Riga.
'‹Greece to turn to Russia for economic help - media '-- RT Business
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 13:48
Published time: March 30, 2015 15:45Edited time: April 01, 2015 11:35Reuters/Yannis Behrakis
The Greek government reportedly plans to negotiate a possible reduction in gas prices from Russia and the lifting of the embargo on certain types of Greek products.
Relief from the food embargo would particularly cover fresh fruit, reportedDer Spiegel on Sunday.
It will be put to the Russian government by Greece's Industrial Reform Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and Syriza MP Thanasis Petrakos during their two-day visit to Moscow on March 30 and 31.
READ MORE: Hungary, Cyprus and Greece first to return to Russian market after sanctions lifted '' watchdog
"This visit is very important for Greece. We intend to deepen our relationship with Russia in the energy sector and thereby hope to gain a significant advantage," said Petrakos as quoted by Spiegel Online.
On March 30, the Greek delegation will meet with Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak and the head of Gazprom Aleksey Miller. Gazprom currently controls almost 70 percent of the Greek gas market.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is planning a visit to Russia on April 8 to meet President Putin. Meanwhile, the European Union is concerned about the possibility of a rapprochement between Moscow and Athens, as Greece has said it could seek financial support from Russia and China if it is denied aid from the European Union.
The recently elected government in Greece has been struggling to keep its economy afloat and in the eurozone since it was elected in January. The country wants to renegotiate its '‚¬240 billion debt with international creditors and stick to its pre-election promise to end the era of drastic cuts.
On Friday, Greece submitted its reform plan, as Monday is the deadline for the approval by international creditors. If accepted, it would secure '‚¬7.2 billion from the troika of lenders.
Athens has said the reforms are meant to raise '‚¬3 billion and exclude "recessionary measures" such as wage and pension cuts.
Khristophoros Vernardakis, general secretary coordinating the work of the Greek government, said in an interview with RIA that the government is ready to propose a number of reforms to the creditors in Brussels on Monday. The key reforms will be carried out in the administration and in the tax system; the government also aims at eradicating corruption and smuggling.
READ MORE: Russia might bailout Greece '' finance minister
"The prepared reforms primarily contain a number of administrative changes, organizational and managerial changes in the state, which, however, will bring great financial benefits,'' said Vernardakis as quoted by RIA.
''We will free the state budget from undue financial burdens in 2015, and over the next two to three years. The benefit of these reforms will be huge; it's not just administrative changes.''
Vernardakis said that synchronizing Greek legislation with European will help the country avert heavy fines.
"We believe that the benefit will be at least '‚¬3 billion over the next three years, or a billion a year," he said.
The Troika of creditors said in February they were ready to extend the current bailout program until June 2015, but a no official agreement has been reached.
Prime Minister Tsipras has sharply criticized the troika's methods, blaming the creditors for the recession Greece plunged into five years ago.
Greece received two bailouts from the EU in 2010 and 2014 totaling '‚¬240 billion. The troika of creditors agreed to provide financial assistance to Greece, if it imposed austerity measures, cutting all kinds of spending. As a result, the country saw its economy shrink by a quarter, with a third of Greeks living below the poverty line and unemployment exceeding 30 percent.
Soros says ready to invest $1 billion in Ukraine if West helps
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:22
Mon Mar 30, 2015 3:38am EDTVIENNA (Reuters) - Billionaire financier George Soros is ready to invest $1 billion in Ukraine, if Western countries help private investment there. He also put the odds of Greece leaving the euro at a third, in an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard.
Soros has previously urged the West to step up aid to Ukraine, outlining steps towards a $50 billion financing package that he said should be viewed as a bulwark against an increasingly aggressive Russia.
"The West can help Ukraine by increasing attractiveness for investors. A political risk insurance is necessary. This could take the form of mezzanine financing at EU interest rates -- very close to zero," he said in an interview published on Monday.
"I stand ready. There are concrete investment ideas, for example in agriculture and infrastructure projects. I would put in $1 billion. This must generate a profit. My foundation would benefit from this ... Private engagement needs strong political leadership."
The Hungarian-born hedge fund magnate, who made his name betting against the pound in 1992, also put the chance of Greece leaving the euro zone at a third. Last week he put it at 50:50.
(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Larry King)
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Russian strategist suggests nuking Yellowstone
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 05:54
The best way for Russia to solve its problem with America would be to trigger a nuclear weapon at Yellowstone National Park and hope it would set off a supervolcano, destroying the continent, according to the chief of a Russian think tank.
The suggestion is attributed to Konstantin Sivkov, who wrote in an article at the Russian language VPK News that as ''a result, the U.S. will cease to exist.''
While the rest of the world, he noted, would suffer a ''catastrophe,'' Russia likely would suffer little ''due to the distance from the eruption site, the size of the territory and the location.''
While the stress of such a disaster would affect all of civilization, he wrote, such a weapon ''has the possibility'' of stopping ''all thought of aggression against Russia.''
In the alternative, he wrote, a nuke on the San Andreas fault might set off earthquakes that also could decimate large parts of America. His hope would be that it would create a tsunami a mile deep that would wash across the U.S. nearly 1,000 miles inland.
Sivkov, described as a geopolitical analyst, also accused the West of moving ''to the borders of Russia'' already.
Get it before you need it! ''Survival: How a Culture of Preparedness can Save You and Your Family from Disasters.
The article was translated from Russian by the Sydney Morning Herald, where reporter Su-Lin Tan wrote, ''He has a conspiracy theory that NATO '' a political and military alliance which counts the U.S., UK, Canada and many countries in western Europe as members '' was amassing strength against Russia, and the only way to combat that problem was to attack America's vulnerabilities to ensure a 'complete destruction of the enemy.'''
Sivkov, the head of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems in Moscow, wrote: ''Geologists believe that the Yellowstone supervolcano could explode at any moment. There are signs of growing activity there. Therefore, it suffices to push the relatively small, for example the impact of the munition megaton class to initiate an eruption. The consequences will be catastrophic for the United States '' a country just disappears.''
He continued: ''Another vulnerable area of the United States from the geophysical point of view, is the San Andreas fault '' 1,300 kilometers between the Pacific and North American plates '... a detonation of a nuclear weapon there can trigger catastrophic events like a coast-scale tsunami which can completely destroy the infrastructure of the United States.''
The Herald noted that Sivkov spoke at the 2013 Moscow Economic Forum.
He said that by 2020 or 2025, Russia would have ''asymmetric weapons'' in its arsenal for the attack.
He lamented, according to the Herald, the ''weakened economic potential in Russia, the loss of the 'spiritual core of what was the communist idea,' and [with] the lack of large-scale community allies in Europe such as the Warsaw Pact, Russia simply cannot compete against the NATO and its allies.''
The analyst, described in the article as a military strategist, told Pravda previously that the ultimate goal of the U.S. is to ''destroy Russia.''
And he charged that ''American politicians'' have participated in international crimes, but he doubts whether they will be held accountable.
An online translation of the VPK article quoted Sivkov noting that for Russia, the situation now is ''incomparably worse'' than during the 1950s and 1960s at the height of the Cold War.
That's because ''Western-oriented oligarchs and related liberal officialdom'' are in charge.
Yellowstone presents an opportunity for Russia, he said, but it depends on the ''political will'' of the Russia's leaders.
''The power of this supervolcano'' would prove ''disastrous'' for the U.S., he said.
''Geologists believe that the Yellowstone supervolcano could explode at any moment. '... Therefore it suffices to push the relatively small [explosion] '... to initiate an eruption.''
The National Park Service claims there have been several major volcanic eruptions in the Yellowstone area in what it says were the last 2 million years, the last only about 174,000 years ago when the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake was created.
A huge landslide in the 1950s created another lake on the northwest edge of the park.
The Park Service adds that the Yellowstone Caldera was created about 640,000 years ago, a region that is now 30 miles by 45 miles.
''The Yellowstone volcano is still active,'' the government reports. ''Evidence for the activity of the Yellowstone volcano are the 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes per year, active ground deformation, and the over 10,000 geothermal features found in Yellowstone.''
It is considered a ''supervolcano'' because it is believed to have the capability of erupting more than 240 cubic miles of magma.
On the Park Service website, there is the cryptic advice to visitors: ''Nothing can be done to prevent an eruption.''
See a government map of the area of impact experts believe was affected in the U.S. during historic Yellowstone eruptions:
Court overturns penalty for LGBT youth support group founder, trial on ban to come | Queerussia.Info
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 05:19
On March, 25 judgement on penalizing Elena Klimova with 50,000 rubles (approx. $815) for the ''promotion of homosexuality'' in LGBT youth support group ''Children 404'' was overruled by Dzerzhinsky District Court of Nizhny Tagil. The appeal against the judgement of the magistrate dated January 23, 2015 was allowed.
''We (me and my lawyer Dmitry Bartenev) believed the decision rendered was subject to cancellation due to being illegal and unjustified because 1) the lack of corpus delicti and 2) multiple violations of the procedural requirements for the case established by the Administrative Code,'' said Klimova and added that an expertise carried out by an expert accredited by Roscomnadzor inspection body was entered upon the record. The expert did not find any ''gay propaganda'' indications in Klimova's activities.
In the end, judge Monakhova took into account numerous violations of the procedural requirements. The case was sent to another magistrate for reconsideration.
Meanwhile, as reported by ''Vedomosti'', Prosecutor General's Office used the abovementioned court decision dated January 23, 2015 to take action on pro-Kremlin ''Young Guard of United Russia'' movement's claim on blocking the ''Children 404'" online community due to ''promotion of homosexuality among minors'' and initiate legal proceedings. The court hearing on banning ''Children 404'" is appointed for April, 6.
At present, as suggested by Elena Klimova, ''there are no legal grounds for blocking Children 404'" group in VKontakte social network'', having the judgement overturned.
Around two months ago a petition addressed to the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was posted on the Internet calling ''to stop the persecution of ''Children 404'". The petition's authors believe that the pro-Kremlin organization, ''explaining their actions by interests of children, '... are trying to deprive vulnerable youth, LGBT teens of information and support. Those who seek to close of the project, endanger hundreds of lives''. The petition was signed by around 9,000 people.
Kiev Commits Energy Hari Kiri | New Eastern Outlook
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:17
What the insane Washington-orchestrated civil war in Ukraine has not yet destroyed in Ukraine over the past year, now the conditions demanded by the US Treasury-controlled International Monetary Fund will. Kiev on March 13 received the first $5 billion tranche of a $17.5 billion three year IMF loan. It desperately needs the cash to avoid insolvency. However, in typical IMF policy, the aim of the money is to act as a poisoned ''carrot'' to force the victim country to undertake draconian ''reforms'' whose only effect will be to open the doors to foreign banks and multinationals to further rape and plunder what's left of their economy. Now Kiev is about to commit energy Hari-Kiri to please the IMF and the US-imposed American-born Finance Minister, Natalie Ann Jaresko.
Before the US coup d'etat on February 22, 2014 in Kiev ousting a democratically-elected Prsident Viktor Yanukovich with aid of CIA snipers, self-styled neo-nazi Pravy Sektor gangsters and George Soros' Ukrainian NGO, Ukraine's president had opted to join the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union in return for generous financial loans from Moscow and a huge cut over 30% in the price the country must pay to Russia's Gazprom to import natural gas. Yanukovich stressed at the time he wanted to continue a dialogue on closer association with the EU as well. For the neo-conservative war faction in the Obama Administration that was a no! no! Washington wanted to destroy Russia and Putin and the way to do that, the ridiculous neo-conservatives such as John Brennan at CIA or Victoria 'Fuck the EU' Nuland at the State Department or Joe Biden or Senator John McCain saw it, was creating a pro-NATO coup in Kiev after a similar US Color Revolution in 2004 failed to achieve the goal.
Since Washington placed its hand-picked marionettes into power in Kiev, including as Prime Minister alleged senior Scientologist Arseniy Yatsenyuk, ''Yats'' as Nuland affectionately calls him, and a billionaire Poroschenko as President and three US-picked foreign nationals as top ministers including Natalie Jaresko an American ex-State Department senior official, as Finance Minister, the economy has been in a free-fall. The Washington Post reported a current hyperinflation of 272%. The decision by Nuland's Washington gang to push Kiev to go to war over protests in eastern Ukraine's energy-rich Donbass in March 2014 rather than creative diplomacy succeeded in severing the heart of Ukraine's industrial economy from Kiev. The war cost untold billions the government doesn't have.
Now IMF's ice-cold Managing Director, former JP MorganChase banker Christine Lagarde, announced on February 12 Ukraine's new, $17.5 billion bailout package, claiming it would be a ''turning point for Ukraine.'' She knew. Kiev got the first tranche of $5 billion in February.
Like the Sicilian Mafia, the IMF gives a kind of ''protection.'' Its loans have strings, called the Washington Consensus or IMF conditionalities. They never vary. That's because the US Treasury in fact controls IMF policy. The conditions are invariably that a country getting ''loans'' must open its economy, privatize state assets, slash health and education and public jobs and balance the state budget, something the USA has failed to do for decades. Foreign multinationals are then free to rape what is left. It's a modern version of ''outsourced imperialism'' made to look technocratic and politically neutral. It isn't.
The $17.5 billion is to come over the next 3 years with only $5 billion in 2015. But Ukraine needs to find about $25 billion this year to finance its large current-account deficit and to repay foreign creditors. Foreign-exchange reserves are only $12 billion. Moreover, the IMF demands ''reform'' of Ukraine's energy sector including drastic increases in natural as prices.
Energy hari-kiri
Now, on top of the war against their fellow countrymen cutting off coal supplies to Ukraine industry from the eastern Donbass, the IMF has nailed its demand for ''energy reform'' on the door of the Kiev parliament.
To meet IMF loan demands, the government has imposed exorbitant taxes on local oil and gas producers and is forcing them to sell their output to the government-owned monopoly. Kiev's new tax rates are mindboggling. The government has just imposed a royalty which taxes output sales not just profits. And the royalty tax rates are 70% for state-owned oil and gas production companies; 55% on wells under 5,000 meters depth, and 35% on wells over 5,000 meters. That will have the effect of killing domestic Ukraine oil and gas production and development at a time Washington is telling Kiev to become free from oil and gas from Russia.
The other major source of Ukrainian power generation '' anthracite coal '' is no longer accessible, as most of the mines are in the country's east, in the Donetsk Basin (Donbass).
The new taxes come as part of the IMF demands to Kiev will bring a dramatic immediate rise in the price of natural gas to industry and households. Naftogaz, the state-owned gas giant must end its annual $4 billion deficit, some 6% of GDP, by imposing a 300% rise in gas prices. So one year later, with the EU pleading poverty, Ukraine's government will force a whole new wave of bankruptcies and unemployment owing to soaring gas costs.
To cap the catastrophic EU and Washington destruction of Ukraine's remaining economy, half of Ukraine's energy is produced at its Soviet-built power stations. The uranium fuel for these is supplied by ROSATOM, the Russian state nuclear energy company. To end that dependency, last year Washington pushed Kiev to buy its nuclear reactor fuel instead from Westinghouse Corporation, today actually owned by Japan's Toshiba, hardly a confidence-inspiring fact after the Japan Fukushima nuclear disaster. In December, 2014, Westinghouse announced it extended an agreement to supply two Soviet-era nuclear plants with fuel until 2020.
There is a little problem with trying to substitute US-made fuel rods for Russian.
According to a statement by the International Union of Veterans of Nuclear Energy and Industry (IUVNEI), use of US-produced fuel for Soviet reactors is not compatible with their design and violates the security requirements. It could lead to disasters comparable with what happened in Chernobyl. They issued the following statement last April, 2014, ''Nuclear fuel produced by the US firm Westinghouse does not meet the technical requirements of Soviet-era reactors, and using it could cause an accident on the scale of the Chernobyl disaster, which took place on the 26th April 1986.'' IUVNEI consists of more than 15,000 nuclear industry veterans from Armenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Finland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. It was founded in 2010.
A US-imposed 300% natural gas price rise, a punitive new tax on domestic oil and gas production, a Washington-driven war that has either destroyed the coal mines in the east of Ukraine or put them off limits creating widespread electricity blackouts. Loveless warmakers like McCain or Nuland, far away in Washington, obviously do not care what happens to the Ukrainian population or economy. Ukrainians deserve better than this.
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''.
Et Tu, Brute? Israel Latest US Ally to Join Chinese AIIB
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:38
Asia & Pacific22:41 01.04.2015(updated 03:20 02.04.2015) Get short URL
47 nations have already applied for membership in the AIIB, a multilateral development bank spearheaded by Beijing. Meant to provide financing for infrastructure projects throughout Asia '' and to fill in loan gaps left by the International Monetary Fund '' the bank is expected to significantly increase China's influence.
Which is why the United States was largely against it. With a Chinese bank pumping $100 billion into infrastructure projects in the region, Washington will inevitably lose some its own clout. As such, the US has strongly dissuaded its allies from joining, but one by one, countries have flocked to the new institution.
And now the AIIB can add Israel to its list. The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday that Prime Minister Netanyahu had signed an application, saying membership would open up opportunities for Israeli companies to enter into one of the fastest growing markets on the planet.
The booming Asian economy isn't the only thing pushing Israel toward the AIIB. Netanyahu's government has been looking for ways to diversify its exports in response to a rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe, and given that it could face potential sanctions over future conflicts.
At this point, Japan is the only major US ally who is still holding out on membership, but given the AIIB's quickly growing influence, one can easily imagine Tokyo casting longing looks toward Beijing as Washington leads it in the other direction.
Israel joins China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Maldives, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Vietnam, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, Georgia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Egypt, Finland, Kyrgyzstan, and Sweden, all having applied for membership.
Coroner: Death of Andrew Getty appears natural or accident
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 05:35
LOS ANGELES (AP) '-- The death at a Hollywood Hills home Tuesday of Andrew Getty, one of the heirs to the fortune of one of the wealthiest and best-known families in American history, was most likely from natural causes or an accident, authorities and family members said.
The death appeared to be from natural causes, Los Angeles County coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter said, but it has been initially called an accident because of medication found at the scene. He said coroner's officials need to await the results of further examination and toxicology tests, which could take up to 10 weeks to process.
"The tentative information that we do have is that he was not feeling good for the last couple months," Winter said, "and he supposedly had an appointment tomorrow with a personal physician."
Neither the coroner nor police had officially identified the man, but a statement from 47-year-old Andrew Getty's parents, Ann and Gordon Getty, confirmed it was him.
A woman calling to report that someone had died sent officers to the gated home on Montcalm Avenue shortly after 2:15 p.m. They found a man dead in a bathroom, police spokesman Jack Richter said.
Police Cmdr. Andrew Smith said the woman who had called police was cooperating with the investigation. Richter said she was not arrested and he did not know her identity.
Coroner's vans and news trucks were parked outside the century-old luxury home on one of the winding roads in the hills that are home to many of the film industry elite.
Getty is one of four sons of Gordon Getty, a San Francisco multibillionaire who is among the richest men in the United States.
The family statement provided no further details on the death and asked that the media and public respect the family's privacy. It said further statements will be issued as information becomes available.
Andrew Getty's grandfather J. Paul Getty was an industrialist who founded the Getty Oil Co. and was at one point named the richest living American by Fortune magazine. He had five sons and died in 1976 at age 82.
J. Paul Getty was an avid collector of art and antiquities, and the Getty name is best known in the Los Angeles area for the museum that houses much of it, along with many other high-priced artworks bought since his death.
Another Getty grandson, J. Paul Getty III, lost an ear in a grisly kidnapping in Rome when he was a teenager. The family reportedly stalled on paying a ransom, and the kidnappers cut off part of his ear, sending the severed organ to a newspaper to prove they had taken him captive.
The oil heir, then 16, was freed after five months in captivity and a payment of $2.7 million. He died in 2011 at age 54.
Andrew Getty -- J. Paul Getty's Grandson Dead ... Ex-Girlfriend Detained | TMZ.com
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 05:04
J. Paul Getty Grandson Dead from TraumaEx-Girlfriend Detained
9:45 PM PT -- The L.A. County Coroner says Getty was "not feeling well" over the last couple of months, and had a doctor's appointment scheduled for Wednesday. The Coroner would not elaborate on what, if anything, was bothering Getty.
He added ... prescription meds were found on scene, but it was unclear if Getty had taken any of them.The grandson of J. Paul Getty was found dead Tuesday and TMZ has learned his ex-girlfriend is currently being detained as a possible witness/suspect. Cops tell us they are handling this as a death "under suspicious circumstances."
We're told he suffered a traumatic injury to the rectal area and paramedics found significant bleeding.
Andrew Getty was found in the bathroom of his L.A. home at around 2 PM. Law enforcement sources tell us the ex-GF called 911 to report cardiac arrest.
Our sources say Andrew and his ex-girlfriend have a storied history with the LAPD. Cops have been to his residence 31 times, mostly for domestic disturbances. Our sources say they have both frequently been under the influence of drugs during the police visits.
We're told the drugs cops found in the past were prescriptions.
As for their relationship, we're told he has a restraining order against her and she has been placed under a 5150 psychiatric hold in the past, after injuring cops when they responded to the house. We're also told she's allegedly broken into Andrew's house on numerous occasions.
Andrew's dad, Gordon Getty, is one of the richest men in the U.S. Forbes put Gordon's wealth at $2.1 billion ... the family was listed as the 54th richest ... worth an estimated $5 billion.
Grandson Of Oil Tycoon J. Paul Getty Found Dead, ''Traumatic Injury To Rectal Area'' Alleged Source Of Death | Gold and Precious Metals
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 05:03
(Before It's News)
In a story which we initially thought was an early April fool's prank, but subsequently turned out to be all too real, and all too tragic, yesterday afternoon Andrew Rork Getty, the 47-year-old grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty who once was the richest living man in the world and member of the Getty trust, was found dead at his Hollywood Hills home, the latest chapter in a saga involving the Getty family which has seen kidnappings (including a tax-deductible ransom payment), mutilations, drug use and now, allegedly, murder.
Andrew Getty (pictured), the grandson of oil baron J. Paul Getty
How the billionaire heir of the Getty trust and son of Ann Getty and Gordon Getty (whom Forbes lists as the 869th richest person in the world and estimates that the Getty family is currently $5 billion) died is still murky.
According to NBC, a call came in from an unidentified woman at 2:18 p.m. who reported there was someone dead in the bathroom. A woman who was in the home was being questioned and was being cooperative, said Cmdr. Andy Smith, a Los Angeles police spokesman.
When asked about the cause of death, Los Angeles County Coroner's Assistant Chief Ed Winter told reporters that Getty's death appeared to be ''natural or an accident.'' Cmdr. Andy Smith, a Los Angeles police spokesman added that ''At first glance, it does not appear to be a criminal type of act. But that could change.''
Above, Investigators gather outside Getty's home in theHollywood Hills on Tuesday
The LA County Coroner's office says Getty had not been feelingwell for months and had a doctor's appointment scheduled forthe following day
And here things get tabloidy, if not inaccurate: according to Gawker, Getty's ex-girlfriend, who called 911, apparently told the operator he had suffered a cardiac arrest, and TMZ's initial report contained a now-excised reference to a gunshot wound to the face. In an updated post, TMZ reports Getty's death involved a ''traumatic injury to the rectal area'' with ''significant bleeding.''
Additionally, the LA Times reports that Getty had sought a restraining order against the woman as recently as two weeks ago. TMZ provides further unverified details:
Our sources say Andrew and his ex-girlfriend have a storied history with the LAPD. Cops have been to his residence 31 times, mostly for domestic disturbances. Our sources say they have both frequently been under the influence of drugs during the police visits.
We're told the drugs cops found in the past were prescriptions.
As for their relationship, we're told he has a restraining order against her and she has been placed under a 5150 psychiatric hold in the past, after injuring cops when they responded to the house. We're also told she's allegedly broken into Andrew's house on numerous occasions.
A subsequent report by the LA Times gave the TMZ report credibility when it reported that ''a law enforcement source told The Times that Getty was found naked from the waist down in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills estate Tuesday and appeared to have suffered from some type of blunt-force trauma. It's unclear whether the injury was caused by a fall or something else.''
So to summarize the initial patchwork of facts and evidence, the heir to the man who was once the world's richest died from what appear to be ''natural causes'', and it wasn't a ''criminal act'', but it did involves ''blunt force trauma'', most likely to the rectal area.
In retrospect it is not surprising that ''the family has requested that members of the media and the public respect its privacy during this extremely difficult time,'' a spokesman told the LA Times.
What is most surprising is that this latest incident to plague the J. Paul Getty descendants may not be the most lurid.
As Forbes recalls, ''in 1973, another grandson of J. Paul was kidnapped by Italian gangsters who asked for $17 million in ransom and threatened to send a severed finger as proof. ''I have 14 other grandchildren,'' Getty told his son, who was pleading for the money, ''if I pay one penny now, then I'll have 14 kidnapped grandchildren.'' As the negotiations dragged on, an Italian media organization received a lock of hair and J. Paul III's ear in the mail. Getty eventually coughed up $3.4 million to buy his grandson's freedom. Years later, J. Paul III suffered a stroke after heavy drug use in New York which left him paralyzed and practically blind for the rest of his life. Andrew Getty's father, Gordon, also made headlines for all the wrong reasons when it was revealed that the opera enthusiast and San Francisco socialite had kept a second family secret for a decade.''
Source: http://silveristhenew.com/2015/04/01/grandson-of-oil-tycoon-j-paul-getty-found-dead-traumatic-injury-to-rectal-area-alleged-source-of-death/
Producer in the Strategy & Planning Dept. of major co
what you have to consider about oil production is incremental cost. Once a well is online and producing, the incremental cost per barrel of production is incredibly minimal. The biggest cost is the drilling, completion and infrastructure for transportation.
When you talk why are companies producing at these levels, it's because it's profitable for already finished wells and because that's the cash flow coming in. You don't literally turn off wells pretty much ever. Even if oil temporarily made it all the way below incremental production cost, people wouldn't turn it off due to cost of stopping and restarting.
What oil companies are doing is delaying completion of drilled wells, and dramatically cutting drilling. Google rig count and you will see that the number of active rigs is down huge numbers every single week. Most companies have cut drilling 40-70%.
Because shale wells have such high drop offs in production after the first year, you will see a drop in US production as companies work their way through he backlog of already completed wells and production drops quickly on existing wells.
You can't flip a switch and turn it on and off. It's more like a train. Companies cutting has to work its way through a long chain. It slows down but there's a lot of momentum and weight. Takes a lot of time to work its way down.
I don't think John understand prices. He talks historical prices but that was an era where wordeide you could stick a straw in the ground and get oil with little to no cost. Nobody had found a field like that in 30 years and most of them are on the decline. Prices may hit the 30's but that will never be equilibrium again because the cost of new wells and fields are substantially higher. The bulk of all shelf, deep water, and shale fields can't be profitably done below $60ish, some lower, many higher. Oil in 30's long term bankrupts most oil companies and puts budgets of basically every middle eastern country deeply in the red.
Just my 2 cents. Hope that wasn't too long or boring. For context I work in Strategy and Planning for a major oil company. Please don't use my full name.
NA-Tech News
Ellen Pao Loses Silicon Valley Bias Case Against Kleiner Perkins - NYTimes.com
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 03:00
PhotoEllen Pao, center, now interim chief of the social media news site Reddit, outside of the courthouse on Friday.Credit Jim Wilson/The New York TimesSAN FRANCISCO '-- One of Silicon Valley's most famous venture capital firms prevailed on Friday over a former partner in a closely watched suit claiming gender discrimination, but hardly got away unscathed.
The plaintiff, Ellen Pao, had accused the firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, of discriminating against her in the course of her employment and eventual dismissal.
The decision handed Kleiner a sweeping victory in a case that had mesmerized Silicon Valley with its salacious details while simultaneously amplifying concerns about the lack of diversity in the technology industry.
Even with her loss in the case, Ms. Pao's suit succeeded in prompting debate about women in technology and venture capital, said Deborah Rhode, a law professor at Stanford University.
''This case sends a powerful signal to Silicon Valley in general and the venture capital industry in particular,'' Ms. Rhode said. ''Defendants who win in court sometimes lose in the world outside it.''
Kleiner and its lawyers did little to celebrate the win, with the lawyer Lynne C. Hermle saying that it ''never occurred to me for a second that a careful and attentive jury like this would find either discrimination or retaliation.'' Kleiner issued a statement saying it was committed to supporting women.
Continue reading the main storyDocumentThe case pit a venerable venture capital firm, which nurtured such famous Internet start-ups as Google and Amazon, against a former junior partner who claimed that she was discriminated against and was ultimately let go after complaining.
Ms. Pao waved to the jury as she left the courtroom for the last time, a smile fixed on her face. ''If I've helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it,'' she said in a brief news conference.
Her suit, filed in Superior Court here, claimed that Kleiner did not promote her because of her gender, that it retaliated against her for complaining, that it failed to prevent gender discrimination and that it fired her in 2012 for complaining.
The suit asked $16 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. Ms. Pao is now interim chief of the social media news site Reddit.
After the jurors rejected each of her four claims, they were found to be one vote short on a claim about her termination. For two hours, doubt reigned, the media unspooled possible outcomes and the jury went back to work. In the end, the problem seemed more juror confusion than anything else, and the claim went down with the others.
The jurors said in interviews they did not take on the role of ''conscience of this community,'' as one of Ms. Pao's lawyers had urged in the closing arguments. They focused on the facts at hand, and concluded it was Ms. Pao's own performance that held her back.
One juror, Steve Sammut, 62, said it was difficult coming to a verdict.
''We were split there for a while,'' he said, adding that a key point was how Ms. Pao's reviews at Kleiner deteriorated over time. He also said the witnesses for Kleiner, most of whom came from the firm, helped seal the case.
Another juror, Marshalette Ramsey, 41, said she believed Ms. Pao was discriminated against. The male junior partners at Kleiner ''had those same character flaws that Ellen was cited with,'' but they were promoted, she said.
''I'm going home emotional,'' said Ms. Ramsey.
Ms. Pao joined Kleiner in 2005 as chief of staff to John Doerr, the firm's best-known partner. She became a junior investing partner, failed to make senior partner and was fired in 2012.
It was the most prominent trial in Silicon Valley in memory for many reasons, including Kleiner Perkins's reputation as the quintessential venture capital firm. But the suit, filed in 2012, also came as the freewheeling ways of the male-dominated technology industry increasingly drew scrutiny.
Episodes of men behaving badly make the news frequently here, whether it is sexism or harassment in the workplace or just derogatory attitudes toward women. Critics are increasingly drawing a straight line between such behavior and the small percentage of women who are engineers and executives, and the even smaller percentage of women who are venture capitalists.
PhotoJohn Doerr, right, a Kleiner Perkins partner, outside of court earlier this month. During testimony, Mr. Doerr agreed that the percentage of female venture capitalists was ''pathetic,'' though he came across as an ambivalent figure during his hours on the stand.Credit Robert Galbraith/ReutersAccording to research from Babson College, the percentage of female venture capitalists is 6 percent, down from 10 percent at the peak of the dot-com boom in 1999.
The suit and the trial introduced a number of colorful phrases that were said to have been uttered to or about Ms. Pao. Most were heavily disputed by the defense, but they made it appear that Kleiner has been slow to evolve since it was formed in the early 1970s.
''Kleiner Perkins has been significantly tainted by the facts that have come out in this proceedings,'' Ms. Rhode of Stanford said.
During the trial, numerous details emerged, including Mr. Doerr's telling an investigator that Ms. Pao had a ''female chip on her shoulder.'' Chi-Hua Chien, a partner, said women should not be invited to a dinner with former Vice President Al Gore because they ''kill the buzz.'' A senior partner at the time, Ray Lane, joked to a junior partner that she should be ''flattered'' that a colleague showed up at her hotel room door wearing only a bathrobe. Another senior partner, Ted Schlein, seemed never to have heard of the exhortation of Sheryl Sandberg, a senior Facebook executive, that women should ''sit at the table,'' testifying, ''I really don't think it was a very big deal to us who sits at a table or who does not.''
Ms. Pao is married to Alphonse Fletcher Jr., a Wall Street financier whose hedge fund is bankrupt. Pension funds are suing to recover their money amid accusations of fraud. Kleiner tried to insert Mr. Fletcher into the case, which would have raised questions about Ms. Pao's motives in bringing suit, but Judge Kahn refused to allow it.
Mr. Fletcher did not attend the trial.
In a sign that the struggle over the place of women in Silicon Valley is only beginning, gender discrimination suits have recently been filed against two prominent companies, Facebook and Twitter.
The suit against Twitter, by a former engineer, Tina Huang, claims that the process for promotion is not clear and is biased in favor of men, a claim that Ms. Pao also made about Kleiner. The suit seeks class-action status. Twitter said in a statement that it was committed ''to a diverse and supportive workplace.''
The suit against Facebook is narrower. Chia Hong, a former manager, says she was ''discriminated against, harassed, and retaliated against'' because of her sex and race, culminating in her termination. Ms. Hong is represented by Lawless & Lawless, one of the firms representing Ms. Pao. Facebook has said that it works ''extremely hard'' on diversity and believes that it treated the employee in question fairly.
The Kleiner trial, which took 24 days before it went to the jury on Wednesday, offered a glimpse of the Silicon Valley elite at work and play.
Ms. Pao accidentally learned about the dinner Mr. Gore was having because she was living in the same San Francisco building. She met Mr. Fletcher at an exclusive fellowship that Mr. Doerr recommended her for. Even after being fired by Kleiner in 2012, Ms. Pao was paid $33,333 a month for the next six months, plus benefits and bonus. Most Americans could never imagine such handsome remuneration, terminated or not.
But it was competitive and even combative, with sharp elbows and tears. Ms. Pao, it emerged in testimony, compiled a ''resentment'' chart of colleagues who, she believed, wronged her. People worked through holidays and maternity leaves. The pressure to discover the newest new thing was immense. One great investment '-- a Google, a Facebook, an Amazon '-- could make your reputation for life.
As for the rest of life, there was not much of it for the junior partners. One of the stranger points brought up in testimony was how Ms. Pao, before she was married, had dated a colleague for six months without ever realizing he was still living with his wife.
A version of this article appears in print on March 28, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Venture Capital Firm Prevails in Bias Case Riveting Silicon Valley .
Will Facebook Messenger Kill Email? '-- Backchannel '-- Medium
Sat, 28 Mar 2015 04:20
Last year Facebook made us install its messaging app. Now it's recruiting developers to make sure we use it for just about everythingIn April 2014, Facebook took a step that it knew would mightily piss off its users. If people wanted to communicate directly with a friend or family member, they could no longer do so within the mobile Facebook app. Those who tried to would haughtily be instructed to download a separate Facebook app, Messenger.
Resistance was futile. Every time you tried to send a message on Facebook with their Apple or Android phone, you got the equivalent of a punch in the mouth, demanding a switch to the messaging app. No matter that many people did not want to install another Facebook app, or felt that the company was already too much of a presence in their lives: in the course of using Facebook, it's almost impossible to avoid sending a message to someone, or wanting to read a message someone sent to you. It was punch, punch, punch'... until you're pummeled into surrender. Facebook is reporting that, so far, 600 million users have raised the white flag and now use Messenger monthly.
Facebook's VP of Messaging Products, David Marcus, admits that the transition at virtual gunpoint ''was actually not a super popular move when it happened.'' But today at Facebook's F8 developer conference, the company made some announcements that revealed why it was so vital to make that move.
Here's the big picture: Messenger is no longer just a part of Facebook, but a standalone platform to conduct a wide variety of instant communications, not only with friends, but with businesses you may deal with as well. It will compete with other messaging services such as Snapchat, Line and even Facebook's own WhatsApp by offering a dizzying array of features, many of them fueled by the limitless imagination and self-interest of thousands of outside software developers. You will use Messenger to share ESPN clips and movie trailers. You will not only be able to make voice calls on Messenger (that happened months ago), but make payments to friends and retailers (that happened last week) and conduct ongoing dialogues with airlines, package services and maybe even the DMV.
Some of these new functions will replace activities formerly performed on your browser. Others allow you to do things you might have done in other apps'Š'--'Šor other Messenger services. Perhaps most notably, Messenger is muscling in on email.
Facebook has always believed that the asynchronous nature of email was unsuited to the instant, always-on rhythms of the ''social graph'' that binds us to our connections, and has long tried to offer an escape hatch from the tyranny of the inbox. While Messenger isn't explicitly trying to kill email, it is trying to wean you off email for many kinds of communication.
In fact, Facebook hopes that Messenger will become as integrated into your life as its main app is. Right now, in terms of time spent by users, the number one app by far is Facebook. Below are various browsers, email services, and apps. By sucking functionality away from those others, Facebook is aspiring to make Messenger a second home for mobile users, the go-to place for instant communications.
No wonder its ascension is the major announcement in today's massive developer conference.
To help with the transformation of Messenger, Facebook made a marquee hire, the aforementioned Marcus, 41. He is a native Parisian who had previously been the president of PayPal, a wildly successful division of eBay in the process of spinning off into a public company. Now Marcus is just one of a bunch of executives answering to a 30-year-old tyro. (Technically, he reports both to CEO Zuckerberg and VP of Growth, Engagement and Mobile Adoption Javier Olivan.) He says he's loving it. Instead of doing lots of things that are ''not fun,'' his focus is now ''related to building things to solve real problems'Š'--'Šit's a lot of fun.''
He arrived last August after Facebook had already begun the forced march of its users to Messenger. Marcus, who had once gotten heat for haranguing his employees at PayPal for not using the company's mobile payments app, thought it was an absolutely necessary move. ''The team realized that it was very hard to actually compete effectively at real time mobile messaging if you are not in a dedicated app,'' says Marcus. ''So by actually removing the functionality [from the larger Facebook app], we solved all of these problems and provided people with a much better user experience than they had inside the main app. I'm glad the team took that step because now we have a product that we control entirely. We control every single pixel and every line of code of that experience.''
Before today the conventional wisdom was that Facebook needed that control mainly so it could update and revamp Messenger without waiting for an upgrade of the cumbersome main app. Also the separation would enable Messenger to run fast. But now it's clear that separating the functionality of messaging from the mothership app makes it feasible to operate Messenger as a platform, allowing thousands of third parties to provide a limitless number of features and distractions. The more goodies that they attach to Messenger, the less you will use other services and email, and you will have fewer and fewer reasons to ever venture outside of Facebook's world.
Facebook had already been developing its own little mini-apps within Messenger, festooning it with stickers, emoticons, voice clips and a selfie function. But Facebook wanted much more. ''We decided the best way of addressing the need for people to express this wide range of emotion inside of a conversation was not to built these tools ourselves but to open up Messenger as a platform, to enable developers around the world to be super creative and come up with use cases,'' says Marcus.
He demonstrates by going into the app and choosing someone to message. One touch offers an array of the first group of more than 40 apps that will be available on the launch of the platform. They are generally focused on the tiny-bite-size form of communication that is the prime means of interaction among young people and, increasingly, among everyone, except Leon Wieseltier. The app he chooses is GIPHY, which offers a choice of GIF clips to embed in a message. Another one allows you to take a picture of yourself and stretch a piece of it so you look even more bizarre than you are. There's the ESPN app that lets you share the day's highlights, or the FX app for clips from action movies. The Weather Channel app frees you from leaving Messenger to find out the forecast. Another app lets you find the perfect movie clip to send to a friend in a given situation. Down the road, L'Oreal is developing a Messenger app that lets teenage girls (and anyone else) give themselves a virtual makeup treatment and ask friends what they think. The wave of apps, says Marcus, will incorporate richer media like music and film; one imagines the likes of Spotify and Netflix getting involved.
''It starts to create a real platform out of Messenger's conversational engine and enables apps to get massive distribution,'' says Marcus.
While those apps position Messenger to better compete with others of its ilk, Facebook is breaking new ground in a service that will roll out soon that allows users to start Messenger threads with online retailers and service businesses for what Marcus calls ''high signal events.'' These are persistent conversations that track a transaction or reservation. Examples might include an online purchase, where a merchant would send a Messenger user an ''interactive receipt.'' (The first partners in the Businesses on Messenger service, which is in what Facebook calls a ''preview'' are the retailers Everlane and zulily.) In the case of an airline, after you book your ticket, you can initiate an interactive thread. It will show your itinerary, allow you to change your reservation, inform you when it's time to go to the airport, notify you of gate changes and delays, and so on. Other use cases could include things like movie tickets, food delivery and restaurant reservations'Š'--'Špretty much everything in the ''Uber of X'' category. (Of course, the data generated on those transactions would be a valuable addition to the Everest of information Facebook already has on its users.)
In those cases, most if not all of the communicating is done between you and an automated system. Marcus calls this ''a baby step towards a long journey of reinventing business communications.''
These cases are interesting because it's one of many ways where Facebook is moving from a service centered around people you know to one that's increasingly involved in stuff that might have nothing to do with your friends. ''You've actually got two graphs inside of Facebook,'' says Marcus. ''You've got the people graph, but you also have the business graph, which is basically represented by Pages [the business equivalent of a profile page] and a bunch of other things.'' Marcus contends that this will be a superior way of communicating with businesses, better than email or even an electronic assistant service such as Siri or Google Now.
Messenger could also be a way to conduct financial transactions, especially now that Facebook has instituted peer-to-peer payments within Messenger. If both parties have added debit cards or another financial component to their accounts, a person can send a friend a few bucks through the app. Unlike some other messaging services that are implementing this through third-party payment systems (Snapchat uses Square, for instance), Facebook has its own infrastructure, making it possible to imagine all sorts of transactions in the future. (As the former Paypal leader, Marcus offers his current employer considerable guidance on this, but he makes clear that payments were already planned when he arrived at Facebook.)
Marcus argues that people will eventually understand that the conversational paradigm offered by Messenger will prove the best way to do business in such cases. After all, he notes, literal conversation was the original platform for commerce. ''If you had a rabbit that I wanted and I had a wolf skin that you wanted, we would talk about it,'' he says. ''But when you look at websites or different forms of commerce today, it's not very conversational. It's almost like the guy trying to sell you something is screaming at you, and you can't reply, so you throw him money and he throws you the product.''
So when does Marcus think that the conversational paradigm will eclipse email? ''It's hard to say. People might want to have both for a while because they are used to having emails,'' he says. ''Over time, as we build capabilities and more interaction in those threads, the utility goes up, and the need for you to have something else goes down.''
And Facebook won't even have to punch you in the mouth to make this happen.
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Out There
German sources
- shape-shifting aliens are on Earth, the nature of their shape shifting is
not holographic projection but rather like nanobot cloud that shines shortly when shifting
- their space ships doesn't looks like flying saucers - are not round - but are
slender and consist of several moving/rearranging parts. Any human technology
next to them looks primitive.
- no, I don't know their intentions
Mysterious Booms Have Berkeley Tossing and Turning at Night / Sputnik International
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:36
US22:20 01.04.2015(updated 03:35 02.04.2015) Get short URL
A Twitter campaign to try to get to the bottom of it came up up empty-handed, although police now have a theory about it.
The sound, which residents liken to fireworks or the louder M-80s, have set off car alarms and woken residents up. One Twitter user set up the hashtag #Berkeleyboom not only to commiserate with others but also to see if anyone had any answers.
The police believe the booms, which happen pretty regularly in the early evening hours are actually leftover fireworks from Chinese New Year celebrations, as they started happening right around the time that the new year festivities were winding down in the area.
Some residents say they are concerned because while the police think it's fireworks, they haven't been able to confirm exactly what it is. The police do say that they don't think it's anything nefarious.
Producer Rick has benefitted!
I've been really enjoying the shows of late, and just checked that my PayPal monthly is still active (it is).
I wanted to share two references to No Agenda that have upped my social media cred.
First was a social media global sensation blip that happened in Canada 2 weeks ago. Short story: a local kid from my hometown Peterborough Ontario Canada with Aspergers threw a birthday party and nobody came. Mom told the story to her 37 friends on Facebook and by 9PM the #odinbirthday was a global trend and was everywhere. I used my notes as a college instructor where we discuss 'viral media' augmented by a clip and link to your discussions on moral self licensing. You can read the link here (which, of course, has references to the original story). This is by far my most popular blog post on digital marketing.
The second reference is in regard to a local DJ who is pretty outspoken about his depression on the air. He was upset when making a simple mistake on the air, which was berated by local listeners on social media. I just finished listening to your discussion on Walter Winchell and this bizarre self-directed license to criticize and gossip about celebrities, so I dropped a reference to the book on Twitter. I think I blew him and a few of my colleagues away with my quick reference to a historical reference to a modern problem.
I found a copy of that book and I ordered it the other day.
TYFYC and keep doing what you're doing.
Rick Dolishny
VIDEO-Earnest on Iran: 'There Is, Of Course, A Military Option' | MRCTV
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 14:20
If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.
Obama Spokesman on Iran: 'There Is, Of Course, A Military Option' See More at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/obama-spokesman-iran-there-course-military-option
VIDEO-How long does it take to buy basic goods in Venezuela? - BBC News
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 04:18
Amid a worsening economic situation in Venezuela, thousands queue almost every day for food and other basic goods.
BBC Mundo's Daniel Pardo tests how long it takes to buy even the most basic goods in Caracas.
Venezuela installs finger scanners in supermarketsVenezuela arrests two more retail executives
VIDEO-NBC's Guthrie Urges Elizabeth Warren to Run in 2016; Asks if Hillary is Liberal Enough | MRCTV
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:25
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
In a fawning softball interview with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie spent the entire segment asking if the left-wing heroine was going to run for president, even to the point of suggesting Hillary Clinton wasn't liberal enough.
Guthrie began by providing Warren a gushing introduction: "She, of course, has taken on Wall Street and now some members of her own party are saying she should run for president against Hillary Clinton. One of her priorities in office is giving middle class families a fighting chance, which, by the way, is the title of her new memoir..."
VIDEO-Reid: No Regrets Lying About Mitt's Taxes Because 'Romney Didn't Win, Did He?' | MRCTV
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:23
Video cross-posted here at NewsBusters. So Harry Reid knew he was lying about Mitt Romney not paying taxes for ten years when he made the claim in 2012 from the lawsuit-free zone known as the floor of the U.S. Senate, but didn't care. That's what one must conclude from Reid's response to CNN's Dana Bash about that statement.
VIDEO-Nets Again Bash Indiana for Causing 'National Outcry' and 'Uproar' Over Religious Freedom Law | MRCTV
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:18
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
For the fifth straight night, the major broadcast networks used their evening newscasts to blast the State of Indiana on Tuesday for sparking an ''uproar'' and ''national outcry'' over its Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) while also choosing to heavily promote the arguments of opponents.
On the CBS Evening News, anchor Scott Pelley informed viewers in a tease that ''Indiana's governor responds to the national outcry over the so-called religious freedom law.'' Prior to a report from correspondent Adriana Diaz, the liberal anchor exclusively touted the viewpoint of those against RFRA: ''Critics say the law is not about freedom, it's about legalizing discrimination against gays by allowing businesses to deny them service.''
VIDEO-NBC's Andrea Mitchell Gushes John Kerry 'Doesn't Give Up Easily'; Touts Pizza Named After Him | MRCTV
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:14
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
On Tuesday, NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell took time out of her NBC Nightly News report from Switzerland on the Iranian nuclear talks to hail Secretary of State John Kerry as someone who ''doesn't give up easily'' and gush that a local pizzeria in the town where the talks are being held has decided to name ''a pizza after him.''
Following a lead-in from interim anchor Lester Holt, Mitchell started by describing negotiators having the ''weary look of college students pulling an all-nighter'' and noted that ''President Obama had said they wouldn't go past March 31st'' but now will continue. It should be mentioned that, to her credit, she was the only network reporter Tuesday night to mention that fact.
VIDEO-Nets Minimize Anti-Jew Jokes of New Daily Show Host, Rush to Defend | MRCTV
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 02:11
[See NewsBusters for more.] All three networks on Wednesday rushed to defend Trevor Noah, the newly-announced Daily Show host who has been attacked for making anti-Jewish, anti-Israel comments. ABC's Good Morning America avoided quoting the tweets. Instead, George Stephanopoulos summarized that Noah is "in the hot seat within online critics saying some of his tweets are sexist and anti-Semitic." Reporter David Wright only allowed that the liberal comedian "has some outraged with snarky tweets more than a year old about, quote, 'fat chicks' and Jews." What were those tweets? Wright didn't offer specifics. Instead, the journalist assured, "Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi called the uproar much ado about nothing."
VIDEO-U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham Discusses America's Growing National Security Threats | Foreign Policy Initiative
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 23:53
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-Watch: CNN Host Calls Out Homophobe for Cherry Picking the Bible to Justify Indiana's Anti-Gay Law | Occupy Democrats
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:51
In this video, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo challenges Family Research Council's Peter Spriggs on the intentions behind Indiana's controversial discrimination law and leaves him struggling for words behind a relentless verbal assault that invokes Jesus and questions the entire reasoning underlying the issue.
''Let me ask you, why do so many Christians these days believe that the exercise of their faith requires the exclusion and judgement of others?'' begins Mr. Cuomo as he then goes on to demand an answer for the Christian obsession with the infringement of their ''religious freedom'' by the very existence of gay people. ''Do you want to worry about the insidious implicit infringements on what matters most to America? The chance for people to be who they want to be?''
Mr. Spriggs responds with the same tired prattle that Republicans use to disguise their intolerance, but has no real response to Cuomo's invoking the contradiction between Jesus's message of love and the Indiana Christian's inability to coexist with their gay neighbors.
Watch this powerful video here:
VIDEO-Were Germanwings Jet's Final Seconds Captured on Video? - NBC News.com
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:03
BERLIN '-- A video apparently showing the chaotic final seconds on board the Germanwings flight that crashed last week has been discovered near the site, France's Paris Match and German tabloid Bild reported Wednesday.
The video was said to have been found on a cellphone belonging to one of the victims killed on the flight when German pilot Andreas Lubitz is believed to have deliberately flown into a mountain in the French Alps, according to the paper. Bild said it had viewed the footage.
The scenes seen on the video were chaotic and very wobbly, said Bild, adding screams and shouts of "My God" could be heard, indicating the passengers knew what was happening.
Prosecutor Brice Robin, who is handling the case in France, said none of the cellphones collected at the crash site had been sent for analysis.
"All are for now being kept at Seynes-Les-Alpes. If people at the site have picked up mobile phones, I am not aware of it," he told Reuters by telephone.
The footage appeared to have been taken from near the back of the plane but no individuals could be identified, said Bild.
However, a French police official told NBC News that the video appeared to be "a fake."
Lufthansa said on Tuesday that Lubitz had told officials at the airline's training school in 2009 that he had gone through a period of severe depression, raising questions about screening process for pilots. Prosecutors have said he suffered from "suicidal tendencies" before obtaining his pilot's license.
- ReutersFirst published April 1 2015, 2:37 AM
VIDEO/Let's Get Social 2014 (Acoustic Cover Version) - YouTube
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 15:52
VIDEO-MSNBC's Ed Schultz Loses It on Conservative Guest Over Controversial Indiana Law: 'Cut His Mic Off!' | Video | TheBlaze.com
Wed, 01 Apr 2015 13:52
MSNBC host Ed Schultz clashed with a conservative guest from the Heritage Foundation Tuesday night over Indiana's controversial religious freedom law.
The liberal host opened up his show asking Ryan Anderson, ''How does this law open it up for blatant discrimination?''
''This law doesn't open the door for discrimination,'' Anderson quipped back. ''This is the law that's been on the federal books '... and it governs over 30 states.''
''Wait a minute, that's not true,'' Schultz responded, contending those laws don't have ''the definition of a person connected to a corporation.''
''No, no it does,'' Anderson rebutted. ''The Supreme Court held just last term that the definition of person in the federal RFRA includes corporate persons.''
''Cut his mic off! Cut his mic off! We'll bring him back if he wants to be courteous.''
Schultz disagreed and reiterated his view that the law opens the door open for discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals.
''Corporations do have rights!'' Anderson said. ''The New York Times has free press rights. It goes not just to each reporter, but to the institution. '... In the same way, people who form organizations also have their religious liberty rights protected.''
Schultz then asked Anderson if it was the position of the right wing that business owners should be permitted to tell gay people to ''get the hell out'' of their restaurants.
Anderson attempted to rebuttal, but the MSNBC host interjected. The two spoke over each other for a few brief moments before Schultz had enough.
''No, no. I'm not going to let you filibuster!'' the host said. ''Cut his mic off! Cut his mic off! We'll bring him back if he wants to be courteous.''
Later in the program, Anderson insisted that Schultz was guilty of name-calling. The host concluded saying apologizing to his audience for Anderson because he couldn't ''have a civil conversation.''
(H/T: Mediaite)
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VIDEO-The U.S. Air Force Has a Computer-Killing Cruise Missile '-- War Is Boring '-- Medium
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 22:42
The U.S. Air Force has been turning old cruise missiles into computer-destroying weapons of mass disruption.
It's known as CHAMP, or the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. Designed to conduct non-lethal electronic attacks on cities, the device can fly over densely populated areas and hit targets with powerful, precise shots of microwave energy.
The effect is comparable to the electromagnetic pulse from a high-altitude nuclear explosion, except smaller and targeted far more precisely. Which means you don't have to blow stuff up.
But beyond highly-publicized demonstrations and a $38 million research program, the military has failed to prepare the technology for battle.
That's despite its potential to wreak havoc on unfriendly war hubs such as air defense systems, communications towers and command-and-control posts that depend on computers.
Boeing and the Air Force Research Laboratory proved the concept during an operational test in 2012. The missile shot across the Utah desert and zapped multiple targets at different locations, shutting down rooms full of computers.
The program team showed the results in this 2012 video.
''The CHAMP missile navigated a pre-programmed flight plan and emitted bursts of high-powered energy, effectively knocking out the target's data and electronic subsystems,'' Boeing explained in a 2012 press release. ''CHAMP allows for selective, high-frequency radio wave strikes against numerous targets during a single mission.''
Above and at top'Š'--'ŠCHAMP concept art. Boeing illustrationsOn March 25, AFRL's directed energy office at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico stated that the test missile produced the intended results. The office added that there are no technological challenges standing in the way of CHAMP becoming a deployable weapon.
The Air Force could also deploy the device in different ways, depending on the particular mission. The CHAMP itself doesn't have to be on board a missile'Š'--'Ša drone or fighter jet could carry one, laboratory officials said.
The Air Force started the program in 2009. But six years later, there's still no formal program to push the technology through to development and production.
Last year, lawmakers passed legislation compelling the flying branch to build the counter-electronics missile by 2016, and added $10 million in the government's 2015 budget specifically to get the project started.
At two recent House Armed Services Committee hearings, Florida Rep. Richard Nugent challenged senior Air Force leaders on the service's commitment to produce a CHAMP missile as required by law. The responses were uninspiring.
''Do we plan to produce this weapon by [fiscal year] 2016?'' Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said. ''No, sir, we can't get there from here.''
According to Welsh, the Air Force builds weapons and electronic warfare equipment in two separate ''capability portfolios.'' These two programs have had trouble coming together to produce an operational CHAMP system.
Instead of a deployable, high-power microwave missile, the United States will get a ''cross-functional study'' this summer. ''This system has been tested and works,'' Nugent said. ''This is not a limitation on technology, authority or funding.''
According to Nugent, the Air Force has excess cruise missiles in its inventory due to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia. The flying branch must demilitarize these surplus missiles, but could re-purpose them into CHAMP weapons without violating the treaty.
Computers before and after a CHAMP attack. Boeing and Air Force Research Laboratory capturesAccording to one electronic warfare expert, who spoke on background, high-power microwave devices such as CHAMP make wonderful non-lethal weapons because they destroy electronics '... rather than temporarily jam them.
And they don't kill civilians.
''In past conflicts, some of those civilian nodes we would have preferred not to [physically] destroy'Š'--'Šknowing that we might have to rebuild them afterward or weighing in the long-term effect on the civilian population,'' the source wrote.
''Jamming has to be applied continuously for the effects to occur. Once taken away, systems are operable again. With a high-power microwave, you are degrading/destroying that equipment and can move on to other targets. The increased miniaturization of electronics only enhances their vulnerability to high-power microwaves.''
The technology could give the U.S. the upper hand in a war against sophisticated foes. But it also has applications in a counter-terrorism campaign, where a conventional strike on an insurgent's urban command post might kill bystanders.
The Pentagon knows exactly how devastating this type of weapon system would be on American forces. The government spends billions of dollars hardening its critical electronic systems against electromagnetic pulses.
The Air Force Research Laboratory has been working on non-lethal, non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse weapons for more than two decades, and the CHAMP demonstration in 2012 was a high water mark.
AFRL chief Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello said at an Air Force Symposium last September that the technology for a steerable, counter-electronics weapon would be ready in 2016.
Masiello said the device could be part of a conventional cruise missile, such as the extended-range Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, or even an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by the end of the decade.
But weaponizing the technology requires a program office and sustained funding. Today, no such office exists. Instead, AFRL is looking at ways to improve CHAMP while senior decision makers dither.
VIDEO-Was Hillary running a secret intel network? Hot Air
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 22:15
posted at 11:31 am on March 28, 2015 by Ed Morrissey
If the motives to wipe the hard drive on Hillary Clinton's e-mail server weren't already crystal clear, a new development last night put it in Ultra HD. Gawker's Jeff Girth and Sam Biddle uncovered a secret, private intelligence network run by Sidney Blumenthal for Hillary's benefit, apart from the State Department's own Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Hackers got e-mails that went through Hillary's private server between her and Blumenthal, e-mails that show her own private intel group was also warning her that Libya was collapsing in the weeks and months prior to the sacking of the consulate in Benghazi:
Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal's account.
The emails, which were posted on the internet in 2013, also show that Blumenthal and another close Clinton associate discussed contracting with a retired Army special operations commander to put operatives on the ground near the Libya-Tunisia border while Libya's civil war raged in 2011.
Blumenthal's emails to Clinton, which were directed to her private email account, include at least a dozen detailed reports on events on the deteriorating political and security climate in Libya as well as events in other nations. They came to light after a hacker broke into Blumenthal's account and have taken on new significance in light of the disclosure that she conducted State Department and personal business exclusively over an email server that she controlled and kept secret from State Department officials and which only recently was discovered by congressional investigators.
It also seems that Hillary's private intelligence operation penetrated other intel groups, including those of allies. On one level, one could be impressed with the organization of such an effort '-- if it had led to better choices. Instead, the hacked e-mail trail here has Hillary's own network warning her of a string of terrorist attacks in Benghazi three weeks before the attack on our consulate. By that time, of course, the US facility had already been hit by a bomb attack two months prior to these warnings, yet Hillary and Patrick Kennedy did nothing to boost security or get American personnel out of harms' way. Why, with these warnings ringing in her ears, did she allow US Ambassador Chris Stevens to come to Benghazi at all?
By the way, the e-mails also speak to the ''YouTube video'' cover story, and makes it clear that Hillary's own private network had discounted the claim 48 hours after the attack:
On September 12, 2012, the day after the Benghazi attack, Blumenthal sent a memo that cited a ''sensitive source'' saying that the interim Libyan president, Mohammed Yussef el Magariaf, was told by a senior security officer that the assault was inspired by an anti-Muslim video made in the U.S., as well as by allegations by Magariaf's political opponents that he had CIA ties.
Blumenthal followed up the next day with an email titled ''Re: More Magariaf private reax.'' It said Libyan security officials believed an Islamist radical group called the Ansa al Sharia brigade had prepared the attack a month in advance and ''took advantage of the cover'' provided by the demonstrations against the video.
So, according to both Hillary's spy network and the CIA, everyone knew by September 14th that this was a planned attack and not a spontaneous demonstration gone awry. Yet for the next two weeks, the Obama administration and Hillary herself kept up the pretense that this was not a terrorist attack, even lying to the families of the dead about the central role of the YouTube video. Why?
This goes beyond cover stories, though. What was a Secretary of State doing in running her own private intelligence service '-- and providing so little security for its communications? It's getting very obvious why 32,000 e-mails got deleted from a four-year period, something like 21 e-mails every day in every year. It wasn't just notes to Bill or discussions of Chelsea's wedding plans that got wiped, but the records of Clintons' clandestine network of operatives.
Hugh Hewitt interviewed Chuck Todd on last night's show about this revelation, and what it means for Hillary Clinton's campaign. In this excerpt, Todd tells Hugh that ''nothing involving Sidney Blumenthal surprises me'':
CT: Well, and this is the pattern of Hillary Clinton, something I brought up last week. The pattern of her political career is when she is front and center, the polarizing view of Hillary Clinton comes into focus. And when she is off the front pages and is sort of a player but on the sidelines, like when she was a Senator or when she was Secretary of State, her numbers go up. And as a presidential candidate, and when she's at the center, you know, I think all of a sudden, there is, and she might blame that press, that the press has old habits die hard, they only cover her like she's a Clinton from the 90s, and so it doesn't matter. But all of a sudden, I think this is such a big challenge in the email story, is not the email story itself, it's the idea that it creates the 'oh, there they go again, this is the 90s all over again.' And if Clinton fatigue, which is already a disease in the press corps, actually becomes a problem with the voting public, and these polls, maybe this is the first time that it's becoming a problem, that is doom for her.
HH: It is a rumbling drum in the background. Now the Blumenthal story is different. I thought until today, actually earlier this week when I began to get wind of this, that Blumenthal would send her emails and she would write him back, and it was the kind of thing where you had a former aide, a hanger-on, and you stay in touch with everyone. No. He's running a private intelligence operation on the Libyan-Tunisian border through former CIA operatives. Chuck Todd, if W. had done that, or actually, Condi Rice or Colin Powell would be the appropriate analogy'...
CT: Yeah.
HH: '...people would be tearing their hair out.
CT: And yet I have to say nothing involving Sid Blumenthal surprises me. Zero. And I agree. I think this, I saw this Gawker stuff. You know, you've got, it's Gawker and all this stuff, but I've learned over the years, nothing involving Sid Blumenthal is surprising. And you know, for some reason, they've had, he's blindly loyal to them, and I think the Clintons have always had a blind spot with him, because he skirts the rules.
Later, though, Hugh and Todd both drive the point home about private intel networks, wiped drives, and Congressional investigations:
HH: But Sid Blumenthal is known as Sid Vicious for a reason, and none of those people, to my knowledge, ran a foreign private intelligence operation, because it raises, Chuck Todd, and this would go'...
CT: Well, I don't know about Nixon. Don't forget ol' G. Gordon. But when he was around'...
HH: Well, he was domestically, domestically. But here's what it raises. If they've got a private server and a private citizen collecting private intel, it is highly likely it's compromised going into the Secretary of State's server. I mean, it's just going to raise all sorts of fun. If there was on the right someone with the chops of some of the famous investigative reporters for the New Yorker, this would be keeping them up all night.
CT: I think, and look, I think all things Sid are going to become a big part of our, I think this is going to get a lot of attention. And I don't think it's a right, left, right, center. And you know, this is going to be, I think, the more explosive part of the first time she testifies on Benghazi. I mean, I think the Blumenthal stuff is going to be the stickiest wicket for her.
Small wonder Hillary had the hard drive wiped after the Benghazi select committee began demanding data from it. When Richard Nixon had the ''plumbers,'' we nearly had an impeachment (a process in which a young Hillary Clinton worked, as it happens). This is blatantly Nixonian, and it's just a taste of what we can expect if the Clintons come back into the White House.
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VIDEO-Elizabeth Warren tells Wall Street: 'Bring it on' - Mar. 30, 2015
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:31
The senator from Massachusetts said Monday that she will continue to call for financial reforms and for big Wall Street banks to be broken up, despite potential retaliation against Democratic candidates.
Last week, Reuters reported that some banks, including Citigroup(C) and J.P. Morgan(JPM), might withhold campaign contributions to Senate Democrats because of Warren's negative portrayal of Wall Street.
According to Reuters, Goldman Sachs(GS) and Bank of America(BAC) also participated in a meeting to discuss the anti-bank rhetoric, although the idea of withholding donations wasn't talked about. Goldman has already made its donation for the year.
"You bet I believe it's a serious threat," Warren told a packed room at a Barnes & Noble in New York City's Union Square -- a few miles north of Wall Street.
"It is so brazen. If they think they can say in public, 'I don't like your tone, I don't like the way you talk about financial regulation' ... I got news for them: bring it on," the Democrat said.
Related: Elizabeth Warren says the market is broken
Warren stressed that she only wants two things from Wall Street: banks shouldn't be able to cheat people, and no financial institution should be able to risk destroying the economy because it's too big to fail.
"If they want to fight on either one of those, I'm ready," she said to much applause.
Warren says no to presidential run: Several members of the audience held up "Elizabeth Warren for President" signs and chanted "Run, Liz, Run" during the event.
"No, I am not running for president," Warren said. "I am not going to run for president."
Moumita Ahmed, left, and Emiljana Ulaj hold signs urging Elizabeth Warren to run for president at an event on March 30, 2015 where the senator spoke.Instead, she called herself a "nerd" who loves her Senate job. Her top priorities at the moment are reducing the interest rate on student loans, increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health and raising the federal minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
Related: Elizabeth Warren is worth millions
Emiljana Ulaj was one of the people holding a sign at the bookstore and urging Warren to run. An immigrant from Albania, she has a full-time job but believes the American Dream is at risk.
"I hope she's just deliberating about running and didn't chose this moment to announce," Ulaj, 28, told CNNMoney. She was pleased to hear Warren stand up to the banks, "That's when you know you're making change."
What's ahead: The stakes for Warren may be higher if Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York with close ties to business, becomes the Senate Democratic leader after Sen. Harry Reid retires in 2016. Schumer is widely viewed as the top candidate for the leadership post.
Schumer and Warren would likely clash on financial regulation, and he might push her to soften her tone in order to help fundraising. If the banks didn't contribute, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee could lose up to $15,000 per bank a year -- and possibly more if individual bankers stopped donating as well. Warren is already trying to fight back by asking supporters for donations in a blog post Friday.
Related: Wall Street welcomes expected Chuck Schumer promotion
Warren is currently promoting her book, "A Fighting Chance." She read from a passage about her fight against the big banks to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she says has forced banks to return $5 billion "to consumers they cheated."
Elizabeth Warren: 8 ways to restore the middle class
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Goldman Sachs might withhold its campaign contribution to Senate Democrats, citing reporting from Reuters.
CNNMoney (New York)March 31, 2015: 9:36 AM ET
VIDEO-Wahrheit Flugzeugabsturz der 4U9525 Selbstmordtheorie widerlegt: Pilot(en) setzten Hilferufe ab''. - YouTube
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:47
VIDEO-'‹'Reuters lied': MH17 witness says reporter falsified testimony '-- RT News
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 05:56
Published time: March 30, 2015 08:30Edited time: March 30, 2015 20:56Local workers transport a piece of wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 at the site of the plane crash near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine November 20, 2014. (Reuters/Antonio Bronic)
A Lugansk Region resident, whom Reuters cites as saying he saw evidence of a surface-to-air missile launched from rebel-held territory on the day MH17 was downed, told RT the news agency gave a false report of his interview.
As a part of a March report on the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 tragedy Reuters talked to Pyotr Fedotov, a 58-year-old resident of the village Chervonniy Zhovten in the Lugansk Region of eastern Ukraine.
''When interviewed by Reuters, Fedotov, the witness who described the 'wiggling' rocket, at first said on camera that it was fired from territory held by the Ukrainian army. Later, off camera, he said it was launched from a nearby rebel area. Asked why he had originally said the opposite, he said it was because he was afraid of the rebels," the news agency said.
RT contacted Fedotov and he said that Reuters correspondent Anton Zverev was "less than accurate" with his testimony.
''When we talked about the Boeing on camera, I explained everything as it was. The things that I allegedly said off-camera were just made up by the journalist. It's all lies. Off-camera, we never discussed the Boeing,'' Fedotov told RT.
He added that the Reuters journalist contacted him after taking the interview, but never showed him a draft of the article. Instead he was asking whether Fedotov had got into trouble for speaking to him.
''The journalist called me and asked if I was in trouble. I was really surprised. Why would I be in trouble if I told the truth? And then my friends told me in the article I was saying different things when the cameras were on and off. That's when I understood why he was asking if I was in trouble,'' the witness explained.
''So it's mere fantasy from the journalist or maybe he was doing it for his own benefit,'' he added.
RT's request to Reuters for comments on the controversy and raw footage of Fedotov's interview was not replied to as of publication of this article.
READ MORE: Lavrov condemns Reuters report on MH17 crash, calls for 'unbiased, professional' investigation
Reuters' reporting was not based solely on Fedotov's testimony. The agency cited three other eyewitnesses from the village, but only Fedotov was cited as pointing to either side of the conflict as firing the missile. The report emphasized that the eyewitness accounts didn't conclusively prove that the rocket they saw was the one that downed Flight MH17.
Earlier in March, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov condemned the Reuters report of witnesses' statements, saying it "looked like a stovepiping." The top diplomat also then said that questions posed by Russia's officials remained unanswered, saying there have been no promised images from American satellites or recordings of Ukrainian air traffic controllers' communications with the plane.
The Malaysian Boeing 777 airliner was downed over eastern Ukraine on July 17 last year, killing 298 people on board. The incident became an instant controversy, with Ukraine and its Western backers accused rebel forces and Russia of being behind the downing.
READ MORE: Ukraine media falsely claim Dutch prosecutors accused Russia of MH17 downing
An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the Netherlands, but the preliminary report released last year didn't point even to a kind of weapon used in the downing of the aircraft, only that an outside force destroyed it mid-air.
Russia called not to jump to conclusions and made military radar data public which indicated the presence of Ukrainian surface-to-air batteries and warplanes in the area on the day of the Boeing shooting.
Earlier Ukrainian media falsely claimed that Dutch investigators concluded that MH17 had been shot down by the rebels with a Buk missile, citing a report in the Dutch media that outlined the popular theory, but didn't claim it to be proven. Dutch prosecutors told RT at the time that the investigation had not been concluded.
VIDEO: FPI Board Member William Kristol Discusses the Iran Nuclear Negotiations on This Week | Foreign Policy Initiative
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 05:54
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-Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski; America Should Stop Putin From Restoring Czarist Empire - YouTube
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 04:37
VIDEO- Bill Nye: We need a carbon tax to 'redistribute wealth'
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 04:32
Speaking to students at the University at Albany, Bill Nye the Science Guy said that a carbon tax was needed for the purpose of redistributing wealth.
"We need, dare I say it, a tax, or should I say a fee," Nye purportedly said Wednesday, right before an anonymous student began recording.
''It's not just to be mean, it's to redistribute wealth,'' Nye said.
Nye went on to claim that instituting such a tax would drive innovation in more environmentally friendly ways.
"It will stimulate people investing in more energy efficient means. If you gotta pay a fee every time you make carbon monoxie and somone comes up with a more efficient car, you'll use that car. Somebody comes up with a more efficient blender, you'll use that blender. I mean, that's just how it's going to go."
Watch the video now:
The free campus event distributed 1,000 copies of Nye's new book Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation to students in attendance. The lecture, part of an annual student-run speaker series, quickly became a pro-big government, higher taxes rally.
''The trouble with this is, there are people now, in the U.S. government, who don't like government,'' Nye lectured.
The former television host and Disney actor then ranted about limited government conservatives, comparing them to a General Motors employee that wants to shut their own company down.
''We have to get people who really want the government to do what it's supposed to do, which is run things,'' Nye said.
A student who attended the event told Campus Reform that he was disappointed with the big government push offered by Nye. ''I thought this was going to be a fantastic event talking about science, but it turned out to be politically charged, big government propaganda.''
''I think he should stick to T.V.''
Nye, a former mechanical engineer who became a famous by explaining scientific concepts to a preteen audience with his eponymous show Bill Nye the Science Guy, proceeded to beg his audience to vote.
''If you don't want to vote, would you please just shut up,'' Nye said.
''We need to address climate change as quickly as we can. Both with technical solutions from the bottom up and regulatory solutions, or changes, from the top down,'' Nye said. ''And working together, you all can become the next great generation and you can, dare I say it, change the world.''
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @CalebBonham
VIDEO-The United Nations Admits Chemtrails Are Real
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 04:27
The following video is of Rosalind Peterson, President of Agriculture Defence Coalition, who addresses the UN on chemtrails, geoengineering, and weather modification.
The acknowledgement by the UN that our skies are being polluted with aluminium, barium, lead, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, selenium, and silver should give weight to the claims that Chemtrails cause a whole host of health problems in the general population, including:
Neurological effects, heart damage, eyesight issues, reproduction failures, immune system damage, gastrointestinal disorders, damaged kidney, damaged liver, hormonal problems, and more.
Humansarefree.com reports:
The truth is the government is spraying deadly chemtrails in hopes of population reduction. Furthermore they have been known to use chemtrails as biological testing agents on the populace; all while claiming they are nothing more than mere vapor.
We'll now we have 100% undeniable evidence that chemtrails exist.
The video below is of Rosalind Peterson, the president of Agriculture Defence Coalition.
In it she address the United Nations on chemtrails, geoengineering, and weather modification (HAARP). If you were a skeptic before, I can assure you, that you will not be after hearing what she (the video below) has to say to the people in power.
Latest posts by Sean Adl-Tabatabai (see all)Share the post "The United Nations Admits Chemtrails Are Real"
VIDEO- Paul Harvey Bong Commercial - YouTube
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 23:02
VIDEO-Shooting at NSA headquarters leaves one dead - The Washington Post
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 21:12
Local television showed two damaged vehicles near a gate and emergency workers loading an injured uniformed man into an ambulance. (AP)
One person was killed and another was injured Monday morning when police with the National Security Agency opened fire on a vehicle whose driver refused commands to stop at a security gate, according to a statement from the agency.
The vehicle slammed into a police cruiser after shots were fired. The brief statement says one person was pronounced dead at the scene and another was taken to an area hospital. Authorities did not describe how the two were injured. An NSA police officer also was hurt in the incident.
Law enforcement officials familiar with the case said the two men in the vehicle were dressed as women and that they had earlier robbed another man of the SUV from a motel on Route 1 in Howard County.
One of the officials, who spoke on the condition they not be named to discuss a pending case, said the incident began in Baltimore City on Sunday when the three met. The exact circumstances were still being sorted out by police. Several law enforcement officials said the trio spent the night at a Howard County motel.
Mary Phelan, a spokeswoman for the the Howard County Police Department, confirmed that the SUV involved in the NSA incident had been reported stolen from a motel on Route 1 in Jessup on Monday morning.
The NSA statement says the incident occurred shortly before 9 a.m. when the vehicle entered the NSA complex off the Baltimore Washington Parkway in Anne Arundel County and ''failed to obey an NSA police officer's routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus.'' The statement says security barriers were raised.
The NSA said that the ''vehicle accelerated toward an NSA police vehicle blocking the road'' and that police ''fired at the vehicle.'' It then crashed into the police vehicle.
Amy J. Thoreson, a spokeswoman for the FBI, said in a statement that authorities ''do not believe [the incident] is related to terrorism.''
FBI crews from its evidence response team were processing the scene and agents were interviewing witnesses, she said. Deputy White House press secretary Eric Schultz said President Obama has been briefed on the incident.
Fort Meade has about 11,000 military personnel and another 29,000 civilian employees, according to its Web site. The facility sits near the areas of Odenton and Laurel and is the third-largest employer in Maryland. It houses other federal agencies in addition to the NSA.
Local television cameras showed two vehicles that were damaged near a gate at the military base. One emergency personnel worker appeared to be loaded into an ambulance.
Authorities did not release the identities of either person in the vehicle.
Earlier this month, a Beltsville man was arrested in a string of shooting incidents at public buildings around suburban Maryland, including one shooting at an NSA building. The building is along a stretch of road just east of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, separate from the agency's Fort Meade headquarters.
Hong Young, 35, a former prison guard, was a suspect in shootings at nine locations. No one was seriously injured in any of the incidents, which also occurred outside stores and along an interstate in Maryland.
He told investigators that he was ''hearing voices'' that told him to fire the shots. Police found 10 firearms, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a crossbow in a search of his home.
This story is breaking news and has been updated numerous times.
Lynh Bui and Peter Hermann contributed to this report.
Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.
Sari Horwitz covers the Justice Department and criminal justice issues nationwide for The Washington Post, where she has been a reporter for 30 years. Follow her @SariHorwitz.
Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She focuses on issues relating to intelligence, technology and civil liberties.
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VIDEO-Watch: SNL Brilliantly Destroys Indianas Anti-Gay Law in 30 Seconds | Occupy Democrats
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 20:21
It took Saturday Night live one brilliant joke and only thirty seconds to eviscerate Indiana's anti-gay ''religious exemption'' law that was signed into law by Republican Governor Mike Pence.
The joke was so damning, it drew a sharp applause from the crowd and forced the host to take a pause until their cheering ended.
Kudos to Saturday Night Live for standing up for LGBT Americans and putting Indiana Republicans in their place with this economic rebuttal to their bigotry.
Watch the video:
VIDEO-stephanspokis hoosiers
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:24
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VIDEO-Empathy: The Human Connection to Patient Care - YouTube
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:22
VIDEO-GOP's Carly Fiorina: Economy is suffering because workers are 'watching porn all day long'
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:10
Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who is expected to announce a campaign for president, said over the weekend that she could improve the economy by cutting federal worker pay because they were ''watching porn all day long.''
In a Sunday interview with Fox News host Chris Wallace, Fiorina said that there was a ''higher than 90 percent'' chance that she would become a Republican presidential candidate.
The former HP CEO explained that she would make a formidable candidate ''because I understand technology: a transformational tool, because I understand bureaucracies, how they work and how you need to change them. And our government is a huge bureaucracy.''
According to Fiorina, the United States was ''destroying more businesses than we are creating'' for the first time in U.S. history under President Barack Obama's administration.
''Washington, D.C. has become a vast and unaccountable bureaucracy. It's been growing for 40 years,'' she opined. ''We have no idea how our money is spent.''
Fiorina said that she had two prong plan for boosting the economy by reforming the federal government.
''One, zero-based budgeting so we actually know where money is being spent, and we're talking about the whole budget and not just the rate of increase,'' she remarked. ''And two, pay for performance in our civil service.''
''We have '-- how many Inspector General reports do we need to read that say, you know, you can watch porn all day long and get paid exactly the same way as somebody who's trying to do their job?''
Watch the video below from Fox News' Fox News Sunday, broadcast March 29, 2015.
VIDEO-UN Live United Nations Web TV - Media - Christiana Figueres, Executive Director, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:49
Christiana Figueres, Executive Director, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
25 Sep 2012 - The next steps on the climate change agenda
UNFCCC websiteChristiana Figueres, Executive Director, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
VIDEO-Extreme weather is 'silver lining' for climate action: Christiana Figueres | Environment | The Guardian
Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:45
Devastating extreme weather including recent flooding in England, Australia's hottest year on record and the US being hit by a polar vortex have a "silver lining" of boosting climate change to the highest level of politics and reminding politicians that climate change is not a partisan issue, according to the UN's climate chief.
Christiana Figueres said that it was amoral for people to look at climate change from a politically partisan perspective, because of its impact on future generations.
The "very strange" weather experienced across the world over the last two years was a sign "we are [already] experiencing climate change," the executive secretary of the UN climate secretariat told the Guardian.
The flooding of thousands of homes in England because of the wettest winter on record has brought climate change to the forefront of political debate in the UK. The prime minister, David Cameron, when challenged by Labour leader, Ed Miliband, on his views on man-made climate change and having climate change sceptics in his cabinet, said last week: "I believe man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that this country and this world faces."
Climate change was barely mentioned at all in the 2012 US election battle until superstorm Sandy struck New York, prompting the city's then mayor, Michael Bloomberg, to endorse Barack Obama's candidacy because he would "lead on climate change."
A mailbox with a lighthouse design sits on the porch of a burned out home in the Breezy Point section of New York's Queens borough. More than 50 homes were lost in a fire that swept through the oceanside community during Superstorm Sandy. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/APFigueres said: "There's no doubt that these events, that I call experiential evidence of climate change, does raise the issue to the highest political levels. It's unfortunate that we have to have these weather events, but there is a silver lining if you wish, that they remind us is solving climate change, addressing climate change in a timely way, is not a partisan issue."
She added: "We are reminded that climate change events are for everyone, they're affecting everyone, they have much, much longer effects than a political cycle. Frankly, they're intergenerational, so morally we cannot afford to look at climate change from a partisan perspective."
Figueres said that examples of recent extreme weather around the world were a sign climate change was here now. "If you take them individually you can say maybe it's a fluke. The problem is it's not a fluke and you can't take them individually. What it's doing is giving us a pattern of abnormality that's becoming the norm. These very strange extreme weather events are going to continue in their frequency and their severity '... It's not that climate change is going to be here in the future, we are experiencing climate change."
Figueres was speaking in London before meeting businesses including Unilever, Lafarge and Royal Dutch Shell to urge them to put pressure on governments to take action on climate change, ahead of renewed international negotiations in Bonn next week to flesh out details of a draft climate treaty to be laid out in Lima this year and agreed in Paris at the end of 2015.
"2014 is a crucial year because of the timing of next year, [in 2015] there will be very little time work on the actual agreement. We have to frontload the work," she said.
UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, in the Guardian offices, London. She said it was amoral for people to look at climate change from a politically partisan perspective. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian Martin Godwin/Martin Godwin For The GuardianPeru's foreign minister told the Guardian in January that the Lima meeting in December must produce a first draft of a deal to cut carbon emissions, which will be the first of its kind after efforts to get legally binding agreement for cuts from most of the world's countries failed at a blockbuster meeting in Copenhagen in 2009.
Asked if a bad deal was better than no deal next year, she said: "Paris has to reach a meaningful agreement because, frankly, we are running out of time."
But she dismissed parallels with the run-up to the Copenhagen summit, saying the frequency of extreme weather events, lower renewable energy costs and progress on climate legislation at a national level meant it was different this time round.
"I hope that we don't need too many more Sandys or Haiyans or fires in Australia or floods in the UK to wake us up. My sense is there is already much momentum. We have 66 governments that have climate legislation, we have a total of 500 laws around the world on climate, whereas before Copenhagen we only had 47."
But the grouping of the world's 47 "least developed" countries said this week that they would want far more money to adapt their economies to climate change than the $100bn a year that been so far proposed by rich countries.
"We will want more than the $100bn to agree to a new Paris protocol," said Quamrul Choudhury, a lead negotiator for the group which includes many African and Asian countries. "On top of that we will want a legal mechanism to compensate for 'loss and damage' [compensation for extreme climate change events]. There should definitely be some space in the [final] treaty for that," he said in London.
He called on rich countries to compromise. "The battle lines are drawn. Everyone wants to defend their country and nobody will give an inch, but everyone has to make some sacrifice or we won't have a deal. We need high-level political commitment to raise ambition."
Choudhury, who is also Bangladesh's climate envoy to the United Nations, met British climate negotiators ahead of the Bonn talks. "I am optimistic that the world can avoid another diplomatic disaster like Copenhagen in 2009. There have been major changes since then. In 2008-09 we knew it would be very expensive to reduce emissions. Now we know it does not cost very much. It's not expensive, not a Herculean task. Countries like the UK know they can reduce emissions by 65% without it costing very much at all.
"But even if we have an ambitious mitigation target [to cut emissions] adaptation must be the cornerstone of a new treaty. This is not a zero-sum game. If we treat it like that there will be no Paris protocol," he said.
Figueres later agreed that the $100m proposed in 2009 as compensation for poor countries would not be enough for them to build defences and adapt their economies. "It was a figure plucked from a hat '... $100bn is not enough [to meet] the mitigation and not at all for the adaptation costs. The International Energy Agency has suggested it may cost $1 trillion over 25 years just for adaptation. $100bn is a freckle on the map of what needs to be invested."
A major UN climate science panel report to be published at the end of this month will spell out the impacts of climate change on humanity and the natural world. Leaked versions of the report say agricultural production will decline by up to 2% every decade for the rest of the 21st century.


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