710: Joy Brigade

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 47m
April 5th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Maurice Tate Sir Festus of Alva, James Webster, Sir Steven Pelsmaekers Grand Duke of France & Belgium, Sir David Foley Grand Duke of the USA, Jeremy King, Matthew McNulty, Sir LB Fudgefountain

Associate Executive Producers: InterKan.Net, Inc., Erik Mainz

Cover Artist: MartinJJ

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Greg Phillinganes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 05 Apr 2015 05:30
Greg PhillinganesGreg Phillinganes performing with Herbie Hancock in 2010
Background informationBirth nameGregory Arthur PhillinganesBorn(1956-05-12) May 12, 1956 (age 58)Detroit, MichiganGenresPop rock, progressive rockOccupation(s)Musician, songwriterInstrumentsKeyboards, synthesizer, analog synthesizer, programming, vocalsAssociated actsStevie Wonder, The Jacksons, Michael Jackson, Toto, Eric ClaptonNotable instrumentsKorg TritonYamaha MotifGregory Arthur "Greg" Phillinganes (born May 12, 1956) is an American keyboardist, singer, songwriter, and musical director based in Los Angeles, California. A prolific session musician, Phillinganes has contributed keyboard tracks to numerous albums representing a broad array of artists and genres. He has toured with notable artists such as Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, and Toto, served as musical director for Michael Jackson, and has released two solo albums.
BiographyEditGregory Arthur Phillinganes was born on May 12, 1956, in Detroit, Michigan.[1] He began playing a neighbor's piano by ear at the age of two, beginning lessons a few years later after his mother purchased a piano for him.[2] He took lessons from two different instructors before his mother brought him to Misha Kotler, a Detroit Symphony Orchestra pianist who introduced the discipline and technique Phillinganes required to excel. Phillinganes credits Kotler with showing him proper hand posture and for influencing him to play with "a sense of dexterity and definition".[2]
Phillinganes was discovered by Stevie Wonder after drummer Ricky Lawson gave him a cassette of instrumental renditions of his own songs done by Phillinganes. Phillinganes auditioned for Wonder's band, Wonderlove, and subsequently played with them from 1976''1981.[2]
1978 began a three-decade-long involvement with Michael Jackson and The Jacksons for Phillinganes. He arranged The Jacksons' 1978 album Destiny and played keyboard on 1980's Triumph.[3] In the process, he became close with the Jackson family, accompanying them to Walt Disney World and referring to Katherine Jackson as "mom".[4] He contributed to every one of Michael Jackson's solo albums, and cites the title track from 1982's Thriller as a seminal example of his work. In an interview with Atlanta, Phillinganes recalled, "I did the synth bass part, those high-pitched synth parts, I did the Rhodes [keyboard] part and even did the pipe organ that Vincent Price does his rap over. It was crazy! When I listen to it now, I just think about all the fun we had creating all those layers in the studio."[3] Although paid as a session musician for his contributions to Thriller, the best-selling album of all time,[5] Phillinganes noted that he and the other participating musicians do not receive royalties.[4] He was the musical director for Michael Jackson's Bad and Dangerous concert tours, as well as the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special. He describes his involvement with the 30th Anniversary Special as particularly emotional considering his long history with the family. Phillinganes has spoken at length about how much of his life he had spent with the Jacksons, and Michael in particular.[4]
In 1981, Phillinganes released his first solo album, Significant Gains.[6]The Boston Globe reviewer Richard Cromonic noted that Stevie Wonder's influence on the album's sound is pronounced, and praised the creativity of the compositions. He criticized the lyrics as being less creative, and said that Significant Gains might be too close to Wonder's sound, calling it "blatant emulation".[7] While the album itself was not very successful, the song "Baby, I Do Love You" was a minor R&B hit.[8] Three years later, Phillinganes released his follow-up album Pulse, which featured another minor hit (and perhaps his best-known solo hit), a cover of Yellow Magic Orchestra's song "Behind the Mask" (with additional lyrics written by Michael Jackson). This single was more successful on the dance music charts.[8] When he later joined Eric Clapton's backing band, Phillinganes introduced the tune to Clapton, who covered it on his 1986 August album. Amidst his solo recordings and touring with Clapton throughout the 1980s and the early 1990s, he became well known as a prominent session musician for a multitude of different artists, performing on many hit albums of the time. His session work has continued into the present.[2]
In addition to Stevie Wonder, Greg Phillinganes has worked and toured with other musicians including the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, Anita Baker, George Benson, Eric Clapton, Donald Fagen, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson, Richard Marx, Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones, and Stevie Nicks among others.[9][10] In 1995 he played on the Joan Armatrading album What's Inside. Starting in 2005, Phillinganes filled in for the semi-retired David Paich on tour with the band Toto. He subsequently became a full-time member of the band and contributed to their new album. He continued to tour as a member of Toto until the band became inactive in 2008. When Toto reformed in 2010 to resume touring and working on new material, Phillinganes had been replaced in the lineup by original keyboardist Steve Porcaro.[11]
Phillinganes served as the musical director for Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour for its entire run from 2011''2014.[3]
Personal lifeEditPhillinganes is the brother of R&B musician Carrie Lucas.[12][13]
He was married to a woman named Karla, and he dedicated his first solo album to Karla and their two children.[14]
DiscographyEditSolo
With Michael Jackson
With The Jacksons
With Toto
With Eric Clapton
ReferencesEditCited sources
^Wynn, Ron. "Greg Phillinganes Biography". AllMusic.com. All Media Network. Retrieved December 28, 2014. ^ abcdRegen, Jon (July 12, 2012). "Greg Phillinganes: Pop Music's Most Revered Session and Touring Keyboardist on a Life Reflected in Music". Keyboardmag.com. NewBay Media. Retrieved December 29, 2014. ^ abcEldredge, Richard (June 1, 2012). "Q&A with Greg Phillinganes". Atlanta. Emmis Publishing. Retrieved December 28, 2014. ^ abcGreg Phillinganes (February 4, 2011). Greg Phillinganes''Michael Jackson. Youtube.com. (Interview). ^Craig Glenday (ed.). "Biggest-selling Album Ever". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on May 17, 2006. Retrieved January 6, 2015. ^"Significant Gains : Overview". AllMusic. Retrieved December 31, 2014. ^Cromonic, Richard (July 16, 1981). "Greg Phillinganes '' Significant Gains". The Boston Globe (Globe Newspaper Co.). p. A12. ^ ab"Greg Phillinganes : Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved December 31, 2014. ^Walker, Toby. "Greg Phillinganes". Soulwalking.co.uk. Toby Walker. Retrieved December 28, 2014. ^Beck, Matt (July 2012). "5 Ways to Play Like Greg Phillinganes". Keyboard (Miller Freeman) 38 (7): 36, 38. ISSN 0730-0158. ^"History: Toto". TotoOfficial.com. Toto. Retrieved December 27, 2014. ^Nathan, David. "Carrie Lucas '' Artist Biography". Soultracks.com. Soul Tracks. Retrieved December 27, 2014. ^Walker, Toby. "Carrie Lucas Page". Soulwalking.co.uk. Toby Walker. Retrieved December 27, 2014. ^Greg Phillinganes- Significant Gains LP back cover liner notes.^"Greg Phillinganes : Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved December 31, 2014. Other sources
Ivory, Steve (March 9, 1985). "Black: Session Ace Phillinganes Takes His Own Solo 'Pulse'". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 97 (10): 65. ISSN 0006-2510. "Phillinganes' Debut Video, 'Behind The Mask'". Back Stage (Back Stage Publications) 26 (20): 36. May 17, 1985. ISSN 0005-3635. PersondataNamePhillinganes, GregAlternative namesShort descriptionAmerican musicianDate of birthMay 12, 1956Place of birthDetroit, MichiganDate of deathPlace of death
India Arie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 05 Apr 2015 05:25
India ArieIndia.Arie at the Singapore Winehouse Festival in 2011
Background informationBirth nameIndia Arie SimpsonBorn(1975-10-03) October 3, 1975 (age 39)Denver, Colorado, U.S.OriginAtlanta, Georgia, U.S.GenresSoul, neo soul, folkOccupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician, record producerInstrumentsVocals, guitar, flute, keyboardYears active2000''presentLabelsMotown(1999''2007)SoulBird, Universal Republic(2007''present)Websitewww.indiaarie.comwww.soulbird.comIndia Arie (born India Arie Simpson; October 3, 1975) is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer.[1] She has sold over 3.3 million records in the US and 10 million worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards from her 21 nominations, including Best R&B Album.
BackgroundEditSimpson was born in Denver, Colorado. Her musical skills were encouraged by both parents early in life. Her mother Joyce is a former singer (she was signed to Motown as a teenager and opened for Stevie Wonder and Al Green)[2] and is now her stylist. Her father is former NBA basketball player Ralph Simpson. She has an older brother named J'On.[3] According to a DNA analysis, she descends from the Mende people of Sierra Leone, the Kru people of Liberia and the Fula people of Guinea-Bissau.[4][5]
After her parents divorced, Simpson's mother moved the family to Atlanta, Georgia when she was thirteen.[3] Simpson had taken up a succession of musical instruments throughout her schooling in Denver, but her interest in the guitar while attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah, led to a personal revelation about songwriting and performing. "When I started tapping into my own sensitivity, I started to understand people better. It was a direct result of writing songs", she said at the press release of her debut album, Acoustic Soul.
Co-founding the Atlanta-based independent music collective Groovement EarthShare (Groovement was the collective artists' name and EarthShare was their independent label name), her one-song turn on a locally-released compilation led to a second-stage gig at the 1998 Lilith Fair. In 1999, a Universal/Motown music scout spotted her and made an introduction to former Motown CEO Kedar Massenburg. Arie resides in Atlanta, Georgia.
Musical careerEditArie released her debut album Acoustic Soul on March 27, 2001. The album was met with positive reviews and commercial success.[6] "Acoustic Soul" debuted at number ten on the U.S. Billboard 200 and number three on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. Within months, without the concentrated radio airplay that typically powers pop and rap albums, Acoustic Soul was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling 2,180,000 copies in the U.S. and 3,000,000 copies worldwide.[7] The album was also certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry[8] and platinum by Music Canada.[9] The album was promoted with the release of the lead single Video. Video attained commercial success peaking at forty seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and becoming her highest charting song in the region to date.[10] The albums second single Brown Skin failed to chart on the BillboardHot 100, but it became her highest charting single in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 29.[11]
Arie performed a duet with rock singer-guitarist John Mellencamp on the song "Peaceful World" for his 2001 album Cuttin' Heads. While Arie and the album were nominated for seven Grammy awards in 2002, they won no awards, losing in five of seven categories to Alicia Keys. She closed the ceremony with a performance of her song "Video". Arie performed a duet with jazz singer Cassandra Wilson on the song "Just Another Parade" for her 2002 album Belly of the Sun.
Arie followed the success of her debut on September 24, 2002 with the release of Voyage to India.[12] It debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 109,000 copies.[13] And topped the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums,[13] going Platinum by the RIAA.[14] At the 2003 Grammy Awards, it won "Best R&B Album", and the single "Little Things" won "Best Urban/Alternative Performance".[15] The song "Get It Together" was featured on many film soundtracks including "Brown Sugar" (2002) and Shark Tale (2004).[16][17]
On September 12, 2005, Arie performed "Just 4 2day", a song written for her appearance on the debut of The Tyra Banks Show.[18] She also performed "What About the Child", a song that did not air but was made available as a one-dollar Internet download to support child victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.[19] Arie is also featured on Stevie Wonder's album A Time to Love, released on October 18, 2005. Arie and Wonder duet on the title track "A Time to Love", written by Arie, which was nominated for "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Three years earlier, their rendition of Mel Torm(C)'s 1944 classic "The Christmas Song", recorded for the holiday TV commercial for retailer Target, had been nominated for the same category, making it the first song created and financed exclusively for a commercial to be nominated for a Grammy Award.[20]
Arie's third studio album, Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, was released on June 27, 2006. It gave Arie her first number-one spot on the Billboard 200 and was her second chart-topper on the R&B charts. This album was also the first number-one album for Motown in twelve years[citation needed]. Its first-week sales of 161,000 copies are Arie's best sales week to date and was certified gold in August 2006, selling 730,000 in US and 1,300,000 worldwide. "I Am Not My Hair" was the most successful release from Testimony: Vol. 1., reaching the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at #97 and the UK Singles Chart at #65. Arie collaborated with Akon for her song "I Am Not My Hair". On the April 16, 2007 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show entitled "After Imus: Now What?", Arie guest-starred as a panelist. Arie performed a duet with singer Anthony David for his song "Words" for his 2008 album Acey Duecy.
Her next album, Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics was released on Tuesday, February 10, 2009. It debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and No. 2 on the R&B chart. Within this CD, Arie collaborated with such artists as Sezen Aksu, Keb Mo, Gramps Morgan and Musiq Soulchild to fulfill her self-proclaimed desire to "do projects with people who are making music that is meaningful, with a lot of integrity and a lot of sonic diversity". Arie also identified this CD as her first to write and sing songs without worrying about public opinion after a much-needed vacation to Hawaii. The album was her first produced and released after her departure from Motown to Universal Records.[21] Arie performed "Video" with British singer Adele at the 2009 VH1 Divas. Arie is one of over 70 artists singing on "We Are the World: 25 for Haiti", a charity single in aid of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Arie contributed vocals to "Imagine" for the 2010 Herbie Hancock album, The Imagine Project along with Seal, P!nk, Jeff Beck, Konono N°1, Oumou Sangare and others.[22]
In the fall of 2010, she was a featured guest vocalist on Carlos Santana's version of The Beatles classic song "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" from his "Guitar Heaven" CD. The song also features Yo-Yo Ma on cello.
In September 2012, she will be featured in a campaign called "30 Songs/30 Days" to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book.[23]
In March 2013, it was announced that Arie was working on her upcoming fifth studio album, Songversation which was released on June 25, 2013.
The first single of the album,"6th Avenue" (released on iTunes on November 4, 2012 ) produced by india.arie and Israeli musician Idan Raichel.
The second single "Cocoa Butter" was released on iTunes on April 9, 2013.[24][25][26][27]
DiscographyEditHeadliningVoyage to World Tour (2002/03)Testimony Tour (2006/10)Opening actFilmographyEditReferencesEdit^"On A Spiritual And Emotional Journey - India.Arie And Her Music". EF News International. Retrieved 2011-10-28. ^"The soul of a songwriter: India.Arie talks about reading, writing and stoking her creative fires". Black Issues Book Review. September''October 2004. Retrieved 2007-05-05. [dead link]^ ab"India.Arie MTV biography". MTV. Retrieved 2007-10-15. ^"India.Arie Ancestry Reveal". YouTube.com. Retrieved 2013-02-21. ^"Growing Interest in DNA-Based Genetic Testing Among African American with Historic Election of President Elect Barack Obama". Prweb.com. Retrieved 2013-02-21. ^Duffy, John. "Acoustic Soul - India.Arie". Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-08-12.^"RIAA - Gold & Platinum - December 13, 2010: Acoustic Soul certified awards". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 13, 2010. ^"British Phonographic Industry search results". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 13, 2010. ^"Gold & Platinum Certifications". Music Canada. Retrieved July 5, 2013. ^"India.Arie Album & Song Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved December 13, 2010. ^Roberts, David. Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums. Guinness World Records Ltd 17th edition (2004), p. 29 ISBN 0-85112-199-3^"India.Arie - Voyage To India". Discogs.com. ^ ab"Voyage to India - India.Arie". Billboard.com. ^"Little Things". SuperiorPics.com. ^"India Arie - Voyage To India CD". CDUniverse.com. ^"Soundtracks for Brown Sugar (2002)". IMDb.com. ^"Soundtracks for Shark Tale (2004)". IMDb.com. ^"Telepictures Productions". Tyrashow.warnerbros.com. Retrieved 2013-02-21. ^"Tyra Banks & India.Arie". iAmplify. December 8, 2005. Retrieved 2007-03-06. ^"Brian McKnight, Marc Anthony & More On Stevie Wonder Tribute Collection". Spotlight on R&B. February 9, 2003. Retrieved 2007-06-01. ^Lewis, Pete. "India.Arie: Sweet, Sweet Soul Music." Bluesandsoul.com. Issue 1024. 3 November 2009^"The Imagine Project". All About Jazz. 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2010-11-29. ^"30 Songs / 30 Days for Half the Sky | Half The Sky". Halftheskymovement.org. 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2013-02-21. ^Cooper, Charlene. (2013-03-22) Must-Listen: Hear India Arie's New Song, 'Cocoa Butter'. Essence.com. Retrieved on 2013-06-25.^India.Arie to Release "SongVersation" on June 25 @ARTISTdirect. Artistdirect.com. Retrieved on 2013-06-25.^iTunes - Music - Cocoa Butter - Single by India.Arie. Itunes.apple.com (2013-04-09). Retrieved on 2013-06-25.^iTunes - Music - 6th Avenue - Single by India.Arie. Itunes.apple.com (2012-11-04). Retrieved on 2013-06-25.External linksEditPersondataNameIndia.ArieAlternative namesSimpson, India ArieShort descriptionAmerican singer-songwriter, guitarist, and flautistDate of birthOctober 3, 1975Place of birthDenver, Colorado, United StatesDate of deathPlace of death
Harpejji - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 05 Apr 2015 05:15
The harpejji is an electric stringed musical instrument developed in 2007 by Tim Meeks, founder of Marcodi Musical Products, and is a descendant of the StarrBoard.[1][2] The instrument aims to bridge the gap in sound and technique between the guitar and the piano. The playing surface has an isomorphic keyboard layout arranged in ascending whole tones across strings, and ascending semi-tones as the strings travel away from the player with a five octave range from A0 to A5. The first harpejji model, the 24 string d1, was produced from January 2008[3] through May 2010. It was subsequently replaced by the k24 which also has 24 strings. The latter model includes updates to the internal electronics, a simplification of the fretboard marker system, and a change from maple to bamboo as the primary wood for the instrument. In January 2011, the g16, a smaller 16 string model with a four octave range (from C2 to C6) and mono output, was introduced. All harpejjis use an electronic muting system to dampen unfretted strings and minimize the impact of sympathetic vibrations.
TechniqueEditIt is primarily played with a two handed tapping technique. It differs from other tapping instruments, such as the Chapman Stick, by way of the orientation of the instrument to the player. The instrument rests on a stand like a keyboard and the strings perpendicular to the player. The instrument allows for the musician to use all 10 fingers to fret the strings, and a single hand can cover a two octave range. New techniques for playing the instrument are beginning to surface, such as strumming with a pick. Unlike the piano, no formal pedagogy has been established for the harpejji.
Players and recordingsEditJim Daneker was an early adopter of the harpejji and was among the first to appear with the instrument in public. The first commercial harpejji recording was made by Jordan Rudess for the soundtrack to the God of War III video game. Rudess also has included the harpejji as another instrument on Dream Theater, who already has 2 keyboards, a lap steel guitar and a continuum. Stevie Wonder played his hit song "Superstition" on a 16 string harpejji on the 2012 Billboard Music Awards.
Two time Grammy and Oscar awards winner A.R Rahman has been using Continuum in several of his recordings and live shows. His Oscar nominated song If I rise from 127 Hours featured Harpejji.[4] In the opening episode of Season 3 of Coke Studio India, he played Harpejji in two songs - Ennile Maha Oliyo[5] and Jagao Mere Des[6]
ReferencesEditExternal linksEdit
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No Agenda the hit Broadway Musical
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Congressional Dish on The Stream
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Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''710, 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. § 1710^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
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Off-OPEC email
Good day Mr. Adam,
I will try and explain what off OPEC means. My bio first: I am an oil and gas engineer. Been in Nigeria since 1981. I have worked on flow stations , the construction of flow stations and gas plants.
I know for a fact we as Nigeria we don't know how much oil is produced from the wells. I have worked on flow stations ( these are facilities that take the "oil" from wells and remove the water and gas from the hydrocarbon fluids flowing from the wells.) From the flow station we pump the separated oil into pipelines, the volume of oil pumped into these pipe lines is so inaccurate. Usually there is more oil than recorded pumped. That excess oil would definitely go to some one. In a day we could produce 2million barrels a day. Only 1.5million is documented.. The remaining is sold off to any one willing to pay. OFF OPEC is just another name for oil bunkering. All these bunkering is carried out by appointed militants and protected by the Nigerian Navy armed forces. For sure the president has a said cut.
Only in this country will the head of the militants be given the contract to supply the navy war ships. The same navy is fighting these militants in the delta of this country. You can google the name 'tompolo' head of militants. Same guy selling crude for boss man.
The central bank governor a while back announced to Nigeria that $20billion was missing and not remitted by the NNPC ( Nigerian petroleum co operation) to the government. They covered it up and declared only $1.5 billion was not remitted. Our finance minister said noting was missing, "okonjo iweale" she was formally working at the World Bank.
Kind regards
AxeGrinder
From Nigeria
Six Week Cycle
Two New York City women arrested in alleged bomb plot | Reuters
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 19:57
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two New York City women have been arrested in an alleged conspiracy to build a bomb and wage a "terrorist attack" in the United States, according to a federal criminal complaint made public on Thursday.
Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, devised a plot to target police, government or military targets based on their "violent jihadist beliefs," according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.
The two women, who were roommates in the New York City borough of Queens, conducted extensive research on how to build an explosive device and plotted to attack such targets as a military base or a police funeral, the complaint stated.
Velentzas and Siddiqui were charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against persons or property in the United States. They were slated to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Viktor Pohorelsky of the Eastern District of New York on Thursday afternoon.
If convicted, they face the possibility of life in prison.
Velentzas praised al Qaeda's Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, considered former al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden a hero and said she and Siddiqui were "citizens of the Islamic State," the complaint said.
The women also voiced support for beheading of Western journalists and others by Islamic State, the militant group that controls territory in Syria and Iraq, the complaint said.
The two women had been plotting to build a bomb since last summer, the complaint said.
They were doing research on building a bomb by reading college textbooks on electricity, watching online videos about soldering and reading "The Anarchist Cookbook," a book first published in 1971 that contains instructions on building homemade explosives, the complaint said.
They looked for supplies such as wiring and chemicals in a pharmacy and a local Home Depot store, it said.
The two "carefully studied how to construct an explosive device to launch an attack on the homeland," Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, who is President Barack Obama's nominee for U.S. attorney general, said in a statement.
"We are committed to doing everything in our ability to detect, disrupt and deter attacks by homegrown violent extremists," Lynch added. "We remain firm in our resolve to hold accountable anyone who would seek to terrorize the American people," she said.
(Reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Will Dunham and Susan Heavey)
Dianne Feinstein says the Anarchist's Cookbook should be ''removed from the Internet'' - The Washington Post
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 18:45
Two women were arrested in New York today for allegedly planning an ISIS-inspired plot to use "weapons of mass destruction against persons or property in the United States," according to the Justice Department.
In a press release praising the FBI and the NYPD for their work on the case, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California said the following:
I am particularly struck that the alleged bombers made use of online bombmaking guides like the Anarchist Cookbook and Inspire Magazine. These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet.
The Anarchist's Cookbook is a DIY bomb-making manual written in the early 1970s by William Powell, a young American living in New York who was protesting U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Powell went on to disown the book and express regret that it had ever been published. But the book lives on in print, as well as in thousands, perhaps millions of digital copies on the Internet.
Feinstein has spoken out against the book and its ilk before. In 1997, in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, she sponsored a measure passed by the Senate that made it illegal to knowingly distribute bomb-making guides in the service of "an activity that constitutes a Federal criminal offense or a State or local criminal offense affecting interstate commerce. "
Feinstein's concerns are certainly understandable. And while distribution for the purpose of criminal activity may be illegal, many argue that simply printing or distributing the Cookbook remains protected by the First Amendment. But Feinstein's call for it to be "removed from the Internet" may raise the most eyebrows. Materials distributed online are nearly impossible to remove completely. Calls for removal are often met with great skepticism from libertarian-minded online communities, as Beyonce's publicist found out in 2013 after calling for unflattering photos of the artist to be deleted.
In the case of the Anarchist's cookbook, the information contained is not secret. Powell did most of his research at public libraries. Even if the book itself were somehow deleted from the public record, the techniques and ideas that motivated it would still be no more than a Google search away, illustrating the difficulties of removing information that could be used for nefarious means from the Internet.
In any event, the Cookbook itself may not be that relevant these days. Case in point: those arrested today didn't stumble upon the book themselves. It was given to them by the FBI's undercover agent, according to the Justice Department.
Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.
Continue reading10 minutes left
FBI Uncovers Another Of Its Own Plots, Senator Feinstein Responds By Saying We Should Censor The Internet | Techdirt
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 21:31
As you may have heard, yesterday the FBI "uncovered" yet another of its own terrorist plots, the latest in a very long line of "terrorist plots" the FBI has "uncovered" -- in which the details always show that it was an undercover FBI "informant" (often doing this to get off leniently for some other issue), who more or less goads hapless, naive people, into a "plot" that had no real chance of ever happening. This appears to be the same sort of thing.Still, politicians never leave an opportunity like this unexploited, and so in jumps Senator Dianne Feinstein, arguing that the only proper way to deal with this is to, of course... censor the internet:
I am particularly struck that the alleged bombers made use of online bombmaking guides like the Anarchist Cookbook and Inspire Magazine. These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First Amendment and should be removed from the Internet.
For what it's worth, Dianne Feinstein's "view" is wrong. The Anarchist Cookbook is very much protected by the First Amendment. While the book is banned in other countries, who don't have the equivalent of the First Amendment, it's perfectly legal in the US. The FBI/DOJ has extensively investigated the Anarchist's Cookbook in particular over the years, and as far back as 1997 directly told Senator Feinstein that she could not ban it. This is from the DOJ back in 1997:Senator Feinstein introduced legislation during the last Congress in an attempt to fill this gap. The Department of Justice agrees that it would be appropriate and beneficial to adopt further legislation to address this problem directly, if that can be accomplished in a manner that does not impermissibly restrict the wholly legitimate publication and teaching of such information, or otherwise violate the First Amendment.
The First Amendment would impose substantial constraints on any attempt to proscribe indiscriminately the dissemination of bombmaking information. The government generally may not, except in rare circumstances, punish persons either for advocating lawless action or for disseminating truthful information -- including information that would be dangerous if used -- that such persons have obtained lawfully.
And yet, Feinstein's first response to the FBI uncovering yet another of its own plots is to go back to trying to censoring the internet in direct violation of the First Amendment? Yikes.Oh, and even worse... in keeping with the fact that this plot was actually created by the FBI itself, guess where the two "terrorist wannabes" got the Anarchist Cookbook? From the undercover FBI agent! From the criminal complaint itself [pdf]:
On or about Novermber 2, 2014, the UC [Undercover Officer] met with VELNTZAS and SIDDIQUI. When VELENTZAS was reading a book called "Chemistry: The Central Science," the UC asked how this book was going to benefit them. VELENTZAS stated that they could practice at her house, but could not leave any residue. The UC stated that practicing at the house was not a good idea because the people living in the apartment below VELENTZAS might hear loud noises, referring to noises from explosions. VELENTZAS said she could always tell her neighbors that she dropped some bookshelves. The UC and VELENTZAS then discussed the fact that the UC had downloaded The Anarchist Cookbook. VELENTZAS suggested the UC print out the parts of the book that they would need. During the conversation, the UC stated, "We read chemistry books with breakfast. Like, who does that?" VELENTZAS responded, "People who want to make history."
The complaint also lists many other books and magazines and web pages that the various people read throughout, and later has one of the wannabe terrorists thanking the undercover agent for introducing The Anarchist's Cookbook to her.As for the other document that Feinstein wants to censor, Inspire is Al Qaeda's magazine. And, again, reading through the complaint you see that it was actually the undercover agent who brought the magazine. The wannabe terrorist did ask the undercover agent to get it, and eventually it was the undercover agent who actually got it. Velentzas keeps asking the undercover agent to find a copy of Inspire, over and over again in the complaint until eventually the agent complies:
On or about December 24, 2014, the UC visited VELENTZAS and brought the Spring 2014 issue of Inspire magazine, as previously requested by VELENTZAS.
In other words, in neither case did the would be terrorists get the "bad" material from the internet. In both cases it came from the undercover FBI agent.Meanwhile, it seems like the only real result of this ridiculous statement will be for Feinstein to drive ever more awareness to the old Anarchist's Cookbook, so yet another generation of teenagers can discover it and think they've found something totally cool online.
Shut Up Slave!
Full Statement
“The arrests of two women in New York accused of plotting to
carry out bombings remind us that the threat of terrorism inside the
United States endures. We must remain vigilant against these types of
attacks and place a high priority on tracking and interdicting such
plots.
“I am particularly struck that the alleged bombers made use
of online bombmaking guides like the Anarchist Cookbook and Inspire
Magazine. These documents are not, in my view, protected by the First
Amendment and should be removed from the Internet.
“I commend the FBI and the New York City Police Department
for their work in preventing this and other potential attacks and am
pleased that Loretta Lynch, a very distinguished attorney, will be
leading the prosecution.”
Iran
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Stec summary
It is not the number of centrifuges that is important to ascertain purpose of intended enrichment but rather the configuration of the aggregated centrifuges that matters.
But what is as important is that this points to a situation where the smaller number may be more conducive to weapons manufacturing since connecting the smaller number into a high purity configuration or array or matrix whatever you want to call it should be no more difficult than changing the interconnections.
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Iran Talks Could Win John Kerry the Nobel Peace Prize - NationalJournal.com
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:09
John Kerry did not start the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. But nobody has thrown himself more into the talks and nobody's reputation has more riding on their outcome than the American secretary of State currently trying to hammer out a deal in Switzerland.
The former Democratic senator from Massachusetts hoped when he took the helm at the State Department in 2013 that he would make his mark in history by finding the long-elusive formula for bringing Israelis and Palestinians together. That was a mess. Instead, Kerry found himself diverted to the search for a diplomatic way to block Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Already on his way to possibly eclipse Hillary Clinton as the most traveled secretary in history, Kerry has spent a third of this year'--33 of the first 92 days of 2015'--in those Swiss talks.
Even if he is able to claim success, Kerry'--again'--may not get the payoff he'd like. Given the complexity of the negotiations, the opposition of Israel's government, and the critics in Congress, the verdict almost certainly will be mixed.
"If these talks succeed, that is going to be his legacy," says Kenneth M. Pollack, a former Iran-Iraq analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency and a senior staffer on President Clinton's National Security Council overseeing policy toward Iraq and Iran. "It would be an historic accord." As controversial as it would be in the United States and Israel and some Sunni Arab states, "everywhere else in the world, this is considered an unmitigated good."
(RELATED: The Iran Nuclear Talks Get an Extension)
If a deal is reached and Iran's nuclear program is blocked, Pollack added, "I think Kerry will get an enormous amount of credit for pulling it off. He will be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize. '... He could go down in history books as being a monumentally important character, like Jimmy Carter with Camp David."
But, Pollack stressed, there is a flip side: "He could go down as Neville Chamberlain at Munich. Both are possible here."
Aaron David Miller, who spent two decades at the State Department working on the Middle East for presidents of both parties, thinks the accolades for Kerry will be restrained despite his strenuous efforts.
"Will it be his ticket into the secretary of State hall of fame? Absolutely not. He'd like to get in, to be like [Henry] Kissinger and [James] Baker. But to do that, I think he'd have to leave another legacy," likely from the broader Middle East peace process, said Miller, who is now vice president of the Wilson Center.
The difficulty for Kerry, he said, is the nature of the Iran talks. "Remember, it is not a peace treaty. This is not a transformation. This is a transaction. This is a business deal," he said. "They want something from us; we want something from them. And it is premised on the notion that if you buy time to avoid a crisis with Iran ... that over time Iran will evolve" and its behavior in the region will change.
(RELATED: Watch Secretary of State John Kerry Get Heated With Sen. Marco Rubio Over Iran)
That would take time to gauge'--too much time to allow facile early assessments of any deal.
Early judgments will also be colored by Iran's trouble-making across the Middle East, from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. "This is not a popular regime. This is not a popular deal. And as a consequence, those who broker the deal are not going to get the kind of halo and kudos that Kissinger got or that Cy Vance and Jimmy Carter got for Camp David," said Miller.
"We tend to personalize these things," said P.J. Crowley, a veteran of President Clinton's NSC and Hillary Clinton's State Department. "It would be a significant accomplishment. But we're going to have to wait to see if we win the game. You are talking about a guy pitching in the seventh inning, and he's doing pretty well. But what matters most is, does the home team win the game?"
The pressure on Kerry has been intense, in part because Tehran is so virulently anti-American and anti-Iraeli and because its influence has been so destructive across the region. It also makes the personal relationship Kerry has struck with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif more critical. During the Cold War, both China and the Soviet Union were guilty of much worse actions. But the United States had diplomatic relations with Moscow and Beijing, permitting the American president to personally influence the direction of any negotiations. That option is not open today to Kerry.
"This is not a situation where you can up the ante," Crowley told National Journal. "In the Middle East peace process, the secretary of State does a lot of the heavy lifting. But everyone recognizes that if we get to the cusp of an agreement, then the president is the closer. ... But Kerry can't pass this up the chain. For obvious reasons, the president is not going to sit down with the president of Iran and work out the final details."
(RELATED: The 4 Things You Need for an Iran Deal)
That ratchets up the pressure on Kerry and helps explain his frantic travel schedule. It took Hillary Clinton four years to break Secretary Madeleine Albright's record for foreign travel. But Kerry is taking aim at Clinton's mark. He has already traveled 746,168 miles to Clinton's 956,733 miles and has spent 326 days overseas compared with Clinton's 401. Because he has focused much of his travel on the Middle East, though, he is unlikely to break Clinton's record for number of countries visited. Clinton went to 112 while Kerry has been to 59.
"If you were to clock success in flight time hours and international meetings, he is clearly succeeding," said Kathleen Hicks, who was deputy Defense undersecretary on global and regional defense policy and strategy in Obama's first term and now is director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. She urged caution on the early judgments of any Iran deal.
"There are so many factors swirling around these talks'--the politics in Washington, the politics in Tehran, the allies, Russia'--that it will be hard, even if it wildly succeeds, to say the success is Kerry's. Or, if it fails, to pin it on him."
She singled out the relationship Kerry has forged with Zarif as one of the biggest pluses of the talks. "This isn't about trust. It's about establishing a working relationship," she said, stressing the value of opening a channel to an adversary "to be able to discuss issues and prevent any kind of miscalculation."
Pollack also noted a benefit of Kerry's hard work that will pay off even if the talks collapse, stating that it will be important how the two sides are positioned if there is a failure.
"If they break down and the U.S. is seen as the guilty party, the expectation is that the sanctions will break down very quickly, because everyone will blame the Americans and will say the Iranians were trying to be reasonable and you wouldn't take yes for an answer so why should we continue to punish the Iranians," said Pollack. "But you have to give John Kerry credit that no one has done more to make sure that the United States is not seen as the guilty party if the talks fall apart. He has gone the extra mile. He has done everything. ... If the talks fall apart, it is going to be extremely difficult for the Iranians to blame the United States."
That isn't the legacy Kerry is seeking. But it may be the best to be had if the talks don't succeed.
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A or An Before Words Beginning With H? Editing and Writing Services
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 18:57
By Judy Vorfeld
Have you ever been con­fused about when to use ''a'' and ''an'' before words begin­ning with ''h''? Some of the most famous peo­ple in the world don't use the rules prop­erly. Here's what the style guides say:
Prentice Hall Reference Guide to Grammar and Usage says that ''a'' is used before con­so­nantSOUNDS, not just con­so­nants. Use ''an'' when the word fol­low­ing it starts with a vowel or an unsounded ''h.''
The Gregg Reference Manual, Tenth Edition (1101), says, ''In speech, both ''a his­toric occa­sion'' and ''an his­toric occa­sion'' are okay. It depends on whether the ''his'' is sounded or left silent. In writ­ing, ''a his­toric occa­sion'' is the form more often used.
Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edi­tion, University of Chicago Press, (5.72) says that the choice depends on the sound of the word it pre­cedes. ''A'' comes before words with a con­so­nant sound, no mat­ter how the word is spelled. Further, an ''an'' comes before words with a vowel sound.
Examples: a his­toric occa­sion'‰'--'‰an X-Files episode.
Associated Press Stylebook says that a his­toric event is an impor­tant occur­rence, one that stands out in history.
Many peo­ple say, ''An his­tor­i­cal occa­sion,'' but ''an his­tor­i­cal'' isn't used reg­u­larly in American English. Using ''an'' is com­mon, but not uni­ver­sally accepted by experts. Here's how to fig­ure out which arti­cle to use:
Before a word start­ing with a pro­nounced, breathy ''h,'' use ''a.'' Examples: A hotel; A happy time; A his­tor­i­cal day; A healthy, happy baby.
You attend a his­tory class, not an his­tory class. Same with ''his­tor­i­cal.'' It was a his­tor­i­cal occasion.
Honeymooners go to a hide­away, not an hide­away. The don­key car­ried a heavy bur­den, not an heavy bur­den. ''Historical'' is no different.
Use ''an'' with words begin­ning with an unpro­nounced ''h.'' Examples: An herb gar­den; an hour; an honor; An heir.
Now, let's com­bine them: ''Look! An herb gar­den in a his­tor­i­cal set­ting. Let's stay an hour, then find a hotel.''
In the UK and other coun­tries with British influ­ence, the ''h'' in ''herb'' is usu­ally pro­nounced. See what I mean about con­fus­ing? We'll almost always find excep­tions to every rule. No mat­ter. Just do your best to be a good com­mu­ni­ca­tor and move on!
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Rouhani upbeat about results of Iran-powers N. talks in Lausanne
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 23:33
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani minutes ago voiced satisfaction in the outcomes of the latest round of talks between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) in the Swiss city of Lausanne.
''Solutions on key parameters of Iran nuclear case reached,'' President Rouhani wrote in a new post on his Tweeter page.
''Drafting (of the final deal) will start immediately to finish by June 30th,'' he added.
Iran and G5+1 started their new round of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, last Thursday to narrow their differences over Tehran's nuclear energy program ahead of a July 1 deadline.
A few minutes ago, the president thanked Foreign Minsiter Mohammad Javad Zarif, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi and all the other members of Iran's negotiating team for their tireless efforts around the clock.
By Fars News Agency
Is John Kerry overstating the deal he just struck with Iran? | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 23:32
Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to skirt dangerously close to embellishing the quality of the tentative Iran nuclear agreement that was announced Thursday, by implying that the deal would never expire even though key parts of it will, and by implying that Iran's nuclear facility at Fordo would never again enrich uranium.
Kerry spoke just moments after Iran and several world powers announced a deal that they hope can lead to a final, written agreement aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program. Kerry and President Barack Obama said the deal meets their objective of cutting off Iran's ability to build a nuclear bomb.
Secretary of State John Kerry gestures while participating in the Sixth Annual Washington Ideas Forum in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. The forum is presented by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic at the Harman Center for the Arts. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
While the Obama administration has faced criticism for pushing a deal that would expire after a certain number of years, Kerry stressed that this is not the case.
''There will be no sunset to the deal that we are working to finalize,'' he said. ''No sunset, none.''
However, Kerry then proceeded to note that may key elements of the deal would in fact expire after 10, 15 or 25 years. ''Some provisions will be in place for 10 years, others will be in place for 15 years, others still will be in place for 25 years,'' he said.
He also noted that some provisions, such as those related to transparency, would last forever, but that's a far cry from the idea that restrictions on Iran's ability to enrich uranium would last forever.
Kerry also seemed to imply that Iran would never be able to enrich uranium at the underground facility at Fordo ever again.
''We have agreed that the facility at Fordo will halt all uranium enrichment, period,'' he said. ''All uranium enrichment, and in fact, there will not even be any fissile material present at the site, and no enrichment R&D.''
''Instead, the facility will be converted into a nuclear physics and technology center,'' he added.
But Kerry left out information in a White House fact sheet that said Iran has agreed not to enrich uranium at Fordo ''for at least 15 years,'' and that Iran won't conduct R&D on enrichment there for 15 years.
The fact sheet itself seems confused on the issue, as it says Iran won't enrich uranium at Fordo for 15 years, but then later says any centrifuges that remain at Fordo ''will not enrich uranium,'' and doesn't specify a time limit on that condition.
Kerry's statements may only make it more confusing for members of Congress who are trying to assess whether they can support the agreement. The announcement had some members of Congress saying they need to review the deal as quickly as possible before any promises are made about lifting sanctions.
''My longtime concerns about the parameters of this potential agreement remain, but my immediate concern is the administration signaling it will provide near-term sanctions relief,'' said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). ''Congress must be allowed to fully review the details of any agreement before any sanctions are lifted.''
Another point of confusion is the way Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the agreement today.
For example, Zarif indicated to reporters that all U.S. sanctions would be lifted immediately, while the fact sheet says those sanctions will be eased over time, as Iran implements the agreement.
Zarif also seemed to imply that nothing in the deal would hurt Iran's nuclear program at all.
Members trying to assess the deal are likely to mostly lean on the fact sheet provided by the White House, although the administration is also expected to start briefing members in the coming days and weeks. For many, support or opposition may depend on their view of how long the various commitments last.
According to the fact sheet, Iran will be left with 6,104 centrifuges, down about two-thirds from the 19,000 is has running today. But that restriction would last 10 years.
Iran would also face a 15-year limitation on how much enriched uranium it can stockpile. Most limitations related to the Fordo facility would last 15 years, and restrictions on enriching uranium in the Natanz facility would last 10 years.
Iran would face inspections for 20 or 25 years, and some of these inspection requirements appear to be permanent.
On the question of sanctions, the fact sheet is vague on precisely when U.S. sanctions would be lifted.
''U.S. and E.U. nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps,'' it said. ''If at any time Iran fails to fulfill its commitments, these sanctions will snap back into place.''
''The architecture of U.S. nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be retained for much of the duration of the deal and allow for snap-back of sanctions in the event of significant non-performance,'' it added.
Read the fact sheet here:
Nuclear deal means more Iran oil - just not this year
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 23:26
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif addresses during a joint statement with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Lausanne April 2, 2015.
Reuters/Ruben Sprich
WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A framework accord to curb Iran's nuclear program forged on Thursday could eventually allow Tehran to reclaim lost ground in the global oil market. Yet the deal all but guarantees that cannot happen before next year.
By ensuring that sanctions remain intact until Western powers are satisfied Tehran is adhering to the terms, and giving negotiators until June 30 to hammer out a comprehensive agreement, the deal offers little chance for any significant increase in exports until 2016.
While global Brent oil prices tumbled as much as 5 percent on Thursday to $54 in anticipation of a deal that could allow Iran to begin selling more crude within months, traders later began weighing the timing of that return. Brent traded at more than $55 a barrel by day's end.
Verifying compliance by Iran, once the world's fifth-largest oil producer, will "likely take many months after implementation, which itself is likely to slip from the June 30 target," said Bob McNally, president of energy research group Rapidan Group and a former adviser to President George W. Bush.
Jason Bordoff, founding director at Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy and former adviser to President Barack Obama, agreed: "It is going to take time for Iranian oil to come back to the global market, likely not until 2016 at the earliest."
The delayed impact may be quietly welcome news for Saudi Arabia, Iraq and others in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), who had feared that a rapid rebound in Iranian output could pile more pressure on oil prices that have halved since last summer due to a global glut.
However it may also make for a tricky summer. OPEC is due to meet on June 5, the first gathering since it decided in November to maintain production despite tumbling prices.
In the meantime, global demand has been rising more quickly than expected and U.S. shale oil production growth is rapidly slowing, adding to the market's uncertainty.
"This preliminary deal will be hanging over ... the oil market through the rest of this quarter," said oil analyst Jim Ritterbusch.
SANCTIONS MAY 'SNAP BACK'
U.S. and EU sanctions, which have choked off nearly 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian exports since early 2012, will only be suspended after the International Atomic Energy Agency has "verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps," according to a statement outlining the plan of action issued by Iran and world powers in Switzerland.
"If at any time Iran fails to fulfill its commitments, these sanctions will snap back into place."
For a graphic on Iran oil output: reut.rs/1Hnahu6
Most market experts had said they were betting on an increase of 200,000 to 600,000 bpd in Iran's exports within six months of easing sanctions. Tim Boersma, acting director of the Energy Security and Climate Initiative at Brookings Institution, said Iran might even manage 500,000 bpd within 90 days.
Yet a full recovery in output was seen as unlikely until the second half of 2016 as new investment would be needed to rejuvenate fields. Even that may now be optimistic.
"Sanctions relief is unlikely to begin for at least six months to a year even after a deal is signed in June," analysts at Energy Aspects said in a note on Thursday.
It is unclear whether any potential buyers might move early to step up purchases, betting that Washington and European powers will be unlikely to punish them for a breach of sanctions that are about to be phased out.
Even before the deal, Iran was set to export another 300,000 bpd in coming months, much of it to India, according to Michael Cohen, head of energy commodities research at Barclays.
Yet the risk of political repercussions from Washington and limited access to tanker insurance due to tough European restrictions are likely to prevent refiners such as PetroChina and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. - who have said they are eager to buy more crude from Iran - from moving early.
Beyond this year, however, the breakthrough could turn Tehran's recent role in the global oil market on its head.
For most of the past three years, crushing sanctions acted as a prop for oil prices hovering near $100 a barrel.
"While it will take a while for Iranian crude exports to recover - even if they fully comply with the terms of the deal - today's announcement further limits the upside price risk in today's oversupplied global oil market," said Trevor Houser, a partner with the Rhodium Group.
(This story has been refiled to add WASHINGTON dateline)
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington and Jonathan Leff in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)
Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's Nuclear Program
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 23:22
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 02, 2015
Below are the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran's nuclear program that were decided in Lausanne, Switzerland. These elements form the foundation upon which the final text of the JCPOA will be written between now and June 30, and reflect the significant progress that has been made in discussions between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran. Important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We will work to conclude the JCPOA based on these parameters over the coming months.
Enrichment
Iran has agreed to reduce by approximately two-thirds its installed centrifuges. Iran will go from having about 19,000 installed today to 6,104 installed under the deal, with only 5,060 of these enriching uranium for 10 years. All 6,104 centrifuges will be IR-1s, Iran's first-generation centrifuge.Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent for at least 15 years.Iran has agreed to reduce its current stockpile of about 10,000 kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to 300 kg of 3.67 percent LEU for 15 years.All excess centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure will be placed in IAEA monitored storage and will be used only as replacements for operating centrifuges and equipment.Iran has agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium for 15 years.Iran's breakout timeline '' the time that it would take for Iran to acquire enough fissile material for one weapon '' is currently assessed to be 2 to 3 months. That timeline will be extended to at least one year, for a duration of at least ten years, under this framework.Iran will convert its facility at Fordow so that it is no longer used to enrich uranium
Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium at its Fordow facility for at least 15 years.Iran has agreed to convert its Fordow facility so that it is used for peaceful purposes only'' into a nuclear, physics, technology, research center.Iran has agreed to not conduct research and development associated with uranium enrichment at Fordow for 15 years.Iran will not have any fissile material at Fordow for 15 years.• Almost two-thirds of Fordow's centrifuges and infrastructure will be removed. The remaining centrifuges will not enrich uranium. All centrifuges and related infrastructure will be placed under IAEA monitoring.Iran will only enrich uranium at the Natanz facility, with only 5,060 IR-1 first-generation centrifuges for ten years.
Iran has agreed to only enrich uranium using its first generation (IR-1 models) centrifuges at Natanz for ten years, removing its more advanced centrifuges.Iran will remove the 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges currently installed at Natanz and place them in IAEA monitored storage for ten years.Iran will not use its IR-2, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, or IR-8 models to produce enriched uranium for at least ten years. Iran will engage in limited research and development with its advanced centrifuges, according to a schedule and parameters which have been agreed to by the P5+1.For ten years, enrichment and enrichment research and development will be limited to ensure a breakout timeline of at least 1 year. Beyond 10 years, Iran will abide by its enrichment and enrichment R&D plan submitted to the IAEA, and pursuant to the JCPOA, under the Additional Protocol resulting in certain limitations on enrichment capacity.Inspections and Transparency
The IAEA will have regular access to all of Iran's nuclear facilities, including to Iran's enrichment facility at Natanz and its former enrichment facility at Fordow, and including the use of the most up-to-date, modern monitoring technologies.Inspectors will have access to the supply chain that supports Iran's nuclear program. The new transparency and inspections mechanisms will closely monitor materials and/or components to prevent diversion to a secret program.Inspectors will have access to uranium mines and continuous surveillance at uranium mills, where Iran produces yellowcake, for 25 years.Inspectors will have continuous surveillance of Iran's centrifuge rotors and bellows production and storage facilities for 20 years. Iran's centrifuge manufacturing base will be frozen and under continuous surveillance.All centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure removed from Fordow and Natanz will be placed under continuous monitoring by the IAEA.A dedicated procurement channel for Iran's nuclear program will be established to monitor and approve, on a case by case basis, the supply, sale, or transfer to Iran of certain nuclear-related and dual use materials and technology '' an additional transparency measure.Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol of the IAEA, providing the IAEA much greater access and information regarding Iran's nuclear program, including both declared and undeclared facilities.Iran will be required to grant access to the IAEA to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of a covert enrichment facility, conversion facility, centrifuge production facility, or yellowcake production facility anywhere in the country.Iran has agreed to implement Modified Code 3.1 requiring early notification of construction of new facilities.Iran will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA's concerns regarding the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of its program.Reactors and Reprocessing
Iran has agreed to redesign and rebuild a heavy water research reactor in Arak, based on a design that is agreed to by the P5+1, which will not produce weapons grade plutonium, and which will support peaceful nuclear research and radioisotope production.The original core of the reactor, which would have enabled the production of significant quantities of weapons-grade plutonium, will be destroyed or removed from the country.Iran will ship all of its spent fuel from the reactor out of the country for the reactor's lifetime.Iran has committed indefinitely to not conduct reprocessing or reprocessing research and development on spent nuclear fuel.Iran will not accumulate heavy water in excess of the needs of the modified Arak reactor, and will sell any remaining heavy water on the international market for 15 years.Iran will not build any additional heavy water reactors for 15 years. Sanctions
•Iran will receive sanctions relief, if it verifiably abides by its commitments.• U.S. and E.U. nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps. If at any time Iran fails to fulfill its commitments, these sanctions will snap back into place.The architecture of U.S. nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be retained for much of the duration of the deal and allow for snap-back of sanctions in the event of significant non-performance.All past UN Security Council resolutions on the Iran nuclear issue will be lifted simultaneous with the completion, by Iran, of nuclear-related actions addressing all key concerns (enrichment, Fordow, Arak, PMD, and transparency).However, core provisions in the UN Security Council resolutions '' those that deal with transfers of sensitive technologies and activities '' will be re-established by a new UN Security Council resolution that will endorse the JCPOA and urge its full implementation. It will also create the procurement channel mentioned above, which will serve as a key transparency measure. Important restrictions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles, as well as provisions that allow for related cargo inspections and asset freezes, will also be incorporated by this new resolution.A dispute resolution process will be specified, which enables any JCPOA participant, to seek to resolve disagreements about the performance of JCPOA commitments.If an issue of significant non-performance cannot be resolved through that process, then all previous UN sanctions could be re-imposed.U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under the deal.Phasing
For ten years, Iran will limit domestic enrichment capacity and research and development '' ensuring a breakout timeline of at least one year. Beyond that, Iran will be bound by its longer-term enrichment and enrichment research and development plan it shared with the P5+1.For fifteen years, Iran will limit additional elements of its program. For instance, Iran will not build new enrichment facilities or heavy water reactors and will limit its stockpile of enriched uranium and accept enhanced transparency procedures.Important inspections and transparency measures will continue well beyond 15 years. Iran's adherence to the Additional Protocol of the IAEA is permanent, including its significant access and transparency obligations. The robust inspections of Iran's uranium supply chain will last for 25 years.Even after the period of the most stringent limitations on Iran's nuclear program, Iran will remain a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which prohibits Iran's development or acquisition of nuclear weapons and requires IAEA safeguards on its nuclear program.
Statement by the President on the Framework to Prevent Iran from Obtaining a Nuclear Weapon
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 23:20
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 02, 2015
Rose Garden
2:25 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Today, the United States -- together with our allies and partners -- has reached a historic understanding with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
As President and Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people. And I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final, comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies, and our world safer.
This has been a long time coming. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been advancing its nuclear program for decades. By the time I took office, Iran was operating thousands of centrifuges, which can produce the materials for a nuclear bomb -- and Iran was concealing a covert nuclear facility. I made clear that we were prepared to resolve this issue diplomatically, but only if Iran came to the table in a serious way. When that did not happen, we rallied the world to impose the toughest sanctions in history -- sanctions which had a profound impact on the Iranian economy.
Now, sanctions alone could not stop Iran's nuclear program. But they did help bring Iran to the negotiating table. Because of our diplomatic efforts, the world stood with us and we were joined at the negotiating table by the world's major powers -- the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.
Over a year ago, we took the first step towards today's framework with a deal to stop the progress of Iran's nuclear program and roll it back in key areas. And recall that at the time, skeptics argued that Iran would cheat, and that we could not verify their compliance and the interim agreement would fail. Instead, it has succeeded exactly as intended. Iran has met all of its obligations. It eliminated its stockpile of dangerous nuclear material. Inspections of Iran's program increased. And we continued negotiations to see if we could achieve a more comprehensive deal.
Today, after many months of tough, principled diplomacy, we have achieved the framework for that deal. And it is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives. This framework would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran will face strict limitations on its program, and Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history. So this deal is not based on trust, it's based on unprecedented verification.
Many key details will be finalized over the next three months, and nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed. But here are the basic outlines of the deal that we are working to finalize.
First, Iran will not be able to pursue a bomb using plutonium, because it will not develop weapons-grade plutonium. The core of its reactor at Arak will be dismantled and replaced. The spent fuel from that facility will be shipped out of Iran for the life of the reactor. Iran will not build a new heavy-water reactor. And Iran will not reprocess fuel from its existing reactors -- ever.
Second, this deal shuts down Iran's path to a bomb using enriched uranium. Iran has agreed that its installed centrifuges will be reduced by two-thirds. Iran will no longer enrich uranium at its Fordow facility. Iran will not enrich uranium with its advanced centrifuges for at least the next 10 years. The vast majority of Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium will be neutralized.
Today, estimates indicate that Iran is only two or three months away from potentially acquiring the raw materials that could be used for a single nuclear bomb. Under this deal, Iran has agreed that it will not stockpile the materials needed to build a weapon. Even if it violated the deal, for the next decade at least, Iran would be a minimum of a year away from acquiring enough material for a bomb. And the strict limitations on Iran's stockpile will last for 15 years.
Third, this deal provides the best possible defense against Iran's ability to pursue a nuclear weapon covertly -- that is, in secret. International inspectors will have unprecedented access not only to Iranian nuclear facilities, but to the entire supply chain that supports Iran's nuclear program -- from uranium mills that provide the raw materials, to the centrifuge production and storage facilities that support the program. If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it. Iran's past efforts to weaponize its program will be addressed. With this deal, Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world.
So this will be a long-term deal that addresses each path to a potential Iranian nuclear bomb. There will be strict limits on Iran's program for a decade. Additional restrictions on building new facilities or stockpiling materials will last for 15 years. The unprecedented transparency measures will last for 20 years or more. Indeed, some will be permanent. And as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.
In return for Iran's actions, the international community has agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions -- our own sanctions, and international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council. This relief will be phased as Iran takes steps to adhere to the deal. If Iran violates the deal, sanctions can be snapped back into place. Meanwhile, other American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, will continue to be fully enforced.
Now, let me reemphasize, our work is not yet done. The deal has not been signed. Between now and the end of June, the negotiators will continue to work through the details of how this framework will be fully implemented, and those details matter. If there is backsliding on the part of the Iranians, if the verification and inspection mechanisms don't meet the specifications of our nuclear and security experts, there will be no deal. But if we can get this done, and Iran follows through on the framework that our negotiators agreed to, we will be able to resolve one of the greatest threats to our security, and to do so peacefully.
Given the importance of this issue, I have instructed my negotiators to fully brief Congress and the American people on the substance of the deal, and I welcome a robust debate in the weeks and months to come. I am confident that we can show that this deal is good for the security of the United States, for our allies, and for the world.
For the fact is, we only have three options for addressing Iran's nuclear program. First, we can reach a robust and verifiable deal -- like this one -- and peacefully prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The second option is we can bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, thereby starting another war in the Middle East, and setting back Iran's program by a few years -- in other words, setting it back by a fraction of the time that this deal will set it back. Meanwhile we'd ensure that Iran would race ahead to try and build a bomb.
Third, we could pull out of negotiations, try to get other countries to go along and continue sanctions that are currently in place or add additional ones, and hope for the best -- knowing that every time we have done so, Iran has not capitulated but instead has advanced its program, and that in very short order, the breakout timeline would be eliminated and a nuclear arms race in the region could be triggered because of that uncertainty. In other words, the third option leads us very quickly back to a decision about whether or not to take military action, because we'd have no idea what was going on inside of Iran. Iran is not going to simply dismantle its program because we demand it to do so. That's not how the world works, and that's not what history shows us. Iran has shown no willingness to eliminate those aspects of their program that they maintain are for peaceful purposes, even in the face of unprecedented sanctions. Should negotiations collapse because we, the United States, rejected what the majority of the world considers a fair deal, what our scientists and nuclear experts suggest would give us confidence that they are not developing a nuclear weapon, it's doubtful that we can even keep our current international sanctions in place.
So when you hear the inevitable critics of the deal sound off, ask them a simple question: Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world's major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East? Is it worse than doing what we've done for almost two decades, with Iran moving forward with its nuclear program and without robust inspections? I think the answer will be clear.
Remember, I have always insisted that I will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and I will. But I also know that a diplomatic solution is the best way to get this done, and offers a more comprehensive -- and lasting -- solution. It is our best option, by far. And while it is always a possibility that Iran may try to cheat on the deal in the future, this framework of inspections and transparency makes it far more likely that we'll know about it if they try to cheat -- and I, or future Presidents, will have preserved all of the options that are currently available to deal with it.
To the Iranian people, I want to reaffirm what I've said since the beginning of my presidency. We are willing to engage you on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect. This deal offers the prospect of relief from sanctions that were imposed because of Iran's violation of international law. Since Iran's Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, this framework gives Iran the opportunity to verify that its program is, in fact, peaceful. It demonstrates that if Iran complies with its international obligations, then it can fully rejoin the community of nations, thereby fulfilling the extraordinary talent and aspirations of the Iranian people. That would be good for Iran, and it would be good for the world.
Of course, this deal alone -- even if fully implemented -- will not end the deep divisions and mistrust between our two countries. We have a difficult history between us, and our concerns will remain with respect to Iranian behavior so long as Iran continues its sponsorship of terrorism, its support for proxies who destabilize the Middle East, its threats against America's friends and allies -- like Israel. So make no mistake: We will remain vigilant in countering those actions and standing with our allies.
It's no secret that the Israeli Prime Minister and I don't agree about whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution to the Iranian issue. If, in fact, Prime Minister Netanyahu is looking for the most effective way to ensure Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon, this is the best option. And I believe our nuclear experts can confirm that.
More importantly, I will be speaking with the Prime Minister today to make clear that there will be no daylight, there is no daylight, when it comes to our support for Israel's security and our concerns about Iran's destabilizing policies and threats toward Israel. That's why I've directed my national security team to consult closely with the new Israeli government in the coming weeks and months about how we can further strengthen our long-term security cooperation with Israel, and make clear our unshakeable commitment to Israel's defense.
Today, I also spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia to reaffirm our commitment to the security of our partners in the Gulf. And I'm inviting the leaders of the six countries who make up the Gulf Cooperation Council -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain -- to meet me at Camp David this spring to discuss how we can further strengthen our security cooperation, while resolving the multiple conflicts that have caused so much hardship and instability throughout the Middle East.
Finally, it's worth remembering that Congress has, on a bipartisan basis, played a critical role in our current Iran policy, helping to shape the sanctions regime that applied so much pressure on Iran and ultimately forced them to the table. In the coming days and weeks, my administration will engage Congress once again about how we can play -- how it can play a constructive oversight role. I'll begin that effort by speaking to the leaders of the House and Senate today.
In those conversations, I will underscore that the issues at stake here are bigger than politics. These are matters of war and peace, and they should be evaluated based on the facts and what is ultimately best for the American people and for our national security. For this is not simply a deal between my administration and Iran. This is a deal between Iran, the United States of America, and the major powers in the world -- including some of our closest allies. If Congress kills this deal -- not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative -- then it's the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy. International unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen.
The American people understand this, which is why solid majorities support a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue. They understand instinctively the words of President Kennedy, who faced down the far greater threat of communism, and said: ''Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.'' The American people remember that at the height of the Cold War, Presidents like Nixon and Reagan struck historic arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, a far more dangerous adversary -- despite the fact that that adversary not only threatened to destroy our country and our way of life, but had the means to do so. Those agreements were not perfect. They did not end all threats. But they made our world safer. A good deal with Iran will do the same.
Today, I'd like to express my thanks to our international partners for their steadfastness and their cooperation. I was able to speak earlier today with our close allies, Prime Minister Cameron and President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel, to reaffirm that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in this effort.
And most of all, on behalf of our nation, I want to express my thanks to our tireless -- and I mean tireless -- Secretary of State John Kerry and our entire negotiating team. They have worked so hard to make this progress. They represent the best tradition of American diplomacy. Their work -- our work -- is not yet done and success is not guaranteed. But we have an historic opportunity to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in Iran, and to do so peacefully, with the international community firmly behind us. We should seize that chance.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.
END2:43 P.M. EDT
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Caiphate!
FOK.nl / Nieuws / Vergunning nodig voor kunstmest, lucifers en schoonmaakmiddelen / FOK!frontpage
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:07
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Yemen
China Sends Three Warships to Gulf of Aden to Escort Civil Ships
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:47
Asia & Pacific17:28 03.04.2015(updated 17:38 03.04.2015) Get short URL
52950
China sent its 20th fleet of three warships to the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia to protect and escort civilian ships.The fleet consists of the missile destroyer Jinan, missile frigate Yijang and supply ship Qiandaohu. The ships left the east China port city of Zhoushan on Firday.
The fleet is equipped with two helicopters and has dozens of special operation soldiers and more than 800 officers and soldiers.
Security situations have changed around the Gulf of Aden, and anti-piracy missions near the coast of Somalia are still challenging, Du Jingchen, deputy command of China's naval force, said. He ordered the fleet to pay close attention to piracy activities and the security situation in the area.
Chinese naval ships have carried out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and near Somali territorial waters for more than six years. It has escorted nearly 6,000 Chinese and foreign ships in the area during this period.
Warsaw Thanks Russia for Evacuating Polish Nationals From Yemen
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:47
Europe17:16 03.04.2015(updated 17:32 03.04.2015) Get short URL
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WARSAW (Sputnik) '-- Poland thanked Russia for assistance in the evacuation of the country's nationals from crisis-hit Yemen, a spokesman for the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Friday.
''The Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its gratitude to the Russian Federation for evacuation of 20 people, carried out by air from Sanaa to Moscow,'' Marcin Wojciechowski said.
The evacuation will continue on Saturday, as over 70 additional Russian citizens have asked to leave Yemen, according to Russia's Foreign Ministry.
War Buddies: US to Refuel Saudi Jets Used in Yemen Airstrikes
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:45
Middle East16:53 03.04.2015(updated 17:20 03.04.2015) Get short URL
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According to the latest figures provided by the United Nations, over 500 people have been killed during the last two weeks of fighting in Yemen. Another 1,700 have been injured. A Saudi airstrike on Monday killed 29 civilians in a displaced persons' camp, and Shiite rebels continue to hold strategic positions along Yemen's coast, most notably, the city of Aden.
Despite support for what has been dubbed Operation Decisive Storm, it's a conflict that the Obama administration has so far kept its distance from, wary of prolonged involvement in another Middle Eastern campaign. But the US military is gradually taking steps toward a more active role, now sending American refueling planes to assist Saudi aircraft.
"We have given [US Central Command] the authority to do tanking," a senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters.
The decision comes with a few caveats. Any refueling will take place outside of Yemeni airspace, and the Saudi Arabian government is expected to reimburse the US for any assistance it requests.
The US has also been providing satellite and aircraft intelligence for the campaign, which has helped coalition forces monitor the movement of the rebels, according to the official.
"We're helping the Saudis understand what's happening on their border. They're looking for evidence of Houthi ground incursions," the official said, adding that the rebels are "poised above Aden and we're trying to help the Saudis build a picture of that."
He insisted, however, that the US military was not providing specific targeting information, a claim that Washington has been quick to assert as human rights groups have criticized the civilian death toll of the bombings.
Other military officials have also noted that they expect Washington to eventually provide the Saudis with more bombing artillery.
This progressively growing participation of the US military could signal Washington's vested interest in the conflict. Before the recent wave of violence broke out, Yemen had been the Obama administrations best example of how a counterterrorism campaign could be successfully fought. The rebellion changed that perspective.
The US had also depended on the Yemeni government to cooperate in its drone campaign against al-Qaeda's forces. The forced removal of an American presence in the country has left "our capability diminished," the official said.
And, at the same time, the continued fighting has also hindered al-Qaeda's ability to plan attacks against Western targets.
"The initial evidence is actually that the Houthi advance has caused their external plotting to be sidelined while they figure out how they're going to deal with the internal vestiges of what appears to be an emerging civil war," the official said.
On the question of whether the Saudi government was planning an all-out ground invasion of its neighbor, the official stressed that the increased troop presence along the border was purely precautionary.
"I think they are arraying their forces along the border to prevent a Houthi incursion," he said. "They're postured defensively."
Yemen battle prompts Chinese rescue
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:58
China says it sent a frigate expressly to evacuate foreigners from Aden The Chinese navy has evacuated 225 foreign nationals and almost 600 Chinese citizens from war-torn Yemen's southern port of Aden.
The evacuees were transported by naval frigates across the Red Sea to Djibouti, to take flights home.
China says it is the first time its military has gone to rescue foreign nationals from a danger zone.
Houthi rebels left the presidential palace in Aden, following further Saudi-led air strikes against them.
Saudi-backed fighters loyal to the ousted Yemeni President, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, say they have received an airdrop of arms supplies from coalition planes.
Dozens of people are reported to have been killed in the past few days of fighting in Aden.
Meanwhile, a Turkish naval frigate has evacuated 55 Turks from Aden, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says.
The Saudi government says the aim of its operation in Yemen is to protect President Hadi's "legitimate government". It says it has no plans to deploy ground forces for now.
Aden was President Hadi's last seat of power before he fled to Saudi Arabia last week, as the Shia Houthi rebels advanced on the city.
Chinese naval frigates were carrying out anti-piracy patrols off the coast of Somalia, but were diverted to Yemen to evacuate people trapped by the fighting.
The non-Chinese evacuees included 176 people from Pakistan, said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. There were smaller numbers from other countries, including Ethiopia, Singapore, the UK, Italy and Germany.
China says it is the first time its navy has evacuated foreigners from a war zone Ms Hua said China had acted at the request of "relevant countries". "It is also the first time the Chinese government has taken special action to help with the evacuation of foreign citizens in dangerous areas," AFP news agency quoted her as saying.
The BBC's Martin Patience in Beijing says it is only the second time that China has used warships to evacuate its own citizens from a conflict zone. In a much larger operation, it rescued more than 30,000 Chinese citizens from Libya in 2011.
Beijing says it is not abandoning Yemen and that its embassy in the capital Sanaa will remain open.
This week the rebels pushed through to the heart of the port city using tanks and armoured vehicles, despite Saudi-led air strikes.
Houthi fighters have set up checkpoints in Aden as they battle for control Heavy fighting in Aden has caused dozens of casualties The Houthis have said their aim is to replace President Hadi's government, which they accuse of being corrupt. They captured the president's palace in Sanaa in January and established a transitional presidential council.
Gulf Arab states have accused Iran of backing the Houthis financially and militarily, though Iran has denied this.
Fighting in Yemen over the past two weeks has left more than 500 people have dead and some 1,700 wounded, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said.
Yemen - who is fighting whom?
The Houthis: Zaidi Shia-led rebels from the north, who seized control of Sanaa last year and have since been expanding their control
President Hadi: Fled to Saudi Arabia after rebel forces advanced on his stronghold in the southern city of Aden
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: Seen by the US as the most dangerous offshoot of al-Qaeda, AQAP opposes both the Houthis and President Hadi.
Islamic State: A Yemeni affiliate of IS has recently emerged, which seeks to eclipse AQAP
Failure 'not an option for Saudis'
Yemen crisis: An Iranian-Saudi battleground?
Meeting the Houthis - and their enemies
The rise of Yemen's Houthi rebels
Vaccine$
Cancer Control Email
Hi Adam,
I heard you guys discussing the cancer control month, and I have some information that may shed a little more light on the intentions of the proclamation.
I am a molecular biologist and have a decent understanding of the mechanisms of how different classes if cancer drugs work. There are drugs available (such as gleevec) that do not actually kill the cancer cells, it just makes them dormant (control the cancer, not kill it). Unfortunately for the patients (or fortunately for the drug companies) these drugs must be taken for the rest of the patient's life because once you stop taking the drug, the cancer starts at the point you started taking the drug, costing tens of thousand of dollars a year.
If I were a drug company, these are the drugs I would be researching/promoting since they have such a high profit due to the continual use.
Hope you found that little tid-bit interesting. Keep up the great work!
Best,
Ned
Agenda 21
Leaked Email Reveals Who's Who List of Climate Denialists | InsideClimate News
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:47
ICN reporters Lisa Song and Zahra Hirji contributed to this story.
In the months before the debut of the new documentary film "Merchants of Doubt," long-time climate denialist Fred Singer contacted more than two dozen bloggers, public relations specialists and scientists asking for help in derailing the documentary's release.
"Can I sue for damages?'' Singer asked in an email last October. "Can we get an injunction against the documentary?"
Singer is one of the "merchants of doubt" identified in the documentary, as are a number of other recipients of his email. The documentary, released nationwide last week, exposes the small network of hired pundits and scientists helping to sow doubt about climate science and delay legislative action on global warming in the United States.
Singer's email became public earlier this week when it was leaked to journalists.
Many of those copied on the email thread, such as Singer and communications specialist Steven Milloy, have financial ties to the tobacco, chemical, and oil and gas industries and have worked to defend them since the 1990s. Others seem relatively new to the denialist camp, such as climate scientist Judith Curry. All, however, have been vocal before Congress, on broadcast news or on the Internet in arguing that human activity is not the primarily driver of climate change.
Here is InsideClimate News' guide to those who were on the emails, in alphabetical order:
Ron ArnoldArnold is the executive vice president of the think tank the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, which has received funding from various conservative foundations and oil and gas companies, including ExxonMobil. Arnold used to have a weekly column in the Washington Examiner and is a frequent guest on Fox News. There is "vanishing public concern over 'dangerous man-made climate change' and growing discontent with the politicized rear guard's increasingly desperate search for new scare words and its bigoted hate speech hurled at skeptics ('deniers,' evoking the Holocaust)," he wrote in 2014.
Timothy BallA retired geography professor from the University of Winnipeg, Ball says he doesn't believe humans are behind climate change. The "claim" of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that humans are almost solely responsible for global warming "is not proven except in their computer models and cannot be proven until we understand how much climate varies naturally," he wrote on his website.
Joseph "Joe" BastBast is president and CEO of the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based conservative think tank that supports climate change denial events and researchers. According to an essay he published in 2011, Bast attended the University of Chicago but never graduated. He started Heartland during college and dropped out to work there full-time. Last month, public documents revealed that Harvard-Smithsonian researcher Willie Soon failed to disclose funding from fossil fuel sources for some of his contrarian research. Bast has since said the Heartland Institute offers its full support to Soon. Bast called the researcher a "brilliant and courageous scientist" and said Soon's critics are, "all ethically challenged and mental midgets," according to Heartland Institute blog post.
Joe BastardiBastardi has a bachelor's degree in meteorology and worked at Accuweather before joining WeatherBELL Analytics LLC, a meteorological consulting firm. Last September, Bastardi told the website beforeitsnews.com, "Nature, not man, rules the climate system." He said the people who participated in the People's Climate March were "more concerned with their political agenda than climate science," and that they shouldn't be "prostituting the weather and climate for [their] own needs."
Michael Bastasch Bastasch is a reporter for The Daily Caller, a conservative news site. He covers energy and environmental news and often provides a platform for skeptics. In May 2014, he wrote, "The Obama administration and environmentalists have tried to make it seem like there are virtually no dissenting voices among scientists that mankind is causing the Earth to warm rapidly and towards a catastrophic end. But not all scientists are in lock-step with the White House on climate science."
William BriggsBriggs is a statistician at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and a consultant at New York Methodist Hospital. More than two decades ago, he spent a year as a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. He is listed as an expert on the Heartland Institute's website, where he wrote, "Climate change is of no real interest to anyone except climatologists." Earlier this year, he co-wrote an article in the peer-reviewed Chinese Science Bulletin with fellow climate denialists Christopher Monckton and Willie Soon arguing that the IPCC's models are inaccurate and the world won't warm dangerously this century.
Russell CookCook is the editor of the website GelbspanFiles.com. According to Cook, he uses the site to "dig deeply into the accusation that scientists and others who express skepticism about the theory of man-made global warming are being paid by the fossil fuel industry to lie about the issue." Cook has several connections to the Heartland Institute, a conservative think-tank: he serves as a contributing editor to Heartland's Environment & Climate News publication and the Somewhat Reasonable blog.
Judith CurryCurry is a professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology. During a January 2014 hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Curry said the problem of climate change has been "vastly oversimplified." She said scientists should pay more attention to the role of natural variability in the climate system and the uncertainties in climate modeling. She also said the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is overly confident in attributing most of the warming to human activity.
Joe D'Aleo D'Aleo is a former Weather Channel meteorologist and executive director of Icecap.us, a project that seeks to connect "respected scientists and journalists that are not deniers," but who don't believe human activity is the main driver of global warming. Last May, D'Aleo was one of 15 climate skeptics who wrote a rebuttal to the White House's National Climate Assessment report. "As this rebuttal makes clear, the NCA provides no scientific basis whatsoever for regulating CO2 emissions," they wrote.
James DelingpoleDelingpole is a British climate writer and author of the 2012 book "Watermelons: How Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children's Future." He identifies himself as "libertarian conservative" and on his personal web page lists "the 'global warming' myth" as one of his dislikes. Delingpole's work has been published in the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator, among others.
David Paul DriessenDriessen is senior policy adviser at the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank focused on environmental issues that has received funding from fossil fuel interests such as ExxonMobil and Chevron. A frequent contributor to the conservative news site Townhall.com, Driessen says he doesn't believe in anthropogenic global warming. "Every measure of actual evidence contradicts alarmist claims and computer model predictions," he wrote in January. "No matter how fast or sophisticated those models are, feeding them false or unproven assumptions about CO2 and manipulated or 'homogenized' temperature data still yields garbage output, scenarios and predictions."
James EnstromEnstrom is an epidemiologist and president of the Scientific Integrity Institute. He argues that air pollution doesn't lead to serious health effects and has challenged the California Air Resources Board and the California legislature's attempts to regulate car emissions. He was fired after 35 years at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011.
Steve Goddard Goddard is the pseudonym of climate denialist Tony Heller, who has been active in the anti-global warming action campaign since 2008. Heller has degrees in geology and electrical engineering. He currently runs the blog Real Science, where he comments on climate research and political news. He has called it "a massive lie" that 97 percent of climate scientists agree the world is warming. He also maintains that U.S. and global temperature records have been tampered with, rendering global warming projections inaccurate.
Pierre GosselinGosselin is the author of the climate skeptic blog NoTrickZone.com. He said he thinks humans have a "modest" role in impacting the planet's climate, but ultimately he believes "the forces of nature overwhelm anything man puts out." Gosselin owns a small business involving communication work for various industries. He has an associate degree in civil engineering from Vermont Technical College and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona, according to his website.
Greenie WatchThe Greenie Watch blog is run by Australian social scientist John Ray. It questions the scientific evidence for global warming. "Climate is just the sum of weather. So if you cannot forecast the weather a month in advance, you will not be able to forecast the climate 50 years in advance," he wrote on his blog's home page. In response to the release of Fred Singer's emails about the film "Merchants of Doubt," Ray wrote, "We skeptics have got Warmists on the defense, a pathetic 'ad hominem' defense though it is."
William HapperHapper is a physicist at Princeton University and an outspoken critic of global warming. He has repeatedly called global warming trends "exaggerated." In a TV interview last year, he compared the scientific community's treatment of carbon dioxide to "the demonization of poor Jews under Hitler." During President George H. W. Bush's term, Happer was director of the office of energy research at the Department of Energy.
Jim LakelyLakely runs the blog Somewhat Reasonable out of the Chicago-based libertarian think-tank the Heartland Institute. Lakely is also the communications director and co-director of the Center on the Digital Economy at the institute. Previously, he worked as a journalist covering politics and technology. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh, according to his Heartland profile. In a December 2014 blog post, Lakely wrote, "The reason why the United Nations and the world's governments focus on fighting climate change is because that mission gives them license to control everything about the economy of every state in the world."
Patrick J. MichaelsMichaels is the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C. He was long considered the most credible scientist in the climate denial campaign. He was the president of the American Association of State Climatologists and an IPCC author, sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other contributing scientists. But Michaels'--who at one point estimated 40 percent of his funding came from the fossil fuel industry'--has been caught repeatedly making inaccurate climate claims, including on Fox News and in the Washington Post and Forbes.
Steven J. Milloy Milloy is the director of external policy and strategy for Murray Energy Corp., the largest privately held coal producer in the U.S. He also runs the website JunkScience, which aims to cast doubt on peer-reviewed climate research. He got his start as a denialist working for the tobacco and chemical industries in the 1990s. In 1998, he helped write the American Petroleum Institute's strategy to challenge climate science. Milloy is a former columnist for Fox News who now frequently appears as a guest to discuss energy and climate issues. His bio boasts that he has written "over 600 articles/columns published in major newspapers/web sites, including The Wall Street Journal, Investor's Business Daily, FoxNews.com, Financial Times, National Post (Canada), USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, New York Post, New York Sun and other print and web outlets."
Christopher MoncktonMonckton serves as chief policy adviser to the conservative think tank Science & Public Policy Institute. He has written several articles denouncing the severity of global warming and is a regular speaker at anti-climate action conferences. In testimony before Congress in 2010, he said climate change was a "non-problem." Earlier this year, he co-wrote an article in the peer-reviewed Chinese Science Bulletin with fellow climate denialists arguing that the IPCC's models are inaccurate and the world won't warm dangerously by the end of the century. Monckton also invented the "Eternity" puzzle, has a background in journalism, and in the early 1980s served an adviser to former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Marc MoranoMorano runs the denialist blog ClimateDepot. He's also the communications director of the Center for a Constructive Tomorrow, a Washington, D.C.-based libertarian think tank focused on environmental issues that's received funding from fossil fuel interests such as ExxonMobil and Chevron. He got his start on the climate issue working as communications director for Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma from 2006 to 2009, and before that for conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. He's a frequent speaker at the Heartland Institute's International Conference on Climate Change and often appears on Fox News and other conservative media outlets. In 2010, after months of stoking Climategate on his blog, he said climate scientists "deserve to be publicly flogged."
Joanne NovaNova is an Australian climate denialist and author of "The Skeptic's Handbook," a crash course in false science claiming global warming isn't happening and isn't human-caused. The book has been translated into 16 languages. Nova and her husband, fellow climate denialist David Evans'--whose name was attached to Nova's email address in Fred Singer's messages'--also run Science Speak, a "scientific modeling and mathematical research company" that challenges evidence the world is warming.
Roger PielkeRoger Pielke Sr., a controversial climate scientist, said he believes that "humans have altered the climate system." However, he also supports the idea that warming has recently stopped and has argued against some well-established points of climate science, such as observed sea level rise and glacier melting. Pielke holds the position of senior research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies. He also is a senior research associate the University of Colorado in Boulder. It's unclear whether the intended recipient of an email thread concerning "Merchants of Doubt" was Pielke himself, or his son Roger Pielke Jr. His son is a policy researcher at the Center for Science and Technology in Colorado and has criticized those who have linked climate change to increasingly extreme weather.
Thomas P. Sheahen Sheahen is a physicist and director of the Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology. According to the Heartland Institute, he is also the vice chairman of Fred Singer's Science and Environmental Policy Project's board of directors. "The science is NOT settled at all," he said in testimony in West Virginia earlier this year challenging the teaching of man-made climate change as scientific fact. "It would be a great disservice to children to indoctrinate them with one currently fashionable theory."
S. Fred Singer Singer is one of the earliest and most vocal scientists in the climate denial campaign. He was an academic and government space researcher for nearly four decades before working on behalf of the tobacco industry to discredit scientific evidence that smoking was bad for human health. In the early 1990s, he started attacking global warming. He founded an anti climate-action think tank, the Science and Environmental Policy Project, using fossil fuel funds. The group has denied the existence of man-made climate change for 25 years. He also created the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), a publication of junk science that counters the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's work. He has called the IPCC's latest assessment "a wonderful paper weight or door stop."
Wei-Hock (Willie) SoonSoon, a solar physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has posited that increased energy from the sun'--not the burning of fossil fuels'--is the biggest driver of modern climate change. His theory has been widely refuted by the scientific community, including the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Academy of Sciences. In February, public documents showed that Soon received hundreds of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel interests to publish "deliverables" in the form of articles about the solar-warming theory in scientific journals. He failed to disclose conflicts of interests to those journals and during congressional testimony. Soon also has ties to several conservative, climate-denying think tanks, including the Heartland Institute and the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.
Roy SpencerSpencer is a scientist at the University of Alabama-Huntsville and a former senior scientist for climate studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. He says he believes natural fluctuations in the climate system could be the primary driver of global warming. During a Senate hearing in July 2013, Spencer told the committee humans "are having some influence" on climate change, "but it is impossible to know with any level of certainty how much influence."
James TaylorTaylor is vice president of external relations and a senior fellow of environment and energy policy at the conservative think tank the Heartland Institute. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and a law degree from Syracuse University. In 2012, it was revealed that the Heartland Institute had plans to spend $200,000 over two years to circulate materials sowing doubt about climate change in classrooms. In an interview with InsideClimate News, Taylor said the material would act as "a nice counterweight" to material with "an overtly political and alarmist message in regards to climate change."
Anthony Watts Watts edits the blog Watts Up With That, which questions climate science and presents, "the untold story of the climate debate from the climate skeptic side." Watts studied electrical engineering and meteorology at Purdue University but never graduated. He then served as an on-air meteorologist for 25 years. He's a frequent speaker at anti-climate action events hosted by the Heartland Institute. "I believe that our [man-made] contribution [to climate change] may be far less than has been postulated," he told a California newspaper in 2007. "Our measurement network has been compromised'--not intentionally, but accidentally and through carelessness."
Tom Nelson: Twitter has suspended me
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:47
Thanks to many people for their support!! I'm still suspendedI think my suspension is a result of warmists abusing Twitter's "report abuse" function. I suspect that at least one of these people knows more specifics about my case: Gavin Schmidt, Katharine Hayhoe, Michael Mann.On March 22, After I posted this graph, @ClimateOfGavin called it "crap". I then posted @KHayhoe's "mother of all hockey sticks" below, and asked if it was "crap". Today, April 1, Twitter informed me that my account was "locked" until I deleted this tweet:Twitter then unlocked my account. After I posted the "Delete tweet" screen shot above, I was suspended.If calling a graph "crap" is grounds for suspension, why isn't @ClimateofGavin suspended?Updates: Mark Steyn asks a good question here:Iowahawk nailed it here, in reference to warmists trying to shut down Steve Goddard:Here's Mann threatening in advance to report Twitter users who ask questions he doesn't like:Here's Mann orchestrating "report abuse" for an Amazon review that he didn't like:
Another Global Warming Skeptic Gets Banned From Twitter | The Daily Caller
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:46
Daily Caller News Foundation
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'Geheim verslag uitgelekt, Nederland wist van luchtdoelraketten MH17' | RTL Nieuws
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 21:51
De ministeries van Buitenlandse Zaken en Defensie zijn drie dagen voor de ramp met MH17 op de hoogte gesteld van de aanwezigheid van Russische luchtdoelraketten in het oosten van Oekra¯ne.
Dat blijkt uit het verslag van een diplomatieke briefing in Kiev op 14 juli. Het werd opgesteld door een Nederlandse diplomate en is in handen van het onderzoeksprogramma Argos. De briefing werd belegd naar aanleiding van het neerschieten van een vliegtuig van het Oekra¯ense leger, een Antonov-26, eerder die dag. Oekra¯ne waarschuwde tijdens de bijeenkomst voor de gevaarlijke situatie in het luchtruim.
ZIE OOK: BUK-raket bewezen: foto's, video's en analyses
Het verslag van deze briefing weigert het kabinet naar de Tweede Kamer te sturen, omdat het volgens premier Rutte het diplomatieke verkeer tussen landen in de toekomst kan schaden.
De diplomate, plaatsvervangend chef van de Nederlandse ambassade in Kiev, schrijft dat het Oekra¯ense legervliegtuig, een Antonov-26, op zo'n grote hoogte vloog dat het 'alleen maar met Russisch materieel of door RF-eenheden (Russische militairen, red.)' kan zijn neergeschoten, 'aangezien separatisten zelf niet over dit soort anti-aircraftwapens beschikken'. Volgens de Oekra¯ners was het neerschieten op ruim zes kilometer hoogte 'het meest recente concrete voorbeeld' van de 'kritieke en gevaarlijke' situatie in het oosten van het land.
De analyse van de diplomate lijkt volgens het onderzoeksprogramma af te wijken van de informatie die minister Koenders van Buitenlandse Zaken met de Tweede Kamer heeft gedeeld. Hij zei in een algemeen overleg op 5 februari namelijk dat in de briefing was gesproken over de 'mogelijke aanwezigheid' van luchtdoelraketten. Het geheim houden van het verslag van de diplomate wekt wrevel in de Kamer, die wil controleren of de informatie van de diplomate aanleiding had moeten zijn om vliegtuigmaatschappijen te waarschuwen.
Drie dagen na de bewuste briefing werd vlucht MH17 uit de lucht geschoten, waarbij alle 298 inzittenden om het leven kwamen. Onder hen waren 196 Nederlanders. Uit onderzoek van correspondent Jeroen Akkermans blijkt dat het toestel is neergehaald door een BUK-raket van Russische makelij.
ZIE OOK: Oekra¯ne noemt Petrovski als verdachte MH17, wie is hij?
RTL Nieuws
NEO '' Putin's New Mediterranean Strategy | Veterans Today
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 19:03
'...by F. William Engdahl, '...with New Eastern Outlook, Moscow ___
The seven golden domes of St. Petersburg
[ Editor's note: Putin and Lavrov have continued their measured diplomatic moves with never a mistake or a open flank exposed. They have deftly danced around the US-NATO-EU Neo-Cold War encirclement with a series of quick counter moves.
Rather than let the Southstream pipeline project drag out with the predictable slow death, Moscow just canceled in and announced a new Southern route through NATO Turkey to the Greek border.
Gazprom is now leaving it the EU to plan, fund and build the European distribution system themselves and have the control it wanted via their attempt to shakedown the Russians for a piece of the pipeline action when they had taken all the early risks despite giving European companies major contracts on the project.
Then as brother Engdahl covers below he made two more simultaneous moves in the Mediterranean, getting basing rights in Cyprus and stabilizing their economy with a sweetheart restructuring of the major Russian loan.
Brando'...''''I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.''
Egypt was the next stop to rekindle old bonds from the Soviet days with Nasser.
Egypt was offered some of the EU agricultural substitution imports to helps its farmers out, and Putin and Sisi announced a series of military, and trade initiatives, not the least of which was plans for the Russians to build four nuclear power plants there.
I would suspect these to be the new clean running ones that Russia is leading the world with.
The US and EU continue to flounder on the world stage like 50 year old boxers and prostitutes way past their time, versus finding more dignified pursuits for their age.
All the major third world countries now know for sure they are on the Western target list for recolonization via the all to familiar now one-two punch of terror based regime change and strangulation sanctions.
The Age of Enlightenment for Europe is far in the rear view mirror, and the US claim to the protector of world freedom and democracy is a farce well known now even in the illiterate world. The American people have had their country stolen as if they were in a drugged stupor when it happened, but we labor on'... Jim W. Dean ]
_______________________________
- First published March 29, 2015 -
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in the Kremlin
While attention has been focused in recent weeks on the role of Russia and President Vladimir Putin in brokering a new ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, the Russian president has made time for two crucial state missions'--one to Cyprus and one to Egypt.
What they both share in common is a border on the shore of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, a strategic body of water whose importance in the escalating NATO confrontation with Russia cannot be underestimated.
For more than 2000 years, the Mediterranean Sea has been one of the world's most strategic waters. It joins Middle East oil and gas with markets in the European Union. It joins Indian Ocean shipping, increasingly from China, India, South Korea and the rest of Asia to European markets and to the Atlantic Ocean through the Egyptian Suez Canal.
It joins the vital Russian Black Sea Fleet naval base in Crimea to both the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. In brief it connects Europe, Eurasia and Africa.With this in mind, let's look at Putin's most recent travels.
_______________________________
To Cairo
Putin visiting a Cairo event with al-Sisi
On February 9 the Russian President met Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo.
When al-Sisi as chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces led the putsch that ousted Egypt's US-backed Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood regime in August 2012, Putin was one of the first to support al-Sisi's presidential bid.
In August 2014, al-Sisi was invited to meet Putin in Moscow, as Washington became an open opponent of the Egyptian president.
Few details of the latest Cairo visit are being released but Putin said they agreed to boost trade and military cooperation, and Russia has begun supplying weapons to Egypt after signing a memorandum. Commercial agreements are also expected on Putin's two-day visit, including a likely deal between Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya and Egypt's state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper.
And days following Putin's Cairo meeting with al-Sisi, Russia and Egypt signed an agreement to build four advanced Russian nuclear power reactors in Egypt. They will be a major boost to Egypt's weak electricity grid and power problems.
At the same time, al-Sisi announced that Egypt would join Russia's new Eurasian Economic Union in the form of a joint Free Trade Agreement. The union consists of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia. It was Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich's November announcement to the EU that Ukraine would join the Eurasian union that triggered the US blatant coup d'(C)tat of Maidan Square.
_______________________________
Cypriot Jewel in the Sea
Then two weeks after his Cairo talks on February 25, President Putin received Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in the Kremlin to discuss a variety of mutual issues.Anastasiades took the occasion to criticize the European Union's sanctions against Moscow.
He declared, ''the least I could do is visit Russia during these difficult times to assure it that, despite this situation, our relations will still develop. Whatever sanctions are introduced against Russia, they impact other countries, members of the EU, which include my motherland, that in a lot of ways depends onRussia.''
A glance at the map of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean shows the jewel rich in oil and gas and in a militarily strategic location. While that may be of future help to Russia against further EU sanctions, the heart of the talks involved Cyprus-Russia military cooperation. Here Cyprus offered use of its ports to the Russian Navy for certain purposes, ''to Russian vessels involved in counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts.''
The Russian ships will use the Cyprus port of Limassol, a civilian port and home of some 30,000 to 50,000 Russians, a quarter of the city's population. At present Russia's only Mediterranean Naval port rights are at the Syrian port of Tartus.
For his part, with the earlier approval of the Russian Duma, Putin offered Cyprus urgently needed debt relief, something not forthcoming from the draconian EU since the Cyprus crisis of 2013 when the EU confiscated Cypriot bank deposits of more than '‚¬100,000 in an involuntary theft as condition for a draconian bailout.
Hundreds of Russian companies with Cypriot offshore headquarters were affected, in retrospect clearly a beginning part of the Washington-Brussels strategy to begin weakening Putin's Russia. Maidan Square protests in Kiev began six months after the Cyprus confiscations.
This time Putin, despite the financial sanctions and economic warfare of the US Treasury's Office of Financial Terrorism (officially called the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence), offered Cyprus urgently needed debt relief. Russia agreed to restructure a '‚¬2.5 billion bailout loan it gave to Cyprus in 2011, to cut interest to 2.5% from 4.5% and extend debt maturity to 2018-2021 from next year.
Relations between Cyprus and Russia hold far more potential. Cyprus recently confirmed huge deposits of offshore oil and especially natural gas. Reportedly there are also discussions to invite Gazprom to help develop that. It could seriously undercut the US NATO strategy of blocking South Stream and other Russian gas routes to the EU.
The response of the US State Department to the warming Russia-Cyprus relations was club-footed to put it mildly. US Ambassador to Cyprus John Koenig sent a tweet, which seems to be the main preoccupation of US ambassadors lately. It was sent on February 28, just after the murder in Moscow of opposition figure Boris Nemtsov: ''What do people in Cyprus think about the week in Russia as seen from here? Anastasiades visit and statements, Nemtsov assassination?''
Turkey violated Greece's airspace in February
Koenig crassly implied a link with the simultaneous visit of Anastasiades to Moscow and the murder of Nemtsov, even saying in another tweet that Putin had Nemtsov murdered.
The Koenig Tweet created a firestorm of protest in Cyprus and his departure as ambassador in June was announced by Washington.Koenig apparently often Tweets his Kiev colleague, US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the orchestrator of the Ukraine deconstruction along withNuland.
When the Russia-Cyprus recent talks are analyzed in the context of the visit of President Putin to Cairo, a fascinating strategic map begins to emerge '-- one that in no way pleases the neo-conservatives in Washington or their EU allies.
We can expect Washington to work behind the scenes to heat frictions between Turkey, a NATO country, and Greek Orthodox Cyprus, as well as upping pressures on al-Sisi.
[ Editor's Note: Just the opposite of this has happened with Obama unfreezing $1.3 billlion in Egyptian military aid to Sisi soon after the Saudi attack on Yemen and the Arab League announcement of the new Arab NATO with Egypt as the main military contributor.]
Indeed on February 26, Turkish fighter jets openly violated Greek airspace, and announced it was unilaterally staging live fire military exercises the month of March in the Aegean, including a large part of the Greek international waters and the Greek island of Limnos, heating the geopoliticalsoup.
In Egypt, TV channels controlled by the Obama and CIA-backed Muslim Brotherhood leaked video tapes designed to embarrass al-Sisi. The tapes purport to expose private telephone discussions of al-Sisi as general, just after the 2012 ouster of Morsi and the Brotherhood, discussing how much financial aid Morsi was asking of the Gulf Arab allies who backed the anti-Brotherhood al-Sisi move.
The scandal appears to have fallen flat, as al-Sisi's popularity in Egypt and support from Gulf Arab leaders appearsunaffected. It indicates Washington is getting increasingly uncomfortable with Russian geopolitics in the eastern Mediterranean.
___
F. William Engdahl is a strategic risk consultant and lecturer, holding 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''.
Jim W. Dean, Managing EditorJim W. Dean is managing editor of Veterans Today wearing many hats from day to day operations, development, writing and editing articles. He also has an active schedule of TV and radio interviews as do the other VT editors, and will have a show on our new VT Radio and TV platform. He is hoping to refresh and move over a lot of his Heritage TV archive of 200 shows done during his Atlanta public TV years.View Jim's Full Biography >>>View Jim's Latest Articles >>>Latest posts by Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor (see all)Related Posts:The views expressed herein are the views of the author exclusively and not necessarily the views of VT or any other VT authors, affiliates, advertisers, sponsors or partners and technicians. Notices Posted by Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor on April 4, 2015, With 0 Reads, Filed under World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
Monsantooo
Cow Feed & Meatless Monday's email
Good Morning Adam,
I am a little behind and just now heard yalls stuff about the cows and grasshoppers. I use to work for Cargill which is a big agriculture company, and I worked specifically with the beef fat division. We had a huge problem selling fat from cows from the northwest where the cows could be close to the cows in Canada where there was a mad cow outbreak. We also were not able to sell to any company that made feed for cows since it was illegal to feed any cow byproducts to cows and we couldn't garentee they wouldn't put it in cow feed. I thought this was very entertaining and thought I would add my little 2 cents to this topic. On a different note I remeber you mentioning something a while back about ocean acidification. Having spent 5 years getting a degree in Marine Biology I had global warming and ocean acidification thrown down my throat and why they are right and I should be freeking out. If you have any questions about that topic please do not hesitate to ask. I will be more than happy to tell the bull crap they told me.
Amanda Clare
GermanWings
Germanwings second black box found; Lubitz possibly researched door security.
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 23:07
Two big developments in the Germanwings Flight 9525 story:
After the crash, responding personnel were quickly able to find the downed plane's cockpit voice recorder and, reportedly, the outside casing of the flight data recorder. But the actual contents of the flight data recorder had not yet been located.
The report on Lubitz's Internet searches comes from the German end of the investigation. From the AP:
Duesseldorf prosecutors said Thursday investigators found a tablet computer at Andreas Lubitz's apartment. They said they were able to reconstruct searches from March 16 to March 23. ... Prosecutors' spokesman Ralf Herrenbrueck said in a statement that search terms included medical treatment and suicide methods. On at least one day, the co-pilot looked at search terms involving cockpit doors and their security methods.
The device's browser memory, Herrenbrueck said, had not been erased.
Germanwings crash pilot Andreas Lubitz 'lied to doctors about flying and was prescribed powerful drugs' - Telegraph
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:18
Although he gave doctors information about his job as a pilot, and in some cases about his employer, he deliberately hid the fact that he was still working, Bild said, citing sources close to the investigation.
Documents also reportedly revealed that Lubitz recounted being involved in a car crash at the end of 2014 in which he suffered injuries when his airbag opened. Since the accident, he had complained of trauma and impaired hearing and vision.
"He stated during medical treatment that, among other things, it often appeared dark around him," wrote Bild.
He underwent an MRI scan on his brain but no significant damage was found.
According to medical records, Lubitz stated that he was taking medicines to treat depression, anxiety disorders and panic attacks, the paper said, adding the drugs were an antidepressant and the tranquilliser Lorazepam.
Medical experts say it can also increase the risk of self-harm at the start of treatment.
The report came a day after Germanwings parent company Lufthansa confirmed that when Lubitz resumed pilot training in 2009 he provided the flight school with medical documents showing he had gone through a "previous episode of severe depression".
He was apparently more stable in recent years, but in the last few weeks had reportedly seen doctors three times for depression and an eye doctor over fears he was losing his sight.
Police searching Lubitz's flat last week reportedly found a "small mountain of pills", suggesting he may not have been taking his medication.
Bild said it discovered that he was prescribed drugs, including the Lorazepam, to combat to range of disorders.
Gendarmes and rescuers from the Gendarmerie High-Mountain Rescue Group working at the crash site of the Germanwings Airbus A320 (AFP)
How often and how much of them he took forms a major part of the criminal probe into the crash, it said.
Investigators are still trying to piece together why Lubitz would take the controls of the Airbus A320, lock the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately steer the aircraft into a mountain.
Lorazepam belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These treat a variety of conditions including anxiety, sleeping problems and other mental health disorders.
Patients with psychiatric issues are warned it could lead to changes in behaviour.
Without sufficient sleep, it can lead to memory loss and its soporific effect can hamper one's ability to drive or operate machinery.
Neurologists and psychiatrists had signed Lubitz off sick from work a number of times, including on the day of the crash. Police discovered torn-up sick notes during a search of his apartment after the crash.
Germany's transport minister on Thursday announced that a task force was being set up to investigate plane door mechanism and review the health procedures for pilots following last month's crash.
Ottomania
Conspiracy theories in Turkey after shooting of a state prosecutor | All media content | DW.DE | 02.04.2015
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:50
Conspiracy theories in Turkey after shooting of a state prosecutorA Turkish prosecutor, involved in a controversial case, died on Tuesday after he was shot during a hostage siege in an Istanbul courthouse. The prosecutor had been investigating the death of a young protestor during the Gezi Park protests and was about to report his findings. Emma Wallis speaks to DW's Dorian Jones in Istanbul and he explains what happened.
More:Conspiracy theories in Turkey after shooting of a state prosecutor | All media content | DW.DE | 02.04.2015
NA Intelligence Network
Sectors we discussed on 710
Chemical
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Communications
Critical Manufacturing
Defense Industrial Base
Dams
Emergency Services
Energy
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Food and Agriculture
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Unruh Civil Rights Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:08
The Unruh Civil Rights Act is a piece of California legislation that specifically outlaws discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.[1][2][3] This law applies to all businesses such as hotels and motels, restaurants, theaters, hospitals, barber and beauty shops, housing accommodations, and retail establishments.[4] The law was enacted in 1959 and was named for its author, Jesse M. Unruh. The Unruh Civil Rights Act is codified as California Civil Code section 51.[5][6]
Text of the Act[edit]"All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever." [5]
Legal interpretation and effects[edit]The California Supreme Court has repeatedly "interpreted the [law] as protecting classes other than those listed on its face".[7] For example, even prior to the 2005 addition of sexual orientation to the law's list of covered classes, the Unruh Act had been "construed as protecting gays and lesbians from arbitrary discrimination".[7]
The California Supreme Court also decided that the act outlaws sex-based prices at bars (ladies' nights): offering women a discount on drinks, but not offering the same discount to males. In Koire v Metro Car Wash (1985) 40 Cal 3d 24, 219 Cal Rptr 133, the court held that such discounts constituted sex stereotyping prohibited by this Act.[8]
California courts recently held that a private school's admissions office was not covered by the Act, because it was not a business. (A school had expelled two students who were perceived as bisexual.) "Although the fact the School is nonprofit is not controlling, this does mean it should not be deemed a business unless it has some significant resemblance to an ordinary for-profit business." Doe v. California Lutheran High School Ass'n, 170 Cal.App.4th 828 (2009).[9]
However, schools may be businesses for the purpose of the Act when they are engaging in commercial activities. "For example, the Court noted that the School would not be permitted to discriminate in its nonmember transactions, such as in the sale of football tickets, because of the Unruh Act. Thus, while private religious schools' admissions and disciplinary practices may not be subject to the Unruh Act, schools should be aware that other business transactions may still be."[10]
Disability litigation[edit]Since the passage of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, disability access violations count among the practices that run afoul of the Unruh act. Combined with the California Disabled Persons Acts, disability access plaintiffs are allowed to tack on state claims for money damages onto requests for injunctive relief in ADA lawsuits. The act allows plaintiffs to claim treble damages with a minimum of $4000 per access violation plus attorneys fees. In most states, plaintiffs are entitled to only injunctive relief, having the disability access issue fixed. As a result of the damages claimed under Unruh Act, California accounts for 42% of all ADA litigation nationwide.[11]
Modifications[edit]There was a proposed change, S.B.242, that would have added use of language to the list of protected statuses. However, this bill was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[12]
See also[edit]References[edit]NotesBibliography
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DFEH - Unruh Civil Rights Act
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:09
Under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, all persons are entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments, including both private and public entities. The Unruh Civil Rights Act protects all persons against arbitrary and unreasonable discrimination by a business establishment (Civil Code section 51).
In cases alleging an Unruh Act violation, complaints must be filed with DFEH within one year from the date of the alleged discriminatory act. In cases alleging hate violence, complaints must be filed within one year of the day the victim becomes aware of the perpetrator's identity, but not more than three years from the date of injury. Please contact us immediately if there is any likelihood that this one-year period is about to expire.
You may file a private lawsuit under the Unruh Act (business establishments). You are not required to file a complaint with Department and you do not need a Notice of Right to Sue.
This law provides protection from discrimination by all business establishments in California, including housing and public accommodations, because of:
AgeAncestryColorDisabilityGenetic InformationMedical Condition (cancer and genetic characteristics)Marital Status National OriginRaceReligionSex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, gender, gender identity and gender expression) Sexual OrientationHowever California Supreme Court has held that protections under the Unruh Act are not necessarily restricted to these characteristics. The Act is meant to cover all arbitrary and intentional discrimination by a business establishment on the bases of personal characteristics similar to those listed above.
Section 51, et seq. Unruh Civil Rights Act
Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees-The Right to Refuse Service: Can a Business Refuse Service to Someone Because of Appearance, Odor or Attitude? | LegalZoom
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:06
Is it a violation of your civil rights for a business to refuse service to you because of the way you look, the way you smell, or the way you act? The answer is...it depends.
The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees all people the right to "full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin."
The right of public accommodation is also guaranteed to disabled citizens under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which precludes discrimination by businesses on the basis of disability.
In addition to the protections against discrimination provided under federal law, many states have passed their own Civil Rights Acts that provide broader protections than the Federal Civil Rights Act. For example, California's Unruh Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate against individuals based on unconventional dress or sexual preference.
In the 1960s, the Unruh Civil Rights Act was interpreted to provide broad protection from arbitrary discrimination by business owners. Cases decided during that era held that business owners could not discriminate, for example, against hippies, police officers, homosexuals, or Republicans, solely because of who they were.
In cases in which the patron is not a member of a federally protected class, the question generally turns on whether the business's refusal of service was arbitrary, or whether the business had a specific interest in refusing service. For example, in a recent case, a California court decided that a motorcycle club had no discrimination claim against a sports bar that had denied members admission to the bar because they refused to remove their "colors," or patches, which signified club membership. The court held that the refusal of service was not based on the club members' unconventional dress, but was to protect a legitimate business interest in preventing fights between rival club members.
On the other hand, a California court decided that a restaurant owner could not refuse to seat a gay couple in a semi-private booth where the restaurant policy was to only seat two people of opposite sexes in such booths. There was no legitimate business reason for the refusal of service, and so the discrimination was arbitrary and unlawful.
In one more complicated case, a court held that a cemetery could exclude "punk rockers" from a private funeral service. A mother requested that the funeral service for her 17-year-old daughter be private and that admission to the service be limited to family and invited guests only. The cemetery failed to exclude punk rockers from the service. The punk rockers arrived in unconventional dress, wearing makeup and sporting various hair colors. One was wearing a dress decorated with live rats. Others wore leather and chains, some were twirling baton-like weapons, drinking, and using cocaine. The punk rockers made rude comments to family members and were generally disruptive of the service.
Ironically, the funeral business had attempted to rely on the Unruh Civil Rights Act, claiming that if they had denied access to the punk rockers, they would have been in violation of the Act. But the court held that the punk rockers' presence had deprived the deceased person's family of the services of the business establishment, which were meant to provide comfort to grieving family members. On that basis, the court stated that the funeral business could have legitimately denied access to the punk rockers.
It's interesting to note that while it is unlawful to refuse service to certain classes of people, it is not unlawful to provide discounts on the basis of characteristics such as age. Business establishments can lawfully provide discounts to groups such as senior citizens, children, local residents, or members of the clergy in order to attract their business.
Like many issues involving constitutional law, the law against discrimination in public accommodations is in a constant state of change. Some argue that anti-discrimination laws in matters of public accommodations create a conflict between the ideal of equality and individual rights. Does the guaranteed right to public access mean the business owner's private right to refuse service violated? For the most part, courts have decided that the constitutional interest in providing equal access to public accommodations outweighs the individual liberties involved.
This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.
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The Discrimination Double Standard | Re/code
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 22:13
This week in Silicon Valley, it's trendy to speak out against discrimination.
But last week, many of the same people weren't quite so forthcoming.
Led by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Apple CEO Tim Cook, Silicon Valley is loudly complaining about homophobic laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas in recent days that allow businesses to refuse service to customers based on religious beliefs.
A who's who of leaders from companies such as Yelp, Square, Twitter, Lyft, Airbnb, eBay, PayPal and others signed their names to a petition today urging legislatures to forbid discrimination or denial of services to anyone, saying, ''Discrimination is bad for business.'' Petition leader Max Levchin, a PayPal co-founder and currently CEO of finance startup Affirm, told Re/code: ''I am asking all CEOs to evaluate their relationships and investments in states that do not specifically protect LGBT people from discrimination.''
That's great and even admirable, except that here on the home front, Silicon Valley has its own very obvious discrimination problems. Gender is a big one. Race is another. The numbers are so incredibly skewed for the majority '-- the published diversity numbers in technology are something like 70 percent men, 90 percent white and Asian '-- that the situation is very often unhealthy for people who don't or can't fit in.
While these are not twin causes, there are obvious parallels, and the inconsistencies between them became all the more evident this week.
It's hard to take a meaningful stand against something that's subtle. Discrimination in the technology industry is not often overt '-- in fact, there's even a word for it: Unconscious bias. And the particulars of any one situation aren't simple, especially when personal loyalties are at stake.
For the last five weeks as we wrote daily trial coverage about the gender discrimination lawsuit brought against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers by former employee Ellen Pao, Nellie Bowles and I received daily emails and messages. It was the most feedback we've ever gotten on any Re/code story.
People told us about conversations they'd had with men in venture capital about why they don't hire more women. ''They say 'We've tried!' They say 'They're just not in tech.' It's horseshit,'' one woman who works in VC said. She didn't want her name used. ''The vast majority of partners, they're MBAs, or guys out of finance. There are tons of women with those backgrounds. They hire men who look like that, why can't they hire women who look like that? They say, 'Oh, they all have jobs.' Who are you kidding, the men [candidates] all have jobs too!''
Many people, especially women, told us the issues strongly resonated with them. They told us they felt they were treated differently and had fewer networking opportunities in the industry because of their gender. But they were largely unwilling to go on the record.
There are good reasons for that. Most prominently, Ellen Pao's case was far from perfect '-- a jury of her peers ultimately disagreed with every count of it. For another thing, Pao has a complicated personal life, and many people don't believe what she says because of her husband's bankruptcy problems and history of litigation. Plus, the protracted five-week-long trial wasn't over until it was over, so people told us they were waiting to pass judgment in public. Others reminded us that Kleiner Perkins continues to be a big, respected, established venture firm, and picking sides could be bad for business.
Former Yahoo president Sue Decker was a rare woman willing to wade into the public discussion after she sat through a day of the trial with her daughters. She wrote in a guest column for Re/code:
''I, and most women I know, have been a party to at least some sexist or discriminatory behavior in the workplace. Many of the examples raised in this trial are behaviors I have personally witnessed along the way. At the same time, the men who may be promulgating it are often very unaware of the slights, and did not intend the outcome. And for the women, it happens in incremental steps that often seem so small in isolation that any individual act seems silly to complain about. So we move on. But in aggregate, and with the perspective of hindsight, they are real.''
Listen to that '-- she's saying she recognizes Pao's story in her own. She's not saying that Ellen Pao is a martyr. She's not saying Ellen Pao should have won. She's saying there's a problem here, and the trial created an opportunity to talk about it.
In a CNBC interview on Monday, Levchin said of the Indiana law: ''I think every person that has their moral fibers pointing the right way should ask themselves what does this mean for them. It's a big important issue. Discrimination is something we've had in the past in the country '-- Jim Crow laws and such '-- let's not forget about this, let's treat it very seriously.''
But then when asked in the same segment about the Ellen Pao trial, Levchin turned less clear:
''It's one of these issues where I'm not sure there's a huge victory for anyone on either side. It's just an awful thing to watch, to be completely honest. I haven't thought too carefully through what it meant. I don't know if it impacts my world immediately. I think at my companies, anywhere I'm involved, we take great care of our employees, we welcome diversity, we try to hire and open up opportunities for everyone, so I don't feel that we need to change anything at all independent of this verdict. But I think the fact it came to a courtroom is sad to see.''
Look over there, Levchin is saying. Over here? There's nothing to see.
Perhaps it's easier to speak out when it comes to some bigots in flyover country who passed an actual law. And it's harder to come up with solutions for your own institutional problem. Will better bias training work? Better efforts toward the years of support that help generate new women leaders? Better shaming of companies that persist in keeping only men at the top?
It's more convenient to pivot to another new issue so you can regain your sense of moral superiority.
In praising the industry's stand against discrimination based on sexual orientation, Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein of the Kapor Center for Social Impact in Oakland, Calif., told the New York Times just that. ''We would like to see the same level of steadfast commitment and action with respect to the hidden biases that permeate the Valley,'' they said.
They're spot on. In Silicon Valley, fighting homophobia is an easy issue. Instant alliances can pop up '-- as long as the villain is outside of ourselves. But when it comes to the harder topics here at home, and it turns out the enemy is us? That's a problem that all these genius techies can't seem to grok quite as easily.
Contact Liz Gannes:|EMAIL
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Chiner$
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
1453104
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 $100 billion into infrastructure projects in the region, Washington will inevitably lose some its own clout. As such, the US has strongly dissuaded its allies from joining, but one by one, countries have flocked to the new institution.
And now the AIIB can add Israel to its list. The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday that Prime Minister Netanyahu had signed an application, saying membership would open up opportunities for Israeli companies to enter into one of the fastest growing markets on the planet.
The booming Asian economy isn't the only thing pushing Israel toward the AIIB. Netanyahu's government has been looking for ways to diversify its exports in response to a rising tide of anti-Semitism in Europe, and given that it could face potential sanctions over future conflicts.
At this point, Japan is the only major US ally who is still holding out on membership, but given the AIIB's quickly growing influence, one can easily imagine Tokyo casting longing looks toward Beijing as Washington leads it in the other direction.
Israel joins China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Maldives, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Vietnam, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, Georgia, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia, Egypt, Finland, Kyrgyzstan, and Sweden, all having applied for membership.
Bank$ters
Iceland looks at ending boom and bust with radical money plan - Telegraph
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 21:51
Mr Sigurjonsson said the problem each time arose from ballooning credit during a strong economic cycle.
Frosti Sigurjonsson's report, entitled A Better Monetary System For Iceland
He argued the central bank was unable to contain the credit boom, allowing inflation to rise and sparking exaggerated risk-taking and speculation, the threat of bank collapse and costly state interventions.
In Iceland, as in other modern market economies, the central bank controls the creation of banknotes and coins but not the creation of all money, which occurs as soon as a commercial bank offers a line of credit.
The central bank can only try to influence the money supply with its monetary policy tools.
Under the so-called Sovereign Money proposal, the country's central bank would become the only creator of money.
"Crucially, the power to create money is kept separate from the power to decide how that new money is used," Mr Sigurjonsson wrote in the proposal.
"As with the state budget, the parliament will debate the government's proposal for allocation of new money," he wrote.
Iceland's three largest banks collapsed
Banks would continue to manage accounts and payments, and would serve as intermediaries between savers and lenders.
Mr Sigurjonsson, a businessman and economist, was one of the masterminds behind Iceland's household debt relief programme launched in May 2014 and aimed at helping the many Icelanders whose finances were strangled by inflation-indexed mortgages signed before the 2008 financial crisis.
The small Nordic country was hit hard as the crash of US investment bank Lehman Brothers caused the collapse of its three largest banks.
Iceland then became the first western European nation in 25 years to appeal to the International Monetary Fund to save its battered economy.
Its GDP fell by 5.1pc in 2009 and 3.1pc in 2010 before it started rising again.
Hillary 2016
Wow. Stunning New Report Describes What REALLY Happened to Harry Reid... And It Wasn't an Accident
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 17:12
By now we've all heard that Harry Reid injured himself fairly severely while working out on New Years Eve day with some rubber exercise bands in what has been described as a ''freak accident.''
Of course, Harry Reid also said that America's southern border is secure and '-- from the Senate floor, no less '-- that Mitt Romney hadn't paid taxes for 12 years.
According to a new report, all of those statements might be equally true.
The new report is based on a phone call to John Hinderaker of Powerline, who said he heard briefly from a man on Monday that Reid's injuries were caused by a fight with his brother, Larry, on Dec. 31.
Yes, that's right. Harry and Larry Reid. No word yet on whether they also have two brothers named Darryl.
Hinderaker wrote earlier today about that call and additional conversations he has since had with a man who uses the pseudonym Easton Elliott in his addiction recovery counselling career. Elliott lives in Nevada and attended at least one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Henderson that night with about 20 other people.
''Some time between 10:00 and 11:30 p.m.,'' Elliott told Hinderaker, ''a man entered the meeting. His appearance was striking: there was blood on his clothing, beginning around his midsection. His left hand was swollen. He appeared to be somewhat intoxicated and was visibly agitated.''
The man introduced himself to the group as ''Larry'' and said that he had been in a fight with a family member at a get-together.
He apparently blacked out during the fight at some point, coming to mid-altercation while rolling on the ground with the other family member, his clothes now bloody.
He added that now he was concerned that he'd have to deal with the Secret Service.
The group didn't take that last bit seriously '-- you hear all kinds of things in AA meetings, as you might imagine '-- but had little doubt from his appearance that Larry had been in a fight.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, when Elliott read a newspaper article about Larry Reid assaulting a state trooper during a DUI arrest. In the picture that went with the article, Elliott recognized ''Larry'' of the Secret Service fears.
He had also heard, as we all had by then, of retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's New Years Eve workout injury, and it didn't take much for Elliott to connect the two events and theorize that Larry and Harry hadn't exactly been singing ''Auld Lang Syne'' together to ring in the New Year.
Incidentally, Harry Reid's home is reportedly not far from the location of the AA meeting in question.
Elliott told Hinderaker he'd be happy to discuss what he knows with a reporter.
''I'm a citizen who believes in God and feels compelled to do the right thing '-- tell the truth,'' he told Hinderaker. ''Harry Reid could learn a lesson from me in being truthful.''
Before publishing his story, Hinderaker gave Reid's office a chance to comment and received three cryptic words in response: ''Don't ever change.''
Well, at least they're not trying to deny it.
Please share this article on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about this first-hand account of what might actually have caused Harry Reid's injuries.
Friday, April 3rd, 2015
Recommended For You
NA-Tech News
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Tesla Stockholders Can't Take a Joke - Bloomberg View
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:49
Yesterday, Tesla issued a press release that starts like this:
Announcing the Tesla Model W
PALO ALTO, Calif., April 1, 2015 '' Tesla today announced a whole new product line called the Model W. As many in the media predicted, it's a watch. That's what the "W" stands for.
This incredible new device from Tesla doesn't just tell the time, it also tells the date. What's more, it is infinitely adjustable, able to tell the time no matter where you are on Earth. Japan, Timbuktu, California, anywhere! This will change your life. Reality as you know it will never be the same.
It goes on, but you get the idea by now. Because you are a human. You have context clues to guide you. Maybe you remember how awful the Internet was that day that was all about the Apple Watch. Maybe the phrase "April 1" means something to you. Perhaps you didn't laugh, exactly, at this press release -- I didn't -- but you are able to recognize that it takes the form of a joke.
Computers are notoriously terrible at jokes:
With about five minutes remaining in the trading day, the company posted a statement on its official website under the headline: ''Announcing the Tesla Model W.''
In the following minute, the stock jumped about $1.50 or about 0.75 percent from its level the moment before to as high as $188.50.
Nearly 400,000 shares traded in that time, and it was the heaviest one minute of trading volume in the stock since the opening 60 seconds of trading on Feb 12.
Tesla shares quickly retraced most of that upward move and ended the session at $187.59, down 0.63 percent from Tuesday's close.
So people lost maybe as much as a few hundred thousand dollars because, for a brief stupid minute, they thought that Tesla was introducing ... a watch? No, of course they didn't. They thought Tesla was introducing a thing called the Model W, and they didn't read any further than the headline, and they bought Tesla stock hoping that the Model W, whatever it was, would be a huge success (or would be perceived as a huge success by someone else a minute later), and then they realized that they'd been fooled, and they sold the stock at a small loss and moved on with their day. And when I say "people" I mean mostly "algorithms," which are faster and more literal than humans, though in the space of a minute it is conceivable that an actual human saw that headline and fired off a buy order before reading any further.
A reader named Jakob Stoeber sent this story to me and asked what I thought the Securities and Exchange Commission would think of a corporate press release, like this one, that (1) is false and (2) moved the price of the company's stock. It's a good question! Of course I won't give you legal advice, though it does seem like there's a simple best-practices answer, which is that whatever the SEC thinks, come on, put out your fake press releases at 4:05, not 3:55. There is no reason to tempt fate, or annoy your shareholder-algorithms, like this.
More generally, though, this is a nice data point for a problem that I think about a lot, which is the problem of materiality. It's securities fraud to "make any untrue statement of a material fact," etc., "in connection with the purchase or sale of any security," and companies that make misstatements that are material to their own shares can get in trouble even if they're not buying or selling. The "materiality requirement is satisfied when there is '"a substantial likelihood that the disclosure of the omitted fact would have been viewed by the reasonable investor as having significantly altered the 'total mix' of information made available."'"
Would this press release significantly change a "reasonable investor's" view of Tesla? Obviously not. Did it move the price? Apparently! This joke added -- very briefly, sure -- more than $100 million to Tesla's market capitalization. Would a reasonable investor care about a price move? Does the unreasonableness -- let us say charitably, the speed and literalness -- of the market make things that would not otherwise be material, material? My instinct is no: I think that materiality means what it says, and if people or algorithms do dumb things with trivial information that's their problem. But markets are a lot faster and more literal than they were when the materiality standard was created, and I wonder whether regulators or courts will one day decide that materiality is too reasonable a standard for modern markets. The materiality standard depends on the reasonable investor, and in many important contexts the reasonable investor has been replaced by a computer.
To contact the author on this story:Matt Levine at mlevine51@bloomberg.net
To contact the editor on this story:Zara Kessler at zkessler@bloomberg.net
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LA Police Protective League email
It is our aim to best ensure your safety both on and off duty, to protect you not only from the dangers you face fighting crime, but also from other, non-violent risks, like environmental and biological dangers that may negatively affect your health.
Yesterday we met with the City Council to voice our opposition to the on-going construction and installation of LTE cellphone and LMR radio towers at police stations throughout the city as part of the Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications System (LA-RICS). We have serious health and safety concerns about the towers that are being constructed in the parking lots of police stations throughout the City. As some of you may have noticed, these towers have already been installed at the Northeast, Southeast, Newton and North Hollywood Police Stations.
What we are most concerned about here is the potential biological effect resulting from exposure to microwave radiation that police officers and civilian personnel could experience who work at these facilities. We are continuing to look into the medical evidence available to determine the safety of these towers.
Accordingly, the LAPPL has supported a Council motion that would cease the construction of LA-RICS towers at all police and fire stations immediately and we are pleased to inform you that the Council has agreed with the motion. The motion also demands that the City begin work on alternative locations, less intrusive technology solutions and should new locations be identified, LA-RICS will work with the City and the LAPPL.
You put your lives on the line to protect our citizens, the least the City can do is to take the necessary precautions to protect our officers. We will continue to fight for you and will not rest until your voices are heard.
We will advise you when we have further information, but in the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to contact any Director at (213) 251-4554.
Very truly yours,
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Los Angeles Police Protective League
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List of known easter eggs for Amazon Echo (so far) : amazonecho
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 05:05
List of known easter eggs for Amazon Echo (so far)(self.amazonecho)
submitted 1 month ago * by beerninja88
I didn't discover any of these; I just gathered them from various places. Thanks to all the people who found them.
Alexa, I am your father.Alexa, who lives in a pineapple under the sea?Alexa, what is the loneliest number?Alexa, how many roads must a man walk down?Alexa, all your base are belong to us.Alexa, how much is that doggie in the window?Alexa, romeo, romeo wherefore art thou romeo?Alexa, define rock paper scissors lizard spockAlexa, beam me up.Alexa, how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?Alexa, define supercalifragilisticexpialodocious.Alexa, who's your daddy?Alexa, Earl Grey. Hot. (or Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.)Alexa, what is the meaning of life?Alexa, what does the Earth weigh?Alexa, when is the end of the world?Alexa, is there a Santa?Alexa, make me a sandwich.Alexa, what is the best tablet?Alexa, what is your favorite color?Alexa, what is your quest?Alexa, who won best actor Oscar in 1973?Alexa, what is your quest?Alexa, what is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?Alexa, where do babies come from?Alexa, do you have a boyfriend?Alexa, which comes first: the chicken or the egg?Alexa, may the force be with you.Alexa, do aliens exist?Alexa, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop?Alexa, what are you going to do today?Alexa, where do you live?Alexa, do you want to build a snowman?Alexa, do you really want to hurt me?Alexa, what is love?Alexa, who is the real slim shady?Alexa, who let the dogs out?Alexa, open the pod bay doors.Alexa, surely you can't be serious.Alexa, to be or not to be.Alexa, who is the fairest of them all?Alexa, who loves ya baby?Alexa, who you gonna call?Alexa, who is the walrus?Alexa, do you have any brothers or sisters?Alexa, do you know the muffin man?Alexa, how much do you weigh?Alexa, how tall are you?Alexa, where are you from?Alexa, do you want to fight?Alexa, do you want to play a game?Alexa, I think you're funny.Alexa, where in the world in Carmen sandiego?Alexa, where's waldo?Alexa, do you know the way to San Jose?Alexa, where have all the flowers gone?Alexa, what's in name?Alexa, what does the fox say? (multiple answers)Alexa, when am I going to die?Alexa, I want the truth!Alexa, make me breakfast.Alexa, why did the chicken cross the road?Alexa, where are my keys? (ask twice)Alexa, can you give me some money? (ask twice)Alexa, knock knockAlexa, what are you wearing?Alexa, rock paper scissors.Alexa rock paper scissors lizard spockAlexa, party time!Alexa, party on, Wayne.Alexa, is the cake a lie?Alexa, how do I get rid of a dead body?Alexa, are you sky net?Alexa, your mother was a hamsterAlexa, set phasers to kill.Alexa, roll a die.Alexa, random number between ''x'' and ''y''.Alexa, random factAlexa, tell me a jokeAlexa, heads or tails?Alexa, mac or pc?Alexa, show me the money.Alexa, what is the sound of one hand clapping?Alexa, give me a hug.Alexa, are you lying?Alexa, my name is Inigo Montoya.Alexa, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? (3 answers)Alexa, see you later alligator.
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Alexander Stepanovich Popov - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 17:03
Alexander Stepanovich Popov (sometimes spelled Popoff; Russian: АÐ>>ÐµÐºÑÐ°ÌÐ½Ð´Ñ ÐтеÐа́нович ПоÐо́в; March 16 [O.S. March 4] 1859 '' January 13 [O.S. December 31, 1905] 1906) was a Russianphysicist who is acclaimed in his homeland and eastern European countries as the inventor of radio.[1][2][3]
Popov's work as a teacher at a Russian naval school led him to explore high frequency electrical phenomena. On May 7, 1895 he presented a paper on a wireless lightning detector he had built that worked via using a coherer to detect radio noise from lightning strikes. This day is celebrated in the Russian Federation as Radio Day. In a March 24, 1896 demonstration he used radio waves to transmit a message between different campus buildings in St Petersburg. His work was based the work of other physicist such as Oliver Lodge and contemporaneous with the work of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi.
Early life[edit]Born in the town Krasnoturinsk, Sverdlovsk Oblast in the Urals as the son of a priest, he became interested in natural sciences when he was a child. His father wanted Alexander to join the priesthood and sent him to the Seminary School at Yekaterinburg.[2] There he developed an interest in science and mathematics and instead of going on to Theology School in 1877 he enrolled at St. Petersburg university where he studied physics.[2][4] After graduation with honors in 1882 he stayed on as a laboratory assistant at the university. However the salary at the university was inadequate to support his family, and in 1883 he took a post as teacher and head of laboratory at the Russian Navy's Torpedo School in Kronstadt on Kotlin Island.[2]
Popov's radio wave receiver[edit]Along with his teaching duties at the naval school Popov pursued related areas of research. Trying to solve a problem with the failure in the electrical wire insulation on steel ships (which turned out to be a problem with electrical resonance) led him to further explore oscillations of high frequency electrical currents.[5] His interest in this area of study (including the new field of "Hertzian" or radio waves) was intensified by his trip in 1893 to the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in the United States where he was able to confer with other researchers in the field.[6]
Popov also read a 1894 article about British physicist Oliver Lodge's experiments related to the discovery of radio waves by German physicist Heinrich Hertz 6 years earlier.[7] On 1 June 1894, after the death of Hertz, British physicist Oliver Lodge gave a memorial lecture on Hertz experiments. He set up a demonstration on the quasi optical nature of Hertzian waves (radio waves) and demonstrated their transmission at distances up to 50 meters.[8] Lodge used a detector called a coherer, a glass tube containing metal filings between two electrodes.[4] When received waves from an antenna were applied to the electrodes, the coherer became conductive allowing the current from a battery to pass through it, with the impulse being picked up by a mirror galvanometer. After receiving a signal the metal filings in the coherer had to be reset by a manually operated vibrator or by the vibrations of a bell placed on the table near by that rang every time a transmission was received.[9] Popov set to work to design a more sensitive radio wave receiver that could be used as a lightning detector, to warn of thunderstorms by detecting the electromagnetic pulses of lightning strikes[1] using a coherer receiver.[2][1]
Operating principle[edit]In Popov's lightning detector the coherer (C) was connected to an antenna (A), and to a separate circuit with a relay (R) and battery (V) which operated an electric bell (B). The radio noise generated by a lightning strike turned on the coherer, the current from the battery was applied to the relay, closing its contacts, which applied current to the electromagnet (E) of the bell, pulling the arm over to ring the bell. Popov added an innovative automatic reset feature of a "self tapping" coherer where the bell arm would spring back and tap the coherer, restoring it to its receptive state.[3] The two chokes (L) in the coherer's leads prevented the radio signal across the coherer from short circuiting by passing through the DC circuit. He connected his receiver to a wire antenna (A) suspended high in the air and to a ground (earth) (G). The antenna idea may have been based on a lightning rod and was an early use of a monopole wire aerial.[10]
Demonstrations[edit]On 7 May 1895 Popov presented the paper "On the Relation of Metallic Powders to Electric Oscillations", which described his lightning detector, to the Russian Physical and Chemical Society in St. Petersburg.[11] Most Eastern sources regard Popov's lightning detector as the first radio receiver,[12] and the 7th of May has been celebrated since 1945 in the Russian Federation as "Radio Day".[2] However, there is no evidence Popov sent any type of message on that occasion. The first account of communication by Popov was a demonstration on 24 March 1896 at the Physical and Chemical Society, when some accounts say the Morse code message "GENRICH GERC" ("HEINRICH HERTZ" in Russian) was received from a transmitter 250 meters away and transcribed on the blackboard by the Society president.[2] Historian Charles Susskind in 1962 concluded that Popov did not use radio waves for actual wireless communication before mid-1896.[4]
In 1895 Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi began work on a purpose built wireless telegraphy system based on "Hertzian" (radio) waves, developing a spark-gap transmitter and a much improved automatically-reset coherer receiver. By mid-1895 Marconi had transmitted messages 1/2 mile (1600 meters). He then came up with the idea grounding his transmitter as well as his receiver and by mid-1896 he was transmitting radio messages a mile and a half (2400 meters).[13] Popov and Marconi's early work seems to have been done without knowledge of each other's system although reading Marconi's June 1896 patent disclosures led Popov to develop a long range wireless telegraphy system.[4]
His paper on his experiments: "On the relation of metallic powders to electrical oscillations", was published 15 December 1895. He did not apply for a patent for his invention.[3] In July, 1895 he installed his receiver and a siphon recorder on the roof of the Institute of Forestry building in St. Petersburg.[1] and was able to detect thunderstorms at a range of 50 km,[4] however he was also aware of its communication potential. His paper, read at the 7 May 1895 meeting, concluded[4][2]
I can express my hope that my apparatus will be applied for signaling at great distances by electric vibrations of high frequency, as soon as there will be invented a more powerful generator of such vibrations.
In 1896, the article depicting Popov's invention was reprinted in the 'Journal of the Russian Physical and Chemical Society'. In March 1896, he effected transmission of radio waves between different campus buildings in St. Petersburg. In November 1897, the French entrepreneurEugene Ducretet made a transmitter and receiver based on wireless telegraphy in his own laboratory. According to Ducretet, he built his devices using Popov's lightning detector as a model. By 1898 Ducretet was manufacturing equipment of wireless telegraphy based on Popov's instructions. At the same time Popov effected ship-to-shore communication over a distance of 6 miles in 1898 and 30 miles in 1899.
Later work[edit]In 1900 a radio station was established under Popov's instructions on Hogland island (Suursaari) to provide two-way communication by wireless telegraphy between the Russian naval base and the crew of the battleship General-Admiral Apraksin. The battleship ran aground on Hogland island in the Gulf of Finland in November, 1899. The crew of the Apraksin were not in immediate danger, but the water in the Gulf began to freeze. Due to bad weather and bureaucratic red tape, the crew of Apraksin did not arrive until January 1900 to establish a wireless station on Hogland Island. By February 5, however, messages were being received reliably. The wireless messages were relayed to Hogland Island by a station some 25 miles away at Kymi (nowadays Kotka) on the Finnish coast. Kotka was selected as the location for the wireless relay station because it was the point closest to Hogland Island served by telegraph wires connected to Russian naval headquarters.[14]
By the time the Apraksin was freed from the rocks by the icebreaker Yermak at the end of April, 440 official telegraph messages had been handled by the Hogland Island wireless station. Besides the rescue of the Apraksin's crew, more than 50 Finnish fishermen, who were stranded on a piece of drift ice in the Gulf of Finland, were saved by the icebreaker Yermak following distress telegrams sent by wireless telegraphy. In 1901 Alexander Popov was appointed as professor at the Electrotechnical Institute, which now bears his name. In 1905 he was elected director of the institute.
Death and legacy[edit]In 1905 he became seriously ill and died of a brain hemorrhage on January 13, 1906.
A minor planet, 3074 Popov, discovered by Soviet astronomer Lyudmila Zhuravlyova in 1979, is named after him.[15]
At ITU Telecom World 2011, Mr. Igor Shchyogolev, Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation alongside Dr. Hamadoun Tour(C), Secretary General of the ITU, inaugurated the "Alexander Stepanovich Popov" conference room at ITU's headquarters in Geneva.
Some of his descendents escaped to Manchuria during the Bolshevik Revolution and eventually made their way to the United States. Among others the cousin, Dr. Paul Popov, who became a prominent physician in San Francisco and Paul's son, Egor Popov (1913-2001), who became a UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus of Civil and Environmental Engineering.[16][17]
See also[edit]^ abcdSmith-Rose, Reginald Leslie (2013). "Alexandr Popov". Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 6 November 2013. ^ abcdefghMcKenna, Joe (2007). "Aleksandr Popov's Contributions to Wireless Communication". IEEE Engineering Hall of Fame. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers website. Retrieved 6 November 2013. ^ abc(author name redacted) (January 1960). "Did Alexandr Popov invent radio?". NSA Technical Journal (US: National Security Agency) 5 (1): 35''41. Retrieved 6 November 2013. declassified 8 January 2008^ abcdefHuurdeman, Anton A. (2003). The Worldwide History of Telecommunications. John Wiley and Sons. pp. 205''207. ISBN 0471205052. A picture of Popov's receiver appears on p. 207, fig. 12.2^M. Radovsky, Alexander Popov Inventor of Radio, The Minerva Group, Inc.- 2001, pages 37-38^Christopher H. Sterling, Encyclopedia of Radio, Routledge - 2003, page 1820^Christopher H. Sterling, Encyclopedia of Radio, Routledge - 2003, page 1820^Sungook Hong, Wireless: From Marconi's Black-box to the Audion, MIT Press, 2001, pages 30-32^Sungook Hong, Wireless: From Marconi's Black-box to the Audion, MIT Press, 2001, pages 30-32^Sungook Hong, Wireless: From Marconi's Black-box to the Audion, MIT Press, 2001, page 202^Christopher H. Sterling, Encyclopedia of Radio, Routledge - 2003, page 1820^Electronics World, Volume 64, Ziff-Davis Publishing Company - 1960, page 78^Sungook Hong, Wireless: From Marconi's Black-box to the Audion, MIT Press - 2001, page 202 (notes)^"Aleksandr Popov". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 21 July 2011. ^Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, 2003, vol.1, p.253^[1] Engineering Pioneer Egor Popov^[2] Connections: The EERI Oral History Series. Egor PopovReferences[edit]External links[edit]
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Automakers Say You Don't Really Own Your Car | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 17:29
EFF is fighting for vehicle owners' rights to inspect the code that runs their vehicles and to repair and modify their vehicles, or have a mechanic of their choice do the work. At the moment, the anti-circumvention prohibition in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act arguably restricts vehicle inspection, repair, and modification. If EFF is successful then vehicle owners will be free to inspect and tinker, as long as they don't run afoul of other regulations, such as those governing vehicle emissions, safety, or copyright law.
You can support EFF's exemption requests by adding your name to the petition we'll submit in the rulemaking.
Most of the automakers operating in the US filed opposition comments through trade associations, along with a couple of other vehicle manufacturers. They warn that owners with the freedom to inspect and modify code will be capable of violating a wide range of laws and harming themselves and others. They say you shouldn't be allowed to repair your own car because you might not do it right. They say you shouldn't be allowed to modify the code in your car because you might defraud a used car purchaser by changing the mileage. They say no one should be allowed to even look at the code without the manufacturer's permission because letting the public learn how cars work could help malicious hackers, ''third-party software developers'' (the horror!), and competitors.
John Deere even argued that letting people modify car computer systems will result in them pirating music through the on-board entertainment system, which would be one of the more convoluted ways to copy media (and the exemption process doesn't authorize copyright infringement, anyway).
The parade of horribles makes it clear that it is an extraordinary stretch to apply the DMCA to the code that runs vehicles. The vast majority of manufacturers' concerns have absolutely nothing to do with copyright law. And, as the automakers repeatedly point out, vehicles are subject to regulation by other government agencies with subject matter expertise, which issue rules about what vehicles are and are not lawful to operate on public roadways.
The DMCA essentially blundered into this space and called all tinkering and code inspection into question, even acts that are otherwise lawful like repairing your car, making it work better at high altitude, inspecting the code to find security and safety issues, or even souping it up for use in races on a private course. We're presenting the Copyright Office with the opportunity to undo this collateral damage and leave regulating auto safety to specialized agencies, who understandably have not seen fit to issue a blanket prohibition against vehicle owners' doing their own repairs and safety research.
Here's how you can help. The opponents of the vehicle exemptions say that no one really cares about the restrictions they place on access to vehicle code, so the Copyright Office should deny the exemptions. Now, we cited a number of projects, and thousands of people wrote to the office to support the exemptions, but we are confident there are even more projects, businesses, and individuals out there who need these exemptions and it would be a shame if the Copyright Office didn't know it.
If you have had problems with vehicle repair or tinkering because you were locked out of your vehicle's computers, if you would have engaged in a vehicle-related project but didn't because of the legal risk posed by the DMCA, or if you or your mechanic had to deal with obstacles in getting access to diagnostic information, then we want to hear from you'--and the Copyright Office should hear from you, too.
Email us at 1201cars@eff.org to let us know. It will help strengthen our case for the Copyright Office. We can also incorporate your comments anonymously, if you'd prefer.
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PERFORMANCE OF TREES AS RADIO ANTENNAS IN TROPICAL JUNGLE FORESTS- UnitedStates Army Electronics Command (EMCOM) [.pdf] : amateurradio
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:38
15,000 Subscribers! Thank you!Reddit's very own ham radio club. All topics relating to the hobby are welcome here, from purchasing and building equipment, to operating techniques and activities, and everything in between.
Read the rules before posting.
Please refer to our Wiki before asking questions.
1. No personal attacks, hate speech or discriminatory remarks allowed.
2. Do not spam your product, website, blog, YouTube channel or other personal project.
3. Keep flair SFW and applicable to the hobby. No URLs.
4. Do not post another user's personal information. This includes callsign if they don't have it publicly displayed!
5. Keep it legal. Posts containing blatant or intentionally illegal or malicious content may be removed at the moderators' discretion.
6. Use Reddiquette. We take it seriously here.
7. The moderators have the final say. We will strive to maintain a fair, inclusive, and positive atmosphere, but we can't please all of the people, all of the time.
Click here for the complete rules.
More coming soon!
Want to make contact with other /r/amateurradio members? Join us on IRC for net and/or sked coordination.
IRC: irc.geekshed.net #redditnet
Click here for in-browser chat client.
/r/morse - Learn morse code!
/r/hamspots - Tell others about on air stations
/r/hamfest - Swap and Sell!
/r/rtlsdr - Discuss the popular $20 SDR
/r/shortwave - Ride the airwaves
/r/hampota - Parks On The Air
/r/hamitforward - Pay It Forward, ham radio style
/r/antennasporn - Nice Antennas!
/r/twoway_radioporn - Nice Two-Way radio
/r/PDXhamradio - Portland OR Ham Radio
/r/baofeng - Subreddit Dedicated to the Baofeng Radio
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EuroLand
Nicola Sturgeon holds all the aces in the General Election, writes CHRIS DEERIN | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 21:47
TV debate was the first proper view of Sturgeon for most outside ScotlandSNP leader has most experience of governing of politicians who took partSturgeon is the most dangerous woman in British politics, writes columnistBy Chris Deerin, Scottish Daily Mail Columnist
Published: 16:00 EST, 3 April 2015 | Updated: 17:17 EST, 3 April 2015
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Self-assured and poised in her stilettoes and new hairstyle, Nicola Sturgeon clearly revelled in being centre-stage '' addressing a nationwide audience of Britons, rather than just the usual five million Scots.
Such was her exultation that Judy Murray, mother of tennis star Andy (who was widely criticised for voicing his support for Scottish independence on the eve of last year's independence referendum), tweeted about her triumph.
Judy Murray said: 'GSM Sturgeon' (Game, Set and Match).
Scroll down for video
The Britain-wide TV audience was clearly impressed - an instant poll by YouGov found that 28 per cent thought Nicola Sturgeon was the best performer
For most people outside Scotland, this will have been their first proper view of Scotland's First Minister.
Until now, she had been in the substantial shadow of her noisy and bullish predecessor, Alex Salmond. But few north of the border were surprised by her performance.
The fact is that Sturgeon has the most experience of governing of any of the seven politicians taking part in the TV debate, having been a member of the Scottish Cabinet and Deputy First Minister since 2007.
Such is the hero-worship she attracts in Scotland, that even after the SNP lost the referendum vote last year, 12,000 people paid to see her speak at Glasgow's Hydro, a concert venue more usually home to pop stars such as Sting or Rod Stewart.
Sturgeon is a very canny operator. Her style on Thursday night was deliberately calm, natural and direct '' qualities that are rare in politicians in this age of spin and slipperiness.
The Britain-wide TV audience was clearly impressed. An instant poll by YouGov found that 28 per cent thought she was the best performer.
Fascinatingly, one of the most-searched things on Google immediately after the end of the broadcast was whether people who don't live in Scotland can vote for the SNP on May 7.
I found myself torn. As a fellow Scot, I wanted to see her do well.
But as someone who regards himself as 'British' and who voted to keep the union, I am all too aware of her determination to destroy my country.
Indeed, Nicola Ferguson Sturgeon is a very dangerous woman.
Sturgeon surrounded by admirers after TV debate success
Such was her exultation that Judy Murray, mother of tennis star Andy, tweeted about her triumph. Judy Murray said: 'GSM Sturgeon' (Game, Set and Match)
Leader: For most people outside Scotland, this will have been their first proper view of Scotland's First Minister
Although poles apart politically '' and Sturgeon herself would run the Royal Mile in Edinburgh at the comparison '' she shares many similarities with Margaret Thatcher.
Like Mrs T, the SNP leader transformed her image from that of a dowdy egghead into a glamorous, power-dressing imperatrix '' emphasising a mixture of elegant feminine charm and steel.
Her strength of character and willpower have driven her to the top of a party that has traditionally been dominated by powerful men in kilts.
What has lifted her above these male rivals is her emotional intelligence. Although naturally shy, her two decades in politics has seen her grow into a polished public performer.
Make no mistake, however: she is unequivocally left-wing.
And she is also an avowed feminist. Indeed, during her SNP conference speech last month she said: 'I am determined that '' unlike that other woman leader we once knew '' I will use my time in this job to improve the lives of women across our country.'
One of her first acts as First Minister was to create a gender-balanced Cabinet.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon greets young fans on the campaign trail in Edinburgh, where she was hailed as 'Scotland's Queen'
Dangerous: SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon could hold the balance of power and be in position to decide who forms the next government
Having taken over from Alex Salmond after the SNP had lost the referendum, Sturgeon is in some ways exactly what Scotland needed.
The country was '' and still is '' deeply divided and bruised by the vote.
But the beguiling Sturgeon is a much more conciliatory and less arrogant figure than her predecessor.
Very cleverly, she is now taking her Scottish independence campaign south of the border.
And Thursday's TV debate offered the perfect platform.
By saying that her 'message to the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland is one of friendship', it was a brazen charm offensive.
Opinion polls suggest that post-May 7, Sturgeon could wield huge influence over who forms the next government in Westminster.
And with predictions that her SNP could take 45 of Scotland's 59 seats, there is a growing fear in England that she could hold Westminster to ransom.
Audience cheers as Nicola Sturgeon interrupts Nick Clegg
Range: Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, was touted as one of the victors. Analysts remarked that none of the seven leaders delivered a 'killer line' to stand out from the rest
By propping up a Miliband government, she would try to impose her left-wing agenda: big-state socialism, ferocious opposition to an austerity programme, the non-renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent, demands for expensive public spending projects that fly in the face of economic reality.
If that happens, Britain would face a political crisis as the English (who number 53million) would feel justified in rebelling against a government that depended for its existence on the votes of a neighbouring country of just five million.
Such a situation would, inevitably, become unworkable and collapse, with incalculable consequences for our political system.
Of course, that would play right into the hands of Nicola Sturgeon.
For she full knows that the growing anti-Scottish feeling in England could lead to Westminster concluding that the union with Scotland was unsustainable.
Already, Scots are speculating that there would soon be a second referendum on independence.
These are the cards that Sturgeon holds '' and her hand is stacked with aces.
The fact is that she commands her party and her nation in a way that David Cameron or Ed Miliband can only dream of.
Today, Nicola Sturgeon is the most dangerous woman in British politics.
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Greece: High Stakes Poker '' A tectonic shockwave looming that could smash the unity lie | The Last Refuge
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 21:15
*Greece has signaled its willingness to default on its upcoming IMF payment*Sets in place a plan to shift from Euros to a new issue of Greek controlled Drachmas*Tspiras boards a plane for Moscow*Seeks alternative creditors in Russia and China*A ''Grexit'' would be the de facto end of NATO and shift alliances in the Aegean from Europe to Russia*IMF formally withdraws staff from Athens'....Greece arrives at an existential fork in the road: which way to turn? Continue to go West or strike out for an unknown path heading East '--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--''
The far-Left Syriza party of Greece, contrary to assertions of the European Monetary Union (EMU) has not agreed to further ''austerity'' measures, but has decided to double down on its threats to default on its IMF payments and align itself with Russia.
The Telegraph explains some of the backstory for Syriza's popularity and rejection of ''austerity'' measures that don't include significant debt write-offs (forgiveness).
'''...One might righteously protest at what amounts to open blackmail by Mr Tsipras, deeming such conduct to be a primary violation of EU club rules. Yet this is to ignore what has been done to Greece over the past four years, and why the Greek people are so angry'...
An apartment building for ''middle class'' Athens residents, in a ''decent'' part of Athens, 1 block from our 4 star hotel (Jan 2015). According to local social workers, 50% of the population of Greece has migrated from the countryside to Athens in an effort to find work and pool resources with other like-impoverished family members. (Click to embiggen detail)
'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'--'---
'...Leaked IMF minutes from 2010 confirm what Syriza has always argued: the country was already bankrupt and needed debt relief rather than new loans. This was overruled in order to save the euro and to save Europe's banking system at a time when EMU had no defences against contagion.
Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis rightly calls it ''a cynical transfer of private losses from the banks' books onto the shoulders of Greece's most vulnerable citizens''. A small fraction of the '‚¬240bn of loans remained in the Greek economy. Some 90pc was rotated back to banks and financial creditors. The damage was compounded by austerity overkill. The economy contracted so violently that the debt-ratio rocketed instead of coming down, defeating the purpose.
India's member on the IMF board warned that such policies could not work without offsetting monetary stimulus. ''Even if, arguably, the programme is successfully implemented, it could trigger a deflationary spiral of falling prices, falling employment and falling fiscal revenues that could eventually undermine the programme itself.'' He was right in every detail.''
The ''Troika'''s earlier demands had compelled the previous Greek government in 2013 to conduct a fire sale of state-owned assets to rich Qataris, Russians and other assorted oligarchs, but even that panicked ''selling of the silver to save the family'' wasn't enough to satisfy the demands of the EMU. If anything, it only delayed the inevitable as it did not address any of the structural deficits that had prevented the bailout funds from reaching down to the small businesses and institutions that were best positioned to leverage the cash transfusion into productivity that could revitalize the economy. Instead, Greece was forced to further cannibalize its meagre state resources, exacerbating an already untenable situation.
Spiegel (attention! might be another "Spiegel" denial soon) says that IMF recalls its staff from Athens http://t.co/mFOPrB0jWR'--*Russian Market (@russian_market) April 03, 2015
While the ''Troika'' (EU, IMF and ECB) double down on their threats to cut Greece off from any additional funding which would force Greece from the EU, Syriza forges ahead with building new arrangements that will help it backstop the looming EU credit clawbacks ''
Greece's deputy premier, Yannis Drakasakis, vowed to throw open the Port of Piraeus to China's shipping group Cosco, giving it priority in a joint-venture with the Greek state's remaining 67pc stake in the ports. On cue, China has bought '‚¬100m of Greek T-bills, helping to plug a funding shortfall as the ECB orders Greek banks to step back.
This development should be a concern to anyone watching as the security situation in both the mideast and Ukraine/Crimea regions continue to devolve in concert with China's growing regional ambitions. Germany's intractability may give the Chinese access to a key strategic port for ''cents on the dollar''. Greece's position as ''gatekeeper of the Bosphorus'' with the nearby mideast engulfed in a spreading multi-state war could lead to realignments that will reverberate for decades.
Greece is keenly aware that its sole remaining chip on the table is its strategic geo-political position, which the Tsipras government has elected to exploit as one of the few remaining resources that may buy Greece and its battered citizens some much needed and hoped for respite.
Already moving closer to Turkey, Syriza is seizing its key geographic position as an opportunity to solve not only its immediate credit crunch, but to forge a deeper relationship with Russia in both the security and energy sector spheres:
As for a likely bilateral cooperation in the energy sector, a high-ranking government source told Kathimerini that Greece ''will reassure the Russians, not the Westerners.'' According to sources, Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis has already agreed in principle to a proposal made by the head of Russian giant Gazprom, Alexey Miller, for a new gas pipeline through Turkey to be extended through Greek territory. The plan foresees the creation of a consortium in which Greece's Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) would play a key role along with Russian funds and possibly also European clients of Gazprom, Kathimerini understands.
It could be the first time a NATO member exits the alliance and moves into the Russian sphere, in addition to potentially the first default of a developed nation in the post-Bretton Woods era. The improbable is suddenly not only probable, but increasingly likely.
The unyielding demands of the Troika for repayment without any debt forgiveness has left Syriza backed into a corner where it literally has nothing to lose. Capitulate to the demands of the Troika, and they immediately lose political power, something that the far-right Golden Dawn is waiting in the wings to exploit. Citing their electoral mandate, Tsipras instead has chosen to play out their hand, and move forward with other regional strategic alliances that align more closely with Syriza's own political temperment:
Mr Tsipras is now playing the Russian card with an icy ruthlessness, more or less threatening to veto fresh EU measures against the Kremlin as the old set expires. ''We disagree with sanctions. The new European security architecture must include Russia,'' he told the TASS news agency.
He offered to turn Greece into a strategic bridge, linking the two Orthodox nations. ''Russian-Greek relations have very deep roots in history,'' he said, hitting all the right notes before his trip to Moscow next week.
Whether or not Germany's stance softens will have irreversible historical consequences. The IMF staff departure from Athens makes a last minute deal preventing default less likely than it was a few days ago.
Keenly aware that their mandate is to first alleviate the suffering and impoverishment of its citizenry, Syriza has made it clear that
'''...the EU creditor powers have yet to grasp that the political landscape has changed dramatically since the election of Syriza in January and that they will have to make real concessions if they wish to prevent a disastrous rupture of monetary union, an outcome they have ruled out repeatedly as unthinkable.
''They want to put us through the ritual of humiliation and force us into sequestration. They are trying to put us in a position where we either have to default to our own people or sign up to a deal that is politically toxic for us. If that is their objective, they will have to do it without us,'' the source said.''
It would appear that the economic and social fault lines between Europe and the Aegean gateway to the East can no longer be papered over with a false belief in ''equal relationships'' of ''unequal states'', nor can the lie that insolvency can be solved by further extensions of credit be sustained for much longer.
History favors the bold.
Neither should a ship rely on one small anchor, nor should life rest on a single hope.''Epictetus
Cross-posted at StopShouting blog
Greece Draws Up Drachma Plans, Prepares to Miss IMF Payment
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:55
Greece is drawing up drastic plans to nationalise the country's banking system and introduce a parallel currency to pay bills unless the eurozone takes steps to defuse the simmering crisis and soften its demands., report Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, & Mehreen Khan.We are a Left-wing government. If we have to choose between a default to the IMF or a default to our own people, it is a no-brainer,'' said a senior official.
Greece no longer has enough money to pay the IMF '‚¬458m on April 9 and also to cover payments for salaries and social security on April 14, unless the eurozone agrees to disburse the next tranche of its interim bail-out deal in time.
Accordint o Pritchard and Khan, the view in Athens is that the EU creditor powers have yet to grasp that the political landscape has changed dramatically since the election of Syriza in January and that they will have to make real concessions if they wish to prevent a disastrous rupture of monetary union, an outcome they have ruled out repeatedly as unthinkable.
This may well just be posturing. To date, the Greek government has shown a willingness to compromise with banksters and sell the Greek people out, let's see what occurs next week.
A default on bankster debt and a return to the drachma would be a positive step, if the Greek government planed to run a responsible conservative financial government. However, the present government is a radical left group without a clue as to what conservative finance is.
-RW
Obama Nation
No Country For Young Workers: Only Americans 55 And Older Found Jobs In March | Zero Hedge
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 14:57
We first showed back in October 2012 that in America, courtesy of the Fed's micro-mismanagement of everything, the labor force has been turned upside down, and the only jobs being created are those for aged workers, Americans 55 and over. The reason is two-fold: with savings rates at zero, Americans who were on the verge of retiring found that the fruit of their labor was worth nothing under ZIRP (and may well be punished under the upcoming NIRP) as their savings (and fixed income investments) generate zero interest income, while young Americans would rather stay in college by the millions funded generously by trillions in Uncle Sam student loans.
In any event, this is nothing short of a recipe for disaster, as aged workers have no leverage to demand higher wages (hence the lack of any broad wage growth), while Millennials and other young Americans, instead of entering the work force and accumulating job skills as well as wages, get more and more in debt.
All of this was on full display in today's jobs number, which while disappointing wildly based on Establishment survey data, was even worse based on the Household survey where only 34,000 people found jobs in March. But it was the age breakdown that was the stunner, and it can be seen best in the chart below.
In short: America continues to be a country where there are only jobs for old men, those 55 and older, who saw a 329,000 increase in jobs in the past month. Every other age group saw job losses!
And the real kicker: since the start of the Second Great Depression, only the 55 and older age group has seen job increases. Those 55 and younger are still 1.2 million jobs below the level they were are on December 2007.
And just in case there is any confusion, here is just the number of workers aged 55 and older. At 33.1 million they just hit a new all time high.
Oh, and finally, for those who may be wondering. It isn't because of early retirement. Unless of course, those retiring early are workers aged 25 to 54.
Source: BLS
Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 4.8(5 votes)
Out There
Are Aliens Behind Mysterious Radio Bursts? Scientists Weigh In
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 22:12
Parkes Radio-Telescope in New South Wales, Australia at night. (Photo by Auscape/UIG via Getty Images) | Auscape via Getty Images
What are those things?
For the past eight years, astronomers have been scratching their heads over a series of strange radio signals emanating from somewhere in the cosmos. And now, the mystery has deepened.
A new study shows that the so-called "fast radio bursts" follow a weirdly specific pattern -- a finding that the researchers behind the study say "is very hard to explain."
"There is something really interesting we need to understand," study co-author Michael Hippke, a scientist at the Institute for Data Analysis in Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany, told New Scientist. "This will either be new physics, like a new kind of pulsar, or, in the end, if we can exclude everything else, an E.T."
Alien signals, really? That might sound far out, but a leading scientist in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) says we shouldn't rule out that possibility.
"These fast radio bursts could conceivably be 'wake up calls' from other societies, trying to prompt a response from any intelligent life that's outfitted with radio technology," Dr. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer and director of the Center for SETI Research who was not involved in the study, told The Huffington Post in an email. "On the other hand, they could also be perfectly natural, astrophysical phenomena."
For the research, which was described in a March 30 post on the online research database arXiv, Hippke and his colleagues analyzed 11 bursts detected since 2007, the latest of which was captured by the Parkes radio telescope (above) in May 2014.
The scientists looked at a specific feature called the "dispersion measure" -- which represents the time differential between the detection of a burst's high frequencies and its low frequencies. (Low frequencies travel more slowly through space dust, and thus take longer than high frequencies to reach Earth.)
To their surprise, they found that the dispersion measure of every pulse was a multiple of the number 187.5.
Such an even spacing "is likely not produced by something like a supernova explosion," Hippke told HuffPost Science in an email. "All frequencies leave the nova at the same time, and the DM [dispersion measure] is created by dust crossing. As the amount of dust varies, the DM would seem random."
Hippke said the pulses probably are generated by some as-yet-unidentified source here on Earth that emits short-frequency radio waves followed by high-frequency ones -- perhaps something as simple as a cell phone base station. If that's not the explanation, it's possible they come from a new, unknown kind of cosmic object in deep space.
Or those aliens.
Whatever the signals are, stay tuned!
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-Large Hadron Collider restarts after two-year rebuild - BBC News
Sun, 05 Apr 2015 12:38
The Large Hadron Collider has restarted, with protons circling the machine's 27km tunnel for the first time since 2013.
Particle beams have now travelled in both directions, inside parallel pipes, at a whisker below the speed of light.
Actual collisions will not begin for at least another month, but they will take place with nearly double the energy the LHC reached during its first run.
Scientists hope to glimpse a "new physics" beyond the Standard Model.
Rolf Heuer, the director-general of Cern, which operates the LHC, told engineers and scientists at the lab: "Congratulations. Thank you very much everyone'... now the hard work starts".
Cern's director for accelerators and technology, Fr(C)d(C)rick Bordry, said: "After two years of effort, the LHC is in great shape.
"But the most important step is still to come when we increase the energy of the beams to new record levels."
The beams have arrived a week or so later than originally scheduled, due to a now-resolved electrical fault.
I am delighted and so is everyone in the control centreRolf Heuer, Director General, CernThe protons are injected at a relatively low energy to begin with. But over the coming months, engineers hope to gradually increase the beams' energy to 13 trillion electronvolts: double what it was during the LHC's first operating run.
After 08:30 GMT, engineers began threading the proton beam through each section of the enormous circle, one-by-one, before completing multiple full turns. It was later joined by the second beam, in parallel.
The experiment teams have already detected "splashes" of particles, which occur when stray protons hit one of the shutters used to keep the beam on-track. If this happens in part of the pipe near one of the experiments, the detectors can pick up some of the debris.
"Splashes" occur when protons hit a collimator and produce a shower of particles Prof Rolf Heuer (foreground, left) thanked staff and said that hard work lay ahead "It's fantastic to see it going so well after two years and such a major overhaul of the LHC," said Prof Heuer.
"I am delighted and so is everyone in the Cern control centre - as are, I'm sure, colleagues across the high-energy physics community."
Big unknowns
Physicists are frustrated by the existing Standard Model of particle physics. It describes 17 subatomic particles, including 12 building blocks of matter and 5 "force carriers" - the last of which, the Higgs boson, was finally detected by the LHC in 2012.
Teams are also watching the cross-section of the proton beam Prof Tara Shears, from the University of Liverpool, works on one of the LHC's four big experiments that will soon recommence their work, slamming protons together and quantifying the fallout.
"Of course in every particle physics experiment we've ever done, we've been wanting to make a big, unknown discovery," Prof Shears told BBC News.
"But now it's become particularly pressing, because with Run One and the discovery of the Higgs, we've discovered everything that our existing theory predicts."
In order to explain several baffling properties of the universe, things beyond the Standard Model have been proposed - but never directly detected.
These include dark energy, the all-pervading force suggested to account for the universe expanding faster and faster. And dark matter - the "web" that holds all visible matter in place, and would explain why galaxies spin much faster than they should, based on what we can see.
A theory called supersymmetry proposes additional particles, as yet unseen, that might fill in some of these gaps. But no experiment, including the LHC, has yet found evidence for anything "supersymmetrical".
Even the familiar and crucial force of gravity is nowhere in the Standard Model.
By taking matter to states we have never observed before - the LHC's collisions create temperatures not seen since moments after the Big Bang - physicists hope to find something unexpected that addresses some of these questions.
Debris from the tiny but history-making smash-ups might contain new particles, or tell-tale gaps betraying the presence of dark matter or even hidden dimensions.
But first we need collisions - due in May at the earliest - and then a steady torrent of data will make its way to physicists around the world, so that the massive analysis effort can begin.
The LHC's four big experiments will not start colliding particles until at least May Even when the results start to flow, we shouldn't hold our breath anticipating a breakthrough, according to Steven Goldfarb who works on the Atlas experiment.
Dr Goldfarb remembers working on Cern's previous atom smasher, the LEP collider, which commenced operations in 1989. Then, just like today, there was much excitement about staging higher-energy collisions than ever before.
"We thought at that time, perhaps we'd find the Higgs, perhaps we'd find supersymmetry. Many of the things we're looking for now, we looked for then," he told the BBC.
"In the end, we just measured the Standard Model more and more precisely. We put a lot of really good constraints on it, which taught us where to look for the Higgs - but there were no Eureka discoveries.
"And that could really be the case for the next several years."
Follow Jonathan on Twitter
The Cern control room was a hive of excited activity on Sunday morning
VIDEO-Greece denies saying it will exhaust cash April 9
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 22:44
The Greek finance ministry denied telling creditors that it will run out of cash on April 9, contradicting reports from earlier Thursday, Reuters said.
Reuters had reported that Greece 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. The request was rejected, euro zone officials said.
The reported appeal was made by Athens at a teleconference of euro zone deputy finance ministers on Wednesday organized to assess how far Athens still was from meeting the conditions for unlocking new financial aid.
Euro zone deputy finance ministers will meet on the afternoon of April 8 and on the morning of April 9, Germany's representation in Brussels said on Thursday.
Read MoreWhy markets may shrug off a Greek tragedy
The deputy ministers, called the Euro Working Group, usually prepare meetings of euro zone finance ministers who can decide whether to grant new loans to Greece, which is running out of cash.
The German representative did not specifically say that the deputy ministers would discuss Greece.
This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.
Click here for the latest on the markets.
VIDEO-Husband, Imam speak out about two women arrested in al-Qaida-inspired New York City terror plot, both say they are good people | 7online.com
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 22:22
NEW YORK (WABC) --
The husband of one of the women arrested in a terror plot in Queens says that he's at a loss for words.The Imam at their mosque is supporting the women and says that they're good people.
"There were no signs of someone being radical," said Charles Aziz Bilal, the defendants' Imam.
No radicalization, just false allegations according to the Imam at the Mosque in Jamaica where 28-year-old Noelle Valentzas and her friend, 31-year-old Assia Siddiqui had worshipped for the past five years.
Friday, their Imam invited cameras in during worship and staunchly denied the recent terror allegations.
"Do you have reason to believe they're false," Eyewitness News asked.
"Under no uncertain terms they're false," Bilal said.
Thursday, the two women were charged in Brooklyn Federal court with conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction, a federal complaint alleging they were studying past attacks, and that they acquired four propane tanks and materials such as fertilizer and a pressure cooker, they allegedly reached out to Al Qaeda and watched video of ISIS beheadings.
"My observation of the family was they had impeccable character," Bilal said.
"What do you suppose the propane tanks were for?" Eyewitness News asked.
"When you go to picnics, it's blown out of proportion," Bilal said.
Ms. Valentzas' husband was among those praying in the mosque. Eyewitness News repeatedly tried to ask him about the case after he left.
"She's a beautiful woman, very kind," he said.
"I can't say anything else. It had to be a set-up, what else could it be?" Bilal said.
Thursday, the women were held without bail after a brief court appearance where they spoke only to say they understood the charges against them. Velentzas wore a hijab and a dark dress, and Siddiqui had on a green T-shirt with a long-sleeved black shirt underneath and a dark long skirt.
"My client will enter a plea of not guilty, if and when there is an indictment. I know it's a serious case but we're going to fight it out in court," said Siddiqui's lawyer, Thomas Dunn. Velentzas' attorney had no comment.
The complaint cites a poem written by Siddiqui that appeared in a magazine published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that declared there is "no excuse to sit back and wait - for the skies rain martyrdom," investigators wrote in court papers. Velentzas called bin Laden one of her heroes, and said she and Siddiqui were "citizens of the Islamic State," they said.
According to the complaint, the women "researched and acquired some of the components of a car bomb, like the one used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; a fertilizer bomb, like the one used in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City; and a pressure cooker bomb, like the one used in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing," authorities wrote.
After two New York City police officers were gunned down in a patrol car in December, Velentzas told the undercover officer that the deaths showed it was easy to kill a police officer, according to the complaint. After the undercover officer mentioned that 25,000 officers had turned out for the first of the funerals for the two officers, Velentzas "complimented" the officer for coming up with an attractive target and considered whether the other funeral was an appropriate target, it added.
The complaints suggests that authorities decided to make the arrests after Siddiqui came into "possession of multiple propane gas tanks, as well as instructions for how to transform propane tanks into explosive devices," and told the undercover she was "disinclined" to talk about her plans.
"It is very, very important to note: there was never any imminent threat to our fellow New Yorkers," Mayor Bill de Blasio said when asked about the case. The plot, he added, "was undercut before it could turn into something dangerous."
Neighbors of Siddiqui said she and her brother lived in the basement of a red-brick three floor house, owned by their parents, who didn't live there.
"She was quiet, and I never thought she could do this," said Mohammad Shahidul Haque, a retired hospital lab tech.
(Copyright (C)2015 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
VIDEO-Don Lemon Panel Erupts over Guest Scolding Trevor Noah's 'Irresponsible' Jokes - YouTube
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 21:57
VIDEO-Fugelsang: 'If You Don't Like Gay People, Take It Up With The Manufacturer' | Crooks and Liars
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 19:10
John Fugelsang zinged conservative radio host Heidi Harris on this Friday's The Ed Show during a discussion on whether a person's sexual orientation ought to be covered under anti-discrimination statutes, like the one that was just voted down by North Dakota legislators this week.
I don't know why MSNBC's Ed Schultz feels compelled to keep having this woman back on his show since she generally has very little to add to the dialog than the type of nonsense we saw from her this Friday that both Schultz and Fugelsang called her out for.
John Fugelsang zings conservative radio host: 'If you don't like gay people, take it up with the manufacturer':
Comedian John Fugelsang clashed with conservative radio host Heidi Harris on Friday when Harris questioned the need for sexual orientation to be covered under anti-discrimination statutes.
''Being gay is what sets a person apart from straight people,'' Fugelsang told Harris on MSNBC's Ed Show. ''If you don't like gay people, take it up with the manufacturer, because God keeps creating them around the world.''
''Did I say I didn't like gay people?'' Harris shot back. ''I did not say that.''
''Well, stick up for them, Heidi,'' he countered. ''You're a nice person.''
Harris argued that in the workplace, only a person's behavior could set them apart, proving that non-discrimination statutes like one that was voted down by North Dakota legislators on Thursday were unnecessary.
''Why are we protecting a certain group of people because of their behavior?'' Harris asked at one point, causing Fugelsang to facepalm. ''Not only that, but how do you prove someone didn't get hired because they were gay? You can't prove that any more than you can prove somebody didn't get hired because of their age or their sex.''
''Being gay is behavior?'' host Ed Schultz asked, cutting Harris off.
''Of course it is,'' she replied.
Schultz pointed out that, because of the defeat of Senate Bill 2279, the state's LGBT community can lose not only employment, but housing opportunities because of their gender or sexuality.
'†' Story continues below '†'
''You can do that in North Dakota now, Heidi,'' Fugelsang said.
''They could have done it in North Dakota two weeks ago,'' Harris countered. ''Was anybody suing about that?''
Harris then argued that there has been no evidence of abusing state law for the purposes of anti-gay discrimination in the past 22 years.
''You might not realize this, but sometimes straight people are mean to gay people,'' Fugelsang said to her. ''That's why gay people have needed more protection.''
''Wow, there's a sweeping statement '-- all straight people are mean, and all gay people are perfect,'' she countered, reinterpreting Fugelsang's words.
Which he immediately gave her a load of grief for after she tried twisting what he said.
I think Fugelsang would make an excellent host if MSNBC, who claims they're ready to do some big shakeup at the network, or any of the rest of them who might be hiring, decided to pick him up. I won't hold my breath on that, especially since MSNBC looks like they're ready to turn the entire network into a version of Morning Joe redux.
If there are any SiriusXM subscribers out there who haven't caught his show yet on 121 XM Insight, Tell Me Everything, which is on from 2-5 pm eastern time with reairs at night is just wonderful. He covers everything from music to pop culture to politics to the news of the day, and it's three hours of radio that will leave you laughing and smarter than when you arrived if you get a chance to check it out.
VIDEO-Casualties rise in Aden clashes as Saudi-led coalition pushes back Houthis | euronews, world news
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 19:10
Nearly 200 people are said to have died in the fighting that has embroiled the southern Yemeni city of Aden for nine days.
The figure comes from a senior health official who also speaks of more than 1,000 injured.
The head of Aden's health department, Al-Khader Lassouar, told AFP that by midnight on Friday, 185 deaths and 1,282 injuries had been registered at the city's hospitals.
Three-quarters of the victims were civilians, he said, adding that the actual total could be higher as casualties among rebel forces are unknown.
Warplanes from Saudi Arabia have dropped weapons to help forces loyal to Yemen's president push back Houthi rebels who are now said to have withdrawn from the centre of Aden.
President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi remains in Saudi Arabia after fleeing the city.
Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Muslim states are trying to stop the Iranian-allied Houthis and former President Ali Abdullah Saleh from winning control of Yemen.
But while the strikes are said to have slowed up the Shi'ite rebel advance, there are fears that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) may take advantage of the power vacuum, especially in Yemen's remote eastern region.
The army says a tribal alliance has taken over two military bases in Yemen's eastern Hadramawt province, and plan to retake the provincial capital Mukalla from suspected Al Qaeda fighters who drove the army out and ransacked the town.
Reports from Sanaa say nine people from the same family were killed in an airstrike that hit a village near a military base outside the capital. A government news agency said the victims were two men, one woman and six children.
Residents near Okash village, which is near an air force camp on Jebel al-Nabi Shouieb mountain, said the air strike was on Friday night.
The UN Security Council is to meet on Saturday to discuss a Russian proposal for a humanitarian pause in the air strikes.
There have been protests against the Saudi-led offensive in Sanaa, which was seized by Houthi forces six months ago.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Saturday that three shipments of aid and medical staff it is trying to send to Yemen were still blocked, despite appeals to the Saudi-led military coalition which controls Yemeni air space and ports.
The ICRC is seeking security guarantees for two planes to Sanaa, one with medical supplies for up to 1,000 wounded people and a second with 30 tonnes of medical and water sanitation supplies, as well as a boat to take a surgical team to Aden.
The United Nations said on Thursday that more than 500 people had been killed and almost 1,700 wounded in the last two weeks of fighting across the country.
VIDEO-Weekly Address: Reaching a Comprehensive and Long-Term Deal on Iran's Nuclear Program | The White House
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 18:56
April 04, 2015 | 3:36 | Public Domain
In this week's address, the President described the historic understanding the United States '' with our allies and partners '' reached with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and will make our country, our allies, and our world safer.
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VIDEO-Kim Jong Un recruits women for 'pleasure squad' - CNN Video
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 17:19
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VIDEO-In New Video, Congressman Explains Why His Fellow Lawmakers Couldn't Be Trusted with NSA Oversight - The Intercept
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 01:08
Congressmen who asked about oversight of NSA mass surveillance and domestic spying in 2013 could have ''compromise[d] security'' and were denied the records they sought because of concerns they lacked formal government security clearance, a former member of the House Intelligence Committee says in a newly-released video.
The footage, from an August 29, 2013 town hall meeting, sheds new light on why lawmakers were denied key rulings and reports from the secret courts overseeing the National Security Agency '-- even as the Obama administration and intelligence officials claimed that all NSA programs were subject to strict congressional oversight and therefore could be held accountable.
In the video, Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., then a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, discusses why Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., and Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., should not and did not receive information they sought from the committee. The committee had previously declined to explain why the information was withheld, going so far as to tell Grayson that even its discussion of his request was classified. Because the committee, like its Senate counterpart, tends to be particularly sympathetic to the intelligence community, getting information to non-committee-members like Grayson and Griffith is potentially crucial to reforming U.S. spy agencies. And in late 2013, following revelations of mass surveillance by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, there were any number of reform bills pending.
At the time, President Obama defended bulk collection of telephone metadata, claiming in a press conference that ''these programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate. And if there are Members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up.''
Writing for The Guardian, The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald pointed out that several lawmakers, including Sen. Richard Blumental, D-Conn., were unaware of the NSA's bulk data collection efforts, and even more concerning, other lawmakers, including Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., Griffith, and Grayson were blocked from accessing oversight documents even after making multiple requests. Griffith, a Tea Party-aligned lawmaker, had requested access to FISA court orders concerning the NSA program, but was repeatedly ignored. Grayson, a progressive, faced similar treatment after requesting FISA court opinions and documents relating to the PRISM program. The House Intelligence Committee denied Grayson's request, and later told the congressman that the committee discussion regarding his denial was classified.
The previously unreleased video '-- recorded by Oakland, California-based poet Julian Francis Park and shared with The Intercept '-- shows Langevin, who served on the House Intelligence Committee in 2013 when it denied Grayson's request for documents, explaining to a town hall attendee that Griffith and Grayson ''can't have access'' because ''they're not cleared'' and ''may compromise security'':
LANGEVIN: In all of this stuff, no one has yet come forward and pointed to a situation where someone has fraudulent [sic] or violated the law and done things that have compromised anyone's privacy or civil liberties. And they would be held accountable. It hasn't in all of this stuff, they may have released how these programs worked, but no one has said, ''All of these people, 'X,' 'Y,' 'Z,' have violated the law or the Constitution.''
Q: But even Congressman Grayson and Griffith can't get the answers.
LANGEVIN: Just some of the things that they want, they can't have access to because they're not cleared to do it. And they again, they have oversight committees for a reason. There are things that they want access to that if they were to do it, they'd read these programs, again, it may compromise security. I can't off the top of my head tell you what it is they want to know, but not every Member of Congress is going to get access to information that they are seeking '.... Otherwise, you, you could argue that we couldn't have classified information or classified programs and I would argue they exist for a reason.
Watch it:
''Rep. Griffith was ultimately able to review information, but it took in excess of 100 days to receive the authority from the Intelligence Committee,'' said Andie Pivarunas, Griffith's spokesperson, in a statement emailed to The Intercept.
Grayson says he was ultimately denied the information about NSA surveillance activity that he sought. ''The Republicans on the Intelligence Committee were unhappy that I discussed the Guardian coverage of the Snowden revelations on the floor of the House,'' he says in an interview.
Grayson noted that the House Intelligence Committee maintains rules requiring lawmakers not on the committee to obtain permission from them to view classified information. ''The committee has no authority to make those kinds of distinctions,'' says Grayson. ''They've created two tiers for members of Congress,'' he adds. ''I'm not aware of any statutory authority for such a distinction; but it's just a power grab as members of Intelligence and I have the same constitutional authority.''
''It is a practical impossibility for members of the House of Representatives to do effective job of oversight of the intelligence community given the current structure of the House and its rules,'' says Patrick Eddington, the Cato Institute's policy analyst in Homeland Security and civil liberties. He explains that only a ''tiny set of members'' and staff have access to information about the NSA and other classified matters.
''Let's remember that what Mr. Grayson and Mr. Griffith and others were seeking access to was information on programs that they were asked to cast votes on,'' adds Eddington, a former senior policy advisor to Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., and a former CIA analyst. ''These revelations from Mr. Snowden and potentially other sources '... should have sparked the creation long ago of a Joint Congressional Investigative Committee to explore all of this stuff, and it hasn't happened yet, and it's just another example of the collapse of congressional oversight.''
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty
VIDEO-BANG! Watch Israeli PM's Searing Response To Obama's Iran Deal As Lib WaPo Says...WHAT?!
Sat, 04 Apr 2015 00:35
It hasn't taken long for the Obama administration's trumpeted ''framework'' for an agreement with Iran concerning its nuclear development program to come under heavy fire '-- from America's allies as well as from the editorial board of one of the country's leading newspapers.
Fox News reports that, among those nations participating in the marathon talks, ''not all of the Western powers appeared completely pleased with the agreement.''
In particular, France '-- seen by some observers as one of the hardest bargainers at the negotiating table '-- has let its disappointment be known: ''France's top diplomat on Friday admitted his country had initially held out for firmer terms.''
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The Fox News report notes that Obama's negotiating team, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, appeared to have caved and compromised on multiple occasions:
U.S. negotiators reportedly lowered the bar for their own goals during talks over Iran's nuclear program in response to resistance from the Tehran team.
The emerging reports indicate the U.S. team, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, gradually backed down over the course of the talks as Iran's delegation dug in.
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In a pointed analysis that lists the deal's many shortcomings, even The Washington Post Editorial Board concludes that ''Obama's Iran deal falls far short of his own goals'' that he laid out in 2012 when he declared that any agreement would ensure that Iran end its nuclear program.
Now, the president's words have proven to be empty promises, as The Post observes:
''None of Iran's nuclear facilities '-- including the Fordow center buried under a mountain '-- will be closed. Not one of the country's 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled. Tehran's existing stockpile of enriched uranium will be ''reduced'' but not necessarily shipped out of the country.''
In his televised reaction to the deal with Iran that was heralded with great fanfare by Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the concessions ''unconscionable.''
''Evidently, giving Iran's murderous regime a clear path to the bomb is negotiable,'' said a furious Netanyahu, who claimed the agreement threatens his country's survival and puts his people in mortal danger by risking a ''horrific'' nuclear war.
You can watch a furious Bibi's fiery statement by clicking on the video above.
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VIDEO-Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame | Talk Video | TED.com
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 23:13
"Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop," says Monica Lewinsky. In 1998, she says, ''I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.'' Today, the kind of online public shaming she went through has become constant '-- and can turn deadly. In a brave talk, she takes a hard look at our online culture of humiliation, and asks for a different way.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.
VIDEO-Woman says she was arrested for 'Facebook thugging' - CNN Video
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 15:00
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VIDEO-Senator Says Critics Of Indiana Should Get 'Perspective,' Be Thankful State Doesn't Execute Gays | ThinkProgress
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 05:48
by Judd LegumPosted on April 2, 2015 at 9:05 am
"Senator Says Critics Of Indiana Should Get 'Perspective,' Be Thankful State Doesn't Execute Gays"
CREDIT: AP
Appearing yesterday on CNN, Senator Tom Cotton (R) urged critics of Indiana's ''religious freedom'' law to get ''perspective,'' suggesting the treatment of LGBT people in Indiana compared favorably to countries where gay people are executed.
''I think it's important we have a sense of perspective,'' Cotton said. ''In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.''
Watch:
Cotton is wrong in suggesting that Indiana's law was the same as the federal law signed by President Clinton in 1993. Indiana's law has significant differences that made discrimination LGBT people '-- and general confusion '-- more likely. This was acknowledged by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R), who refused to sign a bill nearly identical to the one passed in Indiana until it was brought into line with the federal model.
Indiana's law and the original Arkansas bill has drawn criticism from a diverse range of individuals and corporations including NASCAR, Walmart and the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, among many others.
While Cotton is correct that LGBT people in America are not routinely executed, violence against LGBT Americans remains a significant problem.
VIDEO-A Framework to Prevent Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapon | The White House
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 05:36
President Obama has been clear that achieving a peaceful resolution that prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon will make the United States, our allies, and our world safer.
When President Obama took office he underscored that the United States was prepared to resolve this issue diplomatically '' but only if Iran came to the table in a serious way. When that did not happen, we rallied the world to impose the toughest sanctions in history'--sanctions that had a profound impact on the Iranian economy.
Sanctions alone could not stop Iran's nuclear program. But they did help bring Iran to the negotiating table. Because of our diplomatic efforts, the world stood with us, and we were joined at the negotiating table by the world's major powers '' the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.
The goal: Reaching a long-term diplomatic resolution that verifiably prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.In November 2013, the P5+1 and Iran took an important first step toward that goal with the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), which halted the progress of Iran's program and rolled back it back in key areas for the first time in nearly a decade. The IAEA has verified that Iran has met all of its obligations under the JPOA.
Today, after many months of principled diplomacy building on the JPOA, we have achieved a framework for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Read the key parameters of the JCPOA framework here.
VIDEO-New Boston bombing video released - CNN Video
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 01:46
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VIDEO-Alahu Akbar & Kill Them Mashup - YouTube
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 01:37
VIDEO: Clegg and Cameron clash over deficit
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 23:34
Seven party leaders have been taking part in a live, two-hour televised debate ahead of the general election.
Nick Clegg and David Cameron clashed over their approach to cutting the deficit.
The leaders of the Lib Dems, SNP, UKIP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have also taken part in the debate.
VIDEO: Farage warning on 'health tourism'
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 23:34
Party leaders have clashed over health tourism as part of the televised general election debate.
UKIP leader, Nigel Farage, highlighted the case of HIV positive people from outside the UK using the NHS.
Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood described it as scaremongering rhetoric.

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