711: Facebook Thuggin'

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 58m
April 9th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir HMFIC, Black Knight of the US Army4, Matthew Basch, Sir John Kilburn

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Chris Speers, Ashley

Cover Artist: Jay Young


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ITM Adam,
I use the IF application to fire off a Bat Signal. I created 2 recipes, one for Android and one for iOS and published them. All that is required is the IF app for either device.
I'd shorten the URLs using itm.im, but that service is being rather flaky lately, just put the links in the show notes.
Sir A.J. Rystad
In the Morning!
The Keep on Truckin' promotion didn't really take off so I have a shitload of NACDs hanging out in my office. The main problem is that I haven't made it clear to people that this is at no cost to them. The only taker I had asked me to 'quote him a price' on a box of CDs.
I put together a page for the No Agenda Box... Check it out and if you promo it on the show, please stress that it is FREE. All I ask is that people hand out the CDs.
I'm about 4 shows behind, FYI, so if anything has happened in the last few weeks that is pertinent to this promotion, you'll have to shoot me an email. Also, let me know if any of you want a box. As it were.
Sir Ramsey Cain.
Amazon Now
Bill Hudec auto backup recorder
Fletcher Jetta red light runner karma
No Agenda the hit Broadway Musical
Congressional Dish on The Stream
Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''711, 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. § 1711^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.
EU Convention on Human Rights
Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in
contravention of this article when it results from the use of force
which is no more than absolutely necessary:
(a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence;
(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent escape of
a person lawfully detained;
(c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot
or insurrection.
Al Sharpton Calls for Federal Police Laws After South Carolina Killing
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 05:45
Rev. Al Sharpton speaks at the opening of the annual convention of his civil rights group, the National Action Network. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Rev. Al Sharpton called for national policing legislation akin to the Civil Rights Act this morning at the kickoff his National Action Network's annual convention, just after the arrest of a white South Carolina police officer for murder in the shooting of an unarmed black man.
''There must be national policy and national law on policing,'' Mr. Sharpton said. ''We can't go from state to state, we've got to have national law to protect people against these continued questions.''
Mr. Sharpton's comments, coming on the heels of multiple instances of police killings of unarmed men of color around the country, were met with applause from the crowd'--and from the dais, which was packed with elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Congressman Charles Rangel, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, city Comptroller Scott Stringer and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
The convention kickoff, which featured a ribbon cutting with the lawmakers, came just hours after it was announced last night that North Charleston, S.C., police officer Michael T. Slager would be charged with murder in the death of Walter Scott'--who can be seen in a widely publicized video running away from Mr. Slager, while the officer shoots into the man's back repeatedly. The video offers a markedly different story than the one Mr. Slager first offered up: that Scott had stolen his taser and left him in fear for his life.
Mr. Sharpton praised the city's mayor and police chief for bringing the charges, but said the nation couldn't rely on the judgement of local officials.
''We commend them, but we cannot have a justice system that hopes we have a mayor in the right city or a police chief,'' he said. ''We have to have one policy that is national.''
Mr. Sharpton later noted that the comparatively small town's officials had been braver than police leaders in bigger cities. He has been vocal about his belief that New York City police Daniel Pantaleo should have been charged with a crime in the death of an unarmed black Staten Island man, Eric Garner. A grand jury declined to indict Mr. Pantaleo, spurring protests throughout the city.
That death, too, was captured in a widely published video. And though the footage did not lead to any charges, Mr. Sharpton said today the national legislation should focus on ''cameras'' as well as ''accountability.''
He compared the fight for police reform to the civil rights struggle, noting that activists did not try to fix discrimination in individual states or cities.
''They fought for a national Civil Rights Act, a national Voting Rights Act. It's time for this country to have national policing,'' Mr. Sharpton said.
After the ribbon cutting, Mr. de Blasio'--whose first year in office was dominated by an effort to reform police-community relations after Garner's death and a subsequent City Hall feud with police union leadership'--said he agreed some kind of national standard should be set.
''It's a broad point he's making, and I think he way he made the analogy to the Voting Rights Act is the right one. We've got to figure out how to create the right relationship between police and community,'' Mr. de Blasio told reporters. ''The vast majority of police do their job well and want to work more closely with the community. Obviously community residents want to work more closely with the police. But we have to create more of a national standard that says we all have to be on the same page.''
The relationship between Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Sharpton was fodder for his woes with police unions last year: they took umbrage when Mr. Sharpton was seated next to the mayor and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton at a City Hall round table, and dismissed Mr. Sharpton as divisive. A poll later showed voters didn't like the approaches of either Mr. Sharpton or the union leaders and rank-and-file officers who later turned their backs on Mr. de Blasio at the funeral for two slain officers.
Today, Mr. Sharpton offered a full-throated defense his relationship with the mayor, saying it was based not on political power but on a long history of working together, citing Mr. de Blasio's support on issues like wage increases and the silent march against stop, question and frisk before his election.
''He marched with us when other candidates wouldn't. So don't begrudge us for knowing somebody that we always knew, and that was there in the trenches with us,'' Mr. Sharpton said, saying he had never asked for favors or back room deals'--only access and policy changes. ''There's nothing in the back room we want. We want everything out front.''
Sharpton pledges support for family of man shot by officer - Houston Chronicle
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 05:56
By JONATHAN LEMIRE|on April 8, 2015
Photo: Bebeto Matthews, AP
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Rev. Al Sharpton, left, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio listen during the 16th National Action Network's annual national convention opening, Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in New York. The meeting is the first public convening of the nation's top civil rights leaders since a spate of police violence sparked unrest in cities across the nation.
Photo: Bebeto Matthews, APRev. Al Sharpton, left, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio...
Esaw Snipes, right, the wife of police victim Eric Garner, listens as Lesley McSpadden, left, the mother of police shooting victim Michael Brown, speaks during a panel on police brutality, at the 16th National Action Network's (NAN) annual national convention opening, Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in New York. The meeting is the first public convening of the nation's top civil rights leaders since a spate of police violence sparked unrest in cities across the nation.
Photo: Bebeto Matthews, APEsaw Snipes, right, the wife of police victim Eric Garner, listens...
Rev. Al Sharpton listens during the 16th National Action Network's annual national convention opening, Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in New York. The meeting is the first public convening of the nation's top civil rights leaders since a spate of police violence sparked unrest in cities across the nation.
Photo: Bebeto Matthews, APRev. Al Sharpton listens during the 16th National Action...
Samaria Rice, mother of police shooting victim Tamir Rice, listens as she participates on a panel about police brutality, during the 16th National Action Network's (NAN) annual national convention opening, Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in New York. The meeting is the first public convening of the nation's top civil rights leaders since a spate of police violence sparked unrest in cities across the nation.
Photo: Bebeto Matthews, APSamaria Rice, mother of police shooting victim Tamir Rice, listens...
Rev. Al Sharpton, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, and Congressman Charlie Rangel sit at the speakers' table during the 16th National Action Network's annual national convention opening, Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in New York.
Photo: Bebeto Matthews, APRev. Al Sharpton, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center,...
Sharpton pledges support for family of man shot by officer
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NEW YORK (AP) '-- As an act of violence once again focuses the nation on relations between law enforcement and minorities, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Wednesday that his civil rights organization will stand with the family of the black South Carolina man fatally shot by a white police officer.
Sharpton addressed the killing of Walter Scott at the beginning of his National Action Network conference in New York. Before the South Carolina shooting, the annual gathering had already scheduled a panel discussion on police brutality featuring the families of several black men and boys killed by police in the last year, including Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice.
"We are saying for the sake of this family in Charleston, that not only are we with you, we are saying that there must be national legislation around cameras and police accountability," Sharpton said.
North Charleston Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager was charged Tuesday with murder after video emerged that shows the officer shooting at Scott as he flees following a traffic stop. Scott falls after the eighth shot. Slager has said he fired in self-defense.
Sharpton praised the police and mayor of North Charleston "for doing the right thing" in charging the officer. He called for national reform on police conduct and said he planned to travel to Charleston in the coming days.
The civil rights leader was flanked by several elected officials, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who nodded along with Sharpton's call for reform.
New York was rattled by its own fatal encounter between a black man and a white officer last year. Garner was selling loose cigarettes when he was confronted by police and placed in a chokehold. A witness was recording with a cellphone camera, and the video showed Garner yelling "I can't breathe" as he toppled to the sidewalk and died.
Though he did not mention Garner by name, de Blasio alluded to his death last summer on Staten Island as he discussed Scott's death Saturday in South Carolina.
"Once again we are watching a video. It's a video that is so disturbing and so painful," the mayor said. "You can't watch that as a human being and not feel pain. It makes no sense according to what our core notions of humanity and decency and justice are."
A grand jury did not bring charges against the NYPD officer. Garner's widow broke down in tears while addressing the conference crowd at a Manhattan hotel.
The grand jury's decision led to days of protests that swept through city streets. A gunman cited Garner's death on social media before he gunned down two NYPD officers in December, which led the city's police unions into an open revolt against de Blasio, who they blamed for permitting an anti-NYPD sentiment to take hold in the city. The tension between de Blasio and the police has lessened since then.
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Thu, 09 Apr 2015 05:53
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Rev. Sharpton Discusses ''The Rejected Stone'' On The Today Show (10/8/13)
Rev. Al Sharpton on Real Time with Bill Maher 10/25
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Advancing the Dream
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Rev. Al Sharpton: Still Fighting
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Will Tsarnaev receive the death penalty?April 8, 2015Boston.com's Eric Levenson and host of ''The Docket'' Seema Ayer join to discuss the historic verdict reached in the Boston bombing case on Wednesday.
Family of Walter Scott speaks outApril 8, 2015MSNBC's Joy Reid interviews the family of South Carolina shooting victim Walter Scott. Then, Rev. Sharpton talks to State Sen. Marlon Kimpson about today's'...
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Big Data
Alcoholism - Mayo Clinic
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:13
Alcoholism is a chronic and often progressive disease that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect (physical dependence), or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. If you have alcoholism, you can't consistently predict how much you'll drink, how long you'll drink, or what consequences will occur from your drinking.
It's possible to have a problem with alcohol, even when it has not progressed to the point of alcoholism. Problem drinking means you drink too much at times, causing repeated problems in your life, although you're not completely dependent on alcohol.
Binge drinking '-- a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks in a row, or a female downs at least four drinks in a row '-- can lead to the same health risks and social problems associated with alcoholism. The more you drink, the greater the risks. Binge drinking, which often occurs with teenagers and young adults, may lead to faster development of alcoholism.
If you have alcoholism or you have a problem with alcohol, you may not be able to cut back or quit without help. Denying that you have a problem is usually part of alcoholism and other types of excessive drinking.
Dec. 05, 2014ReferencesSaitz R, et al. Screening for unhealthy use of alcohol and other drugs. http://www.uptodate.com/ index. Accessed June 2, 2012.Hoffman RS, et al. Management of moderate and severe alcohol withdrawal syndromes. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 2, 2012.Alcohol and public health: Frequently asked questions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm. Accessed March 29, 2010.Gold MS, et al. Psychosocial treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 2, 2012.Esser MB, et al. Binge drinking intensity. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2012;42:625.Johnson BA, et al. Pharmacotherapy for alcohol abuse and dependence. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed June 2, 20127.Substance-related disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR. 4th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2000. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed June 2, 2012.Harmful interactions: Mixing alcohol with medicines. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets. Accessed June 3, 2012.Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 14, 2012.Overview of alcohol consumption. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption. Accessed June 2, 2012.Underage drinking. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/special-populations-co-occurring-disorders/underage-drinking. Accessed June 2, 2012.Alcohol use disorders. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders. Accessed June 2, 2012.Fetal alcohol exposure. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/fetal-alcohol-exposure. Accessed June 2, 2012.Beyond hangovers: Understanding alcohol's impact on your health. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/Hangovers/beyondHangovers.pdf. Accessed June 2, 2012.College drinking. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Accessed http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/special-populations-co-occurring-disorders/college-drinking. June 2, 2012.Breast cancer. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/DetailedGuide/breast-cancer-risk-factors. Accessed June 12, 2012.Public policy statement on the definition of alcoholism. American Society of Addiction Medicine. http://www.asam.org/advocacy/find-a-policy-statement/view-policy-statement/public-policy-statements/2011/12/15/the-definition-of-alcoholism-(ncadd-asam). Accessed June 25, 2012.Schneekloth TD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 23, 2012.Thiamin. The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/nutritional_disorders/vitamin_deficiency_dependency_and_toxicity/thiamin.html. Accessed August 1, 2012.Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.
ICD-10 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:21
ICD-10 is the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO). It contains codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases.[1]
The code set allows more than 14,400 different codes and permits the tracking of many new diagnoses[citation needed]. The codes can be expanded to over 16,000 codes by using optional sub-classifications[citation needed]. The detail reported by ICD can be further increased, with a simplified multi-axial approach, by using codes meant to be reported in a separate data field[citation needed].
The WHO provides detailed information about ICD online, and makes available a set of materials online, such as an ICD-10 online browser,[2] ICD-10 Training, ICD-10 online training,[3] ICD-10 online training support,[4] and study guide materials for download.
The International version of ICD should not be confused with national Clinical Modifications (CM) of ICD that frequently include much more detail, and sometimes have separate sections for procedures. The US ICD-10 Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM), for instance, has some 68,000 codes[citation needed]. The US also has the ICD-10 Procedure Coding System (ICD-10 PCS), a coding system that contains 76,000 codes not used by other countries.[5]
Be aware that many ICD-10 references in Wikipedia refer to ICD-10 CM (US modification), in particular if they have 5 digits (xxx.xx).
Work on ICD-10 began in 1983 and was completed in 1992.[1]
Some 25[citation needed] countries use ICD-10 for reimbursement and resource allocation in their health system. A few of them made modifications to ICD to better accommodate this use of ICD-10. The article below makes reference to some of these modifications. The unchanged international version of ICD-10 is used in about 110 countries for cause of death reporting and statistics.
AustraliaEditICD-10-AM (Australian Modification)
1 July 1998 Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory implemented ICD-10-AM.1 July 1999 Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia implemented ICD-10-AM.[7]
CanadaEditCanada introduced ICD-10-CA in 2000.[8]
ChinaEditChina adopted ICD-10 in 2002.[9]
Czech RepublicEditThe Czech Republic adopted ICD-10 in 1994, one year after official release from WHO.[10] The Czech republic uses the international version without any local modifications. The Czech Republic adopted all updates to the international version (namely in 2004,2010,2011,2012).
FranceEditFrance introduced a clinical addendum to ICD-10 in 2005.[citation needed] See also website of the ATIH.
GermanyEditGermany: ICD-10-GM (German Modification)[11]
KoreaEditA Korean modification has existed since 2008.[citation needed]
NetherlandsEditThe Dutch translation of ICD-10 is ICD10-nl, which was created by the WHO-FIC Netwerk in 1994.[12] There is an online dictionary.
South AfricaEdit1 January 2005 Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape town[citation needed]
SwedenEditThe current Swedish translation of ICD-10 was created in 1997.[citation needed] A clinical modification has added more detail and omits codes of the international version in the context of clinical use of ICD:
The codes F64.1 (Dual-role transvestism), F64.2 (Gender identity disorder of childhood), F65.0 (Fetishism), F65.1 (Fetishistic transvestism), F65.5 (Sadomasochism), F65.6 (Multiple disorders of sexual preference) are not used in Sweden since 1 January 2009 according to a decision by the present Director General of The National Board of Health and Welfare, Sweden. The code O60.0 (Preterm labor without delivery) is not used in Sweden; instead, since 1 January 2009, the Swedish extension codes to O47 (False labor) are recommended for use.[citation needed]
ThailandEditA Thai modification has existed since 2007; the Ministry of Public Health has ICD 10 TM. and 1 of 3 first used ICD-10 Code with Czechoslovakia and Denmark in 1994[citation needed]
United StatesEditThe deadline for the United States to begin using Clinical Modification ICD-10-CM for diagnosis coding and Procedure Coding System ICD-10-PCS for inpatient hospital procedure coding is set at October 1, 2015,[13][14] another year delayed from the previous 2014 deadline[15] The deadline prior was October 1, 2013.[16][17] All HIPAA "covered entities" must make the change; a pre-requisite to ICD-10 is the adoption of EDI Version 5010 by January 1, 2012.[18] Enforcement of 5010 transition by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), however, was postponed by CMS until March 31, 2012, with the federal agency citing numerous factors, including slow software upgrades.[19] The implementation of ICD-10 has been subject to previous delays. In January 2009, the date was pushed back by two years, to October 1, 2013 rather than a prior proposal of October 1, 2011.[20] The most recent pushback of the implementation date has inspired a mixed reaction from the healthcare community.[21]
Even though the deadline for ICD-10 has been pushed back repeatedly, CMS recommends that medical practices take several years to prepare for implementation of the new code set.[22] The basic structure of the ICD-10 code is the following: Characters 1-3 (the category of disease); 4 (etiology of disease); 5 (body part affected), 6 (severity of illness) and 7 (placeholder for extension of the code to increase specificity) .[23] Not only must new software be installed and tested, but medical practices must provide training for physicians, staff members, and administrators. They will also need to develop new practice policies and guidelines, and update paperwork and forms. For convenience, practices may also create "crosswalks" that will convert their most frequently used ICD-9 codes to the ICD-10 equivalents. [24][25]
U.A.E (Dubai)EditDubai Health Authority (DHA) introduced ICD-10 in 2012.[citation needed]
Language versionsEditLanguage versions should not be confused with clinical versions. ICD has been translated into 42[citation needed] languages.
ICD-10 Code Set to Replace ICD-9
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:05
ICD-10 Compliance Deadline Set as October 1, 2015The latest compliance date for ICD-10 has been set as October 1, 2015, according to new regulation published by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on August 4, 2014. This one-year delay in the implementation of ICD-10 came from language inserted into the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which was signed into law on April 1, 2014. The new regulation also clarifies that ICD-9 will continue to be required until September 30, 2015.
In response to the new compliance date, AMA President-elect Steven J. Stack stated, "While the AMA appreciates that physicians have additional time to comply with ICD-10, we continue to have fundamental concerns about ICD-10 and its implementation, which will not be resolved by the extra time. The AMA has long considered ICD-10 to be a massive unfunded mandate that comes at a time when physicians are trying to meet several other federal technology requirements and risk penalties if they fail to do so."
With the publication of the new compliance date, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Medicare's plans for testing ICD-10 with physicians and other health care providers. It plans to conduct acknowledgement testing, which is limited and only checks to see if the claim with ICD-10 codes will make it through Medicare's claims processing front door. This testing is scheduled to occur in November 2014 and March and June 2015.
The second type of testing that Medicare will do is end-to-end testing, which tests the claims from submission through to the receipt of the remittance advice. This testing is more thorough and will provide more detailed information for physicians and other health care providers on how their claims will process and be paid by Medicare with the ICD-10 codes. This testing is scheduled to be done in January, April, and July 2015. Physicians are encouraged to contact their Medicare Administrative Contractors for additional details about the testing.
AMA Releases Updated ICD-10 Physician Cost Impact ReportOn Wednesday, February 12, the AMA published a report by Nachimson Associates updating cost data for physicians to comply with ICD-10. The study updates costs from an earlier 2008 study the highlights of which are discussed in a press release. The report found that small practices can expect to spend anywhere between $56,639 to $226,105. The new estimates factor in the costs associated with purchasing new software to accommodate the new codes. Issued in conjunction with the report and press release was a letter to Secretary Sebelius reiterating the AMA's request that ICD-10 be repealed because it is a costly, unfunded mandate for practicing physicians. While the AMA continues to seek a repeal of ICD-10, it nonetheless remains a federal mandate and physicians are urged to prepare for the compliance date of October 1, 2015.
The differences between ICD-9 and ICD-10 are significant and physicians and practice management staff need to start educating themselves now about this major change so that they will be able to meet the compliance deadline of October 1, 2015.
ICD-10-CM codes are the ones designated for use in documenting diagnoses. They are 3-7 characters in length and total 68,000, while ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes are 3-5 digits in length and number over 14,000. The ICD-10-PCS are the procedure codes and they are alphanumeric, 7 characters in length, and total approximately 87,000, while ICD-9-CM procedure codes are only 3-4 numbers in length and total approximately 4,000 codes. ICD-10-PCS is only used for coding hospital inpatient procedures. CPT remains the code set for reporting procedures and services in offices and outpatient settings.
Moving to ICD-10 is expected to impact all physicians. Due to the increased number of codes, the change in the number of characters per code, and increased code specificity, this transition will require significant planning, training, software/system upgrades/replacements, as well as other necessary investments.
The Final Rule requiring the replacement of ICD-9 with ICD-10 was published in January 2009. At that time, the compliance date was set for October 1, 2013.
In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a one year delay of ICD-10 implementation, which pushed the date back to October 1, 2014. At the time, then AMA Board Chair Steven J. Stack, MD commented, "The AMA appreciates the administration's decision to provide a one year delay in response to AMA advocacy, but we have urged CMS to do more to reduce the regulatory burdens on physician practices so physicians can spend more time with patients."
Since then, the AMA has taken many steps with the Administration to address physician concerns with ICD-10 and the multiple reporting programs and burdens associated with them, in greater depth.
Medicare Testing and Payment
TestingThe AMA continues to advocate to CMS that robust end-to-end testing needs to occur well in advance of the compliance deadline and with as many physician practices as possible. Testing is the best action the industry can take to ensure that claims will process without problems after the switch to ICD-10.
End-to-end TestingMedicare has announced that it will do end-to-end testing in January, April, and July 2015 with approximately 2,550 volunteers. The goals of this testing are to demonstrate that:
Physicians, other health care providers, and other submitters are able to successfully submit claims containing ICD-10 codes to the Medicare FFS claims systems,CMS software changes made to support ICD-10 result in appropriately adjudicated claims, andAccurate Remittance Advices are produced.Acknowledgement TestingMedicare recently announced the results of "acknowledgement" testing it completed in March 2014. Acknowledgement testing tests the ability of the claim to make it through the "front door," but does not test how the claim will process and what the reimbursement will be.
Testers submitted more than 127,000 claims with ICD-10 codes to the Medicare Fee-for-service (FFS) claims systems and received electronic acknowledgements confirming that their claims were accepted. Approximately 2,600 participating providers, suppliers, billing companies and clearinghouses participated in the testing week, representing about five percent of all submitters.
Nationally, 89 percent of the test claims were accepted without any issues, with some regions reporting acceptance rates as high as 99 percent. The normal FFS Medicare claims acceptance rates average 95-98 percent. Testing did not identify any issues with the Medicare FFS claims systems.
Medicare has announced it will do additional acknowledgement testing weeks in November 2014 and March and June 2015.
Physicians should contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for more information on the end-to-end and acknowledgement testing.
PaymentMedicare continues to update the National Coverage Determinations (NCD) and Local Coverage Determinations (LCD). MLN Matters #8691 provides information on recent changes to 29 NCDs. MLN Matters MM9807 provides information on ICD-10 Conversion/Coding Infrastructure Revisions/ICD-9 Updates to National Coverage Determinations (NCDs).
For LCDs, a list of LCDs converted to ICD-10 is available on the LCDs by Contractor Index. Use the scroll box on the index to select your MAC and use the "Submit" button to view a list of states that the specified MAC services. You can then select your MAC name from the table to view the future translated LCDs.
ICD-9 and ICD-10 Code Freeze
Both the ICD-9 and ICD-10 code sets are currently under a partial freeze during the implementation of ICD-10. The recent delay in the implementation date of ICD-10 to October 1, 2015 has also extended the partial freeze. With the new compliance date of October 1, 2015, the partial code freeze will continue through October 1, 2015. Regular updates to ICD-10 will begin on October 1, 2016, one year after the implementation deadline. No updates will be made to ICD-9 after October 1, 2015, as the code set will no longer be valid.
The ICD-9-CM Coordination & Maintenance Committee Meeting initiated the partial freeze in 2010. The ICD-9 Coordination & Maintenance Committee continues to meet twice a year during the freeze. At these meetings the public will be allowed to comment on whether or not requests for new diagnosis and procedure codes should be created based on the need to capture new technology or disease. Any code requests that do not meet the criteria will be evaluated for implementation within ICD-10 on or after Oct. 1, 2016, once the partial freeze is ended.
What is ''ICD-10''?''ICD-10'' is the abbreviated way to refer to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS).
Explain the difference between ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS.ICD-10-CM is the diagnosis code set that will be replacing ICD-9-CM Volumes 1 and 2. ICD-10-CM will be used to report diagnoses in all clinical settings. ICD-10-PCS is the procedure code set that will be replacing ICD-9-CM Volume 3. ICD-10-PCS will be used to report hospital inpatient procedures only.
Will ICD-10-PCS replace CPT®?No. ICD-10-PCS will be used to report hospital inpatient procedures only. The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) will continue to be used to report services and procedures in outpatient and office settings.
Do I have to upgrade to ICD-10?Yes. The conversion to ICD-10 is a HIPAA code set requirement. Providers, including physicians, are HIPAA ''covered entities'', which means that you must comply with the HIPAA requirements.
Who else has to upgrade to ICD-10?Health care clearinghouses and payers are also HIPAA covered entities, so they are required to convert to ICD-10 as well.
I thought HIPAA code set standards only applied to the HIPAA electronic transactions. What if I don't use the HIPAA electronic transactions?It is correct that HIPAA code set requirements apply only to the HIPAA electronic transactions. But, it would be much too burdensome on the industry to use ICD-10 in electronic transactions and ICD-9 in manual transactions. Payers are expected to require ICD-10 codes be used in other transactions, such as on paper, through a dedicated fax machine, or via the phone.
Why is ICD-9 being replaced?The ICD-9 code set is over 30 years old and has become outdated. It is no longer considered usable for today's treatment, reporting, and payment processes. It does not reflect advances in medical technology and knowledge. In addition, the format limits the ability to expand the code set and add new codes.
The ICD-10 code set reflects advances in medicine and uses current medical terminology. The code format is expanded, which means that it has the ability to include greater detail within the code. The greater detail means that the code can provide more specific information about the diagnosis. The ICD-10 code set is also more flexible for expansion and including new technologies and diagnoses. The change, however, is expected to be disruptive for physicians during the transition and you are urged to begin preparing now.
When do I have to convert to ICD-10?All services and discharges on or after the compliance date must be coded using the ICD-10 code set. The compliance date is October 1, 2015. The necessary system and workflow changes need to be in place by the compliance date in order for you to send and receive the ICD-10 codes.
What if I'm not ready by the compliance deadline?Any ICD-9 codes used in transactions for services or discharges on or after the compliance date will be rejected as non-compliant and the transactions will not be processed. You will have disruptions in your transactions being processed and receipt of your payments. Physicians are urged to set up a line of credit to mitigate any cash flow interruptions that may occur.
What do I need to do now to prepare for the conversion to ICD-10?There are several steps you need to take to prepare for the conversion to ICD-10.
Begin by talking to your practice management or software vendor. Ask if the necessary software updates will be installed with your upgrades for the Version 005010 (5010) HIPAA transactions. If you do not use the HIPAA transactions, determine when they will have your software updates available and when they will be installed in your system. Your conversion to ICD-10 will be heavily dependent on when your vendor has the upgrades completed and when they can be installed in your system.Talk to your clearinghouses, billing service, and payers. Determine when they will have their ICD-10 upgrades completed and when you can begin testing with them.Identify the changes that you need to make in your practice to convert to the ICD-10 code set. For example, your diagnosis coding tools, ''super bills'', public health reporting tools, etc.Identify staff training needs and complete the necessary training.Conduct internal testing to make sure you can generate transactions you send with the ICD-10 codes.Conduct external testing with your clearinghouses and payers to make sure you can send and receive transactions with the ICD-10 codes.ICD-10 Implementation Planning
AMA offers planning tools to increase ICD-10 understanding and readiness.
ICD-10 Action Plan: Your 12-Step Transition Plan for ICD-10Practice Tool written by the AMA CPT Medical Informatics DepartmentWith the recent delay, implementation of ICD-10-CM is expected to be October 1, 2015. But transitioning to ICD-10 needs to begin now. This ICD-10 practice tool offers 12 critical steps along with tables and forms to help you make a smooth transition. A short glossary and list of AMA ICD-10 resources are also included. Release date: September 4, 2012.What You Need to Know for the Upcoming Transition to ICD-10-CMWhite Paper written by the AMA CPT Medical Informatics DepartmentICD-10 represents a significant improvement over ICD-9, but structural differences make converting complex. Learn more about this as well as code set differences, reasons for the conversion, crosswalking concerns, and transition tips.Release date: June 1, 2012.AMA Advocacy on ICD-10
100 Physician Groups Call for Contingency Plans for ICD-10 Transition
AMA and federation sign-on letter to CMS, March 4, 2015
AMA statement to the Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, United States House of Representatives, on Examining ICD-10 Implementation, February 11, 2015.
HHS response to AMA on February 12, 2014 letter.
AMA testimony to National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics Subcommittee on Standards on ICD-10 delay, June 10, 2014.
AMA testimony to National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics Subcommittee on Standards on achieving a successful transition, February 19, 2014
Letter to HHS on Updated Cost Impact Data and Request for Medicare to Test and Fund Advance Payments, February 12, 2014
Letter to HHS on Penalty Programs and ICD-10, June 14, 2013
Letter to Sen. Tom Coburn supporting S. 972, May 21, 2013
Letter to Rep. Poe supporting H.R. 1701, April 26, 2013
CMS response to December 2012 letter from Medicine
Sign-on letter to CMS re: ICD-10 delay (RES 209-I-12), December 20, 2012
Letter from AMA to CMS on May 10, 2012 in response to proposed rule to extend compliance deadline.
Letter and attachment from AMA to HHS on February 2, 2012
Letter and attachment from AMA to Senator Harkin, January 17, 2012
AMA testimony to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics Subcommittee on standards regarding the industry implementation of updated and new HIPAA standards and code sets, June 17, 2011
Letter from AMA and medical specialty societies to HHS, October 28, 2010
AMA testimony to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics' Subcommittee on standards regarding the planning and implementation of the updated HIPAA transactions and code sets, December 10, 2009
Letter from Representative Velazquez to HHS, November 19, 2008
Letter to CMS on ICD-10 proposed rule, October 21, 2008
Letter to the Office of Management and Budget, July 24, 2008
Letter to HHS, April 1, 2007
Letter to Senate Majority Leader, September 19, 2006
Letter to HHS National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, September 23, 2003
AMA Educational Resources
Note: A few of the following resources were created prior to the deadline delay and are not updated to show the October 1, 2015 compliance date.
CPT Assistant Article on Clinical Documentation & ICD-10The "Clinical Documentation Assessment: Looking at the Patterns Between the ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM Coding Systems" article published in the CPT Assistant Bulletin in June 2014 provides overviews of conducting a documentation assessment and the similarities and differences between ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM. Tables explain the coding concepts that are the same from ICD-9-CM and those that are new in ICD-10-CM and gives examples to demonstrate the coding concepts.Article on Preparing for ICD-10"The Current State of ICD-10 & Preparing for It" was published in the November/December 2013 Missouri Medicine Journal. The article provides an overview of ICD-10, the AMA's advocacy against it, and information on how to prepare for it. The article is posted on here with the permission of the Missouri State Medical Association.AMA White Paper on ICD-10, EHRs, and Administrative SimplificationThe AMA has published a white paper that discusses the promised benefits of ICD-10, EHRs, and administrative simplification. The paper describes the initial regulations and anticipated gains from them. Recommendations on what practices can do to achieve these benefits are also provided.Tip Sheet Series
5010 and ICD-10: What They Are and How to Prepare for Them Watch this archived webinar that provides an overview on implementing the HIPAA 5010 transactions and ICD-10.
ICD-10 Checklist
ICD-10 Project Plan Template - Steps to Take to Implement ICD-10
Preparing for the Conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10: What You Need to Be Doing Today
ICD-10 Fact Sheet Series
American Medical News & Wire articlesThe following resources are available from the AMA Store for a cost:AMA Training & Events '' Choose from a variety of live event training, online modular training or pre-recorded webinar options to aid in your understanding of ICD-10AMA Print Resources '' AMA publishes ICD-10 codebook as well as supplementary ICD-10 titles that cover topics like documentation, anatomy and physiology, mapping, and correct codingAMA Data Files '' Begin testing your electronic systems now with an ICD-10 Data File created by the AMAAdditional Resources
ICD-10 Chapter XX: External causes of morbidity and mortality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:29
International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th RevisionChapterBlocksTitleIA00''B99Certain infectious and parasitic diseasesIIC00''D48NeoplasmsIIID50''D89Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs and certain disorders involving the immune mechanismIVE00''E90Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseasesVF00''F99Mental and behavioural disordersVIG00''G99Diseases of the nervous systemVIIH00''H59Diseases of the eye and adnexaVIIIH60''H95Diseases of the ear and mastoid processIXI00''I99Diseases of the circulatory systemXJ00''J99Diseases of the respiratory systemXIK00''K93Diseases of the digestive systemXIIL00''L99Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissueXIIIM00''M99Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissueXIVN00''N99Diseases of the genitourinary systemXVO00''O99Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperiumXVIP00''P96Certain conditions originating in the perinatal periodXVIIQ00''Q99Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalitiesXVIIIR00''R99Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classifiedXIXS00''T98Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causesXXV01''Y98External causes of morbidity and mortalityXXIZ00''Z99Factors influencing health status and contact with health servicesXXIIU00''U99Codes for special purposesThe International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) is a coding of diseases and signs, symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or diseases, as classified by the World Health Organization (WHO).[1] This page contains ICD-10 Chapter XX: External causes of morbidity and mortality.
V01''Y98 '' External causes of morbidity and mortalityEdit(V01''X59) AccidentsEdit(V01) Unintentional: vehicle and traffic injuries(W00) Unintentional: falls(W20) Unintentional: struck by/against(W50) Unintentional: hit/struck/bitten by person or animalW50 Hit, struck, kicked, twisted, bitten or scratched by another personW51 Striking against or bumped into by another personW52 Crushed, pushed or stepped on by crowd or human stampedeW53 Bitten by ratW54 Bitten or struck by dogW55 Bitten or struck by other mammalsW56 Contact with marine animalW57 Bitten or stung by nonvenomous insect and other nonvenomous arthropodsW58 Bitten or struck by crocodile or alligatorW59 Bitten or crushed by other reptilesW60 Contact with plant thorns and spines and sharp leavesW64 Exposure to other and unspecified animate mechanical forces(W65) Unintentional: drowning/suffocation(W85) Unintentional: exposure to electrical current or radiation(X00) Unintentional: fire/flames/hot objects(X20) Unintentional: nature/environmentalX20 Contact with venomous snakes and lizardsX21 Contact with venomous spidersX22 Contact with scorpionsX23 Contact with hornets, wasps and beesX24 Contact with centipedes and venomous millipedes (tropical)X25 Contact with other venomous arthropodsX26 Contact with venomous marine animals and plantsX27 Contact with other specified venomous animalsX28 Contact with other specified venomous plantsX29 Contact with unspecified venomous animal or plant(X40) Unintentional: poisoning(X50) Unintentional: overexertion(X60''X84) Intentional self-harmEdit(X60) Intentional: self-harm(X60) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to nonopioid analgesics, antipyretics and antirheumatics(X61) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to antiepileptic, sedative-hypnotic, antiparkinsonism and psychotropic drugs, not elsewhere classified(X62) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to narcotics and psychodysleptics [hallucinogens], not elsewhere classified(X63) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to other drugs acting on the autonomic nervous system(X64) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to other and unspecified drugs, medicaments and biological substances(X65) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to alcohol(X66) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to organic solvents and halogenated hydrocarbons and their vapours(X67) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to other gases and vapours(X68) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to pesticides(X69) Intentional self-poisoning by and exposure to other and unspecified chemicals and noxious substances(X70) Intentional self-harm by hanging, strangulation and suffocation(X71) Intentional self-harm by drowning and submersion(X72) Intentional self-harm by handgun discharge(X73) Intentional self-harm by rifle, shotgun and larger firearm discharge(X74) Intentional self-harm by other and unspecified firearm discharge(X75) Intentional self-harm by explosive material(X76) Intentional self-harm by smoke, fire and flames(X77) Intentional self-harm by steam, hot vapours and hot objects(X78) Intentional self-harm by sharp object(X79) Intentional self-harm by blunt object(X80) Intentional self-harm by jumping from a high place(X81) Intentional self-harm by jumping or lying before moving object(X82) Intentional self-harm by crashing of motor vehicle(X83) Intentional self-harm by other specified means(X84) Intentional self-harm by unspecified means(X85''Y09) AssaultEdit(Y10''Y34) Event of undetermined intentEdit(Y10) Undetermined intent(Y35''Y36) Legal intervention and operations of warEdit(Y40''Y84) Complications of medical and surgical careEdit(Y40''Y59) Drugs, medicaments and biological substances causing adverse effects in therapeutic useEdit(Y60''Y69) Misadventures to patients during surgical and medical careEdit(Y70''Y82) Medical devices associated with adverse incidents in diagnostic and therapeutic useEdit(Y83''Y84) Surgical and other medical procedures as the cause of abnormal reaction of the patient, or of later complication, without mention of misadventure at the time of the procedureEdit(Y85''Y89) Sequelae of external causes of morbidity and mortalityEdit(Y90''Y98) Supplementary factors related to causes of morbidity and mortality classified elsewhereEdit(Y90) Evidence of alcohol involvement determined by blood alcohol level(Y90.0) Blood alcohol level of less than 20 mg/100 ml(Y90.1) Blood alcohol level of 20''39 mg/100 ml(Y90.2) Blood alcohol level of 40''59 mg/100 ml(Y90.3) Blood alcohol level of 60''79 mg/100 ml(Y90.4) Blood alcohol level of 80''99 mg/100 ml(Y90.5) Blood alcohol level of 100''119 mg/100 ml(Y90.6) Blood alcohol level of 120''199 mg/100 ml(Y90.7) Blood alcohol level of 200''239 mg/100 ml(Y90.8) Blood alcohol level of 240 mg/100 ml or more(Y90.9) Presence of alcohol in blood, level not specified(Y91) Evidence of alcohol involvement determined by level of intoxication(Y95) Nosocomial condition(Y96) Work-related condition(Y97) Environmental-pollution-related condition(Y98) Lifestyle-related conditionAgricultural vehicles in stationary use or maintenance (W31.-)Assault by crashing or motor vehicle (Y03.-)Automobile or motor cycle in stationary use or maintenance - code to type of accidentCrashing of motor vehicle, undetermined intent (Y32)Intentional self-harm by crashing of motor vehicle (X82)Transport accidents due to cataclysm (X34-X38)ReferencesEdit
Amazon recommendation
From Daniel Mackey
Hey Gentlemen,
I thought this was humorous. Pot Shards is "Recommended because you purchased Equus Magnificus Ranch Hand Spray Lubricant, 11-Ounce." (which I believe is the lubricant JCD recommended. All I need is to purchase that stapler and I'll have the complete no agenda package.)
Uber: The Big Data Company - Forbes
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 03:31
Image Credit: Associated PressAs I write this column, I am at my office on Main Street in San Francisco. When I'm done here, I'll head back to my house in the Richmond District to pick up some luggage as I head to SFO. Then I'm off to JFK, my hotel in Midtown, 10 meetings across Manhattan before I stop at FAO Swartz to pick up something for the kids before it's back to JFK and then travel home.
There are only four people/organizations in the world who know my location at all times: my wife (because I tell her), Apple (because Siri), the NSA (because NSA), and now Uber.
Since the service Uber has built is so convenient, and increasingly essential to my life, Uber knows where I live, where I work, where I eat, where I travel, where I stay/visit and when I do all these things.
I am no longer just a passenger or a fare. I am a big data goldmine and, in case you hadn't noticed, Uber just broke out the pickaxes.
This year, we are going to see the transformation of Uber into a big data company cut from the same cloth as Google, Facebook and Visa '' using the wealth of information they know about me and you to deliver new services and generate revenue by selling this data to others.
Starwood is Just the beginning
Recently, Uber launched a service that lets its customers connect their Uber account to their Starwood Prefered Guest account. The benefit to customers: get points when you take Uber. The quid pro quo? Customers give Uber the right to share all Uber ride information with Starwood. And I do mean *all* of it. Take a look at this screenshot:
Creepy? Maybe. Valuable? Sure is '' to Uber, to Starwood, and even to me. I fly once a month to our offices in Seattle '' Uber knows this because they drop me off at SFO and pick me up a few hours later at Sea-Tac. Uber then takes me to the Hyatt in Seattle and someone, somewhere on the Starwood marketing team cries a single tear before jumping into action. I am a frequent business traveller and active Starwood member that just chose to stay somewhere other than a Starwood property, costing them revenue. They know this because Uber knows this, and before I know that they know, I'll be getting offers left and right to make sure my next stay in Seattle is with Starwood.
Uber can run the same program with airlines, restaurants, nightclubs, bars '' every time you go from point A to point B in an Uber, ''A'', ''B'' or both represent a new potential consumer of your data.
No more faceless data points
It should not be news to anyone that Visa, Mastercard and Amex have set up entire divisions of their company whose sole mission is to sell transactional data to any business that will pay, currently yielding $100's of Millions mostly to Private Equity, Hedge Funds and Investment Banks, and projected to be $1 Billion within 5 years. The difference is that they remove all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and only sell aggregate information '' in their eyes ''you'' are not you. Uber's advantage is that Uber users will, in a heartbeat and with the click of a button, trade their PII for extra points and/or miles '' that's a massive win. Even if you don't hand over your PII Uber still has the same aggregate non-PII data opportunity.
In a bit of irony, one of Uber's late round investors was able to use the credit card data from the big card networks to see exactly how much of a rocketship Uber is (rumored 800% annual growth) and decided the $42 Billion valuation was a great deal.
What's hot, what's not
Uber knows the hot nightclubs, best restaurants and most obviously now has as much data about traffic patterns as Waze (which coincidentally trades data with local governments). Combining Uber's data with the very-personal data that customers are willing to give up in exchange for benefits, means that Uber can, and is, on its way to becoming a Big Data company. This will never be as big as their core business, but could be a significant contributor to revenue.
Now, if they used my data and my upcoming anniversary to book a hot new restaurant, good live music and pick my wife and me up, I may even consider giving them my social security number.
Mark Wahlberg Developing Boston Marathon Bombing Movie '-- GeekTyrant
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 07:13
There are currently two movies in the works about The Boston Marathon bombings. 20th Century Fox has begun work on a film called Boston Strong, with Daniel Espinosa (Safe House) directing. CBS Films has also recently announced that they will be making a movie called Patriots' Day, which comes from screenwriter Matt Chapman (Bridge of Spies) and will be produced by Mark Wahlberg and Scott Stuber.
Patriots' Day is based on the personal account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, and the studio has secured Davis' life rights to tell the story. Wahlberg will most likely come on board to play the character. According to the press release:
''Commissioner Davis played an integral role in working with the FBI, Watertown Police Department, Boston Police Department, Massachusetts State Police and local first responders to track, identify and apprehend the suspected bombers. Their tactics included the use of sophisticated identity technology and giving the historic order to put the city of Boston under lockdown as they rushed to apprehend the suspects.''CBS Films president Terry Press added:
''There is nothing more compelling than a real story populated by real heroes. The team that we have assembled for this project is determined to give audiences a very personal look at what occurred during the days when the eyes of the world were on the city of Boston and how a group of contemporary patriots faced this crisis.''There's no director attached to the project yet, but it seems like a film that Wahlberg will put his heart into.
Five key questions that were completely ignored during the Boston Bombing trial
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:00
Jurors in the trial of 21 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are hoping to return a verdict on Wednesday, following weeks of testimony in the Boston Marathon bombing trial.Tsarnaev faces either life in prison or the death penalty.
Here are five stunning questions that were not asked during this historic trial in Massachusetts...
5. Was older brother Tamerlan working as an informant for the FBI?Ever since the two Tsarnaev brothers were announced by the FBI as their "prime suspects" in the Boston Marathon Bombing, every major US media network and government agency assumed that they were guilty - based solely a single photograph and a series of still photos created to look like CCTV footage, purporting to place them at the scene of the main event.Despite a wall of denial and evasion, some smarter elements of the media discovered that not only did the FBI know who BOTH brothers were, but elder brother Tamerlan (photo above) had already been recruited by the agency as an informant years before the Boston Bombing (his file is likely classified, meaning the public will not allowed to know the whole story), and although he is not live to tell his side of the story - he was most likely working for either the FBI or another agency in that capacity. This explains why Tamerlan traveled overseas in the summer of 2012 to attend the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus - an event that was organised by the Jamestown Foundation - a well-known CIA front, which is part of a vast network "controlled by Freedom House (George Soros) and linked to the CIA", as explained in detail by Voltaire Network. Former British diplomat and intelligence analyst Craig Murray has also weighed-in with a similar conclusion.
This fact alone should cast doubt upon the entire official narrative of the events on April 15, 2013.
4. Why were Craft International mercenaries active at the finish line, and did one of them place a backpack on the ground just before the bomb went off?Initially the FBI made a public plea for any photographs from bystanders to help them locate the perpetrators. What followed was a flood of photographs, many of them posted up on the popular hacking forum 4Chan. These photos would have shocked anyone who saw them, only they were completely blacked-out by the US mainstream media - as if they did not exist. They clearly depicted multiple mercenaries, some of whom wore the insignia for Craft International, a private mercenary and special ops agency based in Dallas, Texas. Some photos even detailed a backpack left on the ground by one of the operatives depicted in the photos. Almost immediately after the 4Chan photo dump surfaced online, the FBI staged a press conference to tell the public not to look at any other photos and declared that 'no other suspects should be considered' - except for two brand new faces, those of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. An FBI spokesperson then went on national TV to insist that, 'these two are the only suspects we are looking for now.' The FBI claimed they did not know the names of the two men, or that they were even brothers, and then proceeded to ask the general public for 'any information relating to these two new faces.'
Taking these facts into account, along with multiple 'live terror drills' that were taking place on the day along the Boston Marathon, jurors may have drawn a completely different conclusion to the prepackaged narrative which was presented to them by both the prosecution and the defense.
3. Why were Boston Police previously in hot pursuit of two completely different named suspects before the Tsarnaevs were named, and why are they both dead?The most disturbing fact in the FBI's 'Tsarnaev Brothers' storyline, is that hours before the fugitive brothers' photos were thrust into the national spotlight by the FBI, two other suspects were being pursued on April 18th, and may have been killed following that multiple manhunt. The first two names which were announced as suspects by the police were Mike Mulugeta, reportedly as shot dead, and the other suspect was that missing 22 year old Brown University student named Sunil Tripathi.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Sunil Tripathi.
This was also confirmed by CBS local:"Boston police on Friday revealed the names of two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, one of whom is an Indian origin person, Sunil Tripathi, reported CBS-affiliated television station WFSB." Previously,Tripathi was reported missing and appeared on an official FBI list from March 16th, which coincidentally followed a series of bomb explosions between Providence, RI and Boston - taking place approximately one month earlier on March 12th. At 11pm on April 18th, an SUV was allegedly carjacked by Tsarnaev brothers after an MIT campus policeman was shot, at which time Tripathi's Facebook page was immediately taken down. Either US military or DHS could be heard over the Boston police scanners on April 19th - referring to "Operation Tango 911." Days later, Sunil Tripathi was reported as dead, after being found floating face-down in a pond. His family wrote in a statement, "On April 23, our beloved Sunil was discovered in the waters off India Point Park in Providence."Mike Mulageta and Sunil Tripathi were the first to be named by the police as suspects in the Boston Bombing, and both were killed.
2. Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev alive while in police custody?A video (below) appears on TV which appears to depict the Boston Police Dept arresting suspect bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev - showing the 26 year old being escorted to BPD vehicle whilst naked and handcuffed - but not wounded, which in total contradiction to official reports which claim Tamerlan was shot by police and then run-over by his younger brother in a stolen SUV in Sommerville, MA. If this was Tamerlan, then this means he was executed, or brutally murdered after this news footage was shot. Watch:
In addition to this, another piece of eyewitness evidence has surfaced from a radio broadcast which aired on Friday April 19, 2013 on WEEI 93.7 FM in Boston, where a caller named "Linda" explains how the shootout transpired on Dexter Street in Watertown during the early morning hours. Listen:She is describing how she saw the first suspect, Tamerlan, was run over by a police SUV and then mortally wounded by multiple police gun shots, after which time the police began their incredible manhunt for the second suspect Dzhokhar. She ends the interview by stating how the police had ordered her to stay inside, or 'shelter in place' for the remainder of the evening. To date, some 'debunking' websites have tried to discredit these pieces of evidence, but none have been able to explain away the clear forensic merits of both.
1. Dzhokhar exited the boat uninjured, yet, he was hospitalized later with a 'throat injury'. How could he have penned such a perfect confession whilst hiding under a boat tarp in the middle of a fire fight?Still image from helicopter footage of Dzhokhar.
21WIRE has demonstrated how our original analysis of the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was indeed correct - that a police firing squad had tried to murder the unarmed suspect when he was discovered hiding under a tarp in a boat. The FBI, however, declined to discuss what prompted the mass gunfire by police. Moreover, Boston Police have yet to explained how Dzhokhar's throat became so badly lacerated as to end up in serious condition, hospitalized at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and left unable to speak for many weeks afterwards. Helicopter footage from the arrest appears to show the suspect climbing out from under a tarp in very good form, even though police insist he was bleeding all day from "gun shot wounds" sustained during his escape.Then there is the amazing, perfectly scripted 'confession' note (photo above), said to have been written by Dzhokhar at night and in the dark under the tarp of a boat during the police stand-off, neatly scribbled on the inside wall of the boat and adorned with perfect blood dripping and even bullet holes coming through the words of a jihad polemic, including media favorites like 'Mujahideen', 'Koran' and 'paradise'. This set of images were absolutely key pieces of evidence presented the prosecution to exact guilt, yet these photographs which submitted by the DOJ appear to be 'undated.'
These are only a few of the serious questions and obvious anomalies surrounding the Boston Marathon case, yet none of these were ever addressed, or included by either the defense of the prosecution in court - leading 21WIRE to conclude that the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a classic 'show trial' - one which was never intended to discover anything which wasn't already prearranged or choreographed in advance.With that in mind, and with a federal 'Weapon of Mass Destruction' case stacked against him, it's certain that Dzhokhar would have done or said anything - in order to avoid the death penalty.
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev found guilty on all charges
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:14
(C) AP Photo/Jane Flavell CollinsIn this courtroom sketch, defense attorney Judy Clarke is depicted addressing the jury as defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, right, sits during closing arguments in Tsarnaev's federal death penalty trial Monday, April 6, 2015, in Boston.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on all charges Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombing by a federal jury that now must decide whether the 21-year-old former college student should be executed.Tsarnaev folded his arms, fidgeted and looked down at the defense table as he listened to one guilty verdict after another on all 30 counts against him, including conspiracy and deadly use of a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of those counts are punishable by death.
The verdict - reached after a day and a half of deliberations - was practically a foregone conclusion, given his lawyer's startling admission at the trial's outset that Tsarnaev carried out the terror attack with his now-dead older brother, Tamerlan.
The two shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs that exploded near the finish line on April 15, 2013, killed three spectators and wounded more than 260 other people, turning the traditionally celebratory home stretch of the world-famous race into a scene of carnage and putting the city on edge for days.
Tsarnaev was found responsible not only for those deaths but for the killing of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who was gunned down days later.
In the trial's next phase, which could begin as early as Monday, the jury will hear evidence on whether Tsarnaev should get the death penalty or spend the rest of his life in prison.
In a bid to save him from a death sentence, defense attorney Judy Clarke has argued that Tsarnaev, then 19, fell under the influence of his radicalized brother.
"If not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened," Clarke told the jury during closing arguments.
Prosecutors, however, portrayed the brothers - ethnic Chechens who moved to the United States from Russia more than a decade ago - as full partners in a coldblooded plan to punish the U.S. for its wars in Muslim countries. Jihadist writings, lectures and videos were found on both their computers, though the defense argued that Tamerlan downloaded the material and sent it to his brother.
Tamerlan, 26, died when he was shot by police and run over by his brother during a chaotic getaway attempt days after the bombing.
The government called 92 witnesses over 15 days, painting a hellish scene of torn-off limbs, blood-spattered pavement, ghastly screams and the smell of sulfur and burned hair.
Survivors gave heartbreaking testimony about losing legs in the blasts or watching people die. The father of 8-year-old Martin Richard described making the agonizing decision to leave his mortally wounded son so he could get help for their 6-year-old daughter, whose leg had been blown off.
In the courtroom Wednesday, Denise Richard, the boy's mother, wiped tears from her face after the verdict. The boy's father, Bill Richard, embraced one of the prosecutors.
In Russia, Tsarnaev's father, Anzor Tsarnaev, told The Associated Press in recent days that he would have no comment.
The others killed in the bombing were Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Chinese graduate student at Boston University, and Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager. MIT Officer Sean Collier was shot to death at close range days later.
In a statement, Collier's family welcomed the verdict and added: "The strength and bond that everyone has shown during these last two years proves that if these terrorists thought that they would somehow strike fear in the hearts of people, they monumentally failed."
Some of the most damning evidence at the trial included video showing Tsarnaev planting a backpack containing one of the bombs near where the 8-year-old boy was standing, and incriminating statements scrawled inside the dry-docked boat where a wounded and bleeding Tsarnaev was captured days after the tragedy.
"Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop," he wrote.
Tsarnaev's lawyers barely cross-examined the government's witnesses and called just four people to the stand over less than two days, all in an effort to portray the older brother as the guiding force in the plot.
According to defense testimony, phone records showed Dzhokhar was at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth while his brother was buying bomb components, including pressure cookers and BBs. Tamerlan's computer showed search terms such as "detonator" and "transmitter and receiver," while Dzhokhar was largely spending time on Facebook and other social media sites. And Tamerlan's fingerprints, but not Dzhokhar's, were found on pieces of the two bombs.
Clarke is one of the nation's foremost death-penalty specialists and has kept other high-profile defendants off death row. She saved the lives of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who drowned her two children in a lake in 1994.
Tsarnaev's lawyers tried repeatedly to get the trial moved out of Boston because of the heavy publicity and the widespread trauma. But opposition to capital punishment is strong in Massachusetts, which abolished its state death penalty in 1984, and some polls have suggested a majority of Bostonians do not want to see Tsarnaev sentenced to die.
During the penalty phase, Tsarnaev's lawyers will present so-called mitigating evidence they hope will save his life. That could include evidence about his family, his relationship with his brother, and his childhood in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and later in the volatile Dagestan region of Russia.
Prosecutors will present so-called aggravating factors in support of the death penalty, including the killing of a child and the targeting of the marathon because of the potential for maximum bloodshed.
Source: AP
Interview: Masha Gessen, Author Of 'The Brothers' : NPR
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 18:42
In this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (third from right) is depicted with his lawyers and U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. (right) as O'Toole addresses a pool of potential jurors in a jury assembly room at the federal courthouse in January. The jury started deliberating Phase 1 of the trial on Tuesday. Jane Flavell Collins/APhide caption
itoggle caption Jane Flavell Collins/APIn this courtroom sketch, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (third from right) is depicted with his lawyers and U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. (right) as O'Toole addresses a pool of potential jurors in a jury assembly room at the federal courthouse in January. The jury started deliberating Phase 1 of the trial on Tuesday.
Jane Flavell Collins/APJurors started deliberating Tuesday in the case of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The defense has acknowledged that Dzhokhar planted the bomb that killed three people and injured 264 others two years ago. Since there's no doubt about Dzhokhar's involvement, the main question is about the likely sentence: life imprisonment or the death penalty.
One person who has been watching the trial closely is journalist Masha Gessen, who has written extensively about Dzhokhar and his older brother Tamerlan. Tamerlan was killed during a shootout with the police after the attack.
"We were hoping, those of us who have been interested in the case ... that some facts would emerge from the trial, that as the FBI presented its case for the prosecution we would learn things ... that we didn't know before," Gessen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
"There were some gaping holes in our knowledge," Gessen adds. "One of them is where and when were the bombs made. The FBI agents who testified at the trial admitted that they don't know where the bombs were made. If they don't know where the bombs were made, that also means they don't know if anybody else was involved in the plot to bomb the marathon."
In her new book The Brothers, Gessen traces the history of the Tsarnaev family, including the brothers' parents and grandparents, covering the persecution and wars that kept uprooting the family from the Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan. Gessen traveled to Dagestan, where the brothers' mother grew up, and where the family lived when the brothers were children. She also researched their lives extensively in the U.S.
Dzhokhar has been charged with 30 counts, 17 of which carry the death penalty.
"The defense ... has been trying to say that it was Tamerlan who sort of had the belief system and was dragging Dzhokhar along and Dzhokhar was a typical teenager who was interested in girls, cars, drugs and maybe a little bit of Islam," Gessen says.
Gessen says Dzhokhar was a pot dealer at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth who talked with friends about pop culture.
"I think the belief system '-- to the extent that there was a belief system '-- the belief system belonged to Tamerlan, and Dzhokhar went along with it," Gessen says. "The problem is that there's actually no indication that the belief system is the determining factor of terrorism. ... Beliefs, even radical beliefs, are not a predictor of terrorist behavior."
Masha Gessen grew up in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the U.S. with her parents when she was 14. She returned to Russia to work as a journalist. Her earlier books are about Vladimir Putin and Pussy Riot. Tanya Sazansky/Courtesy of Riverhead Bookshide caption
itoggle caption Tanya Sazansky/Courtesy of Riverhead BooksMasha Gessen grew up in the Soviet Union and immigrated to the U.S. with her parents when she was 14. She returned to Russia to work as a journalist. Her earlier books are about Vladimir Putin and Pussy Riot.
Tanya Sazansky/Courtesy of Riverhead BooksInterview HighlightsOn the Tsarnaev family immigrating right after Sept. 11
They were used to being suspect; they were used to always being outsiders and ... always having to prove that they were not criminals. The other thing that was happening at the same time was that Russia and the United States were entering into a new alliance against so-called international Islamic terrorism. And the reason why I say "so-called" was because for Russia this was actually a great opportunity to squash any criticism of the wars it has been waging in Chechnya and Dagestan, which now got reframed as "wars against Islamic terrorism."
On Tamerlan's immigration experience
Tamerlan Tsarnaev waits for a decision in the 201-pound division boxing match during the 2009 Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions in Salt Lake City, Utah. He died in a shootout with police after the Boston Marathon bombing two years ago. Glenn DePriest/Getty Imageshide caption
itoggle caption Glenn DePriest/Getty ImagesTamerlan Tsarnaev waits for a decision in the 201-pound division boxing match during the 2009 Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions in Salt Lake City, Utah. He died in a shootout with police after the Boston Marathon bombing two years ago.
Glenn DePriest/Getty ImagesHe was 16, which is a horrible age to immigrate. And it was also a very difficult moment for the family because he was their firstborn who they believed was destined for greatness. But he was too old to really go to high school and get into a good college, so how were they going to make sure that he got the "greatness" that he deserved? The whole family and some friends were mobilized to figure this out.
They decided that he was going to become a boxing star '-- that he was going to become a boxer and join the U.S. Olympic team. One of the weird tragedies of this story is that this wasn't an unrealistic dream. It wasn't crazy. He was that talented. Immediately after he started boxing, he started winning amateur competitions. He may very well have been on his way to the U.S. Olympic team.
He didn't make it, apparently, because right around the time that he would've qualified, the amateur competitive circuit changed its rules to disqualify non-U.S. citizens. So he had permanent residence, but not U.S. citizenship, and he could no longer compete.
On Dzhokhar's immigration experience
He was 8 when he got here, so he started second grade in the United States. He was a good student; he spoke English without an accent; his high school classmates remember him as a social superstar. Everybody loved him.
There was something that was happening to him around the time that he started college or just before. There are weird and sometimes inexplicable details: He chose the least competitive school that he could possibly go to which was UMass Dartmouth. Around the time that he started college, he started creating a new Russian-speaking Chechen identity for himself online, which for a kid who was 8 when he came here is actually sort of a feat of linguistic heroism. It's very difficult to write in Russian for someone who has never been schooled in Russian. But he was clearly sort of immersing himself in this Russian-language culture, again, claiming this Chechen Muslim identity online.
All of this looks sinister in retrospect. At that time, it would've looked weird, but it's also not unheard of. I've seen other teenagers who are brought to this country as kids try to explore their identities and start to relearn a language in an ongoing effort to find out who they were.
On the trial in Boston
The prosecution and the defense have been doing a startling job. They are amazing. I've covered a lot of trials and it's absolutely the best tried trial I've ever seen in my life. The choice of witnesses ... the timing of the prosecution's case, was unbelievably good.
But structurally it's not the role of the American justice system to find the truth. The American justice system administers punishment. It does not conduct inquests and it does not find facts.
On the closing arguments at trial
The closing arguments ... were pretty much the same as the entire first phase of the trial and the incredible thing about them was that the defense chose not to contest guilt and chose basically to not put up a defense. It was a very strange thing to watch, but it's possibly brilliant as a strategy. The prosecution's case was talking about the horror and the tragedy of the marathon bombing and the defense's approach was to acknowledge the horror and the tragedy of the marathon bombing and basically try to make the jury think that what has happened to Dzhokar Tsarnaev is part of that tragedy.
Hillary 2016
Mike Flynn email
Adam, I know Mike very well and I'll be seeing him at the end of this month.
The reason why he was "kicked out" is that he wanted more spooks on the ground to get Intel for the DIA. Obamas NSA national security advisors thought otherwise. Guess who was the deputy NSA: Brennan.
Both P4 (Petraeus)and Flynn wanted more "spooks on the ground" to gather more Intel but obamas "team" thought otherwise.
It is interesting to see that people that have been at war want more "spooks on the ground" and the "pencil pushers" don't think it is necessary.
Hillary Clinton recruits a Google exec as her chief tech officer
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 21:25
Hillary Clinton may not have even formally announced that she's running for President yet, but that isn't stopping her from gearing up for what should be a very tech-heavy election. Both the Washington Post and Reuters claim that the former Secretary of State has hired Google executive Stephanie Hannon as her campaign's chief technology officer. The higher-up will reportedly watch over a team building apps, websites and other tools to help enchant voters.
While Hannon doesn't have direct election experience, she may well be a good fit. The exec helped Google share election information during her most recent stint as a product director for "civic innovation and social impact," and she has previously worked on projects as grand as Gmail and Google Maps. Clinton's behind-the-scenes operations are likely in safe hands, then. With that said, this isn't exactly the politician's greatest technical challenge at the moment. She'll probably want to get that email controversy sorted out before she worries about get-out-the-vote software.
If anything, it may have more of an impact on Hannon. She's one of the few women taking a position like this, and CTO campaign positions can serve as springboards for those lucky enough to get the job -- just ask Obama's officer, Harper Reed. Google may not be happy, though. Hannon is leaving the search pioneer right at a time when it's pushing for greater diversity, especially in leadership.
[Image credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images]
Source:Washington Post, Reuters
Tags:campaign, cto, election, elections2016, google, hillaryclinton, politics, president, president2016, stephaniehannon, video
Agenda 21
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Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:36
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What's the Earth's Carrying Capacity? - HowStuffWorksscience.howstuffworks.com/environmental/.../earth-carrying-capacity1.ht...As of 2008, there were about 6.7 billion people living on this planet [source: Sachs]. A good way to understand the flexibility of Earth's carrying capacity is to look ...Carrying capacitywww.bcca.org/ief/sustapedia/spcapacity.htmThe planet's carrying capacity is the number of people that can live on it without dangerously threatening its future. Given rapid population growth on a planet ...[PDF]One Planet, How Many People? - UNEP/GRID-Sioux Fallshttps://na.unep.net/geas/archive/.../GEAS_Jun_12_Carrying_Capacity.pd...Jun 8, 2012 - deserts, it is hard to conceive of limits to the planet's natural resources. ... Speculation about the ultimate carrying capacity of the planet dates ...Overpopulation Is Not the Problem - NYTimes.comwww.nytimes.com/.../overpopulation-is-not-the-pr...Sep 13, 2013 - The planet's carrying capacity for prehistoric human hunter-gatherers was probably no more than 100 million. But without their Paleolithic ...
California: Smart meters being used to impose fines on water wasters
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:04
The smart grid isn't coming. It's already here.Everywhere people's houses are being fitted if they already haven't with smart electric meters and smart water meters. These meters communicate real-time usage data via radio frequency (which comes with its own set of health problems).
Essentially, consumption of utilities in your home is being big brother tracked and traced at all times on the smart grid.
Sure, it was sold to everyone as a "smart" solution for keeping consumption in check, that it would decrease utility bills because people could use it to check out how much they use and find smart ways to cut down. (How many people are really even doing that, by the way?)
Not only is this going to be used to serve up "peak pricing" models against the population '-- to price electricity and water higher during times of higher consumption by the population '-- it's also going to be used to allow the people to tattle on themselves via their data, a set up that will come with heavy financial consequences.
As we can see happening now in California during its historic drought, smart meters are also being used by authorities to seek people out and impose fines.
CBS Los Angeles is reporting that water authorities are using smart meters against "water wasters":
Water authorities are using a new tool in a major effort to crack down on people and businesses wasting water in light of new water restrictions issued by Gov. Jerry Brown to fight the drought.
The Long Beach Water Department says sprinklers at a McDonald's restaurant on Bellflower Boulevard went on for 45 minutes at a time, twice a night, for an undefined number of nights. Complaints continued to mount as water pooled and wasted. The department, however, could do little about the wasting.
That was before the smart meter.
Since its installation in February, Long Beach Water Department General Manager Kevin Wattier says he saw an immediate spike by tens of thousands of gallons, each time McDonald's overwatered their property.
"It collects the data every five minutes, then after midnight, the cellphone that's built in here comes on, makes one call, and calls it in to the database that we and the customer, through a password security system, have online access to their consumption," Wattier said. [emphasis added]
The punchline?Using this data, Wattier knew the precise moment to send his employees to videotape the infractions to use as evidence.
"We are using it specifically for an enforcement tool to go after those customers who we've gotten lots of complaints about," Wattier said.
In this case, it's McDonald's, and while McDonald's may suck for a bevy of reasons that have nothing to do with its water usage, it isn't like this technology is only going to be used against crappy corporations. It's going to be used against everyone, right down to the little old lady that forgot her sprinkler was on last Tuesday.And those fines, depending on the area, can be $500a day.
Or what if you hate that little old lady and, as a neighbor who is out to get someone, you decide to leave her sprinkler on for her? What a payback.
Could that happen? You see, the propaganda surrounding the drought has already turned a lot of Californians against each other.
A social media campaign #droughtshaming started by authorities in some cities seeks to get people to photograph and film "water wasters" and shame them on social media. The "evidence" gathered can then be used by authorities to impose fines on people as well. One of the guys in the article I wrote about was filming people's homes at night and putting the videos up on YouTube. One of the videos he put up had the wrong address.
Meanwhile, 80% of water in California goes to mega agriculture operations, including Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Cities are still selling millions of gallons of water for pennies on the dollar to megacorporations like Nestl(C) to bottle and sell. So the 20% of people left who are tattling on their neighbors for leaving a sprinkler on for an extra half hour that's not really going to change anything just by the way.
Question: while the system is busy turning neighbors into angry snitches and using smart meters to impose heavy fines on everyone, is any of this making more water?
Is all that money making more rain happen? Or is it just making more money for cash-strapped municipalities? Are they going to take all those fines and do something about the situation or just make bank?
In the meantime, the smart grid is doing exactly what it was always designed to: keeping everyone tracked, traced, financially trapped and strapped, and under the thumb of the establishment's ever-watching eye.
If We Dig Out All Our Fossil Fuels, Here's How Hot We Can Expect It to Get - NYTimes.com
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 21:28
World leaders are once again racing to avert disastrous levels of global warming through limits on greenhouse gas emissions. An agreement may be in reach, but because of the vast supplies of inexpensive fossil fuels, protecting the world from climate change requires the even more difficult task of disrupting today's energy markets.
The White House last month released a blueprint to reduce United States emissions by as much as 28 percent by 2025. The plan lays the groundwork for the formal international climate talks this December in Paris, where the goal is a treaty on emissions that will seek to limit the rise in global temperatures to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. Beyond 3.6 degrees, scientists say, the most catastrophic climate consequences will occur, possibly including the melting of the Greenland ice sheet.
Forging a treaty in Paris would be no small task, yet would be just the beginning of a solution. The greater challenge will be deciding how much of the world's abundant supply of fossil fuels we simply let lie. (Bill McKibben and more recently The Guardian have taken a maximal position in their Leave It in the Ground campaign.)
To understand the scope of this challenge, I've tallied the projected warming from fossil fuels extracted so far and the projected warming capacity of various fossil fuels that can be extracted with today's technology. This accounting was done by taking the embedded carbon dioxide in each energy source and using a standard model for the relationship between cumulative carbon emissions and long-run temperature changes based on a 2009 Nature article. (More detail on the method is available here.)
For those who don't like suspense, here's the total: an astonishing 16.2 degrees. And here's how that breaks down. Since the industrial revolution, fossil fuels have warmed the planet by about 1.7 degrees. We are already experiencing the consequences of this warming. In recent weeks, we have learned that the world had its warmest winter on record and that Arctic sea ice hit a new low, even as intense storms continue to inflict harm on communities globally.
Next, look at fossil fuel reserves, the deposits we know to be recoverable under today's prices and technology. That is, they are inexpensive to access. If we were to use all of this coal, natural gas and petroleum, the planet would warm by an additional 2.8 degrees. Add the heat from those reserves to the 1.7 degrees from what has already been emitted, and you get a world that is 4.5 degrees warmer since the industrial revolution; this is beyond scientists' recommended 3.6-degree threshold.
The next set of fossil fuels in line is referred to as resources, rather than reserves. The difference is that they are recoverable with today's technology, but not at current prices. There is 3.1 degrees' worth of warming if the oil and natural gas in this category are utilized, which would lead to a total increase in global temperatures of 7.6 degrees.
This warming does not even consider our coal resources. A middle-of-the-road estimate of the coal that qualifies as resources indicates that its use would lead to an additional increase of 8.6 degrees. Thus, the use of all reserves and resources would lead to a total increase of 16.2 degrees. Today's climate and planet would very likely be unrecognizable.
Graphic | Buried Fuel and a Much Warmer World There is enough fossil fuel extracted and within reach to raise temperatures 16.2 degrees.
Without pricing carbon to reflect expected climate damages, all of this coal, oil and natural gas is worth many trillions of dollars, so keeping it in the ground would mean passing up economic opportunities that are waiting to be taken and turning our backs on a long history of going to great lengths to recover these energy sources. A January study in Nature developed estimates of which fuels would have to be abandoned to stay below the 3.6-degree threshold. It found that most Canadian tar sands; all Arctic oil and gas; and a significant share of potential shale gas would need to stay locked up. It also found that major coal producers like the United States would need to keep 90 percent of their reserves in the ground.
There are essentially only three long-run solutions to the climate challenge. The first is to price carbon emissions to reflect the damages from climate change. In practice, this means pricing carbon in as many parts of the world as possible '-- and ideally, globally '-- so that there is a level playing field for all energy sources. There has been important progress in this area, including in the European Union, individual American states and regions (for example, California and the Northeast's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), and parts of China.
And there are several ways to introduce carbon pricing, as a New York Times Op-Ed by David Hayes and James Stock underscored. But we are a long way from a global price on carbon, and the prices in existing carbon markets are lower than the projected damages from increased carbon emissions.
The second way to disrupt the energy market is to have low-carbon energy sources like nuclear, wind and solar become cheaper than their fossil fuel competition. Although there has been much progress in reducing the costs of wind and solar recently, they generally remain more expensive than fossil fuels. Further, the fracking revolution makes it clear that there will be continued technical advances that reduce the costs of recovering fossil fuels.
Indeed, it is well known that there are ample supplies of coal deeper beneath the Earth's surface that do not yet qualify as resources, and there is increasing evidence that energy from methane hydrates may become relevant commercially. In other words, it seems unlikely that today's low carbon energy sources will play a major role in the solution without significant public investment in research, development and test deployments of new technologies.
The third approach is to continue using those fuels, but capture and store the carbon before it is released or pull it out of the atmosphere after its release. Neither approach has yet been proved to work at scale, and costs remain high. Even if costs come down, it will very likely remain more expensive than using fossil fuels without capture and storage, so a carbon price would be necessary for it to be applied broadly. A related idea is to reflect sunlight away from the earth so temperatures do not rise as much. This approach does not reduce the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and there is agreement that further research is necessary.
If we use all of the fossil fuels in the ground, the planet will warm in a way that is difficult to imagine. Unless the economics of energy markets change, we are poised to use them.
FACT SHEET: Administration Announces Actions To Protect Communities From The Impacts Of Climate Change
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:18
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 07, 2015
President Obama is committed to combating the health impacts of climate change and protecting the health of future generations. We know climate change is not is not a distant threat, we are already seeing impacts in communities across the country. And while most Americans see climate change hitting their communities through extreme weather events '' from more severe droughts and wildfires to more powerful hurricanes and record heat waves '' there are other threats climate change poses to the American people. In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled, and climate change is putting these individuals and many other vulnerable populations at greater risk of landing in the hospital. Certain people and communities are especially vulnerable, including children, the elderly, the sick, the poor, and some communities of color. Rising temperatures can lead to more smog, longer allergy seasons, and an increased incidence of extreme-weather-related injuries.
That is why the President is taking action now. The sooner we act, the more we can do to protect the health of our communities our kids, and those that are the most vulnerable. As part of the Administration's overall effort to combat climate change and protect the American people, this week, the Administration is announcing a series of actions that will allow us to better understand, communicate, and reduce the health impacts of climate change on our communities, including:
Convening Stakeholders: The Administration is bringing together health and medical professionals, academics, and other interested stakeholders through a series of convenings this week'--including a workshop to develop data and tools to empower people and communities with the science-based information and tools they need to protect public health in the face of climate change and another on mental health and wellness impacts of climate change'--all leading up to a White House Climate Change and Health Summit later this spring that will feature the Surgeon General.Identifying Solutions to Minimize Impacts: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is releasing an Adaptation in Action Report highlighting successful actions state and local leaders are taking to reduce the health impacts of climate change in New York City, San Francisco, Maine, Minnesota, Arizona, Michigan, California and New York. The CDC is also releasing a Health Care Facilities Toolkit illustrating best practices for promoting resilient health care infrastructure.Expanding Access to Climate and Health Data: The Administration is expanding its Climate Data Initiative to include more than 150 health-relevant datasets, challenging innovators to use them to better inform scientists and communities about how to identify, minimize and prevent the health impacts of climate change. Today, private-sector leaders across the country are committing to leverage these data sets to generate tools, apps, and insights to help communities and businesses reduce the health impacts of climate change.Preparing the Next Generation of Medical and Health Professionals: The Administration is announcing a coalition of Deans from 30 medical, public health, and nursing schools around the country, who are committing to ensure that the next generation of health professionals is trained to address the health impacts of climate change.Releasing Draft Climate and Health Assessment Report: The interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program is releasing a draft Climate and Health Assessment report synthesizing the best available scientific literature on the observed and projected impacts of climate change on human health in the United States. This report covers weather and climate extremes, air quality, vector borne diseases, water- and food-related issues, mental health and well-being, and risks facing vulnerable segments of the population, such as children, the elderly, and people with existing health conditions. It will be open for public comment and formal peer review.Executive Actions To Reduce The Health Impacts Of Climate Change:
Yesterday, April 6th, President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring April 6 -12, 2015, National Public Health Week, reinforcing the importance of our public health system and the need to take action to reduce the health impacts of climate change on our communities. Today, the Administration is announcing a series of executive actions to set us on track to better understand, communicate, and reduce the health impacts of climate change on our communities, including:
Announcing a White House Climate Change and Health Summit: The White House will host a Climate Change and Public Health Summit later this spring, featuring the Surgeon General, to bring together public health medical, and other health professionals, academics, and other interested stakeholders to discuss the public health impacts of climate change and identify opportunities to minimize these impacts.Highlighting Actions by State and Local Leaders to Reduce the Impact of Climate Change: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Public Health Association (APHA) are releasing Adaptation in Action. The report highlights how seven cities and state grantees that are successfully using the CDCs Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework to identify climate-related public health threats and develop strategies to adapt to these threats, including New York City, San Francisco, California; Maine, Minnesota, Arizona, Michigan, and the States of New York and California.Releasing a Health Care Facilities Toolkit: Through the Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Initiative, HHS is releasing a Health Care Facilities Toolkit consisting of fact sheets and checklists organized in a five-element framework, along with case studies and extensive resource lists. The Health Care Facilities Toolkit is today being integrated into an expanded Climate Resilience Toolkit on toolkit.climate.gov, which includes 10 new case studies about using data and tools to support decision making, and 20 additional Federal tools related to climate and human health, including an app that translates weather conditions into health-risk levels for outdoor workers.Releasing Draft Climate and Health Assessment Report: The interagency U.S. Global Change Research Program is today releasing a draft Climate and Health Assessment report for public comment and concurrent peer review. Synthesizing the best available scientific literature on this topic, the report assesses the observed and projected impacts of climate change on human health in the United States, covering weather and climate extremes, air quality, vector borne diseases, water- and food-related issues, mental health and wellbeing, and risks facing vulnerable segments of the population, such as children, the elderly, and people with existing health conditions. The report is ultimately intended to inform health officials, urban planners, and other stakeholders. To ensure the draft report benefits from robust input and rigorous peer review, in addition to public comment, this draft report is concurrently being submitted for review by the National Academy of Sciences, with release of the final report expected in 2016.Hosting a Community, Culture, and Mental-Health Workshop This week, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted an all-day workshop at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building convening community leaders, scientists, engineers, and other stakeholders to discuss the unique characteristics and strengths of communities and cultures that make them resilient to the challenges of climate change. Building on this initial workshop, OSTP will work with representatives of different cultural groups (e.g., tribal, age-based, and place-based groups) to identify key research needs and questions related to the intersection of climate, culture, and mental health and well-being, especially needs and questions that could be answered by leveraging open data.Integrating Climate Considerations into the Department of Interior's Health and Safety Policies: Today the Department of the Interior issued guidance to its bureaus and offices for incorporating climate change considerations into health policies and protocols for employees, volunteers and visitors by the end of the calendar year. About 70,000 employees and more than 300,000 volunteers manage the Department's 530 million acres of lands and its resources. DOI employees often work many hours outdoors and are directly exposed to environmental conditions. Additionally, the Department's lands average over 400 million recreation visits per year with visitors spending much of their time outdoors '' occasionally in remote locations with limited access to basic services or emergency information. The third National Climate Assessment (NCA), released April 2014, describes many of the projected impacts from extreme temperatures, including more frequent or intense storms, increased wildland fire activity, reduced air quality, and increased illnesses transmitted by food, water, and disease-carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks. The Department recognizes the importance of proactive health and safety planning and training. Integration of climate considerations into Department and bureau health and safety policies can help mitigate many climate health and safety risks and reduce the impact of others.Hosting a Climate and Health Data Challenge: HHS's National Institutes for Health are teaming up with Esri and others to launch a national data challenge on climate and health. This will mark the first time that climate change and public heath will be the focus of a large-scale data challenge. The challenge will invite coders, analysts, and researchers to use 150+ open-government datasets released today to generate new insights into difficult, unresolved questions about the health impacts of climate change. This national data challenge will be announced later this year.Providing Climate & Health Data at National Day of Civic Hacking: As part of the annual National Day of Civic Hacking led by NASA and Code for America, Federal agencies will provide datasets, challenges, and expertise in the areas of climate, health; disaster relief; oceans; safety and justice; and economic development to support the development of new climate- and health-related solutions by participating citizens and civic hackers. This public engagement will culminate in a multi-site hackathon on June 6, 2015, in which thousands of participants will leverage open data and contribute their skills and perspectives to improve their communities and the governments that serve them-- including, for the first time, in areas at the nexus of climate and health. Improving Air Quality Data: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with state and local agencies, is announcing that it will release six new ''Village Green'' stations during 2015 in cities across the country to increase local air-monitoring capabilities in communities. The Village Green Project involves park benches that incorporate solar- and wind-powered instruments to measure air quality (ozone and particle pollution) and meteorological data (wind speed and direction, humidity, and temperature). An initial prototype was installed outside a Durham, NC, library in 2013 to measure local air quality, increase citizen awareness of air quality, and deliver on-the-spot information about current conditions. The data collected are useful for research and educational purposes and are posted every minute to a publicly accessible and interactive data website. The six new stations will be located in Washington, DC; Kansas City, KS; Philadelphia, PA; Hartford, CT; Oklahoma City, OK; and Chicago, IL.Unleashing Data: As part of the Administration's Predict the Next Pandemic Initiative, in May 2015, an interagency working group co-chaired by OSTP, the CDC, and the Department of Defense will launch a pilot project to simulate efforts to forecast epidemics of dengue '' a mosquito-transmitted viral disease affecting millions of people every year, including U.S. travelers and residents of the tropical regions of the U.S. such as Puerto Rico. The pilot project will consolidate data sets from across the federal government and academia on the environment, disease incidence, and weather, and challenge the research and modeling community to develop predictive models for dengue and other infectious diseases based on those datasets. In August 2015, OSTP plans to convene a meeting to evaluate resulting models and showcase this effort as a ''proof-of-concept'' for similar forecasting efforts for other infectious diseases.Challenging Innovators: In May 2015, The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will announce winners of its CHIKV Challenge, launched last year. The Challenge asked teams to create models that would accurately forecast the spread of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus through the Americas and the Caribbean region from September 2014 - March 2015. The Challenge specifically sought models that, if applied going forward, could help governments and health organizations focus their resources and activities in ways that will best limit the scourge's spread. Awards totaling up to $500,000 will be offered to top Challenge solvers in various categories.Measuring Nutrient Pollution: The Challenging Nutrients Coalition, which includes the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in collaboration with the Alliance for Coastal Technologies and Blue Legacy International, is working to improve our ability to measure and understand nutrient pollution. The coalition launched the Nutrient Sensor challenge that is underway with 29 teams registered to develop affordable and accurate sensors. Today, USGS and EPA are working with Blue Legacy International to launch a ''Visualizing Nutrients'' challenge on the Innocentive challenge platform. The goal of the competition is to utilize open government data sources to create compelling, innovative, and comprehensible visualizations that inform individuals, communities, and resource managers on nutrients in water to support education and decision making related to algal blooms, hypoxia, and other nutrient-related water quality issues that can impact the health of people and ecosystems.Leaders Around The Country Commit To Empowering Healthy People And Communities Through Climate Data And Innovation
Last year, the Obama Administration unveiled the Climate Data Initiative'--a major effort to unleash the Federal Government's vast open data resources to stimulate innovations that empower America's communities and businesses to boost their own resilience against the impacts of climate change. Since March 2014, more than 500 datasets have been made available on climate.data.gov in high-priority topic areas such as food and agriculture, coastal resilience, water resources, and ecosystems. Today, the Administration is unveiling the Initiative's ''Health Resilience'' theme, making more the 150 meta-tagged health-related datasets available on climate.data.gov'--including key datasets from the CDC, NOAA, and several other agencies. The new theme aims to empower America's people, communities, and health sector to more effectively plan, prepare, and strengthen their resilience to the health-impacts of climate change. New commitments to advance the Climate Data Initiative and empower healthy people and communities with science-based information and tools include:
CDP: CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) is committing to release data on the climate risks facing U.S. cities and the adaptation actions cities are taking to improve their resilience. This is the first time CDP will release data from the expanded group 'Žof more than 40 U.S. cities reporting in 2015. Examples from previous CDP responses include risks in Atlanta of increased urban heat-island effects, risks in Los Angeles of more intense heat waves, and risks in Cleveland of increased frequency of large storms. These datasets will inform policymakers, business leaders and communities on how cities are managing the risks posed by climate change, including the threat to public health.City of San Francisco: The City of San Francisco's Department of Public Health is announcing the release of its first Climate and Health Profile on the City's website. Using datasets from 32 local, state and federal sources, the Profile analyzes publicly available data to show the direct effect of rising temperatures, increased precipitation and reduced air quality on public health in San Francisco communities. Using climate projections from NOAA, Cal-Adapt, and local sources, along with data about socioeconomic factors, environmental exposure, infrastructure conditions, health and hazard risks, the Profile prioritizes health impacts and identifies neighborhoods that may be disproportionately impacted. The effort aims to leverage the City's open-data efforts to help boost San Francisco's climate preparedness and resilience.EMC Corporation: EMC is announcing a partnership with Ben Gurion University to design a cutting-edge surveillance engine for the rapid detection and control of vector-, water-, and food-borne diseases that are affected by climate change. Leveraging open data '' including Federal health and climate data '' along with EMC's Big Data Analytics technology, the surveillance engine will utilize recent advances in Next Generation Sequencing technology to analyze pathogens in samples from water, food, and animals, delivering more accurate and rapid results. Insights emerging from this technology may include, for example, how the geographical distribution of pathogens are affected by environmental changes.Esri: Esri is committing to collaborate with HHS and the National Institutes of Health to sponsor a climate and health app challenge to be formally launched later this year. To support this challenge, Esri will make its developers-platform available and stand up an open data site for developers to easily access and explore free open-data services (including dynamic Landsat services) to fuel the app challenge. In addition, this spring, Esri will convene a whiteboarding session with local government stakeholders to uncover common needs for targeted applications related to climate and health that can be openly shared. To support the app challenge and whiteboarding session, in April, Esri will launch an online collaboration site to showcase current best practices, model applications and share data services to inspire ongoing connections and dialog among developers and users of applications to understand climate change and health impacts. Esri will also collaborate with data.gov to embed a tool that enables immediate viewing of spatial-data services from data.gov directly in Esri platforms, encouraging innovation with open government data.Four Twenty Seven. Four Twenty Seven is committing to provide a climate risk assessment for 100 of the country's health care facilities with large patient populations. Building on the vulnerability assessment framework developed as part of the Obama Administration's Climate Resilience Toolkit, Four Twenty Seven will screen crucial health facilities and deliver an interactive, publicly accessible online dashboard that enables users to identify risk hotspots, key drivers of risk, and the types of impacts faced by specific hospitals. This analysis and dashboard will support decision-making by enabling policy makers to visualize at-risk assets, prioritize resources, and communicate the urgency of boosting climate resilience in health care facilities. Google: Google is committing to donate ten million hours of high-performance computing and to host key daily public climate-related data on its Google Earth Engine geospatial analysis platform. This will enable scientists and practitioners to work to eliminate global infectious diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, and to visualize global fires and oil and gas flares over time. Google will dedicate staff time to technically assist these scientists in the creation of early warning capabilities, and publicly-available, dynamically updating disease-risk maps.Harvard University: The Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis (CGA) will build an open and freely available master registry of global web-map service layers and other online geospatial data assets related to climate and health, and will provide access to this registry via a public API. Any web or desktop client will be able to search the registry and find and bind to millions of otherwise hard to find dynamic map layers. The CGA will provide a map-centric visualization client to enable users to see where on the planet data layers exist, even when results returned are in the millions. The CGA will also develop a geospatial data platform capable of providing search and visualization of a billion geo-tweets (tweets containing geographic coordinates via GPS). These resources will be made open source and freely available to help with crisis response and to improve understanding of how global environmental changes affect the spread of infectious diseases.Microsoft: In order to improve disease surveillance systems' ability to detect disease emergence prior to an outbreak, Microsoft Research is prototyping an experimental autonomous system to help detect pathogens in the environment before they infect people. This system aims to collect large amounts of mosquitoes at low-cost by automating and updating classical entomological techniques. This effort envisions drone-deployed devices that can collect mosquitoes autonomously and conduct gene-sequencing and pathogen detection computationally. This technique has the potential to serve as an early warning system for vector borne disease outbreaks and may assist health officials in planning for the impacts of climate change on public health. Microsoft is currently prototyping a system in the Southern Caribbean, with consent from nearby communities. Recognizing that safety and security are essential to the project, the autonomous systems are being designed using state-of-the-art secure operating systems, verifiable programming languages, and advanced artificial intelligence.Plotly: Plotly will incorporate into its data-analytics and data-visualization platform key open federal health and climate datasets made available through the President's Climate Data Initiative. Plotly will create tutorials that demonstrate how to use statistical, analytical, and visual tools to explore and explain climate trends and data. Plotly will also challenge its hundreds of thousands of users to find new ways to analyze and visualize these datasets with the goal of gaining new insights about how climate change affects human health.Propeller Health: Propeller Health, a digital respiratory health company, is announcing that it will build a national Asthma Risk Map for the United States, through which citizens can track how climate change may affect the frequency and severity of asthma attacks and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations. To accomplish this, Propeller Health will expand its current municipal public health asthma programs, such as AIR Louisville, to five cities across the United States in the next two years. These programs use Propeller's sensors, which can fit on top of inhaled medications for asthma and COPD. With patient consent, the sensors collect crowd-sourced data on the time and location of inhaled medication use. Using predictive spatial modeling techniques and open government data resources, Propeller will identify areas in U.S. cities where the impacts of climate change will be felt most acutely by people with chronic respiratory disease over the next 10 to 100 years and beyond. These models will consider modifiable predictors such as air pollution and transportation in addition to climate conditions to help municipalities plan collaboratively for the impacts of climate change on health and to identify the most promising interventions that could be implemented now to reduce this burden.Public Health Institute: The Public Health Institute is today releasing a new report on "Climate Change, Health, and Equity: Opportunities for Action," that explores the intersections of climate, health and equity, and the many ways society can take action in this domain. The report, which is funded by the Kresge Foundation, is based on a review of literature, interviews with more than one-hundred public health experts and community health advocates, and recommendations from several convenings on climate change and health. The report may be used by public health professionals to help identify intersections among current public health practice and opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to climate change, and increase community climate change resilience.Quantified Self Labs: Quantified Self Labs will launch a series of community challenges focused on generating new methods for sensing, visualizing, and understanding personal health in the context of environmental data, with special emphasis at the hyper-local scale of individuals, families, and neighborhoods. Quantified Self will work closely with the Environmental Protection Agency and other entities to launch Personal & Community Environmental Data Challenges, calling on researchers and companies making wearables, sensing, data-visualization, and digital health-tools to join a national conversation about the importance of gaining a more detailed view of environmental impacts on health. The community challenge will be formally launched at the 2015 Quantified Self and Public Health Symposium to be held this May in San Diego.Urban Sustainability Directors Network: Building on its Getting Smart About Smart Cities Resource Guide for municipal staff, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network is developing a sustainable technology toolkit and framework to further assist cities in deploying new technologies and using data to help reduce carbon emissions and protect public health. This toolkit will examine key sustainability sectors such as waste, buildings, transportation, infrastructure, energy, and citizen engagement and feature specific technologies or techniques used, exemplary companies, deployment benefits and challenges, key metrics and measurement for success, as well as public and private sector contacts. Working with Nutter Consulting and the Institute for Sustainable Communities, the toolkit aims to spread best practices, raise awareness and offer the tools needed for rapid deployment.Vizonomy: Using models forecasting through the end of the century and open federal data at the climate and health nexus, Vizonomy will identify world regions that may be subject to increased exposure to West Nile virus and tropical diseases - namely malaria and dengue fever. In addition, Vizonomy will address projected impacts to human health associated with increases in particulate matter concentrations due to wildfire risk. As open federal datasets mature, more diseases and areas will be studied and displayed on the Vizomony's ASTERRA climate-risk analytics platform. The resulting additional capabilities will allow cities to better prepare public health policy based on the needs of current and future vulnerable populations. These results will be available publicly and will complement the economic-loss analysis completed through ASTERRA on sea level rise and flood risk, which is based on methodologies used by FEMA.Commitments From Academic Leaders Across The Country To Train The Next Generation Of Health Professionals To Address The Health Impacts Of Climate Change
A coalition of Deans from 30 medical, nursing, and public health schools around the country are committing to ensuring that the next generation of health professionals are trained to effectively address the health impacts of climate change. On April 9th, White House Senior Advisor Brian Deese will host a number of Deans of medical, public health and nursing universities, colleges, and schools that made this commitment for a roundtable discussion around climate change and health. Today's commitment builds on leadership of many educators around the country that have already begun incorporating climate change into their respective programs. The schools making commitments today include:
College of Medicine, Howard UniversitySchool of Medicine, University of California-DavisSchool of Medicine, University of California-San FranciscoCollege of Osteopathic Medicine, Des Moines UniversityCollege of Medicine, University of NebraskaSchool of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-MadisonVanderbilt School of Medicine, Vanderbilt UniversitySchool of Public Health, University of AlabamaSchool of Public Health, University of California BerkeleyFielding School of Public Health, University of California-Los AngelesMailman School of Public Health, Columbia UniversityDrexel University School of Public Health, Drexel UniversityMilken Institute of Public Health, George Washington UniversityT.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard UniversityBloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins UniversitySchool of Public Health, University of MarylandCollege of Public Health, University of NebraskaGillings School of Global Public Health, University of North CarolinaSchool of Public Health, University of PittsburghSchool of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane UniversitySchool of Public Health, University of WashingtonSchool of Public Health, Yale UniversitySchool of Nursing, University of California-San FranciscoNell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory UniversitySchool of Nursing, John Hopkins UniversitySchool of Nursing, University of Maryland-BaltimoreSchool of Nursing, University of Michigan-Ann ArborCollege of Nursing, New York UniversitySchool of Nursing, University of PennsylvaniaCollege of Nursing, Washington State UniversityBuilding On Progress:
This week's actions build on a series of steps we are taking across the Administration through the President's Climate Action Plan to reduce the dangerous levels of carbon pollution that are contributing to climate change, prepare our communities for the impacts that cannot be avoided, and lead internationally, including:
Clean Power Plan: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on track to finalize guidelines to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants this summer. The proposed standards, issued in June 2014 would reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 while delivering $55-93 billion in annual net benefits from reducing carbon pollution and other harmful pollutants, and preventing 150,000 asthma attacks and up to 6,600 premature deaths and 180,000 missed school days.Standards for Heavy-Duty Engines and Vehicles: In February 2014, President Obama directed EPA and the Department of Transportation to issue the next phase of fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by March 2016. These will build on the first-ever standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (model years 2014 through 2018), proposed and finalized by this Administration.Energy Efficiency Standards: The Department of Energy set a goal of reducing carbon pollution by 3 billion metric tons cumulatively by 2030 through energy conservation standards issued during this Administration. The Department of Energy has already finalized energy conservation standards for 29 categories of appliances and equipment as well as a building code determination for commercial buildings. These measures will also cut consumers' annual electricity bills by billions of dollars. Economy-Wide Measures to Reduce other Greenhouse Gases: EPA and other agencies are taking actions to cut methane emissions from oil and gas systems, landfills, coal mining, and agriculture, through cost-effective voluntary actions and common-sense standards. At the same time, the State Department is working to slash global emissions of potent industrial greenhouse gases, called HFCs, through an amendment to the Montreal Protocol; EPA is cutting domestic HFC emissions through its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program; and, the private sector has stepped up with commitments to cut global HFC emissions equivalent to 700 million metric tons through 2025.
Climate-change deniers are in retreat - The Washington Post
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:52
There is no denying it: Climate-change deniers are in retreat.
What began as a subtle shift away from the claim that man-made global warming is not a threat to the planet has lately turned into a stampede. The latest attempt to deny denial comes from the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, a powerful group that pushes for states to pass laws that are often drafted by industry. As my Post colleagues Tom Hamburger, Joby Warrick and Chris Mooney report, ALEC is not only insisting that it doesn't deny climate change '-- it's threatening to sue those who suggest otherwise.
Dana Milbank writes about political theater in the nation's capital. He joined the Post as a political reporter in 2000. View ArchiveThe group, which suffered the highly visible defection of Google because of its global-warming stance and an exodus of other top corporate members, sent letters to Common Cause and the League of Conservation Voters instructing them to ''remove all false or misleading material'' alleging ALEC questions global-warming theory.
The problem for ALEC is that as recently as 2013, it was still reaffirming ''model legislation'' calling on states to consider ''legitimate and scientifically defensible alternative hypotheses'' to the ''mainstream scientific positions'' on climate. The proposed legislation states that there is ''a great deal of scientific uncertainty'' about the matter and suggests states treat possible beneficial effects of carbon ''in an evenhanded manner.''
The turnabout at ALEC follows an about-face at the Heartland Institute, a libertarian outfit that embraces a description of it as ''the world's most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change.''
But on Christmas Eve, Justin Haskins, a blogger and editor at Heartland, penned an article for the conservative journal Human Events declaring: ''The real debate is not whether man is, in some way, contributing to climate change; it's true that the science is settled on that point in favor of the alarmists.''
Haskins called it ''a rather extreme position to say that we ought to allow dangerous pollutants to destroy the only planet we know of that can completely sustain human life,'' and he suggested work on ''technologies that can reduce CO2 emissions without destroying whole economies.''
To be sure, this is a tactical retreat, and you shouldn't expect conservative groups to start lining up in favor of a carbon tax. Rather, they're resorting to more defensible arguments that don't make them sound like flat-earthers. My Post colleagues quoted energy lobbyist Scott Segal saying that ''the science issue just isn't as salient as it once was.'' Instead, Segal talks about the cost and viability of proposed regulations.
It's likely no coincidence that the shift is occurring as the Obama administration approaches a June target to finalize rules on power-plant emissions. Those who oppose regulation are wise to abandon a position that holds little public appeal; a healthy majority of Americans accept that global warming is real, and a New York Times poll earlier this year found that even half of Republicans support government action to address it.
More and more conservative officeholders are embracing the ''I am not a scientist'' agnosticism on climate change rather than skepticism. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and presidential candidates Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio have adopted this response, and Rubio has joined Mitt Romney and Chuck Grassley in embracing the less assailable position that U.S. efforts to restrict carbon are pointless without similar efforts across the globe.
Certainly, figures such as Senate Environment Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (who calls man-made warming a ''hoax'') and presidential candidate Ted Cruz (who fancies himself a modern-day Galileo opposing the ''global-warming alarmists'') are not about to change. But as corporations abandon the untenable position of denial, ideologues will be forced to do the same.
As my Post colleagues noted, Southern Co., an operator of coal-fired power plants, decided to drop funding for a Smithsonian scientist who challenged climate-change theory but failed to disclose that his work was funded by fossil-fuel interests. ALEC's declining skepticism also comes as even oil companies such as Occidental Petroleum and BP quit the group.
At ALEC's December meeting, a climate-change contrarian got applause for declaring in his presentation that ''carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a benefit. It is the very elixir of life.''
For politicians and climate-denial groups, the elixir of life is money. Now that corporations are becoming reluctant to bankroll crazy theories, the surrender of climate-change deniers will follow.
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Winter returns to Iceland with a vengeance
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 21:59
(C) Mbl.is/ Mal­n BrandTake care when dri­ving to­day, the snow is back and roads are icy.
Reykjavik locals had to sweep snow off their cars this morning as the few spring-like days are seemingly over and winter is back with a vengeance. The weather forecast for the next few days is summed up in two words: cold and windy.The Reykjavik metropolitan police ask people to drive carefully today as the roads are icy. In south and west Iceland today, heavy snowfall is expected causing poor visibility. Today's winds are between 15- 23 m/s and more snow is expected this week. Spring may not be around the corner- yet.
World's eight oil chokepoints
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 03:20
Over half of the world's oil supply moved through set maritime routes in 2013, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), often aboard massive tanker ships. To minimize costs, tankers transport oil along established paths that are as short as possible. Many pass through a small handful of maritime chokepoints.
Altogether, there are eight major oil chokepoints throughout the world, and a closure or disruption to any one of them could cause unpredictable price fluctuations. Fortunately, these locations are generally safe and are kept clear by the international community, whose economies and standards of living depend on these chokepoints remaining clear.
Uncertainty over maritime security can lead to a global shifts in oil prices. If one of these chokepoints were disrupted, ships would need to travel additional thousands of miles to reach an alternate route.
Oil prices surged the last week of March after Saudi Arabia began its military operations against Yemen: 3.8 million barrels of oil a day pass through the Bab el-Mandab chokepoint on Yemen's southwestern coast.
The following graphic displays the major oil chokepoints around the world:
RNGS ReutersMap showing world's main oil transit chokepoints and major oil movement routes.
Here's a look at each chokepoint individually '-- and at what could threaten maritime traffick through them.
Strait of Hormuz - 17 million barrels of oil per dayUS GovernmentThe Strait of Hormuz is the world's primary oil chokepoint.
According to the EIA, 17 million barrels of oil, representing 30% of all maritime-traded petroleum, passed through the strait each day in 2013. Oil from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Iran, and Iraq all pass through the strait and head mostly towards Asia, although tankers can also head west towards the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.
The Strait of Hormuz is able to accommodate the largest oil tankers in the world. But Iran has indicated that it could be willing to disrupt the strait. Tehran has previously threatened to mine the waterway, and in February Iran carried out the destruction of a mock US aircraft carrier in the strait.
Strait of Malacca - 15.2 million barrels of oil per day Google
The Strait of Malaccais the shortest waterway which connects the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. In 2013, the EIAestimatedthat 15.2 million barrels of oil a day passed through the strait, with the fuel from the Middle East primarily heading towards Indonesia, China, and Japan.
The Strait of Malacca is also one of the most narrow chokepoints in the world. The narrowest point in the strait is only 1.7 miles wide, which creates a natural bottleneck for shipping. The strait has also become one of the newest piracy hotspots in the world.
Cape of Good Hope - 4.9 million barrels of oil per dayGoogleThe Cape of Good Hope, the crossing at the southernmost tip of Africa, is not technically a chokepoint since it's open on one side. But the area is a critical trade route. In 2013, the route around the Cape saw 4.9 million barrels of oil a day, approximately 9% of the total maritime oil trade.
The Cape of Good Hope also functions as the secondary route for oil if the primary chokepoints of the Suez Canal or the Bab el-Mandab were closed. But rerouting oil around the cape would increase cost considerably as it would add an additional 2,700 miles of transit from Saudi Arabia to the US, according to the EIA.
Bab el-Mandab - 3.8 million barrels of oil per dayBusiness InsiderOil infrastructure around the Bab el-Mandeb
The Bab el-Mandab is one of the most precarious oil chokepoints in the world right now.
Only 18 miles wide at its narrowest point, the Bab el-Mandab connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and ultimately to the Indian Ocean. Instability or closure of the waterway could force tankers to have to travel around the southern tip of Africa.
Crucially, the EIA notes, the vast majority of southbound traffic through the Suez Canal must also pass through the Bab el-Mandab, so the closure of the waterway could have a cascade effect.
In 2013, 3.8 million barrels of oil passed through the waterway each day. Oil prices took a recent jolt after the Yemeni government collapsed, raising the possibility of a security crisis in the Bab el-Mandab. On March 31, Houthi militants took control of a key Yemeni military base along the chokepoint.
Danish Straits - 3.3 million barrels of oil per dayGoogleThe Danish Straits, formed out of a series of channels passing around Danish Islands, is among the most secure oil chokepoints in the world. The chokepoint connects the Baltic Sea in the east to the North Sea in the west. Approximately 3.3 million barrels of oil a day flowed through the region in 2013.
Despite rising tensions with Russia in Europe, and particularly the Baltics, shipping is unlikely to be affected by regional security issues. The EIA estimates that 42% of all oil shipped through the Danish Straits originated from the Russian port of Primorsk in 2013 to the West. A small amount of Norwegian and British oil also went through the straits to the Baltics. But if Russia ever blockaded the Strait, it would mostly just be blockading its own oil trade as well.
Suez Canal - 3.2 million barrels of oil per dayU.S. Navy
The Suez Canal passes through Egypt and connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. In 2013, a record 3.2 million barrels of oil a day passed through the canal, mostly to markets in Europe and North America.
According to the EIA, the Suez Canal was expanded in 2010 to allow 60% of all tankers in the world to effectively pass through. The fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in 2011 and the resulting unrest did little to deter shipping through the canal. But security remains a primary concern and in September 2013 terrorists planned a failed rocket attack on cargo ships passing through the region.
Bosporus - 2.9 million barrels of oil per dayREUTERS/Osmal OrsalAn oil tanker passes through the Bosphorus to the Black Sea in Istanbul July 20, 2012
The Bosporus is a narrow stretch of water that divides both Asia from Europe and splits Istanbul's European and Asian halves. The chokepoint connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. In 2013, approximately 2.9 million barrels of oil a day flowed through the Bosporus, with the petroleum coming from Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.
According to the EIA, Russia has slowly been shifting its exports to the Baltics while Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have further increased shipping through the chokepoint. The Bosporus is only a half mile wide at its narrowest point, and around 48,000 vessels travel through the waterway a year.
Panama Canal - 0.85 million barrels of oil per dayen.wikipedia.orgPanama Canal, Panama City, Panama
The Panama Canal connects the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean and ultimately to the Atlantic.Accordingto the EIA, the Panama Canal transported 1.4% of all oil and petroleum products globally in 2013. This amounted to approximately 0.85 million barrels of oil a day in 2013.
The utility of the canal has waned in the years since it was built. Today, the narrowest point of the Panama Canal is only 110 feet wide at its narrowest point, forcing larger super-tankers to avoid the canal entirely.
The canal is undergoing an expansion project which should enable larger tankers to pass through the region more easily.
Chinese Navy vessels to stay in Gulf of Aden, says envoy
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:31
Monday, April 06, 2015From Print Edition
ISLAMABAD: The Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong, has said that Chinese Navy's vessels would stay in the Gulf of Aden to keep the pirates away from one of the most important water courses of the world.
He claimed that China, for the first time in its history, dispatched its ship to evacuate stranded people of another country to the coast of third country when the vessel brought 176 Pakistanis out of Yemen last week. The ambassador said this in a brief chat with The News here on Sunday at the spring festival Chinese dinner hosted by leading jurist Akram Sheikh and Zahid Malik on behalf of 101-Chiense friends think-tank. The Chinese envoy said that the vessel that travelled to Yemen to rescue the Pakistani nationals went there exclusively for the Pakistani stranded people. Less than 10 Chinese citizens boarded this ship. Sun Weidong said no schedule of the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping had been finalized and as soon it is finalised both the capitals would make an announcement simultaneously in this regard. To a question, he said the Chinese president would visit Pakistan this year. He maintained that the visit of his president will take the relations of the two countries to new and even far greater heights.
Sun Weidong reminded that new projects being pushed forward in Pakistan by China were approved at the highest level in China. He said it shows the determination of his government and people to cementing the ties with Pakistan further.
Later, addressing the 101-Chiense friend's think-tank, the ambassador said that Chinese living in Pakistan don't feel that they are living in any foreign country as they feel at home by all standards. The ambassador reminded that it was Pakistan's PIA that opened the world for China by connecting it with the foreign countries and again in 1970 it was Pakistan with whose courtesy China normalised its ties with the United States and it paved the way for China's legitimate and rightful place in the world body. He recalled Pakistan's support for China in the wake of devastating earthquake in his country and said Pakistan's medical doctors and other staff worked there day and night despite inadequate facilities for living. ''The Pakistani teams won the hearts of the Chinese people,'' he added.
Sun Weidong said that Pakistan is China's dearest friend and iron brother. The terminology of iron brother was used for the first time during the visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to China last year. He said that the relationship between Pakistan and China was entrenched in the people of the two countries. Any change in the two countries or any happening in the world couldn't create any adverse impact on the relationship of the two countries.
The event was also attended by the UAE Ambassador Eissa Abdulla Al-Basha Al-Noaimi, former naval chief and Pakistan's ambassador to Saudi Arabia Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza, Kuwait's counsellor Khaled Ahmad Al-Shami, former foreign secretary Akram Zaki, Khawaja Ejaz Sarwar, former federal minister Dr Basharat Jazbi and a large number of diplomats.
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iran ships to Yemen
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:36
woensdag 8 april 2015, 14:51(C) Telegraaf Media Nederland | Landelijke Media B.V., AmsterdamIran heeft woensdag marineschepen naar de Golf van Aden en de Rode Zee gestuurd om de internationale scheepsroutes te helpen beveiligen. Dit zei het plaatsvervangend hoofd van de Iraanse marine, schout-bij-nacht Habibollah Sayyari, bij het afscheid van de schepen in de haven Bandar Abbas.
De wateren waar de marinevaartuigen naartoe gaan, liggen voor de kust van Jemen. In dat land is Iran in conflict met onder meer Saudi-Arabi. Saudi-Arabi bombardeert in Jemen rebellen die steun krijgen van Iran. Saudi-Arabi heeft in verband met de strijd in Jemen net als Egypte ook marineschepen naar de Golf van Aden gestuurd.
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Six Week Cycle
Jay W analysis of FBI Complaint
Heil Adam, and thank you for your courage.
I very much appreciated the analysis you and John presented on last Sunday's show about the FBI's latest entrapment showcase. I was glad to hear you two picked up on both the mention of The Anarchist's Cookbook and Senator Feinstein's declaration that, to paraphrase, "People have too much access to these sort of things. Ban it from the internet!".
One element of the story that appears to have slipped beneath both your radars is that IT WAS THE FBI AGENT WHO GAVE THEM THE BOOK. =p
As revealed in the formal complaint against the women [https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1700764/velentzas-and-siddiqui-complaint.pdf], Velentzas had originally been reading a chemistry book in her efforts to become a "bad bitch". It was the UC who alerted her to The Anarchist's Cookbook and offered to share it. If Feinstein really wants to keep TAC out of the hands of "terrorists", she should be ordering the FBI to stop handing it out.
If you have not yet read the complaint, I highly recommend it. From what I've read, it sounds like this FBI agent found any discussion regarding protests, electricity, chemistry, propane, or cookware as highly suspicious. It's also worth noting that many of the more damning accusations in the document are paired with footnotes to the extent of "I didn't get this on tape, but take my word for it."
My favorite line so far is when Velentzas received a pressure cooker as a gift from someone.
The UC explains that she "joked about cooking something in the pressure cooker, then laughed and added 'food' - a reference to explosive materials."
If "food" now means "bomb", I'm going to need to be a lot more careful who I invite out for lunch. =p
I look forward to seeing how this plays out in the media/courts. I hope that the evidence proves to be so farcical that it is thrown out of court. That is unlikely, I know, but I can still hope.
Thanks again for all you do.
As always, I anxiously await your next dose of media assassination.
Keep up the good work.
-Jay Wall
Russia Positions Air Defense Systems In Arctic | EMerging Equity
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 03:24
Russia's SA-22 Greyhound. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Russia has positioned air defense missile and artillery weapon systems Pantsir (SA-22 Greyhound) and is planning to place MiG-31 (Foxhound) interceptor aircraft in the Arctic region, the deputy head of Russian Aerospace Defence Forces said on Saturday, Russia's Sputnik News reports.
''We have already placed there gun systems Pantsir. Deployment of MiG-31 on the Russian Arctic airfield is planned,'' Maj. Gen. Kirill Makarov said, adding that the aerospace defense equipment provided nearly 100 percent protection of Moscow from a possible air strike.
Russia's MiG-31 Foxhound. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
Makarov said that the MiG-31 jets would protect Russian warships that could sail along the Northern Sea Route in case of any escalation or armed conflict scenario.
Russia has been bolstering its presence in the Arctic region is part of the country's military strategy through 2020.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in late 2014 that Russia isn't planning to militarize the Arctic, however it is taking the necessary measures to ensure its security in the region.
.The following chart from The Heritage Foundation's 2015 Index of Military Strength shows the massive scope of Russian construction throughout the Arctic.
Russian Arctic Bases. Image courtesy of The Heritage Foundation.
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South Front, Ukrainian Crisis News: OSCE catches Kiev moving heavy artillery into demilitarized zone, Toronto Orchestra bans pro-Novorossiya Ukrainian musician
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:13
(C) South Front
8 April 2015OSCE observers report Kiev forces breaking terms of ceasefire (again)
7 April 2015Poroshenko offers Donbass to Putin - Valentina Lisitsa banned by Toronto Symphony Orchestra
6 April 2015Donetsk People's Republic forces meet with Ukrainian Army representatives - French government says Kiev is adding terms to Minsk Agreements - Right Sektor Nazi Dimitri Yarosh is appointed 'advisor' to Kiev military's 'Joint Chiefs of Staff'
5 April 2015Rallies take place in Germany in support of Novorossiya and against NATO aggression and Ukraine's Nazis
Russia readies to end Greece food embargo
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:13
(C) RIA Novosti/Vladimir FedorenkoMinister for Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev
Russia has drafted a number of proposals that could end the embargo on food products from Greece, Russia's Economic Development Minister Aleksey Ulyukayev said at a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday."We'll be discussing in detail this issue during the meeting of the Russian Prime Minister and his Greek counterpart tomorrow," Ulyukayev told reporters, as quoted by TASS.
"We've prepared a number of proposals regarding the embargo issue for discussion," the Economy Minister said.
Russia is also considering rescinding food sanctions against Cyprus and Hungary, according to Aleksey Pushkov, head of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee.
Greece has been hit especially hard by the ban, as more than 40 percent of Greek exports are to Russia. In 2013, more than '‚¬178 million in fruits and conserves were exported to Russia, according to the Greek fruit export association, Incofruit-Hellas.
Up until the ban, Russia had been Greece's biggest single trading partner worth $12.5 billion ('‚¬9.3 billion) by 2013, more than double the 2009 figure.On March 3, Greece sent a letter to the Russian food watchdog Roselkhoznadzor requesting the temporary restrictions on agricultural products such as strawberries, kiwis, peaches, and seafood is lifted. If Russia were to again accept imports from Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, and the rest of the EU, it would do so in line with WTO rules. On April 6, Roselkhoznadzor started to do quality control tests on livestock in order to accelerate the renewal of deliveries.
Russia's agricultural food ban applies to EU countries and is not due to expire until August 2015, a year after the restrictions were imposed in response to Western sanctions. The ban also applies to the US, Australia, Canada, Japan, and Norway and includes meat, fish, chicken, cheese, milk, fruit, and vegetables.
#Putin & Greek PM #Tsipras meet in Moscow http://t.co/un4mdu2cBdpic.twitter.com/kDdKx3QJg5
'-- RT (@RT_com) April 8, 2015
Alexis Tsipras, the newly elected PM of Greece, is in Moscow for a two-day visit and meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday afternoon. Distancing itself from its other EU members, Athens hopes to strike a chord of cooperation with Moscow."Your visit could not have come at a better time, as we must analyze what we could do together to restore the former rate of growth," Putin said ahead of his meeting with Tsipras.
Tsipras has taken a hard-line stance against EU policies towards Russia, calling the sanctions a "road to nowhere."
Putin to meet with Argentinian president to discuss trade and economic ties
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:12
(C) Sputnik/ Aleksey Nikolskyi
Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Argentine counterpart, Cristina Kirchner, on April 23 in Russia, the Kremlin press service announced Wednesday.The two leaders are planning to discuss the future development of trade and economic ties, as well as the expansion of cooperation in investment.
"The leaders of the countries will also look into their interaction on the topical international agenda, bilaterally as well as within the framework of multilateral organizations '-- the UN, the G20 and through regional integration," the press service said.
In light of Russia's souring relations with the West in 2014 over the crisis in Ukraine, Moscow has significantly increased its economic, trade and other cooperation with the countries of Latin America, the BRICS and the Asia-Pacific region.
In 2014, head of Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor Sergei Dankvert said that Russia expects to increase its bilateral trade with Argentine to $3 billion in 2015 - a significant increase from $1.9 billion trade turnover in 2013.
Cockpit transcript confirms crashed Polish presidential plane's pilots pressured to land in fog
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:11
Published time: April 07, 2015 21:21Edited time: April 08, 2015 02:38ARCHIVE PHOTO: Experts and investigators stand at the site of a Polish government Tupolev Tu-154 aircraft crash in Smolensk, April 13, 2010. (Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin)
A leaked transcript of cockpit conversations in the Polish president's plane which crashed in Russia in April 2010 confirm that Lech Kaczynski's entourage pressured the pilots to land despite thick fog.
Poland's RMF FM radio station said that the transcripts it published were from the cockpit voice recorder, which was recovered from the crash site soon after the tragedy.
Polish investigators managed to decipher 30 percent more of the conversations inside the cockpit by applying different equipment, it added.
READ MORE: 'Key witness' in Polish presidential plane crash dies, suicide suspected
According to the transcript, the crew was concerned about the weather conditions at Smolensk Airport and considered turning back or diverting to another airport.
But they were still pressured to land in thick fog so that President Kaczynski would make it in time to his destination without delay.
"We will try [to land] until we make it," the head of diplomatic protocol in the Polish Foreign Ministry, Mariusz Kazana, told the captain around 15 minutes before the crash.
Polish Air Force commander General Andrzej Blasik remained on the flight deck up to the moment the plane hit the ground, killing 96 people, including the Polish president and his wife, the head of the National Bank, top military commanders and other high-ranking officials.
"This is a fact, we must make it to the end," Blasik said, according to the transcript from the voice recorder.
Later, with just over half a minute before the crash and the Tupolev-154M being at an altitude of 300 meters, he encouraged the pilots by saying: ''You'll fit in. Be bolder.''
The transcript revealed that during the last three minutes the plane was in the air unauthorized persons kept entering and leaving the cockpit, while somebody was constantly calling for quiet.
There was also alcohol served on board, with an identified person wondering "What is it?" before receiving a reply, "Beer, and you are not drinking?"
Two minutes later a stewardess asked one of the passengers "Will you drink?" and his answer was ''Yes.''
The Polish presidential plane crashed on April 10, 2010, en route to a ceremony to commemorate the 1940 Katyn Forest Massacre, in which thousands of Polish officers were executed by Stalin's secret police.
A spokesman for the Polish investigation for the crash, Major Marcin Maksjan, said the transcript provided by RMF FM was inaccurate in several places, but provided no further comment.
According to Maksjan, the investigation's findings indicated that neither the pilots nor other people mentioned in the leaked transcript were under the influence of alcohol when the crash happened.
Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee specialists previously ruled that the Smolensk tragedy was a result of human error, specifically the crew's decision to land in bad weather under psychological pressure.
A Polish government panel of inquiry said the crashed was caused by the presidential plane's descent to an unacceptably low altitude at excessive speed in weather conditions that ruled out visual contact with the landing surface and a belated decision to make another landing attempt.
Putin is successfully breaking up EU unity - Cyprus is Exhibit A
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:09
(C) Sasha Mordovets, Getty ImagesPresident Vladimir V. Putin of Russia receiving his Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, in Moscow in February
Editor's note: It is simply extraordinary how biased The Times is in its supposedly straightforward reporting on Russia. It's crafty Putin again "waving cash", buying his way out of the "annexation" of Crimea. Please stop calling it an "annexation". Honest journalism would be to say "what the US says is an annexation and what Russia believes is a 'reunification'." That would be honestly presenting both sides, instead of plugging the view that you sympathize with. Pathetic.
But still a useful article: makes it clear how strong the Russian influence is on Greece and Cyprus. The EU is going to fold, it is only a matter of time, leaving US policy in a massive train-wreck.
This article originally appeared in The New York TimesWhen Cyprus seized hundreds of millions of dollars from bank depositors, many of them Russians, as part of an internationally brokered deal two years ago to rescue its collapsing financial system, the Russian leader, Vladimir V. Putin, denounced the move as "dangerous" and "unfair," warning of a sharp chill in relations.
But Mr. Putin was all smiles recently when he received Cyprus's president, Nicos Anastasiades, in Moscow. He hailed relations with the Mediterranean nation as "always being truly friendly and mutually beneficial" and agreed to extend '-- on greatly improved terms for Cyprus '-- a $2.5 billion Russian loan.
The shift from fury to declarations of eternal friendship displayed Mr. Putin's well-known flair for tactical back flips. But it also showed his unbending determination to break out of sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and the European Union for Moscow's annexation of Crimea and support for armed rebels in eastern Ukraine.
(C) Katia Christodoulou, European Pressphoto AgencyDepositors in the now-defunct Laiki Bank, which closed in Cyprus's 2013 financial crisis, protested outside Parliament in Nicosia in March
Mr. Putin has methodically targeted, through charm, cash, and the fanning of historical and ideological embers, the European Union's weakest links in a campaign to assert influence in some of Europe's most troubled corners. One clear goal is to break fragile Western unity over the conflict in Ukraine.On Wednesday, Greece's new left-wing prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, will be the next to visit Moscow. Ahead of the trip, Mr. Tsipras declared himself opposed to sanctions on Russia, describing them as a "dead-end policy."
On Sunday, Mr. Putin's efforts to peel away supporters from the European Union opened a new rift, after the United States ambassador in Prague criticized a decision by the president of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, to attend a military parade in Moscow on May 9. And in February, Mr. Putin visited Hungary, the European Union's autocratic backslider, peddling economic deals.
Russia has so far been unable to turn such hand-holding into something more concrete against sanctions that require the approval of all 28 European Union members. But pressure for a rupture is building.
Speaking in an interview last week here in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, Mr. Anastasiades said Cyprus had grave doubts about Europe's policy toward Russia and was part of a "group of member states who have the same reservations."
He ruled out breaking ranks with what for the moment remains a consensus in favor of keeping up economic pressure on Russia. But he said he expected a unanimous vote in favor of lifting sanctions when they come up for review this summer.
He said he was convinced that Mr. Putin "realizes the consequences of further military involvement" in Ukraine and "means business" in putting in place a cease-fire agreement reached in February.
The cracks opening up in Europe's policy toward Russia have presented a difficult problem for Donald Tusk, the former prime minister of Poland who is now president of the European Council, a body in Brussels that represents the European Union's 28 leaders.
"To keep Europe united is today the biggest challenge," Mr. Tusk said last month, referring to "the very fragile and difficult consensus" reached by European countries after Moscow seized Crimea in March last year.
Moscow's skill at prying open fissures in European unity has been on display in Cyprus, a tiny nation that, because of its tight historical, religious and economic ties with Russia, has taken on an oversize role as a pivotal player in the geopolitical struggle set off by the conflict in Ukraine.
Tugged in different directions by outside powers, Cyprus hosts British military bases and vast eavesdropping facilities, allows the United States Navy to use its ports and has been a member of the European Union since 2004.
Yet it still looks to Russia as a vitally important diplomatic protector, particularly in relation to Turkey's military occupation of the north of the country, and as a crucial source of business for its financial services industry, still a pillar of the economy despite the 2013 meltdown.
(C) Cypriot Press and Information OfficeMr. Anastasiades, center, visiting the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in Limassol, Cyprus, last year
An agreement sealed during Mr. Anastasiades's visit to Moscow allows Russian warships to dock in Limassol, which is Cyprus's commercial hub and heavily dependent on wealthy Russians who want to set up shell companies to shuffle their assets overseas.Mr. Anastasiades insisted that military accords signed in Moscow merely extended a 1996 agreement and were "nothing new." The terms of the agreements, however, are all secret, so it is impossible to know what Russia managed to gain.
Mr. Anatasiades, who traveled to Moscow after recovering from heart surgery in New York, denied tilting away from the West toward Russia. As the leader of a small country, divided since a Turkish invasion in 1974 and situated on a fault line between East and West, Mr. Anastasiades said he sought good relations with all sides and "even with the devil." He added, "I do not have the luxury to choose my friends."
He said Russia might also get a role in the search for and development of gas reserves off the coast of Cyprus, a venture until now monopolized by Western companies.
Russia's ambassador to Cyprus, Stanislav Osadchi, told a Russian-language newspaper, one of several in Limassol serving the town's large Russian-speaking population, that Mr. Anastasiades's meeting with Mr. Putin "demonstrated that, despite attempts to isolate Russia and revive the Cold War, there are countries that do not want this."
The Russian Embassy in Nicosia reacted with fury last year when Makarios Drousiotis, a part-time historian and presidential adviser, published a diplomatic history that detailed Russian duplicity in its relations with Cyprus. The embassy denounced the book as "politically unacceptable" and criticized Mr. Drousiotis, who lost his job as an adviser to Mr. Anatasiades.
The United States, in contrast, has struggled to get a hearing. When Russia won gushing praise on social media for restructuring its loan to Cyprus, the United States ambassador, John M. Koenig, tried to dampen the enthusiasm with messages posted on Twitter that were widely interpreted as implying a link between Mr. Anastasiades's visit to Moscow and the killing a few days later of the Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov.
The Twitter posts set off an uproar, prompting the United States ambassador to issue a contrite statement that his comments had been "misunderstood."
"For lots of people on this island, Russia is seen as a savior," said Harry Tzimitras, director of PRIO Cyprus Center, a Norwegian-funded research group in Nicosia. This, he added, provides fertile ground for efforts by Moscow to "infiltrate the European Union" and "show that it can disrupt certain policies" promoted by Washington and Brussels.
Vasilis Zertalis, the head of Prospectacy, a financial service company, described Cyprus as a "small piece on a big chessboard." Europe, he said, tried to advance its own position during the 2013 banking crisis by seeking to end Cyprus's role as a haven for Russian money.
"They wanted to scare the Russians away," he said. "But the money that left was from Britain, from other European countries and from America."
Ordinary Cypriots and politicians, he said, "all gave up on the European Union" because of the harsh bailout terms in 2013 and "know that the United States will never take a stand against Turkey."
"So," he said, "the only allies Cyprus really has are Russia and maybe China."
Correction: April 6, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the year Cyprus became a member of the European Union. It was 2004, not 2008.
Putin: Greece could use profits from joint ventures to pay off loans
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:08
(C) AP Photo/ Thanassis Stavrakis
Greece could use revenues from potential joint projects with Russia to pay off its debt to the international creditors, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday."If we will implement a large project which would bring substantial profits to Greece, it would mean that these revenues could be used to pay off [Greece's] existing debts."
Athens has not asked Moscow for financial assistance, Putin said at a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. However, the two leaders discussed the possibility of launching large-scale projects in the energy industry, with Russia open to the possibility of providing Greece with loans for those ventures.
Greece owes some $270 billion in debt loans to the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, who lent Athens money to stave off bankruptcy. Greece is expected to repay a loan payment of around $494 million on Thursday.
The Greek prime minister's visit to Moscow on Wednesday has been largely tied to Greece's struggle to secure funding, while at the same time easing budget austerity that was imposed on it by the troika of international money lenders.
Speaking after the meeting, Putin said joint projects could become a financial lifeline for the cash-strapped nation. One of such projects is Russia's new Turkish Stream gas pipeline that could turn Greece into a gas hub for the European Union.
Five countries sign declaration seeking to carry out Russian Turkish Stream project in Europe
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:08
(C) Sputnik/ Igor Zarembo
Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey seek ways to diversify routes and channels of natural gas deliveries to Europe through Turkey, according to a declaration foreign ministers of the five countries signed in Budapest on Tuesday.The declaration paves the way for the five countries to participate in the project based on the so-called Turkish Stream gas pipeline, according to theKommersantnewspaper. The Russia daily added that Austria could also join the venture.
The Turkish Stream pipeline is an alternative to the South Stream, which Russia terminated in December 2014, citing Brussels' opposition to the project. The pipeline with an annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters will deliver gas to Turkey via a gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border for further distribution to consumers in southern Europe.
The declaration reflects only political intent. The five countries and companies interested in the project will have to convene again on multiple occasions to discuss details of the venture. The next ministerial meeting is expected to take place in July but bilateral talks will start earlier.
The first leg of the Turkish Stream pipeline is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.
Gas talks could become on the key issues during talks between the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is on a two-day visit to Moscow, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
If the countries decide to take part in the Turkish Stream project, Gazprom will have an opportunity to deliver gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine without drastically altering existing deals with the customers,Kommersantpointed out. But it has other implications too.
Cordial relations with current and aspiring EU members, who try to carry out independent foreign policy, are of high value to Russia against the background of Moscow's current relations with the West.
The European Commission will likely be against any joint ventures, focusing on Russian gas. The EC is developing legal mechanisms, which will allow it to block any intergovernmental agreements and business contracts deemed harmful for the EU energy security.
Putin: Greece has not asked Russia for bailout
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:07
(C) RIA Novosti/Sergey GuneevApril 8, 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras during a meeting in the Kremlin.
Athens has not formally asked Moscow for financial help to pay off its debt, Russian President Putin said after he met with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Moscow on Wednesday."The Greek side did not contact us with any requests for help," the Russian president said, when asked by a journalist whether Russia could help Greece with its debt burden.
Russia will not directly aid Athens to pay off its '‚¬316 billion debt, but Moscow could help out by buying Greek state assets in privatization sales, or in other investment projects, such as Turkish Stream, Putin said. In 2015 the Greek government plans to privatize '‚¬1.5 billion worth of assets.
"If we are going to implement some major projects this will generate income in Greece, and revenues can be used to repay these loans," the President said.
Gazprom unsuccessfully tried to buy a controlling stake in Greece's Public Gas Corporation [DEPA] for '‚¬900 million in 2013, when Antonis Samaras was prime minister.Fielding questions from journalists, Putin said a solution to Greece's debt will be a win for all parties involved, from the EU to Russia.
"If the Greek economy grows thanks to Russia, and can pay off its loans to the EU and creditors, it will help everyone,"he said, adding that politics shouldn't get in the way of economic recovery for Greece.
There was speculation that Tsipras, who traveled to Moscow just days before $500 million was due to the IMF, would ask Russia for financial help.
In early February Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov was the first Russian official to say Moscow was ready to provide financial help to Greece if asked. He made the comment just after the new Syriza government won the election on the promise of ending austerity and getting better conditions on its EU debt.
Greek Defense Minister threatens: We cannot keep ISIS out if EU keeps bullying us
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:53
For a second time within a couple of weeks, Greek Defense Minister and leader of coalition government junior partner Independent Greeks, Panos Kammenos warned that if the European Union keeps undermining the coalition government and the country exit or is forced to exit the Euro "waves of migrants: will stream from Turkey to Europe and among them there would be ISIS "radicals."Speaking to The Times, Kammenos said:
"The gross meddling into [Greek] domestic affairs isn't just unheard for European standards, it's unethical and it's dangerous. If Greece goes, then a lot more than financial stability and the euro is at stake.
"If Greece is expelled or forced out of the eurozone, waves of immigrants without papers, including radical elements, will stream from Turkey and head towards the heart of the West,"
German government coalition partners, the European Parliament President Martin Schulz and "European anonymous sources" have repeatedly and even blatantly expressed the wish that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gets rid of nationalist Kammenos and make a coalition with austerity-friendly To Potami and/or even PASOK.Panos Kammenos described these statements and efforts as "bullying" committed by Brussels and Berlin in order to force Greece into "a full and complete economic surrender."
"Europe must realize that maintaining Greece stable, the West front against the Islamic State (ISIS) is safe. But if expelled or forced out of the eurozone, waves of immigrants without papers, including radical elements will stream from Turkey, heading towards the heart of the West. If these waves of immigrants increase, then the threat of incoming extremist elements will grow not for Greece but for the whole of the West. " (The Times via Newsit.gr)
It is not the first time, Kammenos makes similar warnings. Short before another "crucial" Eurogroup meeting, beginning of March, he warned Berlin to "flood Europe with migrants", potentially including Syrian jihadists, if Europe fails to find a solution to the Greek debt crisis."If Europe leaves us in the crisis, we will flood it with migrants, and even worse for Berlin if in that wave of millions of economic migrants there will be some jihadis of the Islamic State too," according to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
He went on explaining that: "If they [the Eurogroup] strike us, we will strike them. We will give to migrants from everywhere the documents they need to travel in the Schengen area, so that the human wave could go straight to Berlin." (via Business Insider)
NA-Tech News
Dude named Bill/Ben on Telegram app
Greetings from Gitmo Nation Octobus Balls (Osaka)! Juho and I have been
looking forward to your planned trip to Japan this year. Hopefully
you'll have time for another Japan NA meetup and give us an excuse to
travel to Tokyo again. Of course we'd be happy to show you around Osaka
and Kyoto if you came down here.
After listening to NA#711 (JCD's birthday show), I wanted to make a
comment about your use of the Telegram app for communication. In my job
as a dude named Ben, I go through a lot of security news and
information. I also try to keep my communications as secure as possible,
particularly with mobile apps. Unfortunately there has been quite a bit
of backlash about the actual security of the Telegram app.
The first rule of Cryptography is "Don't Roll Your Own Crypto".
Especially if you aren't trained cryptographers. Which the Telegram
people most certainly aren't. Math Ph.Ds are not cryptographers. The
protocol they invented is flawed. Here is a nice blog post explaining
So, no. Telegram is by no means secure. For commonly accepted
definitions of secure, not the one Telegram made up.
If you want a real secure means of communication on your phone, look to
more reputable projects such as Open WhisperSystems (Signal on iOS -
TextSecure on Android) or Threema.
Even Steve Gibson warned about using Telegram on Security Now #444:
(Written by actual dude named Ben)
TL:DR: avoid at all costs.
Bill P.
Osaka, Japan
The truth about the Bitcoin Foundation - General - Bitcoin Foundation
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:42
NOTE TO THE PRESS: The Bitcoin Foundation does not represent Bitcoin in any way. It has historically hired some Bitcoin developers, lobbyists and organized a conference.Dear Members,
I was elected on a platform of transparency and decentralization of core development. Since the beginning, the Foundation has been sorely lacking any transparency of its actions. I can no longer in good conscience hide the truth on what I have witnessed in the Bitcoin Foundation since I was elected last month.
First of all, the Bitcoin Foundation is effectively bankrupt. As a result of 2 years of ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions, they almost ran out of money in November of last year. In extremis, but way too late, they decided to select a new executive director during that time. That new director decided that the only way to still get funds at that point, was to focus solely on funding core development, in the hope that people would see that as a good cause. But people were smart enough not to trust the Foundation anymore. Despite it's intentions, they failed to collect the necessary funds to support this idea. With the election in February-March, it became clear that people did not want the Foundation meddling with core development. The truth is that the Foundation's plan was to hire even more core devs + to start a Bitcoin Standards Body. No organization should have this much control over Bitcoin, and a disaster was avoided.
When I joined on my first Board meeting, Jim Harper and myself immediately put forward a vote to have the board meeting recorded. We followed Robert's rules of orders, and everyone else basically shut us down and failed to follow procedures. There were ''more urgent'' things to discuss (as you will see later, the urgent pattern was an excuse to just continue on their course and shut us up). It was critical for us to vote on a plan that would save the Foundation. When I mentioned that such a critical vote is all the more reason to make sure the whole meeting gets recorded, I was ignored. The Bitcoin Foundation hates transparency. If they would have been transparent then everyone would know there is no money left. Something I think the members have a right to know, wouldn't you think? Members have a right to know that the current board failed to tell them the truth, and that their way of running the organization resulted in it going bankrupt. But instead of taking responsibility, they want to find the next executive director, that will come up with another magic plan. Ironically, being transparent from the start might have prevented this whole thing to begin with.
Everyone has the right to know the truth:
- The Foundation has almost no money left, and just fired 90% of its people. Some will stay on as volunteers.- Core dev can no longer be funded by it, and Patrick Murck is trying to re-create a new Foundation just for core dev, because the current name is tarnished. Do not fall for this.- The current Executive Director (Patrick Murck), will be gone in 2 weeks, and they are trying to find the next person to blame everything on.- Jim Harper was threatened for doing a press release which was (barely) critical of the Foundation after he got elected. The Foundation tries to make sure we hide the truth by subtly threatening us on a regular basis.- If I get asked to leave the Foundation for telling the truth, so be it. The truth is being told.
Moving forward:
- A special trust fund is being created and I will donate several 100k to pre-pay Gavin's, Wladimirs and some other core devs wage for the next year (if they choose to accept). The control of this trust fund will be handed over to the core devs, who can decide who can join it. Alternatively, we can give voting power to everyone who puts money in it (pro-rata). I will also organize crowdfunds and help make this fund public. At no point do I want to have any control whatsoever.
- It is up to the members of the Bitcoin Foundation to decide what they want to do now. The bylaws allow for a special board meeting to be called by 15% of members. I would recommend you to do so and ask for all information to be released so you can learn the truth. Additionally I would recommend for you to replace the whole board if you want this organization to last. Alternatively you can vote to shut it down and get your money back. There might not be enough money left in the Foundation to pay its members back, but I will personally try to help make up the difference, even though I have not been part of it.
The lesson for all of us in Bitcoin is to never put any trust in a centralized org again that wanted to represent Bitcoin or the Core Development of Bitcoin.
Please provide feedback here on the Bitcoin forum.
Note: I totally expect the current Board members to try to place blame on me for whatever reason. They are very bad at taking personal responsibility. I have had several threats, but I'm releasing this anyway.
Link to reddit post http://www.reddit.co...oin_foundation/
Computerworld India News | Bitcoin Foundation said to be Out of Cash | Computerworld.in
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:40
The Bitcoin Foundation, an organization that promotes development of bitcoin, is "effectively bankrupt" and has shed most of its staff, a member of the foundation's board of directors has said.
Two other board members, however, said the foundation was not bankrupt, though in need of some kind of restructuring.
The outburst by Olivier Janssens, who was elected to the board last month, is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the foundation, which was founded in the U.S. in 2012 as a nonprofit entity.
"The foundation has almost no money left, and just fired 90 percent of its people. Some will stay on as volunteers," Janssens wrote in a blog post on the foundation's forum.
"The Bitcoin Foundation hates transparency," he added. "If they would have been transparent then everyone would know there is no money left."
Janssens attributed the foundation's financial straits to two years of "ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions," adding that the board has tried to remedy the situation by finding a new executive director. He called for the replacement of the entire board.
Described as a bitcoin millionaire, Janssens wrote that he will donate "several 100k" to a special trust fund aimed at supporting core development of the digital currency and supplemented by crowdfunding efforts.
The foundation did not immediately respond to a request for information about Janssens' post. But Patrick Murck, its executive director, wrote in a response to Janssens' post, "The foundation is not bankrupt, but a restructuring is needed. Olivier basically jumped in front of our announcements on that and our annual report on the 2014 finances to be released next week, and he spun it very very negative."
While saying that "the money has basically run out," board member Gavin Adresen wrote in another response that "The foundation isn't bankrupt, but the board needs to decide whether the responsible thing to do is to continue the organization with a much smaller organization and vision or to dissolve it."
The Bitcoin Foundation is no stranger to controversy. Among its founding members are Charlie Shrem, who pleaded guilty to transmitting money linked to the Silk Road online drugs site, and Mark Karpeles, who presided over the collapse of MtGox, once the world's largest trading place for bitcoin.
In May 2014, a number of Bitcoin Foundation members quit in frustration over the organization's direction and issues related to a board election.
Tim Hornyak covers Japan and emerging technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Tim on Twitter at @robotopia.
Computerworld India News | Large-scale Google Malvertising Campaign hits Users with Exploits | Computerworld.in
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 21:58
A large number of ads distributed by a Google advertising partner redirected users to Web-based exploits that attempted to install malware on users' computers.
Security researchers from Dutch security firm Fox-IT observed the malvertising campaign Tuesday, when ads coming through a Google partner in Bulgaria called Engage Lab started redirecting users to the Nuclear Exploit Kit.
Exploit kits are Web-based attack platforms that try to exploit vulnerabilities in browsers and browser plug-ins in order to infect users' computers with malware. The Nuclear Exploit Kit specifically targets vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash Player, Oracle Java and Microsoft Silverlight.
"It appears as if all of engagelab.com, its advertisement and zone ID's, are currently redirecting to a domain, which in turn is redirecting to the Nuclear Exploit Kit, indicating a possible compromise at this reseller of Google advertisement services," Fox-IT researcher Maarten van Dantzig said Tuesday in a blog post.
The rogue redirects stopped later in the day, suggesting that either Google or Engage Lab took action.
Google and Engage Lab did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
It's unclear how many websites and users were affected, but according to Dantzig, Fox-IT "detected a relatively large amount of infections and infection attempts from this exploit kit among our customers."
The Fox-IT researchers have yet to identify the specific malware program distributed through the campaign.
Malvertising has been a growing problem for years and despite large advertising networks claiming to have sophisticated defenses in place, attackers still find ways to bypass them.
These attacks are particularly dangerous, because users don't need to visit obscure websites in order to get infected. Once attackers manage to push malicious ads onto a large advertising network, those ads get displayed on popular, generally trusted websites.
A 2014 investigation into malvertising by the U.S Senate concluded that "the online advertising industry has grown in complexity to such an extent that each party can conceivably claim it is not responsible when malware is delivered to a user's computer through an advertisement."
That's because a typical online advertisement goes through five or six intermediaries before being displayed in a user's browser and it can be replaced with a malicious one at any point in that chain. Website owners also have no control over what ads will be displayed on their websites, the U.S. Senate said.
Words Matter
contranym-What Part of ''No, Totally'' Don't You Understand? - The New Yorker
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 02:27
Credit ILLUSTRATION BY ELLEN SURREYNot long ago, I walked into a friend's kitchen and found her opening one of those evil, impossible-to-breach plastic blister packages with a can opener. This worked, and struck me as brilliant, but I mention it only to illustrate a characteristic that I admire in our species: given almost any entity, we will find a way to use it for something other than its intended purpose. We commandeer cafeteria trays to go sledding, ''The Power Broker'' to prop open the door, the Internet to look at kittens. We do this with words as well'--time was, spam was just Spam'--but, lately, we have gone in for a particularly dramatic appropriation. In certain situations, it seems, we have started using ''no'' to mean ''yes.''
Here's Lena Dunham demonstrating this development, during a conversation with the comedian Marc Maron on his podcast ''WTF.'' The two are talking about people who reflexively disparage modern art:
MARON: They can look at any painting and go, ''Eh.'' They can look at a Rothko and go, ''Hey, three colors.'' And then you want to hit them.DUNHAM: No, totally.
Dunham is twenty-eight years old, but the ''No, totally!'' phenomenon is not limited to her generation. It's not even limited to ''No, totally.'' I first started noticing it when a fiftysomething acquaintance responded to a question I asked by saying, ''Yup! No, very definitely.'' That sent me looking for other examples, which turn out to be almost nonexistent in written English but increasingly abundant in speech. In 2001, the journalist Bernard Kalb told the White House correspondent Dana Milbank that it was the job of reporters to thoroughly investigate political candidates, to which Milbank responded, ''Oh, no, yes, I agree with you there.'' In 2012, Anderson Cooper, talking with the CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger, referred to Newt Gingrich as ''the guy who has come back from the dead multiple times.'' Borger's reply veered toward Molly Bloom terrain: ''Yes, no, exactly, exactly, exactly.''
''No, totally.'' ''No, definitely.'' ''No, exactly.'' ''No, yes.'' These curious uses turn ''no'' into a kind of contranym: a word that can function as its own opposite. Out of the million-odd words in the English language, perhaps a hundred have this property. You can seed a field, in which case you are adding seeds, or seed a grape, in which case you are subtracting them. You can be in a fix but find a fix for it. You can alight from a horse to observe a butterfly alighting on a flower.
Such words'--also called auto-antonyms, antagonyms, Janus words, and antiologies'--can arise for different reasons. Some are just a special kind of homonym; what appears to be one word with two opposite meanings is really two different words with identical spellings and pronunciations. Thus ''clip,'' meaning ''to attach together,'' comes from the Anglo-Saxon clyppan, while ''clip,'' meaning ''to cut off,'' comes from the Old Norse klippa. Other contranyms arise when nouns becomes verbs. Sometime around 1200 A.D., dust turned into a verb and, as dust will do, went every which way: ''to dust'' can mean to remove dust, as from a bookshelf, or to add something dusty, as flour to a cake pan or snow to the streets of Brooklyn. Alternatively, a contranym can reverse meanings when it is used as a different part of speech. As a noun, ''custom'' refers to a behavior that is common to many people. As an adjective, it refers to something designed for just one person.
Occasionally, however, a contranym arises through a process called amelioration, whereby a normally negative word develops a secondary, positive meaning. This phenomenon is particularly common in slang: ''bad'' becomes good, ''wicked'' becomes awesome, and ''sick'' and ''ill'' become wonderful. (They have been ameliorated: made better.) The use of ''no'' to mean ''yes'' appears to be an example of amelioration, but with one important distinction: ''no'' can't mean ''yes'' on its own. Consider a slightly abridged version of Lena Dunham's conversation about art appreciation:
MARON: And then you want to hit them.DUNHAM: No.
Take away the ''totally'' and Dunham appears to be rejecting anti-philistine violence. By contrast, you can take away the ''no'' without doing any evident semantic damage at all. A perfectly fine response to ''Then you want to hit them'' is ''Totally'''--or, for that matter, ''Yes, totally,'' or just ''Yes.'' In fact, every instance of ''No, totally'' and its kindred phrases can be replaced with ''Yes,'' without any disruption of grammar or meaning. So why do we sometimes use ''no'' instead?
At first blush, ''no'' does not appear to be the kind of word whose meaning you can monkey with. For one thing, there is its length. At just two letters and one syllable, it lacks the pliable properties of longer words. You can't stuff stuff inside it. (You can say ''unfreakingbelievable,'' but you cannot say ''nfreakingo.'') You can't mangle it, la ''misunderestimate'' or (the finest example I've heard lately) ''haphazardous.'' On the contrary, it is so simple and self-contained that it is a holophrasm, a word that can serve as a complete sentence. (Holophrasms aren't common in English, but any verb in command form can be holophrastic'--''Go,'' ''Help,'' ''Run'''--and babies just learning to talk use single words to express complex ideas all the time, albeit without regard to grammar: ''Ball,'' ''Up,'' ''Want.'') Moreover, the word has the apparent fixity and clarity of a logical operator: like ''if,'' ''then,'' ''and,'' ''or,'' and ''not,'' ''no'' seems designed to be unambiguous. When we ask, in the face of excessive pestering, ''What part of 'no' don't you understand?,'' what we mean is: ''Unless you are a complete cretin, there is no part of 'no' that you could possibly misunderstand.''
Well, perhaps you would care to join me for a while in the land of complete cretinhood. For instance, answer me this, if you can: What part of speech is ''no''? I thought it over for a while and concluded that it must be an interjection, even though it fails the Mad Libs test. (''The burglar bumped into the dresser and exclaimed, '_______, my toe!' '' The last time someone filled in a blank like that with ''no'' was never.) At a generous estimate, I was only one-sixth correct'--but, in my defense, ''no'' resists all ready grammatical categorization. It is not an interjection, except when it is. (''Oh, no, I missed the train.'') It is not a noun, except when it is. (''The nos have it.'') It is not an adjective, except when it is. (''I have no idea what you're talking about.'') It is not an adverb, except when it is. (''I'm no clearer on this than I was when I began.'') Some linguists grant it the separate part-of-speech status of ''sentence word,'' because, as I noted, it can serve as a stand-alone sentence. Others consider it a particle'--even though, as a rule, the point of particles is precisely that they can't stand alone; they exist to affect the meaning of other words.
In addition to this grammatical ambiguity, ''no'' also sometimes suffers from semantic ambiguity'--which is odd, considering that we regard it as absolute. But consider the question ''You aren't a fan of cilantro?'' The answer ''No'' is confusing, since it can mean either ''No, it tastes like dish soap'' or ''No, I adore it.'' Some languages avoid this type of indeterminacy. In Japanese, for instance, hai and iie, although generally translated as ''yes'' and ''no,'' actually mean something closer to ''That's correct'' and ''That's incorrect.'' This eliminates the grey area. ''You're not a fan of cilantro?'' ''That's incorrect,'' you are a fan. In English, by contrast, we must resort to elaboration: ''No, I like it fine, I just don't want any on my pancakes.''
Until the end of the sixteenth century or thereabouts, English had a tidier solution to this problem: we had two words for ''no,'' which we used in distinct ways. Those two words formed half of what's called a four-form system of negation and affirmation. If you speak French (or, in a statistical unlikelihood, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, or Icelandic), you are familiar with a three-form system: in French, non can negate anything, oui is used only in response to positively phrased questions or statements, while si is used to contradict questions or statements phrased in the negative. In Franglish:
Would you like to have dinner with me on Friday?Oui, I'd like that very much.
You don't like the cilantro pesto I made?Si, it's delicious!
Back when English was a four-form system, it, too, had a si'--a word used specifically to contradict negative statements. That word was ''yes.'' To affirm positive statements, you used ''yea'':
Shoot, there aren't any open pubs in Canterbury at this hour.Yes, there are.
Is Chaucer drunk?Yea, and passed out on the table.
Similarly, ''nay'' was used to respond to positive statements or questions, while ''no'' was reserved for contradicting anything phrased in the negative:
Is the Tabard open?Nay, it closed at midnight.
Isn't Chaucer meeting us here?No, he went home to bed.
Over time, the distinction withered, ''yea'' and ''nay'' became obsolete, and ''yes'' and ''no'''--the words that started out as special cases, for responding exclusively to negatives'--came to hold their current status. Or, as the case may be, statuses.
What does all this have to do with the strange case of ''No, totally''? The linguists I spoke with thought that this use of ''no'' might be a response to an implicit or explicit negative in the preceding statement: the type of ''no'' we used back when we also had ''nay.'' In modern English, you need to use something to clear up the cilantro-style confusion'--so why not ''totally'' or its ilk? Here's ABC News's Joy Behar talking to the comedian Ricky Gervais about how girls, unlike boys, are not encouraged to make fools of themselves in public:
BEHAR: Well, they don't get rewarded for acting stupid.GERVAIS: No, exactly, yes.
Because Behar's statement is negative, either ''yes'' or ''no'' on its own would be a confusing response. Gervais chooses ''no,'' then has to add ''exactly, yes'' to indicate that he doesn't mean ''No, Joy, you're wrong.'' You could argue that there's also a negative, this one implicit, in the exchange between Mark Maron and Lena Dunham. By that logic, Maron is really saying, ''You want to hit them [because these guys don't know anything about art],'' and Dunham's reply means, ''No, they don't, I totally agree.''
In suggesting this negation theory of ''No, totally,'' linguists are borrowing from their far more developed explanation of a seemingly similar expression: ''Yeah, no.'' The ''no'' in that phrase is generally thought to retain its customary negative function. I'm a little dubious about whether that's the whole story, but it doesn't matter, because I'm going to ignore ''Yeah, no'' here. For one thing, those who are interested can refer to what the Oxford English Dictionary lexicographer Jesse Sheidlower called ''the extensive 'Yeah, no' literature.'' (An excellent place to start is this three-part analysis by the University of Pennsylvania linguistics professor Mark Liberman.) For another, the comparison only gets us just so far'--because in many examples of ''No, totally!'' there doesn't seem to be any negation whatsoever. Consider:
LYDIA: That book is constructed so brilliantly. It's like a locked-room mystery.IVAN: No, totally.
In this case and many others like it, ''No, totally'' appears to be all affirmation'--a surprised and happy seconding. A rough translation might be, ''Wow, that's just how I feel!''
We've been using ''no'' to express surprise, including happy surprise, for a very long time. You hear that use in ''No way!'' You hear it (or heard it) in the early-aughts slang ''Oh no you di'int!''And you hear it in ''The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,'' after Tom asks Huck Finn what you can do with a dead cat. Why, you can use it to cure warts, Huck replies. ''No! Is that so?'' Tom exclaims. Here, ''no'' is again serving as an interjection, akin to the ''damn'' in the phrase, ''Damn, that's smart'''--''damn'' being another normally negative word that can sometimes swap polarity and become positive. With both ''damn'' and ''no,'' the slimmest hint of the negative might linger, in the form of envious admiration. But, for the most part, this enthusiastic ''no'' has very little negative meaning, or really much semantic content at all. It is more like verbal punctuation'--like the initial, upside-down exclamation mark in Spanish that alerts you to impending excitement: Totally!
I don't mean to suggest that animated agreement singlehandedly explains all instances of ''No, totally,'' or that the negation theory is wrong. The way we use language is so variable and versatile that Occam's razor does not apply; both explanations might easily be correct, and several others as well. In some cases, the expression might simply function as a conversational hinge'--''No, totally, but what I was going to say was'...'''--akin to the empty but rudder-like ''no'' in that phrase comedians love to deploy immediately after jokes: ''No, but seriously, folks.'' Or maybe'--and this is the theory I like best, but can least substantiate'--''No, totally'' is really a contraction of ''I know, totally.'' That is linguistically improbable; I know of no instance in the English language where a homophonic slippage of this sort has taken place. But I like the theory anyway, because it captures what is often the semantic intent of ''No, totally'' with uncanny precision: I understand, and I am fully in accord.
And, ultimately, it is the semantics that counts. If we are turning words inside-out to create more ways to agree with one another, I am all for it. No language could have too many ways to express the pleasure of emotional, aesthetic, and intellectual connection'--or, for that matter, too many ways to simply say yes. Saying yes as often as possible is, famously, the first rule of improv, vital to maintaining energy, imagination, and humor. It is also, I have long thought, a sure sign that you're falling in love, not to mention crucial to sustaining that love over the long haul. And, while sometimes impractical, dangerous, or just plain dumb, saying yes to as much stuff as possible is, over all, a pretty good strategy for getting through life.
In the course of investigating this subject, I called up Shaun Lau, who hosts, together with Brian Hanson, the film-criticism podcast ''No, Totally!'' When I asked Lau how he came to choose the name, he told me that he was bored with critical conversations in which people who disagreed spoke past each other to try to score points with the audience. ''It just didn't seem interesting to me to be another guy arguing with another guy,'' he said. But nor was he interested in predictable or polite agreement. The phrase ''No, totally!'' seemed to suggest, instead, genuine engagement: a startled, joyful discovery of common ground. To use it, he said, ''You have to be in a conversation that has a certain level of passion.''
A Doctor on How Physicians Face the End of Life - WSJ
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:07
Years ago, Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. It was diagnosed as pancreatic cancer by one of the best surgeons in the country, who had developed a procedure that could triple a patient's five-year-survival odds'--from 5% to 15%'--albeit with a poor quality of life.
Charlie, 68 years old, was uninterested. He went home the next day, closed his practice and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with his family. Several months later, he died at...
VIDEO-John Oliver Repeatedly Trashes America During Snowden Interview | MRCTV
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:45
Video cross-posted here at NewsBusters. On Sunday night, HBO's John Oliver aired his exclusive interview with Edward Snowden and repeatedly mocked the intelligence of the American public and insisted that when it comes to foreign surveillance, Americans ''don't give any remote sh** about.''
VIDEO-NBC Cheers New Clinton Staffer While Promoting 'Embarrassing Situation' for Jeb Bush | MRCTV
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:43
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
After NBC's Today touted the latest hire for Hillary Clinton's expected presidential campaign, Monday's NBC Nightly News also gushed over the move in addition to blasting possible Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush for creating an ''embarrassing situation'' by identifying as a Hispanic on a voter registration form.
Interim anchor Lester Holt started the segment by noting that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could be ''about to make it official'' with speculation being that the presidential announcement could come ''as soon as this week'' alongside ''a flurry of expected announcements from GOP candidates.''
VIDEO-WH Says Terrorism Provision in Iran Bill is Designed to 'Undermine' Nuclear Agreement | MRCTV
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:38
A terrorism-related provision inserted into a bill seeking a congressional review of the Iran nuclear deal is ''intended to undermine the agreement,'' White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday, citing that as one reason for the administration's opposition to the legislation.
VIDEO-NORAD Commander: 'High Confidence' That U.S. Missile Defense 'Will Work Against North Korea' | MRCTV
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:32
If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.
NORAD Commander: 'High Confidence' That U.S. Missile Defense Is 'Outpacing the Threat' See More at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/norad-commander-high-confidence-us-missile-defense-outpacing-threat
VIDEO-Nets Feature Obama to Explain How Climate Change 'Impacted' His Daughter | MRCTV
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:27
[See NewsBusters for more.] All three networks on Wednesday featured Barack Obama to attack climate "deniers" and lament how global warming has personally "impacted" his family. NBC, ABC and CBS offered almost no skepticism. Typical was Today medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar. She wondered, "What do you say to the people who deny that climate change is real and that it's impacting our health?" After Obama insisted that the number of "deniers" is going down, Azar simply agreed, "yeah, it's true." On ABC's Good Morning America, Dr. Richard Besser asked in a concerned tone: "Do you worry that the environment, the climate has impacted on your own daughter?" The President implied global warming may have been connected to Malia Obama's asthma.
VIDEO- Plan W: Greece demands 278bn WWII reparations from Germany - YouTube
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:06
VIDEO-Former DIA chief: Highly likely Hillary's e-mails got hacked by friends and foes alike Hot Air
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 13:04
posted at 12:41 pm on April 7, 2015 by Ed Morrissey
''If you're using one device,'' former Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn told Megyn Kelly last night in a discussion of Hillary Clinton's e-mails, ''then nothing's personal.'' Of course, we know now that Hillary used multiple devices despite her claims otherwise after the exposure of her private e-mail system, but that's hardly the worst of it. The former intelligence commander tells Kelly that penetration of Hillary's communications by hostile powers was not just possible but ''likely,'' and the odds are ''very high'' that both friends and foes had a ringside seat to American diplomatic strategies for several years (via Daniel Halper):
FLYNN: As a military officer, if I said I was doing something for convenience's sake to the soldiers that I was leading, and it was solely for my convenience instead of their, you know, their welfare, I should be relieved of duty. I would expect to be fired. You know, it's one of those things where if it doesn't feel good, it probably isn't. And this one doesn't feel good to me.
KELLY: What do you think the odds are that the Chinese, the Russians hacked into that server and her e-mail account?
FLYNN: Very high. Likely.
KELLY: Really?
FLYNN: Yep. Likely. They're very good at it. China, Russia, Iran, potentially the North Koreans. And these '-- and other countries who may be our allies, because they can.
KELLY: But she says the sever was always at the house, and under protection by the Secret Service, at least the physical server. I mean, do you have any questions about who was actually [garbled] that server?
FLYNN: I think we all ought to be asking that question. I mean, if it's government, if the Blackberry's government and she did everything '-- I mean, everything that a person in that level of responsibility touches who's in the government, everything belongs to the government, for the most part. I mean, if you're using a government device to do personal things, I mean I just think that's what you do. You accept that, and if somebody's doing things '-- somebody's sending you stupid things, you tell them to stop. But if you're using one device, and it's personal and professional, you know then nothing's personal.
We should all be asking these questions, and more importantly, Hillary Clinton should be answering them. Where exactly is she these days? She hasn't announced her run for the presidency officially yet, but the day is drawing closer. The winding down of the Ready for Hillary PAC will signal that it's almost here:
When Hillary Clinton announces her presidential campaign, as expected, more than a dozen people in a nondescript office building overlooking the Potomac River will blast out the news by email and social media to millions of her supporters, urging them to sign onto her campaign.
And then the super PAC will begin winding down its operations '-- just as the Democrat opens her White House campaign.
Clinton's new beginning will mark the end of Ready for Hillary, which launched two years ago to lay the groundwork for a Clinton campaign, organized her sprawling network of supporters and promoted the former secretary of state on campuses, at small gatherings and Democratic rallies. It will leave behind a data-rich list of volunteers and financial supporters to be tapped for her campaign.
Speaking of nothing being personal, Kate Anderson Brower got a chance to speak about the Clinton years with White House personnel, and they don't paint a heartwarming picture of the couple. In her new book The Residence, Brower uncovered the second-floor secrets of several administrations '-- but only one is bidding for a comeback:
Allen cannot hide his reservations about the Clintons. Over lunch by the pool at his large home in rural Pennsylvania, he fondly recalled how Mrs. Clinton always asked him to help her by tying bows on her outfits, something she couldn't do herself. But he said the Clintons never fully trusted the residence staff and were particularly suspicious of the Usher's Office. ''They were about the most paranoid people I'd ever seen in my life.''
Allen isn't the only one with bitter memories of the Clinton White House. Usher Chris Emery, who had been close with the Bushes, remembers feeling unduly scrutinized by the Clintons. In the 14 months he served them, he says, he was subjected to three drug tests and a background check that he was not due to have for several years. He says that some of the questions he was asked'--including what church he belonged to'--were unusually personal, so he refused to answer them. ''I think they were just trying to find something to make it easier [to fire me].'' He sighed. And, indeed, when Emery was fired from the White House in 1994, it was in part because of a favor he had done for former first lady Barbara Bush.
The Secret Service can't be terribly enthusiastic about it either:
One day, according to Payne, he was walking through the second-floor private kitchen when an agent walked in behind him waiting to escort Chelsea to Sidwell Friends, the private school she attended in northwest Washington. Chelsea was on the phone.
''Oh, I've got to go,'' she told her friend. ''The pigs are here.''
The agent turned ''crimson,'' Payne recalls. ''Ms. Clinton, I want to tell you something. My job is to stand between you, your family, and a bullet. Do you understand?''
She replied: ''Well, that's what my mother and father call you.''
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VIDEO-AP's Matt Lee Buckles Marie Harf Over State Department Criticism - YouTube
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:57
VIDEO-'Hardball' Gives Platform to Rep. Clyburn to Blame Conservative-Leaning ALEC for South Carolina Police Shooting | MRCTV
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 04:07
Read more at NewsBusters | Appearing on the Wednesday edition of Hardball, House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) essentially blamed the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for the apparently unjustified shooting of South Carolina man Walter Scott by North Charleston police officer Michael Slager. For his part, host Chris Matthews failed to object to out-of-far-left-field charge and, what's more, praised his guest, saying in closing, "I have a lot of respect for you sir" as he thanked him for coming on the program.
VIDEO- In director and the CIA He plans to the Arab Spring since 2006 - YouTube
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 03:45
VIDEO-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on 60 Minutes - CBS News
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 02:47
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson talks about the evolving role of his department's massive security efforts
The following is a script from "Homeland Security" which aired on April 5, 2015. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Rich Bonin, producer.
The man running the Department of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, has a lot on his shoulders, protecting the country from another terrorist attack -- especially now with the rise of homegrown terrorism. Just this past week two women -- both Americans and both allegedly inspired by jihadist propaganda -- were arrested and charged with planning to detonate a bomb in the United States.
60 Minutes: Segment ExtrasInforming public on terror threats -- a balancing actHomeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says it's important to inform the public of a terror threat without striking fear and suspicion.
The Department of Homeland Security is a collection of federal agencies including TSA's airport security, border control and cargo inspection that have long been charged with stopping terrorists from abroad, slipping into the country. Now, Jeh Johnson is scrambling to adapt to the new threat of lone wolves that he admits is more difficult to detect and stop.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson
CBS News
Before coming to Homeland Security, Johnson served as the general counsel of the Defense Department, where he was a legal architect of the Obama administration's use of lethal drone strikes. There, at the Pentagon, he was on offense -- taking the fight to the enemy. Now, at Homeland Security, he is on defense, trying to prevent another terrorist attack from happening here on the streets of America.Lesley Stahl: The FBI says it has a homegrown, extremist investigations going on in every single state. How serious, how serious is this threat? Is it hair on fire? Every state...
Jeh Johnson: I certainly don't believe in the hair on fire phenomenon.
Lesley Stahl: But every state, I mean, that means it's percolating everywhere.
Jeh Johnson: The fact that we have investigations in every state does not surprise me. We are very concerned about young people romanticizing a group like ISIL. And so we've gotta keep tabs on it all.
Lesley Stahl: This kid is sitting in his basement or her basement and reading the web, and being radicalized. How on earth can you keep a tab on that person?
60 Minutes: Segment ExtrasA perfectly safe city would look like a prisonHomeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says he could build a secure city but it would be an unpleasant place to live.
Jeh Johnson: That's the challenge isn't it? And that's one of the things that frankly, keeps me up at night. Because we would have little or no notice if somebody decides to commit an act of violence. So if the family member, the religious leader, the teacher trusts us enough to inform us, we're in a position to make a difference.
The Department of Homeland Security wants you -- the public -- to call in. It's part of a new push to deal with the lone wolf threat with Johnson himself reaching out to build trust with local leaders...
[Jeh Johnson: Jeh Johnson, how are you? Nice to see you.]
And he's shifting the department's resources to cops on the beat, as the war on terrorism has evolved.
[Jeh Johnson: How are you?]
That's why DHS has funded 78 fusion centers around the country - like this one in Phoenix, set up for the Super Bowl -- to get all levels of law enforcement, down to the county sheriff, to work together.
Official: We're connected through that command and control system -- federal, tribal, state, county, local, even political subdivisions. So we have the ability to reach out in real time and coordinate information, public information or intelligence.
Any information about suspicious activity, whether FBI intelligence in Washington or something somebody sees on the streets of Phoenix -- is all shared right in this room.
[Jeh Johnson: That's downtown?
Man: That's downtown Phoenix.]
Johnson's department has never been more central to the war on terror. But it has come under almost constant criticism for, over the years, weak management and low morale...and recently a Senate oversight committee went after the quality of its intelligence.
Lesley Stahl: This report is current. It was a 2015 study of the department. It says that intelligence is stale.
Jeh Johnson: Well, I'd have to disagree with that. Every morning, when I read intelligence it's real time. It's valuable.
Lesley Stahl: It said that the department's primary counterterrorism programs are yielding quote "little value for the nation's counter-terrorism efforts."
Jeh Johnson: It also said that we're moving in the right direction.
To be fair, Johnson has been on the job for only 14 months. He was brought in to fix all the problems that have long hobbled the department.
Lesley Stahl: When you took the job, people said it was the worst job in Washington. You walked right into it.
Jeh Johnson: As they say in the place I used to work, the Pentagon, it's an opportunity to excel.
And so far he's gotten high marks, even from the Republicans in Congress.
When he came on board, nearly half the senior management jobs were vacant; he's filled all but one; he's boosted morale; and improved the coordination and dissemination of threat information throughout the government, which is done here at the national operations center where planes flying over the country and ships sailing off the coasts are monitored 24-7.
Lesley Stahl: Can you quantify how much success you have had?
Jeh Johnson: Almost daily. Certainly weekly somebody's not allowed to get on an airplane or somebody is arrested and charged with material support to terrorism.
Johnson starts his day before the sun comes up, when a Secret Service detail drops him off at his office at 6:15. His first task, reviewing the top-secret daily brief on the latest threats against the United States, including information on people who've answered the call to fight for ISIS.
Lesley Stahl: As I understand it, of the 180 Americans who have gone overseas to fight in Iraq and Syria, 40 have come back. I assume you're keeping close tabs on those 40?
Jeh Johnson: We have in fact kept close tabs on those who we believe have left and those who've come back. A number have been arrested or investigated and we have systems in place to track these individuals. But you can't know everything.
More than 3,000 Europeans have gone to Iraq and Syria to fight with ISIS. One reason so few young people from the United States have gone, he says is geography.
Jeh Johnson: We are separated from the hot spots by an ocean, which does make it more difficult.
Lesley Stahl: So do you think if it were easier for these kids to get there, there would be more of them going?
Jeh Johnson: Probably. And so border security is not simply preventing people from getting in, but very often preventing somebody from leaving for the wrong reasons.
The homegrown movement - with its Internet recruiting videos -- was largely inspired by this man, an American turned terrorist in Yemen, named Anwar al-Awlaki. He was killed by a drone strike like this one, one of many Johnson green-lighted when he was general counsel at the Pentagon.
Jeh Johnson: If it was a strike off what we call the hot battlefield -- in other words, outside of Iraq and Afghanistan -- by the military then I would have to give the legal sign-off first. And so I did that.
Lesley Stahl: At one point, you had to decide whether it was OK to kill an American, al-Awlaki.
Jeh Johnson: In any use of targeted lethal force, we'd have to conclude that it was consistent with domestic law and international law.
Lesley Stahl: Did you say it was not legal many times?
Jeh Johnson: Occasionally I would have to conclude that the legal authority was not there. And quickly found out that it was actually easier to say yes than it was to say no.
Lesley Stahl: Why was it easier to say yes?
Jeh Johnson: Very often when we're asked to approve the use of targeted lethal force, it can only be in a matter of minutes.
Lesley Stahl: Right--
Jeh Johnson: And so there's a lot of momentum to that. So to say no is like stepping in front of a 90-car freight train.
Lesley Stahl: The first time you said yes, you have said that you were very uncomfortable.
Jeh Johnson: How could somebody be comfortable with authorizing legally the use of lethal force? My view is if you become comfortable with it, then you should get out of the job.
Lesley Stahl: What you actually said was, "If I were Catholic, I would have to go to confession."
Jeh Johnson: Yes.
Lesley Stahl: Did it get easier?
Jeh Johnson: No.
Lesley Stahl: It never got easier?
Jeh Johnson: No.
Lesley Stahl: But there has been so often, collateral, what they call collateral damage, meaning that innocents get killed.
Jeh Johnson: That happens. That happens in war.
Lesley Stahl: That happens. Does it haunt you?
Jeh Johnson: I don't know if I like the word haunt but we have to be sensitive to the notion that the judgments we make today could be condemned on the pages of history years from now.
We went with Johnson on a cold morning to look out at the tip of Manhattan. He was in New York on 9/11 and witnessed the destruction of the World Trade Center.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Lesley Stahl
CBS News
Jeh Johnson: It was a moment for me when I realized that our Homeland Security could be shattered in an instant, unexpectedly. And quite dramatically.Lesley Stahl: Out of this came the Department of Homeland Security.
Jeh Johnson: Out of what happened right here came the Department of Homeland Security.
It's a department that brought under one roof an array of 22 federal agencies, including FEMA, the Secret Service, the Coast Guard.
Jeh Johnson: Then last but not least, you have the lady right here. Citizenship and immigration services.
He oversees a huge bureaucracy with 240,000 employees.
Jeh Johnson: How's everybody doing?
It's a management nightmare because the various agencies have disparate functions, some -- critics say -- with little or nothing to do with terrorism.
FEMA deals with natural disasters and now with widespread claims of fraud against flood insurance companies following Hurricane Sandy.
Immigration dealt with the waves of unaccompanied children from Central America last summer.
Clark Ervin: This department is a disparate amalgam of things that don't fit together very well.
Clark Ervin, the former inspector general of DHS, says Jeh Johnson is essentially managing chaos.
Lesley Stahl: The threat is more complicated and look what we created to deal with it: the most complicated setup you can imagine. That doesn't make any sense.
Clark Ervin: Well, partly the reason why the department is a mishmash of different things is because it's a Washington product, and as a Washington product it's a political product. Making the department work, making it more effective and efficient, economical, is a security issue. To the extent the department isn't optimally performing, that is a security deficiency.
Lesley Stahl: Also in this department is the Secret Service.
Clark Ervin: Yes (laughs)
Lesley Stahl: And they're having terrible problems even just guarding the White House.
Clark Ervin: There are more threats against this president for obvious reasons than any president in history. There's that. Against that backdrop, of course, there is this complicated terrorist threat picture that we've been talking about. There is zero room for error here. And there's been a lot of error.
"Homeland Security means very often something you never hear about. And that's what we do. You don't get a lot of thank yous for that."Johnson's challenge is to fix a dysfunctional agency at the same time he's dealing with a terrorist threat that's becoming ever more complex and hard to detect.
Lesley Stahl: Now you've been here 14 months.
Jeh Johnson: Yes.
Lesley Stahl: And you've answered a lot of my questions with, "Well, it's a work in progress."
Jeh Johnson: Because it is a work in progress. Correct. Are we large? Yes, we are very large. Do we have some inefficiencies that need to be eliminated? Absolutely. And I believe we're moving in the right direction in that regard.
Lesley Stahl: But do you think that under your leadership so far that things have moved fast enough?
Jeh Johnson: Things cannot move fast enough for me.
Johnson realizes he can't fix all that's wrong with the department before he leaves in 2016. But he's confident it is working well enough to do the job. For instance, agencies in his department - TSA and border protection - screen and vet nearly 3 million travelers every day.
Jeh Johnson: The nature of Homeland Security is that no news is good news. And no news sometimes means somebody got interdicted at the border, somebody got interdicted before they could get on an airplane, somebody was arrested providing material support to terrorism. Homeland Security means very often something you never hear about. And that's what we do. You don't get a lot of thank yous for that.
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VIDEO-Mysterious UFO sighting leaves southwest Bakersfield neighbors puzzled - 23ABC News
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 02:21
Several neighbors living off Alderpointe Street near Panama and Gosford in southwest Bakersfield say they first witnessed a mysterious blue light in the sky back in February, and again in March. Both times they saw it on the 14th.
"I was taking the recycling out to the trash can, and I saw this blue light in the sky, and I thought, that's kinda bright to be a star, I've never seen a blue star be that bright," said Kelly Castruita.
"Watched it for about 10 minutes, just doing weird stuff, it would turn on and off and it would disappear," added Kelly's husband Jeff.
Neighbors said the blue light was about the size of a dime, and started off just above the skyline, and then migrated northwest.
"It pretty much flew, stopped, then started doing some upward motion and downward motion, so I've never seen anything like it," said neighbor Randy Gabriel.
"We'll see the police helicopters once in a while, or an airplane go by, but nothing like this," said Ricardo Pantoja, who has been living in the neighborhood for 23 years.
23ABC's Lindsey Adams took the videos to Senior Deputy Victor Keesey with the Kern County Sheriff's Department, whose office works closely in conjunction with neighboring Meadows Field Airport.
"I'm not aware of any calls that we've received regarding any blue lights, or strange lights in that area. Very seldom, if ever, have I seen anything like it. However, we are in the age of drones now, obviously we have military drones, but we have civilian drones now and drones for purchase, so that is a possibility," said Senior Deputy Victor Keesey.
"It looked way too high up in the sky to be a drone," mentioned witness Kelly Castruita.
"It wasn't a regular airplane or a drone, it was much bigger than what a drone would be, especially at that distance," added neighbor Ricardo Pantoja.
23ABC got in touch with public affairs at Edwards Air Force Base, and we were told they have not received any calls about the light, but officials mentioned it could be a possible aurora in the sky, or possible testing from Vandenberg.
VIDEO-State Dept Downplays Kissinger/Schultz Op-Ed as 'A Lot of Big Words and Big Thoughts' | Washington Free Beacon
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 02:09
BY:Daniel BassaliApril 8, 2015 3:21 pm
Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz ran an op-ed by in the Wall Street Journal criticizing President Obama's approach to foreign policy, especially with regard to Iran.
New State Department spokesperson Marie Harf called their opinions on the Iran negotiations ''a lot of big words and big thoughts.''
Kissinger and Schultz, who served under Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan, said the strategy Obama has pursued is futile and dangerous.
''Absent the linkage between nuclear and political restraint, America's traditional allies will conclude that the U.S. has traded temporary nuclear cooperation for acquiescence to Iranian hegemony,'' the column said.
Harf sparred with AP reporter Matt Lee, interrupting him several times as he tried to get a reaction to the op-ed from the State Department.
''Really, you don't think it's nuanced?'' Harf asked Lee.
''Is there a question or are you just commenting?'' Harf replied. ''I'm not going to go line by line.''
In defense of the deal, Harf employed the typical White House talking points. The Obama administration has repeatedly challenged critics of the deal to offer an alternative. This response has been used to rebut Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Republicans, foreign leaders, and even some from his own party.
''I didn't hear a lot of alternatives. I heard a lot of''sort of a lot of big words and big thoughts in that piece, and certainly there is a place for that. But I didn't hear a lot of alternatives about what they would do differently,'' Harf said.
The same administration that asked questioners for their own solutions insisted that there are only three options in dealing with Iran: To bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, leading to war, to negotiate a deal with Iran that will cap their enrichment capabilities, or to increase sanctions on Iran in hopes it will force them to accept a better deal.
The administration has said their parameters are the only way to avoid another major war in the Middle East and worsen the chaotic environment in the region. Kissinger and Schultz disagreed.
''Until clarity on an American strategic political concept is reached, the projected nuclear agreement will reinforce, not resolve, the world's challenges in the region. Rather than enabling American disengagement from the Middle East, the nuclear framework is more likely to necessitate deepening involvement there'--on complex new terms,'' the column said.
''History will not do our work for us; it helps only those who seek to help themselves.''
VIDEO-How Much Money Does Joe Biden Make? He's Not Shy About It: 'I Make'...' | Video | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 01:54
During a speech in which he said home ownership assets helped pay for his children's college educations, Vice President Joe Biden veered into another topic: his current income.
Image source: mrctv.com
''And I make a lot of money now as vice president,'' Biden told a laughing crowd at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. ''I make a lot of money.''
If there was any doubt, Biden said President Obama poked fun at him during a gathering of Obama faithful following the 2009 inauguration. He said Obama thanked everyone for the sacrifices they made, and ''he looked at me and said, 'Except for Joe '-- he's getting a pay raise.'''
Biden makes $233,700 annually as vice president; his U.S. senator salary before taking office with Obama was $169,300.
This wasn't the first time Biden broached the topic. Last June at a White House summit on working families, Biden joked that even though he'd been listed as ''the poorest man in Congress,'' he makes ''a lot of money as vice president of the United States. And I do, by the way. I do.''
''Sometimes we talk about struggle. My struggle'... my God, compared to where I grew up'...'' he said last year. ''I've been really really fortunate.''
(H/T: Weasel Zippers)
Follow Dave Urbanski (@DaveVUrbanski) on Twitter
VIDEO-Europe is bluffing over Greece-Russia relations | euronews, news +
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 22:16
Brussels could only look on as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Moscow on Wednesday.
The Greek side is looking for some financial benefits of strengthening relations with Moscow while EU officials warn of the consequences of closer ties.
Could Greece open a window of opportunities outside the EU without being isolated at a critical moment in its own history?
We explore the risks and possible consequences with a political analyst in Athens.
Efi Koutsokosta '' euronews
''Joining us is Konstaninos Filis, a professor of international relations. So what is the Greek side seeking from Tsipras' visit to Moscow?''
Konstaninos Filis, political analyst
''The Europeans are bluffing when they demand that Greece limits its relations with Russia because the EU and indeed very big European states continue to deepen their own relations with Moscow for their national interests.
On the other hand, they say Greece shouldn't strengthen its own links while negotiations with its creditors continue because, for one, it will send the wrong signal to its European partners that Greece's policy is opportunistic and means that if you don't satisfy our demands we can turn elsewhere.
Secondly, Russia can't be considered a serious alternative for Greece only a complementary one, there is always the danger that could send the wrong signal to other countries China.''
Efi Koutsokosta '' euronews
''European Parliament President Martin Schulz has warned Athens not to put at risk the common EU position regarding sanctions towards Russia. However Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras recently veered off message with his comments. Isn't this dangerous?''
Konstaninos Filis, political analyst
''I think that Athens won't choose distance itself too much from the official Brussels position if this might lead to its isolation.
It will try to form a common EU bloc with other member states that share the same position and have similar priorities such as Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Cyprus and Hungary.
But Greece has to be careful not to mimic Hungary's outspoken leadership about Russia and on that basis it's important to maintain a single European position.''
Efi Koutsokosta '' euronews
''Greece's foreign minister signed up (yesterday) a common declaration in Hungary to proceed with the Turkish stream gas pipeline. So at a time when the EU is try to accelerate the concept of energy union and become less dependent on Russian gas, is it wise to take a different position?''
Konstaninos Filis, political analyst
''For Greece to participate in the Turkish Stream project, some specific conditions need to be met.Firstly, countries affected by the cancellation of the South Stream such as Austria and Italy need to give the nod to Turkish Stream.
Secondly, companies should be recruited to distribute the gas throughout Europe once it reaches the Greek-Turkish border, given that Russia is against the involvement of other parties, to avoid legal complications.
The next step is to assure a common European position or at least, a minimum consensus from Brussels to support the project. Because if there is no EU backing, as was the case of the South Stream, then there is a risk that the project could be undermined.''
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VIDEO-Postal Service releases Maya Angelou stamp with quote from another author - The Washington Post
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 20:22
The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a limited edition stamp honoring poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. The first lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and Attorney General Eric Holder were amongst those in attendance. (Reuters)
The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday released a new Maya Angelou stamp featuring a quote from a different author's book, propagating a popular misconception about the original source of the line.
''A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song,'' the stamp reads.
Angelou, the late African-American author who wrote the famous 1969 autobiography ''I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,'' used the same line in media interviews, and President Obama attributed it to her during the 2013 presentation of the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal.
But the sentence never appeared in Angelou's autobiography. The words came from Joan Walsh Anglund's collection of poems, ''A Cup of Sun,'' published two years before the release of Angelou's autobiography. (One difference: The pronoun ''it'' from the stamp quote appears as ''he'' in the poem).
[Book author Joan Walsh Anglund says of Angelou stamp: 'That's my quote']
Nonetheless, the Postal Service moved forward with its release of the stamp at Tuesday's event, which featured dignitaries such as first lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey and the poet Sonia Sanchez.
USPS said it didn't know about Anglund's book until Monday, when a Washington Post article pointed out that the quote in question didn't originate with Angelou.
''Had we known about this issue beforehand, we would have used one of [Angelous's] many other works,'' USPS spokesman Mark Saunders said in an e-mail on Monday. ''The sentence held great meaning for her and she is publicly identified with its popularity.''
''The Postal Service puts a great deal of time and energy into vetting the stamps it releases each year,'' Saunders added in a follow-up email. ''This stamp was similarly vetted. We found that the phrase was widely attributed to Angelou in many mediums and by some dignitaries and we were not aware of Ms. Anglund's 1967 book.''
For what it's worth, even the title of Angelou's autobiography comes from another writer, prominent African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, whose poem ''Sympathy'' included the line. (Correction: The Federal Eye made a mistake of its own here, incorrectly attributing the hymn ''Lift Every Voice and Sing'' to Dunbar in an earlier version of this article).
The release of the stamp comes less than four years after another fumbled attempt to honor an historic African-American figure. Controversy erupted in 2011 over an abbreviated quote on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial that critics thought would make the civil-rights leader appear immodest.
One of the inscriptions on the memorial read: ''I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.'' But King actually said, ''Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.''
Angelou, who died last year, said the abridged version made King sound like an ''arrogant twit.'' The Department of the Interior initially considered sandblasting the inscription and replacing it with the full quote, but the agency ultimately decided to remove the line altogether.
* Lonnae O'Neal and Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this report.
Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler's Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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VIDEO-Anonymous launches 'electronic holocaust' on Israel, leaking citizens' data amid criticism that attack is anti-semitic - News - Gadgets and Tech - The Independent
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 17:52
Videos posted in advance of the event claimed that the group would ''erase'' the country from cyberspace. But the attacks seemed to have little effect, briefly taking down smaller websites and resulting in the release of a small batch of what was claimed to be personal data.
While Anonymous members have launched attacks on Islamist militants and child abusers in recent months, they have had mixed results and often failed to make any of the impact that has been promised.
The attack claimed to be carried out in protest against Israeli ''crimes'' in Palestine. But the name of the attack as well as the decision to launch it the week before Holocaust Remembrance Day drew criticism from many.
Twitter accounts and other users associated with anonymous claimed that over 150,000 pieces of personal information related to Israeli citizens had been leaked. They uploaded a Pastebin article about the achievement, and linked to that cache of documents '-- though none of them has yet been verified.
Anonymous videos claimed that ''elite cyber-squadrons, from around the world, will decide to unite in solidarity, with the Palestinian people, against Israel, as one entity to disrupt and erase Israel from cyberspace''. But the country took down no active websites used by the government, or any
Sites that were hit '-- including an old website of the country's economic ministry '-- were replaced with an image claiming the attack had been carried out by ''AnonGhost'', and pictures of Muslim holy sites and Arabic script.
Israeli analysts said that most of the attacks had been coming from North Africa and the Middle East.
''It's important to note that this is being led exclusively by the Middle Eastern contingent of Anonymous, rather than the entirety of the organisation,'' Benjamin T Decker, an intelligence analyst at an Israeli risk consultancy firm, told Newsweek.
VIDEO-The President Speaks on the Impacts of Climate Change on Public Health | The White House
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 17:00
April 07, 2015 | 11:24 | Public Domain
President Obama delivered remarks at Howard University on the impact of climate change on our public health.
Download mp4 (419MB) | mp3 (27MB)
VIDEO-New battery prototype is cheaper, faster, safer and charges in 1 minute -- Science & Technology -- Sott.net
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 16:37
(C) Mark Shwartz, Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford UniversityStanford scientists have invented a flexible, high-performance aluminum battery that charges in about 1 minute.
A new battery developed at Stanford may well revolutionize personal technology. It charges in a minute, lasts thousands of cycles and is much safer than current commercial models. Right now it lacks capacity, but its creators say it's a work in progress."We have developed a rechargeable aluminum battery that may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames," said Hongjie Dai, a chemistry professor at Stanford.
Dai's team presented their findings in the April 6 online edition of the journal Nature, titled 'An ultrafast rechargeable aluminum-ion battery'. Their prototype consists of an aluminum anode and a graphite cathode, packed inside a flexible polymer-coated pouch with an ionic liquid electrolyte."The electrolyte is basically a salt that's liquid at room temperature, so it's very safe," said Ming Gong, Stanford graduate student and co-lead author of the Nature article.
Safety is a major selling point of the Stanford prototype. A video released by Dai's team shows them drilling through the pouch while the battery continues to function. By contrast, the lithium-ion batteries presently used in most electronic devices can catch fire and explode if damaged."You can drill through the aluminum battery pouch, and it will continue working for a while longer without catching fire," Dai said.
He also reported "unprecedented" charging times for the prototype, as little as one minute. Moreover, the new battery has lasted more than 7,500 cycles without loss of capacity, while a typical lithium-ion may last up to 1000.
"This was the first time an ultra-fast aluminum-ion battery was constructed with stability over thousands of cycles," the authors wrote.
Another feature of the prototype is that it can bend or fold safely, opening up possibilities for wearable electronics and installation in odd-shaped spaces. Aluminum is also much cheaper than lithium, making the battery more eco-friendly.
"Our battery has everything else you'd dream that a battery should have: inexpensive electrodes, good safety, high-speed charging, flexibility and long cycle life," says Dai. There is one problem, however: It only produces about half the voltage of its typical lithium counterpart.
Dai is not discouraged. "Improving the cathode material could eventually increase the voltage and energy density," he says. "I see this as a new battery in its early days. It's quite exciting."
VIDEO-UN Climate Official: ''We Should Make Every Effort'' To Decrease World Population (VIDEO) | The Gateway Pundit
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 15:12
Guest post by Patch Adams
(Image screenshot)
Climate One founder Greg Dalton and the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Christiana Figueres, held a discussion in 2013 on the role of women in fighting Global Warming.
During the interview Secretary Figueres stated, We should should ''make every effort,'' to reduce the world's population in an effort to fight Climate Change:
DALTON: A related issue is fertility rates in population. A lot of people in energy and environmental circles don't wanna go near that because it's politically charged. It's not their issue. But isn't it true that stopping the rise of the population would be one of the biggest levers and driving the rise of green house gases?
FIGUERES: I mean we all know that we expect nine billion, right, by 2050. So, yes, obviously less people would exert less pressure on the natural resources.
DALTON: So is nine billion a forgone conclusion? That's like baked in, done, no way to change that?
FIGUERES: Well there again, there is pressure in the system to go toward that; we can definitely change those, right? We can definitely change those numbers and really should make every effort to change those numbers because we are already, today, already exceeding the planet's planetary carrying capacity, today. To say nothing of adding more population that is really going to overextend our capacity. So yes we should do everything possible. But we cannot fall into the very simplistic opinion of saying just by curtailing population then we've solved the problem. It is not either/or, it is an and/also.
Video below (4:20-5:45):
This was cross-posted at Progressives Today.
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VIDEO-Michael Slager Charged With Murder of Walter Scott in South Carolina - NBC News.com
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:11
A white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, was charged with murder after a cellphone video was released of him fatally shooting a black father of four in the back following a traffic stop.
The release of the footage '-- which shows Officer Michael Slager fired eight times at Walter Scott '-- was praised by the 50-year-old victim's family, who during a news conference said: "All we wanted was the truth."
"It looked like he was trying to kill a deer or something, running through the woods," Scott's father, Walter Scott Sr., told TODAY on Wednesday.
Slager, 33, was arrested earlier by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and faces 30 years to life in prison or the death penalty if convicted, state officials said in a news release. He was being held without bond in the Charleston County Jail.
via FacebookWalter Scott appears in a photo posted by his brother Aaron Scott on Facebook. His family remembered the father of four and Coast Guard veteran as a proud member of the community.
The incident occurred around 9:30 a.m. ET on Saturday after Slager pulled over Scott's car because of a broken taillight.
The video, which was first obtained by The New York Times, picks up after the stop. Slager is seen shooting at Scott eight times as he runs away in a vacant lot. Scott drops to the ground after the last shot and Slager walks over calmly and is shown handcuffing Scott's arms behind his back. Other police officers and later EMS tried to administer CPR but Scott died at the scene, according to an incident report. The video provided to The New York Times does not show those efforts.
The officer said the suspect took his Taser and that he feared for his life.
"Shots fired. Subject is down. He grabbed my Taser," Slager says in a call to dispatchers.
The video doesn't show Scott taking Slager's stun gun. But officials say Scott was hit with the officer's Taser because one of its projectiles was still attached to him.
The Justice Department and the South Carolina Office of the FBI are also reviewing the incident, which comes on the heels of other police-related deaths involving unarmed black males in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Cleveland and New York's Staten Island.
Slager was arrested less than an hour after the video, taken by a bystander, was provided to city and police officials.
Attorney L. Chris Stewart, who is representing the Scott family, said the victim may have tried to run from the officer because he owed child support, which can get someone sent to jail in South Carolina until they pay it back. There were no violent offenses on his record, the attorney added.
In his interview with TODAY, Walter Scott Sr. also suggested that his son ran because he owed child support.
"I believe that he didn't want to go to jail again," he said. "He just ran away."
At a Tuesday news conference, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said the decision to charge the officer came after viewing the footage.
Having to charge an officer is "not something that we like to hear or like to say but it goes to say how we work as a community: When you're wrong, you're wrong and if you make a bad decision, don't care if you're behind the shield or just a citizen on the street, you have to live by that decision," Summey said.
Slager has been with the department for at least five years, officials said.
North Charleston Police Chief Eddie Driggers called the incident a "tragic day" for many, but said the shooting shouldn't reflect on the department's 343 officers.
"It is not reflective of the entire police department and the city of North Charleston," Driggers said. "One does not totally throw a blanket across the many, and I think that's true in life, so it is a tragic event."
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley added that the shooting, as it appears, is unacceptable. "I assure all South Carolinians that the criminal judicial process will proceed fully," she said in a statement. "This is a sad time for everyone in South Carolina, and I urge everyone to work together to help our community heal."
At a news conference in front of the Scotts' Charleston home, his family remembered the father of four and Coast Guard veteran as a proud member of the community and said he "would never" have fought an officer over a Taser.
"Out of my brothers, he was the most outgoing out of all of us," Anthony Scott said. "He knew everybody. '... He was well-known in the community everywhere. He was just an outgoing type of person, and loving and kind."
Anthony Scott said they were disturbed by initial reports that Slager said his brother grabbed the stun gun.
"I think through the process, we have received the truth. We can't get my brother back, and my family is in deep mourning for that," Anthony Scott added. "But through the process, justice has been served. I don't think all police officers are bad cops, but there are some bad ones out there."
Lawyers for the family said they are looking into filing a civil lawsuit against police. Attorney Stewart said the video will play key evidence.
"For the first time in a long time, an officer is going to be charged," Stewart told reporters. "What happened today doesn't happen all the time," he added. "What if there wasn't no video, what if there was no witness ... then this (murder charge against the officer) wouldn't have happened."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published April 7 2015, 3:40 PM
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VIDEO-Russian Hackers Accessed Sensitive Parts of White House Computer Network, CNN Reports | TheBlaze.com
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 13:09
Russian hackers were able to access sensitive parts of the White House computer system, including President Barack Obama's real-time schedule with details not available to the public, CNN reported Tuesday, citing sources.
U.S. officials briefed on the investigation told the news outlet that the hackers were able to break into the system using a perch from a previous cyber attack on the State Department.
The White House is seen through a keyhole in the fence, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Deputy national security advisor for strategic communications told CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller that the agency does not confirm cyberintrusions.
He added that the White House computer systems are secure and told CNN authorities do not believe sensitive national-security documents were stolen.
''We do not believe that our classified systems were compromised,'' Rhodes told CNN.
''We're constantly updating our security measures on our unclassified system but we're frankly told to act as if we need not put information that's sensitive on that system,'' he added. ''In other words, if you're going to do something classified, you have to do it on one email system, one phone system. Frankly, you have to act as if information could be compromised if it's not on the classified system.''
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VIDEO-Problem at Electrical Station Causes Widespread Power Outages in Washington, D.C. | Video | TheBlaze.com
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 13:07
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Problems at a Maryland electrical station caused widespread power outages across the nation's capital Tuesday, affecting the White House, the Capitol, museums, train stations and other sites.
Many of the outages were brief, but some were longer and forced evacuations. Officials said a mechanical failure at a transfer station led to the outages, and terrorism was not suspected. Tens of thousands of customers lost power.
At the White House, the interruption last only a few seconds before backup generators kicked on. The complex quickly went back onto regular power. Electricity in the press briefing room dipped around lunchtime, briefly darkening cubicles and blackening TV screens.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he was with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office when the power blip occurred, and they didn't notice anything unusual.
Power also went out at the State Department during the daily press briefing, forcing spokeswoman Marie Harf to finish her comments in the dark.
Power in the U.S. Capitol building twice shut down briefly, and then came back on by way of a generator.
The mechanical failure occurred shortly before 1 p.m. at a transfer station some 35 miles southeast of Washington in Charles County, Maryland, that is controlled by utilities serving Washington and southern Maryland. Homeland security officials in Washington and Maryland said there was an explosion at the station, although the two utilities, Pepco and the Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, could not immediately confirm that there was a blast or fire. No one was injured, the utilities said.
Some effects of the outages were still apparent later Tuesday afternoon. Some traffic lights were out, and Metro said 14 of its 91 public transit stations were affected. Power to the trains remained on and trains were moving, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said, but the affected stations were on emergency power, with dimmer lighting and nonworking elevators and escalators.
Some Smithsonian museums also lost power, were evacuated and closed to the public, including the popular National Air and Space Museum and the National Portrait Gallery, a spokeswoman said.
Thousands of tourists spilled from the museums onto the National Mall. It's a busy time of year for tourism as spring brings both better weather and the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which draws thousands to look at the pink-budded trees.
Bill, 62, and Karen, 56, Smith, a retired couple visiting D.C. for a week from Canterbury, Connecticut, were in the National Air and Space Museum when the outage happened.
''We were looking for moon rocks and the lights showing the moon rocks went out,'' Bill Smith said. ''Then the lights flickered and an announcement came over saying everyone needed to evacuate. They didn't say why.''
He said no one panicked or even seemed irritated, though the crowd speculated about what happened.
Jenni Swan, who was visiting from Savannah, Georgia, with her husband and two children, said they were eating in the museum's atrium when security officers said the building was being evacuated.
''Honestly I think my kids are excited because of all the fire trucks and people leaving the building quickly,'' she said.
VIDEO-What will Greek PM walk away with after Kremlin meeting? | euronews, world news
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 13:02
All eyes are on the Kremlin to see what transpires in a controversial meeting between the Greek and Russian leaders.
The Greek Prime Minister is insisting he has not asked Moscow for any money to help meet its debt repayments, saying he wants to work within the framework of the EU.
Alexis Tsipras laid a wreath on Wednesday at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier in Moscow, a day before a new deadline for debt repayments.
Eyebrows were raised this week when Russian media hinted that President Putin may offer gas discounts and even new loans to Greece.
A Russian minister has also said Greece could be removed from Moscow's ban on Western food imports.
This led to a warning from the European Parliament President, Martin Schulz, for Greece to stick to the EU position on sanctions against Russia.
VIDEO-Putin calls for improved trade in talks with Greek PM - BBC News
Wed, 08 Apr 2015 13:01
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for improved trade ties with Greece, during a visit to Moscow by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Mr Putin called the visit by Mr Tsipras "very timely" and hailed the two countries' "common spiritual roots".
Greek officials have previously pointed to Russia as a possible alternative source of financial assistance to alleviate the country's debt crisis.
But analysts say Russia's own economic woes mean any help would be limited.
Greece's new government is embroiled in negotiations with the EU and IMF to unblock a bailout package and could run out of funds within weeks.
Russia was among Greece's leading trade partners before sanctions on its energy industry and Greece's own economic woes dropped trade between the two countries by 40%.
Mr Tsipras received a warm welcome in Moscow, which has seen its ties with the EU strained over Russia's actions in Ukraine.
The Russian president said the two leaders would "analyse what the two of us could do to restore the previous rate of growth" in trade.
Mr Tsipras said he aimed to "restart relations for the good of both our people".
Russia is not in a position to solve Greece's economic issues however, said Constantinos Filis from the Institute of International Relations.
"Russia is not and cannot be a (EU) substitute for Greece. It can only be a supplementary option."
Mr Putin could use the visit to test the EU's collective resolve over sanctions Mr Putin and Mr Tsipras are also expected to discuss ties between the EU and Russia in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
Before his arrival, Mr Tsipras described the sanctions imposed by the EU and US on Russia in the wake of its annexation of the Crimea as "a road to nowhere".
The European Parliament President, Martin Schulz, said Mr Tsipras should not break with the EU line on sanctions.
"Greece demands and gets a lot of solidarity from the EU. We can therefore also ask for solidarity from Greece and for this solidarity not to be ended unilaterally by pulling out of joint measures," he told a regional German newspaper, the Muenchner Merkur.
Russia imposed a ban on many western food imports in retaliation, but Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov has said the government could consider removing three countries, including Greece, from the embargo, Russian state media reported.
The Greek government may play up cultural ties with Russia based on moments of shared history and a common religion.
But the truth is that Greece's memberships of Nato and the EU are central to its modern identity and crucial to its economic survival.
In theory a deal could be constructed where Greece could threaten to veto those EU sanctions in return for serious and sustained economic help, but in truth neither side is probably in a position to make such a deal even if it wanted to.
Russia has too many economic problems of its own to rescue Greece even if it were minded to. The Greek authorities are not in a position to alienate the rest of the EU by undermining a shared position on Ukraine.
Some sort of improvement in trade ties to bring Greek soft fruits back to the Russian market seems much more likely.
Mr Tsipras came to power pledging to end austerity, but his plans have met resistance from Greece's EU/IMF creditors, who lent the country billions to help it avoid bankruptcy.
Greece has not received bailout funds since August last year, with the EU and IMF dissatisfied with the pace of Greek reforms.
A Greek repayment of '‚¬448m to the IMF is due this Thursday.
On Tuesday, the Greek government said Germany owed Greece nearly '‚¬279bn (£204bn; $303bn) in war reparations for the Nazi occupation during World War Two.
It is the first time Greece has calculated what Germany allegedly owes.
But Germany says the matter was resolved legally years ago, and reacting to the claim Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it was "dumb" to link Greece's bailout with the question of war reparations.
VIDEO-How Russians hacked the White House - CNN.com
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 22:58
While the White House has said the breach only ever affected an unclassified system, that description belies the seriousness of the intrusion. The hackers had access to sensitive information such as real-time non-public details of the president's schedule. While such information is not classified, it is still highly sensitive and prized by foreign intelligence agencies, U.S. officials say.
The White House in October said it noticed suspicious activity in the unclassified network that serves the executive office of the president. The system has been shut down periodically to allow for security upgrades.
The FBI, Secret Service and U.S. intelligence agencies are all involved in investigating the breach, which they consider among the most sophisticated attacks ever launched against U.S. government systems. '‹The intrusion was routed through computers around the world, as hackers often do to hide their tracks, but investigators found tell-tale codes and other markers that they believe point to hackers working for the Russian government. A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment. Neither the U.S. State Department or the Russian immediately embassy responded to a request for comment.
Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser, said the White House's use of a separate system for classified information protected sensitive national security-related items from being obtained by hackers.
"We do not believe that our classified systems were compromised," Rhodes told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday in an interview on "The Situation Room."
"We're constantly updating our security measures on our unclassified system but we're frankly told to act as if we need not put information that's sensitive on that system," he said. "In other words, if you're going to do something classified, you have to do it on one email system, one phone system. Frankly, you have to act as if information could be compromised if it's not on the classified system."
To get to the White House, the hackers first broke into the State Department, investigators believe.
The State Department computer system has been bedeviled by signs that despite efforts to lock them out, the Russian hackers have been able to reenter the system. One official says the Russian hackers have "owned" the State Department system for months and it is not clear the hackers have been fully eradicated from the system.
As in many hacks, investigators believe the White House intrusion began with a phishing email that was launched using a State Department email account that the hackers had taken over, according to the U.S. officials.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in a speech at an FBI cyberconference in January, warned government officials and private businesses to teach employees what "spear phishing" looks like.
"So many times, the Chinese and others get access to our systems just by pretending to be someone else and then asking for access, and someone gives it to them," Clapper said.
Related: What is spear fishing?
The ferocity of the Russian intrusions in recent months caught U.S. officials by surprise, leading to a reassessment of the cybersecurity threat as the U.S. and Russia increasingly confront each other over issues ranging from the Russian aggression in Ukraine to the U.S. military operations in Syria.
The attacks on the State and White House systems is one reason why Clapper told a Senate hearing in February that the "Russian cyberthreat is more severe than we have previously assessed."
The revelations about the State Department hacks also come amid controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server to conduct government business during her time in office. Critics say her private server likely was even less safe than the State system. The Russian breach is believed to have come after Clinton departed State.
But hackers have long made Clinton and her associates targets.
The website The Smoking Gun first reported in 2013 that a hacker known as Guccifer had broken into the AOL email of Sidney Blumenthal, a friend and advisor to the Clintons, and published emails Blumenthal sent to Hillary Clinton's private account. The emails included sensitive memos on foreign policy issues and were the first public revelation of the existence of Hillary Clinton's private email address'‹ now at the center of controversy: hdr22@clintonemail.com. The address is no longer in use. '‹
Wesley Bruer contributed to this report
VIDEO-Iran and the Obama Doctrine - NYTimes.com
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:38
In September 1996, I visited Iran. One of my most enduring memories of that trip was that in my hotel lobby there was a sign above the door proclaiming ''Down With USA.'' But it wasn't a banner or graffiti. It was tiled and plastered into the wall. I thought to myself: ''Wow '-- that's tiled in there! That won't come out easily.'' Nearly 20 years later, in the wake of a draft deal between the Obama administration and Iran, we have what may be the best chance to begin to pry that sign loose, to ease the U.S.-Iran cold/hot war that has roiled the region for 36 years. But it is a chance fraught with real risks to America, Israel and our Sunni Arab allies: that Iran could eventually become a nuclear-armed state.
President Obama invited me to the Oval Office Saturday afternoon to lay out exactly how he was trying to balance these risks and opportunities in the framework accord reached with Iran last week in Switzerland. What struck me most was what I'd call an ''Obama doctrine'' embedded in the president's remarks. It emerged when I asked if there was a common denominator to his decisions to break free from longstanding United States policies isolating Burma, Cuba and now Iran. Obama said his view was that ''engagement,'' combined with meeting core strategic needs, could serve American interests vis- -vis these three countries far better than endless sanctions and isolation. He added that America, with its overwhelming power, needs to have the self-confidence to take some calculated risks to open important new possibilities '-- like trying to forge a diplomatic deal with Iran that, while permitting it to keep some of its nuclear infrastructure, forestalls its ability to build a nuclear bomb for at least a decade, if not longer.
''We are powerful enough to be able to test these propositions without putting ourselves at risk. And that's the thing ... people don't seem to understand,'' the president said. ''You take a country like Cuba. For us to test the possibility that engagement leads to a better outcome for the Cuban people, there aren't that many risks for us. It's a tiny little country. It's not one that threatens our core security interests, and so [there's no reason not] to test the proposition. And if it turns out that it doesn't lead to better outcomes, we can adjust our policies. The same is true with respect to Iran, a larger country, a dangerous country, one that has engaged in activities that resulted in the death of U.S. citizens, but the truth of the matter is: Iran's defense budget is $30 billion. Our defense budget is closer to $600 billion. Iran understands that they cannot fight us. ... You asked about an Obama doctrine. The doctrine is: We will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.''
The notion that Iran is undeterrable '-- ''it's simply not the case,'' he added. ''And so for us to say, 'Let's try' '-- understanding that we're preserving all our options, that we're not na¯ve '-- but if in fact we can resolve these issues diplomatically, we are more likely to be safe, more likely to be secure, in a better position to protect our allies, and who knows? Iran may change. If it doesn't, our deterrence capabilities, our military superiority stays in place. ... We're not relinquishing our capacity to defend ourselves or our allies. In that situation, why wouldn't we test it?''
Obviously, Israel is in a different situation, he added. ''Now, what you might hear from Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu, which I respect, is the notion, 'Look, Israel is more vulnerable. We don't have the luxury of testing these propositions the way you do,' and I completely understand that. And further, I completely understand Israel's belief that given the tragic history of the Jewish people, they can't be dependent solely on us for their own security. But what I would say to them is that not only am I absolutely committed to making sure that they maintain their qualitative military edge, and that they can deter any potential future attacks, but what I'm willing to do is to make the kinds of commitments that would give everybody in the neighborhood, including Iran, a clarity that if Israel were to be attacked by any state, that we would stand by them. And that, I think, should be ... sufficient to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whether or not we can at least take the nuclear issue off the table.''
He added: ''What I would say to the Israeli people is ... that there is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward '-- and that's demonstrable.''
The president gave voice, though '-- in a more emotional and personal way than I've ever heard '-- to his distress at being depicted in Israel and among American Jews as somehow anti-Israel, when his views on peace are shared by many center-left Israelis and his administration has been acknowledged by Israeli officials to have been as vigorous as any in maintaining Israel's strategic edge.
With huge amounts of conservative campaign money now flowing to candidates espousing pro-Israel views, which party is more supportive of Israel is becoming a wedge issue, an arms race, with Republican candidates competing over who can be the most unreservedly supportive of Israel in any disagreement with the United States, and ordinary, pro-Israel Democrats increasingly feeling sidelined.
''This is an area that I've been concerned about,'' the president said. ''Look, Israel is a robust, rowdy democracy. ... We share so much. We share blood, family. ... And part of what has always made the U.S.-Israeli relationship so special is that it has transcended party, and I think that has to be preserved. There has to be the ability for me to disagree with a policy on settlements, for example, without being viewed as ... opposing Israel. There has to be a way for Prime Minister Netanyahu to disagree with me on policy without being viewed as anti-Democrat, and I think the right way to do it is to recognize that as many commonalities as we have, there are going to be strategic differences. And I think that it is important for each side to respect the debate that takes place in the other country and not try to work just with one side. ... But this has been as hard as anything I do because of the deep affinities that I feel for the Israeli people and for the Jewish people. It's been a hard period.''
You take it personally? I asked.
''It has been personally difficult for me to hear ... expressions that somehow ... this administration has not done everything it could to look out for Israel's interest '-- and the suggestion that when we have very serious policy differences, that that's not in the context of a deep and abiding friendship and concern and understanding of the threats that the Jewish people have faced historically and continue to face.''
As for protecting our Sunni Arab allies, like Saudi Arabia, the president said, they have some very real external threats, but they also have some internal threats '-- ''populations that, in some cases, are alienated, youth that are underemployed, an ideology that is destructive and nihilistic, and in some cases, just a belief that there are no legitimate political outlets for grievances. And so part of our job is to work with these states and say, 'How can we build your defense capabilities against external threats, but also, how can we strengthen the body politic in these countries, so that Sunni youth feel that they've got something other than [the Islamic State, or ISIS] to choose from. ... I think the biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading. It's going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries. ... That's a tough conversation to have, but it's one that we have to have.''
That said, the Iran deal is far from finished. As the president cautioned: ''We're not done yet. There are a lot of details to be worked out, and you could see backtracking and slippage and real political difficulties, both in Iran and obviously here in the United States Congress.''
On Congress's role, Obama said he insists on preserving the presidential prerogative to enter into binding agreements with foreign powers without congressional approval. However, he added, ''I do think that [Tennessee Republican] Senator Corker, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee, is somebody who is sincerely concerned about this issue and is a good and decent man, and my hope is that we can find something that allows Congress to express itself but does not encroach on traditional presidential prerogatives '-- and ensures that, if in fact we get a good deal, that we can go ahead and implement it.''
Since President Obama has had more direct and indirect dealings with Iran's leadership '-- including an exchange of numerous letters with Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei '-- than any of his predecessors since Iran's revolution in 1979, I asked what he has learned from the back and forth.
''I think that it's important to recognize that Iran is a complicated country '-- just like we're a complicated country,'' the president said. ''There is no doubt that, given the history between our two countries, that there is deep mistrust that is not going to fade away immediately. The activities that they engage in, the rhetoric, both anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, is deeply disturbing. There are deep trends in the country that are contrary to not only our own national security interests and views but those of our allies and friends in the region, and those divisions are real.''
But, he added, ''what we've also seen is that there is a practical streak to the Iranian regime. I think they are concerned about self-preservation. I think they are responsive, to some degree, to their publics. I think the election of [President Hassan] Rouhani indicated that there was an appetite among the Iranian people for a rejoining with the international community, an emphasis on the economics and the desire to link up with a global economy. And so what we've seen over the last several years, I think, is the opportunity for those forces within Iran that want to break out of the rigid framework that they have been in for a long time to move in a different direction. It's not a radical break, but it's one that I think offers us the chance for a different type of relationship, and this nuclear deal, I think, is a potential expression of that.''
What about Iran's supreme leader, who will be the ultimate decider there on whether or not Iran moves ahead? What have you learned about him?
''He's a pretty tough read,'' the president said. ''I haven't spoken to him directly. In the letters that he sends, there [are] typically a lot of reminders of what he perceives as past grievances against Iran, but what is, I think, telling is that he did give his negotiators in this deal the leeway, the capability to make important concessions, that would allow this framework agreement to come to fruition. So what that tells me is that '-- although he is deeply suspicious of the West [and] very insular in how he thinks about international issues as well as domestic issues, and deeply conservative '-- he does realize that the sanctions regime that we put together was weakening Iran over the long term, and that if in fact he wanted to see Iran re-enter the community of nations, then there were going to have to be changes.''
Since he has acknowledged Israel's concerns, and the fact that they are widely shared there, if the president had a chance to make his case for this framework deal directly to the Israeli people, what would he say?
''Well, what I'd say to them is this,'' the president answered. ''You have every right to be concerned about Iran. This is a regime that at the highest levels has expressed the desire to destroy Israel, that has denied the Holocaust, that has expressed venomous anti-Semitic ideas and is a big country with a big population and has a sophisticated military. So Israel is right to be concerned about Iran, and they should be absolutely concerned that Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon.'' But, he insisted, this framework initiative, if it can be implemented, can satisfy that Israeli strategic concern with more effectiveness and at less cost to Israel than any other approach. ''We know that a military strike or a series of military strikes can set back Iran's nuclear program for a period of time '-- but almost certainly will prompt Iran to rush towards a bomb, will provide an excuse for hard-liners inside of Iran to say, 'This is what happens when you don't have a nuclear weapon: America attacks.'
''We know that if we do nothing, other than just maintain sanctions, that they will continue with the building of their nuclear infrastructure and we'll have less insight into what exactly is happening,'' Obama added. ''So this may not be optimal. In a perfect world, Iran would say, 'We won't have any nuclear infrastructure at all,' but what we know is that this has become a matter of pride and nationalism for Iran. Even those who we consider moderates and reformers are supportive of some nuclear program inside of Iran, and given that they will not capitulate completely, given that they can't meet the threshold that Prime Minister Netanyahu sets forth, there are no Iranian leaders who will do that. And given the fact that this is a country that withstood an eight-year war and a million people dead, they've shown themselves willing, I think, to endure hardship when they considered a point of national pride or, in some cases, national survival.''
The president continued: ''For us to examine those options and say to ourselves, 'You know what, if we can have vigorous inspections, unprecedented, and we know at every point along their nuclear chain exactly what they're doing and that lasts for 20 years, and for the first 10 years their program is not just frozen but effectively rolled back to a larger degree, and we know that even if they wanted to cheat we would have at least a year, which is about three times longer than we'd have right now, and we would have insights into their programs that we've never had before,' in that circumstance, the notion that we wouldn't take that deal right now and that that would not be in Israel's interest is simply incorrect.''
Because, Obama argued, ''the one thing that changes the equation is when these countries get a nuclear weapon. ... Witness North Korea, which is a problem state that is rendered a lot more dangerous because of their nuclear program. If we can prevent that from happening anyplace else in the world, that's something where it's worth taking some risks.''
''I have to respect the fears that the Israeli people have,'' he added, ''and I understand that Prime Minister Netanyahu is expressing the deep-rooted concerns that a lot of the Israeli population feel about this, but what I can say to them is: Number one, this is our best bet by far to make sure Iran doesn't get a nuclear weapon, and number two, what we will be doing even as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there. And I think the combination of a diplomatic path that puts the nuclear issue to one side '-- while at the same time sending a clear message to the Iranians that you have to change your behavior more broadly and that we are going to protect our allies if you continue to engage in destabilizing aggressive activity '-- I think that's a combination that potentially at least not only assures our friends, but starts bringing down the temperature.''
There is clearly a debate going on inside Iran as to whether the country should go ahead with this framework deal as well, so what would the president say to the Iranian people to persuade them that this deal is in their interest?
If their leaders really are telling the truth that Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon, the president said, then ''the notion that they would want to expend so much on a symbolic program as opposed to harnessing the incredible talents and ingenuity and entrepreneurship of the Iranian people, and be part of the world economy and see their nation excel in those terms, that should be a pretty straightforward choice for them. Iran doesn't need nuclear weapons to be a powerhouse in the region. For that matter, what I'd say to the Iranian people is: You don't need to be anti-Semitic or anti-Israel or anti-Sunni to be a powerhouse in the region. I mean, the truth is, Iran has all these potential assets going for it where, if it was a responsible international player, if it did not engage in aggressive rhetoric against its neighbors, if it didn't express anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish sentiment, if it maintained a military that was sufficient to protect itself, but was not engaging in a whole bunch of proxy wars around the region, by virtue of its size, its resources and its people it would be an extremely successful regional power. And so my hope is that the Iranian people begin to recognize that.''
Clearly, he added, ''part of the psychology of Iran is rooted in past experiences, the sense that their country was undermined, that the United States or the West meddled in first their democracy and then in supporting the Shah and then in supporting Iraq and Saddam during that extremely brutal war. So part of what I've told my team is we have to distinguish between the ideologically driven, offensive Iran and the defensive Iran that feels vulnerable and sometimes may be reacting because they perceive that as the only way that they can avoid repeats of the past. ... But if we're able to get this done, then what may happen '-- and I'm not counting on it '-- but what may happen is that those forces inside of Iran that say, 'We don't need to view ourselves entirely through the lens of our war machine. Let's excel in science and technology and job creation and developing our people,' that those folks get stronger. ... I say that emphasizing that the nuclear deal that we've put together is not based on the idea that somehow the regime changes.
''It is a good deal even if Iran doesn't change at all,'' Obama argued. ''Even for somebody who believes, as I suspect Prime Minister Netanyahu believes, that there is no difference between Rouhani and the supreme leader and they're all adamantly anti-West and anti-Israel and perennial liars and cheaters '-- even if you believed all that, this still would be the right thing to do. It would still be the best option for us to protect ourselves. In fact, you could argue that if they are implacably opposed to us, all the more reason for us to want to have a deal in which we know what they're doing and that, for a long period of time, we can prevent them from having a nuclear weapon.''
There are several very sensitive points in the framework agreement that are not clear to me, and I asked the president for his interpretation. For instance, if we suspect that Iran is cheating, is harboring a covert nuclear program outside of the declared nuclear facilities covered in this deal '-- say, at a military base in southeastern Iran '-- do we have the right to insist on that facility being examined by international inspectors?
''In the first instance, what we have agreed to is that we will be able to inspect and verify what's happening along the entire nuclear chain from the uranium mines all the way through to the final facilities like Natanz,'' the president said. ''What that means is that we're not just going to have a bunch of folks posted at two or three or five sites. We are going to be able to see what they're doing across the board, and in fact, if they now wanted to initiate a covert program that was designed to produce a nuclear weapon, they'd have to create a whole different supply chain. That's point number one. Point number two, we're actually going to be setting up a procurement committee that examines what they're importing, what they're bringing in that they might claim as dual-use, to determine whether or not what they're using is something that would be appropriate for a peaceful nuclear program versus a weapons program. And number three, what we're going to be doing is setting up a mechanism whereby, yes, I.A.E.A. [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors can go anyplace.''
Anywhere in Iran? I asked.
''That we suspect,'' the president answered. ''Obviously, a request will have to be made. Iran could object, but what we have done is to try to design a mechanism whereby once those objections are heard, that it is not a final veto that Iran has, but in fact some sort of international mechanism will be in place that makes a fair assessment as to whether there should be an inspection, and if they determine it should be, that's the tiebreaker, not Iran saying, 'No, you can't come here.' So over all, what we're seeing is not just the additional protocols that I.A.E.A. has imposed on countries that are suspected of in the past having had problematic nuclear programs, we're going even beyond that, and Iran will be subject to the kinds of inspections and verification mechanisms that have never been put in place before.''
A lot of people, myself included, will want to see the fine print on that. Another issue that doesn't seem to have been resolved yet is: When exactly do the economic sanctions on Iran get lifted? When the implementation begins? When Iran has been deemed to be complying fully?
''There are still details to be worked out,'' the president said, ''but I think that the basic framework calls for Iran to take the steps that it needs to around [the Fordow enrichment facility], the centrifuges, and so forth. At that point, then, the U.N. sanctions are suspended; although the sanctions related to proliferation, the sanctions related to ballistic missiles, there's a set of sanctions that remain in place. At that point, then, we preserve the ability to snap back those sanctions, if there is a violation. If not, though, Iran, outside of the proliferation and ballistic missile issues that stay in place, they're able to get out from under the sanctions, understanding that this constant monitoring will potentially trigger some sort of action if they're in violation.''
There are still United States sanctions that are related to Iran's behavior in terrorism and human rights abuse, though, the president added: ''There are certain sanctions that we have that would remain in place because they're not related to Iran's nuclear program, and this, I think, gets to a central point that we've made consistently. If in fact we are able to finalize the nuclear deal, and if Iran abides by it, that's a big piece of business that we've gotten done, but it does not end our problems with Iran, and we are still going to be aggressively working with our allies and friends to reduce '-- and hopefully at some point stop '-- the destabilizing activities that Iran has engaged in, the sponsorship of terrorist organizations. And that may take some time. But it's our belief, it's my belief, that we will be in a stronger position to do so if the nuclear issue has been put in a box. And if we can do that, it's possible that Iran, seeing the benefits of sanctions relief, starts focusing more on the economy and its people. And investment starts coming in, and the country starts opening up. If we've done a good job in bolstering the sense of security and defense cooperation between us and the Sunni states, if we have made even more certain that the Israeli people are absolutely protected not just by their own capacities, but also by our commitments, then what's possible is you start seeing an equilibrium in the region, and Sunni and Shia, Saudi and Iran start saying, 'Maybe we should lower tensions and focus on the extremists like [ISIS] that would burn down this entire region if they could.' ''
Regarding America's Sunni Arab allies, Obama reiterated that while he is prepared to help increase their military capabilities they also need to increase their willingness to commit their ground troops to solving regional problems.
''The conversations I want to have with the Gulf countries is, first and foremost, how do they build more effective defense capabilities,'' the president said. ''I think when you look at what happens in Syria, for example, there's been a great desire for the United States to get in there and do something. But the question is: Why is it that we can't have Arabs fighting [against] the terrible human rights abuses that have been perpetrated, or fighting against what Assad has done? I also think that I can send a message to them about the U.S.'s commitments to work with them and ensure that they are not invaded from the outside, and that perhaps will ease some of their concerns and allow them to have a more fruitful conversation with the Iranians. What I can't do, though, is commit to dealing with some of these internal issues that they have without them making some changes that are more responsive to their people.''
One way to think about it, Obama continued, ''is [that] when it comes to external aggression, I think we're going to be there for our [Arab] friends '-- and I want to see how we can formalize that a little bit more than we currently have, and also help build their capacity so that they feel more confident about their ability to protect themselves from external aggression.'' But, he repeated, ''The biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading. It's going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries. Now disentangling that from real terrorist activity inside their country, how we sort that out, how we engage in the counterterrorism cooperation that's been so important to our own security '-- without automatically legitimizing or validating whatever repressive tactics they may employ '-- I think that's a tough conversation to have, but it's one that we have to have.''
It feels lately like some traditional boundaries between the executive and legislative branches, when it comes to the conduct of American foreign policy, have been breached. For instance, there was the letter from 47 Republican senators to Iran's supreme leader cautioning him on striking any deal with Obama not endorsed by them '-- coming in the wake of Prime Minister Netanyahu being invited by the speaker of the House, John Boehner, to address a joint session of Congress '-- without consulting the White House. How is Obama taking this?
''I do worry that some traditional boundaries in how we think about foreign policy have been crossed,'' the president said. ''I felt the letter that was sent to the supreme leader was inappropriate. I think that you will recall there were some deep disagreements with President Bush about the Iraq war, but the notion that you would have had a whole bunch of Democrats sending letters to leaders in the region or to European leaders ... trying to undermine the president's policies I think is troubling.
''The bottom line,'' he added, ''is that we're going to have serious debates, serious disagreements, and I welcome those because that's how our democracy is supposed to work, and in today's international environment, whatever arguments we have here, other people are hearing and reading about it. It's not a secret that the Republicans may feel more affinity with Prime Minister Netanyahu's views of the Iran issue than they do with mine. But [we need to be] keeping that within some formal boundaries, so that the executive branch, when it goes overseas, when it's communicating with foreign leaders, is understood to be speaking on behalf of the United States of America, not a divided United States of America, making sure that whether that president is a Democrat or a Republican that once the debates have been had here, that he or she is the spokesperson on behalf of U.S. foreign policy. And that's clear to every leader around the world. That's important because without that, what you start getting is multiple foreign policies, confusion among foreign powers as to who speaks for who, and that ends up being a very dangerous '-- circumstances that could be exploited by our enemies and could deeply disturb our friends.''
As for the Obama doctrine '-- ''we will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities'' '-- the president concluded: ''I've been very clear that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon on my watch, and I think they should understand that we mean it. But I say that hoping that we can conclude this diplomatic arrangement '-- and that it ushers a new era in U.S.-Iranian relations '-- and, just as importantly, over time, a new era in Iranian relations with its neighbors.''
Whatever happened in the past, he said, ''at this point, the U.S.'s core interests in the region are not oil, are not territorial. ... Our core interests are that everybody is living in peace, that it is orderly, that our allies are not being attacked, that children are not having barrel bombs dropped on them, that massive displacements aren't taking place. Our interests in this sense are really just making sure that the region is working. And if it's working well, then we'll do fine. And that's going to be a big project, given what's taken place, but I think this [Iran framework deal] is at least one place to start.''
VIDEO-Statue that cast Edward Snowden as a hero removed and held by New York police | smh.com.au
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 07:39
Josephine Tovey -Apr 7, 2015
New York City Parks workers work to remove a covered large molded bust of Edward Snowden at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn. Photo: Reuters
New York: For one morning, a statue of Edward Snowden, the former US intelligence contractor and whistleblower variously regarded as a dissident hero and national traitor, stood high atop a hill in New York City.
Hours later, the unauthorised sculpture was shrouded in plastic, removed by the city's Parks and Recreation Department as the media and locals watched on, before being transported to the local police precinct.
But two of the artists behind the sculpture, who spoke to Fairfax Media on condition of anonymity, hope that its presence, however fleeting, will help spark conversation about Snowden, surveillance and the American ideals they say he was fighting for.
"We were both dismayed that Snowden and the ideals that his actions represent haven't gotten more traction in mainstream media," one of the artists said.
"It's not just Snowden, it's Bradley [now Chelsea] Manning and every other whistleblower whose fighting for the ideals this nation was founded upon. Snowden is an easy representation to use, so we used his visual."
"This is one of the few times he's been cast as a hero and his actions cast as heroic."
Snowden became a divisive international figure in 2013 when he revealed the enormous surveillance capabilities of the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other surveillance programs, leaking classified information to journalists and sparking global debate about privacy and national security in the digital age. He fled to Russia soon after going public, and has been charged with espionage, slammed as a "coward" and "traitor" by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The sculpture, worth around $30,000 by the artists' estimate, has been around a year in the making, from conception to the early morning installation in the park on Monday. The guerilla installation was carried out by a group of people under cover of darkness, as exclusively captured by the NYC media outlet Animal. It immediately sparked a flurry of attention on social media and in the neighbourhood. By coincidence, satirist John Oliver aired a surprise, funny and revealing interview with Snowden the night before.
The artists placed the bust, made of a plaster-like substance but carefully constructed to look like a typical bronze monument, on a column with a bald eagle at the base, amid a war memorial called the Prison Ship Monument in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, which commemorates the lives of American prisoners who died on British ships during the Revolutionary War.
"The people who fought for the creation of this country during the revolutionary war, they're marching in the same direction in our minds as Snowden, and other people like Snowden who continue to whistleblow or try to alert people to the secretive nature of a government that is treating a people as guilty before innocent," said the artist.
His colleague added they wanted to challenge people's conceptions of Snowden by inserting the official-looking statue in the public space, spurring them to ask questions the portrayal of Snowden as a traitor and seek more information about what he did.
When Fairfax Media arrived at the park on Monday around 1pm, the statue had been tightly wrapped in a blue tarpaulin and string, and was being watched over by a handful of police officers and parks department workers.
In an awkward display, staff from the parks department then drove a truck up alongside the statue, and began the process of removing it, as a small crowd of photographers gathered around them and parents and children watched on, baffled. Staff were careful to keep the tarpaulin in place so the statue's face remained obscured as they slipped it off.
In a statement, the Parks Department said "the erection of any unapproved structure or artwork in a city park is illegal", while the NYPD confirmed to Fairfax Media they had taken possession of the bust and were storing it at a local precinct. Its fate is unknown, with the artists risking charges if they come forward.
The artists point out the now iconic Charging Bull statue on Wall Street was also a guerilla project eventually accepted by authorities, and hope that either New York City or alternatively, a museum or institution would display it. It could be replicated with relative ease - they still have a mould and 3D image of the bust.
Nevertheless, they were disappointed it was removed so quickly, and disturbed that it had to be shrouded from the public in the short interim.
"To cover it up, to step on an eagle's head as you climb it to throw a tarp over it, is so symbolic and ironic that you can't help but kind of shake your head," the artist said.
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VIDEO-Gov Jerry Brown: Californians to Be Heavily Fined for Long Showers - Breitbart
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 15:25
Sunday on ABC's ''This Week,'' Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA) said Californians will face heavy fines for taking long showers.
Brown said, ''This executive order is done under emergency power. It has the force of law. Very unusual. It's requiring action and changes in behavior from the Oregon border all the way to the Mexican border. It affects lawns. It affects people's '-- how long they stay in the shower. How businesses use water.''
Brown said to enforce his order, ''Each water district that actually delivers waters '-- water to homes and businesses, they carry it out. We have a state water board that overseas the relationships with the districts. Hundreds of them. If they don't comply, people can be fined $500 a day. Districts can go to court to get a cease and desist order. The enforcement mechanism is powerful. In a drought of this magnitude, you have to change that behavior and you have to change it substantially.''
Guest host host Martha Raddatz pointed out, ''More water used for almond production than is used by all residents and businesses in San Francisco and Los Angeles combined.''
Brown countered by saying, ''Farm workers who are '-- very low end of the economic scale here, are out of work. There are people in agriculture areas that are suffering. Who are providing food.'' adding, ''They're not watering their lawn or taking long showers. They're providing most of the fruits and vegetables of America. And a significant part of the world.''
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
VIDEO-Woman Arrested For Posting Selfie With Gun on Facebook | The Free Thought Project
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 14:49
Henrico, VA'' Be careful what you post on Facebook, or you could be charged with a crime over your smiling selfie. This is something 26-year-old Kristin Holmes learned the hard way this week when she was arrested and charged with a crime she referred to as ''Facebook Thugging,'' for posting of a photo of herself with a handgun.
It's not just photos that can get you in trouble though, the Fraternal Order of Police is warning that in Virginia, you can be charged with this crime even for swearing.
Holmes was charged with harassment by computer after a case of mistaken identity escalated into a Facebook comment feud. A woman had reportedly mistaken Holmes for someone else and made some comments Holmes found offensive, so the young woman posted a selfie of herself playfully pointing a weapon at the camera along with the caption, ''I'll post a few actual pics of me so you know the difference when you come find me.''
The woman was reported to her local police and was taken into custody. She is charged with a class 1 misdemeanor that carries up to one year in prison and/or a $2,600 fine.
''It wasn't a threat. I thought it was a funny picture, and then I realized later that it was a little bit intimidating. So I took it down. What happened to freedom of speech?'' Holmes told CNN.
The absurdity doesn't stop there, however. Kevin Carroll with the Fraternal Order of Police told NBC that there is ''no such thing as a petty crime,'' and parroted repeatedly that the law is the law. The police do as they are told without any thought for the moral implications of their enforcement of stupid laws. We may as well have those robot police we recently reported on patrolling our streets, they would probably have more independent thought than we will ever hear from the FOP.
Think this wouldn't happen in your state?
In January, a New York teen was arrested for using ''threatening emojis.''
Police state? What police state?
VIDEO-John Oliver Travels to Russia to Tell Edward Snowden It's All About the 'Dick Pics' | Mediaite
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 09:43
On Sunday's Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver revealed that he traveled to Russia to interview former NSA contractor Edward Snowden '-- yes, that Edward Snowden. Now, such an interview is not an easy ''get.'' In fact, the last high-profile journalist to secure an interview with Snowden was NBC's Brian Williams, so this was a big surprise.
Upon Snowden's entrance into the room (albeit, a bit late), Oliver jokingly called him ''the most famous hero and/or traitor in recent American history.'' In the interview, which aired in full on Sunday's episode, Snowden said he misses his family and his country '-- and yes, even Hot Pockets.
Snowden reiterated his warnings against overarching government surveillance, to which Oliver countered that ''Americans do not give a sh*t about foreign surveillance.'' To prove that point, he played a video of random people who were asked about Snowden, many of whom could not accurately say who he is. Snowden laughed throughout it.
Oliver delved into the tricky technical terms of surveillance, urging Snowden to raise hell about ''d*ck pics'' and ''junk'' in an effort to get average Americans to care about the NSA's surveillance capabilities. According to Oliver, people are ''terrified'' that the government would be able to see naked pictures of random Americans.
''Well, the good news is there's no program named, 'the d*ck pic program,''' Snowden said. ''The bad news is, they are still collecting everybody's information, including your d*ck pics.''
Snowden admitted he never thought about explaining the dangers of government surveillance by putting in ''in the context of your junk.''
Watch the full interview below, via HBO:
Please enable Javascript to watch.
[Image via screengrab]
'' ''
>>Follow Andrew Desiderio (@forza_desiderio) on Twitter
VIDEO-Reza Aslan Slams Bill Maher for Facile Arguments' About Muslim Violence - YouTube
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 09:19


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Agenda 21

CSPAN Jerry Brown EO-no shower for you slave!.mp3
Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Christiana Figueres-less humans.mp3
Obama Climate Asthma-1-Today show.mp3
Obama Climate Asthma-2-GMA.mp3
Obama Climate Asthma-3-CBSTM.mp3


Judge Napalitano on Tsarnaev verdict.mp3

Big Data

Substance Use Disorder Fact Sheet.pdf


Frmr CIA Dir Woolsley on Suadis and Middle East in 2006.mp3


Plan W- Greece demands 278bn WWII reparations from Germany.mp3


CNN-Russians hacked unclass email-Ben Rhodes NS Advisor-HILLARY SETUP.mp3
euronews-What will Greek PM walk away with after Kremlin meeting.mp3


House Assistant Minority Leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.)-ALEC to blame.mp3
SC Police chief on the video of killing.mp3

Hillary 2016

former Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn -Hillarys email hacked.mp3
Hillary hires Michelles Christina shockey.mp3

JCD Clips

Abramson hummer.mp3
cia and the kid.mp3
climate change one liner.mp3
F24 british election polls game.mp3
F24 on British Election odd noises.mp3
faith sallie.mp3
follow the leader.mp3
foundation for a secure and prosperous America.mp3
JA front runner.mp3
JA incredibly curious.mp3
JA work.mp3
jill and the fry.mp3
kenya al-shabob and air attcks.mp3
outrageous robbery.mp3
trans pacofoc deal more weapons.mp3
WATER skip anderson water cost of a burger.mp3
WEAPONS backgrounder plus Irfan.mp3
WEAPONS SALE -long.mp3


NORAD Commander- 'High Confidence' That U.S. Missile Defense 'Will Work Against North Korea'.mp3

Shut Up Slave!

Harrassment by Computer-FB thugging.mp3

Six Week Cycle

Jeh Johnson 60min-1-hair on fire every state.mp3
Jeh Johnson 60min-2-kid radicalized in basement-RAT on them.mp3
Jeh Johnson 60min-3-Hes the TRIGGERMAN for drones inc alwaki.mp3


John Oliver Snowden HotPockets-trucknuts.mp3
John Oliver with Snowden-USA sucks.mp3

Words Matter

Alan Dershowitz on sex suit- denying the truth WTF.mp3
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