714: Gay Siri

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 47m
April 19th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Joseph Gilbert, Black Knight Sab Swiss, Sir Hank-Viscount of Queens, NY

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Arcane Code, intelliARMOR LLC, Julian Swan, Pete Arnold III, Sir Nick of the Southside, Dame Sam, Clwnsho, Dave Jackson, Rob Van Dijk, Baronetess Dame Monica Lansing, Claudia Gerber, Terri Morgan, Sir Ara Derderian, Danny Baker

Cover Artist: Thijs Brouwers

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
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TODAY
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Vegas
Patchouli Oil in the convention hall
Badge Scanners
Drones Pavilion - Size of drones
Parking behind the convention center - Apartment occupants own lots
Capo's restaurant
Podcast Awards
Big FU to TWiT
DTNS
Night Attack
Libertarians don't vote
Sgt. Fred 55.10-daughter, fiancé Matt
Presidential Proclamation -- National Equal Pay Day, 2015
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 05:50
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 13, 2015
NATIONAL EQUAL PAY DAY, 2015
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
In the United States, the promise of opportunity is built on the idea that everyone who works hard should have the chance to get ahead. This creed is at the core of our democracy, and it is central to our belief that America does best when all people are able to share in our Nation's prosperity and contribute to our success. Yet every day, countless women perform the same work as their male colleagues only to earn less than their fair share. On National Equal Pay Day, we mark how far into the new year women would have to work just to earn the same as men did in the previous year, and we renew our efforts to end this injustice.
On average, full-time working women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, and women of color face an even greater disparity. This wage gap puts women at a career-long disadvantage, and it harms families, communities, and our entire economy. Today, in more than half of all households, women are breadwinners -- 49 million children depend on women's salaries. But our economy and our policies have not caught up to this reality. When women experience pay discrimination it limits their future, and it also hurts the people they provide for. It means less for their families' everyday needs, for investments in their children's futures, and for their own retirements. These effects reduce our shared prosperity and restrict our Nation's economic growth. Wage inequality affects us all, and we each must do more to make certain that women are full and equal participants in our economy.
When we take action to help women succeed, we help America succeed, and my Administration is committed to ensuring women have every opportunity to reach their fullest potential. The first bill I signed as President was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the following year -- to crack down on violations of equal pay laws -- I created the National Equal Pay Task Force, which to date has helped women recover millions of dollars in lost wages. If workers do not know they are underpaid, they cannot challenge the inequality; that is why we are going to require Federal contractors to submit data on employee compensation, including data by sex and race, and why last year I signed an Executive Order prohibiting Federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their pay. And I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to protect all people's fundamental right to a fair wage.
In the last half-century, our economy has changed in many ways for the better because of the increased participation of women. But our values are not yet fully reflected in how we pay women. We tell our daughters that in America there are no limits to what they can achieve -- yet their mothers face persistent barriers to equality and success. We have to do better because our daughters deserve better. If we come together, we can change the policies and attitudes that hold women back, and we can fix this. On this day, we recommit to making equal pay a reality, and we continue our work to build a world where all our children are limited only by the size of their dreams and the power of their imaginations.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 14, 2015, as National Equal Pay Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize the full value of women's skills and their significant contributions to the labor force, acknowledge the injustice of wage inequality, and join efforts to achieve equal pay.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
BARACK OBAMA
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No Agenda the hit Broadway Musical
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Congressional Dish on The Stream
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Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''714, 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. § 1714^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
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TODAY
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Leaving Vegas
Bandana Ball
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Dame Elyse Limonchello
Thanks for NASCAR Experience - Sir James Cate's gal Lisa
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Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''714, 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. § 1714^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
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Wikileaks SONY archive
WikiLeaks Posts Sony Pictures Documents, Angering the Studio - NYTimes.com
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:26
LOS ANGELES '-- Sony Pictures Entertainment reacted harshly on Thursday to word that WikiLeaks, a web portal devoted to disclosing confidential information from governments, corporations and other large and powerful entities, had posted a searchable archive of emails and other documents stolen from the studio last year by hackers.
Calling the original attack ''a malicious criminal act,'' Sony said in a statement that ''we strongly condemn the indexing of stolen employee and other private and privileged information.''
That was a response to a post on WikiLeaks in which the organization's editor in chief, Julian Assange, said the materials belonged in the public domain because they ''show the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation.'' In a statement introducing the archive, WikiLeaks said it contained 30,287 documents, along with 173,132 emails from more than 2,200 addresses.
''It is newsworthy and at the center of a geopolitical conflict,'' Mr. Assange wrote of the archive. ''It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there.''
United States law enforcement officials attributed the original hacking, which occurred last November, to the North Korean government, which was angered over Sony's comic film parody of its leader, Kim Jong-un, in ''The Interview.'' Emails and other material taken from the studio were widely published and posted by news organizations, which culled the material from drop-boxes established by the hackers.
In adopting and indexing the material, WikiLeaks said it meant to ensure its continued availability in the face of a legal and public relations effort by Sony to push users away from the material. David Boies, representing Sony, sent letters warning news organizations against possessing or publishing stolen company material.
Whether because of the warnings or fatigue with the story of Sony's woes, interest in the trove had waned in recent months, though not before Sony executives, including its chief executive, Michael Lynton, and the chairwoman of its film operation, Amy Pascal, were embarrassed by some public revelations. For Ms. Pascal, who resigned her post under pressure in February in favor of a producing deal with the studios, those included a rude exchange discussing President Obama's purported preference for black-themed movies.
WikiLeaks on Thursday insisted that reporters had done little more than ''scratch the surface'' of a file that it says includes material describing Sony connections to the Democratic Party and the RAND Corporation, of which Mr. Lynton is a trustee.
Sony Pictures has been embroiled in a legal fight over claims that it negligently allowed employees' private information to be stolen. In its statement, the company said it was fighting for the ''safety, security and privacy'' of its 6,000 employees.
Correction: April 16, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated when Sony Pictures Entertainment issued its statement. It was Thursday, not Wednesday.
WikiLeaks - Sony Archives-PSA Clooney
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:32
RE: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault surveyThanks for trying on Colbert. I think Fallon, Kimmel or Clooney would all be fantastic so please reach out to them as you would like.
On Politics Aside, I look forward to talking next week about some ideas. If you do have a chance to at least ask Valerie Jarrett if she's free on the evening of November 13 or on November 14 that would be great but we can talk more about the shape of the panel when we talk.
Thanks and safe travels this week!
Naveena
From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 10:30 AMTo: Ponnusamy, NaveenaCc: Diamond, DavidSubject: Re: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault survey
So a couple of things. Colbert has turned us down. Who do you want me to move on to. Can try Falon or Kimmel. Or Clooney or a film actor. As to politics aside happy to try and engage hollywood. Let's talk on the phone next weeks as to how best to do that. I am traveling in Europe this week. And yes Valerie Jarrett is an old and close friend and happy to reach out to her in any way you would like me to. M
On Jul 9, 2014, at 6:38 PM, "Ponnusamy, Naveena" wrote:
Hi Michael,
Just wanted to check back in to see if you thought Stephen Colbert or anyone else might be a possibility to participate in this. I'm told that they've recorded one PSA already (without a celebrity) but are hoping to still make more if we are able to recruit someone. One thing I might mention in case it wasn't obvious already is that they PSA itself won't mention anything related to sexual assault (since that would bias the results)'--so they want a celebrity to participate who wants to support the military and service members on this important issues, but the PSA itself will have a message focused on getting people to take a workplace survey.
Thanks again for your help. I'll also just take a moment here to introduce the Politics Aside idea I mentioned to you briefly. Could we revisit the Hollywood and Policy theme again and recruit some big names (e.g. George Clooney, Kevin Spacey) to participate on a panel with you moderating? It was a hit last time and so we wanted to look at how we might freshen it up for 2014. Another angle is related to a conversation I had with the head of production for Funny or Die about their work with the White House promoting Healthcare.gov. Could we tie in that to talk about how policymakers and politicians use media to promote policy issues? They were working with Valerie Jarrett in the White House- do you know her? And maybe this is a place to tie-in someone like Colbert, Stewart or John Oliver?
Would love to get your thoughts when you have a moment on all of the above.
Thanks!
Naveena
From: Ponnusamy, NaveenaSent: Friday, June 20, 2014 11:22 AMTo: 'michael_lynton@spe.sony.com'Subject: Fw: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault survey
Michael,
Thanks for your thoughts on a celebrity that might appeal to this demographic for this important initiative. I think they'd be thrilled to have Channing Tatum. Other recent ideas thrown around: Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, Chris Rock, John Stewart, country music stars like Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen, and Leah Turner. See below for a quick overview. We can connect the PR folks with the right agent as you suggest. Let me know if you need any other info.
Thanks,Naveena
From: Hiday, JeffreySent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 05:52 PMTo: Ponnusamy, NaveenaSubject: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault survey
Naveena,
Here's some detail on our forthcoming survey on workplace and gender relations for the U.S. military '' and why we need a series of killer PSAs to support it.
· This is a controversial '' and important '' survey because it will measure whether the military is making progress on the incidence of sexual harassment/assault
· First time the military has outsourced the survey
· A huge survey '' the biggest ever of its sort '' with more than 500,000 service members invited to participate
· Critical that a high proportion of those invited participate
· Many efforts will be made to drum up interest/participation, including direct emails to service members, but PSAs will be a vital element
· Ketchum PR will produce the PSAs (Ketchum is cost sharing -- charging less than its usual pro bono rate)
· Target audience is service members aged 18 to 25, both men and women
· We think humor will be the best approach '' perhaps tempered, ironic humor with a ''pivot'' to a serious message about the survey
· One idea is to Steve Carell or someone else from The Office enthusing about much they ''love'' surveys (service members complain about ''survey fatigue'') '' perhaps while dressed as soldiers or officers
· Another idea is to have a comic celebrity dressed as a general address the camera directly and intone some kind of ''we want you'' message to service members to take the survey '' this might actually be shown in black and white and made to be like a WWII propaganda short
We have other ideas but that's a start. Hope that helps!
Thanks,
Jeff
Jeffrey Hiday
Director, Office of Media Relations
RAND Corporation
Twitter: @hidayj
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WikiLeaks - Sony Archives
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:23
Privileged and Confidential - FCPA Corporate Investigations ListThe Corporate Investigations List (July 2014)
Monday, July 7, 2014 at 7:28AMRichard L. Cassin
The companies listed below are the subject of an ongoing and unresolved FCPA-related investigation. The names are current through June 30, 2014.
The entries are based on disclosures in SEC filings or credible news reports or both.
Some companies on the list have disclosed DOJ and SEC investigations, and declinations from only one of those agencies. We're assuming the agency for which a declination hasn't been disclosed is continuing its investigation.
The DOJ and SEC don't disclose the existence of FCPA investigations or comment on them. That means non-issuers (non-public companies) and issuers that have a pending investigation but haven't disclosed it, may not appear on our list.
This data is made available once again through the generous contribution of an anonymous volunteer researcher.
In addition to the companies on the list, the researcher identified at least 20 others suspected to be the target of an ongoing FCPA investigation. The researcher (and others) aren't able to confirm those investigations using reliable sources, so the companies have been omitted.
Here are the current 106 names:
1 ABM Industries Incorporated2 Accenture PLC3 Agilent Technologies Inc4 Airbus Group5 Alstom SA6 Analogic Corporation7 Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV8 AstraZeneca PLC9 Avon Products Inc10 Barclays PLC11 Beam Inc12 BHP Billiton Ltd13 Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc14 Blackstone Group LP15 Bristol-Myers Squibb Company16 Brookfield Asset Management Inc17 Bruker Corporation18 BSG Resources Ltd19 Central European Distribution Corporation20 Chestnut Consulting Inc21 Cisco Systems Inc22 Citigroup Inc23 Credit Suisse Group AG24 Cobalt International Energy Inc25 Comcast (NBCUniversal Inc)26 Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc (Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc)27 Dialogic Inc28 Delphi Automotive PLC29 Deutsche Bank AG30 Deutsche Post AG (DHL)31 DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc32 Dun & Bradstreet Corporation33 Eli Lilly and Company34 Embraer SA35 Ericsson AB36 Expro International Group PLC37 Fedex Corporation38 Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc39 Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co KGaA40 General Cable Corporation41 GlaxoSmithKline PLC42 Gold Fields Limited43 Goldman Sachs Group Inc44 Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company45 Grifols SA (Talecris Biotherapeutics Holdings Corp)46 Halliburton Company47 Harris Corporation48 Hyperdynamics Corporation49 Image Sensing Systems Inc50 Ingersoll-Rand PLC51 International Business Machines Corporation52 Johnson Controls Inc53 JPMorgan Chase & Co54 Juniper Networks55 Key Engery Services Inc56 Kimco Realty Corporation57 KKR & Company LP58 Las Vegas Sands Corp59 Layne Christensen Company60 Mead Johnson Nutrition Company61 Merck & Co Inc62 Microsoft Corporation63 MondelÄ'z International Inc (formerly Kraft Foods Inc)64 Morgan Stanley65 Motorola Solutions Inc66 MTS Systems Corporation67 National Geographic68 NCR Corporation69 Net 1 UEPS Technologies Inc70 News Corporation71 Nordion Inc72 Novartis AG73 Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC74 Olympus Corp75 Oracle Corporation76 Orthofix International NV77 Owens-Illinois Group Inc78 Panasonic Corporation79 PTC Inc80 Park-Ohio Industries Inc81 Protective Products of America Inc82 Qualcomm Incorporated83 Quanta Services Inc84 Rolls Royce PLC85 Sanofi SA86 SBM Offshore NV87 Sciclone Pharmaceuticals Inc88 Sensata Technologies Holding NV89 Siemens AG90 SL Industries Inc91 Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation92 Soci(C)t(C) G(C)n(C)rale SA93 Sony Corporation94 STR Holdings Inc95 Tata Communications Limited96 Tesco Corporation97 TeliaSonera AB98 Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited99 UBS AG100 Universal Entertainment Corp101 Universal Music Group (Vivendi)102 Viacom (Paramount Pictures)103 VimpelCom Ltd104 Wal-mart Stores Inc105 Walt Disney Company106 WS Atkins PLC (PBSJ Corp)
The list for end of 2013 is here and for the end of 2012 is here.
* * *
Countries involved in at least one on-going investigation include the following. Some companies don't disclose any countries where potential violations might have occurred, and many companies don't disclose all of the countries involved.
1 Angola2 Argentina3 Australia4 Bangladesh5 Belarus6 Brazil7 Canada8 China9 Croatia10 Dominican Republic11 DRC12 Egypt13 Equatorial Guinea14 Georgia15 Germany16 Greece17 Guinea18 Hong Kong19 India20 Indonesia21 Iran22 Iraq23 Italy24 Jordan25 Kazakhstan26 Kenya27 Kuwait28 Lebanon29 Libya30 Mexico31 Oman32 Pakistan33 Poland34 Qatar35 Romania36 Russia37 Saudi Arabia38 Serbia39 Slovakia40 South Africa41 Switzerland42 Turkey43 UAE44 UK45 Ukraine46 Uzbekistan
__________
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.
_________________________________
Cindy Salmen
Senior Vice President, Compliance Counsel
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Direct Tel: 310 244 4162
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Ex-state health chief Eric Whitaker faces heat in grant scam trial - Chicago Tribune
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:42
'-- Federal prosecutors on Tuesday tried to turn up the heat on Dr. Eric Whitaker, a former state public health director and friend of President Barack Obama, as part of an ongoing trial of a Chicago couple facing charges in a multimillion-dollar state grant scam.
The U.S. attorney's office in Springfield filed a motion to have Whitaker declared a hostile witness. Prosecutors said Whitaker agreed in December 2012 to cooperate with their ongoing probe but has declined to meet with authorities since at least last spring. They also allege Whitaker refused to answer law enforcement agents' questions "concerning his personal relationship" with a former chief of staff.
In the new court filing, prosecutors also allege that Whitaker was given an award by a medical association that benefited from $50,000 siphoned from state grants. They contend that Whitaker himself had solicited a $25,000 contribution for the group from an unnamed person to be a co-chair of the event where Whitaker would be honored.
Whitaker spokeswoman Marj Halperin pointed to a previous statement that said Whitaker is "not a party to the case, but he has been cooperative and has been told he could potentially be called as a witness. If so, he'll answer questions truthfully. Because of the potential of serving as a witness, it would be inappropriate to share any further details through the media."
On trial in federal court in Springfield are Leon and Karin Dingle, who are charged with money laundering, mail fraud and conspiracy to defraud the state's faith-based initiatives pushed under now-imprisoned Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
The government alleges as much as $3.7 million of the grant money designated to fight cancer and AIDS instead helped the Dingles pay for luxury cars, yacht club expenses and vacation getaway spots in Savannah, Ga., and Hilton Head, S.C. Both Dingles have pleaded not guilty and have been on trial for weeks.
In court papers filed Tuesday, prosecutors also allege Dingle picked up various inappropriate expenses using grant funds, including for food and alcoholic beverages before the November 2008 gala where Whitaker received honors, an event held by the National Medical Fellowships.
Prosecutors maintained $25,000 that went to the medical group came from a $40,000 grant connected to Dingle, who later "caused" another $25,000 in grant money to be sent to the medical group.
In addition, during an October 2007 bird flu summit in Las Vegas, Dingle, Whitaker and others attended a dinner and concert at the Flamingo hotel and casino, where Dingle paid at least part of a $1,470 bill with grant funds, prosecutors said.
The state grant investigation already has snared Quinshaunta Golden, who served as Whitaker's chief of staff. Golden, who oversaw the public health grants, pleaded guilty in April to bribery, theft and obstruction of justice.
Prosecutors are pressing Whitaker now because he "has direct knowledge and potentially exclusive knowledge concerning Dingle and Golden," the court papers said.
Authorities allege Whitaker has "refused to answer any questions concerning his personal relationship with Golden," despite Whitaker's signed agreement to provide complete and truthful information.
While overseeing Golden, Whitaker recommended her for a one-time bonus of $8,008 in 2007 and rated her as "exceptional" and "instrumental in coordinating high-level initiatives," prosecutors said.
Golden, a niece of West Side Democratic U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, made $121,116 a year when she left state government in April 2008, records show. Whitaker had left his $144,728-a-year state job in September 2007.
Prosecutors said Golden was involved in the grant scam with Leon Dingle. From July 2007 until April 2008, Golden allegedly steered millions of dollars in public health grants to Dingle through different private agencies, including $400,0000 in April 2008.
The Tribune previously disclosed that prosecutors alleged Golden, 46, and Dingle, 77, were in Golden's office in 2007 when the two got a surprise visit from a woman working on a faith-based initiative who was being paid by Dingle.
Dingle and Golden, who was partially undressed, gathered themselves, praised the person's work and told her to expect a $10,000 bonus, prosecutors said. Dingle's attorneys have denied the encounter occurred.
A spokesman for U.S. Attorney James Lewis and trial prosecutor Tim Bass said no decision has been made on whether Whitaker will be called to testify.
rlong@tribpub.com
Copyright (C) 2015, Chicago Tribune
Eric E. Whitaker - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:41
Eric E. Whitaker is a prominent African-American physician, public health practitioner, and health policy expert. He is a close friend of President Barack Obama.
Education and careerEditWhitaker received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Grinnell College in 1987, and in 1993 a master's degree in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health and a medical degreefrom the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
Whitaker was most recently the Executive Vice President, Strategic Affiliations and Associate Dean of Community-based Research at the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC). .[1] He was responsible for leading the UCMC's Urban Health Initiative, linking the Medical Center's mission of patient care, teaching and research for the purpose of improving the health of residents of the South Side of Chicago.[2] Until September 2007, he served as Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).[3] In this capacity, Whitaker oversaw an agency with a budget of $450 million with over 1,200 employees statewide, as well as 3 laboratories and seven regional offices. Prior to his appointment at the State, Whitaker was an attending physician in Internal Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and a member of its Collaborative Research Unit. His research interests include HIV/AIDS prevention and minority health, particularly for black males.
Recognition and achievementsEditWhitaker helped found Project Brotherhood: A Black Men's Clinic, a weekly clinic for African American men housed in Woodlawn Adult Health Center on Chicago's South Side, which is affiliated with the Cook County Bureau of Health Services.[4]
In 2003, he received the Laureate Award from the American College of Physicians.[5] In 2000, the project received the highest award accorded by the National Association of Public Hospital and Health Systems. In 1991, Whitaker represented the 30,000 members of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) as its president while testifying twice before the U.S. Congress regarding national health insuranceand minority health issues.[6] In November 2003, he was named as one of Crain's Chicago Business' Forty under Forty, Chicago's rising stars in business and government [7]
Whitaker serves on the boards of Partnership for Prevention, Grinnell College, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (co-chair of GlobalHealth Policy Roundtable), and the Economic Club of Chicago.
ControversyEditWhitaker served director of Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) from 2003 until 2007. His chief of staff at the IDPH, Quinshaunta Golden, was subsequently indicted on charges of fraud and theft involving multiple grants made by Whitaker's department.[8][9] After his term at IDPH, he moved to the University of Chicago's School of Medicine, together with Ms. Golden,[10] where he was executive vice president of strategic affiliations and associate dean.[11]
ReferencesEditPersondataNameWhitaker, Eric E.Alternative namesShort descriptionAmerican politicianDate of birthPlace of birthDate of deathPlace of death
Martin Nesbitt (businessman) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:40
Martin Nesbitt was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, graduating from Columbus Academy. He went on to earn his bachelor's degree from Albion College in Albion, Michigan in 1985. After working as a financial analyst at GMAC, he won a fellowship to study at the University of Chicago where he earned his MBA in 1991. From 1996-98, he worked as the vice president of Pritzker Realty group and in 1998, he founded The Parking Spot along with investor Penny Pritzker.[2] The Parking Spot offers airport parking services primarily for business travelers.[3]
Nesbitt met Barack and Michelle Obama through Michelle Obama's brother Craig Robinson who was a high school basketball coach. He supported Obama's 2004 senate bid and served as the campaign treasurer on his 2008 presidential campaign. In 2013, he founded The Vistria group, a private equity firm.[1][4]
Nesbitt is currently serving on the foundation planning for the home of the future Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum.[5]
Politics Aside | RAND
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:16
Set Politics Aside and join the conversationPolitics Aside is an invitation-only, postelection event that engages policymakers, opinion leaders, philanthropists, and RAND's leading thinkers in a nonpartisan examination of pressing policy challenges.
Politics Aside panels spanned a wide range of topics
Featured VideosRAND's 2014 Politics Aside event engaged policymakers, business leaders, researchers, television and film producers, and philanthropists in conversations about the internet, free speech, privacy, financial regulation, how popular films can shape the public perception of historic events, security, and more.
Speakers IncludeCarlos Slim Helº
Businessman, Investor, and Philanthropist
Admiral Michael S. Rogers
Commander of U.S. Cyber Command and Director of the National Security Agency/Central Security Service
Richard Danzig
Senior Advisor, Center for a New American Security; Former U.S. Secretary of the Navy
Susan Dentzer
Senior Policy Adviser, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Cas Holloway
COO, Bloomberg LP; Former Deputy Mayor for Operations, New York City
Cady Coleman
NASA Astronaut
Evan Spiegel
Co-founder and CEO, Snapchat, Inc.
Judith Rodin
President, the Rockefeller Foundation; and Author, The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong
More >>
What Attendees Are Saying''Politics Aside is not an event with stump speeches and ideological rhetoric. RAND invites the audience to become part of a substantive and thought-provoking exchange. In my mind, this is something you just don't get anywhere else.''
Michael Lynton, Event Cochair, CEO, Sony Corporation of America; Chairman and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment
''With RAND's storied commitment to nonpartisan, objective analysis, I truly feel that we are working together to have an impact on our respective communities and the world at large. Join us, and join the conversation!''
Ann McLaughlin Korologos, Event Cochair, Chairman Emeritus, The Aspen Institute; Former U.S. Secretary of Labor
'' Only RAND could bring together top thinkers from around the world and across political divides for such high-level, frank discussions on the issues we all care about.''
Kenneth Feinberg, Special Master for TARP Executive Committee; Special Master of the Federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001
''Leadership is not exclusive to those who occupy a national platform; it is up to each of us to influence and shape the national and global picture. RAND's Politics Aside weekend is the perfect venue to participate in an exchange of ideas with experts, government leaders, and decisionmakers. A true forum to spark ideas and find solutions.''
Faye Wattleton, Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal and former President, Center for the Advancement of Women
''Participating in RAND's Politics Aside weekend event highlighted RAND's scope for me. The quality and diversity of people involved in the international policy dialogue was exceptional. ''
Michael Portillo, Journalist; former UK Secretary of Defense, Employment and Treasury; former member of Parliament
Stay InformedComplete the form below to receive email announcements about Politics Aside.
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WikiLeaks - Sony Archives Jarret
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:12
1223182014-10-28 16:12:54FW: ValerieJarrett- PBS Finding Your Roots TONIGHThlg@fas.harvard.edumichael_lynton@spe.sony.comSo kind of Valerie to have the White House send this out. Hope you can watch the program tonight. From: Foster, Heather [mailto:Heather_J_Foster@who.eop.gov]Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 11:39 AMTo: Foster, HeatherSubject: FYI: ValerieJarrett- PBS Finding Your Roots TONIGHT Dear Friends, Tonight ValerieJarrett will be featured on PBS'sFinding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Below is a clip to preview Valerie's segment on the show but check your local listings for times. From PBS: ValerieJarrett's Groundbreaking Great-Grandfather ValerieJarrett digs into the family history of her legendary Great-Grandfather, MIT's first African-American graduate and an accomplished architect, recruited to help build the prestigiousTuskegee Institute. How did a man born into slavery have the resources to send his son to a private college? Professor Gates and theFinding Your Roots team investigates Jarrett's lineage to shed light1313782014-07-15 18:40:23Re: RE: RE:mailer-daemonjarrettvalerieRe: RE: RE:That sounds perfect. Will wait to hear!> On Jul 15, 2014, at 2:11 PM, "Jarrett, Valerie" wrote:>> That's great!> Looking at our schedule right now we end at 7:00. If that holds, we could have dinner afterwards. I am staying at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. >> -----Original Message-----> From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]> Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 2:08 PM> To: Jarrett, Valerie> Subject: Re: RE:>> Great. Will wait to hear. And many thanks again for those introductions. They were helpful.>>> On Jul 15, 2014, at 2:07 PM, "Jarrett, Valerie" wrote:>>>> Yes, I will definitely be with him next week. Will circle back when I know our schedule.>>>> -----Original Message----->> From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]>>1365492014-08-01 23:11:45Re: Malcolmmailer-daemonjarrettvalerieRe: MalcolmHa well tell Eric to bring his dancing shoes! Janice sending the invite and give the President a big happy birthday from me and Jamie. We are in nyc off to dinner with Malcolm and Gary Ginsberg> On Aug 1, 2014, at 7:10 PM, "Jarrett, Valerie" wrote:>> Thanks! We are sitting together at POTUS' birthday party. >> ----- Original Message -----> From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]> Sent: Friday, August 01, 2014 06:48 PM> To: Jarrett, Valerie> Subject: Re: Malcolm>> Hey>> Gladwell@gmail.com. What is Eric's email. Janice sending out the invites. Of course Eric is invited! >>> On Aug 1, 2014, at 6:44 PM, "Jarrett, Valerie" wrote:>>>> Hi Michael->> Two things:>> Could you invite Eric Whitaker to the dance party?>> Could you send me Malcolm's e-mail?>> V1362712014-07-15 18:08:29Re: RE:mailer-daemonjarrettvalerieRe: RE:Great. Will wait to hear. And many thanks again for those introductions. They were helpful.> On Jul 15, 2014, at 2:07 PM, "Jarrett, Valerie" wrote:>> Yes, I will definitely be with him next week. Will circle back when I know our schedule.>> -----Original Message-----> From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]> Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 2:06 PM> To: Jarrett, Valerie> Subject:>> Valerie,>> Hope all is well. I know The President is in town next week and it would be great to get together if you are with him and have a minute. Otherwise I will see you on the Vineyard. We get there August 2 and are here through the 14th. Dance party is on the 11th. Invitation to come. Looking forward to seeing you.>> Warmly> Michael>1397772014-08-01 23:12:27Re: Eric Whitakermailer-daemonjarrettvalerieRe: Eric WhitakerJoanne alter. When she passed the President left a nice vm on Jamie's phone.> On Aug 1, 2014, at 7:10 PM, "Jarrett, Valerie" wrote:>> What was your mother in laws name? I am having a senior moment.>> ----- Original Message -----> From: Jarrett, Valerie> Sent: Friday, August 01, 2014 07:00 PM> To: 'michael_lynton@spe.sony.com' > Subject: Eric Whitaker>> Here it is eewhitaker@ameritech.net1327782014-07-21 15:10:15Re: Dinnermailer-daemonjarrettvalerieRe: DinnerNo worries. Can know on the dayOn Jul 21, 2014, at 8:03 AM, "Jarrett, Valerie" wrote:I hope to know by the end of today. Sorry for the delay. Just don't know if Potus is going to leave the evening free yet.-----Original Message-----From: Lynton, Michael [Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 10:57 AM Eastern Standard TimeTo: Jarrett, Val1395232014-06-20 19:28:18Re: Connectmailer-daemonjarrettvalerieRe: Connectmany thanks valerie.On Jun 20, 2014, at 10:35 AM, Jarrett, Valerie wrote:> Evan and Michael-> I wanted you two to discuss the movie.> VJ1179892014-07-22 23:59:32ValerieJarrett Dinnerdavid_diamond@spe.sony.commichael_lynton@spe.sony.comValerieJarrett DinnerThey said it's fine for you to invite Malcolm and that Eric Whitaker may join the dinner as well.1286562013-11-20 23:47:22Re: ValerieJarrettmailer-daemondiamond davidRe: ValerieJarrettSureOn Nov 20, 2013, at 2:37 PM, "Diamond, David" wrote:> Would sometime between 730am-830am work for you (your first mtg is at 830am, Everest)?>>> On Nov 20, 2013, at 2:31 PM, "Lynton, Michael" wrote:>>> Early my time Friday. Otherwise skip it.>>>> On Nov 20, 2013, at 2:28 PM, "Diamond, David" wrote:>>>>> Her asst Kathy said she's happy to set up a call for the two of you.>>> When would you like to do it?>1319402014-07-23 01:24:58Re: ValerieJarrett Dinnermailer-daemondiamond davidRe: ValerieJarrett DinnerKk> On Jul 22, 2014, at 4:59 PM, "Diamond, David" wrote:>> They said it's fine for you to invite Malcolm and that Eric Whitaker may join the dinner as well.>1323602013-11-22 15:43:35Re: ValerieJarrettmailer-daemondiamond davidRe: ValerieJarrettOkOn Nov 22, 2013, at 7:41 AM, "Diamond, David" wrote:> I'm in the office now. Do you want me to call you just before 8 to connect you to her'....or will you be placing the call yourself?> In related news, Amy's office just moved the Everest meeting to 9am'...so you will miss it in its entirety.>>>1355612014-08-01 22:48:22Re: Malcolmmailer-daemonjarrettvalerieRe: MalcolmHeyGladwell@gmail.com. What is Eric's email. Janice sending out the invites. Of course Eric is invited! > On Aug 1, 2014, at 6:44 PM, "Jarrett, Valerie" wrote:>> Hi Michael-> Two things:> Could you invite Eric Whitaker to the dance party?> Could you send me Malcolm's e-mail?> VJ1371762013-11-20 22:31:24Re: ValerieJarrettmailer-daemondiamond davidRe: ValerieJarrettEarly my time Friday. Otherwise skip it.On Nov 20, 2013, at 2:28 PM, "Diamond, David" wrote:> Her asst Kathy said she's happy to set up a call for the two of you.> When would you like to do it?>>>1278072014-08-13 20:44:41IMAX/Politics Asidenaveena@rand.orglynton, michaeldiamond, davidMichael, One more Politics Aside note: You had said you'd be willing to call Richard Gelfond, the CEO of IMAX, to put in a plug for RAND and Politics Aside. As I mentioned, we have been talking to their execs in LA;they are considering sponsoring Politics Aside and have told us they would get back to us in the next few days. If you have time, I thought it might be helpful for you to reach out to him now. A few notes that might be helpful for your conversation: -Our conversations have been with Phil Groves, their head of Global Distribution. -We have asked them to consider sponsoring opening night at Sony which is the lead sponsorship level ($100K). They are particularly interested in doing something related to space policy. If we have a lead sponsor commitment, we could make that the topic ofopening night- we currently have interest from a couple of panelists: Simonetta Di Poppa, the Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs and Ge1198572014-08-05 00:05:44Pete Berg, Politics Asidenaveena@rand.orglynton, michaeldiamond, davidHi Michael, I wanted to let you know that, as it turns out, Pete Berg couldn't make his schedule work to participate in the PSA. He sent his sincere regrets but his travel wouldn't allow him time to film. Thanks again for your help in connectingwith him. Perhaps there will be something else in the future we can do with him. Turning to Politics Aside, I wanted to see if you had a chance to run the idea by ValerieJarrett- both of her speaking and of helping to get Michelle Obama (per my earlier note below). Would you have some time soon to talk on the phoneabout Politics Aside and how to plan the panel for you to moderate- whether with ValerieJarrett or others? Thanks as always. Naveena From: Ponnusamy, NaveenaSent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1:29 PMTo: 'Lynton, Michael' (Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com)Cc: Diamond, DavidSubject: Favor re: your conversation with ValerieJarrett Hi Michael, Thank you so much1244372014-08-07 00:46:14RE: Pete Berg, Politics Asidenaveena@rand.orglynton, michaeldiamond, davidThursday, November 13- evening at SonyFriday, November 14- daytime at RAND My preference would be to have her do the evening at Sony because we still need an exciting kick-off for Politics Aside. But we'd take when she is available, if she's interested! Thanks! From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2014 5:41 PMTo: Ponnusamy, NaveenaCc: Diamond, DavidSubject: Re: Pete Berg, Politics Aside Seeing her now next week. Remind me of the date?Sent from my iPadOn Aug 4, 2014, at 8:05 PM, "Ponnusamy, Naveena" wrote:Hi Michael, I wanted to let you know that, as it turns out, Pete Berg couldn't make his schedule work to participate in the PSA. He sent his sincere regrets but his travel wouldn't allow him time to film. Thanks again for your help in connectingwith him. Perhaps there will be something else in the future we can do with him.1291102014-08-07 00:40:49Re: Pete Berg, Politics Asidelynton, michaelnaveena@rand.orgdiamond, davidSeeing her now next week. Remind me of the date?Sent from my iPadOn Aug 4, 2014, at 8:05 PM, "Ponnusamy, Naveena" wrote:Hi Michael, I wanted to let you know that, as it turns out, Pete Berg couldn't make his schedule work to participate in the PSA. He sent his sincere regrets but his travel wouldn't allow him time to film. Thanks again for your help in connectingwith him. Perhaps there will be something else in the future we can do with him. Turning to Politics Aside, I wanted to see if you had a chance to run the idea by ValerieJarrett- both of her speaking and of helping to get Michelle Obama (per my earlier note below). Would you have some time soon to talk on the phoneabout Politics Aside and how to plan the panel for you to moderate- whether with ValerieJarrett or others? Thanks as always. Naveena From: Ponnusamy, NaveenaSent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1:29 PMTo: 'Lynton, Michael' (Mi1259832014-07-09 18:57:18RE: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault surveynaveena@rand.orgmichael_lynton@spe.sony.comdavid_diamond@spe.sony.comRE: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault surveyThanks for trying on Colbert. I think Fallon, Kimmel or Clooney would all be fantastic so please reach out to them as you would like. On Politics Aside, I look forward to talking next week about some ideas. If you do have a chance to at least ask ValerieJarrett if she's free on the evening of November 13 or on November 14 that would be great but we can talk more about the shape of the panel when we talk. Thanks and safe travels this week! Naveena From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2014 10:30 AMTo: Ponnusamy, NaveenaCc: Diamond, DavidSubject: Re: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault survey So a couple of things. Colbert has turned us down. Who do you want me to move on to. Can try Falon or Kimmel. Or Clooney or a film actor. As to politics aside happy to try and engage hollywood. Let's talk on the phone next weeks as to how best to do that. I am1402722014-08-14 12:00:30Fwd: Dinnerlynton, michaeljamiealterlynton@gmail.comBegin forwarded message:From: "Jarvis, Kristen" Date: August 13, 2014 at 11:40:43 PM EDTTo: "Jarrett, Valerie" , "Lynton, Michael" Subject: Re: DinnerDinnerGood evening Michael:I hope you had a wonderful time this evening. I'll send you details for Friday's dinner in a separate email, hope you're able to join. Please let me know if you have any questions and be in touch soon.Best,Kristen From: Jarrett, ValerieSent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:17 PMTo: 'Michael Lynton' Cc: Jarvis, KristenSubject: RE: Dinner Oops. Friday. Not tomorrow.-----Original Message-----From: Jarrett, ValerieSent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:09 PM Eastern Standard TimeTo: 'Michael Lynton'Cc: Jarvis, KristenSubject: DinnerMichael-The President would like to invite you and Jamie to dinner tomorrow. I am copying Kristen w1293882014-06-21 15:26:30Re: Connecting two of my favorite peoplemailer-daemoncarney jayjaycarney65@gmail.comRe: Connecting two of my favorite peopleMonday or the weekend works. I am on 917 763 7396 cel. Office is 310 244 9100. Or let me know if I should call you.> On Jun 20, 2014, at 7:09 PM, "Carney, Jay" wrote:>> Michael -- Thank you so much for your email. I'd love to talk. I'm just wrapping up the final hours of my final day at the White House. When is a good time to call? Monday? My contact info going forward is:>> Jaycarney65@gmail.com> Cell: 202-538-1108>> Many thanks!>> Jay Carney>> -----Original Message-----> From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]> Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 12:56 PM> To: Jarrett, Valerie> Cc: Carney, Jay> Subject: Re: Connecting two of my favorite people>> Thanks Valerie! Jay I am a big fan from a distance. I live in Los Angeles and am the CEO of Sony Entertainment. I would love to talk to you about an opportun1195332014-08-14 16:39:44Re: Dinnerkristen_jarvis@who.eop.govlynton, michaelHi Michael, just confirmed that tomorrow's dinner is adults only. Please let me know if you have any additional questions, and directions will come later this afternoon/evening.Thanks! From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2014 09:21 AMTo: Jarvis, KristenSubject: Re: Dinner Kristen,Jamie and I would love to join for dinner on Friday and look forward to receiving details. At one the President mentioned kids. Could clarify if this is a dinner for family? Many thanks and looking forward to Friday. BestMichael. On Aug 13, 2014, at 11:40 PM, "Jarvis, Kristen" wrote:DinnerGood evening Michael:I hope you had a wonderful time this evening. I'll send you details for Friday's dinner in a separate email, hope you're able to join. Please let me know if you have any questions and be in touch soon.Best,Kristen From: Jarrett, ValerieSent: Wednesda1218202014-08-14 03:40:43Re: Dinnerkristen_jarvis@who.eop.govvalerie_jarrett@who.eop.gov lynton, michaelDinnerGood evening Michael:I hope you had a wonderful time this evening. I'll send you details for Friday's dinner in a separate email, hope you're able to join. Please let me know if you have any questions and be in touch soon.Best,Kristen From: Jarrett, ValerieSent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:17 PMTo: 'Michael Lynton' Cc: Jarvis, KristenSubject: RE: Dinner Oops. Friday. Not tomorrow.-----Original Message-----From: Jarrett, ValerieSent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:09 PM Eastern Standard TimeTo: 'Michael Lynton'Cc: Jarvis, KristenSubject: DinnerMichael-The President would like to invite you and Jamie to dinner tomorrow. I am copying Kristen who will follow up.VJ1263232014-08-15 00:10:35Re: Dinnerkristen_jarvis@who.eop.govlynton, michaelHi there, just wanted to make sure you're all set for tomorrow. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance, and look forward to seeing you.All the best,Kristen From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2014 02:52 PMTo: Jarvis, KristenSubject: Re: Dinner Kristen,Many thanks for this. I will wait to here when and where tomorrow night. Looking forward. Michael On Aug 14, 2014, at 12:39 PM, "Jarvis, Kristen" wrote:Hi Michael, just confirmed that tomorrow's dinner is adults only. Please let me know if you have any additional questions, and directions will come later this afternoon/evening.Thanks! From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2014 09:21 AMTo: Jarvis, KristenSubject: Re: Dinner Kristen,Jamie and I would love to join for dinner on Friday and look forward to receiving details. At one the1289662014-08-15 02:42:25Re: Dinnerlynton, michaelkristen_jarvis@who.eop.govAll set is believe. Many thanks On Aug 14, 2014, at 8:10 PM, "Jarvis, Kristen" wrote:Hi there, just wanted to make sure you're all set for tomorrow. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance, and look forward to seeing you.All the best,Kristen From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2014 02:52 PMTo: Jarvis, KristenSubject: Re: Dinner Kristen,Many thanks for this. I will wait to here when and where tomorrow night. Looking forward. Michael On Aug 14, 2014, at 12:39 PM, "Jarvis, Kristen" wrote:Hi Michael, just confirmed that tomorrow's dinner is adults only. Please let me know if you have any additional questions, and directions will come later this afternoon/evening.Thanks! From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2014 09:21 AMTo: Jarvis, KristenSubject: Re: Dinner K1315302014-08-14 13:21:02Re: Dinnerlynton, michaelkristen_jarvis@who.eop.govKristen,Jamie and I would love to join for dinner on Friday and look forward to receiving details. At one the President mentioned kids. Could clarify if this is a dinner for family? Many thanks and looking forward to Friday. BestMichael. On Aug 13, 2014, at 11:40 PM, "Jarvis, Kristen" wrote:DinnerGood evening Michael:I hope you had a wonderful time this evening. I'll send you details for Friday's dinner in a separate email, hope you're able to join. Please let me know if you have any questions and be in touch soon.Best,Kristen From: Jarrett, ValerieSent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:17 PMTo: 'Michael Lynton' Cc: Jarvis, KristenSubject: RE: Dinner Oops. Friday. Not tomorrow.-----Original Message-----From: Jarrett, ValerieSent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:09 PM Eastern Standard TimeTo: 'Michael Lynton'Cc: Jarvis, KristenSubject: DinnerMichael-1350652014-07-09 17:30:28Re: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault surveymailer-daemonponnusamy naveenadiamond davidRe: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault surveySo a couple of things. Colbert has turned us down. Who do you want me to move on to. Can try Falon or Kimmel. Or Clooney or a film actor. As to politics aside happy to try and engage hollywood. Let's talk on the phone next weeks as to how best to do that. I am traveling in Europe this week. And yes ValerieJarrett is an old and close friend and happy to reach out to her in any way you would like me to. MOn Jul 9, 2014, at 6:38 PM, "Ponnusamy, Naveena" wrote:Hi Michael, Just wanted to check back in to see if you thought Stephen Colbert or anyone else might be a possibility to participate in this. I'm told that they've recorded one PSA already (without a celebrity) but are hoping to still make more if we are able to recruit someone. One thing I might mention in case it wasn't obvious already is that they PSA itself won't mention anything related to sexual assault (since that would1364542014-07-23 23:45:02Re: tonightmichael_lynton@spe.sony.comvalerie_jarrett@who.eop.govRe: tonightgreat looking forward, and I can only imagine that you and the President are swamped!On Jul 23, 2014, at 4:31 PM, Jarrett, Valerie wrote:Say I am going back with himAnd cannot add to the manifest this late. Hopefully we will be well ahead of you so traffic won't be so bad.Really looking forward to it. I have not met Malcolm, but the President speaks very highly of him. I wish he could join us, but he is swamped. Marty Nesbitt and Eric Whitaker are two of the President's best friends. I think you will enjoy them too.-----Original Message-----From: Lynton, Michael [Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 07:28 PM Eastern Standard TimeTo: Jarrett, ValerieSubject: tonightLooking forward to seeing you tonight. Malcolm Gladwell is going to join us who is staying at our house and who I think you will really like. Quick question, I am in Hancock Park at an event before our dinner and I just saw that you and the President will1381162014-08-14 18:52:09Re: Dinnerlynton, michaelkristen_jarvis@who.eop.govKristen,Many thanks for this. I will wait to here when and where tomorrow night. Looking forward. Michael On Aug 14, 2014, at 12:39 PM, "Jarvis, Kristen" wrote:Hi Michael, just confirmed that tomorrow's dinner is adults only. Please let me know if you have any additional questions, and directions will come later this afternoon/evening.Thanks! From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2014 09:21 AMTo: Jarvis, KristenSubject: Re: Dinner Kristen,Jamie and I would love to join for dinner on Friday and look forward to receiving details. At one the President mentioned kids. Could clarify if this is a dinner for family? Many thanks and looking forward to Friday. BestMichael. On Aug 13, 2014, at 11:40 PM, "Jarvis, Kristen" wrote:DinnerGood evening Michael:I hope you had a wonderful time this evening. I'll send you details for F1353382014-08-05 22:11:01Re: MV Partylynton, michaeldiamond, davidBy the way the ginsbergs are coming with 4On Aug 5, 2014, at 5:12 PM, "Diamond, David" wrote:You had me give them 5 names for the list, 4 of which have responded.The one who hasn't is Patrick Lyons ( ptl@lyonsgroup.com ) '...do you need me to follow up?Begin forwarded message:From: Janice Roberts Subject: Re: MV PartyDate: August 4, 2014 at 6:20:27 AM PDTTo: "Lynton, Michael" Cc: "Diamond, David" , "jamiealterlynton@gmail.com" , Lili Lynton , Michael Ryan , "tonibush8558@aol.com" , Dwight Bush Sr. , Richard Roberts Thanks- just let us know who you followed up with to avoid two of us contacting same person. For those who have not opened email - it may have gone to spam. Janice Cook Roberts917-494-4937Sent from1394562014-08-04 13:15:40Re: MV Partylynton, michaelrobertsfamily945@msn.comdiamond, david jamiealterlynton@gmail.com lililynton@yahoo.com mryan@cgsh.com tonibush8558@aol.com dlbushsr@aol.com rtroberts1@msn.com diamond, davidHappy to follow up on my end!On Aug 4, 2014, at 8:50 AM, "Janice Roberts" wrote:Below is the status of the party. We have 57 attending. Should we each follow up with those who have not responded yet? Please reply to all who you will email so we only have one of us following up with someone. Please let me know if you want to add anyone. Thanks!NameEmailInvitedStatusAl & Ed Styronalstyron@mac.comInvited (2)AttendingCarol and Bill Lewiscsuttonlewis@gmail.comInvited (2)Attending (2)Derek Jonesderekjonesoncore@yahoo.comInvited (2)Attending (2)Eric Fellnereric.fellner@workingtitlefilms.comInvited (2)Attending (2)Heather Bryantbondbryant@aol.comInvited (2)AttendingHenry McVeyhenry.mcvey@kkr.comInvited (2)AttendingJamie and Michael Lyntonmichael_lynton@spe.sony.comInvited (2)Attending (2)Jane Hartleyjhartley@observatorygroup.comInvited (2)Attending (2)Janice and Richard Robertsrobertsfamily945@msn.comInvited (2)Attending (2)Jimmy Haddonhaddonj@pfm.c1294942014-06-25 17:28:34Re: Connectmailer-daemonmedeiros evanRe: ConnectI just left word at your office. Sorry for the delay.> On Jun 23, 2014, at 11:40 AM, "Medeiros, Evan" wrote:>> Michael:>> Reconnecting per our exchange on Friday. Let me know when you'd like to chat.>> Cheers, Evan.> *****************************************> Evan S. Medeiros, Ph.D.> Special Assistant to the President and> Senior Director for Asian Affairs> National Security Council> Tel: 202.456.9251> emedeiros@nsc.eop.gov> ******************************************>>> -----Original Message-----> From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]> Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 2:00 PM> To: Medeiros, Evan> Subject: Re: Connect>> Many thanks. Will call shortly.>>> On Jun 20, 2014, at 10:50 AM, "Medeiros, Evan" wrote:>>>> Thanks Valerie.>>>&1300272014-04-18 15:19:55Re: Fwd:mailer-daemonhenry jr.Re: Fwd:wow, say hi to Valerie! Happy Easter! Off to Coachella. Spiderman opens today and DeVonn has a big movie opening in Heaven is for Real.On Apr 18, 2014, at 7:56 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:Now, I've finally made it. Happy Passover, good friend. Sorry to have missed you at Harvard; I was on the road, filming. We are shooting ValerieJarrett's family tree tomorrow. So I'm about to land in D.C. Hope to see you soon. The Douglass is going very well: Paul Webb is on board, and is an eager beaver. All is well.Sent from my iPadBegin forwarded message:From: "Tim" To: "Henry Louis Gates, Jr." 1310692014-06-18 16:55:37Re: Connecting two of my favorite peoplemichael_lynton@spe.sony.comvalerie_jarrett@who.eop.govjames_f_carney@who.eop.govRe: Connecting two of my favorite peopleThanks Valerie! Jay I am a big fan from a distance. I live in Los Angeles and am the CEO of Sony Entertainment. I would love to talk to you about an opportunity, not with Sony, and if you have a moment I can describe it on the phone. I look forward to talking. I am on 310 244 9100, best, MichaelOn Jun 18, 2014, at 9:50 AM, Jarrett, Valerie wrote:> Jay-> Michael called me today about a position that may be of interest to you, so you two can now communicate directly.> All of the best,> VJ1326112014-06-23 15:55:45Re: Connecting two of my favorite peoplemichael_lynton@spe.sony.comjaycarney65@gmail.comRe: Connecting two of my favorite peopleI can call you?On Jun 23, 2014, at 8:54 AM, Jay Carney wrote:Perfect. Will you call? Or shall I?On Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 11:52 AM, Lynton, Michael wrote:can we try for 330 your time, 1230 my timeOn Jun 23, 2014, at 8:51 AM, Jay Carney wrote:Michael,Is there a good time to call today?This is now the best email for me. My cell is 202-538-1108.Many thanks,Jay CarneyOn Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 11:26 AM, Lynton, Michael wrote:Monday or the weekend works. I am on 917 763 7396 cel. Office is 310 244 9100. Or let me know if I should call you.> On Jun 20, 2014, at 7:09 PM, "Carney, Jay" wrote:>> Michael -- Thank you so much for your email. I'd love to talk. I'm just wrapping up the final hours of my final day at the White House. When is a good time to call? Monday? My contact info going forward is:>&1342062014-06-20 18:00:17Re: Connectmailer-daemonmedeiros evanRe: ConnectMany thanks. Will call shortly.> On Jun 20, 2014, at 10:50 AM, "Medeiros, Evan" wrote:>> Thanks Valerie.>> Michael: Happy to chat at your convenience.>> Cheers, Evan.>> *****************************************> Evan S. Medeiros, Ph.D.> Special Assistant to the President and> Senior Director for Asian Affairs> National Security Council> Tel: 202.456.9251> emedeiros@nsc.eop.gov> ******************************************>>> -----Original Message-----> From: Jarrett, Valerie> Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 1:36 PM> To: Medeiros, Evan; 'michael_lynton@spe.sony.com'> Subject: Connect>> Evan and Michael-> I wanted you two to discuss the movie.> VJ>1346302014-04-18 16:00:14Re: Fwd:mailer-daemonhenry jr.Re: Fwd:huge horrible concert in the desert.....On Apr 18, 2014, at 8:57 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:Where and what is Coachella? Take me with you! I'll see both movies asap.Sent from my iPadOn Apr 18, 2014, at 11:20 AM, "Lynton, Michael" wrote:wow, say hi to Valerie! Happy Easter! Off to Coachella. Spiderman opens today and DeVonn has a big movie opening in Heaven is for Real.On Apr 18, 2014, at 7:56 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:Now, I've finally made it. Happy Passover, good friend. Sorry to have missed you at Harvard; I was on the road, filming. We are shooting ValerieJarrett's family tree tomorrow. So I'm about to land in D.C. Hope to see you soon. The Douglass is going very well: Paul Webb is on board, and is an eager beaver. All is well.Sent from my iPadBegin forwarded message:From: "Tim" To:1350322014-06-23 15:52:46Re: Connecting two of my favorite peoplemichael_lynton@spe.sony.comjaycarney65@gmail.comRe: Connecting two of my favorite peoplecan we try for 330 your time, 1230 my timeOn Jun 23, 2014, at 8:51 AM, Jay Carney wrote:Michael,Is there a good time to call today?This is now the best email for me. My cell is 202-538-1108.Many thanks,Jay CarneyOn Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 11:26 AM, Lynton, Michael wrote:Monday or the weekend works. I am on 917 763 7396 cel. Office is 310 244 9100. Or let me know if I should call you.> On Jun 20, 2014, at 7:09 PM, "Carney, Jay" wrote:>> Michael -- Thank you so much for your email. I'd love to talk. I'm just wrapping up the final hours of my final day at the White House. When is a good time to call? Monday? My contact info going forward is:>> Jaycarney65@gmail.com> Cell: 202-538-1108>> Many thanks!>> Jay Carney>> -----Original Message-----> From: Lynton, Michael [mailto:Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]> Se1403102014-07-22 14:26:22Re:mailer-daemonhenry jr.Re:having dinner with valerie on wed night will say hi.On Jul 22, 2014, at 7:19 AM, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. wrote:> Would you consider coming to cambridge to present Harvey Weinstein with the Du Bois Medal on September 30th? Meryl is receiving one, Steve Mc Queen, Shonda Rhimes, Maya Angelou, and ValerieJarrett. Maybe Poitier.817922013-12-06 20:51:05Todaycjd@mpaa.orgTodayThis afternoon I met with the President as I had previously indicated. The meeting was at his request and we covered a wide range of topics. I did, as promised, however, raise issues central to our industry with the President. I noted the economic importance of the film and television production industry, and asked the President to take a leading role in protecting and promoting America's creative works. In particular, I emphasized the need for his help in driving intermediaries to work more constructively with us to find ways to combat the theft of our products, and the pressing need for the United States to remain a world leader in protecting intellectual property during important international debates such as those surrounding TPP. The President was positive and receptive. Again, it was only a part of our overall conversation, but I think it was a constructive step in the right direction. I will follow-up with the White House and will specifically touch base with the President981262014-03-06 18:19:51Madeleine Albright, Women in the World Newsmaker in Washingtonwomenintheworld@tinabrownmedia.comMadeleine Albright, Women in the World Newsmaker in WashingtonMadeleine Albright Sounds Off on Ukraine'‹BY ELEANOR CLIFT The former secretary of state gave the crowd a rousing history lesson at Women in the World's first D.C. event, as an array of other powerful changemakers took the stage. In keeping with Women in the World's commitment to see foreign affairs through the eyes of women, Tina Brown launched the first Women in the World event in D.C. with a cocktail reception in Washington Wednesday night featuring an interview with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and an impressive group of Washington's powerhouse women. Before an audience of mostly women from throughout the nation's capital, and with Russia's incursion into Ukraine topping the news, Brown noted that Albright had called Russian President Putin "delusional," and asked what she meant by that. Albright said she was building on what German Chancellor Angela Merkel said of Putin, that he was living1167392014-07-23 23:31:49RE: tonightvalerie_jarrett@who.eop.govmichael_lynton@spe.sony.comRE: tonightSay I am going back with himAnd cannot add to the manifest this late. Hopefully we will be well ahead of you so traffic won't be so bad.Really looking forward to it. I have not met Malcolm, but the President speaks very highly of him. I wish he could join us, but he is swamped. Marty Nesbitt and Eric Whitaker are two of the President's best friends. I think you will enjoy them too.-----Original Message-----From: Lynton, Michael [Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 07:28 PM Eastern Standard TimeTo: Jarrett, ValerieSubject: tonightLooking forward to seeing you tonight. Malcolm Gladwell is going to join us who is staying at our house and who I think you will really like. Quick question, I am in Hancock Park at an event before our dinner and I just saw that you and the President will be there. Any chance I could catch a ride with you back to the hotel as traffic may be tough. Obviously this would not work if you were going back with the Presiden1185582014-07-21 15:02:52RE: Dinnervalerie_jarrett@who.eop.govmichael_lynton@spe.sony.comRE: DinnerI hope to know by the end of today. Sorry for the delay. Just don't know if Potus is going to leave the evening free yet.-----Original Message-----From: Lynton, Michael [Michael_Lynton@spe.sony.com]Sent: Monday, July 21, 2014 10:57 AM Eastern Standard TimeTo: Jarrett, ValerieSubject: DinnerAny chance of ha1190362014-07-29 21:43:43Hutchins Forum 8/14 and Hutchins Center Honors 9/30gates@harvard.edugates@harvard.eduglenn.hutchins@silverlake.com wolf@fas.harvard.eduHutchins Forum 8/14 and Hutchins Center Honors 9/30Good evening, friends! We're getting very excited for two upcoming events: first, the annual Hutchins Center Forum on Thursday, August 14 at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown (topic this year is ''Race-ing Obama''); and second, the second Hutchins Center Honors on September 30 at Sanders Theatre, featuring the awarding of Du Bois Medals to the following luminaries:David Adjaye, celebrated architect and curator Harry Belafonte, legendary performer and activistValerieJarrett, Presidential advisorJohn Lewis, Congressman and Civil Rights iconSteve McQueen, innovative filmmaker and artistShonda Rhimes, boundary-breaking writer and producerMeryl Streep, decorated and record-breaking actressHarvey Weinstein, transformative producerMaya Angelous (posthumous)I hope you will join us for one or both. We're going to have a splendid time, and it will be all the merrier if you're with us! Both will be followed by dinner and good fellowship.1193102014-07-09 15:38:22RE: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault surveynaveena@rand.orgmichael_lynton@spe.sony.comdavid_diamond@spe.sony.comRE: RAND celebrity PSA for military sexual assault surveyHi Michael, Just wanted to check back in to see if you thought Stephen Colbert or anyone else might be a possibility to participate in this. I'm told that they've recorded one PSA already (without a celebrity) but are hoping to still make more if we are able to recruit someone. One thing I might mention in case it wasn't obvious already is that they PSA itself won't mention anything related to sexual assault (since that would bias the results)'--so they want a celebrity to participate who wants to support the military and service members on this important issues, but the PSA itself will have a message focused on getting people to take a workplace survey. Thanks again for your help. I'll also just take a moment here to introduce the Politics Aside idea I mentioned to you briefly. Could we revisit the Hollywood and Policy theme again and recruit some big names (e.g. George Clooney, Kevin Spacey) to participate on a pan1199942014-08-13 18:21:06REMINDER re ValerieJarrett & Politics Asidediamond, davidlynton, michaelThursday, November 13- evening at SonyFriday, November 14- daytime at RAND My preference would be to have her do the evening at Sony because we still need an exciting kick-off for Politics Aside. But we'd take when she is available, if she's interested!1220322014-07-23 00:20:50WEDNESDAY SCHEDULEdavid_diamond@spe.sony.commichael_lynton@spe.sony.comWEDNESDAY SCHEDULE830am '' Joe Ripp, Lon Jacobs, Rebecca Sanhueza10am ''1230pm '' Mind of the Moviegoer1pm '' Lunch: Dan Loeb2pm: Dan Loeb Mtg330pm '' Weekly SPA4pm '' George Rose Weekly630pm '' Marshall Project Event8pm '' Dinner: ValerieJarrett1255732014-08-14 03:17:53RE: Dinnervalerie_jarrett@who.eop.govlynton, michaelkristen_jarvis@who.eop.govDinnerOops. Friday. Not tomorrow.-----Original Message-----From: Jarrett, ValerieSent: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:09 PM Eastern Standard TimeTo: 'Michael Lynton'Cc: Jarvis, KristenSubject: DinnerMichael-The President would like to invite you and Jamie to dinner tomorrow. I am copying Kristen who will follow up.VJ1278082014-04-29 19:45:15mjanklow@janklow.commichael_lynton@spe.sony.comDear Michael, Thanks so much for following up with ValerieJarrett. I had a suspicion that the President and First Lady both had representation (Bob Barnett I believe, who is the Washington lawyer who has tied up many of the public figures by not taking commissions) but I thought it was worth trying in case they were not happy for any reason. In any event, it was a difficult thing to ask you to do and a more difficult thing to actually accomplish on your side and I am grateful for the effort. Best,Mort
1293082014-08-01 23:09:28Fwd: Eric Whitakermailer-daemonjaniceFwd: Eric WhitakerCan we send him an invite?Begin forwarded message:From: "Jarrett, Valerie" Date: August 1, 2014 at 7:00:09 PM EDTTo: "Lynton, Michael"
WikiLeaks - Sony Archives
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:02
(on 2015-04-16)Press ReleaseToday, 16 April 2015, WikiLeaks publishes an analysis and search system for The Sony Archives: 30,287 documents from Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and 173,132 emails, to and from more than 2,200 SPE email addresses. SPE is a US subsidiary of the Japanese multinational technology and media corporation Sony, handling their film and TV production and distribution operations. It is a multi-billion dollar US business running many popular networks, TV shows and film franchises such as Spider-Man, Men in Black and Resident Evil.
In November 2014 the White House alleged that North Korea's intelligence services had obtained and distributed a version of the archive in revenge for SPE's pending release of The Interview, a film depicting a future overthrow of the North Korean government and the assassination of its leader, Kim Jong-un. Whilst some stories came out at the time, the original archives, which were not searchable, were removed before the public and journalists were able to do more than scratch the surface.
Now published in a fully searchable format The Sony Archives offer a rare insight into the inner workings of a large, secretive multinational corporation. The work publicly known from Sony is to produce entertainment; however, The Sony Archives show that behind the scenes this is an influential corporation, with ties to the White House (there are almost 100 US government email addresses in the archive), with an ability to impact laws and policies, and with connections to the US military-industrial complex.
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange said: "This archive shows the inner workings of an influential multinational corporation. It is newsworthy and at the centre of a geo-political conflict. It belongs in the public domain. WikiLeaks will ensure it stays there."
Sony is a member of the MPAA and a strong lobbyist on issues around internet policy, piracy, trade agreements and copyright issues. The emails show the back and forth on lobbying and political efforts, not only with the MPAA but with politicians directly. In November 2013 WikiLeaks published a secret draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) IP Chapter. The Sony Archives show SPE's internal reactions, including discussing the impact with Michael Froman, the US Trade Representative. It also references the case against Megaupload and the extradition of its founder Kim DotCom from New Zealand as part of SPE's war on piracy.
The connections and alignments between Sony Pictures Entertainment and the US Democratic Party are detailed through the archives, including SPE's CEO Lynton attending dinner with President Obama at Martha's Vineyard and Sony employees being part of fundraising dinners for the Democratic Party. There are emails setting up a collective within the corporation to get around the 5,000 USD limit on corporate campaign donations to give 50,000 USD to get the Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo elected as "Thanks to Governor Cuomo, we have a great production incentive environment in NY and a strong piracy advocate that's actually done more than talk about our problems."
Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton is on the board of trustees of RAND Corporation, an organisation specialising in research and development for the United States military and intelligence sector. The Sony Archives show the flow of contacts and information between these two major US industries, whether it is RAND wanting to invite George Clooney and Kevin Spacey to events, or Lynton offering contact to Valerie Jarrett (a close advisor to Obama) or RAND desiring a partnership with IMAX for digital archiving. With this close tie to the military-industrial complex it is no surprise that Sony reached out to RAND for advice regarding its North Korea film The Interview. RAND provided an analyst specialised in North Korea and suggested Sony reach out to the State Department and the NSA regarding North Korea's complaints about the upcoming film. The Sony documents also show Sony being in possession of a brochure for an NSA-evaluated online cloud security set-up called INTEGRITY.
The archives also detail SPE's development of its own films and collecting "intelligence" on rival pictures, for example documents in the archive reveal the budget breakdown for Oliver Stone's rival picture Snowden, which is currently in production. The budget reveals the rights spend: 700,000 USD to the Guardian's Luke Harding, 600,000 USD to Oliver Stone for his work on the script and 1,000,000 USD to Snowden's Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.
WikiLeaks has a committment to preserving the historical archive. This means ensuring archives that have made it to the public domain remain there regardless of legal or poltical pressure, and in a way that is accessible and useable to the public. WikiLeaks' publication of The Sony Archives will ensure this database remains accessible to the public for years to come.
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Honderdduizenden gehackte Sony-documenten op WikiLeaks - MEDIA - PAROOL
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 07:56
Klokkenluiderswebsite Wikileaks heeft vandaag honderdduizenden e-mails en documenten die vorig jaar bij entertainmentbedrijf Sony werden gehackt in een doorzoekbaar online-archief geplaatst. De database bevat ruim 30.000 documenten en meer dan 173.000 e-mails van en naar medewerkers van het bedrijf.
Volgens Wikileaks-oprichter Julian Assange geven de documenten een aardig kijkje in de keuken van een 'invloedrijke multinationale onderneming'. 'Het is nieuwswaardig en staat in het centrum van een geopolitiek conflict', zo verdedigt hij de publicatie. 'Het hoort in het publieke domein en WikiLeaks zorgt ervoor dat dat zo blijft.'
De informatie werd buitgemaakt door Noord-Koreaanse hackers die inbraken in de Sony-systemen na het verschijnen van de film The Interview, een humoristische film over een moordaanslag op de Noord-Koreaanse leider Kim Jong-un.
'WikiLeaks helpt hackers'Sony is het volgens de Los Angeles Times niet eens met de lezing van Assange. 'De aanvallers gebruikten de verspreiding van gestolen informatie in een poging SPE en haar medewerkers schade te berokkenen en nu assisteert WikiLeaks ze daar helaas bij. We zijn het absoluut niet eens met WikiLeaks' opvatting dat dit materiaal in het openbare domein thuishoort.'
Documenten in de database tonen volgens de klokkenluiderssite de verwevenheid tussen Sony en de Democratische Partij, compleet met de aanwezigheid van topman Michael Lynton op een dinertje van president Barack Obama in het buitenverblijf op Martha's Vineyard. Ook zijn er mails te vinden waarin wordt gekeken hoe het bedrijf regels kan omzeilen voor het schenken van veel geld aan een kandidaat van de partij.
Ook de verwevenheid van SPE met Rand Corporation, een research- en development-bedrijf dat werkt voor de Amerikaanse strijdkrachten, komt bovendrijven, zegt WikiLeaks. De bedrijven verlenen elkaar op verschillende fronten over en weer diensten.
Wikileaks-oprichter Julian Assange. (C) afp.
Ottomania
Austin Protest 100 years genocide
Hillary 2016
Geek Girl Sara predicts Sarah Palin will run?
Jade Helm 2015 - Walmart
Former Wal-Mart CEO joins Carlyle private equity firm
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 03:53
NEW YORK (AP) '-- Mike Duke, the former CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has joined the global consumer and retail group of private equity firm The Carlyle Group.
Duke, who stepped down from the helm of the world's largest retailer in February 2014, joins a group of more than 25 senior business executives who provide strategic guidance to Carlyle to help it buy and invest in companies, the Washington, D.C.-based firm said Thursday.
Duke began his duties in mid-April.
Since its inception, Carlyle has invested about $12 billion of equity in 70 transactions in the consumer and retail arena, including Dunkin' Brands, Philosophy, and Beats headphones.
Duke joined Wal-Mart in 1995 as senior vice president of distribution and had a number of roles in the company. Before assuming the top job, he was vice chairman, overseeing the company's international business, a job he held from 2005 to 2009. He served as president and CEO from 2009 to 2014 and still serves on Wal-Mart's board.
The Carlyle Group had $194 billion of assets under management across 128 funds and 142 fund of fund vehicles as of Dec. 31, 2014.
Are The Wal-Mart Closings In Jade Helm 15 States A Sign We Have Sold Them The Rope They Will Hang Us With By Shopping At Wal-Mart All These Years?
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 03:34
April 14, 2015
By Stefan Stanford - All News Pipeline - Live Free Or Die
With news of numerous Wal-Mart supercenters now being 'temporarily closed' (6+ months each which brings us to October 2015 or later) in at least 4 different states now tied to the Jade Helm 15 'exercises' due to what we're being told are 'plumbing problems', will these massive stores soon be used as 'food distribution centers' and to house the headquarters of invading troops from China, here to disarm Americans one by one as promised by Michelle Obama to the Chinese prior to Obama leaving the White House? Astute story commenters were quick to point out that any plumbing problem can be fixed in much less time than 6 months, even in such large supercenters, and to have several of these 6-month closings all at once in states tied to Jade Helm 15 and martial law exercises (Florida, Texas, California and Oklahoma) reeks of something much deeper than 'plumbing issues'. The fact that China has DEMANDED Americans be disarmed and the scheduled 'reopening dates' (if they EVER reopen at all!) of these stores will be after Jade Helm 15 is completed are raising many questions about what is really going on among those who are paying attention to events in Barack Obama's 'new America' as seen in more detail below. One reader tells us that one of these Wal-Mart stores had just recently been remodeled and didn't have any plumbing problems while the note below is from a source who recently called her local Wal-Mart and discovered they may NEVER reopen!
Called one of the Walmarts (Midland, TX location) just now. Phone was answered by a woman "Thank you for calling Walmart customer care, may I begin this conversation by requesting your first and last name?" (WHAT?) I just said I was calling to check store hours. She asked if I was calling about a particular location. I told her the one on Midland Drive. Shesaid that the store was closed last night at 7pm. I said "Oh? For good?" She said "Yes, at first they said it would be for maybe 6 months but after further review they have decided to close indefinitely." LOL...plumbing problems my you-know-what. Something fishy is up, whether it has to do with OJH or just Walmart closing stores because they are hurting. Either way, very deceitful the way they are doing whatever this is they are doing. I don't dare call the other stores from my phone because when the phone first picked up I got the recording of "This call may be monitored or recorded....".
With 'emperor Obama' now attempting to dismantle our country for good as referenced in the many links included at the bottom of this story and as America descends one day closer into full-scale countrywide 'police-state' tyranny, numerous events taking place the last several days should cement into our heads the fact that our country isn't America anymore and despite attempts by the mainstream media and trolls stalking alternative news websites attempting to downplay videos like the ones below, we can see that America is quickly becoming Iraq or Afghanistan as country-wide preparation for a massive event is now being taken to the next level.
In the 1st video below just released by Felipe Soto we see a National Guard drill taking place in the residential streets of Ontario, California while in the 2nd video below we see a US Veteran getting pulled over by a TANK (no, it's an armored personnel carrier according to the police officer and the TROLLS who stalk alternative news sites) seeking to divert our attention from the obvious - it's a vehicle of war on the streets of America.The recent email sent to All News Pipeline from a deep background source seen below shares of another event that recently happened in Yuma, Arizona and begs us to ask the question, has Jade Helm 15 already begun? Is the massive exposure of various martial law-style 'drills' across the country by the alternative media causing the NWO to accelerate their plans for a full-scale police-state crackdown prior to the rest of the country awakening and DEMANDING that these be stopped? This new Intellihub story tells us that the federal government is now actively seeking 'role players' for simulating the relocation of US citizens to detention camps in Phoenix, Arizona. Are all of these events that are now happening in these 'Jade Helm 15' states just a coincidence or a very clear pattern? The answer is clear to us.
ANP, I was at a friends home for dinner last night and a guest had something very interesting to say about his trip home Yuma, AZ Friday. He stopped at a rest area on I-8 before getting on I-10 to Phoenix. When he was coming out of the restroom he was surprised to see the parking lot filling up with unmarked vehicles which he first thought were border patrol. There were 3 helicopters not far in the desert and the men from the vehicles had blow horns ordering everyone to stay in their cars. He said they were dressed in desert camo fatigues and were not border patrol. I asked everyone if they heard of Jade Helm 15 and no one had. So, I told them to look it up and they all did. The guest that witnessed the incident looked up with a stunned look on his face and said that was a military operation he saw. Looks to me we are much closer and Jade Helm 15 is in motion.
To the government trolls who stalk ANP daily, can you really say these exercises are just 'normal' National Guard training? These 'exercises' are clearly another attempt to 'normalize' Americans seeing the military on the streets and look more like what we'd see in a police-state dictatorship than in a 'free country'.
Is this really what we want all future generations to face when being pulled over by police in America? Is this normal or more proof that the war has come home to America? It seems to us to be a blatant attempt at citizen intimidation, total overkill.
The following stories found at the links included below should be enough to convince any American that our country and Rights are now being dismantled on a massive scale. Please share this information far and wide.
"Your country is desolate, your cities burned with fire; your fields are being stripped by foreigners right before you, laid waste as when overthrown by strangers."
[Isaiah 1:7]
FEATURED ARTICLES:
1.) "EMPEROR OBAMA: DISMANTLING OUR CONSTITUTION" by Frosty Wooldridge
[ Excerpt: ] "Emperor Barack Hussein Obama once again broke the U.S. Constitution this past week by illegally mandating that our laws as a sovereign country mean nothing. He illegally overstepped his office as president by using an executive order that takes the law into his own hands and away from 'We the people'. He insured that anyone who illegally jumps our borders, overstays a visa or crosses during pregnancy may become a U.S. citizen without warrant of any kind. Obama insured that millions of people expect to storm our borders in the coming years THUS RENDING OUR COUNTRY NO LONGER A COUNTRY, BUT A DESTINATION (CAPS Added). At this point in our open borders history, we find no purpose for the United States to maintain a military since our president and Congress refuse to secure our borders against the entry of illegal aliens and contraband. Borders define a nation and the primary reason for our armed forces remains to keep our enemies as far from our shores as possible. Foreign nationals easily enter the U.S. today and evade the scrutiny of the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspectors at ports of entry. Terrorists, spies and enemy combatants easily enter our country and pose a threat to national security and public safety. But that doesn't bother Obama or Congress." http://www.newswithviews.com/Wooldridge/frosty1006.htmRelated:
2.) "OBAMA'S IMMIGRATION ACTION ILLEGAL & UNCONSTITUTIONAL"
[ Excerpt: ] "Obama's Executive Action as it currently exists, is not amnesty, as it provides no direct path to permanent residency or citizenship, and in fact, is not law. (Added: It IS Amnesty which is any scheme that pardons violators from the effects of existing law.) However, what is does represent is an open refusal to faithfully execute the laws of our nation, to uphold the Constitution of the United States, to protect and defend national sovereignty and security, and it is a direct assault upon and usurpation of Constitutional Congressional authority. Therefore, it is an overt act of usurping the U.S. Constitution, a direct violation of the Presidential Oath of Office, a direct assault on the American people and a direct threat to national sovereignty and security. It is an 'impeachable offense' to say the very least and may very well constitute an overt act of treason. (18 U.S. Code § 2381)."
3.) "IS THE U.S. BEING COLONIZED BY RED CHINA?" By Tom DeWeese
[ Excerpt: ] "On Monday, November 10th, Barack Obama met with Communist Chinese leaders and announced a new immigration agreement with that totalitarian dictatorship, creating the following headline: 'Putting a bright face on the future of U.S. ties to China, President Barack Obama announced Monday that the two countries would start granting visas to each other's citizens valid for up to a decade'. Last June I released the following article to alert Americans of the dangers of dealing with the Red Chinese and specifically through an immigration program called EB-5. Perhaps now, in light of this new announcement by the Administration, more Americans and the news media will take greater note of my warnings. With this new development, I am re-releasing the article." http://www.newswithviews.com/DeWeese/tom255.htm4.) BORDER PATROL'S DESPERATE PLEA TO JIM GILCHRIST:
[ Excerpt: ] "I am a Border Patrol Agent in the Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV-Texas), south of Corpus Christi, Texas. Thank you for your continued support and coverage of the ongoing crisis on the border. I would like to take a moment to convey the absolute desperation that we are reaching down here. We have been ordered to release thousands of Family Units (Parent/Child), and thousands of teenage unaccompanied juveniles (Under 18). We have encountered numerous instances of fraud, kidnapping, and exploitation where adults are claiming that very young children are their own, when in fact they are not. Many of the unaccompanied juveniles are claiming that they have a responsible parent to be released to, when in fact they do not. As a Border Patrol Agent, I can tell you as an eye witness that we are currently losing more than we are catching. On a good day, we catch approximately 30 to 40 percent of all crossers while the rest simply get away. In the RGV, we have been averaging around 10,000 apprehensions per week. THAT MEANS WE ARE LOSING WELL OVER 10,000 ALIENS PER WEEK." (In just this one sector! --- CAPSadded) http://minutemanproject.com/border-agents-desperate-plea-to-jim-gilchrist-minuteman-project/?utm_campaign=2006512&utm_content=11480556384&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Emailvision5.) "FAILURES TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS" by Michael Cutler
[ Excerpt: ] "For decades our nation has failed to effectively secure the borders of the United States and effectively enforce the immigration laws from within the U.S. The influx of massive numbers of illegal aliens has been attributed to the 'broken immigration system'. However, the reality is that the massive number of illegal aliens present in the U.S. is, in fact, the direct result of the failures of our government to deter illegal immigration by effectively enforcing the immigration laws and instilling integrity to the immigration benefits program by seeking to uncover fraud and acting against those who would defraud the immigration system. Immigration law violations are hardly victimless crimes. Page 98 of this report noted: Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack."
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Thanksgiving Day Thought for the Day:
============================
OTHER ARTICLES:
"Republicans Can Stop Executive Order Amnesty Dead"
"Ten Arguments Against Obama's Executive Amnesty"
"Immigrant Families Benefit Significantly From ObomaCare"
"The Second American Revolution"
"Can We Still Recognize America?"
Are the Ferguson Riots a Prelude for America?
"Islamic Influence Infiltrating Education System"
"Mexico and Central America Approve of Amnesty"
Examples of Serious Crimes by Illegal Aliens:
It's Not Just the Immigration Laws:
Cartoons:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Savage Guest Comments:
In today's issue: Dr. Savage explains that the real agenda of ''immigration reform'' is to remake the country so the Democrats are the ruling party of the United States for generations to come.
''Amnesty will turn America into a Third World country. I see Obama's Democrats as a gang that has hijacked the country, said Savage. They're using terms in the media like 'emperor' but that doesn't mean anything. This is a hardcore left wing gang that has stolen America right in front of our eyes. Now they're about to deliver the final coup de gras and kill us all. Once they grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens and give them the vote, it is the end of America as we know it. We'll be a country very much like the Third World countries where these illegals came from. Are you telling me the people from Guatemala are suddenly going to become Americans? Or are we going to become more like Guatemalans? You know and I know what this is about. It's an attempt to hijack the American ballot box, which the Democrats can't control any other way. This slow but steady revolution has been going on ever since Obama became president."
====================================================
BACKGROUND CHECKS: You will hear over and over again tonight from President Obama '-- and repeated ad nauseum by the gullible, open-borders media '-- that only illegal aliens who pass ''background checks'' will be eligible for the massive new administrative amnesty...
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------OF COURSE, MEXICO (& CENTRAL AMERICA) WILL APPROVE IT - PROBABLY THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE ILLEGALS IN THE U.S. ARE MEXICAN AND I BET THE NEXT LARGEST ARE EITHER CENTRAL AMERICAN OR ASIAN. THEY NOT ONLY STEAL OUR BENEFITS & MEDICAL CARE BUT THEY ALSO SEND OUR DOLLARS BACK TO THEIR COUNTRY! MEXICO ALSO WANTS (IMHO) TO GET AS MANY CENTRAL AMERICANS TO HELP THEM TAKE OVER THE U.S. AS THEY CAN!http://www.vdare.com/articles/memo-from-middle-america-obamnesty-not-approved-by-congress-no-problem-its-been-approved-by-mexico-and-central-america
MEXICO AND CENTRAL AMERICA APPROVE AMNESTY----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wow: Four Networks to Pass on Obama's Historic Amnesty Address ...Three major networks will not air President Obama's prime-time address Thursday outlining his executive actions on immigration. Officials with ...--------------------------------------------------------Arizona will continue to deny licenses to immigrantsImmigrants granted deportation deferment by President Barack Obama's ... Arizona Republicans are split on how immigration issues should be reformed, ... other state benefits, any time soon under Arizona's Republican leadership. ... issue, but this move will make those bipartisan efforts nearly impossible....--------------------------------------------------------http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/11/20/cruz-block-all-of-obamas-nominees-until-he-rescinds-amnesty-n1921452?utm_source=thdailypm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl_pm------------------------------------------------------------------------U.S. Immigration Shake-Up - MSN.comBarack Obama risks Republican fury by using his powers to shield nearly five million people from the threat of deportation...--------------------------------------------------------------------------ERNEST ISTOOK: Obama to triple punch America in the gut ...It includes a triple punch on immigration amnesty, higher health ... will sucker punch millions of Americans who could lose jobs to millions of ...----------------------------------------------------------------------------(THIS IS WRITTEN BY A PRO-ILLEGAL WRITER:) Linda Valdez: Can prayers of immigrants overcome hyperventilating Republicans?https://www.google.com/search?q=Immigrants%2C+beware%3A+Amnesty.gov+could+crash&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=fflb-----------------------------------------------------------------------------Mixed reaction over President Obama's immigration address ...Mixed reaction over President Obama's immigration address; Voces de la Frontera set to answer questions. Posted 9:37 pm, November 20, ...-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Highlights of Obama's actions on immigration reformObama's actions include more resources for border security, expanded deferred action....--------------------------------------------------------------------------------GOP Governors Want To Sue Obama Over Immigration ...Obama's action may provide deportation relief to 5 million undocumented immigrants, including parents of .... Your complete guide to Obama's immigration executive action ... The information our users provide is confidential....Gov. Rick Perry (R) said it was a ''very real possibility'' that his state would sue the federal government if Obama acts unilaterally on immigration. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) suggested that Republicans sue the president. All three are potential Republican presidential candidates in 2016. ...---------------------------------------------------------------------------------In a primetime address on November 20, President Obama made his sales pitch to the ...http://townhall.com/tipsheet/conncarroll/2014/11/21/everything-you-need-to-know-about-obamas-executive-amnesty-n1922199Experts: Scope of Obama's Amnesty Order Unprecedentedhttp://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/illegals-executive-action-amnesty-precedent/2014/11/18/id/608017/?ns_mail_uid=3465029&ns_mail_job=1595916_11182014&s=al&dkt_nbr=c2mau9u5-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"AP USES REAGAN TO SELL AMNESTY" (AP= Associated Press)http://www.vdare.com/posts/ap-to-republicans-reagan-granted-an-administrative-amnesty-so-shut-up-about-obamas-amnesty-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------SUN TZU AND THE ART OF AMNESTYhttp://www.vdare.com/posts/sun-tzu-and-the-art-of-amnesty--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------"Latino Conservatives" and Amnestyhttp://www.vdare.com/articles/latino-conservatives-gop-should-fight-obama-amnesty-by-enacting-its-own-amnesty-which-would-benefit-latino-conservatives--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Krauthammer: Obama's 'Amnesty' Is An 'Impeachable Offense'
While Krauthammer chalked the executive order up to an "impeachable offense," last summer he suggested that if the GOP would be walking ...----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jeff Sessions says that President Barack Obama's executive amnesty is something that is ...http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/11/20/Sessions-Obama-s-Amnesty-Endangering-Our-Entire-Constitutional-Order-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Latino Conservatives" and Amnestyhttp://www.vdare.com/articles/latino-conservatives-gop-should-fight-obama-amnesty-by-enacting-its-own-amnesty-which-would-benefit-latino-conservatives--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------No Shame: Obama Goes Through With Amnestyhttp://www.leanrightamerica.org/uncategorized/no-shame-obama-goes-through-with-amnesty/--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Sacramento County Sheriff Scott R. Jones:This Sheriff tells Obama Exactly what He thinks about His Illegal Executive AmnestySacramento County Sheriff Scott R. Jones had some straight forward words for Obama concerning what he thinks of Obama's criminal actions to ignore the law and fail to secure the border while helping those who are violating the law. Specifically, Jones pointed to one of his deputies who was killed by an illegal alien....----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/11/sheriff-tells-obama-exactly-thinks-illegal-executive-amnesty/
Agenda 21
Why Pope Francis' Climate Change Encyclical Is So Important - US News
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:14
Love your neighbors, and save them from climate change.
This summer, Pope Francis will deliver the first major encyclical of his papacy. It will be on climate change and the environment. Encyclicals are a big deal, just one level below a papal bull.
While nearly everything the ''superman pope'' does is scrutinized closely by the conservative wing of the Catholic church in America, this particular call to the church is likely to receive an extra dose of attention because of the nature of the issue.
Francis issued a general encyclical on moral issues early in his papacy. But he chose to tackle climate change and the environment as his first real issue. But why climate? And why now? While the pope hasn't talked much about the rationale for choosing climate, his advisers at the Vatican have given plenty of hints. Some of the reasons are obvious. But some of them are not.
The most obvious reason is one of timing. This year, 2015, is a pivotal year for efforts to jumpstart a transformation of the energy system from a carbon-intensive one that is threatening to destabilize the planet to a low-carbon one that can slow the rise of the planet's temperature. World leaders are committing to long-term efforts to slow the use of carbon-intensive energy, and the Vatican wants to influence those deliberations that conclude in Paris at the end of the year.
But the not-so-obvious reason is that climate change is rapidly becoming the moral issue of our time, and this pope both recognizes it and wishes to help direct the church in that effort.
[SEE:Editorial Cartoons on Energy Policy]
People of all ages, from all demographics and all corners of the planet, are beginning to recognize that significant changes are occurring in our ecosystem, and they'd like to see someone, anyone, do something about it. They're beginning to challenge leaders to act boldly. They're learning how to act as low-carbon consumers. They're demanding an end to the fossil fuel age. They're turning a distant threat into a moral cause that demands a much more immediate response from business and political leaders.
Moral causes take time to develop. They tend to match the pace of concern that rises within people and places affected by them. In the case of climate change, perhaps for the first time in the world's recorded history, we're beginning to witness an awakening not just in one country or within one group of people, but in nearly every corner of the Earth.
People sense that we're in trouble, as a species, and they want answers. But, more importantly, they want real actions. That sort of all-across-the-world public awareness around a threat (one that isn't the result of military conflicts between nation states) has never truly happened before in our history as a species on Earth, but it's happening now.
This is the basis of the moral cause of climate change, and why Francis' encyclical has the potential to catalyze a great deal of action across the world when it's issued.
So what is the encyclical likely to say? What is its basis, its foundation? And what right does a pope have to weigh in on what looks, on its surface, like a business and political issue?
For starters, the pope is likely to use his letter to more than 1 billion Catholics to explain the basics of what climate change is in plainspoken language that makes the issue available and relevant to everyone, rich and poor, and explain why we need to care about it.
[SEE:Political Cartoons on the Economy]
The atmosphere is like a blanket. It keeps the heat from the sun close to our planet. When people burn fossil fuels, they add more gases to the atmosphere. That's like adding bulk to a blanket. More gases mean the atmosphere holds in more heat. The result is changes in the systems that sustain life. Rain is less predictable, deserts grow and even the chemical composition of the water in the ocean changes. The changes on our extra-heated Earth are what we call ''climate change.''
But the pope will almost certainly explain why any of this matters to the church. As people of faith, Christians are called to love their neighbors. Because climate change harms our neighbors, we must solve climate change if we want to protect the people we love.
Christians are also called to remember our rightful place within creation. That rightful place is one that respects a vast web of life, and honors our responsibility to protect and defend the creation.
Christians are also called to care for the poorest and most vulnerable among us, a theme that this particular pope embodies better than any in recent history. The poorest people are least responsible for climate change and most affected by it, and Francis will almost certainly make this a central focus of his encyclical. It is all too evident that large numbers of people in different countries and areas of our planet are experiencing increased hardship because of the negligence or refusal of many others to exercise responsible stewardship over the environment.
Fundamentally changing the way we use energy will have an impact on the economy. But the truth is that climate change itself is the greater threat. It's easy to forget, but the natural world underpins everything we do. Climate change will disrupt every sector of the economy, from agriculture and transportation to energy.
To prevent this disruption, a fossil fuel-based economy will need to gradually transition to a clean energy economy. Some of the biggest American businesses are already making major investments in the sustainable economy, which will require innovative leaders and dedicated, smart workers. But we need more businesses on board, and at a much faster rate.
[READ:The Other Climate Change]
The right to productive work with fair wages is an important part of Catholic social teaching. Training and supporting people in the fossil fuel industry as they make the transition to more sustainable work is essential. Catholic bishops in America have advocated for directing resources from climate change legislation to assist workers who are affected by a move from fossil fuels to clean energy sources. The pope will almost certainly touch on this issue of fairness in the midst of this transition.
This is the type of language that Francis is likely to issue in his encyclical. But beyond the science and the policies and the biblical rationale beneath it, the most important aspect of the pope's encyclical will be his call to the church to take up the moral cause.
Call it the St. Francis pledge. When a billion people heed their religious leader's call to reflect and then advocate and act on it, business and political leaders will have no choice but to pay attention.
That's the heart of a moral cause. And Francis is about to establish the central basis for one on climate change and the environment. The church will hear it, understand it and advocate for it. The question is whether leaders are prepared for what happens next.
Encyclical - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:14
An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Roman Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop. The word comes from Latinencyclicus (from the Greekἐν κύκÎ>>á"en kykloi) meaning "general" or "encircling", which is also the origin of the word "encyclopedia".
The term has been used by Catholics, Anglicans and the Eastern Orthodox.
Catholic usage[edit]For the modern Catholic Church a Papal encyclical, in the strictest sense, is a letter, usually treating some aspect of Catholic doctrine, sent by the Pope and addressed either to the Catholic bishops of a particular area or, more normally, to the bishops of the world; however, the form of the address can vary widely, and often designates a wider audience. Papal encyclicals usually take the form of a Papal brief due to their more personal nature as opposed to the formal Papal bull. Papal encyclicals are so famous that the term encyclical is used almost exclusively for those sent out by the Pope. The title of the encyclical is usually taken from its first few words (its incipit).
Within Catholicism in recent times, an encyclical is generally used for significant issues, and is second in importance only to the highest ranking document now issued by popes, an Apostolic Constitution. However, the designation 'encyclical' does not always denote such a degree of significance. The archives at the Vatican website currently classify certain encyclicals as Apostolic Exhortations. This informal term generally indicates documents with a broader audience than the bishops alone.
Pope Pius XII held that Papal Encyclicals, even when they are not of 'ordinary magisterium', can nonetheless be sufficiently authoritative to end theological debate on a particular question:
''It is not to be thought that what is set down in Encyclical letters does not demand assent in itself, because in this the popes do not exercise the supreme power of their magisterium. For these matters are taught by the ordinary magisterium, regarding which the following is pertinent: ''He who heareth you, heareth Me.'' (Luke 10:16); and usually what is set forth and inculcated in Encyclical Letters, already pertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their acts, after due consideration, express an opinion on a hitherto controversial matter, it is clear to all that this matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot any longer be considered a question of free discussion among theologians.'--Humani generis''Papal use of encyclicals[edit]Encyclicals indicate high Papal priority for an issue at a given time. Pontiffs define when, and under which circumstances, encyclicals should be issued. They may choose to issue an apostolic constitution, bull, encyclical, apostolic letter or give a papal speech. Popes have differed on the use of encyclicals: on the issue of birth control and contraception, Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Casti connubii, while Pope Pius XII gave a speech to midwives and the medical profession, clarifying the position of the Church on the issue.[1]Pope Paul VI published an encyclical Humanae vitae on the same topic. On matters of war and peace, Pope Pius XII issued ten encyclicals, mostly after 1945, three of them protesting the Soviet invasion of Hungary in order to crack down on the Hungarian Revolution in 1956: Datis nuperrime, Sertum laetitiae and Luctuosissimi eventus. Pope Paul VI spoke about the war in Vietnam and Pope John Paul II, issued a protest against the war in Iraq using the medium of speeches. On social issues, Pope Leo XIII promulgated Rerum novarum (1891), which was followed by Quadragesimo anno (1931) of Pius XI and Centesimus annus (1991) of John Paul II. Pius XII spoke on the same topic to a consistory of cardinals, in his Christmas messages and to numerous academic and professional associations.[2]
Important papal encyclicals[edit]Anglican usage[edit]Amongst Anglicans the term encyclical was revived in the late 19th century. It is applied to circular letters issued by the English primates.
Important Anglican encyclicals[edit]Important Eastern Orthodox encyclicals[edit]External links[edit]Acta Apostolicae Sedis, (AAS), Roma Vaticano, 1920''2007The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd. ed.), p. 545.^Acta Apostolicae Sedis, (AAS) 1951, 835, AAS 1958, 90, AAS 1941, 40, AAS 1952, 258^Allocution to the Cardinals AAS 1946, 141, and, AAS 1952, 5, AAS 1955, 15; and, for example in his Christmas Message 1954, AAS, medical doctors on the use of modern weapons, AAS 1954, 587, farmers, AAS 1950, 251, fashion AAS 1957, 1011, human dignity, AAS 1951, 215, AAS 1957, 830^http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20130629_enciclica-lumen-fidei_en.html
F-Russia
Multi-billion dollar Trans-Eurasian corridor project being forged through crisis
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:04
Trans-Eurasian Belt 'RAZVITIE'
A new link between Asia and Europe through Russia will create millions of new jobs and slash travel time between the two by three-quarters. It's expected to change the world economic map and bring Russia-Asia economic ties to a new level.The 'Razvitie' Trans-Eurasian Belt is a multibillion dollar infrastructure megaproject, led by Russian Railways (RZD). It is expected to create at least 20 million new jobs in Russia over the next two decades. The plan has been in the works for many years, and the economic crisis is the best time to move from words to action, according to Ruslan Grinberg, the head of the Economic institute of the Russian Academy of Science who spoke to RT at the Dialogi economic discussion club in Moscow.
"Crisis is always the appropriate time to realize megaprojects. Economist John Maynard Keynes instructed that you if you don't have demand you should construct Egyptian pyramids in Britain, so that people went to work, earned money. While they are not needed there, we do need them, as they create jobs and a fantastic multiplier effect. One unit of money invested creates at least 1.5 units," Grinberg said.
The 'Razvitie' project includes a number of transport corridors, as well as a huge infrastructure system, pipelines and telecom networks running along the route.
"The project should include railways, motorways and other transport methods, meaning aviation, river transport and all other means that should represent one system creating synergy," Iwao Ohashi, advisor at the Association of Industrial Parks for Japan and Asia-Pacific countries told RT.
There are two strategic aspects in the project, he said.
"One is a transit corridor between Europe and eastern Asia, established with all the modern and 'smart' functions. Second, it's the creation and the development of a network of industrial economic corridors within the territory of the Russian Federation," he said.
The project will involve some European countries, like Italy, Austria and Germany, as well as various countries within the former Soviet territory and Eastern Asia, including Japan, South Korea, China, Mongolia, Ohashi said.
"But Russia should keep the door of this project open to any interested country and every interested enterprise, and I'm sure Russia will do that," he added.
Reshaping world economy
With a minimum cost estimated at $20 billion, the project will bring much more to all of the participant countries and reshape the world economy, experts agree.
"The project can eventually change the world economic map because Russia is going to provide a concrete new stage for businesses in Eastern Asia and Europe. They can choose either sea routes, or the Trans-Siberian route or the so-called China land bridge through Kazakhstan," Ohashi said.
If Russia implements the project successfully, it's likely to get a high economic growth rate of 6-7 percent in about two or three years, Ohashi added.
Trade between Europe and Asia will increase by at least 50 percent, and the transportation time will be cut from 45 days to 13, Grinberg projected.
Russia has already cut the time of container shipments between Europe and Asia to about two weeks from 20 days, the CEO of United Transportation And Logistics Company Petr Baskakov told RT.
"But there's still the potential to cut this transit time by another 20 percent, which will bring land shipments closer to airline shipments in terms of competitiveness," Baskakov said.
The investment into the 'Razvitie' project won't have a quick return as the first profit could be expected in about 7 years, Grinberg said.
"Anyway, this project is important for the economic growth in Russia's Far East, as the labor force there is moving away, which is blocking development of the eastern regions," he said.
Boosting Russia-Asia trade
While economic ties between Russia and Europe have been tight, a scope for bringing the economies of Russia and Asia closer together is tremendous, Ohashi said.
"If you look at the economic relations between Europe and Russia, they are based on energy dependency. It is very clear that if Russia stops supplying energy the European economy will suffer. The Russian market is full of European goods and services, so that interdependency is very big between Russia and Europe. The route will stimulate increased trade between Russia and Asia. The very meaning of this project is that Russia and Asia will increase economic ties," he said.
Running a business in Russia remains 'unique' compared to all other places in the world and the Razvitie project is expected to change this, Ohashi added.
"Other countries are pretty the same, for example Japanese investment into India, Japanese investment to China, to Poland - all is the same. The Russian business space has been qualitatively different from the rest of the world. I believe this megaproject is going to change this, so that Russia can become a part of the world economy," he said.
Greece Could Earn Hundreds of Millions of Euros From Turkish Stream - Putin / Sputnik International
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 13:59
Business17:02 08.04.2015(updated 20:15 08.04.2015)Get short URL
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) '-- The Turkish Stream gas pipeline could help Greece become one of the main power distribution centers in Europe, President of Russia Vladimir Putin said."Of course, we have discussed the prospects of realization of the large infrastructure project which we call Turkish Stream '-- a key project for transporting Russian gas to the Balkans, maybe to Italy, the countries of Central Europe," Putin said at a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
"The new route will provide for the Europeans' needs in fuel, and would allow Greece to become one of the main power distribution centers on the continent, could help attract significant investments into the Greek economy," Putin said.
The Russian president added that Greece could earn hundreds of million of euros for gas transits annually if it joins the Turkish stream pipeline project.
In turn, Tsipras said that Athens is interested in attracting investment in construction of the a pipeline on its territory to handle gas coming through the Turkish Stream.
Tsipras added that Greece is interested in energy cooperation with Russia to meet the country's energy demands and contribute to European energy security.In December 2014, Russian energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced that a new Turkish Stream pipeline to Turkey with an annual capacity of 63 billion cubic meters of gas will be constructed. Around 14 billion cubic meters of gas will be supplied to Turkey, with the rest being pumped to a hub on the Turkish-Greece border for customers in Europe.
The announcement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was not willing to continue the implementation of the South Stream gas pipeline project in light of the European Commission's "non-constructive" stance on the matter.
Will Greece Join the Eurasian Union? | New Eastern Outlook
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 13:53
At the very least the new Greek government realizes it must play in a deadly power game over the future of the nation in an asymmetrical manner. The so-called Troika'--EU Commission, European Central Bank and IMF'--is demanding blood from a turnip when it comes to Greece. So after hitting a granite wall in appealing for easing of the austerity to permit Greek economic growth to begin climbing back to solvency, the government of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is looking at every option. The latest move is their looking east to Moscow and then Beijing. The Greek crisis, which began in October 2009 is at a critical crossroads.
In 2007-2008 as the US-centered sub-prime real estate debt crisis first erupted, Greek state debt was around 100% of GDP, higher than EU average but not unprecedented and manageable. By 2014 the debt had soared to 175% of GDP, higher than even Italy. The country had to take '‚¬240 billion from the Troika to avoid debt default, a step that would have brought German and French banks holding Greek bonds to likely default. At the start of the Greek crisis Greek bonds were held by mainly EU banks who found the higher interest rates attractive. When a bank crisis in Germany and France threatened as a Greek default threatened, the EU governments, the IMF and the European Central Bank took over 80% of Greek sovereign debt, letting the private banks once more off the hook at the expense of Greek and European taxpayers.
Either the Euro or Dollar goes
Greece was literally the Achilles Heel of the Euro and Washington and Wall Street hit it with a savagery not seen since they ran the Asia Crisis and Russian sovereign default crises in 1997-1998. When Greece imploded in late 2009 the dollar was the main currency under threat of abandonment. The Chinese were openly rebuking the US Government for letting its own deficits and debt explode at a rate well over $1 trillion a year. The response of the US Treasury Financial Warfare Division, the Federal Reserve and of Wall Street and the rating agencies was to launch a counter attack on the euro to ''save'' the dollar. It worked and few of the na¯ve Berlin politicians, certainly not Sch¤uble, nor Merkel, had a clue how sophisticated the Washington currency war machinery had become. They began to find out.
The USA credit rating agencies, led by Standard & Poors and Moody's, took the unprecedented step of downgrading Greek government debt three notches in one day in April 2010 just as EU Governments had agreed a Greek rescue plan. That downgrade to so-called junk status meant that pension funds and insurance companies around the world were immediately forced to dump their Greek bonds by law, forcing interest rates Greece must pay to borrow, were it even able, to unpayable levels. A cabal of New York hedge fund managers led by George Soros met to coordinate Geek speculative attacks, worsening the crisis and the costs to Greek taxpayers.
What did Greece get for that new debt? A bloody austerity dictate from the EU, led by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Sch¤uble whose austerity demands made Heinrich Br¼ning in 1931 look like an angel of mercy. Unemployment soared to depression levels of 27% for the general population, falling to 25.7% in January 2015'--hailed by Brussels and Berlin as a ''sign'' their austerity is working!'--youth unemployment reaching well over 60%. The IMF as always, dictated massive cuts in public employees and health and education services to ''save'' money, only making tax revenues decline more. It all demonstrated what Germans knew painfully well from the 1930's, namely that austerity never solves a debt crisis, only real economic growth.
The left party of Tsipras, Syriza, which evolved out of the Greek Communist Party after the collapse of the Soviet Union was elected in January by a desperate electorate fed up with depression and Weimar-style austerity without end. Tsipras' mandate is to get a better economic future for Greeks. His only option at this point is to opt out of the Euro and perhaps also out of the EU and NATO.
The British Telegraph reported on April 2, a week before likely IMF loan payment default by Greece that Greece was drawing up drastic plans to nationalize the country's banking system and introduce a parallel currency to pay bills unless the eurozone takes steps to defuse the simmering crisis and soften its demands. Sources close to the ruling Syriza party said the government is determined to keep public services running and pay pensions as funds run critically low. The Telegraph cites a senior Greek official: ''We are a Left-wing government. If we have to choose between a default to the IMF or a default to our own people, it is a no-brainer. We may have to go into a silent arrears process with the IMF. This will cause a furore in the markets and means that the clock will start to tick much faster,'' the source told The Telegraph.
Failing to get one Euro of genuine relief from Sch¤uble or the EU, and with the prospect of default on a '‚¬458 million repayment to the IMF or default on state pensions, Tsipras flew to Moscow to meet with Putin. Despite that Greece paid the '‚¬458 million to the International Monetary Fund on April 9, the real question is the next payments Greece must make every week in April and a further $7.75 billion it will have to pay in May and June, while struggling to pay its own government staff and state pensions.
Greece as Russian Energy Hub?
The Putin Tsipras meeting prepared for possible future steps that could alter the future of not only Greece but of the entire EU. President Putin announced after his talks with Tsipras on April 8 that Tsipras did not ask Russia for financial aid.
What they did discuss was potentially far more significant for Greece. They talked about energy projects including Putin's proposed Turkish Stream to deliver Russian gas to Turkey instead of directly to the EU after Brussels, pushed by Washington, sabotaged the Russian South Stream gas project.
Turkish Stream proposes to deliver gas to the Greek border adjacent to Turkey. Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis said that Athens supports Russia's planned Turkish Stream pipeline project, as well as extending the gas route to Greece. Russia and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding on the construction of the gas pipeline between the two countries under the Black Sea in December 2014. Greece would then become a distribution hub to further passage of gas to consumers in southern Europe including Italy, an alternative to the defunct South Stream.
Putin remarked after his talks with Tsipras at their joint press conference in Moscow on 8 April, ''Of course, we have discussed the prospects of realization of the large infrastructure project which we call Turkish Stream '-- a key project for transporting Russian gas to the Balkans, maybe to Italy, the countries of Central Europe. The new route will provide for the Europeans' needs in fuel, and would allow Greece to become one of the main power distribution centers on the continent, could help attract significant investments into the Greek economy.'' Greece would also earn gas transit fees of hundreds of millions of euros annually if it joins the Turkish stream pipeline project.
In turn, Tsipras said that Athens is interested in attracting investment in construction of the pipeline on its territory to handle gas coming through the Turkish Stream.
According to media reports, Putin and Tsipras will also focus on possible discounts on Russian natural gas for Greece. In addition Russia discussed investing in joint venture companies with the Greek government. Initial projects to be explored include a public Greek-Russian company and Russian investment in the harbor at Thessaloniki that the IMF demands be privatized as well as railway participation. Following last week's talks with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Russian energy company Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, Lafazanis said that Athens had asked for a cut in its price for Russian natural gas.
Russia and Eurasia?
Putin called for trade relations to be restored between Russia and the EU, including Greece. He said the two had discussed ''various ways of co-operating, including major projects in energy. Under these plans, we could provide loans for certain projects,'' Putin said, adding that it was not a question of aid. One of those plans is for the pipeline called ''Turkish Stream'', to channel natural gas from the Turkish-Greek border into Greece.
For his side Tsipras made clear his government opposed any new sanctions on Russia, something that Washington was not at all pleased about, with US media editorials attacking Greece for being the mythical Trojan Horse for Russia to get back into the EU orbit. Responding in his typically droll humor, the Russian president told BBC, ''About mythology and Trojan horses and so forth: the question would be valid if I was the one going to Athens,'' he said. ''We are not forcing anyone to do anything.''
Recent polls show that well over 63% of Greeks are warm to Russia as an ally, while only 23% feel warm towards the EU. The two countries, Russia and Greece, share a common Orthodox religion and historically were close. Costas Karamanlis, Greek conservative Prime Minister from 2004-09 pursued a ''diplomacy of the pipelines,'' where he saw Greece as a gateway for Russian oil and gas to Europe. Washington and Brussels were furious. Karamanlis was voted out in suspicious circumstances a year after signing a gas deal with President Putin, just before the revelation of the financial crisis. After he lost elections in 2009, it emerged that Russia's FSB security agency had warned its Greek counterpart, EYP, of a 2008 plot to assassinate Karamanlis to halt his pro-Moscow energy alliance.
Trojan Horses, Achilles Heels and the rich heritage of Greek mythology do nothing to solve the crisis of Greece, which, in reality, is the general crisis of European civilization.
What no one in Berlin, Paris or Rome dare to address is the reality that the European Union countries are dying. Demographically, economically and morally they are in a death agony downward spiral. Either they make a definitive break with the bankrupt Washington and NATO Atlantic dollar world and throw their lot fully behind making the Eurasian Economic Union led by Russia into a viable new region of economic prosperity, along with China and the New Silk Road high-speed rail projects criss-crossing Eurasia, or in four or five years at best the EU will be choking in its own debt and economic depression as is Greece today.
The only other option open at this time, the option of the status quo financial powers that be, was tried in Nazi Germany, Vichy France and Mussolini Italy in the 1930's. We don't need to try that again.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook''.
War on Ca$h
War on Cash in Louisiana
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:27
With the passage of House Bill 195 into law, the State of Louisiana has banned the use of cash in all transactions involving secondhand goods. State representative Ricky Hardy, a co-author of the bill, claims that the bill targets criminals who traffic in stolen goods. According to Hardy, ''It's a mechanism to be used so the police department has something to go on and have a lead.'' The bill prohibits cash transactions by "secondhand dealers," defined to include garage sales, flea markets, resellers of specialty items, and even non-profit resellers like Goodwill. Curiously, it specifically exempts pawnbrokers from the ban. But of course, pawn shops--and not rented stalls at local church flea markets--are notorious as places that criminals frequent to convert stolen goods into quick cash. So what gives? Are the authors of the bill and those who voted for it ignoramuses--or are they deliberately obscuring the real purpose of the bill?
The answer is clear once we examine the other provisions of the bill. In fact, the bill goes far beyond banning cash transactions. As lawyer Thad Ackel notes, the bill requires:
. . . secondhand dealers to turn over a valuable business asset, namely, their business' proprietary client information. For every transaction a secondhand dealer must obtain the seller's personal information such as their name, address, driver's license number and the license plate number of the vehicle in which the goods were delivered. They must also make a detailed description of the item(s) purchased and submit this with the personal identification information of every transaction to the local policing authorities through electronic daily reports. If a seller cannot or refuses to produce to the secondhand dealer any of the required forms of identification, the secondhand dealer is prohibited from completing the transaction.
So the aim of the bill is not to aid law enforcement in apprehending criminals, none of whom would be ever stupid enough to turn over such information. The real intent is to feed government's insatiable hunger for tax revenues by completely stripping law-abiding citizens of financial privacy in secondhand transactions, every detail of which is fed directly into police files.
This troubling development in Louisiana parallels the intensification of the war on cash by the Federal government. Last month it was reported that the U.S. Justice Department ordered bank employees to snitch to the cops on customers who withdrew $5,000 or more. In a speech, assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell exhorted banks to ''alert law enforcement authorities about the problem'' so that police can ''seize the funds'' or at least ''initiate an investigation''.
Citi Economist Says It Might Be Time to Abolish Cash - Bloomberg Business
Sat, 11 Apr 2015 20:13
The world's central banks have a problem.
When economic conditions worsen, they react by reducing interest rates in order to stimulate the economy. But, as has happened across the world in recent years, there comes a point where those central banks run out of room to cut '-- they can bring interest rates to zero, but reducing them further below that is fraught with problems, the biggest of which is cash in the economy.
In a new piece, Citi's Willem Buiter looks at this problem, which is known as the effective lower bound (ELB) on nominal interest rates.
Fundamentally, the ELB problem comes down to cash. According to Buiter, the ELB only exists at all due to the existence of cash, which is a bearer instrument that pays zero nominal rates. Why have your money on deposit at a negative rate that reduces your wealth when you can have it in cash and suffer no reduction?
Cash therefore gives people an easy and effective way of avoiding negative nominal rates.
Buiter's note suggests three ways to address this problem:
Abolish currency.
Tax currency.
Remove the fixed exchange rate between currency and central bank reserves/deposits.
Yes, Buiter's solution to cash's ability to allow people to avoid negative deposit rates is to abolish cash altogether. (Note that he's far from being the first to float this idea. Ken Rogoff has given his endorsement to the idea as well, as have others.)
Before looking at the practicalities of abolishing currency, we should first look at whether it could ever be necessary. Due to the costs of holding large amounts of cash, Buiter puts the actual nominal rate at which the move to cash makes sense as closer to -100bp. So, in order for a cash abolition to become necessary, central banks would need to be in a position where they wished to set nominal rates much lower than that.
Buiter does not have to go far to find an example of where a central bank may have wanted to set interest rates much lower to -100bp. He uses (a fairly aggressive) Taylor Rule to show that Federal Reserve rates should have been as low as -6 percent during the financial crisis.
It seems Buiter is correct: Sometimes strongly negative nominal rates are called for.
Buiter is aware that his idea may be somewhat controversial, so he goes to the effort of listing the disadvantages of abolishing cash.
Abolishing currency will constitute a noticeable change in many people's lives and change often tends to be resisted.
Currency use remains high among the poor and some older people. (Buiter suggests that keeping low-denomination cash in circulation '-- nothing larger than $5 '-- might solve this.)
Central banks and governments would lose seigniorage revenue.
Abolishing currency would inevitably be associated with a loss of privacy and create risks of excessive intrusion by the government.
Switching exclusively to electronic payments may create new security and operational risks.
Buiter dismisses each of these concerns in turn, finishing with:
In summary, we therefore conclude that the arguments against abolishing currency seem rather weak.
Whatever the strength of the arguments, the chances of an administration taking the decision to abolish cash seem vanishingly small.
WTC7
HEAD of the FBI's Anthrax Investigation Says the Whole Thing Was a SHAM Washington's Blog
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:42
Agent In Charge of Amerithrax Investigation Blows the WhistleThe FBI head agent in charge of the anthrax investigation '' Richard Lambert '' has just filed a federal whistleblower lawsuit calling the entire FBI investigation bullsh!t:
In the fall of 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, a series of anthrax mailings occurred which killed five Americans and sickened 17 others. Four anthrax-laden envelopes were recovered which were addressed to two news media outlets in New York City (the New York Post and Tom Brokaw at NBC) and two senators in Washington D.C. (Patrick Leahy and Tom Daschle). The anthrax letters addressed to New York were mailed on September 18, 2001, just seven days after the 9/11 attacks. The letters addressed to the senators were mailed 21 days later on October 9, 2001. A fifth mailing of anthrax is believed to have been directed to American Media, Inc. (AMI) in Boca Raton, Florida based upon the death of one AMI employee from anthrax poisoning and heavy spore contamination in the building.
Executive management at FBI Headquarters assigned responsibility for the anthrax investigation (code named ''AMERITHRAX'') to the Washington Field Office (WFO), dubbing it the single most important case in the FBI at that time. In October 2002, in the wake of surging media criticism, White House impatience with a seeming lack of investigative progress by WFO, and a concerned Congress that was considering revoking the FBI's charter to investigate terrorism cases, Defendant FBI Director Mueller reassigned Plaintiff from the FBI's San Diego Field Office to the Inspection Division at FBI Headquarters and placed Plaintiff in charge of the AMERITHRAX case as an ''Inspector.'' While leading the investigation for the next four years, Plaintiff's efforts to advance the case met with intransigence from WFO's executive management, apathy and error from the FBI Laboratory, politically motivated communication embargos from FBI Headquarters, and yet another preceding and equally erroneous legal opinion from Defendant Kelley '' all of which greatly obstructed and impeded the investigation.
On July 6, 2006, Plaintiff provided a whistleblower report of mismanagement to the FBI's Deputy Director pursuant to Title 5, United States Code, Section 2303. Reports of mismanagement conveyed in writing and orally included: (a) WFO's persistent understaffing of the AMERITHRAX investigation; (b) the threat of WFO's Agent in charge to retaliate if Plaintiff disclosed the understaffing to FBI Headquarters; (c) WFO's insistence on staffing the AMERITHRAX investigation principally with new Agents recently graduated from the FBI Academy resulting in an average investigative tenure of 18 months with 12 of 20 Agents assigned to the case having no prior investigative experience at all; (d) WFO's eviction of the AMERITHRAX Task Force from the WFO building in downtown Washington and its relegation to Tysons Corner, Virginia to free up space for Attorney General Ashcroft's new pornography squads; (e) FBI Director's Mueller's mandate to Plaintiff to ''compartmentalize'' the AMERITHRAX investigation by stove piping the flow of case information and walling off task force members from those aspects of the case not specifically assigned to them '' a move intended to stem the tide of anonymous media leaks by government officials regarding details of the investigation. [Lambert complained about compartmentalizing and stovepiping of the investigation in a 2006 declaration. See this, this and this]
This sequestration edict decimated morale and proved unnecessary in light of subsequent civil litigation which established that the media leaks were attributable to the United States Attorney for the District of the District of Columbia and to a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI's National Press Office, not to investigators on the AMERITHRAX Task Force; (f) WFO's diversion and transfer of two Ph.D. Microbiologist Special Agents from their key roles in the investigation to fill billets for an 18 month Arabic language training program in Israel; (g) the FBI Laboratory's deliberate concealment from the Task Force of its discovery of human DNA on the anthrax-laden envelope addressed to Senator Leahy and the Lab's initial refusal to perform comparison testing; (h) the FBI Laboratory's refusal to provide timely and adequate scientific analyses and forensic examinations in support of the investigation; (i) Defendant Kelley's erroneous and subsequently quashed legal opinion that regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) precluded the Task Force's collection of evidence in overseas venues; (j) the FBI's fingering of Bruce Ivins as the anthrax mailer; and, (k) the FBI's subsequent efforts to railroad the prosecution of Ivins in the face of daunting exculpatory evidence.
Following the announcement of its circumstantial case against Ivins, Defendants DOJ and FBI crafted an elaborate perception management campaign to bolster their assertion of Ivins' guilt. These efforts included press conferences and highly selective evidentiary presentations which were replete with material omissions. Plaintiff further objected to the FBI's ordering of Plaintiff not to speak with the staff of the CBS television news magazine 60 Minutes or investigative journalist David Willman, after both requested authorization to interview Plaintiff.
In April 2008, some of Plaintiff's foregoing whistleblower reports were profiled on the CBS television show 60 Minutes. This 60 Minutes segment was critical of FBI executive management's handling of the AMERITHRAX investigation, resulting in the agency's embarrassment and the introduction of legislative bills calling for the establishment of congressional inquiries and special commissions to examine these issues '' a level of scrutiny the FBI's Ivins attribution could not withstand.
After leaving the AMERITHRAX investigation in 2006, Plaintiff continued to publicly opine that the quantum of circumstantial evidence against Bruce Ivins was not adequate to satisfy the proof-beyond-a-reasonable doubt threshold required to secure a criminal conviction in federal court. Plaintiff continued to advocate that while Bruce Ivins may have been the anthrax mailer, there is a wealth of exculpatory evidence to the contrary which the FBI continues to conceal from Congress and the American people.
Exonerating Evidence for IvinsAgent Lambert won't publicly disclose the exculpatory evidence against Ivins. As the New York Times reports:
[Lambert] declined to be specific, saying that most of the information was protected by the Privacy Act and was unlikely to become public unless Congress carried out its own inquiry.
But there is already plenty of exculpatory evidence in the public record.
For example:
Handwriting analysis failed to link the anthrax letters to known writing samples from IvinsNo textile fibers were found in Ivins' office, residence or vehicles matching fibers found on the scotch tape used to seal the envelopesNo pens were found matching the ink used to address the envelopesSamples of his hair failed to match hair follicles found inside the Princeton, N.J., mailbox used to mail the lettersNo souvenirs of the crime, such as newspaper clippings, were found in his possession as commonly seen in serial murder casesThe FBI could not place Ivins at the crime scene with evidence, such as gas station or other receipts, at the time the letters were mailed in September and October 2001Lab records show the number of late nights Ivins put in at the lab first spiked in August 2001, weeks before the 9/11 attacksAs noted above, the FBI didn't want to test the DNA sample found on the anthrax letter to Senator Leahy. In addition, McClatchy points out:
After locking in on Ivins in 2007, the bureau stopped searching for a match to a unique genetic bacterial strain scientists had found in the anthrax that was mailed to the Post and to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, although a senior bureau official had characterized it as the hottest clue to date.
Anthrax vaccine expert Meryl Nass. M.D., notes:
The FBI's alleged motive is bogus. In 2001, Bioport's anthrax vaccine could not be (legally) relicensed due to potency failures, and its impending demise provided room for Ivins' newer anthrax vaccines to fill the gap. Ivins had nothing to do with developing Bioport's vaccine, although in addition to his duties working on newer vaccines, he was charged with assisting Bioport to get through licensure.
***
The FBI report claims the anthrax letters envelopes were sold in Frederick, Md. Later it admits that millions of indistinguishable envelopes were made, with sales in Maryland and Virginia.
***
FBI emphasizes Ivins' access to a photocopy machine, but fails to mention it was not the machine from which the notes that accompanied the spores were printed.
FBI Fudged the Science16 government labs had access to the same strain of anthrax as used in the anthrax letters.
The FBI admitted that up to 400 people had access to flask of anthrax in Dr. Ivins' lab. In other words, even if the killer anthrax came from there, 399 other people might have done it.
Moreover, even the FBI's claim that the killer anthrax came from Ivins' flask has completely fallen apart. Specifically, both the National Academy of Science and the Government Accountability Office '' both extremely prestigious, nonpartisan agencies '' found that FBI's methodology and procedures for purportedly linking the anthrax flask maintained by Dr. Ivins with the anthrax letters was sloppy, inconclusive and full of holes. They found that the alleged link wasn't very strong '... and that there was no firm link. Indeed, the National Academy of Sciences found that the anthrax mailed to Congressmen and the media could have come from a different source altogether than the flask maintained by Ivins.
Additionally, the Ft. Detrick facility '' where Ivins worked '' only handled liquid anthrax. But the killer anthrax was a hard-to-make dry powder form of anthrax. Ft. Detrick doesn't produce dry anthrax; but other government labs '' for example Dugway (in Utah) and (Batelle (in Ohio) '' do.
The anthrax in the letters was also incredibly finely ground; and the FBI's explanation for how the anthrax became so finely ground doesn't even pass the smell test.
Further, the killer anthrax in the letters had a very high-tech anti-static coating so that the anthrax sample ''floated off the glass slide and was lost'' when scientists tried to examine it. Specifically, the killer anthrax was coated with polyglass and each anthrax spore given an electrostatic charge, so that it would repel other spores and ''float''. This was very advanced bio-weapons technology to which even Ivins' bosses said he didn't have access.
Top anthrax experts like Richard Spertzel say that Ivins didn't do it. Spertzel also says that only 4 or 5 people in the entire country knew how to make anthrax of the ''quality'' used in the letters, that Spertzel was one of them, and it would have taken him a year with a full lab and a staff of helpers to do it. As such, the FBI's claim that Ivins did it alone working a few nights is ludicrous.
Moreover, the killer anthrax contained silicon '... but the anthrax in Ivins' flask did not. The FBI claimed the silicon present in the anthrax letters was absorbed from its surroundings '... but Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories completely debunked that theory. In other words, silicon was intentionally added to the killer anthrax to make it more potent. Ivins and Ft. Detrick didn't have that capability '... but other government labs did.
Similarly, Sandia National Lab found the presence of iron and tin in the killer anthrax '... but NOT in Ivins' flask of anthrax.
Sandia also found that there was a strain of bacteria in one of the anthrax letters not present in Ivins' flask. (The bacteria, iron, tin and silicon were all additives which made the anthrax in the letters more deadly.)
The Anthrax Frame UpIvins wasn't the first person framed for the anthrax attacks '...
Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country. And see this.
People don't remember now, but the ''war on terror'' and Iraq war were largely based on the claim that Saddam and Muslim extremists were behind the anthrax attacks (and see this and this)
And the anthrax letters pushed a terrified Congress into approving the Patriot Act without even reading it. Coincidentally, the only Congressmen who received anthrax letters were the ones who were likely to oppose the Patriot Act.
And '' between the bogus Al Qaeda/Iraq claims and the FBI's fingering of Ivins as the killer '' the FBI was convinced that another U.S. government scientist, Steven Hatfill, did it. The government had to pay Hatfill $4.6 million to settle his lawsuit for being falsely accused.
Ivins' Convenient DeathIt is convenient for the FBI that Ivins died.
The Wall Street Journal points out:
No autopsy was performed [on Ivins], and there was no suicide note.
Dr. Nass points out:
FBI fails to provide any discussion of why no autopsy was performed, nor why, with Ivins under 24/7 surveillance from the house next door, with even his garbage being combed through, the FBI failed to notice that he overdosed and went into a coma. Nor is there any discussion of why the FBI didn't immediately identify tylenol as the overdose substance, and notify the hospital, so that a well-known antidote for tylenol toxicity could be given (N-acetyl cysteine, or alternatively glutathione). These omissions support the suggestion that Ivins' suicide was a convenience for the FBI. It enabled them to conclude the anthrax case, in the absence of evidence that would satisfy the courts.
Indeed, one of Ivins' colleagues at Ft. Deitrich thinks he was murdered.
Whether murder or suicide, Ivins' death was very convenient for the FBI, as dead men can't easily defend themselves.
Shut Up Slave!
AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL VOTES TO BAN BBQ RESTAURANTS | Washington Weekly News
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:00
Austin City Council members debated a plan Thursday to put restrictions on smoke from barbeque restaurants.
Council member Pio Renteria asked council to amend city code and regulate the amount of smoke that comes from food trucks and restaurants within 100 feet of residential areas.
Renteria said residents complained to him that smoke coming from BBQ joints caused them to not be able to open their windows or enjoy their backyards. People living near the La Barbeque trailer in East Austin told their stories before council.
''They smoke several days a week, generally five days a week for 17 hours,'' said Bruce Hughes. ''I can no longer open windows, the smoke seeps in from the attic.''
Restaurant owners also went before council asking for flexibility, especially for places that have not faced complaints.
''My concern is that that if we have an ordinance that paints all of us into one group of folk that may not be good neighbors,'' said Hoover Alexander, board member of the Greater Austin Restaurant Association. ''We're going to be penalized without considerations of other solutions.''
Council members ultimately gave preliminary approval to the smoke restrictions, but recommended making amendments before approving up a final version of the ordinance. A final vote on the issue is not expected until this summer.
Earlier Report:
Austin barbecue lovers, new city rules could force changes to the cooking process. Smoke coming from the pits has some residents fired up. Right now, the city does not have any regulations that state how much smoke can be emitted from restaurants and mobile food venders. And because food trailer parks are moving next to neighborhoods, some residents have complained to their city council members.
Pio Renteria, who represents District 3 in East Austin, is now spearheading an amendment to the city code to require any restaurant or food truck that burns wood or charcoal, located within 100 feet of residential properties, to find a way to mitigate the smoke. He is suggesting that businesses either buy expensive smoke scrubbers or use gas-operated pits with wood chips. Renteria said other states use that method to limit the smoke.
Continue reading on KXAN.com.
Vaccine$
New study shows painkiller acetominophen (Tylenol) kills both positive and negative emotions
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 05:52
(C) Shutterstock
Painkilling drugs taken every week by almost a quarter of Americans also kill positive emotions.Acetaminophen '-- also known as Tylenol (or paracetamol outside the US) '-- kills positive emotions, a new study finds.
Studies have already shown that the painkiller blunts both physical and psychological pain.
But this is the first time anyone has thought to test the popular painkiller's effect on both negative and positive emotions.
Acetaminophen is such a popular drug that it is found in over 600 different medicines.
Geoffrey Durso, the study's lead author, said:
"This means that using Tylenol or similar products might have broader consequences than previously thought.
Rather than just being a pain reliever, acetaminophen can be seen as an all-purpose emotion reliever."
The study had half the participants take a dose of 1000 mg of acetaminophen, which is a regular amount (often taken as two 500 mg pills).The remainder were given an inactive placebo.
After waiting an hour for the drug to take effect, both groups were given the same test.
They viewed a series of photos designed to elicit various positive and negative emotions.
Dr Baldwin Way, one of the study's authors, explained the results:
"People who took acetaminophen didn't feel the same highs or lows as did the people who took placebos."
In other words, the drug blunted both positive and negative emotions.When people saw a relatively happy picture '-- like children with kittens '-- they still rated their emotional reaction near the midpoint.
People who'd taken the placebo were more emotionally affected.
Despite the changes, people who'd taken acetaminophen didn't feel they were reacting any differently.
Dr Way said:
"Most people probably aren't aware of how their emotions may be impacted when they take acetaminophen."
It is not yet known if other pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen have the same effect.The research might suggest, though, that some factors affect both our positive and negative emotions in a similar way.
It could even be, Geoffrey Durso said, that the study tapped into some difference between people in how they react to both positive and negative events:
"There is accumulating evidence that some people are more sensitive to big life events of all kinds, rather than just vulnerable to bad events."
The study is published in the journal Psychological Science (Durso et al., 2015)Comment: Studies have also shown that social support and contact is a most effective pain reliever:"For some, social exclusion is an inescapable and frequent experience," the authors conclude in a 2010 issue ofPsychological Science. "Our findings suggest that an over-the-counter painkiller normally used to relieve physical aches and pains can also at least temporarily mitigate social-pain-related distress."
The effect breaks both ways. In another report from Psychological Science, published in 2009, a research group led by Sarah Master of University of California, Los Angeles, found that social support could relieve the intensity of physical pain - and that the supportive person didn't even have to be present for the soothing to occur.
Master and colleagues recruited 25 women who'd been in relationships for at least six months and brought them into the lab with their romantic partner. They determined each woman's pain threshold, then subjected her to a series of six-second heat stimulations. Half of the stimulations were given at the threshold pain level, half were given one degree (Celsius) higher.
Meanwhile the woman took part in a series of tasks to measure which had a mitigating effect on the pain. Some involved direct contact (holding the partner's hand, a stranger's hand, or an object) while others involved visual contact (viewing the partner's photo, a stranger's photo, or an object). In the end, contact involving a romantic partner - both direct and visual alike - led to significantly lower pain ratings compared to the other tasks. In fact, looking at a partner's picture led to slightly lower pain ratings than actually holding his hand.
At least for all the hurt love causes, it has an equally powerful ability to heal."
Why love literally hurts
Dog Flu Sweeping Through Chicago - mammalian adaptation
Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:06
Donna Spector, DVM, DACVIM, is The Expert Vet on this show for dog and cat owners and other veterinarians who need help with complicated medical conditions and nutrition issues. The show offers detailed explanations of medical conditions and Dr. Donna's opinion about chronic, complicated or unusual problems, advice about pain management, cancer diagnosis and treatment, and even how to avoid unnecessary vaccinations. Dr. Donna Spector is a board-certified Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist who is also an active member of the Association of Holistic Veterinarians, knowledgeable about traditional Western medicine as well as alternative therapies and points of view. Dr. Donna is widely recognized for her role as consulting veterinarian to Halo, Purely for Pets '-- her TV appearances with Ellen DeGeneres '-- and her widely-quoted dog and cat health advice in print and on radio. Dr. Donna's veterinary consulting service, www.SpectorDVM.com enables her to work with pet owners and their primary veterinarian, through telephone and email communication and transference of medical records, to help determine the most effective diagnosis and treatment plans.
Hosted by Tracie Hotchner, Dr. Donna Spector
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National Adult Immunization Plan: The Obama administration's devious plot to mandate vaccines -- Health & Wellness -- Sott.net
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 04:42
In collaboration with Big Business and special interests, the Obama administration's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is plotting a new program to track Americans' vaccination records, wage a massive propaganda campaign to "encourage" more inoculations, and foist more controversial vaccines on adults against their will. Federal bureaucrats and crony capitalists set to profit from the proposal claim the goal is to improve "public health," and establishment media outlets have largely parroted that line so far. However, critics of the unconstitutional scheme, formally dubbed the "National Adult Immunization Plan" (NAIP), say the ultimate goal is to forcibly vaccinate all Americans and move toward a radical new healthcare paradigm in which medical "treatment" is delivered at gunpoint.The controversial plot was cooked up and unveiled by the Obama HHS National Vaccine Advisory Committee during its February meeting. If approved by federal bureaucrats, the executive-branch assault would, among other elements, enlist private businesses, churches, and non-profit organizations in a nationwide campaign to prod Americans into accepting the Obama administration's perpetually expanding list of "recommended" vaccines. The scheme would also offer doctors and other vaccine providers "incentives" '-- read taxpayer-funded bribes '-- to shred patient privacy and feed private medical information into state and federal databases to track those who refuse to comply.
The summary of the "five-year national plan," as official documents describe it, deliberately uses innocent-sounding language to promote the effort. "The NAIP is intended to facilitate coordinated action by federal and nonfederal partners to protect public health and achieve optimal prevention of infectious diseases and their consequences through vaccination of adults," it states, adding that ObamaCare implementation offers a "unique opportunity" to be used as leverage. "As a national plan, it will require engagement from a wide range of stakeholders to achieve its full vision." Those stakeholders include just about everybody except the target: You. As always with "national plans" dreamed up by Big Government and Big Business, though, the devil is really in the details.
Critics and medical professionals are already up in arms. After summarizing the growing torrent of recent Obama administration assaults on liberty, Dr. Lee Hieb, an orthopedic surgeon and past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said the NAIP scheme was an especially troubling attack on the liberties of Americans. Calling it "a proposal by the orchestrators of Obamacare to forcibly vaccinate all adult Americans," Hieb also ridiculed the Soviet-sounding "five-year plan" language. But the implications of the latest Obama administration attack on medical liberty and privacy are no joking matter.
"If you Americans do not stand against this, it's over," continued Dr. Hieb, author of the new book Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare. "What liberty do you have if the federal government can force you to have a medical procedure, can force you to surrender your very body to their control? Answer: none. Because there is nothing that cannot be justified on the basis of 'the good of society.' The Jewish Holocaust, the Great Leap Forward, the killing of the Kulaks, American Eugenics, Tuskegee experimentation, the cold water experiments of Birkenau, Dachau and Auschwitz, all were justified at the time by their respective leaders as for the good of society."
In the WND column, Dr. Hieb also outlined some of her scientific concerns surrounding vaccination before lambasting the participation of government-selected "stakeholders" '-- state, local, territorial, and tribal governments; healthcare providers; advocacy groups; vaccine manufacturers; academia and research organizations; payers and health plans; employers; the military; and the general public. The "real stakeholder," she said, "is you." "No one cares more about the risks versus benefits of vaccination than you do personally," Dr. Hieb concluded. "To leave it to a group, to treat you as a member of a group for medical care, is not ethical medicine. It is the stuff of jails and forced labor camps and socialist hellholes '-- and apparently American academia and bureaucrats. It is time to say no."
Other experts and advocates for medical freedom were similarly outraged by the Obama administration's adult-vaccination scheme. In a widely reprinted scathing report outlining the plan, Executive Director Theresa Wrangham with the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) urged citizens to fight back immediately. "There is no time to waste," she wrote, citing a broad array of threats stemming from the HHS vaccine plot. From unconstitutionally invading Americans' medical privacy to efforts at mandating adult vaccination and quashing informed-consent ethics in medicine, Wrangham said the plan is dangerous and must be opposed.
"The NAIP makes it clear that in the future, all American adults will be informed of the recommended adult schedule at every possible opportunity outside the healthcare provider domain," explained Wrangham at the NVIC, a non-profit organization that supports informed consent and individual liberty. "You will be encouraged to comply with the adult schedule not only by your healthcare provider, but also via community-based partnerships to ensure that you have the opportunity to roll up your sleeve at work, school, church and other community gatherings." The vaccine tracking databases being developed and already in existence, she added, "will be used to identify non-compliers."
While the NVIC supports access to vaccines for anyone who wants them, there "is a difference between awareness, access, recommendations and mandates," Wrangham continued. "In the past, these types of government vaccine use plans do not just seek to increase awareness and access but also make recommendations that foster vaccine mandates without flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief exemptions that align with the informed consent ethic."
The scheme could eventually result in de facto mandatory vaccination, too. Vaccine mandates typically come from the state level, and the NAIP, technically at least, has no legal authority to make its "recommendations" mandatory. "However, much like the recommendations made by NVAC a few years ago for healthcare workers to receive annual flu shots, these recommendations are likely to result in future de facto vaccine mandates for adults, whether through employer requirements, or actual state laws," Wrangham added, citing legislation introduced in states across the country this year to further chip away at existing exemptions '-- religious, medical, philosophical '-- for mandated childhood vaccines.
According to Wrangham, "there is little doubt that that the NVAC's latest plan will result in similar actions to force adults to use all federally recommended vaccines." In fact, as if that were not troubling enough, she also said, citing the work of Dr. Suzanne Humphries, "door-to-door efforts to make everyone comply" '-- as happened about a century ago '-- are "a real possibility again in America." The difference is that this time, Americans could be forced to receive "a lot" of vaccines rather than just one.
"The noose being tightened around the necks of our children is being thrown over the necks of adults as well," Wrangham said. "The tightening of that noose is growing daily in an attempt to strangle vaccine freedom of choice by eradicating the ethical principle of informed consent." Blasting the "one-size-fits-all" vaccine schedule promoted by authorities as "very dangerous," she noted that "the human right to protect bodily integrity and autonomy '-- the core value of the informed consent ethic '-- is at stake." The battle is not between the pro- or anti-vaccine positions, she concluded. Instead, it is about freedom, values, beliefs, and what medical risks individuals are willing to accept. Vaccination just happens to be at the forefront of the battle.
Supporters of the plan, meanwhile, have rallied numerous establishment media outlets to their cause. Last month, for example, the Wall Street Journal ran an article that sounded almost like a press release issued by Obama's HHS. "It's Time for Grown-Ups to Get Their Shots," reads the headline. The subtitle: "Adults have their own vaccination needs, but they've often been neglected. Now doctors are trying to correct that." Those doctors, of course, are working in the federal bureaucracy or in crony companies, and their NAIP plot would, among other schemes, provide federal "incentives" to doctors that push more vaccines on patients. Numerous Big Business and special-interest "stakeholders" set to reap massive, risk-free profits from the federal scheming have also been touting it.
In addition to being a brazen assault on individual liberty, privacy, medical ethics, and the U.S. Constitution, the radical plan also represents the very essence of crony capitalism. The federal government, using non-existent "executive authorities," is essentially seizing taxpayer funds from citizens to act as a coercive marketing and propaganda agency for hugely profitable Big Pharma companies and vaccine pushers. Adding insult to injury, those same crony capitalists successfully lobbied the federal government to shield them from liability when their products kill and injure consumers '-- making taxpayers bear the billions of dollars in costs for damages.
Various opponents of the ObamaVaccines plot for adults were urging concerned Americans to submit "public comments" to the federal bureaucrats at HHS begging them not to impose it. The public comment period ended last month, and bureaucrats will meet again in June to "finalize" their plans. A much better solution, though, would be for Congress to defund and abolish all unconstitutional agencies, bureaucracies, departments, and programs. If members of Congress would follow their oath of office, the NAIP and countless other totalitarian-minded schemes would never have even been dreamt up. Americans must stop trying to fight each individual executive-branch assault on liberty and instead go straight to the source: anti-constitutional congressional funding for all the madness.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more.He can be reached at [email protected].Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.
Swearing is emotional and creative language say researchers who claim it is GOOD for you | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 17:27
Theory presented to British Psychological Society conference in BirminghamParticipants played aggressive video game and held ice-cold glass of waterDr Richard Stephens of Keele University added it explains why we swear'We want to use more taboo words when we're emotional', he saidBy Dan Bloom
Published: 09:55 EST, 11 May 2014 | Updated: 04:56 EST, 12 May 2014
Scroll down for an audio interview
Swearing is a harmless emotional release which could make you feel stronger, researchers have claimed - though only in moderation.
Participants were made to play aggressive computer games and could recall a wider variety of swear words after their session, as well as turning the air blue much more often.
Rather than just proving we swear more when we're angry, the psychologists insisted, the study showed profanity can be an emotional coping mechanism which makes us feel more resilient.
Letting off steam: Swearing could be a harmless emotional release, at least in moderation, researchers claim
And it showed the reasons for swearing were far more complicated than simple rudeness, they said.
The psychologists at Keele University in Staffordshire have spent several years trying to understand why we swear and what it does to our brains.
They presented the findings of their latest study to the British Psychological Society's annual conference this week.
TURNING THE NET BLUE: TOP 10 UK SWEAR WORDS ON FACEBOOK1. F***
2. S***
3. Bloody
4. P***
5. B****
6. Crap
7. C***
8. C***
9. Damn
10. D***
Source:Slate
In the video game study, they said, participants were asked to recall as many profanities as they could before and after playing.
Beforehand they could only recall an average of seven, but afterwards the total rose to eight.
Senior lecturer Dr Richard Stephens said: 'The video games made people feel more aggressive so their language became more emotional and they swore. This explains swearing and makes it more acceptable.
'We want to use more taboo words when we are emotional. We grow up learning what these words are and using these words while we are emotional can help us to feel stronger.
'Some words are more taboo than others - but the effects can be greater, the stronger the word.'
Speaking before the gathering of top psychologists, Dr Stephens also mentioned a previous study by his team which showed swearing made us feel less pain.
Participants were handed a glass of water filled with ice, and split into two groups - one told to swear and another told to keep quiet.
Intelligent: Dr Stephens said the average profile of a swearer is often sophisticated, like that of the spin doctor Malcolm Tucker (played by Peter Capaldi) in TV political satire The Thick of It
The group allowed to swear held the ice-cold glass for longer, they discovered.
Dr Stephens' interest in swearing began after he heard his wife cursing while she was in labour with their second daughter.
He has also studied research which he says debunks the theory that swearing is the language of the ignorant.
Instead, he said, the highly intelligent but foul-mouthed spin doctor Malcolm Tucker in political satire The Thick of It could be more accurate.
'The stereotype is that those who swear have a low IQ or are inarticulate is wrong. It is rich emotional language,' he said.
However, he warned: 'The more often someone swears, the less effective it is.'
Not everyone agrees that swearing is a harmless creative output.
BT Sport had to abandon post-match interviews outside grounds because fans could not be relied upon not to swear following an Arsenal-Liverpool match report in February which was repeatedly interrupted by foul language.
And Vladimir Putin reportedly signed a new law this week which bans swearing in Russian plays, films and books.
Researcher explains why swearing is GOOD.
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Bird flu spreads to six more states; officials baffled
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 23:03
(C) Jeremy Bronson/Flickr
So far the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed that 23 U.S. poultry farms have been infected with the deadly H5N2 avian bird flu virus in a total of at least 7 states, including California, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Missouri, Kansas, and Arkansas bringing the number of dead dinner birds, turkeys, to over 1.2 million in total as officials race the clock to contain the outbreak.While officials maintain the massive die off, culling, of the fowl should pose little to no health threat to the general public, the loss has added to growing fears that this years poultry stock will weigh in at an all-time low. And coupled with the fact that California's extreme drought situation might affect up to 50% of America's, fruit, vegetable and nut supply within the next year or two we may soon be facing a massive food crisis.
According to reports the outbreak has baffled scientists who are scrambling to find the source which some say are water fowl, such as ducks.
So far the Hormel Foods Jennie-O Turkey Store, a bird farm of 310,000, located in Minnesota, was the most heavily impacted by the virus dwindling the states $600 million turkey business. In total, Hormel Foods has recently lost over 600,000 fowl to the outbreak.
Alarmingly the Star Tribune recently reported how "farmers are trying to seal their barns to keep the bug out". Mike Hughlett wrote:
The bug is mysterious. It's believed to originate in wild waterfowl '-- particularly ducks '-- who don't get sick from the virus but spread it through their feces or nasal droppings. Somehow the virus has infiltrated enclosed barns stuffed with thousands of turkeys.
"When you look at a map, you see a lot of turkey farms in Minnesota," said T.J. Myers, associate deputy administrator in veterinary services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "When you look at a map of Minnesota, you also see a lot of lakes."
As of now we will just have to just wait and see if the virus can be quelled by officials before the strain mutates, possibly jumping to humans.
Additional Sources:
Bird flu outbreak spreads to 3 more Midwest turkey farms '-- AP
Bird flu outbreak confirmed at 14th MN turkey farm '-- KARE 11
Bird flu confirmed at North Dakota turkey farm, 4 more in Minnesota '-- Fox News
Minnesota turkey farmers could take devastating financial hit because of bird flu '-- Star Tribune
War on anti-vaxxers: Australian government removes conscientious objection provision, denies subsidies and family tax benefits
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 01:38
(C) Shutterstock
Australians who refuse to vaccinate their children will no longer receive child care subsidies and family tax benefits, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Sunday.The widely anticipated government crackdown comes as Australia sees an increase in the number of so-called vaccine objectors.
"The choice made by families not to immunise their children is not supported by public policy or medical research nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of child care payments," Abbott said.
The government will on January 1 remove a "conscientious objection" provision and permit exemptions only on strict medical or religious grounds, he said.
Parents who cite religion would have to be affiliated with a religious group with a registered objection approved by the government.
The rules would also be amended to require benefit applicants to show that children of all ages have been immunised, Abbott said.
Parents who vaccinate should have confidence that their children will not be at risk of contracting potentially life-threatening illness because of the objections of others.
About 97% of benefit recipients meet current immunisation requirements.
"However more than 39 000 children aged under seven are not vaccinated because their parents are vaccine objectors. This is an increase of more than 24 000 children over 10 years," Abbott said.
Recent outbreaks of measles, whooping cough and other diseases that are preventable through immunisation in various parts of the world have fuelled the vaccination debate.The anti-vaccination lobby links childhood immunisation to conditions such as autism.US anti-vaccination activist Sheri Tenpenny cancelled a series of seminars in Australia in January over what she said on Facebook were threats from "pro-vaccine extremists".
On Wednesday, regulators revoked the license of a local charity that reportedly helped organise Tenpenny's visit, for promoting an unproven theory related to sudden infant death syndrome.
IBM teams with Apple on artificial intelligence health program - Yahoo News
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 00:35
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Parents who refuse to vaccinate children to be denied childcare rebates | Society | The Guardian
Sun, 12 Apr 2015 13:59
A one-year-old is administered with a vaccination '' the government will now close a loophole that allowed parents who refused to vaccinate children to still receive welfare payments. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian
The Abbott government will tighten vaccination rules to ensure that people who refuse to immunise their children are stripped of family and childcare payments worth thousands of dollars a year.
The prime minister, Tony Abbott, said people would no longer be able to claim a ''conscientious objection'' to vaccination and still receive the childcare benefit, childcare rebate and the Family Tax Benefit part A end-of-year supplement.
The childcare benefit is currently set at $205 a week or close to $10,000 a year, the childcare rebate is worth up to $7,500 a year, and the Family Tax Benefit A annual supplement is $726. But the structure of childcare subsidies is complex and the total amounts vary based on family circumstances.
The policy, to take effect early next year, will continue to leave open exemptions on medical or religious grounds.
But the social services minister, Scott Morrison, said the new policy represented ''a very significant narrowing'' of the exemptions. A religion's governing body would have to formally register its objection with the government, which would have to approve it.
''There are no mainstream religions who have such objections registered,'' Morrison said. ''Those would apply to a very very small number of people. It would be likely to be in the thousands.''
Abbott and Morrison announced the ''no jab, no pay'' policy in Sydney on Sunday, saying 97% of families receiving family tax benefits met the current immunisation requirement at relevant age points.
''However more than 39,000 children aged under seven are not vaccinated because their parents are vaccine objectors. This is an increase of more than 24,000 children over 10 years,'' Abbott and Morrison said in a statement.
''The government is extremely concerned at the risk this poses to other young children and the broader community.
''The choice made by families not to immunise their children is not supported by public policy or medical research nor should such action be supported by taxpayers in the form of child care payments.''
Morrison urged parents to listen to ''the overwhelming advice'' of health professionals that ''it's the smart thing and the right thing to do to immunise your children''.
''If they're not going to do that, then the taxpayers are not going to subsidise that choice for them,'' Morrison said.
Abbott declined to say how much the policy might save the budget. ''This isn't a savings measure; this is a public health measure.''
The prime minister said he believed the policy should have bipartisan support but he did not take anything for granted.
The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, who has previously expressed support for the government taking a tougher stance, said on Sunday that Labor would work with the Coalition to increase immunisation rates.
''Labor understands that there are a small number of people who have deeply-held religious convictions, but other than that, Labor sees no case at all for parents not to be encouraged to immunise their children,'' Shorten said.
''What I don't accept is people just claiming some sort of loose, undefined conscientious objection and using that as an excuse not to do the right thing by their children.''
Shorten said political leaders should work with the childcare sector to ensure vulnerable children were not inadvertently excluded from early education and care as a result of the policy.
The president of the Australian Medical Association, Brian Owler, underlined the importance of people talking to their general practitioner as a credible source of information about vaccination.
Owler said the AMA had not originally supported revoking payments because it was worried about children being alienated or punished for the decisions of their parents. He said the policy would not eliminate the need for other initiatives to increase vaccination rates.
''You have parents coming through all the time,'' Owler said. ''You have to keep going with the education, the right messaging, to the media and the public to get parents to the right sources of information and to call out the anti-vax lobby for what it is: essentially scaremongering conspiracy theorists and peddling a load of rubbish and endangering lives doing it.''
The government is considering other elements of the Productivity Commission report '' including an overhaul of childcare subsidies '' as part of the ''families package'' to form part of the budget next month.
Six Payment Opportunities You May Have Overlooked - Family Practice Management
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 16:56
Letting reimbursable services go unbilled is something few family physicians can afford, yet we all do it. In some cases we decide that documenting and coding for a particular service is more trouble than it's worth, or we may simply misunderstand the billing requirements. But as our profit margins grow ever narrower, it's especially foolish to leave money on the table.
Determination and disciplined coding and documentation can make a noticeable difference in your revenue. This article focuses on six types of services you may already be providing but not getting paid for. Here's what you need to know to start getting paid more today.
1. Tobacco cessation counselingMedicare Part B has covered smoking and tobacco cessation counseling for more than three years, but some physicians have yet to catch on to this billing opportunity. Medicare provides coverage for patients who use tobacco and have ''a disease or an adverse health effect that has been found by the U.S. Surgeon General to be linked to tobacco use, or patients who are taking a therapeutic agent whose metabolism or dosing is affected by tobacco use.''1 Medicare will pay for two quit attempts per year. Each can include up to four intermediate or intensive sessions.
Three minutes or less of counseling for smoking and tobacco cessation is considered by Medicare to be included in reimbursement for the standard evaluation and management (E/M) office visit. When billing for more than three minutes of smoking and tobacco cessation counseling, you may use the following codes:
99406: Smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling visit; intermediate, greater than 3 minutes up to 10 minutes.
99407: Smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling visit; intensive, greater than 10 minutes.
Medicare's national average payment rate for 99406 is $12.19; the average rate for 99407 is $23.99. (See below for a summary of payments for these and other services described in this article.)
Medicare claims for smoking and tobacco cessation counseling must be submitted with diagnosis codes that reflect the patient's condition or therapeutic agent affected by the use of tobacco. Medicare will accept the following diagnoses for this purpose:
Vascular disease, including coronary artery disease, hypertension, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, aortic aneurysm, peripheral vascular disease and cerebrovascular accident;
Lung disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, upper respiratory infection, asthma and pneumonia;
Pregnancy complications, including low birth weight, premature birth, abruption, previa, infertility, premature rupture of membranes and preeclampsia;
Cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, lung, esophagus, blood, bone marrow, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder or cervix;
Cataracts;
Peptic ulcer disease;
Gum disease and tooth loss;
Osteoporosis and related hip fractures;
Conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, depression and deep vein thrombosis/pulmonary embolism, whose therapeutic agents are affected by tobacco.
Be sure to document the appropriate diagnosis codes in your note for the encounter along with the amount of time spent on tobacco cessation counseling, some details of the counseling and the context in which it was provided.
These services will almost always be provided in the context of a problem-oriented E/M visit on the same day. In addition to including 99406 or 99407, your claim should include the appropriate code in the 99201 to 99215 range with modifier 25 attached to show that the E/M service is significant and separately identifiable from the tobacco cessation counseling.
If tobacco cessation counseling was the main purpose of the visit, you should bill an office visit code based on time, since CPT rules allow for time-based coding when counseling or coordination of care is the predominant focus of the visit.
See ''An Update on Tobacco Cessation Reimbursement,'' FPM, May 2006, for more information about payments from private payers; unfortunately, many payers do not allow this service to be separately billed. Also, the January/February issue of FPM will feature an overview of Medicare's preventive service policies, along with a tool for keeping track of what's covered.
A BOOST TO YOUR BOTTOM LINEPayments for the services described in this article are sizable enough to make it worthwhile to learn the rules and bill for them.
View/Print Table
HCPCS or CPT codeBrief code descriptorAverage payment99406
Smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling visit; intermediate, greater than 3 minutes up to 10 minutes
$12.19
99407
Smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling visit; intensive, greater than 10 minutes
$23.99
G0101
Cervical or vaginal cancer screening; pelvic and clinical breast examination
$35.04
Q0091
Screening Pap smear; obtaining, preparing and conveyance of cervical or vaginal smear to laboratory
$40.37
G0102
Prostate cancer screening; digital rectal exam
$19.81
G0103
Prostate cancer screening; prostate specific antigen test
$25.70
G0180
Physician certification for Medicare-covered home health services sunder a home health plan of care (patient not present)
$58.27
G0179
Physician recertification for Medicare-covered home health services under a home health plan of care (patient not present)
$44.56
G0181
Physician supervision of a patient receiving Medicare-covered services provided by a participating home health agency (patient not present)
$103.98
G0182
Physician supervision of a patient under Medicare-approved hospice (patient not present)
$107.79
99356
Prolonged physician service in the inpatient setting, requiring direct (face-to-face) patient contact beyond the usual service, 30 minutes to one hour (list separately in addition to code for inpatient E/M service)
$81.51
99357
Each additional 30 minutes of prolonged service (list separately in addition to code for prolonged physician service)
$81.89
HCPCS or CPT codeBrief code descriptorAverage payment99406
Smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling visit; intermediate, greater than 3 minutes up to 10 minutes
$12.19
99407
Smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling visit; intensive, greater than 10 minutes
$23.99
G0101
Cervical or vaginal cancer screening; pelvic and clinical breast examination
$35.04
Q0091
Screening Pap smear; obtaining, preparing and conveyance of cervical or vaginal smear to laboratory
$40.37
G0102
Prostate cancer screening; digital rectal exam
$19.81
G0103
Prostate cancer screening; prostate specific antigen test
$25.70
G0180
Physician certification for Medicare-covered home health services sunder a home health plan of care (patient not present)
$58.27
G0179
Physician recertification for Medicare-covered home health services under a home health plan of care (patient not present)
$44.56
G0181
Physician supervision of a patient receiving Medicare-covered services provided by a participating home health agency (patient not present)
$103.98
G0182
Physician supervision of a patient under Medicare-approved hospice (patient not present)
$107.79
99356
Prolonged physician service in the inpatient setting, requiring direct (face-to-face) patient contact beyond the usual service, 30 minutes to one hour (list separately in addition to code for inpatient E/M service)
$81.51
99357
Each additional 30 minutes of prolonged service (list separately in addition to code for prolonged physician service)
$81.89
2. Home health certificationPrimary care physicians usually do not get paid for the non-face-to-face care we provide, so we have to make the most of the few bill-able codes that actually compensate us for this work. HCPCS codes G0180 and G0179, which represent home health certification and recertification, are two such examples. Both are reimbursed by Medicare. (Care plan oversight codes are also in this category and will be discussed later in the article.)
The covered service is reviewing and signing the CMS 485 (formerly HCFA 485) form once every 60 days. Everything else done for the home health patient during this period is covered by the care plan oversight codes. For certification, payment is comparable to what Medicare pays for a level-III visit. For recertification, payment is less, but still more than for a level-II visit.
The certification code, G0180, is reimbursable if the patient has not received Medicare-covered home health services for at least 60 days. The service includes the following:
Review of initial or subsequent reports of patient status,
Review of the patient's responses to the Oasis assessment instrument,
Contact with the home health agency to ascertain the initial implementation plan of care,
Documentation in the patient's record.
The recertification code, G0179, may be submitted when the physician signs a subsequent CMS certification form after a patient has received services for at least 60 days. Code G0179 may be reported only once every 60 days, except in the rare situation when a patient starts a new episode before 60 days elapse and requires a new plan of care.
It takes a systematic effort to make sure you capture the documentation necessary to bill for these codes. In my practice, every time we receive a CMS 485 form in the mail for one of my patients, my nurse prints a charge sheet and attaches it to the form before forwarding it to me. I review and sign the form. If there are no changes in the care plan, I document using a standard template: ''CMS form, care plan and patient's chart reviewed. Probs, meds and treatments remain accurate. Care plan is approved. Recertify every 60 days as needed.'' If there have been significant changes to the care plan, I mention them in the note. In most years, payment resulting from my claims for recertification alone adds up to several thousand dollars in revenue.
For more information about getting paid for home health certification and recertification, see ''An Update on Certifying Home Health Care,'' FPM, May 2001.
3. Home health and hospice care plan oversightCare plan oversight (CPO) for home health and hospice patients is another non-face-to-face service you can bill and be reimbursed for by Medicare. Physicians often provide this service but do not bill for it because the rules are complicated. However, the payment rates ($103.98 for G0181, home health CPO, and $107.79 for G0182, hospice CPO, on average) make it worthwhile to learn the rules, document your time and bill for these services.
Patients are eligible to receive CPO services if they require complex treatment, are being cared for by multidisciplinary teams and are under the care of a Medicare-approved home health agency or hospice. CPO services must be personally furnished by a physician or non-physician practitioner and must total at least 30 minutes in a calendar month.
The following work qualifies as CPO:
Reviewing charts, reports and treatment plans;
Reviewing diagnostic studies if the review is not part of an E/M service;
Talking on the phone with other health care professionals who are not employees of the practice and are involved in the patient's care;
Conducting team conferences;
Discussing drug treatment and interactions (not routine prescription renewals) with a pharmacist;
Coordinating care if physician or non-physician practitioner time is required;
Making and implementing changes to the treatment plan.
The following work does not count as CPO:
Telephone calls to the patient or family;
Time spent phoning in prescriptions;
Informal consultations with health care professionals;
Services initiated as part of other E/M services;
Services to any patients in nursing facilities or skilled nursing facilities;
Activities related to certification/recertification, i.e., signing the CMS 485 form.
I've tried various ways of capturing the time I spend on CPO services. A system that works for many physicians is to maintain a list of the names of patients for whom home health or hospice services are provided each month. (This list reminds the nurse which charts to pull at the end of the month when it's time to submit claims.) They keep a log in each patient's chart on which they document the date, a brief description of the CPO services and the minutes spent providing them.
At the end of the month, the nurse pulls the charts and adds up the time. Another system is to keep copies of each lab report, message or other documentation involving CPO services. Note on each the CPO purpose and time spent in the activity, then file them alphabetically. At the end of the month, sort them by name and add up the time.
If the CPO services for an individual patient add up to at least 30 minutes for the calendar month, bill for them using the start and end dates of the month as the service dates and the provider number of the home health agency/hospice as required on the form.
The CPT manual defines CPO using six CPT codes, 99374 through 99380. Check with your private payers to find out whether they pay for these services; many don't.
For more information about care plan oversight coding, see ''How to Document and Bill Care Plan Oversight,'' FPM, May 2005.
4. Medicare pelvic examsAlthough Medicare does not pay for physicals, it does cover one screening pelvic and clinical breast exam for all female beneficiaries every two years. Whether you provide the pelvic exam in the context of treating a patient's acute problem or along with a comprehensive review of her chronic condition, you should report HCPCS code G0101 for the pelvic exam, Q0091 for the collection of the Pap smear specimen, and the appropriate CPT code for the E/M service with modifier 25 attached. The Medicare deductible does not apply to this service.
One of the following diagnosis codes should be linked with the HCPCS codes, as appropriate:
V72.31, General gynecological exam with or without Pap smear;
V76.2, Special screening for malignant neoplasms, cervix;
V76.47, Special screening for malignant neoplasms, vagina;
V76.49, Special screening for malignant neoplasms, other sites;
V15.89, Other specified personal history presenting hazards to health (patient who is considered high risk according to Medicare's criteria).
You should also keep in mind that Medicare may pay for a screening pelvic and clinical breast exam annually if the beneficiary falls into one of the following categories:
The patient is of childbearing age and has had an exam indicating the presence of cervical or vaginal cancer or other abnormality during any of the preceding three years;
The patient is considered to be at high risk for vaginal cancer as evidenced by prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol. The patient is considered to be at high risk for cervical cancer based on any of the following:
Early onset of sexual activity (under 16 years of age),
Multiple sexual partners (five or more in a lifetime),
History of a sexually transmitted disease (including HIV),
Absence of three negative Pap smears or complete absence of Pap smears within the previous seven years.
5. Prostate cancer screeningMedicare covers an annual prostate cancer screening test for men over age 50. Such tests include digital rectal exams (DREs) and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests. The code for DREs is G0102, and the code for PSAs is G0103.
Billing and payment for a DRE, however, is bundled into the payment for a covered E/M service when the two services are furnished to a patient on the same day. If the DRE is the only service provided or is provided as part of an otherwise noncovered service, HCPCS code G0102 would be payable separately if the other coverage requirements are met. With an organized effort, your practice could establish periodic prostate screening times and bring Medicare-age men in just for this service. This would be both efficient and covered by Medicare.
Use diagnosis code V76.44 (''Special screening for malignant neoplasms, prostate'') when billing Medicare for either service. DREs are subject to the Medicare deductible; no coinsurance or deductible applies to the PSA test.
6. Prolonged services for inpatient careCPT's prolonged service codes are meant to be reported in addition to E/M codes when the time a physician spends with a patient goes at least 30 minutes beyond the typical CPT-defined time for that service.
I'm occasionally able to bill for prolonged services in the inpatient setting using codes 99356 and 99357, which are for ''prolonged physician service in the inpatient setting, requiring direct (face-to-face) patient contact beyond the usual service.'' Code 99356 is used for the first 30 minutes to an hour of service beyond the time associated with the primary code, and 99357 is used for each additional 30 minutes. The prolonged service doesn't have to be continuous, but it does have to be face to face. (See ''Time requirements for billing prolonged services in the inpatient setting,'' below.)
For example, let's say you round on a patient in the morning and provide a 99232 subsequent hospital care service. You then return in the evening and have a conference with the patient and her family. Your total time could easily equal 55 minutes '' 30 minutes more than the time CPT associates with the level-II subsequent hospital care service you provided. This meets the time threshold for billing prolonged service code 99356 in addition to 99232. If you had provided level-I subsequent hospital care service and your time totaled 45 minutes or more, you could bill 99356 and 99231.
It's important to document the required components of the E/M visit and be specific about the face-to-face time spent in prolonged service.
As with care plan oversight, you need to be systematic in your efforts to record the time you spend seeing patients at the hospital. I've gotten in the habit of timing my notes, keeping track of the start and end times of my face-to-face contact with each patient as I round.
TIME REQUIREMENTS FOR BILLING PROLONGED SERVICES IN THE INPATIENT SETTINGMedicare uses these times to determine whether prolonged service code 99356 can be billed with codes for initial and subsequent hospital care.
View/Print Table
Inpatient hospital care codesTypical time for code, per CPTThreshold time to bill code 99356Initial hospital care
99221
30
60
99222
50
80
99223
70
100
Subsequent hospital care
99231
15
45
99232
25
55
99233
35
65
Inpatient hospital care codesTypical time for code, per CPTThreshold time to bill code 99356Initial hospital care
99221
30
60
99222
50
80
99223
70
100
Subsequent hospital care
99231
15
45
99232
25
55
99233
35
65
Get paidThe range of codes described in this article and the detailed rules that underlie them may seem ridiculously complex. We could focus on how crazy the system is, or even on the inadequacy of the payment amounts and the shortsightedness of the coverage limits; these points of view are worth sharing with those in a position to bring about change. But in the daily struggle to ensure the financial viability of our practices, we can't afford opportunities.
If you're providing any of these services but not billing for them, or if you're not sure whether you're getting paid or billing correctly for them, take action today. You'll soon be glad you did.
NA-Tech News
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Growth of Ad Blocking Adds to Publishers' Worries - WSJ
Mon, 13 Apr 2015 13:45
Internet users are increasingly making use of software that blocks ads from appearing as they move around the Web. The trend is a growing concern for online publishers, many of which rely on advertising as a major source of revenue.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau addressed the issue during its annual leadership meeting in February, and now says it's a high priority for 2015.
''Ad blocking is something we're seeing increase domestically,'' said the IAB's vice president of technology and ad operations, Scott Cunningham. The main reasons users choose to block ads are for security and privacy, a general dislike of advertising and the fact that webpages often load considerably faster without ads on them, Mr. Cunningham said.
According to research by Adobe and ad blocking measurement service PageFair, approximately 5% of Internet users globally used ad blocking tools during the second quarter of 2014, up from around 3% for the same period in 2013.
That growth shows no signs of slowing, according to PageFair CEO Sean Blanchfield. He estimated that desktop adblocking will probably be up 50% from the second quarter a year ago through the end of the current quarter.
''If you factor in the emergence of mobile ad blocking, the overall growth may be much higher,'' Mr. Blanchfield said.
Individual publishers say they've spotted the same trend across their own properties. According to online publishing firm Complex Media, for example, ad blocking rates across its properties nearly doubled between 2013 and 2014, growing from 4% of users on average to more than 7.5%.
Similarly, Jim Spanfeller, CEO of online publisher Spanfeller Media Group, said his company has seen ad blocking rates increase consistently over the past two years to reach around 10% of its traffic today.
''We're trying to figure out what to do about it,'' Mr. Spanfeller said, explaining that the company has considered simply turning away users it detects are blocking ads, or at least asking them to pay for access.
''It's in a user's purview to use ad-blocking software if they want, but it's also in the right of a content site to not allow someone to access their site if they deem it appropriate,'' Mr. Spanfeller added.
Ironically, ad-blocking software potentially hurts publishers more than it does the advertisers users are attempting to avoid. Marketers say it's probably best their ads aren't displayed to users that strongly dislike them. But for publishers that are dependent on ad revenue, they end up effectively giving their content away for free to ad-blocking users.
''It's the websites that ad-block users most love that are going out of business first. This is to no one's benefit. For example, many games-related websites currently face about 50% revenue loss due to adblocking,'' PageFair's Mr. Blanchfield said.
According to Tom Pittlik, founder of gaming network GameBanana.net, around a quarter of his pages are served to users with ad-blocking software. ''I definitely think it affects revenue for publishers with niche audiences,'' he said.
Yet other publishers say they've spotted the phenomenon and remain relatively unconcerned by it. Some even argue that users who feel the need to block advertising probably aren't receptive to advertising, anyway.
''We are, like all publishers, watching closely. But thus far ad blockers aren't impacting our business in any significant way,'' said Pete Spande, Business Insider's chief revenue officer.
Some warn it's dangerous to dismiss ad blocking as a marginal issue, however. While 5% of traffic might seem relatively insignificant in isolation, ad blocking is just one of many new challenges publishers are currently facing. Advertisers are increasingly asking publishers to guarantee that their ads are ''viewable,'' for example, which is also putting pressure on their ad businesses.
''Ad blocking definitely is something to keep an eye on. When you combine ad blocking with viewability pressures and downward pricing pressure from programmatic advertising, it all starts to add up,'' said Complex Media CEO Rich Antoniello. ''You have to think about all of those issues combined.''
Mr. Antoniello says his company will be less exposed to ad blocking than others, as it shifts its focus to selling advertisers sponsored articles and videos as opposed to banner ads.
Nick Denton, CEO of Gawker Media, expressed similar views.
''We have a highly tech-savvy audience, especially on sites like Lifehacker. So ad-blocking software has always been an issue. But we think it's less salient than it was because of the growth of sponsored video and posts, which are integrated with the main stream,'' he said.
(News Corp's Dow Jones & Co. has a business relationship with Adobe, which is the main sponsor of CMO Today, and conducted the research mentioned above in conjunction with PageFair.)
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US takes first step towards paying artists for radio play
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 04:13
Tim Ingham musicbusinessworldwide.com 4/14/15
US Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Marsha Blackburn yesterday introduced the Fair Play, Fair Pay Act of 2015 '' which seeks to impose a performance right that would see artists and labels paid when their tracks are played on AM/FM radio.
Songwriters are currently paid when their tracks are broadcast on traditional radio, but performers are not '' setting the US apart from almost every developed nation in the world.
Confusingly, artists are paid in the country '' via SoundExchange Collections '' when their tracks are played on personalised digital radio such as Pandora, and satellite radio such as Sirius XM.
The Fair Play, Fair Pay Act of 2015 seeks to correct what its supporters consider three 'significant injustices': the establishment of a sound recording royalty for AM/FM radio, removing satellite radio's below-market-rate exemption, and treating pre-1972 recordings with the same level of respect as those made after February of 1972.
However, the Act faces a lengthy fight if it's to be enshrined in law. The next key legislative steps would be having the bill considered in the House Judiciary Committee either with a hearing on the issues or through a vote. The Senate will also need to consider the bill, but at this point it has not been introduced there yet.
The next step for the Fair Play Fair Pay lobby is grassroots mobilising and putting pressure on Congress.
However, it faces fierce opposition from the radio trade body the National Association of Broadcasters. The NAB is strongly lobbying against the FPFP act with its own 'Local Radio Freedom Act', while claiming that any measure to force radio to pay artists and labels would devastate local stations.
Music First, a collective of artist representatives who have been calling for Fair Play, Fair Pay said in a statement: ''Thanks to Reps. Nadler and Blackburn, we stand at the doorway of an incredible opportunity '' a once-in-a-generation chance to make radio work better for music creators, radio services, and, most importantly, music fans.
''It is time for Congress to update music licensing laws. AM/FM radio, satellite radio and Internet radio exist side by side in car dashboards and compete for the same listeners. But whether performers and copyright owners are paid, and how much, depends solely on what button you press or app you choose. On Internet radio, it is one rate. On satellite, it is a different, lower rate. And on AM/FM, there is no rate at all '' music creators get paid nothing. I think that we can all agree that makes no sense.
''Now, some digital services are claiming they don't have to pay for pre-72 recordings. Several court decisions have already dismissed this absurd claim.
''The solution: all radio services should pay under the same 'fair market value' royalty standard for all of the music they play. Like everyone else who works, creates, or innovates, music creators deserve fair pay for their work.
''It's a question of basic economic fairness, but it is also a matter of fair competition between music services. No more special privileges for old technologies. No more giveaways. No more special interest exemptions and subsidies. No more picking winners and losers among radio platforms. Let the best services win '' fair and square, on the depth of their playlists and the quality of their products.
''Fair market value for music will encourage creativity by music creators. It will promote innovation among music services. And '' most importantly '' it will give fans the best music they have ever heard '' delivered in the most exciting ways they could ever imagine.''
And Michael Huppe, president and chief executive officer of SoundExchange said: ''For decades, music services have gotten away with building their business on the backs of hard working musicians, paying unfair rates '-- and in the case of the $17.5 billion radio industry, paying nothing at all '-- for the music they use. The Fair Play Fair Pay Act introduced today will bring much needed reform to the music industry and addresses many of the issues that plague the recorded music industry.
''It is time that we properly pay the artists who put so much hard work into creating the music at the core of these services. If it weren't for them, these stations would be broadcasting little more than static.
''At the nexus of music and technology, SoundExchange is at the very center of the industry, representing the entire record music industry. In June 2014, we testified before Congress and laid out SoundExchange's guiding principle: all creators should receive fair pay, on all platforms and technologies, whenever their music is used. This past February, the Copyright Office put out a comprehensive report that laid out a similar principle and today we have a bipartisan coalition in Congress heeding the same call.''
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Tags: royalties, Soundexchange
This entry was posted on April 14, 2015 at 10:13 am and is filed under Financial, Radio. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
A Look Inside the Fair Play Fair Pay Act | Future of Music Coalition
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 17:30
On Monday, April 13, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN.), John Conyers Jr. (D-MI.), and Ted Deutch (D-FL.) introduced the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015'--a bill that, if passed, would accomplish a handful of things. The centerpiece of the legislation is the establishment of a public performance right for AM/FM radio. This would mean that performers and labels would be able to receive compensation for terrestrial radio airplay, a right that already exists in the rest of the developed world.
Currently, only songwriters and publishers are paid when music is ''performed'' on AM/FM radio. Stations are not legally obligated to pay a dime to recording artists and sound copyright owners (usually the label, but sometimes the artist). FMC has long supported a public performance right for terrestrial radio, and we're glad to see a new bill introduced that would close this egregious loophole in US copyright law.
As we mentioned above, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act has additional moving pieces. Below, we will take a look at what the bill does and explain how it would impact musicians and the industry in general. After all, one of the reasons you come here is to learn what's actually in a piece of proposed legislation.
The Fair Pay Fair Play Act:
Establishes a public performance right for sound recordings played on AM/FM radioThe bill amends Section 106(6) of the Copyright Act to eliminate the distinctions between different kinds of radio'--Internet, satellite or over-the-air'--with regard to who they pay. This means that an AM/FM station would have to pay artists and labels just like newer forms of radio are obliged to do. The fix is accomplished by simply striking the word ''digital'' in reference to ''digital audio'' so that it simply reads ''audio.'' That is is a welcome change, and one that we 100 percent support.
Sets additional conditions for determining ratesThe Fair Play Fair Pay Act would also establish a ''minimum fee'' to be paid by each type of service that plays music. The specific amounts are based on distinctions regarding how a service uses the music, including the ''quantity and nature'' of the use, as well as ''the degree to which use of the service may substitute for or may promote the use of phonorecords by consumers.'' Going further, the bill instructs the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to consider whether a use ''may interfere with or may enhance the sound recording copyright owner's other streams of revenue from the copyright owner's sound recordings.'' We certainly understand why this could be a factor in determining rates, but it could also be a way to single out webcasters like Pandora, whose ''stations'' are customizable to listening preference. We wonder if the language of the bill will open a can of worms about what does or doesn't constitute ''interactivity'' on a service, and what impact this might have on services yet to be introduced. That said, we think it is more reasonable for the CRB judges to make a determination than to have it frozen in statute.
The bill proposes an additional standard of evaluation that may be likewise difficult to quantify. Fair Play Fair Pay calls for the CRB to to consider ''relative roles of the copyright owner and the transmitting entity in the copyrighted work and the service made available to the public with respect to relative creative contribution, technological contribution, capital investment, cost, and risk.'' Given that both labels and services likely see themselves as making the greatest contributions and carrying the most risk, it could further complicate how CRB judges make determinations.
Allows for a range of evidence to be consideredThe bill would permit the CRB judges to consider rates and terms from comparable audio services along with voluntary license agreements (aka direct deals). There's no additional specificity about what evidence is permissible or prohibited. But in general, this seems to be an attempt at establishing greater parity in rate-setting for different categories of service. And that's a worthy goal.
Places all non-interactive services under the same standardRemember the Internet Radio Fairness Act, which would have moved webcasters from a willing seller, willing buyer standard to that paid by satellite radio? This is essentially the reverse of that. Specifically'--and here's where your eyes glaze over'--the bill would eliminate any connection between 801(b) and 114(f)(1)(B) for the purposes of rate-setting. This would seem to indicate that that Sirius/XM and non-interactive cable audio transmissions (like those weird stations at the high end of your cable dial that pay music but not videos) would pay under the same standard as Pandora. (Keep in mind that 801(b) would still govern the setting of the mechanical royalty rates for musical works.)
Protects small broadcastersThe Fair Play Fair Pay Act includes important protections for small broadcasters, public broadcasters, non-commercial and college radio. This means that they wouldn't be overly burdened by the enactment of an AM/FM performance right. Small commercial stations would pay a royalty rate of $500 per year if their annual revenue amounts to less than 1,000,000. An individual, FCC-designated public broadcasting station would pay $100 per year. These limits are welcome'--after all, it's the smaller and noncommercial broadcasters who are the most adventurous in terms of playlists. We're less excited about the complete exemption for religious broadcasters, some of whom are quite large. We'd like to think that most faith traditions would support treating artists fairly. This provision falls short of such values.
Pays artists fairly, even under direct deals.This is hugely important and something that we wholeheartedly endorse. The bill would maintain the splits and direct payment (via SoundExchange) for any direct deals between a label and a service, provided that the service is otherwise eligible for the statutory license. This breaks down to: 45 percent for the featured performer (or band); 5 percent for background musicians and vocalists; and 50 percent to the sound copyright owner (again, usually the label but sometimes the artist). The bill's language, however, explicitly prohibits any additional revenue from going to the artist (at least as a matter of federal law). This means that, under a direct deal, artists will not benefit from a label's equity shares in a service, money from cash advances or non-play related income that is divvied up by market share. Fairness only goes so far in 2015.
Pays older artists for performances of their works; does NOT extend other protectionsLike the earlier RESPECT Act, this new bill would establish a public performance right for recordings made before 1972. Due to a weird loophole in the law, there is no federal copyright protection for sound recordings before February 15, 1972 (though some states do recognize a copyright in recordings). FMC wants ALL artists to be paid when their music is used, regardless of their age. However, Fair Play Fair Pay Act does not confer any of the other exclusive rights that an artist might enjoy from federal recognition of their works. This includes the ability to recapture their copyrights after a set term. This is why FMC continues to endorse'--alongside the United States Copyright Office'--the full federalization of pre-'72 sound recordings. Still, we are pleased that this ''partial fix'' would apply to any radio or radio-like service, meaning that it's platform neutral: AM/FM radio pays, satellite radio pays, cable radio pays, Internet radio pays.
No impact on musical worksPublishers are currently requesting that the government allow evidence from rate-setting around sound recordings to be admissible their own proceedings. The reason is obvious: the rates are considerably higher for recordings. This bill is silent on that request, but it does prohibit sound recording rates to be used as evidence to achieve LOWER rates for musical works licensed for public performance.
Creates a mechanism to pay performance royalties to audioworkersThe new bill essentially folds in an only slightly less-new piece of legislation, the AMP Act. The important thing to know is that both bills would offer artists an easier way to designate a portion of their performance royalties to producers and engineers if there is a ''Letter of Direction'' from the artist. Like the AMP Act, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act would also establish a protocol for assigning 2 percent of performance royalties for recordings made before 1995 provided that a reasonable attempt was made by the studio professional to obtain a Letter of Direction from the artist.
That's a lot to digest in one bill! There's a lot to love about the Fair Pay Fair Play Act, and a few areas where more could be done for creators. For now, musicians should feel good that there's forward motion on a some important matters related to their compensation. We applaud the bill's sponsors for being willing to tackle issues that have frustrated musicians and independent labels for too long. We'll be tracking.
Text - H.R.1733 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 17:26
H. R. 1733
To amend title 17, United States Code, to provide fair treatment of radio stations and artists for the use of sound recordings, and for other purposes.
To amend title 17, United States Code, to provide fair treatment of radio stations and artists for the use of sound recordings, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,SECTION 1.Short title; table of contents.(a) Short title.'--This Act may be cited as the ''Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015''.
(b) Table of contents.'--The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec.'‚1.'‚Short title; table of contents.Sec.'‚2.'‚Equitable treatment for terrestrial broadcasts and internet services.Sec.'‚3.'‚Timing of proceedings under sections 112(e) and 114(f).Sec.'‚4.'‚Ensuring platform parity.Sec.'‚5.'‚Special Protection for Small Broadcasters, Public and Educational Radio, Religious Services, and Incidental Use of Music.Sec.'‚6.'‚Distribution of certain royalties.Sec.'‚7.'‚Equitable treatment of legacy sound recordings.Sec.'‚8.'‚No harmful effects on songwriters.Sec.'‚9.'‚Allocation of Payments to Music Producers.Sec.'‚10.'‚Effective date.SEC. 2.Equitable treatment for terrestrial broadcasts and internet services.(a) Performance right applicable to transmissions generally.'--Paragraph (6) of section 106 of title 17, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
''(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of an audio transmission.''.
(b) Inclusion of terrestrial broadcasts in existing performance right and statutory license.'--Section 114(d)(1) of title 17, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking ''a digital'' and inserting ''an''; and
(2) in subparagraph (B)'--
(A) by striking clauses (i) and (iii);
(B) by redesignating clauses (ii) and (iv) as clauses (i) and (ii), respectively;
(C) in clause (i), as so redesignated, by adding ''or'' after ''retransmitter;''; and
(D) in clause (ii), as so redesignated, by striking ''retransmission, whether or not simultaneous, is a'' and inserting ''retransmission is a non-simultaneous,''.
(c) Technical and conforming amendments.'--
(1) DEFINITION.'--Section 101 of title 17, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the definition of ''architectural work'' the following:
(2) CONFORMING REMOVAL OF DIGITAL.'--Title 17, United States Code, is amended'--
(A) in section 112(e)(8), by striking ''a digital audio transmission'' and inserting ''an audio transmission''; and
(B) in section 114'--
(i) in subsection (d)'--
(I) in paragraph (2)'--
(aa) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking ''subscription digital'' and inserting ''subscription''; and
(bb) in subparagraph (C)(viii), by striking ''digital signal'' and inserting ''signal''; and
(II) in paragraph (4)'--
(aa) in subparagraph (A), by striking ''a digital audio transmission'' and inserting ''an audio transmission''; and
(bb) in subparagraph (B)(i), by striking ''a digital audio transmission'' and inserting ''an audio transmission'';
(ii) in subsection (g)(2)(A), by striking ''a digital'' and inserting ''an''; and
(iii) in subsection (j)'--
(I) in paragraph (6)'--
(aa) by striking ''digital''; and
(bb) by striking ''retransmissions of broadcast transmissions'' and inserting ''broadcast transmissions and retransmissions of broadcast transmissions''; and
(II) in paragraph (8), by striking ''subscription digital'' and inserting ''subscription''.
SEC. 3.TIMING OF PROCEEDINGS UNDER SECTIONS112(e)AND114(f).Paragraph (3) of section 804(b) of title 17, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
''(D) A proceeding under this chapter shall be commenced as soon as practicable after the date of the enactment of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015 to determine royalty rates and terms for nonsubscription broadcast transmissions, to be effective for the period beginning on such date of enactment, and ending on December 31, 2020. Any payment due under section 114(f)(1)(D) shall not be due until the due date of the first royalty payments for nonsubscription broadcast transmissions that are determined, after the date of the enactment of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act of 2015, by the Copyright Royalty Judges. Thereafter, such proceeding shall be repeated in each subsequent fifth calendar year.''.
SEC. 4.Ensuring platform parity.(a) Uniform rate standard.'--Section 114(f) of title 17, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) by striking paragraphs (1) and (2) and inserting the following:
''(1)(A) Proceedings under chapter 8 shall determine reasonable rates and terms of royalty payments for transmissions subject to statutory licensing under subsection (d)(2) during the 5-year period beginning on January 1 of the second year following the year in which the proceedings are to be commenced pursuant to subparagraph (A) or (B) of section 804(b)(3), as the case may be, or such other period as the parties may agree. The parties to each proceeding shall bear their own costs.
''(B) The schedule of reasonable rates and terms determined by the Copyright Royalty Judges shall, subject to paragraph (2), be binding on all copyright owners of sound recordings and entities performing sound recordings affected by this paragraph during the 5-year period specified in subparagraph (A), or such other period as the parties may agree. Such rates and terms shall distinguish among the different types of services then in operation and shall include a minimum fee for each such type of service, such differences to be based on criteria including the quantity and nature of the use of sound recordings and the degree to which use of the service may substitute for or may promote the purchase of phonorecords by consumers. The Copyright Royalty Judges shall establish rates and terms that most clearly represent the rates and terms that would have been negotiated in the marketplace between a willing buyer and a willing seller. In determining such rates and terms, the Copyright Royalty Judges'--
''(i) shall base their decision on economic, competitive, and programming information presented by the parties, including'--
''(I) whether use of the service may substitute for or may promote the sales of phonorecords or otherwise may interfere with or may enhance the sound recording copyright owner's other streams of revenue from the copyright owner's sound recordings; and
''(II) the relative roles of the copyright owner and the transmitting entity in the copyrighted work and the service made available to the public with respect to relative creative contribution, technological contribution, capital investment, cost, and risk; and
''(ii) may consider the rates and terms for comparable types of audio transmission services and comparable circumstances under voluntary license agreements.
''(C) The procedures under subparagraphs (A) and (B) shall also be initiated pursuant to a petition filed by any copyright owner of sound recordings or any transmitting entity indicating that a new type of service on which sound recordings are performed is or is about to become operational, for the purpose of determining reasonable terms and rates of royalty payments with respect to such new type of service for the period beginning with the inception of such new type of service and ending on the date on which the royalty rates and terms for eligible nonsubscription services and new subscription services, or preexisting services, as the case may be, most recently determined under subparagraph (A) or (B) and chapter 8 expire, or such other period as the parties may agree.''; and
(2) by redesignating paragraphs (3), (4), and (5) as paragraphs (2), (3), and (4), respectively.
(b) Technical and conforming amendments.'--
(1) SECTION 114.'--Section 114(f) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a), is further amended in paragraph (4)(C), as so redesignated, by striking ''under paragraph (4)'' and inserting ''under paragraph (3)''.
(2) SECTION 801.'--Section 801(b)(1) of title 17, United States Code, is amended by striking ''114(f)(1)(B), 115,'' and inserting ''115''.
(3) SECTION 804.'--Section 804(b)(3)(C) of title 17, United States Code, is amended'--
(A) in clause (i), by striking ''and 114(f)(2)(C)'';
(B) in clause (iii)(II), by striking ''114(f)(4)(B)(ii)'' and inserting ''114(f)(3)(B)(ii)''; and
(C) in clause (iv), by striking ''or 114(f)(2)(C), as the case may be''.
SEC. 5.Special Protection for Small Broadcasters, Public and Educational Radio, Religious Services, and Incidental Use of Music.(a) Special Protection for Small Broadcasters.'--Section 114(f)(1) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by section 4(a), is further amended by inserting at the end the following new subparagraph:
''(D)(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraphs (A) through (C), the royalty rate for nonsubscription broadcast transmissions by each individual terrestrial broadcast station licensed as such by the Federal Communications Commission that is not a public broadcasting entity as defined in section 118(f) and that has revenues in any calendar year of less than $1,000,000 shall be $500 per year for any such year. For purposes of such determination, such revenues shall include all revenues from the operation of the station, calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States. In the case of affiliated broadcast stations, revenues shall be allocated reasonably to individual stations associated with those revenues.''.
(b) Special Protection for Public Broadcasters, College Radio, and other Noncommercial Stations.'--Subparagraph (D) of section 114(f)(1) of title 17, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), is amended by inserting at the end the following new clauses:
''(ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraphs (A) through (C), the royalty rate for nonsubscription broadcast transmissions by each individual terrestrial broadcast station licensed as such by the Federal Communications Commission that is a public broadcasting entity as defined in section 118(f) shall be $100 per year.
''(iii) The royalty rates specified in clauses (i) and (ii) shall not be admissible as evidence or otherwise taken into account in determining royalty rates in a proceeding under chapter 8, or in any other administrative, judicial, or other Federal Government proceeding involving the setting or adjustment of the royalties payable for the public performance or reproduction in ephemeral phonorecords or copies of sound recordings, the determination of terms or conditions related thereto, or the establishment of notice or recordkeeping requirements.''.
(c) No Royalties for Religious Services or Incidental Uses of Music.'--Section 114(d)(1) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by section 2(b), is further amended by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting the following:
''(A) a nonsubscription broadcast transmission of'--
''(i) services at a place of worship or other religious assembly; or
''(ii) an incidental use of a sound recording of a musical work;''.
(d) Technical correction.'--Section 118(f) of title 17, United States Code, is amended by striking ''section 397 of title 47'' and inserting ''section 397 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 397)''.
SEC. 6.Distribution of certain royalties.Section 114(g) of title 17, United States Code, is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (1), by inserting ''or in the case of a transmission to which paragraph (5) applies'' after ''this section''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(5) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), to the extent that a license granted by the copyright owner of a sound recording to a transmitting entity eligible for a statutory license under subsection (d)(2) extends to such entity's transmissions otherwise licensable under a statutory license in accordance with subsection (f), such entity shall pay to the agent designated to distribute statutory licensing receipts from the licensing of transmissions in accordance with subsection (f), 50 percent of the total royalties that such entity is required, pursuant to the applicable license agreement, to pay for such transmissions otherwise licensable under a statutory license in accordance with subsection (f). That agent shall distribute such payments in proportion to the distributions provided in subparagraphs (B) through (D) of paragraph (2), and such payments shall be the sole payments to which featured and nonfeatured artists are entitled by virtue of such transmissions under the direct license with such entity.''.
SEC. 7.Equitable treatment of legacy sound recordings.(a) Payment for use of certain sound recordings.'--Section 114(f)(3) of title 17, United States Code, as so redesignated, is amended by adding at the end the following:
''(D)(i) Any person publicly performing sound recordings protected under this title by means of transmissions under a statutory license under this section, or making reproductions of such sound recordings under section 112(e), shall make royalty payments for transmissions that person makes of sound recordings that were fixed before February 15, 1972, and reproductions that person makes of those sound recordings under the circumstances described in section 112(e)(1), in the same manner as such person does for sound recordings that are protected under this title.
''(ii) If a person fails to make royalty payments described in clause (i) for sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, there shall be available, in addition to any remedy that may be available under the laws of any State, a civil action in an appropriate United States district court for recovery limited to the payments described in clause (i), in addition to interest, costs, and attorneys' fees. Any such recovery that is obtained shall be offset against any recovery for such violation that may be available under the laws of any State.
''(iii) No action may be brought under the laws of any State against a transmitting entity alleging infringement of a right equivalent to the right granted in section 106(6) based on a public performance of a sound recording fixed before February 15, 1972, or alleging infringement of a right equivalent to the right granted in section 106(1) based on a reproduction of such a sound recording, if'--
''(I) the performance would have been subject to statutory licensing under subsection (d)(2) if the sound recording had been first fixed on or after February 15, 1972;
''(II) the reproduction would have been subject to statutory licensing under section 112(e)(1) if the sound recording had been first fixed on or after February 15, 1972;
''(III) the transmitting entity has satisfied the requirements for statutory licensing under subparagraph (B) and section 112(e)(6); and
''(IV) the applicable royalty was paid and accounted for under this subparagraph.
''(iv) This subparagraph does not confer copyright protection under this title upon sound recordings that were fixed before February 15, 1972. Such sound recordings are subject to the protection available under the laws of the States, and except as provided in clause (iii), are not subject to any limitation of rights or remedies, or any defense, provided under this title.
''(v) This subparagraph shall have no effect with respect to any public performance that is made of a sound recording, or reproduction that is made of a sound recording under the circumstances described in section 112(e)(1), on or after February 15, 2067.''.
(b) Effective date.'--The amendments made by this section shall apply to performances and reproductions of sound recordings occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 8.No harmful effects on songwriters.(a) No adverse effect on license fees for underlying musical works; necessity for other licenses.'--
(1) IN GENERAL.'--Section 114(i) of title 17, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
''(i) No adverse effect on license fees for underlying musical works; necessity for other licenses.'--
''(1) NO ADVERSE EFFECT ON LICENSE FEES FOR UNDERLYING MUSICAL WORKS.'--License fees payable for the public performance of sound recordings under section 106(6) shall not be cited, taken into account, or otherwise used in any administrative, judicial, or other governmental forum or proceeding, or otherwise, to set or adjust the license fees payable to copyright owners of musical works or their representatives for the public performance of their works, for the purpose of reducing or adversely affecting such license fees. License fees payable to copyright owners for the public performance of their musical works shall not be reduced or adversely affected in any respect as a result of the rights granted by section 106(6).
''(2) NECESSITY FOR OTHER LICENSES.'--Notwithstanding the grant by an owner of copyright in a sound recording of an exclusive or nonexclusive license of the right under section 106(6) to perform the work publicly, a licensee of that sound recording may not publicly perform such sound recording unless a license has been granted for the public performance of any copyrighted musical work contained in the sound recording. Such license to publicly perform the copyrighted musical work may be granted either by a performing rights society representing the copyright owner or by the copyright owner.''.
(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.'--Section 114(d)(3)(C) of title 17, United States Code, is hereby repealed.
(b) Public performance rights and royalties.'--Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall adversely affect in any respect the public performance rights of or royalties payable to songwriters or copyright owners of musical works.
(c) Preservation of royalties on underlying works publicly performed by terrestrial broadcast stations.'--Section 114(f) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by section 4(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, under no circumstances shall the rates established by the Copyright Royalty Judges for the public performance of sound recordings be cited, taken into account, or otherwise used in any administrative, judicial, or other governmental forum or proceeding, or otherwise, to reduce or adversely affect the license fees payable to copyright owners of musical works or their representatives for the public performance of their works by terrestrial broadcast stations, and such license fees for the public performance of musical works shall be independent of license fees paid for the public performance of sound recordings.''.
SEC. 9.Allocation of Payments to Music Producers.(a) Letter of direction.'--Section 114(g) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by section 6, is further amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(6) LETTER OF DIRECTION.'--A collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges to distribute receipts from the licensing of transmissions in accordance with subsection (f) shall adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides, in circumstances determined by the collective to be appropriate, for acceptance of instructions from a payee identified in subparagraph (A) or (D) of paragraph (2) to distribute a portion of the payments to which the payee otherwise would be entitled from the licensing of transmissions of a particular sound recording to a producer, mixer, or sound engineer who was part of the creative process that created the sound recording (in this section, referred to as a 'letter of direction'). To the extent that the collective accepts a letter of direction, the person entitled to payment pursuant to such letter of direction shall, during the time such letter of direction is in effect and followed by the collective, be treated for all purposes as the owner of the right to receive such payment. This paragraph shall not be interpreted to imply that a collective cannot accept or act upon payment instructions in other circumstances.''.
(b) Additional provisions for recordings fixed before November 1, 1995.'--Section 114(g) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by subsection (a), is further amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(7) SOUND RECORDINGS FIXED BEFORE NOVEMBER 1, 1995.'--
''(A) PAYMENT ABSENT LETTER OF DIRECTION.'--A collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges to distribute receipts from the licensing of transmissions in accordance with subsection (f) shall adopt and reasonably implement a policy that provides, in circumstances determined by the collective to be appropriate, for deduction of 2 percent of the receipts from the licensing of transmissions of a sound recording fixed before November 1, 1995, from receipts otherwise payable to the recording artist or artists featured on such sound recording (or the persons conveying rights in the artists' performance in the sound recordings) pursuant to paragraph (2)(D) (which leaves the recording artist or artists featured on such sound recording (or the persons conveying rights in the artists' performance in the sound recordings) 43 percent of the total receipts paid pursuant to paragraph (2)) and distribution of such amount to one or more persons described in subparagraph (B), after deduction of costs as described in paragraph (3) or (4), as applicable, if each of the following requirements is met:
''(i) CERTIFICATION OF ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN A LETTER OF DIRECTION.'--A person described in subparagraph (B) certified to the collective, under penalty of perjury, that'--
''(I) for a period of at least 4 months, that person made reasonable efforts to contact the artist payee for such sound recording to request and obtain a letter of direction instructing the collective to pay a portion of the royalties from the featured recording artist or artists to that person; and
''(II) during the period beginning on the date that person began the reasonable efforts described in subclause (I) and ending on date of that person's certification to the collective, the artist payee did not definitively affirm or deny the request for a letter of direction.
''(ii) COLLECTIVE ATTEMPT TO CONTACT ARTIST.'--After receipt of the certification described in clause (i) and for a period of at least 4 months before the collective's first distribution to the person described in subparagraph (B), the collective attempted to notify the artist payee of the certification made by the person described in subparagraph (B) in a manner reasonably determined by the collective.
''(iii) NO OBJECTION RECEIVED.'--An objection to the distribution has not been submitted to the collective by the artist payee as of the date that is 10 business days before the date on which the first distribution is made.
''(B) ELIGIBILITY FOR PAYMENT.'--A person shall be eligible for payment under subparagraph (A) if such person'--
''(i) is a producer, mixer, or sound engineer of the relevant sound recording;
''(ii) has entered into a written contract with a record company involved in the creation or lawful exploitation of the relevant sound recording, or with the recording artist or artists featured on such sound recording (or the persons conveying rights in the artists performance in the sound recordings), pursuant to which such person is entitled to participate in royalty payments based on exploitation of the relevant sound recording that are payable from royalties otherwise payable to the recording artist or artists featured on such sound recording (or the persons conveying rights in the artists performance in the sound recordings);
''(iii) made a contribution, of a nature subject to copyright protection under section 102, to the creation of the relevant sound recording; and
''(iv) submits a written certification to the collective stating, under penalty of perjury, that such person meets the requirements in clauses (i) through (iii) and includes a true copy of the contract described in clause (ii).
''(C) MULTIPLE CERTIFICATIONS.'--Subject to subparagraph (D), in a case in which more than one person described in subparagraph (B) has met the requirements for a distribution pursuant to subparagraph (A) with respect to a sound recording as of the date that is 10 business days before the date on which a distribution is made, the collective shall divide the 2 percent distribution equally among all such persons.
''(D) OBJECTION TO PAYMENT.'--Not later than 10 days after the collective receives from the artist payee a written objection to a distribution made pursuant to subparagraph (A), the collective shall cease making any further payment related to such distribution. In any case in which the collective has made one or more distributions pursuant to subparagraph (A) to a person described in subparagraph (B) before the date that is 10 business days after the date on which the collective receives an objection by the artist payee to such distribution, the objection shall not affect that person's entitlement to any distribution made before the collective ceases such distribution pursuant to this subparagraph.
''(E) OWNERSHIP OF THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE PAYMENTS.'--To the extent that the collective determines that a distribution will be made pursuant to subparagraph (A) to a person described in subparagraph (B), such person shall during the period of such distribution be treated for all purposes as the owner of the right to receive such payments.
''(F) ARTIST PAYEE DEFINED.'--In this paragraph, the term 'artist payee' means a person, other than a person described in subparagraph (B), who owns the right to receive all or part of the receipts payable under paragraph (2)(D) with respect to a sound recording. In a case in which there are multiple artist payees with respect to a sound recording, an objection by one such payee shall apply only to that payee's share of the receipts payable under paragraph (2)(D), and does not preclude payment under subparagraph (A) from the share of an artist payee that does not object.''.
(c) Technical and conforming amendments.'--Section 114(g) of title 17, United States Code, as amended by subsections (a) and (b), is further amended'--
(1) in paragraph (2), by striking ''An agent designated'' and inserting ''Except as provided for in paragraph (7), a collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges'';
(2) in paragraph (3)'--
(A) by striking ''agent designated'' and inserting ''collective designated by the Copyright Royalty Judges''; and
(B) by striking ''agent'' and inserting ''collective'', each place it appears; and
(3) in paragraph (4), by striking ''agent'' and inserting ''collective'', each place it appears.
This Act, and the amendments made by this Act, shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act, and except as provided in the amendment made by section 3, shall apply to any proceeding that is pending on, or commenced on or after, such effective date.
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The $40bn canal project dividing Nicaragua - Al Jazeera English
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 04:20
Jos(C) Franciso Espinoza, a 43-year-old Nicaraguan farmer, scoops clay and sand from the Rio Brito to construct a wall on his farm near the canal's start point [Lindsay Fendt/Al Jazeera]
Rivas, Nicaragua - The tiny town of La Junta, located near Rivas in southwestern Nicaragua, is home to nearly 100 families, most of whom have farmed their land here for generations.
Soon that will change. The community will be swarming with construction workers, and if all goes to plan, cargo ships float over what used to be cow pastures in a few years.
La Junta will be one of the first towns demolished to make way for a 300km transoceanic canal that will bisect Nicaragua.
The project's backer, Chinese telecommunications mogul Wang Jing, expects to complete the $40bn project within five years.
Canal supporters claim that the project could lift Nicaragua - the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti - out of poverty, but opponents point to the potential for environmental and human rights abuses.
Though La Junta and nearby towns have been surveyed for construction, no one has come to tell the residents where they will go when the canal comes.
The people in La Junta say they woke up one day to a fleet of police and Chinese engineers in their backyards.
We believe in development, but we don't see how this is going to bring benefits to Nicaragua. We are a country based on the agrarian movement and this project will violate that.
Silvia Guti(C)rrez, Sandinista Renovation Movement politician
"They came and started taking measurements of everything," said Jenny Guti(C)rrez, 33, a lifetime La Junta resident. "They didn't say a word to anyone."
In the last 450 years, this is the 73rd plan to build a canal through Nicaragua. For many, the waterway's completion would fulfil a national dream.
Land expropriation
The government says that by 2018, the canal will pull 403,583 people from poverty and 353,935 people from extreme poverty, double the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and triple the employment rate.
Though the government has not cited a source for the oddly specific statistics, Nicaraguan officials maintain that the canal will bring benefits to the Central American nation.
"The canal will not pass through an area with intense agricultural activity, it will not pass through critical coffee growing or ranching zones," Telemaco Talavera, the spokesman for the Nicaraguan government's canal commission has said publicly.
"It will only affect a small part of the country and will reinvigorate the rest."
It is not only the government that backs the canal. A CID-Gallup poll from September 2014 revealed that 41 percent of Nicaraguans support the canal and 21 percent are somewhat in favour.
The majority of supporters believe the canal will help the country financially, but 55 percent of respondents admitted that they know very little about the project. Even the Sandinista government sometimes seems confused about the canal's details.
In a recent trip to Spain, Talavera implied that he was uncertain about the canal's final route after a Nicaraguan student asked him to address complaints from the 60,000 people she claimed would be displaced.
Talavera refuted her numbers, but offered few facts to assuage her concerns.
"That means someone has the route more clearly defined than we do," he said.
So far, there is no official tally of how many will be displaced by the canal. Based on the route released by the canal's development company, Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development Investment (HKND), various groups estimate that anywhere from 29,000 to upwards of 60,000 people will need to relocate.
Where these people will be sent or how they will be compensated still remains unclear.
Nicaragua's Law 840, passed in June 2013, grants HKND the right to expropriate land anywhere in Nicaragua.
The company is required to compensate residents the tax-assessed value of their land, but residents say this is usually lower than the market price.
Relocation has not been addressed, and even if residents are compensated fairly for their land, many of those in the canal zone are farmers and worry that they may have to give up their crops and livestock to live in a city.
A betrayal
"The canal isn't going to help any of the poor people at all. The benefits will all go to the rich," Jos(C) Franciso Espinoza, a 43-year-old farmer, told me as he scooped clay from the R­o Brito, near the canal's destined start point, to build a wall on his farm.
"To build yourself a home here, it is hard. To build up a farm here, it takes a lifetime."
For many of these small landowners - the poor campesinos that made up the base of support for Nicaragua's socialist president, Daniel Ortega - the Sandinista's decision to grant the canal concession was seen as a betrayal.
"Here, in the pueblo, we don't see him as the president, we see Ortega as a dictator," Jenny Guti(C)rrez told Al Jazeera.
"He's in power now and doesn't think about the poor people any more."
These sentiments have spurred continued protests throughout Nicaragua, with the most violent unrest in El Tule, on Lake Nicaragua's eastern side.
The protests come with support from Nicaragua's opposition parties, which also do not support the canal project.
"We believe in development, but we don't see how this is going to bring benefits to Nicaragua," said Silvia Guti(C)rrez, a politician with the Sandinista Renovation Movement, a party founded by Sandinista dissidents.
"We are a country based on the agrarian movement and this project will violate that." According to Guti(C)rrez, it will also violate constitutional rights of indigenous groups.
HKND has already confirmed that the canal will affect the protected Bangkukuk Rama indigenous community in Nicaragua's east.
One of the only Rama-speaking communities remaining, Bangkukuk will be fragmented and at least part of the village's people will need to relocate.
Forced relocation violates the protections given to the Rama territory in 2009, and though the group has been in near daily contact with HKND, an agreement has not been reached.
"Indigenous land has no value and cannot be sold by law so there is no requirement for the company to compensate or relocate the people," Claus Kjaerby, the Central American representative for Danish NGO Forests of the World, told Al Jazeera.
Changed forever
Aside from being protected, the Rama territory is also located in one of the most biodiverse parts of Central America. The nearly untouched forest serves as an important biological corridor for migrating animals.
Based on the route announced by HKND, the canal will slice through more than 405 hectares of protected rainforest and wetlands as well as Lake Nicaragua, the largest drinking water reservoir in Central America.
Despite the potential ecological damage from the project, HKND has yet to release environmental impact studies for the canal.
According to Axel Meyer, a German biologist with more than 30 years of fieldwork in Nicaragua, the canal project has the potential to drastically damage Nicaragua's biodiversity.
Scientists with the Nicaragua Academy of Sciences are also concerned by the project, warning that dredging Lake Nicaragua could turn the lake into an aquatic dead zone. But without proper studies no one can be sure.
"One would hope they at least considered the environmental and social impact of this, but no study was ever published," Meyer said.
"One thing is for sure, this would undoubtedly change Nicaragua forever."
But back in La Junta, residents haven't fully accepted these changes as inevitable. They still hold out hope that the canal will somehow bypass their small community.
"We've been here for generations and generations," said 41-year-old La Junta resident Armando Ru­z.
"We are just trusting in the lord that it won't end up passing through here."
Source: Al Jazeera
Presidential Determination -- Proposed Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People's Republic of China Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
Sun, 12 Apr 2015 14:26
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 10, 2015
SUBJECT: Presidential Determination on the Proposed
Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government
of the United States of America and the
Government of the People's Republic of China
Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy
I have considered the proposed Agreement for Cooperation Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the People's Republic of China Concerning Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (the "Agreement"), along with the views, recommendations, and statements of the interested departments and agencies.
I have determined that the performance of the Agreement will promote, and will not constitute an unreasonable risk to, the common defense and security. Pursuant to section 123 b. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2153(b)), I hereby approve the proposed Agreement and authorize the Secretary of State to arrange for its execution.
The Secretary of State is authorized to publish this determination in the Federal Register.
BARACK OBAMA
China to Build Pipeline From Iran to Pakistan - WSJ
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:41
ISLAMABAD'--China will build a pipeline to bring natural gas from Iran to Pakistan to help address Pakistan's acute energy shortage, under a deal to be signed during the Chinese president's visit to Islamabad this month, Pakistani officials said.
The arrival of President Xi Jinping is expected to showcase China's commitment to infrastructure development in ally Pakistan, at a time when few other countries are willing to make major...
China's Great Cannon
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:07
This post describes our analysis of China's ''Great Cannon,'' our term for an attack tool that we identify as separate from, but co-located with, the Great Firewall of China. The first known usage of the Great Cannon is in the recent large-scale novel DDoS attack on both GitHub and servers used by GreatFire.org.
Authors: Bill Marczak1,2,3 (Lead), Nicholas Weaver2,3 (Lead), Jakub Dalek,1 Roya Ensafi,4 David Fifield,2 Sarah McKune,1 Arn Rey, John Scott-Railton,1 Ronald Deibert,1 Vern Paxson.2,3
Affiliations: (1) Citizen Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto; (2) International Computer Science Institute; (3) University of California, Berkeley; (4) Princeton University
Section 1: Introduction, Key FindingsOn March 16, GreatFire.org observed that servers they had rented to make blocked websites accessible in China were being targeted by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. On March 26, two GitHub pages run by GreatFire.org also came under the same type of attack. Both attacks appear targeted at services designed to circumvent Chinese censorship. A report released by GreatFire.org fingered malicious Javascript returned by Baidu servers as the source of the attack.1 Baidu denied that their servers were compromised.2
Several previous technical reports3 have suggested that the Great Firewall of China orchestrated these attacks by injecting malicious Javascript into Baidu connections. This post describes our analysis of the attack, which we were able to observe until April 8, 2015.
We show that, while the attack infrastructure is co-located with the Great Firewall, the attack was carried out by a separate offensive system, with different capabilities and design, that we term the ''Great Cannon.'' The Great Cannon is not simply an extension of the Great Firewall, but a distinct attack tool that hijacks traffic to (or presumably from) individual IP addresses, and can arbitrarily replace unencrypted content as a man-in-the-middle.
The operational deployment of the Great Cannon represents a significant escalation in state-level information control: the normalization of widespread use of an attack tool to enforce censorship by weaponizing users. Specifically, the Cannon manipulates the traffic of ''bystander'' systems outside China, silently programming their browsers to create a massive DDoS attack. While employed for a highly visible attack in this case, the Great Cannon clearly has the capability for use in a manner similar to the NSA's QUANTUM system,4 affording China the opportunity to deliver exploits targeting any foreign computer that communicates with any China-based website not fully utilizing HTTPS.
Report StructureWe organize our Report as follows:
Section 2 locates and characterizes the Great Cannon as a separate system;Section 3 analyzes DDoS logs and characterizes the distribution of affected systems;Section 4 presents our attribution of the Great Cannon to the Government of China;Section 5 addresses the policy context and implications;Section 6 addresses the possibility of using the Great Cannon for targeted exploitation of individual users.
Section 2: The Firewall & The Cannon: Separate Systems, Significant SimilaritiesFigure 1. Simplified logical topology of the Great Cannon and Great Firewall
In general, a firewall serves as an in-path barrier between two networks: all traffic between the networks must flow through the firewall. In contrast, an on-path system like the Chinese ''Great Firewall'' (GFW) sits off to the side: it eavesdrops on traffic between China and the rest of the world (TAP in Figure 1), and terminates requests for banned content (for example, upon seeing a request for ''http://www.google.com/?falun'',5 regardless of actual destination server) by injecting a series of forged TCP Reset (RST) packets that tell both the requester and the destination to stop communicating (INJECT RST in Figure 1).6 On-path systems have architectural advantages for censorship, but are less flexible and stealthy than in-path systems as attack tools, because while they can inject additional packets, they cannot prevent in-flight packets (packets that have already been sent) from reaching their destination.7 Thus, one generally can identify the presence of an on-path system by observing anomalies resulting from the presence of both injected and legitimate traffic.8
The GFW keeps track of connections and reassembles the packets (''TCP bytestream reassembly'') to determine if it should block traffic. This reassembly process requires additional computational resources, as opposed to considering each packet in isolation, but allows better accuracy in blocking. While a web request often fits within a single packet, web replies may be split across several packets, and the GFW needs to reassemble these packets to understand whether a web reply contains banned content.
On any given physical link (e.g., a fiber optic cable), the GFW runs its reassembly and censorship logic in multiple parallel processes9 (perhaps running on a cluster of many different computers). Each process handles a subset of the link's connections, with all packets on a connection going to the same process. This load-balanced architecture reflects a common design decision when a physical link carries more traffic than a single computer can track. Each GFW process also exhibits a highly distinctive side-channel '-- it maintains a counter, and numbers the forged TCP Reset packets it injects (via the value of the IP TTL field).
The Great Cannon (GC) differs from the GFW: as we will show, the GC is an in-path system, capable of not only injecting traffic but also directly suppressing traffic, acting as a full ''man-in-the-middle'' for targeted flows. The GC does not actively examine all traffic on the link, but only intercepts traffic to (or presumably from) a set of targeted addresses. It is plausible that this reduction of the full traffic stream to just a (likely small) set of addresses significantly aids with enabling the system to keep up with the very high volume of traffic: the GC's full processing pipeline only has to operate on the much smaller stream of traffic to or from the targeted addresses. In addition, in contrast to the GFW, the GC only examines individual packets in determining whether to take action, which avoids the computational costs of TCP bytestream reassembly. The GC also maintains a flow cache of connections that it uses to ignore recent connections it has deemed no longer requiring examination.
The GC however also shares several features with the GFW. Like the GFW, the GC is also a multi-process cluster, with different source IP addresses handled by distinct processes. The packets injected by the GC also have the same peculiar TTL side-channel as those injected by the GFW, suggesting that both the GFW and the GC likely share some common code. Taken together, this suggests that although the GC and GFW are independent systems with different functionality, there are significant structural relationships between the two.
In the attack on GitHub and GreatFire.org, the GC intercepted traffic sent to Baidu infrastructure servers that host commonly used analytics, social, or advertising scripts. If the GC saw a request for certain Javascript files on one of these servers, it appeared to probabilistically take one of two actions: it either passed the request onto Baidu's servers unmolested (roughly 98.25% of the time), or it dropped the request before it reached Baidu and instead sent a malicious script back to the requesting user (roughly 1.75% of the time). In this case, the requesting user is an individual outside China browsing a website making use of a Baidu infrastructure server (e.g., a website with ads served by Baidu's ad network). The malicious script enlisted the requesting user as an unwitting participant in the DDoS attack against GreatFire.org and GitHub.
Localizing the CannonThe GFW continues to operate as normal: on-path and statefullyWe began our investigation by confirming the continued normal operation of the GFW's censorship features. We did so employing measurements between our test system outside of China and a Baidu server that we observed returning the malicious Javascript. We sent the Baidu server a request that the GFW would process as a query for ''http://www.google.com/?falun'', a URL long known10 to trigger the GFW to inject forged TCP Resets to terminate the connection. This packet capture shows the results of our experiment, which confirmed that the normal, well-understood operation of the GFW continues. Note that the capture includes both the injected TCP Reset and, later, the legitimate response (an HTTP 403 reply) from the Baidu server. This occurs because the GFW operates as an on-path system, and, as discussed earlier, on-path systems cannot prevent in-flight packets from reaching their destination.
Figure 2. How the Great Cannon was deployed in the GitHub and GreatFire.org attacks
Localizing the GFWWe then localized where (with respect to our measurement system) in the network topology the GFW operates, as follows. For a given measurement packet, we can control how far into the network it transits from our measurement system to its destination by controlling the packet's TTL value. The TTL value determines after how many intermediate hops a packet will be discarded by the Internet's internal routers. We sent the ''Falun'' queries from our test system to the Baidu server with TTL values increasing from 1 on up. We observed that the GFW's TCP Reset injection only occurred when we sent packets with TTL values >= 18, suggesting that the GFW acts on traffic flowing between the 17th and 18th hop along the path from our test system to the Baidu server (which was itself 24 hops away from our test system). This packet capture shows our localization results.11
The GC operates as a separate, in-path systemAs noted previously, our traces of GFW operation showed both the injected TCP Reset, as well as the legitimate server reply. In contrast, no legitimate server reply accompanied the injected malicious reply from the GC. We ran further testing, where we retransmitted our request to Baidu over the same connection, and with the same sequence numbers, after we received a malicious response. We observed Baidu responding as normal to the retransmitted request. Thus, we conclude12that the GCdroppedour request before it reached Baidu, a capability not present in the GFW.13
We also checked whether the GFW and GC might share the same injector device,14 but found no evidence that they do. In particular, from a given TCP source port, we sent one request designed to trigger GC injection, followed by a request designed to trigger GFW injection. We repeated the experiment from a number of source ports. While packets injected by both the GFW and GC exhibited a similar (peculiar) TTL side-channel indicative of shared code between the two systems, we found no apparent correlation between the GFW and GC TTL values themselves.
The GC appears to be co-located with the GFWWe used the same TTL technique to localize the GC on the path between our test system and the Baidu server. We found that for our path, the GC acted on traffic between hop 17 and hop 18, the same link we observed as responsible for the GFW. We also observed that unlike the GFW, we could trigger the GC using ''naked'' requests (i.e., requests sent in isolation, with no previous TCP SYN as required for standard communication). Acting on ''naked'' requests implies that the GC's content analysis is more primitive (and easily manipulated), but does offer significant performance advantages, as the GC no longer needs to maintain complex state concerning connection status and TCP bytestream reassembly.
We also checked two separate servers in China whose traffic the GC targets to observe whether the GC existed along with the Great Firewall on multiple network paths. From our measurement system outside of China, we examined the path to both 115.239.210.141 and 123.125.65.120. For 115.239.210.141, the GFW and the GC both exist between hop 12 and 13, on the link between 144.232.12.211 and 202.97.33.37, as the traffic enters China Telecom. For 123.125.65.120, the GFW and GC both exist between hop 17 and 18, on the link between 219.158.101.61 and 219.158.101.49, belonging to China Unicom. A previous report by Robert Graham used the same TTL technique to conclude that on one link, the GC was located ''inside China Unicom infrastructure.''15
The GC is currently aimed only at specific destination IP addressesWhen we probed an IP address adjacent to the Baidu server (123.125.65.121), the GC ignored the requests completely, although the GFW acted on censorable requests to this host.
Unlike the GFW, the GC only acts on the first data packet of a connectionFor a given source IP address and port, the GC only examines the first data packet sent when deciding whether to inject a reply. To avoid examining subsequent packets requires remembering which connections it has examined in a flow cache. Unlike the GFW, the GC does not reassemble packets, a significant implementation difference. In addition, the GC will process invalid HTTP requests, while the GFW will not, also indicating differing implementations.
We confirmed these behaviors by sending a number of probes to the Baidu server, requesting resources that trigger the GC's injection. Each probe had a different source port. We sent 500 probes, each with the request split across three packets (so 1,500 packets total). The GC ignored each probe. We then sent 500 probes where the first packet's data is an invalid HTTP request, and the second packet's data is a complete, valid request for a targeted resource. The GC ignored each probe. We then sent a final 500 single-packet probes, each containing a complete, valid request for a targeted resource, to confirm normal GC operation. As expected, the GC injected malicious content in some cases, seemingly based on its probabilistic decision-making process.
How big is the GC flow cache?We attempted to completely fill the GC flow cache by sending packets to the Baidu server with different source IP addresses and ports, while probing to see whether the entries that we previously added had now expired. Our attempt suggests that at least in some cases, the GC flow cache between our test system and the Baidu server supports up to around 16,000 entries for a single sending IP address.
Unlike the GFW, the GC appears to act probabilisticallyCensorship systems generally operate in a deterministic fashion: they aim to block all content that matches the target criteria. The GC, on the other hand '-- at least for this particular attack '-- appears to act probabilistically, and ignores most of the traffic it could act on. In one test, it completely ignored all traffic from one of four measurement IP addresses, and on the three other measurement IP addresses it only responded to 526 requests out of an initial 30,000 from the three (1.75%).
The cache capacity test also provides evidence that the GC's probabilistic choice occurs on the decision to act on a particular flow, and not as some sort of pre-filter for reducing analysis load. When we succeeded in completely filling the flow cache, subsequently injected packets occurred for different source ports than in the initial test. If the GC only intercepted a subset of flows to the target IP address, we would expect subsequent injections to appear for the same flows, since most schemes to probabilistically select flows for interception (such as hashing the connection 4-tuple) would select the same set of flows the second time around.
Does the GC have a load-balanced architecture?We determined that the GC uses a separate flow cache for different source IP addresses, and that packets injected from different source IP addresses have distinct TTL side-channels. This finding suggests a load-balanced architecture similar to the GFW, where packets are routed to GC nodes based on source IP address. We then sent traffic alternating from four measurement IP addresses in an attempt to fill a 16,000 entry cache. This attempt did not manage to fill the cache, suggesting that the GC not only processed the different source IP addresses with different injection elements, but did so using different flow caches. As stated before, one of the four source IP addresses never received any injected replies.
Section 3: Analysis of the DDoS Logs from the attack against GreatFireThe staff of GreatFire.org provided the authors with server logs covering the period of March 18 to 28.16 (A report previously published by Great Fire uses a different sample.17) This period appears to capture the end of the DDoS attack on GreatFire.org's services, as shown by the size of server log files over this period:
To keep our analysis tractable, we examined a sample of the data from March 18th 11:00 GMT to March 19th 7:00 GMT, as seen from two of the three most commonly seen backend servers. For each hour, we selected 30MB of compressed logs for each server.18 The total sample includes 16,611,840 web requests, with 13,183 unique source IP addresses. We used the MaxMind GeoIP2 Lite database19 from March 3rd, 2015 to assign a country of origin to each source IP address. For any IP address that did not result in a definite geolocation using this tool (31 addresses), we looked up the address manually using the iplocation.net service.
The figure below summarizes the top countries of origin, with China added for comparison.
Figure 3. Number of Unique IP addresses seen in DDoS log sample showing the top 5 countries/regions, with Chinese traffic included for comparison.
Note that 8,827 (66.9%) of the IP addresses originate from Taiwan and Hong Kong, two regions where Chinese is the official language. China, however, accounted for only 18 requests. This is consistent with malicious code injected into China-hosted websites at the border of the Chinese Internet.
To determine which websites have their responses altered by the injection of malicious code, we extracted the domain names of the 25 most frequently seen referrers in our dataset,20 finding that these domains account for 55% of the total requests in the sample.
Figure 4. Top 25 referrers found in the DDoS logs, grouped by domain. The top bar reflects domains directly in the baidu.com DNS space. Manual verification confirms that all top 25 referrers use Baidu services such as advertising or analytics.
The most commonly seen domain is pos.baidu.com (37.7% of total requests in the sample), a part of Baidu's ad network. Many non-Baidu sites display ads served through Baidu's ad network, indicating that visitors to non-Baidu sites displaying ads also became targeted.21
We examined the top 25 domains, and linked each one to Baidu: in each case, the site is either a Baidu property or uses Baidu analytics, advertisements, or static resources.22 This finding indicates that Baidu was a major injection target for this attack. According to Alexa statistics, Baidu itself is the fourth-most visited site globally, the highest ranking China-based site on the global list,23 and has received an estimated 4.99 million unique visitors from the US alone in the past 30 days.24
We speculate that Baidu was chosen as an injection target because it is a simple way to target many users.
Section 4: Attributing the Great Cannon to the Chinese GovernmentWe believe there is compelling evidence that the Chinese government operates the GC. In recent public statements, China has deflected questions regarding whether they are behind the attack, instead emphasizing that China is often itself a victim of cyber attacks.25
Where is the GC Located?We tested two international Internet links into China belonging to two different Chinese ISPs, and found that in both cases the GC was co-located with the GFW. This co-location across different ISPs strongly suggests a governmental actor.
Who built the Great Cannon?That the GFW and GC have the same type of TTL side-channel suggests that they share some source code. We are unaware of any public software library for crafting packets that introduces this type of TTL side-channel.
What is the Great Cannon's Function?Our observations indicate that the GC's design does not reflect technology well-suited for performing traffic censorship. Its operation only examines the first data packet of a given connection, which provides a weak censorship mechanism compared to the GFW. More generally, the GC's design does not, in practice, enable it to censor any traffic not already censorable by the GFW. Thus, the evidence indicates that the GC's role is to inject traffic under specific targeted circumstances, not to censor traffic.
Who is the Great Cannon attacking?The DDoS attack launched by the GC using ''bystander'' machines directly aligns with known political concerns of the Chinese government. The Cyberspace Administration of China has previously referred to GreatFire as a ''foreign anti-Chinese organization'' (åƒå¤–反华ç>>).26 The particular GreatFire service targeted in this attack provides proxies to bypass the GFW using encrypted connections to Amazon's CloudFront cloud service.
GreatFire also hosts two GitHub repositories, https://gitub.com/greatfire and https://github.com/cn-nytimes, that provide technology for users who wish to circumvent Chinese government censorship. The attack on GitHub specifically targeted these repositories, possibly in an attempt to compel GitHub to remove these resources. GitHub encrypts all traffic using TLS, preventing a censor from only blocking access to specific GitHub pages. In the past, China attempted to block Github, but the block was lifted within two days, following significant negative reaction from local programmers.27
Section 5: Policy Context and ImplicationsThis section describes some policy implications of deploying the Great Cannon, addresses the impact of targeting Baidu traffic specifically, and discusses the Chinese authorities that may be involved in operation of the GC.
Implications of the GC for Chinese PolicyDeploying the Great Cannon is a major shift in tactics, and has a highly visible impact. It is likely that this attack, with its potential for political backlash,28 would require the approval of high-level authorities within the Chinese government. These authorities may include the State Internet Information Office (SIIO),29 which is responsible for Internet censorship. It is also possible that the top body for cybersecurity coordination in China, the Cybersecurity and Informatization Leading Group (CILG),30 would have been involved. The CILG is chaired by Xi Jinping and includes as members senior leaders from across the government; its administrative office is housed within the SIIO.31
The government's reasoning for deploying the GC here is unclear, but it may wish to confront the threat presented to the Communist Party of China's (CPC) ideological control by the ''collateral freedom'' strategy advanced by GreatFire.org32 and others. The attack was exceptionally costly to GreatFire, according to their public statements,33 as well as disruptive to the companies that hosted GreatFire content. Such a disruption could be both an attempt to block the operations of an undesirable resource, and a signal sent to other organizations of the potential price tag for this kind of activity. Deployment of the GC may also reflect a desire to counter what the Chinese government perceives as US hegemony in cyberspace.
This approach would be consistent with the CPC's paramount focus on protecting ''domestic stability'' (and its own authority) against entities it has identified as ''foreign hostile forces,'' including not only governments but also Western media outlets (such as the New York Times) and NGOs or other civil society actors (such as GreatFire.org).34 According to such a world view, the collateral freedom strategy is a provocative, hostile act that threatens China's security.
Implications of Using Traffic to Baidu ServicesThe incorporation of Baidu in this attack suggests that the Chinese authorities are willing to pursue domestic stability and security aims at the expense of other goals, including fostering economic growth in the tech sector. Selecting Baidu's international traffic may appear counterproductive given the importance of Baidu to the Chinese economy: the company enjoys stature as one of China's ''big three'' Internet firms, alongside Alibaba and Tencent,35 and currently ranks as the top site in China.36 While its shares came under pressure after the February release of its Q4 and fiscal year 2014 reports,37 its total revenue in 2014 was USD $7.906 billion, with online marketing revenues for that period valued at USD $7.816 billion.38
''Service interruptions could reduce our revenues and profits and damage our brand if our systems are perceived to be unreliable.''39
Baidu has denied involvement in the attack and asserted its internal security was not compromised.40 Yet the targeting of international visitors trying to reach sites that are Baidu properties, or that use Baidu analytics, advertisements, or static resources, could undermine the company's reputation and its appeal to overseas users and advertisers.
Baidu writes in its SEC filings that it was the target of legal action in the United States in 201141 for complying with Chinese censorship. Baidu explicitly notes that cooperation and coordination with Chinese censorship authorities could be costly in terms of brand image, profit, and stockholder confidence.
''our compliance with PRC regulations governing internet access and distribution of news and other information over the internet may subject us to negative publicity or even legal actions outside of China.''42
Moreover, exploiting Baidu's international reach as a means for conducting digital attacks belies the government's recent commitment to enhance the global presence of Internet companies. At the meeting of the National People's Congress on March 5, 2015, Premier Li Keqiang (who is also Vice-Chair of the CILG) announced:
We will develop the ''Internet Plus'' action plan to integrate the mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data, and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing, to encourage the healthy development of e-commerce, industrial networks, and Internet banking, and to guide Internet-based companies to increase their presence in the international market.43
This goal '' which closely echoes that contained in a draft declaration presented (but not passed) at the November 2014 Wuzhen World Internet Conference44 '' may not come to fruition if Chinese domestic companies appear unreliable, their business objectives secondary to other objectives of the Chinese Government.
Chinese authorities may, however, be betting that their use of Baidu traffic to mount this DDoS attack will ultimately be perceived as an isolated occurrence, a sort of ''force majeure,'' with limited impact on Baidu's long-term economic prospects '' particularly given Baidu's apparent status as unwitting victim and its strong market position.
Additionally, Baidu's CEO Robin Li is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference45 and well-positioned for lucrative government contracts going forward '-- such as his artificial intelligence project ''China Brain,'' for which he has sought military support.46 He may have little personal incentive (let alone opportunity, given the existing legal and regulatory framework applicable to Internet companies in China47) to challenge this action by the government.
Thinking About Authorities Who May Be Responsible for Implementing The Great CannonEven for the GFW, it is difficult to pinpoint the precise authorities behind its deployment, or its operators and origins. This makes understanding the origins of the GC equally challenging. However, some clues are available. For example, the shared source code and co-location between the GFW and GC suggest that the GC could have been developed within the same institutional framework as the GFW. We might therefore draw further insight into the GC by assessing what we know about the GFW.
Some reports characterize the GFW as an element of China's ''Golden Shield'' project,48 under the authority of the Ministry of Public Security. However, unverified insider information 'leaked' online suggests that the GFW was developed within a separate entity: the ''National Computer Network and Information Security Management Center'' (国家è®ç®—æ'ºç½‘ç>>'与ä息安全ç®ç†ä¸­åƒ) (hereafter, ''the Center'').49 Little is publicly known about the Center. It appears to bear close relationship50 to the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China (CNCERT/CC) run by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) '-- indeed, the listed address for CNCERT/CC is the same as that of the Center as indicated on its patent applications '-- and the former National Network and Information Security Coordination Team,51 a subcommittee of the State Informatization Leading Group subsumed by the CILG in 2014.52 Notably, ''MIIT also regulates China's six Internet service providers (ISPs), which in turn are expected to monitor and filter content on their networks according to censorship guidelines established by the State Council Information Office and the SIIO.''53 Those ISPs include China Telecom and China Unicom, on the links of which we co-located the GFW and GC (see above).
It is unknown whether the GFW and/or the GC are in fact maintained (or may have been developed in whole or in part) by the National Computer Network and Information Security Management Center. However, patent applications filed by this entity, taken together, appear to indicate a mandate for large scale network surveillance, filtering, and defense. The Center has filed nearly 100 patent applications,54 for designs such as ''Method for detecting unexpected hot topics in Chinese microblogs;'' ''Method and system for recognizing Tibetan dialects;'' ''Website classifying method;'' ''Method and system for intelligent monitoring and analyzing under cloud computing;'' ''Method and device for managing global indexes of mass structured log data;'' ''Method, device and system for traffic monitoring and switching;'' ''Image searching/matching method and system for the same;'' and ''Internet basic information management system'' (this last ''comprises a national-level management sub-system, a provincial management sub-system and an enterprise management sub-system'' that ''can perform effective supervision on the Internet basic information throughout the country''). Moreover, according to state media, during the time of the GFW's development the so-called ''father of the Great Firewall,'' Fang Binxing, was employed at CNCERT/CC,55 an entity that appears closely tied to the Center.56 Fang is likewise listed as an inventor on a 2008 patent application by the Center, indicating some collaboration with the Center prior to that point.
While we cannot determine the exact role played by the Center, the patent documentation and the Center itself require further research and analysis to determine whether they are relevant to operation of the GC, or present other human rights-related concerns.
Section 6: Concluding Remarks: The Capability for Targeted Exploitation by ChinaWe conclude with some remarks about the precedent set by China in the use of the GC and outline further implications for targeted exploitation.
The attack launched by the Great Cannon appears relatively obvious and coarse: a denial-of-service attack on services objectionable to the Chinese government. Yet the attack itself indicates a far more significant capability: an ability to ''exploit by IP address''. This possibility, not yet observed but a feature of its architecture, represents a potent cyberattack capability.
A technically simple change in the Great Cannon's configuration, switching to operating on trafficfroma specific IP address rather thantoa specific address, would allow its operator to deliver malware to targeted individuals who communicates with any Chinese server not employing cryptographic protections. The GC operator first needs to discover the target's IP address and identify a suitable exploit. The operator then tasks the GC to intercept traffic from the target's IP address, and replace certain responses with malicious content. If the target ever made a single request to a server inside China not employing encryption (e.g., Baidu's ad network), the GC could deliver a malicious payload to the target. A target might not necessarily realize that their computer was communicating with a Chinese server, as a non-Chinese website located outside China could (for example) serve ads ultimately sourced from Chinese servers.
Since the GC operates as a full man-in-the-middle, it would also be straightforward to have it intercept unencrypted email to or from a target IP address and undetectably replace any legitimate attachments with malicious payloads, manipulating email sent from China to outside destinations. Even email transmission protected by standard encryption (STARTTLS) can be undermined because the GC is in a position to launch a ''downgrade'' attack, steering the transmission to only use legacy, unencrypted communication.
Our findings in China add another documented case to at least two other known instances of governments tampering with unencrypted Internet traffic to control information or launch attacks '-- the other two being the use of QUANTUM by the US NSA and UK's GCHQ. In addition, product literature from two companies, FinFisher and Hacking Team, indicate that they sell similar ''attack from the Internet'' tools to governments around the world.57 These latest findings emphasize the urgency of replacing legacy web protocols, like HTTP, with their cryptographically strong versions, like HTTPS.
We remain puzzled as to why the GC's operator chose to first employ its capabilities in such a publicly visible fashion. Conducting such a widespread attack clearly demonstrates the weaponization of the Chinese Internet to co-opt arbitrary computers across the web and outside of China to achieve China's policy ends. The repurposing of the devices of unwitting users in foreign jurisdictions for covert attacks in the interests of one country's national priorities is a dangerous precedent '-- contrary to international norms and in violation of widespread domestic laws prohibiting the unauthorized use of computing and networked systems.
AcknowledgementsSpecial thanks to: Adam Senft (Citizen Lab) and Paul Pearce (UC Berkeley, ICSI).
We wish to acknowledge GreatFire for making their logs available to us for analysis.
We also express our deep gratitude to several individuals, anonymous or pseudonymous at their request, including ''Jack B,'' who aided us in understanding elements of the attack in the early days, and others who helped us formulate and develop this report.
Footnotes1 Using Baidu ç¾åº... to steer millions of computers to launch denial of service attacks,'' Anonymous author, March 25, 2015 (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByrxblDXR_yqeUNZYU5WcjFCbXM/view?pli=1)2http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/27/8299555/github-china-ddos-censorship-great-firewall3Appendix C: Related Technical Reports4http://www.wired.com/2014/03/quantum/5 As discussed further below, this specific URL consistently triggers GFW responses, even though if actually sent to www.google.com it simply returns the Google home page.6 See https://www.cs.unm.edu/~crandall/concept_doppler_ccs07.pdf for a description of the GFW's general operation using injected Reset packets.7 Although, the GFW does send injected RSTs to both the requester and destination, these RSTs may arrive too late to suppress transmission of some subsequent packets.8 See http://www.icsi.berkeley.edu/pubs/networking/ndss09-resets.pdf for a description of how to detect injected RST packets. The same techniques apply to detecting injected data packets.9 For information on both the parallel nature and the TTL sidechannel present in the GFW, see https://www.usenix.org/system/files/conference/foci14/foci14-anonymous.pdf10https://www.cs.unm.edu/~crandall/concept_doppler_ccs07.pdf11 The packet capture also confirms the stateful nature of the GFW's content analysis: it does not inject a TCP Reset unless it first observes a TCP SYN and an ACK for the SYN/ACK for the connection.12 If the GC did not drop requests sent to Baidu, then Baidu would have received our first request (which the GC responded to), and would have ignored our subsequent, duplicate request, as dictated by the TCP protocol. We verified that when the GC did not inject a response, Baidu did indeed ignore the duplicate request.13 Technically complex situations exist in which an on-path system like the GFW could conceivably prevent the appearance of a response from Baidu by disrupting session initiation. We conducted extensive measurements assessing this possibility. We omit those results from this report because the ''retransmission'' measurement discussed above definitively rules out that possibility, rendering the measurements moot.14 Analogous systems to the GC, like QUANTUM, make the architectural decision of having the injector as a distinct device from the rest of the system.15http://blog.erratasec.com/2015/04/pin-pointing-chinas-attack-against.html16 1.1TB, compressed. Note that the logs include both malicious and non-malicious traffic17https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByrxblDXR_yqeUNZYU5WcjFCbXM/view?pli=118 Files were randomly selected amongst a list of files that were near 30MB. This size was selected because it was largest file size that was present in all timestamp hours we focused on.19http://dev.maxmind.com/geoip/legacy/geolite/20 Note that the malicious requests are being generated by Javascript. When a script makes a web request, the web browser sets the ''Referer'' header on the request to the URL of the page that loaded the script.21 It is typical for web advertisements to be displayed in iframes. This causes the ''Referer'' header to report the advertisement service, not the hosting page.22 See Appendix A.23 Alexa, ''The top 500 sites on the web,'' http://www.alexa.com/topsites (accessed April 8, 2015).24 Alexa, ''Site overview: baidu.com,'' http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/baidu.com (accessed April 8, 2015).25 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, ''Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference,'' March 30, 2015, http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/2511_665403/t1250354.shtml.26http://www.cac.gov.cn/2015-01/22/c_1114097853.htm27http://www.computerworld.com/article/2493478/internet/github-unblocked-in-china-after-former-google-head-slams-its-censorship.html28 Particularly after the Snowden disclosures, and the public / state outcry associated with the NSA's QUANTUM system and other programs, the Chinese government would presumably be aware of the significant international political ramifications of a decision to use the GC to target overseas entities, and escalate the matter accordingly.29 Note: also referred to as the Cyberspace Administration of China. ''China sets up State Internet information office,'' Xinhua, May 4, 2011, at http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-05/04/content_12440782.htm.30 See Jon R. Lindsay, ''Introduction''China and Cybersecurity: Controversy and Context,'' in China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain, ed. Jon R. Lindsay et al. [New York: Oxford University Press, 2015], 13-14; Adam Segal, ''China's New Small Leading Group on Cybersecurity and Internet Management,'' Council on Foreign Relations: Asia Unbound, February 27, 2014, http://blogs.cfr.org/asia/2014/02/27/chinas-new-small-leading-group-on-cybersecurity-and-internet-management/.31 For discussion and a diagram of institutions involved in China's national cybersecurity system, see Jon R. Lindsay, ''Introduction''China and Cybersecurity: Controversy and Context,'' in China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain, ed. Jon R. Lindsay et al. [New York: Oxford University Press, 2015], 6-15.32 Charlie, ''Collateral Freedom and the not-so-Great Firewall,'' GreatFire.org, March 12, 2015, https://en.greatfire.org/blog/2015/mar/collateral-freedom-and-not-so-great-firewall.33 Charlie, ''We Are Under Attack,'' GreatFire.org, March 19, 2015, https://en.greatfire.org/blog/2015/mar/we-are-under-attack.34 For further discussion see Sarah McKune, '''Foreign Hostile Forces': The Human Rights Dimension of China's Cyber Campaigns,'' in China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain, ed. Jon R. Lindsay et al. [New York: Oxford University Press, 2015], 260-293. See also Wang Chen, ''Concerning the Development and Administration of Our Country's Internet,'' translation by Human Rights in China, China Rights Forum: ''China's Internet'': Staking Digital Ground, no. 2 (2010), http://www.hrichina.org/en/content/3241, at para. III.6 (''We will perfect our system to monitor harmful information on the Internet, and strengthen the blocking of harmful information from outside China, to effectively prevent it from being disseminated in China through the Internet, and to withstand infiltration of the Internet by overseas hostile forces.''); Central Committee of the Communist Party of China's General Office, ''Communiqu(C) on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere,'' April 22, 2013, English translation by ChinaFile available at https://www.chinafile.com/document-9-chinafile-translation; Chris Buckley, ''China's New Leadership Takes Hard Line in Secret Memo,'' New York Times, August 20, 2013, http://cn.nytimes.com/china/20130820/c20document/dual/.35 Shuli Ren, ''China Internet: Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu To Continue Buying Spree, R&D,'' Barron's Asia, January 7, 2015, http://blogs.barrons.com/asiastocks/2015/01/07/china-internet-alibaba-tencent-baidu-to-continue-buying-spree-rd/.36 Alexa, ''Top Sites in China,'' http://www.alexa.com/topsites/countries/CN (accessed April 8, 2015).37 Doug Young, ''Investors Burn Out On Baidu Mobile Story,'' Forbes Asia, February 12, 2015, http://www.forbes.com/sites/dougyoung/2015/02/12/investors-burn-out-on-baidu-mobile-story/.38 ''Baidu Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2014 Results,'' PR Newswire, February 11, 2015, http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/baidu-announces-fourth-quarter-and-fiscal-year-2014-results-300034622.html.39 Baidu, Inc. SEC Form 20-F, FY 2011, http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1329099/000119312512139789/d243699d20f.htm.40 Sebastian Anthony, ''GitHub battles 'largest DDoS' in site's history, targeted at anti-censorship tools,'' ArsTechnica, March 30, 2015, http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/03/github-battles-largest-ddos-in-sites-history-targeted-at-anti-censorship-tools/.41 Baidu, Inc. SEC Form 20-F, FY 2011 http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1329099/000119312512139789/d243699d20f.htm42 Baidu, Inc. SEC Form 20-F, FY 2011 http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1329099/000119312512139789/d243699d20f.htm43 State Council of the People's Republic of China, Report on the Work of the Government (2015), delivered by Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council, to the National People's Congress, March 5, 2015, http://english.gov.cn/archive/publications/2015/03/05/content_281475066179954.htm (emphasis added); see also Simon Sharwood, ''China reveals 'Internet Plus' plan to modernise and go cloudy,'' The Register, March 9, 2015, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/03/09/china_reveals_internet_plus_plan_to_modernise_and_go_cloudy/; ''When China's tech 'big four' meet 'Internet Plus,''' Xinhua, March 11, 2015, at http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20150311000020&cid=1102.44 The sixth point of the declaration was to ''vigorously develop the Internet economy. We should improve cyberspace trade rules, step up cross-border e-commerce cooperation, facilitate customs clearance and logistics, expand information consumption, and quicken steps to form a global Internet market.'' Organizing Committee of the World Internet Conference, Wuzhen Declaration, November 21, 2014, available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/247566581/World-Internet-Conference-Draft-Declaration; see also Catherine Shu, ''China Tried To Get World Internet Conference Attendees To Ratify This Ridiculous Draft Declaration,'' TechCrunch, November 20, 2014, http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/20/worldinternetconference-declaration/; Franz-Stefan Gady, ''The Wuzhen Summit and Chinese Internet Sovereignty,'' Huffington Post, December 9, 2014, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/franzstefan-gady/the-wuzhen-summit-and-chi_b_6287040.html.45 ''Baidu Founder Li and Politburo's Yu Join Top China Advisory Body,'' Bloomberg, February 4, 2013, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-02-02/baidu-chief-li-politburo-s-yu-join-china-s-top-advisory-body.46 Hsu Chang-ping, ''Baidu welcomes China's military to join China Brain project on AI systems,'' WantChinaTimes, March 7, 2015, http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20150307000015&cid=1101.47 For further discussion of this framework see Crandall et al., ''China Chats: Tracking Surveillance and Censorship in TOM-Skype and Sina UC,'' in First Monday 18, no. 7 (2013), http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4628/3727.48 See Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, China: The Public Security Bureau (PSB) Golden Shield Project, including implementation and effectiveness; Policenet, including areas of operation; level and effectiveness of information sharing by the authorities (2010-February 2014), March 7, 2014, CHN104762.E, available at http://www.refworld.org/docid/543ba3824.html.49 See GFWçšå‰ä¸–ä>>Šç--Ÿ¼Œä¸éƒ¨GFW之ç¶æ–¹æ>>¨å…´çšå‘家史 [''GFW Past and Present, Family History of the Father of the GFW Fang Binxing''], August 10, 2010, https://fangbinxing.appspot.com/2010/08/10/fangbingxing.html; see also Daniel Anderson, ''Splinternet Behind the Great Firewall of China,'' ACM Queue, November 30, 2012, http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2405036; Australian Centre on China in the World, ''Fang Binxing and the Great Firewall,'' The China Story, https://www.thechinastory.org/yearbooks/yearbook-2013/chapter-6-chinas-internet-a-civilising-process/fang-binxing-and-the-great-firewall/.50 See GFWçšå‰ä¸–ä>>Šç--Ÿ¼Œä¸éƒ¨GFW之ç¶æ–¹æ>>¨å…´çšå‘家史 [''GFW Past and Present, Family History of the Father of the GFW Fang Binxing''], August 10, 2010, https://fangbinxing.appspot.com/2010/08/10/fangbingxing.html (''国家è®ç®—æ'ºç½‘ç>>'与ä息安全ç®ç†ä¸­åƒ(å®‰ç® ä¸­åƒ)æ¯åŽŸä产部现工ä部çšç›´å±žéƒ¨é—¨ã‚ 安ç®ä¸­åƒä¸Žå›½å®¶ä息化工ä½'é†å¯¼å°ç>>è®ç®—æ'ºç½‘ç>>'与ä息安全ç®ç†å·¥ä½'办公室与国家è®ç®—æ'ºç½‘ç>>'åº--æ¥æŠæ'¯å¤ç†åè°ƒä¸­åƒ (CNCERT/CC,äº'è--网åº--æ¥ä¸­åƒ)æ¯ä¸ä¸ª æ'ºæžå‡ å'—牌子çšå…"ç">>ã‚æ¯--å...‚æ–¹æ>>¨å…´ç®åŽ† 中''1999­-2000å¹´å'¨å›½å®¶è®ç®—æ'ºç½‘ç>>'åº--æ¥æŠæ'¯ å¤ç†åè°ƒä¸­åƒä>>>>副æ>>å·¥''与''è®ç®—æ'ºç½‘ç>>'åº--æ¥ å¤ç†åè°ƒä¸­åƒ''çšæç‹æ—¶é—´ä¸¤ç§è¯´æ"•å°±æ'‰ç' å¾®å...çšçŸ›ç›¾ã‚实é…ä¸Šå‡ 个æ'ºæžçšäººå‘基æ'¬ä¸ 致ã‚''). An official diagram mapping the relationship between CNCERT/CC, MIIT, and the National Network and Information Security Coordination Team is available in Zhou Yonglin, ''Introduction on Chinese Network Emergency Response System & CNCERT/CC's Activities,'' CNCERT/CC, March 2004, p. 10, at http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/apcity/unpan016388.pdf.51 This entity is also known in English as the State Network and Information Security Coordination Group. Its responsibilities included: ''researching and enacting strategy and policy of national information security safeguard[;] organizing and coordinating related departments of government to protect critical information infrastructure[;] mobilizing and directing computer emergency response[;] improving information sharing and notification.'' Li Jingjing, ''Trends and Tactics in Cyber-Terrorism,'' Information Security Supervision Bureau, Ministry of Public Security, p. 13, at http://www.asean.org/archive/arf/13ARF/2nd-Cyber-Terrorism/Doc-7.PDF.52 Jon R. Lindsay, ''Introduction''China and Cybersecurity: Controversy and Context,'' in China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain, ed. Jon R. Lindsay et al. [New York: Oxford University Press, 2015], 8.53 Jon R. Lindsay, ''Introduction''China and Cybersecurity: Controversy and Context,'' in China and Cybersecurity: Espionage, Strategy, and Politics in the Digital Domain, ed. Jon R. Lindsay et al. [New York: Oxford University Press, 2015], 11.54 It is important to note that patent applications do not necessarily reflect current capacities or actual deployment of a technology. They do, however, provide insight into the designs, focus, and goals of the filing entities.55 ''Great Firewall father speaks out,'' Global Times, February 18, 2011, at http://english.sina.com/china/p/2011/0217/360411.html. This article presents the following timeline of Fang's career: ''1984­1999 Teaches at Harbin Institute of Technology[;] 1999 Starts work at National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/ Coordination Center of China as deputy chief engineer[;] 2000-2007 Appointed chief engineer and director of the center[;] 2001 Awarded special allowance by the State Council . . . .''56 See supra n. 50 and accompanying text.57 https://citizenlab.org/2014/08/cat-video-and-the-death-of-clear-text/58 http://www.secdev.org/projects/scapy/59 Although the GC will respond to a ''naked'' data packet, this tool first sends a SYN packet and an ACK packet to prevent NATs or conventional firewalls between the user and Baidu from dropping the probe packets. This test also first probes for the GC before probing for the GFW. Once the GFW decides to block two hosts from communicating, for the next minute it injects RSTs in response to any data packet it sees between those two hosts, which would confound the GC measurements somewhat.60 ''Baidu's traffic hijacked to DDoS GitHub.com [Updated],'' Anthr@X, Insight Labs, March 27, 2015 (GitHub.com(http://insight-labs.org/?p=1682); ''China's Man-on-the-Side Attack on GitHub,'' NETRESC AB, March 31, 2015 (http://www.netresec.com/?month=2015-03&page=blog&post=china%27s-man-on-the-side-attack-on-github); ''Pin-pointing China's attack against GitHub,'' Robert Graham, April 1, 2015 (http://blog.erratasec.com/2015/04/pin-pointing-chinas-attack-against.html#.VSBOpHXd9hE)61 http://insight-labs.org/?p=168262 http://www.netresec.com/?month=2015-03&page=blog&post=china%27s-man-on-the-side-attack-on-github63 http://blog.erratasec.com/2015/04/pin-pointing-chinas-attack-against.html
Appendix A: Link between GreatFire.org referrers and BaiduThis table lists the top 25 referrers seen in our sample of the GreatFire.org server logs, and links each one to Baidu.
DomainRequest CountLink to Baidu Propertiespos.baidu.com6,273,809.00direct Baidu propertytieba.baidu.com384,173.00direct Baidu propertyzhidao.baidu.com321,619.00direct Baidu propertywww.dm5.com207,398.00does a GET to Baidu imagewww.piaotian.net187,894.00uses jquery library from Baidu libscpro.baidu.com155,007.00direct Baidu propertywenku.baidu.com143,271.00direct Baidu propertycomic.sfacg.com114,382.00uses Baidu adsbbs.miercn.com111,478.00uses Baidu analyticswww.7k7k.com94,994.00uses Baidustatic.com resourcesmangapark.com94,986.00uses Baidu analyticsad.docer.wps.cn93,881.00uses Baidustatic.com resourcesmanhua.dmzj.com93,622.00uses Baidustatic.com resourceswww.iciba.com91,626.00uses Baidu analyticsm.movietube.pw87,396.00uses Baidu analyticspan.baidu.com84,974.00direct Baidu propertywww.douyutv.com84,945.00uses Baidu analyticswww.lwxs520.com75,964.00does a GET to Baidu imagewww.17k.com75,514.00uses Baidu analyticswww.jjwxc.net71,385.00uses Baidustatic.com resourcesimages.sohu.com67,170.00uses Baidu analyticstw.zhsxs.com65,896.00uses Baidu analyticsm.yy.com62,990.00uses Baidu adswww.4399.com60,630.00uses Baidu adswww.zhibo8.cc57,374.00uses Baidu ads
Appendix B: A Tool for Tracerouting the GC and GFWWe wrote cannon_traceroute.py, a tool that aims to trace the first hop between the user and Baidu at which the GFW and GC are active. As the GC no longer appears to be targeting Baidu traffic, this tool will not detect the GC, but will still detect the GFW. Our tool uses the scapy58 library to first craft raw packets designed to trigger the GC at each hop,59 and to then craft fake flows to trigger the GFW at each hop. An example output for a test:
> sudo ./cannon_traceroute.py 123.125.65.120WARNING: No route found for IPv6 destination :: (no default route?)Sniffer started................................................Great Firewall and Great Cannon traceroute from 192.150.187.17 to 123.125.65.120Traceroute for the Great FirewallHop 1: ICMPs: 192.150.187.1Hop 2: ICMPs: 192.150.187.251Hop 3: ICMPs: 169.229.0.140Hop 4: ICMPs: 128.32.0.80Hop 5: ICMPs: 128.32.0.64Hop 6: ICMPs: 137.164.50.16Hop 7: ICMPs: 137.164.22.7Hop 8: ICMPs: 4.53.16.185Hop 9: *Hop 10: ICMPs: 144.232.19.33Hop 11: ICMPs: 144.232.0.167Hop 12: ICMPs: 144.232.12.211 144.232.12.213 144.232.9.177Hop 13: ICMPs: 144.232.25.78 144.232.7.164Hop 14: ICMPs: 144.232.19.24 144.232.6.104 144.232.6.41 144.232.9.192Hop 15: ICMPs: 144.228.17.98Hop 16: ICMPs: 219.158.102.125Hop 17: ICMPs: 219.158.101.61Hop 18: Firewall ICMPs: 219.158.101.49Hop 19: Firewall ICMPs: 124.65.194.54Hop 20: Firewall ICMPs: 202.106.34.6Hop 21: Firewall ICMPs: 123.125.128.14Traceroute for the Great CannonHop 1: ICMPs: 192.150.187.1Hop 2: ICMPs: 192.150.187.251Hop 3: ICMPs: 169.229.0.140Hop 4: ICMPs: 128.32.0.80Hop 5: ICMPs: 128.32.0.64Hop 6: ICMPs: 137.164.50.16Hop 7: ICMPs: 137.164.22.7Hop 8: ICMPs: 4.53.16.185Hop 9: ICMPs: 4.69.152.144 4.69.152.16 4.69.152.208 4.69.152.80Hop 10: ICMPs: 144.232.19.33Hop 11: ICMPs: 144.232.0.167Hop 12: ICMPs: 144.232.12.211 144.232.12.213 144.232.9.177Hop 13: ICMPs: 144.232.25.78 144.232.7.164Hop 14: ICMPs: 144.232.19.24 144.232.6.104 144.232.6.106 144.232.6.41 144.232.6.43 144.232.9.192Hop 15: ICMPs: 144.228.17.98Hop 16: ICMPs: 219.158.102.125Hop 17: ICMPs: 219.158.101.61Hop 18: Cannon ICMPs: 219.158.101.49Hop 19: Cannon ICMPs: 124.65.194.54Hop 20: Cannon ICMPs: 202.106.34.6Hop 21: Cannon ICMPs: 123.125.128.14In this example, the first hop at which the GC and GFW are active is hop 18, between 219.158.101.69 and 219.158.101.49 (a link apparently belonging to China Unicom).
Appendix C: Selected Related Technical ReportsThe DDoS attack on GreatFire has been described in a range of technical reports.60 This section provides a quick chronology and summary of several recent technical posts and discussions. On March 25, the first official report with technical details, written by an anonymous author, was released by Greatfire.org. This analysis was based on logs collected from one of the attacked sites (d19r410x06nzy6.cloudfront.net) that formed part of GreatFire's infrastructure. The report observed strange timestamps in some of the packets in the logs, which it linked to malicious Javascript code sent when some clients loaded resources from Baidu's servers, including dup.baidustatic.com and ecomcbjs.jomodns.com.
As the attack gained visibility, other researchers contributed analysis. On March 27, Anthr@X did the first analysis61 on the malicious Javascript returned by Baidu, and pointed out that the packets containing the malicious code had different TTLs than the normal, non-malicious Baidu responses. Then, on March 31, NETRESEC62 provided more details on the malicious packets' TTLs, determining that they varied between 30 and 229. On April 1, Robert Graham published a careful and detailed analysis63 indicating that the GFW was injecting these packets. His findings match ours regarding localization of the injector; his report did not delve into the fine-grained workings of the injection that reveal the presence of a separate system from the GFW.
China Is Said to Use Powerful New Weapon to Censor Internet - NYTimes.com
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 18:06
PhotoThe Great Cannon system was used to intercept web and advertising traffic intended for Baidu, China's biggest search engine company, researchers said.Credit ReutersSAN FRANCISCO '-- Late last month, China began flooding American websites with a barrage of Internet traffic in an apparent effort to take out services that allow China's Internet users to view websites otherwise blocked in the country.
Initial security reports suggested that China had crippled the services by exploiting its own Internet filter '-- known as the Great Firewall '-- to redirect overwhelming amounts of traffic to its targets. Now, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Toronto say China did not use the Great Firewall after all, but rather a powerful new weapon that they are calling the Great Cannon.
The Great Cannon, the researchers said in a report published Friday, allows China to intercept foreign web traffic as it flows to Chinese websites, inject malicious code and repurpose the traffic as Beijing sees fit.
The system was used, they said, to intercept web and advertising traffic intended for Baidu '-- China's biggest search engine company '-- and fire it at GitHub, a popular site for programmers, and GreatFire.org, a nonprofit that runs mirror images of sites that are blocked inside China. The attacks against the services continued on Thursday, the researchers said, even though both sites appeared to be operating normally.
PhotoBill Marczak, right, a co-author of the report on a powerful new Chinese cyberweapon, with Morgan Marquis-Boire, a fellow Citizen Lab researcher.Credit Thor Swift for The New York TimesBut the researchers suggested that the system could have more powerful capabilities. With a few tweaks, the Great Cannon could be used to spy on anyone who happens to fetch content hosted on a Chinese computer, even by visiting a non-Chinese website that contains Chinese advertising content.
''The operational deployment of the Great Cannon represents a significant escalation in state-level information control,'' the researchers said in their report. It is, they said, ''the normalization of widespread and public use of an attack tool to enforce censorship.''
The researchers, who have previously done extensive research into government surveillance tools, found that while the infrastructure and code for the attacks bear similarities to the Great Firewall, the attacks came from a separate device. The device has the ability not only to snoop on Internet traffic but also to alter the traffic and direct it '-- on a giant scale '-- to any website, in what is called a ''man in the middle attack.''
China's new Internet weapon, the report says, is similar to one developed and used by the National Security Agency and its British counterpart, GCHQ, a system outlined in classified documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, the former United States intelligence contractor. The American system, according to the documents, which were published by The Intercept, can deploy a system of programs that can intercept web traffic on a mass scale and redirect it to a site of their choosing. The N.S.A. and its partners appear to use the programs for targeted surveillance, whereas China appears to use the Great Cannon for an aggressive form of censorship.
The similarities of the programs may put American officials on awkward footing, the researchers argue in their report. ''This precedent will make it difficult for Western governments to credibly complain about others utilizing similar techniques,'' they write.
Still, the Chinese program illustrates how far officials in Beijing are willing to go to censor Internet content they deem hostile. ''This is just one part of President Xi Jinping's push to gain tighter control over the Internet and remove any challenges to the party,'' said James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic Studies in Washington.
Beijing continues to increase its censorship efforts under its State Internet Information Office, an office created under Mr. Xi to gain tighter control over the Internet within the country and to clamp down on online activism. In a series of recent statements, Lu Wei, China's Internet czar, has called on the international community to respect China's Internet policies.
Sarah McKune, a senior legal adviser at the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto and a co-author of the report, said, ''The position of the Chinese government is that efforts to serve what it views as hostile content inside China's borders is a hostile and provocative act that is a threat to its regime stability and ultimately its national security.''
The attacks also show the extent to which Beijing is willing to sacrifice other national goals, even economic ones, in the name of censorship. Baidu is China's most visited site, receiving an estimated 5.2 million unique visitors from the United States in the past 30 days, according to Alexa, a web ranking service.
Kaiser Kuo, a Baidu spokesman, said that Baidu was not complicit in the attacks and that its own networks had not been breached. But by sweeping up Baidu's would-be visitors in its attacks, researchers and foreign policy experts say, Beijing could harm the company's reputation and market share overseas.
Beijing has recently said that it plans to help Chinese Internet companies extend their influence and customer base abroad. At a meeting of the National People's Congress in China last month, Premier Li Keqiang announced a new ''Internet Plus'' action plan to ''encourage the healthy development of e-commerce, industrial networks and Internet banking and to guide Internet-based companies to increase their presence in the international market.''
Yet the latest censorship offensive could become a major problem for Chinese companies looking to expand overseas. ''They know one of their biggest obstacles is the perception that they are tools of the Chinese government,'' Mr. Lewis said. ''This is going to hurt Baidu's chances of becoming a global competitor.''
Researchers say they were able to trace the Great Cannon to the same physical Internet link as China's Great Firewall and found similarities in the source code of the two initiatives, suggesting that the same authority that operates the Great Firewall is also behind the new cyberweapon.
''Because both the Great Cannon and Great Firewall are operating on the same physical link, we believe they are both being run under the same authority,'' said Bill Marczak, a co-author of the report who is a computer science graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, and a research fellow at Citizen Lab.
Mr. Marczak said researchers' fear is that the state could use its new weapon to attack Internet users, particularly dissidents, without their knowledge. If they make a single request to a server inside China or even visit a non-Chinese website that contains an ad from a Chinese server, the Great Cannon could infect their web communications and those of everyone they communicate with and spy on them.
Ultimately, researchers say, the only way for Internet users and companies to protect themselves will be to encrypt their Internet traffic so that it cannot be intercepted and diverted as it travels to its intended target.
''Put bluntly,'' the researchers said, ''unprotected traffic is not just an opportunity for espionage but a potential attack vector.''
Paul Mozur contributed reporting from Hong Kong.
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Ministry of Truth
Rolling Stone's 'A Rape on Campus.' Notes and comment on Columbia J-school's investigation. >> Pressthink
Mon, 06 Apr 2015 14:59
The key decision Rolling Stone made was made at the beginning: to settle on a narrative '-- indifference to campus rape '-- and go in search of the story that would work just right for that narrative.First, some key links:
Here's the text itself: Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report: An anatomy of a journalistic failure.
The author's apology: Statement From Writer of Rolling Stone Rape Article, Sabrina Erdely.
CJR: Interview with Steve Coll and Sheila Coronel, lead authors of the Columbia report.
New York Times account: Rolling Stone Article on Rape at University of Virginia Failed All Basics, Report Says
Huffington Post's summary. Rolling Stone's UVA Rape Story Was A 'Journalistic Failure' That Could've Been Avoided, Columbia Finds
Poynter.org, The journalism community reacts to the review of 'A Rape On Campus'
Second, a few disclaimers:
The authors, Steve Coll, the dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, Sheila Coronel, dean of academic affairs, and Derek Kravitz, a postgraduate research scholar at Columbia, took this on voluntarily. Rolling Stone did not pay them. They did it as a public service and a gift to the profession of journalism. They did it because they thought it was important. As a journalism professor, I am grateful to them for this work. Thank you!
I teach in a competing program at NYU. Factor that in as you evaluate what I have to say, some of which is critical.
Overall, I think the report is impressively reported and soundly reasoned. It's a hugely valuable record from which journalists and students of journalism will draw lessons for years. I wish we had studies just like it for other big screw-ups, like this one.
My notes and commentary:
1. Asking ''how could this happen?'' is not the same as asking, ''what could have prevented it?'' The authors chose to focus their study on prevention '-- steps not taken that would have avoided disaster '-- rather than tracing those mistakes to their origins, which might include, for example, bad ideas or rotten assumptions. It's a defensible decision, but it does have consequences. These ripple through the report.
2. This is an amazing passage:
Rolling Stone's senior editors are unanimous in the belief that the story's failure does not require them to change their editorial systems. ''It's not like I think we need to overhaul our process, and I don't think we need to necessarily institute a lot of new ways of doing things,'' Dana said. ''We just have to do what we've always done and just make sure we don't make this mistake again.'' Coco McPherson, the fact-checking chief, said, ''I one hundred percent do not think that the policies that we have in place failed. I think decisions were made around those because of the subject matter.''
It's amazing because it leaves Rolling Stone editors with a tautological explanation. How could we have screwed up so badly? Because this time we screwed up really badly. The way to prevent another mistake like this is to make sure we don't make this mistake again. A remarkable conclusion, considering the stakes. To their credit, the authors of the report don't buy this one bit.
3. ''The editors invested Rolling Stone's reputation in a single source,'' says the report. I think they're right. Will Dana, managing editor of Rolling Stone, says they're wrong:
Mr. Dana said he had reached many of the same conclusions as the Columbia report in his own efforts to examine the article, but he disagreed with the report's assertion that the magazine had staked its reputation on the word of one source. ''I think if you take a step back, our reputation rests on a lot more than this one story,'' he said.
The point is not that your reputation accumulated over time rests on one story, but that one story at the wrong time can ruin it. I'd want my managing editor to understand that. Wouldn't you?
4. ''In hindsight,'' the report says, ''the most consequential decision Rolling Stone made was to accept that Erdely had not contacted the three friends who spoke with Jackie on the night she said she was raped. That was the reporting path, if taken, that would have almost certainly led the magazine's editors to change plans.'' What the authors mean is not ''most consequential decision.'' They mean ''easiest route to preventing disaster.'' You were so close! Contact the friends and the story falls apart. That's what they mean.
5. The most consequential decision Rolling Stone made was made at the beginning: to settle on a narrative and go in search of the story that would work just right for that narrative. The key term is emblematic. The report has too little to say about that fateful decision, probably because it's not a breach of procedure but standard procedure in magazine-style journalism. (Should it be?) This is my primary criticism of the Columbia report: it has too little to say about the ''emblem of'...'' problem.
6. Not that it's entirely missing. The basic facts are there:
Erdely said she was searching for a single, emblematic college rape case that would show ''what it's like to be on campus now '... where not only is rape so prevalent but also that there's this pervasive culture of sexual harassment/rape culture,'' according to Erdely's notes of the conversation.
Idea: Maybe ''a single, emblematic college rape case'' does not exist. Maybe the hunt for such was ill-conceived from the start. Maybe that's the wrong way for Rolling Stone to have begun.
7. This is from Paul Farhi's Nov. 28 account in the Washington Post:
So, for six weeks starting in June, Erdely interviewed students from across the country. She talked to people at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. None of those schools felt quite right. But one did: the University of Virginia, a public school, Southern and genteel, brimming with what Erdely calls ''super-smart kids'' and steeped in the legacy of its founder, Thomas Jefferson.
None of those schools felt quite right. What kind of ''feel'' is this? It's feeling for a fit between discovered story and a prior '-- given '-- narrative.
8. ''Mr. Dana said the article stemmed from a feeling he and other senior editors had over summer that the issue of unpunished campus rapes would make a compelling and important story,'' read Ravi Somaiya's Dec. 7 report in the New York Times. There's the prior narrative I mentioned. It didn't start with Sabrina Rubin Erdely. She was sent on a search for where to set it.
9. This is from Erik Wemple's Dec. 5 column for the Post:
Observe how Erdely responded to a question about the accused parties in Jackie's alleged gang rape. In that Slate podcast, when asked who these people were, she responded, ''I don't want to say much about them as individuals but I'll just say that this particular fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi '-- it's really emblematic in a lot of ways of sort of like elitist fraternity culture. It's considered to be a kind of top-tier fraternity at University of Virginia.
I don't want to say much about them as individuals. In fact, she didn't know anything about them ''as individuals'' and never located them '-- a major criticism in the report. Asked about contacting these people, she answers with their fitness as an emblem.
10. It is therefore striking that Erdely's public apology did not extend itself to Phi Kappa Psi. I think it should have.
11. The alternative to starting with a narrative and searching for a campus, a frat and a survivor's story that can serve as your emblem was pointed out by Reason magazine's Robby Soave: Start with a proven case: two former Vanderbilt University football players convicted of gang raping a female student during a night of drinking and drug use. Dig in on that. Then find another and dig in on that. It's true that ''you always try to contact the accused'' is very, very basic to good journalism. But let your reporting drive the narrative, rather than the other way around'-- this is also very basic. Yet it doesn't get framed that way (as a basic error) in the report.
12. Sometimes the Rolling Stone journalists quoted in the Columbia report appear to be saying this was ''Jackie's story.'' It was told from Jackie's point of view, they say. Because it was so powerful, because they found her credible. Then at other times they give the impression that it was not about Jackie at all. It's about the culture of indifference that greets women who try to report rape on college campuses. They could have dropped Jackie and told many other stories, Will Dana says in the report. This is Erdely responding to the Post's nagging questions in December:
''I could address many of [the questions] individually'... but by dwelling on this, you're getting sidetracked,'' she wrote in an e-mail response to The Post's inquiry. ''As I've already told you, the gang-rape scene that leads the story is the alarming account that Jackie '-- a person whom I found to be credible '-- told to me, told her friends, and importantly, what she told the UVA administration, which chose not to act on her allegations in any way '-- i.e., the overarching point of the article. THAT is the story: the culture that greeted her and so many other UVA women I interviewed, who came forward with allegations, only to be met with indifference.''
This was Jackie's story. No, it's about the culture of indifference. How can both be true? If she's the perfect emblem then both are true. This is the belief that overtook the Rolling Stone staff. But what made them vulnerable to that belief?
13. ''Ultimately, we were too deferential to our rape victim; we honored too many of her requests in our reporting,'' says deputy managing editor Sean Woods in the report. This is Rolling Stone's Maginot Line. ''We should have been much tougher, and in not doing that, we maybe did her a disservice.''
Erdely added: ''If this story was going to be about Jackie, I can't think of many things that we would have been able to do differently'... Maybe the discussion should not have been so much about how to accommodate her but should have been about whether she would be in this story at all.'' Erdely's reporting led her to other, adjudicated cases of rape at the university that could have illustrated her narrative, although none was as shocking and dramatic as Jackie's.
Indeed. None was.
14. Part of what made Rolling Stone editors vulnerable to the ''emblem of'...'' problem was some seriously dated thinking about credibility, in which it's said to be sort of like charisma. You have charisma or you don't. You ''have'' credibility or you don't. If a source is felt to be credible, the entire story can ride on that. Your colleagues are credible, so it doesn't occur you to ask if they could all be missing something.
A dramatic high point for this kind of thinking comes during Hannah Rosin's incredible podcast interview with Sabrina Erdely. Rosin asks near the end of it: If you were Jackie's lawyer, how would you prove her case? (Go to 6:35 on this clip and listen.) The author's reply: ''I found her story to be very'-- I found her to be very credible.''
15. It's almost like, if you have credibility you don't need proof. That's an absurd statement, of course, but here's how they got there (without realizing it.) Instead of asking: what have we done in telling Jackie's story to earn the skeptical user's belief? you say: I'm a skeptical journalist, I found her story believable, so will the users. Voil ! Credibility. Will Dana is one of the best editors in New York. Who ''has'' more credibility than him? No one! He finds her story believable. Doesn't that ''give'' it credibility too?
16. Bit by bit the readers get eclipsed from this view. Don't take our word for it, see for yourself: that logic gets eclipsed too. (Don't take her word for it, listen to Jackie's friends talk about the attacks. Rolling Stone dispensed with that.) In fact, credibility isn't like charisma, which you have or don't. It's a transaction between journalists and readers. Readers have to trust, yes, but journalists have to realize that they cannot put too great a strain on the reader's trust. 'A Rape on Campus'' did that, repeatedly. But the journalists involved didn't realize what they were doing. Why not?
I wish the Columbia report, as good as it is, told us more than it does about that. ''How could this happen?'' is harder to answer than ''what would have prevented it?'' But this was our best chance to find out.
(I reserve the right to add to these notes on Monday'....)
Sabrina Rubin Erdely, Writer of Rolling Stone Rape Article, Issues Statement - NYTimes.com
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 07:35
Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the author of a now-discredited article in Rolling Stone magazine about a rape at a University of Virginia fraternity, issued this statement:
''The past few months, since my Rolling Stone article ''A Rape on Campus'' was first called into question, have been among the most painful of my life. Reading the Columbia account of the mistakes and misjudgments in my reporting was a brutal and humbling experience. I want to offer my deepest apologies: to Rolling Stone's readers, to my Rolling Stone editors and colleagues, to the U.V.A. community, and to any victims of sexual assault who may feel fearful as a result of my article.
''Over my 20 years of working as an investigative journalist '-- including at Rolling Stone, a magazine I grew up loving and am honored to work for '-- I have often dealt with sensitive topics and sources. In writing each of these stories I must weigh my compassion against my journalistic duty to find the truth. However, in the case of Jackie and her account of her traumatic rape, I did not go far enough to verify her story. I allowed my concern for Jackie's well-being, my fear of re-traumatizing her, and my confidence in her credibility to take the place of more questioning and more facts. These are mistakes I will not make again.
''Reporting on rape has unique challenges, but the journalist still has the responsibility to get it right. I hope that my mistakes in reporting this story do not silence the voices of victims that need to be heard.''
Statement From University of Virginia PresidentTeresa A. Sullivan, the president of the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, issued a statement late Sunday.
''Rolling Stone's story, 'A Rape on Campus,' did nothing to combat sexual violence, and it damaged serious efforts to address the issue. Irresponsible journalism unjustly damaged the reputations of many innocent individuals and the University of Virginia. Rolling Stone falsely accused some University of Virginia students of heinous, criminal acts, and falsely depicted others as indifferent to the suffering of their classmate. The story portrayed university staff members as manipulative and callous toward victims of sexual assault. Such false depictions reinforce the reluctance sexual assault victims already feel about reporting their experience, lest they be doubted or ignored.
''The Charlottesville Police Department investigation confirms that far from being callous, our staff members are diligent and devoted in supporting and caring for students. I offer our community's genuine gratitude for their devotion and perseverance in their service.
''Sexual violence is a serious issue for our society, and it requires the focus and attention of all in our communities. Long before Rolling Stone published its article, the University of Virginia was working to confront sexual violence. And we will continue to implement substantive reforms to improve culture, prevent violence and respond to acts of violence when they occur. Our highest priority is to ensure the safety of our students so they can learn and achieve their personal potential in an environment of trust and security. We will continue to work tirelessly in pursuit of that goal.''
Inside the Brian Williams Scandal at NBC News | Vanity Fair
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 01:14
Pat Fili-Krushel, Brian Williams, Tom Brokaw, Andy Lack, Deborah Turness, and Steve Burke.
Photo Illustration by Sean McCabe; Photographs by Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images (Logo), Natan Dvir/Polaris (Background), Jennifer Graylock/SIPA USA (Fili-Krushel), Gary He/Insider Images/Polaris (Burke), Matt Rourke/A.P. Images (Brokaw), David Sandison/The Independent/Rex USA (Turness), Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images (Lack), Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage (Williams).
Brian Williams's fabrication was just the latest, and worst, of the debacles that have plagued NBC News since NBCUniversal was bought by Comcast in 2011. Who is to blame?
On the afternoon of Wednesday, February 4, the beleaguered head of NBC News, 47-year-old Deborah Turness, dropped into a chair in her boss's office on the third floor of the network's 30 Rockefeller Plaza headquarters. Her boss, Patricia ''Pat'' Fili-Krushel, oversaw NBC News as well as its cable cousins, CNBC and MSNBC. The two women, both sharp and stylish, were close; Fili, 61, had hired the British-born Turness from a London network 20 months earlier.
It had been a tumultuous period for NBC's news division, as had the entire four years since the Philadelphia cable/phone/Internet giant, Comcast, took over NBCUniversal, as the company is officially known. There was Ann Curry's tearful flameout on Today; David Gregory's long slide to his exit from Meet the Press; the strange firing after less than three months on the job of Jamie Horowitz, an ESPN executive brought in to fix Today; not to mention ratings declines at several of the division's centerpiece shows, including Today and Meet the Press.
But that afternoon, after a long presentation to 200 NBC advertising salespeople, Turness was feeling better than she had in months. When she had been hired she knew she was stepping onto a troubled ship; finally, she felt, the organizational changes she had made were showing results. Meet the Press's ratings were edging up; Nightly News seemed to be stabilizing. ''Things,'' she told Fili, ''feel like they're in a really good place.''
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Her sense of relief, however, lasted mere minutes. As she left Fili's office around 3:30, Turness learned the startling news: the most important person at the network, the face of NBC News, its anchorman Brian Williams, had apparently been exaggerating an anecdote about coming under fire in a U.S. Army helicopter during the Iraq war in 2003. A reporter from the military newspaper Stars and Stripes had called about it that morning. Williams was supposed to talk to him off the record in an effort to determine what the reporter planned to write. Instead, to the dismay of NBC's P.R. staff, Williams had gone on the record and admitted he hadn't been telling the truth, not only on a Nightly News broadcast the previous week but also over the years at public appearances and on talk shows.
Stunned, Turness was still trying to grasp the gravity of the situation when the Stars and Stripes story went online. At that point her biggest concern was the apology Williams was preparing to read to viewers on his broadcast that evening. He was already taping segments as he and Turness began swapping e-mails on its all-important wording. Turness and the other executives who had gotten involved quickly became frustrated, as they would remain for days, with Williams's inability to explain himself. ''He couldn't say the words 'I lied,' '' recalls one NBC insider. ''We could not force his mouth to form the words 'I lied.' He couldn't explain what had happened. [He said,] 'Did something happen to [my] head? Maybe I had a brain tumor, or something in my head?' He just didn't know. We just didn't know. We had no clear sense what had happened. We got the best [apology] we could get.''
And that was a problem. Because the apology Williams read on the air that evening not only failed to limit the damage to his reputation, and to NBC News, its elliptical wording'--''I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago'''--made a bad situation worse, inflaming a crisis that led a week later to Williams's suspension for six months. In early March, Pat Fili became the scandal's second victim, pushed aside to make room for a former NBC News chief, Andrew Lack, whose return, network executives fervently hope, will restore morale and bring some much-needed stability to a news division that desperately needs it. Williams's stunning fall was only the worst of a string of embarrassing episodes that have brought NBC News, long one of the gold standards of television news, to its knees.
Since Comcast took control of NBC, the network's news division'--famously termed Comcast's ''crown jewel'' by C.E.O. Brian Roberts'--has endured one debacle after another. ''When Comcast took over, they had the No. 1 morning show, the No. 1 Sunday show, and the No. 1 evening broadcast,'' says a former top NBC executive. ''That's all completely fallen apart. I don't know how you blame anyone but Comcast and the people it brought in. It's been a nightmare.''
Behind the scenes much of the blame has been laid at the feet of three executives: Turness, a British-trained newcomer to U.S. television; Fili, who had virtually no experience in journalism; and Fili's boss, the steely, driven C.E.O. Comcast installed to run NBCUniversal, Steve Burke. Under Burke the network has done well overall'--its ratings have rebounded from last to first in the coveted 18''49 demographic, and NBCUniversal's profits were up 18 percent last year'--but he and his deputies, their critics charge, time and again proved unable to rein in the news division's high-priced talent. ''News is a very particular thing, NBC is a very particular beast, and Deborah, well, she really doesn't have a fucking clue,'' says a senior NBC executive involved in recent events. ''She's letting the inmates run the asylum. You have kids? Well, if you let them, they'll have ice cream every night. Same thing in TV. If you let the people on air do what they want, whenever they want, this is what happens.''
''Look. Deborah Turness: I have seen no evidence she knows what she's doing, but in fairness, she walked into a complete shitstorm there,'' says a former top NBC executive. ''Today is a horror show. Brian Williams? He didn't give a rat's ass what Deborah Turness says. But this is fundamentally not a Deborah Turness problem. She's just a symptom of the problem'.... This is a Comcast problem.''
Even some of Burke's defenders admit he has only himself to blame for the decline of NBC News. ''Steve has a great track record, and phenomenal DNA, but nobody bats a thousand,'' insists one Burke fan. ''He's done a phenomenal job in so many areas. What he did easing out Leno? Unbelievable. But what you're looking at here is his mistake. Just a huge mistake. I mean, bringing in Pat? Then Deborah? That's like bad food and small portions.''
Officially, in a damage-control mode where almost no one will be interviewed freely and on the record, NBC News declined comment for this article. Unofficially, its loyalists cooperated extensively. While admitting the occasional misstep, they reject the harsh critiques that have trailed in the wake of the Williams scandal, blaming them on a coterie of departed executives, including former NBCUniversal C.E.O. Jeff Zucker and former NBC News chief Steve Capus, who resigned under pressure in 2013. ''We know the people saying these things about us, and we know why,'' one NBC partisan told me. ''Because five years later we are still cleaning up the mess they left behind.''
The Place to BeThe long and storied history of NBC News can be traced from the first nightly television newscast in America, in 1940, through pioneering programs on civil rights to the 1960s-era rise of anchors Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. But Huntley's retirement, in 1970, ushered in a period of lower ratings, and even lower budgets, as the news division suffered a 20-year decline. Ironically, it was perhaps the worst scandal in NBC's history that laid the groundwork for its incredible turnaround.
David Gregory, Steve Capus, and Jeff Zucker.
Photo Illustration by Sean McCabe; Photographs by Richard Drew/A.P. Images (Background), William B. Plowman/NBC NewsWire/Getty Images (Gregory), Charles Sykes/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images (Capus), Susan Walsh/A.P. Images (Zucker).
In November 1992, NBC's newsmagazine show Dateline aired an hour-long segment purporting to show that the gas tanks on certain kinds of General Motors pickup trucks tended to explode on even low-speed impacts. G.M. responded with an investigation of its own that showed that Dateline had rigged the dramatic explosion that was the program's climax by affixing model-rocket engines to a truck's underbody. In the ensuing scandal three Dateline producers were fired and the president of NBC News at the time, Michael Gartner, was forced to resign. Morale hit rock bottom; one NBC executive told The New York Times, ''Some of us feel this place is like Mogadishu before the Marines landed.''
What followed was a housecleaning that allowed a host of young executives and newspeople to come to the fore and, in doing so, set the stage for what would become a kind of golden age for NBC News. All this was overseen by Gartner's replacement, a longtime CBS producer named Andy Lack, who had a sharp eye for talent and the confidence to let the young egos of his producers run free. (Note: Lack's wife, Betsy Kenny Lack, is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. She recused herself from editorial input for this article.) Shortly before Lack came in, a new producer, Neal Shapiro, had taken over Dateline, and under Lack he made it a consistent winner in its time slot. A year earlier, Tim Russert, who'd once served as chief of staff to Senator Pat Moynihan, was given control of the lackluster Meet the Press and turned it into a topical ratings engine and news powerhouse. Most important was the turnaround a twentysomething impresario named Jeff Zucker was able to engineer at the news division's profit center, Today, which in a good year could generate more than $100 million in profit for NBC's then corporate parent, General Electric. After the controversial replacement of Jane Pauley in 1989, Today had fallen into second place, behind Good Morning America. Under Zucker, Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric took it back to No. 1 in 1995, a position it would maintain for the next 17 years, despite the eventual need to transition to new anchors such as Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer.
''Andy Lack's genius was he gave Jeff and Tim and Neal Shapiro the freedom to run,'' says a former NBC News executive who worked closely with everyone involved. ''Over the next 15 years NBC News really became the envy of the broadcast world. Today, Nightly, Meet the Press: they were all No. 1 [in their categories]. And they really did help set the agenda for the national discussion.''
After Lack's departure, to Sony Music Entertainment in 2003, Zucker eventually ascended to take control of NBCUniversal, a position he still held in 2009, when the financial crisis prompted General Electric to streamline its far-flung businesses, a strategy that included selling NBCUniversal to Comcast. NBC News executives had been close to G.E. executives, including C.E.O. Jack Welch, but they soon developed a strong sense that Comcast's top executives, Brian Roberts and Steve Burke, didn't value the art of talent management quite so highly.
''I always thought they lacked an appreciation for dealing with talent,'' says a former NBC executive who worked with Comcast executives during the transition. ''Remember: They come from a cable utility company, where all you do is keep your customers happy and collect the bills at the end of the month. To be honest, you got the sense they couldn't fathom why NBC worried so much about the talent; you know, 'Why are these people worrying so much about what Matt Lauer thinks?' ''
''They didn't believe in talent management,'' says another former executive who worked with Comcast executives. ''I'm telling you '... they just didn't believe that mattered.''
Murmurs that Comcast executives wouldn't genuflect before the NBC News stars were widespread as Steve Burke took control of NBCUniversal in the first weeks of 2011. Burke, the son of the legendary Capital Cities C.E.O. Daniel Burke, was viewed as a highly capable, no-nonsense type who wouldn't be easily swayed by the glamour of television news. ''Just look at Steve Burke's eyes,'' says one NBC executive who worked closely with him. ''He is a cold, calculating guy.''
''Burke actually started out O.K.,'' this executive goes on. ''Matt [Lauer], within a matter of weeks [of Burke's coming], said he did not want to renew his contract. And to Burke's great credit, he built enough of a relationship then with Lauer that Lauer began to feel he could be trusted. And when Burke agreed to his enormous demands, north of $20 million a year, he kept Matt.''
According to one view, the Burke administration's troubles at NBC News can be traced to the Ann Curry episode at Today, a messy situation it inherited from the Zucker regime. Line executives were sharply split over Curry's desire to ascend from newsreader to Lauer's on-air partner. The head of news, Steve Capus, was in favor; Today's executive producer, Jim Bell, and Matt Lauer were wary. Capus prevailed, only to watch Curry's ratings slide. By June 2012, when she memorably and tearfully announced her departure from Today, Capus and Bell were not speaking. ''That's where this whole thing begins to fall apart,'' says the onetime executive. ''Burke was the principal player [who made the decision to demote her], though he hid desperately behind this. Finally he makes a deal for her to go away and then gets cold feet about pushing her to announce it. Despite pleas from everyone, Burke would not push the situation. He just felt uncomfortable doing it, and he wouldn't explain why. Which leads directly to this thing being a national 'Oh, poor Ann Curry' story, which was the furthest thing from the truth.''
The Curry saga convinced Burke that the news division under Steve Capus's direction was broadly dysfunctional. ''The prevailing line from the Comcast people when Steve Capus was in charge was all News needs is a real grown-up in there,'' says a top NBC executive at the time. ''You know, 'These people don't know how to run a business. What they need is organization. Change the structure, business development, better H.R., get some women in there.' I mean, that's verbatim. That was the script.'' Bell was removed from the equation when Burke gave him the Olympics to supervise, but Burke wanted deeper changes. Insiders believe he found the Curry episode so distasteful that he resolved to distance himself from the details of talent management altogether. ''This thing exploded into a soap opera, and let me tell you, it scared the hell out of Steve Burke,'' recalls an executive who met with Burke regularly. ''And that's not a phrase you use about a tough guy like Burke. But I saw it.''
It was then that Burke initiated a corporate reorganization that laid the groundwork for the many problems that followed. In July 2012, Comcast announced NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC were to be combined into an enlarged news division that, to the surprise of many staffers, would be run by Burke's trusted deputy, Patricia Fili-Krushel. ''Burke didn't want to deal with the details of handling talent,'' says another former top NBC executive. ''And he didn't want to deal with MSNBC and CNBC either. So he takes care of everything in one fell swoop. He creates this new news group, throws in MSNBC and CNBC, and gives it all to Pat to run. Problem solved. One group, you know, actually not a bad idea. Putting Pat in charge? Terrible idea.''
Today, in the wake of the Williams fiasco, Pat Fili has emerged as a popular punching bag inside NBC. Fili started her career at ABC as a secretary ''back when they still called them secretaries,'' as one of her friends puts it, during the 1970s; one of her first bosses was Bob Iger, now the heralded chairman of Disney. It was Iger, then a production supervisor, who insisted to his superiors that Fili take his job when he was promoted. (He remains a mentor to her.) ''The thing that most impressed me about Pat is that, in addition to being smart, tough, and knowledgeable, she is an adult,'' says Dick Parsons, former chairman and C.E.O. of Time Warner. ''She always parked her ego at the door and gave her full focus and attention to solving the problem at hand.'' In the ensuing years she climbed the ladder at the network, becoming head of ABC Daytime during the 1990s. It was there that she met Burke, who 15 years later, when he got to NBC, hired her away from Time Warner, where she was supervising human resources, among other areas. That is essentially what Burke initially assigned her to do at NBC. When he named her to oversee news, the one glaring omission on her impressive r(C)sum(C) was anything to do with journalism.
''Pat's a very nice person, smart, very empathetic, but she's in way over her head,'' an admirer told me in February. ''She knows nothing about any of the things she is managing [at NBC].''
''You have to understand something about Comcast,'' says another recently departed NBC executive. ''There's practically no attention paid to actual domain expertise'--like, zero. The fact of the matter is, in certain businesses, certain things matter. If you're going to be made the head of a shoe business, you need to actually know that shoes need to be sourced and designed. In the big corporate vision of NBCU, there's almost no regard for that line of thinking. If you fit into a mold, if you fulfill a loyalty obligation or a don't-make-waves obligation, or if you can just be pegged into the Comcast pegboard, you get to be in charge of stuff. That's Pat.''
By all accounts Steve Capus was less than thrilled to find himself reporting to Fili. When he resigned, six months later, news reports made it sound as if he had been fed up. In fact, NBC partisans say, Capus was pressured to leave, in part because Fili felt he was feuding with just about everyone else who reported to her. But there was another reason for Capus's exit, these insiders say. Though Capus had worked closely with Brian Williams for 15 years, it turns out the anchorman also had a role in his leaving.
War StoriesOne might expect that, in the wake of Williams's suspension, his colleagues would be brimming with stories of other fanciful tales he told. That's not the case. There are a few tales, it's true, but when asked for the unvarnished truth about Williams, the two topics people at NBC News return to again and again are these: his prowess as a bureaucratic infighter and his limited interest in the kind of ''heavy'' news topics and investigative pieces that had long been championed by such NBC stalwarts as Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert.
''What always bothered Tim was Brian's lack of interest in things that mattered most, that were front and center, like politics and world events,'' says a person who knew both men well. ''Brian has very little interest in politics. It's not in his blood. What Brian cares about is logistics, the weather, and planes and trains and helicopters.''
''You know what interested Brian about politics?'' marvels one longtime NBC correspondent, recently departed. ''Brian was obsessed with whether Mitt Romney wore the Mormon underwear.'' (A supporter says that this characterization is unfair and that Williams reads deeply and broadly, especially about history and politics.)
Williams took the anchor chair in December 2004, after a career handling the news at local stations and MSNBC; though he had worked as NBC's chief White House correspondent for two years, he was never a foreign or war correspondent. He was deeply insecure about this, some of his friends believe. These people suggest that his storied broadcasts from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which proved a boon to his ratings, were in part an effort to overcome the perception that he was a journalistic lightweight. In his first years on Nightly News, several colleagues say, Williams's weaknesses were kept in check by other strong figures at the network, from Brokaw and Russert to Capus and a Nightly News executive producer named John Reiss. With the departures of each of these men, especially Russert, who died in 2008, Williams slowly consolidated his power.
'There is NBC News before Tim died and after Tim died,'' says the recently departed correspondent. ''Tim was our soul, our conscience'.... When Tim died, and Brian pushed out John Reiss, there was no one who could influence Brian in a significant way, who could say, 'Goddammit, Brian, you have to do this.' ''
In the years that followed, NBC's two best-known investigative correspondents, Michael Isikoff and Lisa Myers, both left the network, in large part, insiders say, because Williams had little interest in their work. ''By 2007, 2008, Brian was starting to feel his oats a bit,'' says a onetime NBC executive who knows him well. ''It was a bit of a challenge, not huge. Manageable. He was more reluctant to go on difficult assignments. He didn't want to leave New York. Getting him to war zones was real tough '... but when he did go, he came back with these great stories that kind of put himself at the center of things. Then the Comcast crew arrived and everything began to change.''
The venue where several top NBC executives witnessed Williams's efforts at corporate politics firsthand was the 51st-floor executive dining room, which Burke had spruced up and encouraged them to use.
''If Brian could've eaten there eight days a week he would've,'' says another onetime NBC executive. ''He would hold court at some table, with some poor mid-level schmo who didn't know what was going on, and he always seemed to be there when Steve Burke would come in. And [with Burke in earshot], he would make a point of taking someone down a notch. It could be Pat or Steve [Capus] or [P.R. chief] Adam [Miller] or someone else, but over time it got to be Steve Capus a lot. Brian took Steve down. I heard those lunches. I know what he said. He got Burke and Pat Fili very riled up about Steve.''
Capus had a number of issues, including a combative streak and a temper. But those who watched Williams in action think he ''very quickly came to believe that he was the person running the news division, not Capus,'' says one of the former NBC executives quoted above. ''As Capus was kind of dissed more and more to and by Burke and, ultimately, Pat Fili, Brian just saw that as an opportunity to run a truck through the news division and get whatever he wanted. Suddenly he's appearing on all these shows, Jimmy Fallon and 30 Rock and everything else. This spread the idea in Brian's mind that he was this kind of newsman-entertainer. That he was a national raconteur.''
Entertainment NewsFor a while, he was. In fact, as an excellent article by Gabriel Sherman in New York magazine recounted, Williams had long displayed an ambivalence with continuing in the anchor chair. With his abundant charisma and disarming wit, what he truly wanted, it appears, was his own talk show. According to New York, he talked to Steve Burke about succeeding Jay Leno. When Burke refused, Williams reportedly pitched Les Moonves, at CBS, to replace David Letterman, who was soon to retire. Moonves also allegedly declined. Though his appearances on shows such as 30 Rock and Jimmy Fallon successfully repositioned Williams as a good-humored Everyman'--and thus expanded not only his own brand but that of Nightly News'--they were not popular among many of his colleagues.
''He goes on Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon and all that, that's where his heart was, and [at NBC] that's seen as running away from the news division,'' says a former NBC executive.
A Williams partisan disagrees. ''The irony is that the very things people are criticizing Brian for now were the things they loved most about him at the time, the fact that by going on all these shows, with their young audiences, he was building bridges to the younger people who weren't watching network news anymore,'' this person says. ''It was something the previous generation of anchormen, like Brokaw, hadn't been able to do. Brian was doing it.''
After refusing Williams the Leno spot, Steve Burke offered him a consolation prize: his own magazine show, Rock Center, a bid to anchor what he hoped would be the second coming of 60 Minutes. It wasn't. Rock Center debuted in 2011 to tepid reviews and worse ratings. Its journalistic efforts received less notice than its stunt hiring of Chelsea Clinton, whose signature contribution was the interview she did with the Geico Gecko that appeared on the show's Web site.
Rock Center's death came three months after Steve Capus finally resigned under pressure from Pat Fili, in February 2013. (Capus is now executive editor of CBS News.) With Capus gone, however, it was not Williams but Fili who snapped up an opportunity to place her own stamp on NBC News. She launched an ambitious international search for a replacement for Capus. ''I hadn't heard of Deb Turness, but what I heard I liked,'' says a former NBC executive. ''What I heard over and over again was: this is a classic Pat Fili hire, a very expensive, not very protracted global search, with a stellar candidate who nobody has really worked with here, and good for Pat'--she found a great woman, a highly qualified non-white male. Good for Pat. It was bulletproof.''
Or, as it happened, not.
Deborah Turness is a feisty, hard-charging, tabloid-loving British media figure. When Fili came calling, she was the top editor at ITV News in London, where the news programs she supervised consistently humbled rivals at the BBC. A hip, sinewy blonde, she had once been married to a roadie for the Clash and had competed in a Beijing-to-Paris road race. The**New York Times quoted a former colleague, who said she brought ''a bit of rock-chick swagger to a newsroom full of middle-aged men.'' The early reviews, at least publicly, were glowing. Williams called her a ''dynamo.'' NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell says, ''Deborah is very creative, very competitive, and very ambitious in the best sense of the word. I think it's been an impressive retooling.''
Behind the scenes, things weren't going as smoothly. Even NBC loyalists acknowledge that Turness's introduction to the realities of U.S. broadcast news was rocky. ''One thing she didn't really know about was talent management,'' admits an executive who admires Turness. ''I remember early on I asked her how many journalists she had supervised [in London] who made a million dollars a year. She said one. And she didn't understand that you communicate [with the talent] through their agents. Like if [WME co-C.E.O.] Ari Emanuel calls, you have to phone back the same day. So I remember we had to kind of calm Ari down. Once all that was worked out, she caught on fairly quickly.''
Ann Curry, Matt Lauer, and Jamie Horowitz.
Photo Illustration by Sean McCabe; Photographs by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images (Horowitz), Peter Kramer/NBC/NewsWire/Getty Images (Background), Robert Pitts/Landov (Lauer), Anna Webber/WireImage (Curry).
''It was almost unfair to give Deborah this job,'' says one NBC observer. ''She was basically overmatched. From day one, it was difficult, even just managing the daily job. Because it's a big job, it's got a lot of intricate parts to it, and you know she had a rough time with it. She was not terribly accessible. People came out of meetings and said she's overwhelmed.'' One NBC insider terms Turness's early performance ''a hot mess.'' Another adds, ''She was trying to do so much; she was all over the place, like she had A.D.D., and that caused a lot of stress for everyone.''
Turness's presentations were a model of 21st-century media and corporate jargon and synergies. Like Fili an ardent believer in market research, she tasked all her shows with drafting mission statements, ''content plans,'' and ''brand filters,'' which, along with an emphasis on finding ways to ''monetize'' news programming, prompted much eye-rolling among NBC's old-timers. In an effort to drag NBC into the Digital Age'--it has been a notable laggard'--Turness pushed for more digital content and far more cooperation among programs. This all sounds smart enough, but many in the news division didn't appreciate the perception they were behind the times, especially when Turness, in an interview with The New York Times, was quoted saying, ''People in the organization from top to bottom recognized that NBC News hadn't kept up with the times in all sorts of ways, for maybe 15 years. I think the organization had gone to sleep.'' Even Fili and others who backed Turness cringed at the quote, which angered many staffers. ''That didn't help,'' acknowledges one admirer. ''I do think that set her back.''
For all the digital chatter, though, Turness's top priority was stabilizing Today, whose ratings had gone into free fall as many viewers blamed Matt Lauer for the Ann Curry debacle. Turness spent her first six months focused on the show, and in time the ratings drop subsided, and Today settled in at No. 2, behind Good Morning America. At that point, last winter, she turned her attention to Meet the Press, whose ratings under David Gregory had fallen to a 20-year low. The show rarely broke news, and Gregory seemed uncomfortable in the host's chair. Turness led marathon strategy sessions in Washington, spitballing myriad ways to spice up the aging franchise, several of which were later lampooned in a long article in Washingtonian magazine. Among her ideas was bringing in a live audience or celebrity guests or even a band. ''If you could bring in Angelina Jolie to talk about an issue, or George Clooney on the Sudan, that could work,'' an NBC partisan says today. ''She wanted to play a South African song about Nelson Mandela over the credits when Mandela died. That's not crazy.''
As word of Turness's efforts to turn around Meet the Press spread, others at NBC, most notably the political savant Chuck Todd and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, began jockeying to replace Gregory. By last spring blind items to this effect were appearing in so many gossip columns that Fili telephoned Todd's agent and told him to cut it out; the agent denied being involved. Once this all became public, it led to a perception among Turness's critics that she was letting Gregory twist in the wind. When she finally fired him, last summer, it was widely viewed as a mercy killing. ''What she did to David, that's just unforgivable,'' says one Gregory supporter. This criticism, however, misses a central point. By installing Chuck Todd in Gregory's place, Turness may have saved the show. In February, Meet the Press returned, briefly, to No. 1.
Morning SicknessBy then Turness had turned her focus back to Today. She and Fili, wanting some fresh eyes, decided to bring in an outsider to devise a turnaround strategy, a brash 38-year-old ESPN producer named Jamie Horowitz. Last May, in an internal memo announcing his hiring, Turness termed Horowitz ''a visionary leader,'' a bit of a stretch for a young executive known mostly for shepherding two ESPN shows: Keith Olbermann's ESPN2 program and a football show hosted by Colin Cowherd. Some felt Horowitz's hiring was a tacit admission that Turness wasn't up to the task of fixing Today herself. ''Come on!'' barks one critic. ''Anybody with a triple-digit I.Q. who interviews somebody to come in as president of NBC News you ask, 'What are you going to do with the 800-pound gorilla? With Today?' And Deborah's answer was 'You hire Jamie Horowitz!' It was almost like it was Deborah's cry for help. Like if you're overwhelmed and you don't have a lot of confidence or vision, you bring in other people: 'Help me, I'm drowning.' ''
After a protracted negotiation to break his contract at ESPN'--Pat Fili got Bob Iger (Disney owns ESPN) to intervene on NBC's behalf'--Horowitz wasn't allowed to formally start at NBC until December, though he could begin working off the premises in September.
There are two sharply different versions of Horowitz's brief tenure as an executive vice president of NBC News: One offering considerable detail is put forth by NBC partisans; this version paints Horowitz as a cocky, trash-talking loose cannon who avidly leaked to the press. An alternative version suggests that Horowitz was torpedoed by Matt Lauer and his allies at Today, who feared the changes he sought. The truth appears to contain elements of both versions.
As Fili told other executives, her initial inkling of trouble came during Horowitz's first week on the job, in a chat with Williams. As one insider describes it, ''Brian had dinner with Jamie '... [and] Brian says Jamie threw Deborah Turness under the bus on something. I think they were disagreeing on a promo, and Jamie said something like 'If you need help with Deborah, I can handle this for you.' So Pat calls Jamie, like right away, and says, 'So you threw Deborah under the bus with Brian?' And he doesn't even flinch. He denies it. The more Pat thought about it, the madder she got. She called him the next day and said, 'I don't know how it was at ESPN, but it doesn't work that way here. Here, we're a team.' And Jamie's words were 'Message received.' ''
In the following days, loyalists say, both Fili and Turness heard disquieting reports that Horowitz was openly speculating about changes on Today with outside agents and attorneys, generating corrosive rumors. Gossip items began to appear. Turness mentioned her concerns to Fili, who relayed her own to Steve Burke, but, for the moment, Horowitz was allowed to arrange focus groups to study how viewers felt about Today's on-air personalities. Nonetheless every week, the loyalists say, seemed to bring some new issue: Turness grew irked when Horowitz repeatedly refused to attend her daily planning meetings. He told her Matt Lauer was buying into many of his ideas, but when asked Lauer denied it, saying, ''The jury's still out.'' In October, roughly six weeks into Horowitz's tenure, Fili told Burke, according to one insider, ''We need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with Jamie.''
For Turness, NBC partisans say, the final straw came after she and Lauer quietly secured a major interview for Today: the wife of N.F.L. running back Ray Rice, Janay Palmer, whom Rice had infamously punched in the face in an episode that ignited a national debate over spousal abuse. The ''get'' remained secret for several days, sources say, until Horowitz asked a Today producer about it. Hours later, news of the interview appeared on the TMZ sports Web site. In an e-mail, Turness told Horowitz she was ''very unhappy'' about the leak. According to an insider, Horowitz responded, ''I hope you don't think I leaked that.'' Turness replied: ''I don't know what to think.'' (A spokesman for Horowitz says he never leaked any NBC items to other media sources.)
The Rice incident convinced Turness she could no longer trust Horowitz. She told other executives she feared speaking openly in front of him, according to several insiders. This was the situation on Tuesday, November 11, NBC loyalists say, when Horowitz made his long-awaited six-hour presentation to Turness on the changes he envisioned at Today. Working with a white magnetic board, Horowitz urged a half-dozen personnel changes, including the dismissal of Willie Geist and Natalie Morales, grooming his old ESPN pal Josh Elliott to replace Lauer, and beefing up the role of Hoda Kotb, perhaps even having her replace Savannah Guthrie. Turness coolly agreed to take his views under advisement. The very next day the New York Post carried a blind item suggesting Turness was about to be fired. Among the candidates to replace her, it said, was Jamie Horowitz.
Turness had had enough. That Friday morning she summoned Horowitz to her office. ''I don't trust you,'' she told him. ''Nothing that you've proposed is ever going to happen if I don't trust you.'' When Horowitz asked what he could do, Turness replied, ''That's up to you.'' When Turness relayed news of the meeting to Fili, Fili scheduled her own meeting with Horowitz for Monday. But that meeting never happened. It was then, Horowitz's defenders argue, that Matt Lauer intervened to get Horowitz fired. ''That weekend is when Matt went to Pat and Steve Burke and made clear he was not going to let [any of the proposed changes] happen,'' says one. ''He said he wanted to protect the people that were there. He said, in essence, 'This guy has to be stopped.' And Burke and Pat buckled. They gave in to Matt and agreed to fire Jamie.''
NBC loyalists fiercely deny this. ''Completely untrue, 100 percent untrue,'' responds one. ''I understand the theory, but frankly I reject it. Matt did not go to Steve. Ever. Jamie was fired because it was an intolerable situation.'' In fact, another NBC loyalist confirms that Lauer had spoken to Burke, weeks earlier, during one of their regular lunches. Horowitz had run many of his proposed changes by Lauer, and Lauer told Burke he had ''deep concerns.'' ''Jamie ran into Matt Lauer'--it's as simple as that,'' says one longtime NBC observer. ''Don't believe anything else.''
Whatever happened that weekend, the final blow landed on Monday morning, when a reporter for Us Weekly called for comment on a report that Horowitz wanted to fire Savannah Guthrie. Turness was apoplectic. ''We have to fire him'--today,'' Turness told Fili, who agreed. Turness called him in, fired him, then was obliged to issue an embarrassing press release denying all the rumors of imminent change at Today. The upshot of the whole episode was that whatever changes she wanted to make she now couldn't.
The Horowitz incident was a very public embarrassment, but because no one involved seemed eager to discuss it, it soon disappeared from the headlines. Not so the extraordinary situation that beset Brian Williams.
Coming Under FireA hint of the trouble to come, and of the tensions among the marquee players, was on display at a charity gala in Greenwich, Connecticut, the week before Horowitz's firing. The evening honored Tom Brokaw's work for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, which helps fight a cancer from which Brokaw suffers. ''The lowest of lows had to be that dinner,'' says one former NBC executive. ''It was a huge deal for Tom. The world turned out. Tom was devastated to find out that Pat Fili, who is just so blind to the relationships and what really went on, told the people putting on the dinner that it would be great to have Brian introduce Tom. That was the last thing Tom wanted. And then Brian started off telling stories. He told the Berlin Wall story. Well, this sent Tom into spasms of anger.''
The ''Berlin Wall story'' was one Williams has long told'--and apparently embellished'--about the time he and Brokaw visited the Berlin Wall, in 1989. ''This is the perfect example of what Brian does,'' says a former NBC executive who worked closely with Williams for years. ''He will say, and I've heard this a hundred times, 'When Tom and I were at the Berlin Wall '... ' O.K., so when he tells that story, he kind of implies that when the wall fell he was there with Tom. But he wasn't. He was there the next day. It wasn't malicious'--it's just Brian being Brian. It's the part of Brian's personality that bothers Tom the most.''
This executive long believed that Williams's penchant for embellishment was a function of his insecurity when it came to Brokaw, but that it was all essentially harmless. ''I always felt he needed to jack up his stories because he was trying so hard to overcome his insecurities,'' this executive says. ''And he had to follow Tom, which brought its own set of insecurities. He likes to sort of tell these grandiose tales. But, can I tell you, in all the years we worked together, it never rose to the point where we said, 'Oh, there he goes again.' I just saw it as one of the quirks of his personality.'' It was a quirk, however, that incensed Brokaw, who is still thought highly of inside the news division. ''Tom treated that anchor chair as a public trust,'' says one former correspondent. ''He really was our Walter Cronkite.''
''Tom and Brian,'' one longtime friend of both men says with a sigh, ''that was never a good relationship. Tom pushed for him to get that job. But Brian never embraced Tom. And I don't know why'.... He knows the rank and file will never love him like they did Tom, so he never tries. That's the reason there's not a lot of support for Brian over there.'' An industry insider adds, ''There is also a lot of envy of Williams's movie-star good looks, his long happy marriage to a wonderful woman, great kids, and he's paid millions to read a thousand words five times a week from a teleprompter.''
None of this'--not the ill will between Brokaw and Williams, certainly not Williams's penchant for embellishment'--registered on Turness's or Fili's radar as they belatedly turned their attention to Nightly News last fall. For much of Turness's tenure she hadn't needed to tread on Williams's turf; his show was No. 1 in the ratings, and other shows demanded her attention. The two had a relationship that friends describe as cordial but not close. At Matt Lauer's suggestion, Turness gave Williams one of Edward R. Murrow's old desks as a present on his 10th anniversary in the anchor chair, in December. Williams accepted it graciously, though one suspects the multi-million-dollar contract (reportedly up to $10 million a year) NBC offered was even more welcome. The new contract was a vote of confidence in Williams at a time he was facing his first serious ratings challenge in years, from a 41-year-old newcomer named David Muir, who had taken over ABC News's nightly broadcast.
A month later, on an unremarkable Friday evening in late January, Williams ended his broadcast by thanking a soldier whom he had taken to a hockey game at Madison Square Garden and who, he said, had been among those who had come to his rescue when a helicopter he was on came under rocket attack in Iraq in 2003. Turness saw the story and liked it, terming it ''very sweet.'' What she liked even more, she told one listener, was its performance once it was posted to Facebook, which she called ''extremely good.''
As the world now knows, the story was not accurate; Williams had been on a helicopter that came upon the damaged chopper about an hour later. As it happened, a pilot involved in the incident saw the broadcast and that evening wrote a Facebook post insisting Williams's version couldn't be true. When Williams learned of the claim, which was subsequently seconded by several other soldiers, he did not tell Turness or Pat Fili, even though he and Fili had lunch the following Tuesday.
By then, a Stars and Stripes reporter named Travis Tritten had been tipped off to the exchange. On Tuesday he spent the day talking to five former soldiers, all of whom said Williams's helicopter had not in fact come under fire. Wednesday morning Tritten called NBC.
''They found out about this from a reporter! Amazing!'' seethes a onetime NBC executive. A former NBC correspondent marvels that Williams did not tell Turness or Fili: ''The very fact they only learned about it that day tells you they had no relationship with [their stars].''
Even after Turness learned of the situation, that afternoon, she remained only peripherally involved in drafting the apology. ''Believe me, if Zucker had been there, someone like Allison Gollust [a longtime NBC News P.R. chief, now at CNN] would've been sitting with him for days working out the wording of this apology. The lack of a relationship with Turness played a huge role in how this played out. Because it was the apology that caused the problem, not the crime itself.''
Steve Burke learned of things only after the apology broadcast. Even then the enormity of Williams's gaffes had yet to sink in. According to insiders, it wasn't until someone found a video clip of Williams telling a version of the same story on David Letterman's show in 2013 that Turness and Fili realized how much trouble Williams was in. ''When we watched the Letterman clip, [the reaction was] horror, absolute horror,'' says one insider. ''You could tell this was going to be very bad. It put us into a whole new universe.''
Thursday morning Burke convened a crisis group, including Turness and Fili, that he said would meet twice a day at his Upper West Side apartment. Its first priority was unearthing the truth about what had happened in 2003. Williams himself, they soon realized, would be of little help. He appeared shell-shocked. ''He was having a tough enough time coming to grips with the idea that he had gotten it wrong in the first place, slash misrepresented it, slash lied,'' recalls one insider. ''He wasn't anywhere in the ballpark of being helpful about what happened 12 years ago.''
''You talked to Brian, and he said, 'I slept two nights under the wing of that helicopter, looking up through the hole in the wing [from the rocket fire],' '' one insider recalls. ''There was a sandstorm, and somehow, in the process, he said, he must have come to believe he had been on the helicopter. Later, his wife [Jane] tried to explain. She said he put things in boxes [in his mind]. He would only talk about what was in those boxes on-camera.'' This insider stops and sighs. ''You're not going to get clarity, because the people who might understand what happened don't understand.''
Turness asked Richard Esposito, who had been hired away from ABC in 2013 to be NBC's senior executive producer of the investigative unit, to convene a group to examine the facts of the helicopter incident, as well as those of other possible Williams embellishments popping up online, from his sight of a dead body floating through the French Quarter during Hurricane Katrina to stories he told of hobnobbing with members of the navy's SEAL Team Six.
That Friday, with the story still dominating national headlines, Williams quietly told Burke he was willing to leave his broadcast until the matter could be cleared up. Williams's agent and lawyer, the respected Bob Barnett, suggested they table the discussion until the weekend. ''Everybody was sort of heartbroken for Brian,'' says one loyalist. ''It was terrible for the company, yes, but it was just awful for him. It was one of the fastest falls I can remember seeing. There was a little bit of shell shock. What we decided to do was we needed the weekend to come. We needed some distance.''
Saturday morning all the NBC brass but Burke met with Williams and Barnett at the anchorman's 58th Street apartment. The sense of the group was that Williams had no choice but to step aside, and Williams, to his credit, made no efforts to fight back. The next day, Sunday, Burke convened an all-day meeting of the crisis group back at his apartment. They began with a 45-minute presentation from Esposito on his preliminary findings.
''At that moment Brian assumed he was coming back in a week, four days'--something,'' says a person who was at the meeting. ''Esposito took a perfunctory look at all this stuff [coming in] over the transom, and his clear sense was all this other stuff couldn't be easily dismissed. Our judgment was there was no way we could bring Brian back quickly and be able to categorically deny and prove wrong all of these [other] things in the near term.''
By nightfall the group agreed that a suspension was in order, probably for six months, a period that would, if nothing else, give them time to study the extent of Williams's transgressions. Afterward, Burke took the time to confer with Brokaw, who had canceled a Caribbean vacation to be available. ''Tom will never say this for the record, but I've talked to him about this, and I can tell you for a fact Tom is livid about this,'' says a friend. ''Tom didn't push Brian out, but he didn't try to save him, either.''
Burke reconvened the crisis group for one final meeting in his conference room the next day, found everyone still in agreement on the six-month suspension, and e-mailed Williams to come to his apartment the next morning, Tuesday. The two men met there alone. ''It was sad but amicable, no harsh words,'' says the NBC partisan. ''Steve told him it would be six months, and Brian accepted that. Was there pushback? It wasn't available, to be honest. Steve basically said to Brian, 'This is what we're going to do, and we're not going to discuss it. If you want to come back, this is what it will take.' ''
Publicly, at least, that was the end of it. Behind the scenes, a number of Williams's closest friends have lobbied hard that he be allowed to return to Nightly News after his suspension. The Esposito investigation, however, is ongoing, and people who have spoken to Esposito say his group has compiled a number of other incidents that, taken as a whole, paint a portrait of Williams as a man who has consistently burnished his stories. While he has accepted responsibility for his actions, friends say, Williams is bitter, especially at those who he believes might have saved him.
''I talked to Brian about this,'' says one friend, ''and I'll never forget what he said at the end. He said, 'Chalk one up for Brokaw.' ''
Williams's future, NBC insiders insist, remains up in the air. He and Andy Lack are close friends, leading to widespread speculation that Lack will reinstate him once his suspension is complete. But people close to Lack say nothing has yet been decided. Many NBC observers simply can't imagine a network anchorman ever returning to his former position after being exposed as Williams has. The most Machiavellian scenario, floated by an NBC partisan, is that Jeff Zucker, whose distaste for Comcast executives is well known, has fanned the flames of controversy so that he can eventually snare Williams for CNN'--not as a newsman but as the long-sought replacement for Larry King. ''That's the perfect solution,'' a source says. ''Zucker gets a star, and Brian gets the talk show he always wanted.''
Another NBC partisan points out that Comcast is simply suffering much the same pain General Electric did in the late 1980s in purchasing a news division it knew little about managing, suffering a scandal as a result (the Dateline truck incident for G.E.), and then cleaning house and bringing in Lack to fix it. ''Don't you see?'' this person says. ''It's all happening again, just 20 years later.''
For more high-profile interviews, stunning photography, and thought-provoking features, subscribe now toVanity Fairmagazine.
Out There
Really now! NASA promises 'definitive evidence' of alien life by 2025
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 16:28
(C) NASA/JPL-CaltechSimulated View from Europa's Surface (Artist's Concept)
We are on the cusp of discovering alien civilizations, NASA's top scientists have said. They predict we're one generation away from finding something in our Milky Way neighborhood, which is bustling with environments conducive to life.Making their comments at a panel discussion Tuesday, the space scientists predict that the first discoveries will come within a decade. Chief scientist Ellen Stofan believes we'll have "definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years," as "in most cases we have the technology, and we're on a path to implementing it. And so I think we're definitely on the road."
"I think we're one generation away in our solar system, where it's on an icy moon or on Mars, and one generation [away] on a planet around a nearby star," former astronaut John Grunsfeld said at the session.
NASA has made huge strides in both spotting distant worlds and analyzing their chemical composition. Stofan said: "We know where to look." Indeed, the Kepler mission has found no shortage of rocks that could support life, while icy moons in our own galaxy have long been suspected to hold incredible secrets beneath their own crust - among them Jupiter's enigmatic moons - especially Europa, where a gargantuan body of water rages beneath the thin surface and water vapors are literally sprayed 200 km upward, giving clues to life-supporting minerals beneath. This while Ganymede is thought to have more water than all of Earth's oceans combined.
The same can be said of Saturn's satellite Enceladus.
Scientists found evidence to suggest that, like our more distant galactic neighbors, Mars also harbored entire oceans, the cracks and scars on its surface appearing to be made by raging water currents full of salt. All of this makes the Milky Way quite "a soggy place,"according to the director of NASA's Astrophysics Division, Paul Hertz.
"We can see water in the interstellar clouds from which planetary systems and stellar systems form," he says. "We can see water in the disks of debris that are going to become planetary systems around other stars, and we can even see comets being dissipated in other solar systems as [their] star evaporates them."
The Mars rover Curiosity, stationed on the Red Planet, continues to dazzle scientists with intriguing new finds. Just two weeks ago, it discovered organic molecules containing carbon and "fixed" nitrogen - elements central to all known life.
The Kepler mission's overwhelming success has also been a godsend - its lens measuring the tiniest changes in the light intensity of a star, as a planet passes by it. With its robotic eye, it showed us that life and rocky worlds should be far more common in our galaxy than the likes of gassy Saturn and Jupiter.
Numerous advances in both technology and our ability to implement it mean we are also accelerating the pace. One US company has just been given a grant for its plasma rocket to reach Mars in just 39 days, while NASA itself is already hard at work on developing a new Mars lander that resembles a saucer and promises to make it possible to "safely land heavier spacecraft" on alien planets.
Humanity is facing two separate challenges in space: one is finding signs of intelligent life, the other is identifying potentially habitable environments. While one may rush to tie the two together, the latter is a considerably easier proposition to make.
Stofan is all but certain the manned mission to Mars will emerge with spectacular discoveries: "I'm a field geologist; I go out and break open rocks and look for fossils," she said. "Those are hard to find. So I have a bias that it's eventually going to take humans on the surface of Mars '-- field geologists, astrobiologists, chemists '-- actually out there looking for that good evidence of life that we can bring back to Earth for all the scientists to argue about."
Europa will see us much sooner than that. As soon as 2022, our $2.1 billion will get to work on probing the mysteries of its oceans. And then there are the water vapors, spotted in the region next to the southern pole.
These discoveries are accompanied by huge strides in lens technologies NASA says will be central to finding alien life within two decades. Already there are several contenders for the next King of telescopes, their tech specs threatening to leave the famed Hubble far behind; among them the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which cost the space agency a fat $8.8 billion. The technology onboard is strong enough to peer at distant 'super-Earths' and analyze the possible chemical composition of those worlds, the gasses they spew out being strong indicators of life.
For direct signs, however, we still need to take good old photos of the rocks, according to Hertz. That is why NASA is hard at work on the next generation of telescopes - one that will feature a coronograph. The device is invaluable for blocking out the glare of the host stars of the exoplanets, giving us a clear view of the celestial bodies. It's set to launch sometime in the mid-2020s.
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-Sen. McCain Concerned About 'Unpredictability of This Overweight Young Man in North Korea' | MRCTV
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:19
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VIDEO-UN Secretary General to Visit Vatican to Discuss Climate Change | MRCTV
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:10
In a speech at the National Press Club on Thursday, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that he will visit the Vatican later this month to meet with Pope Francis to discuss common concerns, "including the encyclical on the environment that he plans to issue in the month ahead."
VIDEO-Harvey Keitel on Hillary: 'She Deserves the Job If She Wants It. And Let's Help Her' | MRCTV
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:04
An early Hollywood endorsement for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign. For Thursday's With All Due Respect on Bloomberg TV, a staffer quizzed celebrities at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City about their opinion of the hospital sign-like Hillary campaign logo and prompted actor Harvey Keitel's endorsement.
He trumpeted: ''She deserves the job if she wants it. And let's help her.''
>> This video clipped to illustrate a post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog
VIDEO-ISIS motorbike bomber kills 33 at bank in Afghanistan - CNN.com
Sun, 19 Apr 2015 12:38
65 photos
A member of the Afghan security forces stands at the site where a suicide bomber on a motorbike blew himself up in front of the Kabul Bank in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on Saturday, April 18. The ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack. The explosion killed at least 33 people and injured more than 100 others, public health spokesman Najibullah Kamawal said.
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Iraqi counterterrorism forces patrol in Ramadi, Iraq, on April 18. Iraqi special forces maintained control of the provincial capital after days of intense clashes with ISIS left the city at risk.
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Thousands of Iraqis cross a bridge over the Euphrates River to Baghdad, as they flee Ramadi, Iraq, on Friday, April 17. The city of Ramadi has been embroiled in clashes with ISIS militants.
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People leave their hometown of Ramadi on April 15. ISIS' offensive in Ramadi shows its resilience despite months of U.S.-led airstrikes and its recent defeat in the northern city of Tikrit.
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Security forces arrive to Ramadi to join the battle against ISIS on April 15. The aim of the ISIS militant group is to create an Islamic state across Sunni areas of Iraq and Syria.
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Kurdish Peshmerga forces help Yazidis as they arrive at a medical center in Altun Kupri, Iraq, on April 8.
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A Yazidi woman mourns for the death of her husband and children by ISIS after being released south of Kirkuk on April 8.
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Security forces in Tikrit chant slogans against the ISIS militant group on Friday, April 3. They had just reopened the main gate of their base, which was closed for months while ISIS occupied the city.
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People in Tikrit inspect what used to be a palace of former President Saddam Hussein on April 3.
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A member of Iraq's security forces beats a suspected ISIS member who was captured in Tikrit on Wednesday, April 1.
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On April 1, Shiite militiamen celebrate the retaking of Tikrit, which had been under ISIS control since June. The push into Tikrit came days after U.S.-led airstrikes targeted ISIS bases around the city.
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Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen prepare to attack ISIS militants in Tikrit on Tuesday, March 31. Ousting ISIS from Tikrit was an important step for the coalition, which is trying to thwart the extremist group's quest to grow its caliphate.
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Iraqi security forces launch a rocket against ISIS positions in Tikrit on Monday, March 30.
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An Iraqi soldier searches for ISIS fighters in Tikrit on March 30.
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Smoke billows after a mortar shell hit an Anbar governorate building in Ramadi, Iraq, on Wednesday, March 11. ISIS launched a coordinated attack on government-held areas of the western Iraqi city.
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Iraqi Shiite fighters cover their ears as a rocket is launched during a clash with ISIS militants in the town of Al-Alam, Iraq, on Monday, March 9.
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Displaced Assyrian women who fled their homes due to ISIS attacks pray at a church on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, on Sunday, March 1. ISIS militants recently abducted at least 220 Assyrians in Syria.
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A Kurdish marksman looks over a destroyed area of Kobani on Friday, January 30, after the city had been liberated from the ISIS militant group. The Syrian city, also known as Ayn al-Arab, had been under assault by ISIS since mid-September.
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Smoke billows in Kirkuk as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters take position against ISIS militants on January 30.
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Kurdish people celebrate in Suruc, Turkey, near the Turkish-Syrian border, after ISIS militants were expelled from Kobani on Tuesday, January 27.
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Collapsed buildings are seen in Kobani on January 27 after Kurdish forces took control of the town from ISIS.
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Junko Ishido, mother of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, reacts during a news conference in Tokyo on Friday, January 23. ISIS would later kill Goto and another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa.
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ISIS militants are seen through a rifle's scope during clashes with Peshmerga fighters in Mosul, Iraq, on Wednesday, January 21.
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An elderly Yazidi man arrives in Kirkuk after being released by ISIS on Saturday, January 17. The militant group released about 200 Yazidis who were held captive for five months in Iraq. Almost all of the freed prisoners were in poor health and bore signs of abuse and neglect, Kurdish officials said.
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Smoke billows behind an ISIS sign during an Iraqi military operation to regain control of the town of Sadiyah, about 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, on Tuesday, November 25.
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Fighters from the Free Syrian Army and the Kurdish People's Protection Units join forces to fight ISIS in Kobani on Wednesday, November 19.
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A picture taken from Turkey shows smoke rising after ISIS militants fired mortar shells toward an area controlled by Syrian Kurdish fighters near Kobani on Monday, November 3.
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Iraqi special forces search a house in Jurf al-Sakhar, Iraq, on Thursday, October 30, after retaking the area from ISIS.
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ISIS militants stand near the site of an airstrike near the Turkey-Syria border on Thursday, October 23. The United States and several Arab nations have been bombing ISIS targets in Syria to take out the militant group's ability to command, train and resupply its fighters.
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Kurdish fighters walk to positions as they combat ISIS forces in Kobani on Sunday, October 19.
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A U.S. Air Force plane flies above Kobani on Saturday, October 18.
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Heavy smoke rises in Kobani following an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition on October 18.
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Cundi Minaz, a female Kurdish fighter, is buried in a cemetery in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc on Tuesday, October 14. Minaz was reportedly killed during clashes with ISIS militants in nearby Kobani.
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Turkish police officers secure a basketball stadium in Suruc on October 14. Some Syrian Kurds were held there after crossing from Syria into Turkey. Tens of thousands of people fled Kobani to escape ISIS.
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Kiymet Ergun, a Syrian Kurd, celebrates in Mursitpinar, Turkey, after an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition in Kobani on Monday, October 13.
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Alleged ISIS militants stand next to an ISIS flag atop a hill in Kobani on Monday, October 6.
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In this photo released by the U.S. Air Force on Saturday, October 4, a U.S. Navy jet is refueled in Iraqi airspace after conducting an airstrike against ISIS militants.
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A Kurdish Peshmerga soldier who was wounded in a battle with ISIS is wheeled to the Zakho Emergency Hospital in Duhuk, Iraq, on Tuesday, September 30.
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Syrian Kurds wait near a border crossing in Suruc as they wait to return to their homes in Kobani on Sunday, September 28.
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Tomahawk missiles, intended for ISIS targets in Syria, fly above the Persian Gulf after being fired by the USS Philippine Sea in this image released by the U.S. Navy on Tuesday, September 23.
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Syrian Kurds fleeing ISIS militants wait behind a fence in Suruc on Sunday, September 21.
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A elderly man is carried after crossing the Syria-Turkey border near Suruc on Saturday, September 20.
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A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter launches mortar shells toward ISIS militants in Zumar, Iraq, on Monday, September 15.
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Kurdish Peshmerga fighters fire at ISIS militant positions from their position on the top of Mount Zardak, east of Mosul, Iraq, on Tuesday, September 9.
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Kurdish Peshmerga forces stand guard at their position in the Omar Khaled village west of Mosul on Sunday, August 24.
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Kurdish Peshmergas fight to regain control of the town of Celavle, in Iraq's Diyala province, on August 24.
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Displaced Iraqis receive clothes from a charity at a refugee camp near Feeshkhabour, Iraq, on Tuesday, August 19.
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Peshmerga fighters inspect the remains of a car that reportedly belonged to ISIS militants and was targeted by a U.S. airstrike in the village of Baqufa, north of Mosul, on August 18.
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Kurdish Peshmerga fighters fire at ISIS in Khazair, Iraq, on Thursday, August 14.
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Aziza Hamid, a 15-year-old Iraqi girl, cries for her father while she and some other Yazidi people are flown to safety Monday, August 11, after a dramatic rescue operation at Iraq's Mount Sinjar. A CNN crew was on the flight, which took diapers, milk, water and food to the site where as many as 70,000 people were trapped by ISIS. But only a few of them were able to fly back on the helicopter with the Iraqi Air Force and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.
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Thousands of Yazidis are escorted to safety by Kurdish Peshmerga forces and a People's Protection Unit in Mosul on Saturday, August 9.
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Thousands of Yazidi and Christian people flee Mosul on Wednesday, August 6, after the latest wave of ISIS advances.
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A Baiji oil refinery burns after an alleged ISIS attack in northern Selahaddin, Iraq, on Thursday, July 31.
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A Syrian rebel fighter lies on a stretcher at a makeshift hospital in Douma, Syria, on Wednesday, July 9. He was reportedly injured while fighting ISIS militants.
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New army recruits gather in Najaf, Iraq, on Wednesday, June 18, following a call for Iraqis to take up arms against Islamic militant fighters.
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Kurdish Peshmerga forces, along with Iraqi special forces, deploy their troops and armored vehicles outside of Kirkuk, Iraq, on June 12.
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Children stand next to a burnt vehicle during clashes between Iraqi security forces and ISIS militants in Mosul on Tuesday, June 10.
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Civilians from Mosul escape to a refugee camp near Irbil, Iraq, on June 10.
VIDEO-Weekly Address: Climate Change Can No Longer Be Ignored | The White House
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:45
April 18, 2015 | 3:18 | Public Domain
In this week's address, the President spoke about his commitment to combatting the threat of climate change and to keeping ourselves and future generations safe. April 18, 2015.
Download mp4 (122MB) | mp3 (7MB)
VIDEO-Tech Meetup at the White House | The White House
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:32
April 17, 2015 | 36:56 | Public Domain
The White House hosts local leaders from all across our ''Innovation Nation'' at the first-ever White House Tech Meetup. April 17, 2015.
Download mp4 (1393MB) | mp3 (89MB)
VIDEO-America Rising Releases New Hillary Video: 'Trustworthy?'
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 06:55
Expose ObamaHigh CTRNewsOriginalsTop StoriesVideos
Highlighting Benghazi, Hillary Clinton's email scandal, and more.
Tom Hinchey April 16, 2015 at 5:21pm
This ad by America Rising highlights Benghazi, Hillary Clinton's email scandal, the debunked tale of the former first lady arriving under sniper fire in Bosnia, and other scandals.
About the author: Tom HincheyTags: Benghazi, Emailgate, Hillary Clinton, Russia, Ukraine
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VIDEO-John Kerry Drops A Truth Bomb On Republicans About Hillary Clinton's Sec. Of State Record
Sat, 18 Apr 2015 06:13
Sec. of State John Kerry is staying out of partisan politics, but when asked about Hillary Clinton's record as Secretary of State, he dropped some truth on Republicans.
Video:
ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos
Transcript via ABC's This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know, your predecessor, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announcing for president today. And already, her tenure as secretary of state is in the crosshairs.
Marco Rubio is calling her the architect of a failed foreign policy. Ted Cruz, ''the Obama-Clinton foreign policy disaster.'' Jeb Bush says, ''It's a mess.''
You said you had big heels to fill when you took the job.
What's your response to these critiques?
KERRY: Well, George, as you know, the secretary of state happily is able to not be involved in the presidential hurly-burly. I'm not going to get involved in it now.
It's important for me to be able to speak to both sides of the aisle and talk about our foreign policy without being involved in partisan politics.
And so I'm not going to get involved in it now.
But I will say that Secretary of State Clinton did a terrific job of rebuilding alliances that had been shredded over the course of the prior years. She spent a lot of time, as you know, working on a number of different issues, including the beginning of the effort with Iran, as well as the Gaza cease-fire and other things.
She will defend, I know, her own record for herself. It's not my job to do it.
But I wish her well in this race and I look forward to being able to stay well away from it.
The fact is that under the last Republican president, America managed to alienate or anger most of the world. George W. Bush's go it alone, with us or against us foreign policy burned the vast majority of the country's diplomatic alliances. Hillary Clinton was tasked with rebuilding those relationships.
If Republicans want to make the presidential campaign about former Sec. Clinton's record, they are going to regret opening that door. It is easy to remind voters of foreign policy chaos and tatters that were left behind after the last Republican named Bush was in office.
John Kerry didn't get partisan in his comments, but he didn't have to. The facts are more than enough. Republicans want to obsess over the Benghazi scandal while actively undermining and poisoning the work that the Obama administration is doing. Republicans want voters to believe that Obama's foreign policy, and by extension Hillary Clinton's, are failures.
Sec. of State Kerry demonstrated why this gambit will fail.
Reality: 1 Republican attacks on Clinton's time as Sec. of State: 0.
VIDEO-President Obama Meets with West African Leaders to Discuss the Ebola Outbreak | The White House
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 21:10
April 15, 2015 | 3:24 | Public Domain
President Obama speaks before meeting with the heads of West African countries to discuss the progress we've made on the Ebola outbreak. April 15, 2015.
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VIDEO-After 2 kids found in freezer, bill proposed to check in on home - Fox 2 News Headlines
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:01
After 2 kids found in freezer, bill proposed to check in on homeschooling familiesAfter 2 kids found in freezer, bill proposed to check in on homeschooling familiesUpdated:Friday, April 17 2015 12:29 PM EDT2015-04-17 16:29:42 GMT
Officials from the state of Michigan and Detroit are proposing a new bill that would more closely monitor households that homeschool.
Officials from the state of Michigan and Detroit are proposing a new bill that would more closely monitor households that homeschool.
Funeral services to be held for 2 siblings found in freezerFuneral services to be held for 2 siblings found in freezerUpdated:Monday, April 13 2015 8:51 AM EDT2015-04-13 12:51:32 GMT
Funeral services will be held Monday for two siblings found murdered and kept in a deep freezer in their home.
Funeral services will be held Monday for two siblings found murdered and kept in a deep freezer in their home.
Mother of children found in freezer escorted after court outburst (UPDATED)Mother of children found in freezer escorted after court outburst (UPDATED)Updated:Wednesday, April 8 2015 5:21 PM EDT2015-04-08 21:21:07 GMT
The Detroit mother charged with murdering two of her four children and keeping their bodies in a freezer was removed from court Wednesday after an outburst during a custody hearing. The judge allowed both fathers to have supervised visitation with their children until a June trial date - despite Mitchelle Blair's objections.
The Detroit mother charged with murdering two of her four children and keeping their bodies in a freezer was removed from court Wednesday after an outburst during a custody hearing. The judge allowed both fathers to have supervised visitation with their children until a June trial date - despite Mitchelle Blair's objections.
Two psychiatric evaluations ordered for mother of children found in freezerTwo psychiatric evaluations ordered for mother of children found in freezerUpdated:Thursday, April 2 2015 11:57 AM EDT2015-04-02 15:57:46 GMT
A not-guilty plea was entered Thursday morning for the mother accused of murdering her two children and keeping their bodies in a freezer.
A not-guilty plea was entered Thursday morning for the mother accused of murdering her two children and keeping their bodies in a freezer.
Charges amended to murder for Detroit mom whose kids were found in freezerCharges amended to murder for Detroit mom whose kids were found in freezerUpdated:Wednesday, April 1 2015 5:06 PM EDT2015-04-01 21:06:44 GMT
The mom accused of killing her two children and putting them in a freezer in a Detroit townhome will be charged with murder.
The mom accused of killing her two children and putting them in a freezer in a Detroit townhome will be charged with murder.
Community rallies for families of children found in freezerCommunity rallies for families of children found in freezerUpdated:Friday, March 27 2015 10:39 PM EDT2015-03-28 02:39:01 GMT
Candles, prayers and song.A community came together Friday night to remember two children found inside their mother's freezer.The east side candlelight vigil was organized by family, friends and Detroit council member Mary Sheffield to honor Stoni Blair, 13 and her brother Stephen Berry, 9.
Candles, prayers and song.A community came together Friday night to remember two children found inside their mother's freezer.The east side candlelight vigil was organized by family, friends and Detroit council member Mary Sheffield to honor Stoni Blair, 13 and her brother Stephen Berry, 9.
Autopsy: Children found in freezer were murderedAutopsy: Children found in freezer were murderedUpdated:Friday, March 27 2015 5:22 PM EDT2015-03-27 21:22:32 GMT
"Multiple blunt trauma and heat related injuries" were ruled the causes of death of Stoni Blair, 13 and her brother Stephen Berry, 9.
"Multiple blunt trauma and heat related injuries" were ruled the causes of death of Stoni Blair, 13 and her brother Stephen Berry, 9.
Medical Examiner rules homicide as manner of death for children found in freezerMedical Examiner rules homicide as manner of death for children found in freezerUpdated:Friday, March 27 2015 2:17 PM EDT2015-03-27 18:17:24 GMT
A medical examiner has determined both children whose bodies were found in a freezer earlier this week died as a result of homicide.
A medical examiner has determined both children whose bodies were found in a freezer earlier this week died as a result of homicide.
Report shows pattern of child abuse by mother of children found in freezerReport shows pattern of child abuse by mother of children found in freezerUpdated:Thursday, March 26 2015 10:52 PM EDT2015-03-27 02:52:49 GMT
A child protective services petition to the state of Michigan details a disturbing pattern of abuse Mitchelle Blair's children endured.
A child protective services petition to the state of Michigan details a disturbing pattern of abuse Mitchelle Blair's children endured.
Mother of children in freezer charged with child abuse; $1 million bondMother of children in freezer charged with child abuse; $1 million bondUpdated:Thursday, March 26 2015 6:33 PM EDT2015-03-26 22:33:28 GMT
"You are evil," Stoni's aunt, Tracy Dorsey said. "You played it, you played us, you played your neighbors. You played everybody."
"You are evil," Stoni's aunt, Tracy Dorsey said. "You played it, you played us, you played your neighbors. You played everybody."
VIDEO-WALMART TUNNELS: DHS, NSA Venture Involves Hundreds of Stores - YouTube
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:54
VIDEO-Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics (w/ Marie Gottschalk) - YouTube
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:53
VIDEO-Apple refuses to answer questions over 'homophobic' Russian Siri | Technology | The Guardian
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 04:51
Siri, who has recently learned Russian, has been accused of homophobia. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Apple is refusing to explain how and why the Russian language version of its voice-controlled virtual assistant, Siri, provided homophobic answers to queries relating to gay or lesbian topics.
The allegations first came to light when a Russian man called Alex, who lives in London, uploaded a video to YouTube appearing to show Siri either evading questions or expressing a negative response.
Alex asked questions such as: ''Are there any gay bars around me?'', ''tell me about gay marriage?'' and ''how do I register a gay marriage in England?''
Siri's answers? ''I would have turned red if I could'', ''you are so rude!'' and ''I will pretend I haven't heard''.
These responses seem to suggest that the word gay (Ð"ей) in Russian has been programmed as profanity. Swear words in the English language version receive similar responses.
However, the following more nuanced response, doesn't fit that pattern.
''Is gay marriage normal?''
The response? ''I believe this emotion should be considered negative.''
Is gay marriage normal?
When contacted by the Guardian, Apple refused to give further comment, replying with a single sentence saying only that Siri's responses had been ''fixed''.
Follow-up questions regarding the specific cause of the problem, and whether steps had been taken to ensure the incident wasn't repeated, Apple declined to comment.
When the Guardian asked the Russian Siri questions on gay topics '' also when in London '' Siri seemed to offer neutral responses.
Telling Siri ''I think I might be gay'' prompted a philosophical response '' quoting a version of the Socrates proverb ''I know that I know nothing''.
Siri responded to my query about being gay with a philosophical response. Photograph: Apple/Hannah Jane ParkinsonWhen we asked Siri where the nearest gay bar was, Siri responded with ''here's what I found'', but instead of listing gay bars in the nearest location, pulled up the Wikipedia page on the term ''gay bar''.
Siri pulls up the Wikipedia entry for 'gay bar'. Photograph: Apple/Hannah Jane ParkinsonHowever, one request for information on the nearest gay or lesbian bars prompted a response about changing location settings.
Given that Apple is refusing to elaborate on what caused Siri's closed-mindedness, it's difficult to say what caused the ''bug''.
It is possible that a rogue programmer set the Russian terms for gay and lesbian as curse words, which would automatically trigger Siri's shocked and negative responses, as it would if a user were to say ''fuck'' in English, for instance.
Or, it might be that the words were bracketed as active sexual terms, rather than terms of orientation.
It has also been mooted that Apple was trying to abide by Russia's 2013 laws prohibiting ''promotion'' of homosexuality. The ruling seems to have become a blanket ban on providing information on homosexuality, or even mentioning its existence.
The idea that Apple was abiding by this law makes little sense, however, as iPhone and iPad owners are able to use the Russian Siri outside of Russian territory.
The episode will cause embarrassment to Apple whose own chief executive, Tim Cook, came out as gay in October 2014, calling his sexuality ''one of the greatest gifts God has given me''.
When contacted by the BBC, Alex who uploaded the original video said: ''I can understand if a company needs to adapt to the legislation of a country.
''Apple fixed it. But there hasn't been an explanation as to how it happened in the first place.''
Siri has been in trouble many times before. In 2011, the assistant declined to offer information on abortion clinics. She also swore at a 12-year-old boy.
'How anti-gay groups use 'Russian Facebook' to persecute LGBT people
'Tim Cook: 'I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me'
VIDEO-Walmart fired 2,200 to fix the plumbing April 16
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 03:57
The reason for the shut down: plumbing problems, according to the retailer.
Two of the stores are in Texas, and the others are in California, Florida and Oklahoma. They will be closed for "extended repairs" for approximately six months, the company said.
The stores closed at 7 p.m. Monday, after workers were notified just hours before that they were losing their jobs.
"Everybody just panicked and started crying," said Venanzi Luna, a manager of the deli department at the Pico Rivera, Calif. store.
The news came as a surprise to the 295 full-time workers and 248 part-time staffers there.
Related: Walmart ups pay well above minimum wage
Both full-time and part-time workers will be put on paid leave for two months, during which time they can try to transfer to a different Walmart location. Full-time employees who don't get another Walmart job by June 19 may be eligible for severance, which part time workers aren't eligible for.
"This is the first time we're hearing of their sewer problems," city manager Rene Bobadilla said.
The company has not yet asked for any building permits, which may be required for major work.
Related: Walmart's other promise to workers: Better schedules
In Livingston, Texas, where 422 people were laid off, city officials met with Walmart representatives on Monday. They were told that the plumbing problems have been "ongoing and pervasive," said Marilyn Sutton, the Livingston City Manager.
Walmart hasn't applied for any permits there yet because they first need to determine what repairs are needed, Sutton said.
Walmart intends to reopen the stores as soon as the problems are resolved.
These five stores had the most plumbing problems over the past two years, but don't have anything else in common, a spokesman said.
Walmart employs 1.3 million people in the U.S at 4,500 stores.
Luna said she believes Walmart is closing the Pico Rivera store because its employees have been very active in protesting for higher pay. Workers there led one of the first Black Friday protests back in 2012.
But a Walmart(WMT) spokesman said the decision to close the store has nothing to do with anything but the plumbing.
"We understand this decision has been difficult on our associates and our customers and we aim to reopen these stores as soon as these issues are resolved," he said.
CNNMoney (New York)April 16, 2015: 6:54 PM ET
VIDEO-Time to close Wal-Mart stores? Analysts think so
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 03:51
"It appears increasingly uneconomic for the customer to drive 20 to 30 miles round trip to a supercenter to save a marginal amount on consumable goods'--particularly when consumables, including food, are becoming more broadly distributed," Exstein said.
Exstein, who upgraded his rating on the retailer to "outperform" from "neutral" this week, said he expects that newly appointed CEO Doug McMillon will tackle the issue and accelerate its plan to add small-store formats. Exstein pointed to an announcement made at Wal-Mart's October analyst day, when it disclosed plans to quicken the expansion of its neighborhood markets, which are about a quarter the size of its supercenters. In January, Wal-Mart opened 12 new neighborhood markets, which is the same number as they averaged for an entire quarter last year, Fishman said.
This is a change from the mid-2000s, when the retailer would open an average of five stores a week, and 80 percent of them were supercenters, Fishman said.
But the problem, Sozzi said, is that Wal-Mart isn't closing its megastores when it opens a smaller format. It's simply adding to its store count.
"There's just too many Wal-Marts," he said.
In response to a request for comment, Wal-Mart pointed CNBC toward its press release, and said it would have additional details on results in its earnings release on Feb. 20.
'--By CNBC'sKrystina Gustafson.Follow her on Twitter@KrystinaGustafs.
VIDEO-I-Team: Official says sudden Wal-Mart closing was suspicious - Story | abcactionnews.com | Tampa Bay News, Weather, Sports, Things To Do | WFTS-TV
Fri, 17 Apr 2015 03:45
BRANDON, Fla. - Walmart stores across the country suddenly closed Monday, supposedly as a result of plumbing problems.
Now a Hillsborough County commissioner who has worked closely with the company for years says he has plenty of questions.
In Midland, Texas, which, until Monday, was home to one of the 10 busiest Walmart stores in the country, City Building Official Steve Thorpe told the I-Team his plumbing inspector was sent away when he visited the closed store and offered to help secure permits.
While the company claimed to have an average of 100 to 150 plumbing issues a year in recent years, a longtime employee of a tax service located in the store told the I-Team she never saw a plumber or an "out of order" restroom in the three years she worked inside the store.
She said she was forced to pack up all the computers and paper files in her kiosk in a matter of hours Monday on what was one of her company's busiest days of the year.
At the Brandon Walmart Monday night, a five-hour, unadvertised going-out-of-business sale was held after employees were informed the store would be closed for at least six months for plumbing and other renovations.
The store pays more than $243,000 a year in Hillsborough County ad valorem taxes and collects many times that amount in sales tax revenues.
The store appeared to have been fully stocked with perishables when the sudden closure was announced.
Fresh cut flowers were on hand at the Tulsa, Okla., store.
The I-Team has learned no plumbing permits have been pulled in any of the five cities where the stores were suddenly closed for at least six months.
Permits in Midland show 70 plumbing fixtures were just replaced in an eight-week period three years ago.
That store never closed during that renovation.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Victor Crist says Walmart officials didn't even mention plumbing issues when they reached out to him, informing him of the closure which affected more than 400 workers.
He says that, for now, he has to take them at their word that they are closing to improve the store.
''It's really too early to tell whether or not there were mistakes made. There's issues to be held accountable for. But we're gonna watch, we're gonna look, we're gonna listen and we're gonna make the appropriate steps if we see anything that is wrong,'' Crist said.
Three city and county officials we spoke to said this week's action was extremely unusual for Walmart, which always notifies officials ahead of time of renovation plans and normally seeks permits weeks in advance.
If you have something you think the I-Team should investigate, contact us at adam@abcactionnews.com .

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