Cover for No Agenda Show 716: The Portal
April 26th, 2015 • 2h 58m

716: The Portal


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Shaping lives of Christina's boyfriends
Trail of Tears Tour
Bambi 19'
Gun license for all states
Deva portal found during house clearing
My New Book: Pipelines & Paedophile's book title
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Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape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] 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''716, 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. § 1716^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". January 16, 2003.
Zac Posen custom beaded gown, plum lipstick and perfect curls
Michelle's dress very cleverly made sloped up neckline that completely obfuscates the fact that she's a dude
Michelle Obama's Dress At The White House Correspondents' Dinner Is Sparkly Perfection
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 03:35
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Tracee Ellis Ross attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Jane Fonda attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Chrissy Teigen attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Michelle Monaghan attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Arianna Huffington attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Actors Holly Burrell (L) and Ty Burrell attend the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Vine personality Marcus Johns arrives for the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) dinner in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The 101st WHCA raises money for scholarships and honors the recipients of the organization's journalism awards.
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Heather Armstrong attends the Yahoo News/ABC News White House Correspondents' dinner reception pre-party at the Washington Hilton on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Yahoo)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Jane Seymour attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Maria Menounos attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: John Molner and Katie Couric attend the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Alfre Woodard attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Naya Rivera attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Meagan Camper and musician Pete Wentz attend the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Social media personality Nash Grier attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Gina Rodriguez attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Gillian Jacobs attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Jenna Dewan-Tatum attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Julie Bowen attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Arianna Huffington (L) and Tyler Oakley attend the Yahoo News/ABC News White House Correspondents' dinner reception pre-party at the Washington Hilton on Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Yahoo)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Troian Bellisario attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Adriana Lima attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Laverne Cox attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Sophia Bush attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Hannah Davis attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Ashley Judd attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Chanel Iman attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Model Irina Shayk attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Bethany Mota attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Martha Stewart attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Lucy Liu attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 25: Connie Britton attends the 101st Annual White House Correspondents' Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton on April 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Tough following up the president as a comedian
Nothing on Black Lives matter
President did a lot of Gay jokes
Cecily: Meaning, Popularity, Origin of Baby Name Cecily | Baby Name Wizard
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 03:49
Pronunciation: SEH-si-lee (key)Origin of the name Cecily:Feminine form of Cecil, which is derived from Caecilius, an old Roman family name, which has its root in the Latin caecus (blind, dim-sighted). The name was borne by a 3rd-century Christian who founded a church in the Trastevere section of Rome. During the 6th century, a story of her life was written and she was henceforth venerated as a martyr. She is regarded as the patron saint of musicians.
From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman.
Looking for the perfect name? Try the Name MatchMaker to find the perfect baby name for you!
US Popularity of Cecily Over Time
Sister & Brother NamesKnow a Cecily? What are her siblings named?
Name Lists Featuring Cecily
Contribute your knowledge to the name CecilyComments and insights on the name Cecily: | EditCecily is a pretty name that fits in perfectly with current naming styles. The sound of the name is similar to the incredibly popular Emily, Natalie and Avery. Cecily strikes the perfect balance with its modern sound and charming old-fashioned appeal, and is a great 'compromise name' for parents with vastly different taste in names.
Cecily is often considered the female equivalent of Cecil. However, the masculine name Cecil is a surname derived from the Welsh given name Seissylt. Seissylt ultimately stems from the Roman name Sextus, meaning "the sixth child".
Personal experiences with the name Cecily: | EditI am a Cecily and unfortunately I have a lisp. I've always had problems with people mishearing my name and calling me Stephanie and somehow Natalie.I always get comments on how pretty and unique my name is though, I've not met another Cecily on my travels but I do like having a different name.
Nicknames for Cecily: | EditCeil, Celie, Cece, Celia, Cyl, Ceci,Cily, Sissy, Lily, Sully, Cecy
Meanings and history of the name Cecily: | EditCecily is the English form of the Latin name Cecilia. It was the usual form of this name throughout the Middle Ages. The name was likely popularised in the Middle Ages by the semi-legendary Saint Cecilia.
Famous real-life people named Cecily: | EditCecily of York, sister of Edward V of EnglandCecily Neville, Duchess of York and mother of Edward IV and Richard IIICecily Lefort, Scottish heroine of World War IICecily Brown, English artistCecily von Ziegesar, American author of the "Gossip Girl" seriesCecily Tynan, American television reporterCecily Adams, American actressCecily Polson, Australian actressCecily Strong, American comedian and cast member on Saturday Night LiveCicely Mary Barker - English illustrator best known for a series of fantasy illustrations depicting fairies and flowers.
Cecily in song, story & screen: | EditCecily is a fictional Alaskan town that was the setting for the series 'Northern Exposure'.Model Stella Tennant has named one of her children Cecily.Cecily Cardew, character in Oscar Wilde's play "The Importance of Being Earnest"Sister Cecily Scallon, pivotal character in Rumer Godden's novel "In This House of Brede"Cecily King, a character on the Canadian TV show "Road To Avonlea," based on the stories of L.M.Montgomery.Cecily Underwood from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"Cecily Herondale from "the infernal devices" series by Cassandra Clare
FREE JASON-FAQ - #JasonAndYegi
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 03:36
Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian has been detained in Iran since July 22, 2014. He has now been held longer than any previous Western journalist in Iran. No charges have been brought against him. Jason has not been allowed to have a lawyer defend him. Throughout this time he has been held in solitary confinement and suffered through many untreated health issues.
Please join Jason's family and friends in demanding his release and spreading the word on social media using #FreeJason.
Über Sources
Is hidden microphone not legal? Dateline does it. To catch a Predator.
Brucina Jenner
Christina thought it was patronizing, true grade school teachings
Bruce Jenner comes out as a transgender conservative Republican | TheHill
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 17:09
In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer which aired Friday night, former track and field Olympian Bruce Jenner acknowledged for the first time that he was a transgender American.
"Yes, for all intents and purposes, I'm a woman," Jenner told Sawyer on ABC News' "20/20."
The more shocking revelation for many, however, was Jenner's admission that in addition to identifying as a woman, he also identified as a conservative Republican.
"Are you a Republican?" a stunned Sawyer asked the former patriarch of the Jenner-Kardashian household. "Yeah," Jenner reticently responded. "Is that a bad thing?"
"Neither political party has a monopoly on understanding," Jenner told Sawyer, who advised him to ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner for help championing the cause of transgender people.
"I would do that, in a heartbeat," Jenner retorted. "Yeah, why not?"
At least one Republican group didn't wait for Jenner to reach out to them before welcoming him with open arms: The Log Cabin Republicans.
Log Cabin Republicans National Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo released this statement following tonight's interview:
As the nation's only organization representing LGBT conservatives and straight allies, Log Cabin Republicans congratulates Bruce Jenner in the tremendous courage he demonstrated tonight, being true to himself both in terms of his personal identity as well as his political identity. There is a home for you in Log Cabin Republicans '-- as there is for all lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender conservatives and straight allies.
Drone Nation
US Hostage was Economic Hitman
Omitted from this article: Dr. Weinstein was an employee of J.E. Austin Associates, a Virginia-based “strategy and management consulting [firm] for the development of emerging and developing economies” (source: firm’s website). As a “business development expert” based in Pakistan, Dr. Weinstein was under contract by and presumably paid with US AID funding (source: various news reports).
Question for the WSJ: Why hasn't J.E. Austin come forth with a public statement about Dr. Weinstein's employment? And, could we get more details about J.E. Austin's role and effort in obtaining Dr. Weinstein's release? There’s much more to this very tragic story still pending investigation.
Boko Haram renamed 'Islamic State in West Africa'
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:51
Boko Haram has reportedly taken a new name "Islamic State in West Africa" and published new pictures of its members.Earlier, the group announced its loyalty with the notorious terrorist group "The Islamic State" (ISIL), responsible for violence and atrocities in Syria and Iraq.
ISIL supported the decision of Boko Haram and urged its members to extend their activities to West Africa.
Boko Haram has carried out numerous terrorist attacks on religious and political organizations as well as civilians. The group has killed more than 5,000 people since 2009.
Los Angeles Airport Security Boosted Amid Possible ISIS Threat - NBC
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 20:56
By Jonathan Dienst
Security is being stepped up in Los Angeles, its area airports and other parts of Southern California amid new ISIS-related threats calling for attacks on uniformed personnel, several U.S. officials told NBC News on Friday.
ISIS, which controls swathes of Syria and Iraq, has long called on its sympathizers to attack Western interests around the world.
Los Angeles had already started using two-man patrols as a precaution. Upgraded measures were extended to Los Angeles International Airport this week, officials said.
Investigators said there was no specific plot but concerns increased as result of intelligence from overseas as well as ongoing monitoring of suspected radicals inside the United States. FBI Director Jim Comey has said investigations into suspected ISIS sympathizers are underway in all 50 states.
Fears revolve around threats to uniformed personnel or locations that lone actors may want to target, the sources said, speaking on a condition of anonymity.
A Department of Homeland Security spokesman would not comment on what specific intelligence has caused increased concerns along the West Coast. But, he added, officials had boosted security in recent months.
"Over the last few months, we have made a number of security adjustments, including enhanced screening at select overseas airports and increasing random searches of passengers and carry-on luggage on flights inbound to the U.S., reflecting an evolving threat picture," the spokesman said.
'-- With F. Brinley BrutonFirst published April 25 2015, 10:24 AM
Jonathan DienstEmmy Award-winning reporter Jonathan Dienst helps lead WNBC's investigative reporting team, largely covering justice and law enforcement issues on subjects ranging from terrorism to white-collar cases, political corruption and local crime. With WNBC since 2001, Dienst also reports for "NBC Nightly News," MSNBC, CNBC and "The Today Show," and has appeared on "Dateline."
Dienst's coverage of terrorism, security and crime in the New York area includes many scoops, including the Fort Dix, N.J., terror plot; the existence of a '‚¬Å'manifesto'‚¬' sent by the Virginia Tech gunman to NBC News headquarters in New York; a videotape of 9/11 terror suspect Zacarious Moussaoui; U.S. terror charges being filed against radical British cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri; and many others.
He also has reported extensively on the aftermath and investigation into the 9/11 terror attacks, public corruption cases in New York and New Jersey, including allegations of Wall Street corruption, and white-collar crime.
Prior to joining WNBC, Dienst worked at WPIX/Channel 11 News from 1996-2001, covering police and the courts, politics and national and international news. While there he helped spearhead coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800 and also covered the police brutality case involving Abner Louima.
Before WPIX, Dienst was a member of the staff that helped launch New York 1 News in 1992. Dienst also worked as a reporter for NBC affiliate WSAV-TV in Savannah, Ga., and has written articles for Newsday and the New York Post.
Dienst is the recipient of numerous awards including: Deadline, Emmys, the New York Press Club Gold Typewriter, Associated Press/NY State Broadcasters, Edward R. Murrow, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Long Island Press Club, among others. Dienst has served on the Board of the New York Press Club and the local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
Dienst is a graduate of Colgate University and received a Master's Degree in journalism from Columbia University. He lives in New York with his wife and their three children.
... Expand Bio
KLTV: Starbucks stores reopen Saturday after computer glitch
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 16:19
KLTVStarbucks stores reopen Saturday after computer glitch
Posted: 04/25/2015 12:06 PM
By CHRIS GRYGIELAssociated PressSEATTLE (AP) - Starbucks was back in business Saturday after a computer outage forced thousands of its stores to close early the night before.
The company said the outage was resolved Friday night after several hours. The glitch affected registers at 7,400 company-operated stores in the U.S. and 1,000 in Canada, and prompted some stores to give away drinks.
"All Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada are expected to open for business as usual on Saturday," the company said in a statement late Friday. "We apologize to our customers for this inconvenience."
Starbucks said the outage was caused by "a failure during a daily system refresh." Jim Olson, a company spokesman, stressed it was an internal issue and that no external breach was involved.
The problem began in the evening Friday on the East Coast, with workers posting hand-written "Cash Only" signs on windows and giving away free drinks and food because they were unable to ring up orders on registers. Full Story
Russian Hackers Read Obama's Unclassified Emails, Officials Say -
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 23:33
PhotoEmails that President Obama sent and received were breached last year, senior officials said.Credit Zach Gibson/The New York TimesWASHINGTON '-- Some of President Obama's email correspondence was swept up by Russian hackers last year in a breach of the White House's unclassified computer system that was far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged, according to senior American officials briefed on the investigation.
The hackers, who also got deeply into the State Department's unclassified system, do not appear to have penetrated closely guarded servers that control the message traffic from Mr. Obama's BlackBerry, which he or an aide carries constantly.
But they obtained access to the email archives of people inside the White House, and perhaps some outside, with whom Mr. Obama regularly communicated. From those accounts, they reached emails that the president had sent and received, according to officials briefed on the investigation.
White House officials said that no classified networks had been compromised, and that the hackers had collected no classified information. Many senior officials have two computers in their offices, one operating on a highly secure classified network and another connected to the outside world for unclassified communications.
But officials have conceded that the unclassified system routinely contains much information that is considered highly sensitive: schedules, email exchanges with ambassadors and diplomats, discussions of pending personnel moves and legislation, and, inevitably, some debate about policy.
Officials did not disclose the number of Mr. Obama's emails that were harvested by hackers, nor the sensitivity of their content. The president's email account itself does not appear to have been hacked. Aides say that most of Mr. Obama's classified briefings '-- such as the morning Presidential Daily Brief '-- are delivered orally or on paper (sometimes supplemented by an iPad system connected to classified networks) and that they are usually confined to the Oval Office or the Situation Room.
Still, the fact that Mr. Obama's communications were among those hit by the hackers '-- who are presumed to be linked to the Russian government, if not working for it '-- has been one of the most closely held findings of the inquiry. Senior White House officials have known for months about the depth of the intrusion.
''This has been one of the most sophisticated actors we've seen,'' said one senior American official briefed on the investigation.
Others confirmed that the White House intrusion was viewed as so serious that officials met on a nearly daily basis for several weeks after it was discovered. ''It's the Russian angle to this that's particularly worrisome,'' another senior official said.
While Chinese hacking groups are known for sweeping up vast amounts of commercial and design information, the best Russian hackers tend to hide their tracks better and focus on specific, often political targets. And the hacking happened at a moment of renewed tension with Russia '-- over its annexation of Crimea, the presence of its forces in Ukraine and its renewed military patrols in Europe, reminiscent of the Cold War.
Inside the White House, the intrusion has raised a new debate about whether it is possible to protect a president's electronic presence, especially when it reaches out from behind the presumably secure firewalls of the executive branch.
Mr. Obama is no stranger to computer-network attacks: His 2008 campaign was hit by Chinese hackers. Nonetheless, he has long been a frequent user of email, and publicly fought the Secret Service in 2009 to retain his BlackBerry, a topic he has joked about in public. He was issued a special smartphone, and the list of those he can exchange emails with is highly restricted.
When asked about the investigation's findings, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan, said, ''We'll decline to comment.'' The White House has also declined to provide any explanations about how the breach was handled, though the State Department has been more candid about what kind of systems were hit and what it has done since to improve security. A spokesman for the F.B.I. declined to comment.
Officials who discussed the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the hacking. While the White House has refused to identify the nationality of the hackers, others familiar with the investigation said that in both the White House and State Department cases, all signs pointed to Russians.
On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter revealed for the first time that Russian hackers had attacked the Pentagon's unclassified systems, but said they had been identified and ''kicked off.'' Defense Department officials declined to say if the signatures of the attacks on the Pentagon appeared related to the White House and State Department attacks.
The discovery of the hacking in October led to a partial shutdown of the White House email system. The hackers appear to have been evicted from the White House systems by the end of October. But they continued to plague the State Department, whose system is much more far-flung. The disruptions were so severe that during the Iranian nuclear negotiations in Vienna in November, officials needed to distribute personal email accounts, to one another and to some reporters, to maintain contact.
Earlier this month, officials at the White House said that the hacking had not damaged its systems and that, while elements had been shut down to mitigate the effects of the attack, everything had been restored.
One of the curiosities of the White House and State Department attacks is that the administration, which recently has been looking to name and punish state and nonstate hackers in an effort to deter attacks, has refused to reveal its conclusions about who was responsible for this complex and artful intrusion into the government. That is in sharp contrast to Mr. Obama's decision, after considerable internal debate in December, to name North Korea for ordering the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, and to the director of national intelligence's decision to name Iranian hackers as the source of a destructive attack on the Sands Casino.
This month, after CNN reported that hackers had gained access to sensitive areas of the White House computer network, including sections that contained the president's schedule, the White House spokesman, Josh Earnest, said the administration had not publicly named who was behind the hack because federal investigators had concluded that ''it's not in our best interests.''
By contrast, in the North Korea case, he said, investigators concluded that ''we're more likely to be successful in terms of holding them accountable by naming them publicly.''
But the breach of the president's emails appeared to be a major factor in the government secrecy. ''All of this is very tightly held,'' one senior American official said, adding that the content of what had been breached was being kept secret to avoid tipping off the Russians about what had been learned from the investigation.
Mr. Obama's friends and associates say that he is a committed user of his BlackBerry, but that he is careful when emailing outside the White House system.
''The frequency has dropped off in the last six months or so,'' one of his close associates said, though this person added that he did not know if the drop was related to the hacking.
Mr. Obama is known to send emails to aides late at night from his residence, providing them with his feedback on speeches or, at times, entirely new drafts. Others say he has emailed on topics as diverse as his golf game and the struggle with Congress over the Iranian nuclear negotiations.
George W. Bush gave up emailing for the course of his presidency and did not carry a smartphone. But after Mr. Bush left office, his sister's email account was hacked, and several photos '-- including some of his paintings '-- were made public.
The White House is bombarded with cyberattacks daily, not only from Russia and China. Most are easily deflected.
The White House, the State Department, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies put their most classified material into a system called Jwics, for Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System. That is where top-secret and ''secret compartmentalized information'' traverses within the government, to officials cleared for it '-- and it includes imagery, data and graphics. There is no evidence, senior officials said, that this hacking pierced it.
A version of this article appears in print on April 26, 2015, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Russian Hackers Read Obama's Unclassified Emails, Officials Say.
Hillary 2016
PUMPHEAD-Bill Clinton's Madness
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 01:05
We Need to Understand and Show Some Compassion
One of the savviest politicians of our generation, known for his wit, charm, and calm under extreme pressure, Bill Clinton appears out of character in the speeches and interviews televised since his bypass surgery September 6, 2004'--and his mental deterioration may be accelerating. Remember, this is the president who withstood public impeachment before the entire world for his relationship with Monica Lewinski without once losing control. Now, he is easily angered by hecklers, and makes factual mistakes and racial slurs while aggressively defending his wife's campaign for presidency. Everyone sees his mental and emotional decline, yet to date, no medical professionals have spoken out about the cause or offered help.
Not a single one'--not one bypass surgeon, cardiologist or psychiatrist'--has stepped forward in his defense; even though all of them are trained to recognize ''post bypass surgery cognitive dysfunction.'' One of the best-kept secrets in medicine is the brain damage caused during bypass surgery. During my 40 years of medical practice I have never heard a doctor warn a patient before bypass surgery that an expected complication is memory loss. After surgery when the family complains of dad's fits of anger, I have never heard a doctor admit that personality change is a common consequence of surgery. Yet these well-recognized side effects have been reported in medical journals since 1969.1
Brain damage during bypass surgery is so common that hospital personnel refer to it as ''pump head.'' The primary cause is emboli produced during surgery from clamping the aorta and from the ''heart-lung machine.'' This machine pumps blood to keep the patient alive while the heart is stopped during the operation. Unfortunately, this pump also introduces toxic gases, fat globules, and bits of plastic debris into the bloodstream of the patient under anesthesia. Once they are in the bloodstream, these particles migrate to the brain where they can clog capillaries and prevent adequate amounts of blood and oxygen from flowing to the brain. Essentially, all patients experience brain emboli during surgery and for many the damage is permanent.
In 2001, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 5-years after bypass surgery 42% of patients showed decline in mental function of approximately 20 percent or more.2 A study published this year (2008) in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery using MRI testing just after bypass surgery found brain damage in 51% of patients.3 Three years after their time on the bypass pump, significant permanent reduction in mental capacity was identified in 31% of patients. I am not talking major stroke here; but these patients can't remember names or numbers as they once did, experience sleep disturbances (including nightmares), suffer mood swings, and lose intellectual acuity. Approximately 30 percent of people suffer persistent depression and some even contemplate suicide.
Our former president needs our understanding and support. A simple explanation by his doctors of the cause of his recent aberrant behaviors should bring peace of mind to Hillary and her campaign staff. If Mr. Clinton better understood his current limitations, he and his staff could take precautionary steps to avoid embarrassments. A long-overdue explanation would help his adoring public more easily accept his mistakes and readily forgive him. It is not your fault, Mr. Clinton.
As importantly, public recognition of the harm done to Bill Clinton by the heart surgery business would help the patients who undergo bypass surgery, and their families, to better understand similar changes they have experienced. A little attention from the media could also shine some light on the lack of survival benefits from this $90,000 procedure performed nearly half-a-million times annually in the US, and the superior benefits coming from diet and lifestyle changes.
I am saddened to see our former president suffer from public humiliation, but I am disgraced that my profession has thus far failed to come forward with a long over-due explanation and an apology to the Clintons and our nation for the harm they have done and the secrets they have kept.
John McDougall,
1) Hill JD, Aguilar MJ, Baranco A, de Lanerolle P, Gerbode F. Neuropathological manifestations of cardiac surgery.Ann Thorac Surg.1969 May;7(5):409-19.
2) Newman MF, Kirchner JL, Phillips-Bute B, Gaver V, Grocott H, Jones RH, Mark DB, Reves JG, Blumenthal JA; Longitudinal assessment of neurocognitive function after coronary-artery bypass surgery.N Engl J Med.2001 Feb 8;344(6):395-402. 9Link:
3) Knipp SC, Matatko N, Wilhelm H, Schlamann M, Thielmann M, L¶sch C, Diener HC, Jakob H. Cognitive outcomes three years after coronary artery bypass surgery: relation to diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging.Ann Thorac Surg.2008 Mar;85(3):872-9.
Petraeus sentenced to 2 years' probation for military leak to mistress.
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:42
CHARLOTTE - The Associated Press
Former CIA Director David Petraeus, whose career was destroyed by an extramarital affair with his biographer, was sentenced on April 23 to two years' probation and fined $100,000 for giving her classified material while she was working on the book.The sentencing came two months after he agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material.
The plea agreement carried a possible sentence of up to a year in prison. In court papers, prosecutors recommended two years' probation and a $40,000 fine. But Judge David Kessler increased the fine to ''reflect seriousness of the offense.'' He said Petraeus committed a ''grave and uncharacteristic error in judgment.''
Appearing calm and wearing a business suit, Petraeus made a brief statement before he was sentenced, apologizing ''for the pain my actions have caused.''
Petraeus attorney Jake Sussman said this was not a case about the public dissemination of classified information, but the wrongful removal of materials.
But prosecutor James Melindres said, ''This is a serious criminal offense. He was entrusted with the nation's most classified secrets. The defendant betrayed that trust''. Melindres says Petraeus compounded that trust by ''lying to the FBI.''
In a brief statement after the hearing, Petraeus said this marks the end of a two-and-a-half year ordeal, and he just wants to move on.
''I now look forward to moving on to the next phase of my life,'' he said, before walking to a waiting car and leaving.
Petraeus Sentence Adds Insult to Injury for Whistleblowers
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:49
Petraeus Sentence Adds Insult to Injury for WhistleblowersApril 24, 2015
Yesterday, General David Petraeus was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $100,000 for leaking classified information to his biographer and mistress. During an investigation related to this, the FBI asked Petraeus whether he had given Paula Broadwell classified information; he denied that he had, lying to the FBI investigators. The $100,000 fine, a drop in the bucket for the General who routinely brings in more than that for just one speaking engagement, was more than double what the Justice Department suggested Petreaus pay. The final turn in Petraeus's case'--his sentence'--would be laughable if it wasn't so insulting to the national security whistleblowers who face decades in prison for leaking classified information in order to stop our government from acting illegally or unconstitutionally, in a way that endangers American lives, or from engaging in waste, fraud, or abuse.
This op-ed originally appeared in the The Hill on March 12, 2015.
When facing the prospect of criminal prosecution for leaking highly classified material to his mistress and later lying about it to the FBI, General David Petraeus found unlikely allies on Capitol Hill. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) have all spoken out against criminally prosecuting the four-star general, in part because they feel he has ''suffered enough.'' This is not the first time that a high-ranking individual may skirt punishment for infractions that would land a subordinate in jail for years. Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was also recently allegedly involved in highly classified leaks to the film producers of Zero Dark Thirty and treated with near impunity.
According to media reports Petraeus pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material for which he may face up to a year in prison. His paltry sentence is a far cry from the many years of prison time that many whistleblowers face when they disclose protected information in an attempt to further the public interest. Petraeus claimed no such motive. He seems only to have wanted to help his mistress and biographer, and Panetta shared it with a producer from Hollywood'--the common thread between the three stories is that these men both leaked information for purely personal gain and each received little more than a slap on the wrist.
The hypocritical dichotomy between the treatments of high-level politically connected officials versus lower level whistleblowers has never been more pronounced. Petraeus and Panetta could count on the support of their former colleagues, despite leaking highly classified material for reasons unrelated to the exposure of wrongdoing or other high-minded motives. This kid-gloves treatment is not something afforded whistleblowers, even when sharing information to further the public interest through official channels. Former NSA contractor Edward Loomis reported government waste on an ineffective and illegal domestic surveillance program up the proper chain of command, yet he was the target of a retaliatory criminal investigation that cost him his career. His colleague Thomas Drake faced 35 years in prison under the Espionage Act, after he legally provided an unclassified briefing on the surveillance program to a reporter. Former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling disclosed concerns to Congress about an allegedly mismanaged operation to obstruct Iran's nuclear program, and he was accused of sharing this same information with journalists. In January he become the first civilian to be convicted under the Espionage Act.
Intelligence Community (IC) contractor whistleblowers such as Loomis are at a double disadvantage. In addition to threat of being criminalized, they have no statutory protection against workplace reprisal actions'--such as demotions or blacklisting'--when they disclose government misconduct.
That was not always the case, however.
From 2008 through 2012, all Pentagon and then stimulus funded IC contractors enjoyed best-practice whistleblower protections. This included Intelligence Community agencies like NSA. The law maintained a steady track record and there were not even allegations that it harmed national security. The whistleblower shield was so effective in deterring taxpayer waste that the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency proposed its permanent expansion, and the Senate approved it with bipartisan support. Notwithstanding its widespread support, in an Orwellian maneuver during the 11th hour of negotiations, the closing conference committee stripped all whistleblower rights for IC contractors from the bill.
Six months later, NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the U.S. government's mass surveillance programs. He later explained the circumstances that led to his course of action, ''There are no proper channels for making this information available when the system fails comprehensively.'' Currently, IC contractors have two alternatives to almost certain retaliation: 1) remain silent observers of wrongdoing; or 2) make anonymous revelations to the media.
Whistleblowers must have safe channels to report abuses of power that betray the public trust, and Congress has a responsibility to fill these accountability loopholes. Fortunately, as demonstrated by Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden's (D-Ore.) newly launched Senate Whistleblower Caucus, protecting the nation's truth-tellers transcends congressional partisanship. Instead of offering support to disgraced former officials, Congress should follow the caucus' lead and focus on the heroic whistleblowers who risk their jobs and their freedom to expose government fraud, waste, and abuse.
Images from the Commons at Wikimedia.
Liz Hempowicz is a public policy associate for the Project On Government Oversight.
Topics:Government Accountability, Whistleblower Protections, National Security
Authors:Elizabeth "Liz" Hempowicz
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Latest PodcastPodcast; Social Media, Internet Provides Opportunities, Challenges for LawmakersThe Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. POGO spoke with members of Rep. Mike Honda's communications team about their award.
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 04:01
The Official ReasonsWe all know the governments of the West, lead by the US and the UK, have turned against Russia. There are many reasons offered by our media: Russia tried to stop the Ukraine from joining the EU. Russia helped the "pro-Russian rebels" shoot down MH-17. Russia "invaded" the Crimea illegally. Thousands of Russian troops and tanks are fighting in the Ukraine. Some of us think these claims are war propaganda for the citizens of the West used to justify sanctions against Russia and increasing military tensions.The Geo-political ReasonsLess widely discussed but much more important are the geo-political reasons which look at the areas of conflict between the economic interests of the US and those of Russia and China. At the moment the EU is heavily dependent on eenergy from Russia. The US would like to stop this. The conflict in the Ukraine is an important part of the process of economically separating the EU from Russia. But there is also a wider agenda. China and Russia lead the BRICS group of countries consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS countries want to develop a world wide economic system that does not depend the US dollar. They want to be independent of the International Modetary Fund (IMF) and the World bank. China has also suggested to Europe that they join together with Russia and themselves in what they call the New Silk Road, stretching across the whole of Eurasia, from Lisbon to Shanghai. Needless to say there is no immediate place for the US in this plan, so this gives another reason to cut the economic ties between Russia and the EU.The Secret Reason - The War that Didn't HappenWhile these factors are all important, there is another factor which is never discussed in the Western media. The trigger for the sudden hostility against Russia and Putin can be found in almost unreported events which took place late in August and early September 2013. What happen in that crucial period is that a planned NATO surprise attack on Syria was stopped by Russia. This was probably the first time since WWII that a military attack planned by the West was confronted by sufficient force to require its cancellation. The people in the West will not be told because their belligerent, tough-talking leaders "blinked". They backed down and decided to change their plans. The new plan: Undermine the Ukraine and seize Crimea for NATO. This obviously didn't work either, and the mess they created is still with us.
The Planned US/French Attack on SyriaEarly in the morning of Saturday, August 31, 2013, an American official called the office of President Hollande telling him to expect a call from Obama later in the day. "Assuming that the evening phone call would announce the commencement of U.S. air strikes (against Syria), Hollande ordered his officers to quickly finalize their own attack plans. Rafale fighters were loaded with Scalp cruise missiles, their pilots told to launch the 250-mile-range munitions while over the Mediterranean."(1) In other words, at this point in time the French pilots and the US forces were only waiting for the final command from President Obama to begin their attack. However, later that same day, at 6:15 pm, Obama called the French President to tell him that the strike scheduled for 3:00 am, September 1, would not take place as planned. He would need to consult Congress.(2)
Three days later, at 06:16 GMT Tuesday, September 3, two missiles were launched "from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea" heading for the Syrian coast, but they did not reach Syria.(3) "Both missiles crashed into the sea."(4) There are several different accounts of what took place. According to Israel Shamir:
"It was claimed by a Lebanese newspaper quoting diplomatic sources that the missiles were launched from a NATO air base in Spain and they were shot down by the Russian ship-based sea-to-air defence system. Another explanation proposed by the Asia Times says the Russians employed their cheap and powerful GPS jammers to render the expensive Tomahawks helpless, by disorienting them and causing them to fail. Yet another version attributed the launch to the Israelis, whether they were trying to jump-start the shoot-out or just observed the clouds, as they claim."(5)
The Warships Were ReadyIt is hard to know what was behind this failed missile launch, but it did not trigger an all-out war. We can all be very thankful for this. In the map below we can see the significant collection of warships in position off the Syrian coast at the time.(6) An article in Global Research referred to a "massive US and allied naval deployment is occurring in the Eastern Mediterranean off Syria's coastline as well as in the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf."(7)
At the time it looked almost certain that the US and its allies would launch an attack on Syria. Instead the proposed attack was put off indefinitely. As Israel Shamir says, "the steely wills of America and Eurasia had crossed in the Eastern Mediterranean," and the US suddenly decided to back away from such a serious military conflict. One commentator quipped that Obama finally deserved his Nobel Peace Prize after all. Here is the assessment of the situation from the Saker, an outspoken opponent of what he calls the Anglo-Zionist Empire. Because of his previous life the Saker has insider knowledge of the workings of NATO military affairs.
"Less noticed was the fact that Russia sent a hastily assembled but capable naval task force to the Syrian coast. Not a task force big enough to fight the US Navy, but a task force capable of providing a full view of the skies over and beyond Syria to the Syrian military. In other words, for the first time the US could not achieve a surprise attack on Syria, not with cruise missiles, not with airpower. Worse, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah embarked on a covert and overt program of material and technical assistance for Syria which ended up defeating the Wahabi insurgency."(8)
Why Did the US Change Plans?It is difficult for us to know all of the manoeuvres which took place behind the scenes during August and September, 2013, but the final outcome is clear. After years of increasing tensions and threats, the US and its allies decided not to launch a direct attack on Syria as planned. Given the rhetoric and military deployment directed against Syria seemed to follow the script used for Iraq and Libya, there has been little discussion in the West about why the US and its friends suddenly changed their plans. Now with hindsight we can see that this failed direct attack led to an increased indirect attact and the rise of what is know known as ISIS.
Two of the obvious reasons I can see for this sudden change are not the sort of things the political leaders of the West want to discuss. One is the fact that these wars are very unpopular. As a result of countless lies and failures revealed about the pointless and savage wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, it seems that some of the politicians are listening to their citizens. How else can you explain the unexpected decision of the British Parliament on Thursday, 29 August, to vote against the UK taking part in any strikes on Syria?
The other reason is the extent of the military build-up by Syria, Russia and even China.(9) The Russians and Chinese have not only blocked the US in the Security Council. They "voted" with their military hardware. They are not happy about what the US planned for Syria and made it quite clear that they would use force to stop them. When was the last time the Chinese ever sent warships to the Mediterranean? Both Russia and China are clearly not happy with the way the US decides to invade one country after another.
What Does it Mean?For reasons which are not hard to imagine, there has been little discussion of the broader significance of these events in the Western media. However commentators like Israel Shamir and Pepe Escobar believe these events signal an important shift in the balance of power in the world. The following is taken from a presentation by Israel Shamir at the Rhodes Forum October 5, 2013:
"First, the good news. American hegemony is over. The bully has been subdued."We cleared the Cape of Good Hope, symbolically speaking, in September 2013. With the Syrian crisis, the world has passed a key forking of modern history. It was touch and go, just as risky as the Cuban missile crisis of 1962."The chances for total war were high, as the steely wills of America and Eurasia had crossed in the Eastern Mediterranean. It will take some time until the realisation of what we've gone through seeps in: it is normal for events of such magnitude."(10)
For 'Eurasia' read Russia and China. In blunt terms, these two countries simply forced the US to back off and cancel their plans for war. Generally speaking, the ordinary people of the US, the UK and many other countries were just as opposed to the attack as the people in Syria itself.
Pepe Escobar is even more dramatic. Writing on the 17th October, after the Syrian backdown and the government shutdown in Washington, he explains that there has been a policy shift in Bejing. Now, for China, the diplomatic gloves are off. It's time to build a "de-Americanized" world. It's time for a new international reserve currency to replace the US dollar.(11) This new approach is presented in a Xinhua editorial.(12) The last straw for them was the US shutdown coming on top of the financial crisis provoked by Wall Street banks. He quotes perhaps the most important paragraph:
"Instead of honoring its duties as a responsible leading power, a self-serving Washington has abused its superpower status and introduced even more chaos into the world by shifting financial risks overseas, instigating regional tensions amid territorial disputes, and fighting unwarranted wars under the cover of outright lies."(13)
China has at least three parts to this new strategy. The first is to stop the military adventures of the US. All nations must respect international law and deal with conflicts within the framework of the UN. The second is to broaden membership of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to include countries in the emerging and developing world. The third is to work towards a "new international reserve currency that is to be created to replace the dominant US dollar."(14)
Perhaps this is why the leaders in the West are not celebrating the war that didn't happen. The Russians and Chinese have forced the West to adhere to international law and avoid an illegal war. Further, the Chinese see this as a beginning of a new era in world politics. They want to "de-Americanize" the world. The Russians want to see a "multi-polar" world. This means that the US and its small group of friends in Western Europe and Japan will need to recognize that they cannot make all the major decisions in the world on their own.
Footnotes:1. Quoted from an article by David Axe, "French Bombers Were Loaded Up, Syrian Rebels Were Deployed - All Awaiting Obama's Okay to Attack"; 24253f2. 3/09/france-was-ready-to-strike-syria-ob ama.html3. 13/09/two-missiles-launched-toward-syria-f all-into-the-sea-2454030.html4. ws/middleeast/syria/10282788/Missiles-la unched-in-Mediterranean-towards-Syrian-c oast-claims-Russian-defence-ministry.htm l5. r-on-syria-the-september-2013-military-s tand-off-between-five-us-destroyers-and-t he-russian-flotilla-in-the-eastern-medit erranean/53556446. https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.n et/hphotos-ak-ash3/1176205_5662560467559 21_1140583716_n.jpg7. val-deployment-us-and-allied-warships-de ployed-to-syrian-coastline-before-the-au gust-21-chemical-weapons-attack/53477668. sert-as-my-deepest-gratitude-to-you/9. ert-china-sends-warships-to-syria-joinin g-russian-warships-in-mediterranean-sea10. ar-on-syria-the-september-2013-military-s tand-off-between-five-us-destroyers-and-t he-russian-flotilla-in-the-eastern-medit erranean/535564411. anized-world-and-china12. th/2013-10/13/c_132794246.htm. This seems to be the same important editorial discussed by Jeff J. Brown in the Wikileaks Party post "Baba Beijing's Belly Laugh Felt Round the World.", eijings-belly-laugh-felt-round-the-world-2/ . The only difference I can see is that Jeff Brown refers to the author as Tang Danlu, while the Xinhua website refers to the author of the article as Liu Chang.13. th/2013-10/13/c_132794246.htm14. anized-world-and-china
Video Purports to Show Separatist Crucifixion by Ukrainian Nationalist Battalion - Veterans Today
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 05:35
''The views of some of them is their own affair as long as they do not break the law,'' said Kovzhun in written answers to questions. ''And the symbol is not Nazi. Trust me '' some of my family died in concentration camps, so I have a well-developed nose for Nazi shit.''
The ''Nazis'' of today profess themselves admirers of the Ukrainian historical figure Stepan Bandera, who in the 1930s and 40s did indeed form an alliance with the German military. But maybe there was an element of mistrust in the relationship, and maybe it was an alliance based more on pragmatic reasons that ideological ones. That at least seems to be the gist of articles here and here. Again, though, what is fact and what is propaganda can be difficult to sort out these days.
Perhaps all that can be concluded with any surety is that Jews and modern-day Nazis have on some level formed themselves into sort of a mutual admiration society, and if that is the case then perhaps there is something significant in the manner of execution chosen by the Azov Battalion members shown in the video''this of course is assuming, again, that the video is genuine.
One thing, however, is certain, and that is that propaganda has become a battle hymn and is being amplified to a grade of thunder heretofore unseen and unheard. Lies''about virtually everything, but particularly about wars such as the one in Ukraine''are the rule rather than the exception.
And this means that the reality in which we find ourselves is very leaky and porous. Molds, and all the assumptions and beliefs we have for years managed to fit into them, are increasingly becoming faulty and inapplicable and worthy of being tossed. But maybe in a way there is a silver lining in that. For two molds that particularly seem to have exceeded their expiration dates are, 1) Jews as devout, holy, perennially guiltless, chosen by God, and unjustly victimized; and, 2) Nazis as vicious, depraved, bloodthirsty, sadistic and the personification of evil.
How many things on this earth are really that black and white? Not many. And for this reason it is probably time to toss both of them.
Common Core
Microsoft Ends Exam Partnership with Prometric | Cloud content from Windows IT Pro
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:55
For anyone who has sought after a Microsoft certification, you've probably visited a Prometric test center location many times over the last decade. Prometric testing centers are conveniently located just about anywhere in the United States, offering Microsoft credential seekers the ability to take an exam usually over a lunch break.
For those continuing to seek certification, you'll need to start to look elsewhere.
On July 14, Microsoft announced that it is ending its partnership with Prometric. The partnership began in July of 2007 when Microsoft announced that Prometric would become its sole provider for exams, after both Prometric and Pearson VUE maintained authorized provider status simultaneously for some time.
The partnership officially ends on December 31, 2014, however on September 4, 2014, Pearson VUE will renew its authorization as an exam delivery provider. Microsoft certification exams will continue to be available through both exam delivery providers through December 31, 2014.
Interestingly, when Microsoft made the move in 2007 to eliminate Pearson VUE as an exam provider, the certification community was hot mad about the change, primarily because there were many more and closer Pearson VUE locations than there were Prometric locations.
Pearson VUE is a business of Pearson, an international media company. You might also remember that, in March, Pearson won exclusive distributorship away from O'Reilly for Microsoft Press books.
Pearson has made a FAQ document available to discuss the changes: Transition communications
The FAQ doc talks to exam vouchers, locations, exam scheduling, and other miscellaneous information about the transition.
Obama Admin Might Force Students To Take Tests | The Daily Caller
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 00:45
Daily Caller News Foundation
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said at a Q&A in Chicago Tuesday that widespread student boycotts of standardized tests are not acceptable, and if state governments don't stop them, the federal government will.
Under No Child Left Behind, at least 95 percent of students in a state must take annual standardized tests in reading and math from grades 3-8. Until now, the federal government has never had to contemplate enforcing that regulation, but a growing parent-led boycott effort is changing things.
Now, in many states, thousands of parents who oppose new Common Core-aligned tests or simply oppose testing in general are yanking their children out of exams. In New York, activists claim over 175,000 students are refusing to take the state's new standardized English tests, a figure that would put the state on pace to miss the 95 percent threshold.
In many states, public school students can't be forced to take tests, and some states even explicitly protect the right for parents to opt out. Now, Duncan says if states aren't willing to make sure kids take tests, the federal government will.
''We think most states will do that,'' Duncan told an Education Writers Association conference in Chicago, according to Chalkbeat New York. ''If states don't do that, then we [the federal government] have an obligation to step in.''
Duncan didn't elaborate on what the federal intervention might look like. It could, however, involve labeling districts with too many opt-outs as ''failing,'' a status that places restrictions on how schools use federal money. This would in turn pressure state government and school districts to roll back parental opt-out rights.
Duncan maintained the Obama Administration's position that standardized tests are crucial for both tracking students' progress and keeping tabs on the achievement gaps between certain groups.
''Folks in the civil rights community, folks in the disability community, they want their kids being assessed. They want to know if they are making progress or growth,'' Duncan said.
Duncan also talked about his regrets during his six years running the Department of Education. He said he was ''naive'' in early efforts to work with Republicans to replace NCLB, and also lamented that the country, in his view, doesn't treat education as a priority or a means to elevate the country's poorest people.
''Education has to be the great equalizer, it has to be the tool that helps increase social mobility,''Duncan said.
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Ministry of Truth
Brian Williams Inquiry Is Said to Expand -
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 16:28
An NBC News internal investigation into Brian Williams has examined a half-dozen instances in which he is thought to have fabricated, misrepresented or embellished his accounts, two people with inside knowledge of the investigation said.
The investigation includes at least one episode that was previously unreported, these people said, involving statements by Mr. Williams about events from Tahrir Square in Cairo during the Arab Spring.
The investigation, conducted by at least five NBC journalists, was commissioned early this year after Mr. Williams was forced to apologize for embellishing an account of a helicopter episode in Iraq in 2003. He was subsequently suspended for six months from his anchor position on the ''NBC Nightly News.'' The inquiry is being led by Richard Esposito, the senior executive producer for investigations, for the news division.
The review of Mr. Williams's reporting is not finished and no final conclusions have been reached. When completed, it is expected to form the basis for a decision on whether to bring him back. It is not clear when that decision will be made.
The two people with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions, said the episodes under review included details of the incident in Iraq in 2003; statements Mr. Williams made about a missile attack while he was traveling in another helicopter over northern Israel in 2006; and the circumstances under which he received a fragment of a helicopter that crashed during the mission to kill Osama bin Laden in 2011.
It is not clear precisely which parts of Mr. Williams's reporting from Tahrir Square have been scrutinized by NBC or what the network's investigation shows. But discrepancies are evident in accounts given by Mr. Williams in February 2011.
In an appearance that month with Jon Stewart on ''The Daily Show,'' Mr. Williams described his reporting from the square. Speaking of clashes between protesters seeking the overthrow of the Egyptian government, and a pro-government group on horses and camels, he said he had ''actually made eye contact with the man on the lead horse.'' Mr. Stewart then referred to reports that the pro-government group had used whips. ''Yeah,'' Mr. Williams replied, ''he went around the corner after I saw him, they pulled out whips and started beating human beings on the way.''
The NBC News report on the clash between the protesters that day did not show Mr. Williams in Tahrir Square during the protest. Subsequent reports said that Mr. Williams was reporting ''from a balcony overlooking Tahrir Square,'' rather than from inside the square itself, a description that matches footage that was broadcast, and that he repeated in an interview with The New York Times last year.
NBC News and Mr. Esposito declined to comment. Mr. Williams did not reply to an email seeking comment, and his lawyer, Robert B. Barnett, declined to comment.
The people briefed on the investigation, and others who either work at NBC News or have been in contact with staff members there, say that employees in the news division provided examples for the investigating team to look into, flagging instances in which they thought Mr. Williams had exaggerated.
Mr. Williams fell from beloved news anchor to a cautionary tale in a matter of days in February, after the military newspaper Stars and Stripes raised questions about his account of an incident in the early days of the most recent Iraq war. He had been on a helicopter, he said on his own show and on ''Late Show With David Letterman,'' which had been shot down by rocket-propelled grenade fire.
The soldiers aboard the helicopter disagreed. In the subsequent days and weeks, additional accusations emerged that he had embellished his reports.
In the aftermath of Mr. Williams's suspension, NBC News undertook a shake-up in its executive ranks, with Andrew Lack, a former NBC News president, coming in as head of the news division in March.
C. J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.
Shut Up Slave!
Paypal Claims Copyright Ownership Of Users Intellectual Property | Truth And Action
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 04:25
Under the heading ''Intellectual Property,'' PayPal announces that it is introducing a new paragraph to its agreement, effective July 1, 2015, that will allow the company to ''use content that you post for publication using the Services''.
''When providing us with content or posting content (in each case for publication, whether on- or off-line) using the Services, you grant the PayPal Group a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise any and all copyright, publicity, trademarks, database rights and intellectual property rights you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future. Further, to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, you waive your moral rights and promise not to assert such rights against the PayPal Group, its sublicensees or assignees. You represent and warrant that none of the following infringe any intellectual property right: your provision of content to us, your posting of content using the Services, and the PayPal Group's use of such content (including of works derived from it) in connection with the Services.''
PayPal users reacted to the terms of agreement update by expressing their shock and confusion.
''Wow! Does this mean that anything I might funnel through Paypal will belong to them, and that they can do what they like with it, without consultation, interference or redress?'' asked one respondent. ''So, for example, my business website: they could override my copyright if I channel it through them in any of their services?''
''This paragraph really made my hair stand on end,'' remarked another Paypal user. ''I hope someone better qualified than myself will be along to reassure us soon. Alas, PayPal is a necessary evil in order to do business online but, boy, they do take liberties from their position of power.''
In 2012, some Facebook users began posting status updates asserting that they maintained copyright ownership of the content they posted on the social media network in the mistaken belief that Facebook had claimed permanent ownership of all intellectual property posted on their website.
In reality, Facebook's own terms stated, ''You retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a license to use and display that content.''
However, the Paypal update, which copyright lawyers have yet to weigh in on, appears to be a lot more draconian and is sure to cause controversy.
Marissa Mayer makes 1,100 Yahooers jobless, calls it a "remix" - Boing Boing
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 04:23
Why would a CEO be so tone-deaf as to call a mass-firing a "remix?" Because the only audience that matters today are shareholders, not the public.
Yahoo, like many companies that earn their incomes indirectly, has little interest in ensuring that the people who use its services view it as a "good company." Yahoo's "audience" is Wall Street, not you.
The fortunes of Wall Street go up when workers' fortunes go down. The more Yahoo spends on workers' wages, the less money there is for dividends for its investors. The boom in consultancies to motivate workers and make them loyal to the firm doesn't reflect an interest in worker happiness -- it's the outcome of capitalism with the gloves off, where we don't even pretend that companies should be loyal to workers anymore.
Corporations are immortal, transhuman artificial life-forms and humans are their gut flora. Gut flora and host organisms are often aligned in their interests. Ultimately, your gut flora's strategies are not yours. If the company is paying you as little as it can get away with and will cut you loose the minute it can, then logically, by the company's own terms of reference, you should be stealing office supplies while you sing the corporate hymn. HR spending is about figuring out ways to get you to act as though this isn't true, even though everyone knows it is.
If you're an investor in Yahoo, then the fact that the company just shut down a bunch of cost centers is amazing news. If you work at Yahoo, that same event means the people you care about and work with have gone home to tell their children that they're changing schools because they can't afford the mortgage anymore and the family is relocating somewhere cheaper. They've moved their aging, frail parents out of their nice nursing homes and into cheaper, more ghastly ones.
It's a remix, all right, in the same sense in which an earthquake is a remix, or a tsunami.
A ''remix'' is when you create a different version of something, usually by adding or removing elements. It's a term most often applied to songs, although it's also appropriate to use in the context of photographs, films, and artwork. CEOs rarely use it to describe something as momentous as a major enterprise's transition, especially if said transition involves layoffs of longtime employees, because it could potentially appear flippant to observers. If you run your own firm (no matter how large), it always pays to use as formal language as possible when referring to anything that affects your employees' lives and careers.
Yahoo Called Its Layoffs a 'Remix.' Don't Do That. [Nick Kolakowski/Dice]
(via /.)
(Image: The 7th Annual Crunchies Awards on February 10, 2014 in San Francisco, Techcrunch, CC-BY)
China rates its own citizens - including online behaviour | Buitenland | de Volkskrant
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 16:37
The Chinese government is currently implementing a nationwide electronic system, called the Social Credit System, attributing to each of its 1,3 billion citizens a score for his or her behavior. The system will be based on various criteria, ranging from financial credibility and criminal record to social media behavior. From 2020 onwards each adult citizen should, besides his identity card, have such a credit code.
The regulations were announced last year, but have attracted almost no attention thus far in China and abroad. This week Rogier Creemers, a Belgian China-specialist at Oxford University, published a comprehensive translation of the regulations regarding the Social Credit System, which clarifies the scope of the system. In an interview with Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant he says: 'With the help of the latest internet technologies the government wants to exercise individual surveillance'.
In his view this surveillance will have a wider scope than was the case under the former East German system: 'The German aim was limited to avoiding a revolt against the regime. The Chinese aim is far more ambitious: it is clearly an attempt to create a new citizen.'
The intentions of the new system are not only economical, fighting fraudulent practices, but also moral. 'This is a deliberate effort by the Chinese government to promote among its citizens "socialist core values" such as patriotism, respecting the elderly, working hard and avoiding extravagant consumption', says Creemers. A bad 'credit code' can result in being not eligible for certain jobs, housing or credit to start a company. 'On the labour market you might need a certain score to get a specific job.'
Very ambitousJohan Lagerkvist, a Chinese internet specialist at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs, agrees the system is 'very ambitious in both depth and scope, including scrutinizing individual behavior and what books people read. It's Amazon's consumer tracking with an Orwellian political twist.'
In Hong Kong a spokesperson of Human Right Watch China, Maya Wang, sees 'a scary vision of the future' in the system: 'Currently there is intensive surveillance of "sensitive groups, such as dissidents, but the social credit system goes to another level. This is an effort of surveillance of all people'.
Lagerkvist questions whether the system can be put into practice easily. 'Implementation may prove tricky, due to agency turf wars and reluctance of companies to fully comply. But it is an open question, it depends how much firepower the government will give the implementation effort.'
No doubt who is in commandThe German China-expert Daniela Stockmann, political scientist at Leiden University, esteems Chinese internet firms will be reluctant, as they 'are aware of privacy concerns of their users. And also they struggle with their infrastructure to process huge amounts of data.'
But Creemers is convinced Chinese Internet giants like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent will cooperate with the government in operating the system. These companies are 'in a symbiotic relationship with the government', he argues. Wheras in the US companies like Google or Facebook show themselves fighting for the privacy of their clients against the preying eyes of intelligence agencies, in China this is not the case. There is no doubt among key players who is in command. 'Government and big internet companies in China can exploit 'Big Data' together in a way that is unimaginable in the West', says Creemers.
Playing videogames versus buying diapersChinese internet firms are definitely interested, as Ant Financial, a subsidiary of ecommercegiant Alibaba, recently showed. To its popular app Alipay it added a new service which rated a person's credit worthiness on a scale of 350 to 950 points. This score is not only determined by one's lending behavior, but also by hobbies and friends. If friends have a poor lending reputation, this reflects badly on the person, just as prolonged playing of video games. Buying diapers indicates responsibility and scores therefore well.
In the Chinese press the system has been presented as rather limited focusing mostly on financial credibility. But Creemers' study shows the government wants to evaluate behavior of its citizens in various other areas as well, with the aim of 'strengthening and innovating social governance', according to the government. Innovative will be the active contribution of citizens rating other citizens. 'Imagine a Chinese person being able to rate his doctor or his professor, as is already happening in the US. And he or she might also give a bad score to polluting companies, as the system will be applied to companies and institutions as well', says Creemers.
CreditworthinessThe far reaching scope of the system is confirmed by an explanation on the website of the scientific institute CASS (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences). As a result of its transformation in recent decades Chinese society has changed 'from a society of acquaintances into a society of strangers'. As a result moral conduct has suffered: 'When people's behavior isn't bound by their morality, a system must be used to restrict their actions'. Therefore it is time for the 'Social Credit System', which covers 'four major fields: politics, business, society and justice.'
According to professor Wang Shuqin, who is working on the new system, the mechanism for establishing financial creditworthiness, is practically ready to be put in practice. Without such a mechanism doing business in China is risky, she stresses, as about half of the signed contracts are not kept. 'Especially given the speed of the digital economy it is crucial that people can quickly verify each other's creditworthiness.' Adding non-financial factors to the system, like the 'socialist core values', she regards as a bonus: 'The behavior of the majority is determined by their world of thoughts. A person who believes in socialist core values, is behaving more decent.'
'This is the most staggering, publicly announced, scaled use of big data I've ever seen', says Michael Fertik, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of The Reputation Economy. 'It certainly feels about as Orwellian as your nightmares would have it be. On the other hand, it is probably a fairly inevitable evolution - an updated, Big Data version - of the longstanding Communist Party's grading of China's citizens. It's exactly what any Command state would like to do with data.'
Ebola Virus Immunity fro legal all through the supply chain
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 05:07
DATES:FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:BackgroundSection I, Determination of Public Health Emergency or Credible Risk of Future Public Health EmergencySection II, Factors ConsideredSection III, Recommended ActivitiesSection IV, Liability ImmunitySection V, Covered PersonsSection VI, Covered CountermeasuresSection VII, Limitations on DistributionSection VIII, Category of Disease, Health Condition, or ThreatSection IX, Administration of Covered CountermeasuresSection X, PopulationSection XI, Geographic AreaSection XII, Effective Time PeriodSection XIII, Additional Time Period of CoverageSection XIV, Countermeasures Injury Compensation ProgramSection XV, AmendmentsI. Determination of Public Health Emergency or Credible Risk of Future Public Health Emergency42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(1)II. Factors Considered42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(6)III. Recommended Activities42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(1)IV. Liability Immunity42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a), 247d-6d(b)(1)V. Covered Persons42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(i)(2),(3),(4),(6),(8)(A) and (B)VI. Covered Countermeasures42 U.S.C. 247d-6b(c)(1)(B), 42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(i)(1) and (7)VII. Limitations on Distribution42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a)(5) and (b)(2)(E)VIII. Category of Disease, Health Condition, or Threat42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(2)(A)IX. Administration of Covered Countermeasures42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a)(2)(B)X. Population42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a)(4), 247d-6d(b)(2)(C)XI. Geographic Area42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a)(4), 247d-6d(b)(2)(D)XII. Effective Time Period42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(2)(B)XIII. Additional Time Period of Coverage42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(3)(B) and (C)XIV. Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program42 U.S.C 247d-6eXV. Amendments42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(4)The Declaration is effective as of February 27, 2015.
Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20201, Telephone (202) 205-2882 (this is not a toll-free number).
The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (''PREP Act'') authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services (''the Secretary'') to issue a Declaration to provide liability immunity to certain individuals and entities (''Covered Persons'') against any claim of loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the administration or use of medical countermeasures (''Covered Countermeasures''), except for claims that meet the PREP Act's definition of willful misconduct. Using this authority, the Secretary is issuing a Declaration to provide liability immunity to Covered Persons for activities related to the Covered Countermeasures, Ebola Virus Disease Therapeutics as listed in Section VI of the Declaration, consistent with the terms of this Declaration.
The PREP Act was enacted on December 30, 2005, as Public Law 109-148, Division C, Section 2. It amended the Public Health Service (''PHS'') Act, adding section 319F-3, which addresses liability immunity, and section 319F-4, which creates a compensation program. These sections are codified in the U.S. Code as 42 U.S.C. 247d-6d and 42 U.S.C. 247d-6e, respectively.
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act (PAHPRA), Public Law 113-5, was enacted on March 13, 2013. Among other things, PAHPRA added sections 564A and 564B to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act to provide new emergency authorities for dispensing approved products in emergencies and products held for emergency use.
PAHPRA accordingly amended the definitions of ''Covered Countermeasures'' and ''qualified pandemic and epidemic products'' in section 319F-3 of the Public Health Service Act (the PREP Act provisions), so that products made available under these new FD&C Act authorities could be covered under PREP Act Declarations. PAHPRA also extended the definition of qualified pandemic and epidemic products that may be covered under a PREP Act Declaration to include products or technologies intended to enhance the use or effect of a drug, biological product, or device used against the pandemic or epidemic or against adverse events from these products.
The Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness that is often fatal. Since March 2014, West Africa has been experiencing the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976, affecting populations in multiple West African Countries and travelers from West Africa to the United States and other countries. The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola Virus Disease Outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) under the framework of the International Health Regulations (2005).
Unless otherwise noted, all statutory citations below are to the U.S. Code.
Section I, Determination of Public Health Emergency or Credible Risk of Future Public Health Emergency Back to TopBefore issuing a Declaration under the PREP Act, the Secretary is required to determine that a disease or other health condition or threat to health constitutes a public health emergency or that there is a credible risk that the disease, condition, or threat may in the future constitute such an emergency. This determination is separate and apart from a Declaration issued by the Secretary under section 319 of the PHS Act that a disease or disorder presents a public health emergency or that a public health emergency, including significant outbreaks of infectious diseases or bioterrorist attacks, otherwise exists, or other declarations or determinations made under other authorities of the Secretary. Accordingly, in Section I, the Secretary determines that there is a credible risk that the spread of Ebola virus and the resulting disease may in the future constitute a public health emergency.
In deciding whether and under what circumstances to issue a Declaration with respect to a Covered Countermeasure, the Secretary must consider the desirability of encouraging the design, development, clinical testing or investigation, manufacture, labeling, distribution, formulation, packaging, marketing, promotion, sale, purchase, donation, dispensing, prescribing, administration, licensing, and use of the countermeasure. In Section II, the Secretary states that she has considered these factors.
The Secretary must recommend the activities for which the PREP Act's liability immunity is in effect. These activities may include, under conditions as the Secretary may specify, the manufacture, testing, development, distribution, administration, or use of one or more Covered Countermeasures (''Recommended Activities''). In Section III, the Secretary recommends activities for which the immunity is in effect under the conditions stated in the Declaration, including the condition that the activities relate to clinical trials permitted to proceed after review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that administer or use the Covered Countermeasure under an investigational new drug application (IND) and that are directly supported by the United States. The Secretary specifies that the term ''directly supported'' in this Declaration means that the United States has provided some form of tangible support such as supplies, funds, products, technical assistance, or staffing. This condition is intended to afford liability immunity only to activities related to clinical trials using the Covered Countermeasure currently being conducted in the United States and West Africa that are directly supported by the United States.
The Secretary must also state that liability protections available under the PREP Act are in effect with respect to the Recommended Activities. These liability protections provide that, ''[s]ubject to other provisions of [the PREP Act], a covered person shall be immune from suit and liability under Federal and State law with respect to all claims for loss caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the administration to or use by an individual of a covered countermeasure if a declaration . . . has been issued with respect to such countermeasure.'' In Section IV, the Secretary states that liability protections are in effect with respect to the Recommended Activities.
The PREP Act's liability immunity applies to ''Covered Persons'' with respect to administration or use of a Covered Countermeasure. The term ''Covered Persons'' has a specific meaning and is defined in the PREP Act to include manufacturers, distributors, program planners, and qualified persons, and their officials, agents, and employees, and the United States. The PREP Act further defines the terms ''manufacturer,'' ''distributor,'' ''program planner,'' and ''qualified person'' as described below.
A manufacturer includes a contractor or subcontractor of a manufacturer; a supplier or licenser of any product, intellectual property, service, research tool or component or other article used in the design, development, clinical testing, investigation or manufacturing of a Covered Countermeasure; and any or all of the parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, successors, and assigns of a manufacturer.
A distributor means a person or entity engaged in the distribution of drug, biologics, or devices, including but not limited to: Manufacturers; repackers; common carriers; contract carriers; air carriers; own-label distributors; private-label distributors; jobbers; brokers; warehouses and wholesale drug warehouses; independent wholesale drug traders; and retail pharmacies.
A program planner means a State or local government, including an Indian Tribe; a person employed by the State or local government; or other person who supervises or administers a program with respect to the administration, dispensing, distribution, provision, or use of a Covered Countermeasure, including a person who establishes requirements, provides policy guidance, or supplies technical or scientific advice or assistance or provides a facility to administer or use a Covered Countermeasure in accordance with the Secretary's Declaration. Under this definition, a private sector employer or community group or other ''person'' can be a program planner when it carries out the described activities.
A qualified person means a licensed health professional or other individual who is authorized to prescribe, administer, or dispense Covered Countermeasures under the law of the State in which the countermeasure was prescribed, administered, or dispensed; or a person within a category of persons identified as qualified in the Secretary's Declaration. Under this definition, the Secretary can describe in the Declaration other qualified persons, such as volunteers, who are Covered Persons. Section V describes other qualified persons covered by this Declaration.
The PREP Act also defines the word ''person'' as used in the Act: A person includes an individual, partnership, corporation, association, entity, or public or private corporation, including a Federal, State, or local government agency or department. Section V describes Covered Persons under the Declaration, including Qualified Persons.
As noted above, section III describes the Secretary's Recommended Activities for which liability immunity is in effect. Section VI identifies the countermeasures for which the Secretary has recommended such activities. The PREP Act states that a ''Covered Countermeasure'' must be: A ''qualified pandemic or epidemic product,'' or a ''security countermeasure,'' as described immediately below; or a drug, biological product or device authorized for emergency use in accordance with sections 564, 564A, or 564B of the FD&C Act.
A qualified pandemic or epidemic product means a drug or device, as defined in the FD&C Act or a biological product, as defined in the PHS Act that is: (i) Manufactured, used, designed, developed, modified, licensed or procured to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat, or cure a pandemic or epidemic or limit the harm such a pandemic or epidemic might otherwise cause; (ii) manufactured, used, designed, developed, modified, licensed, or procured to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat, or cure a serious or life-threatening disease or condition caused by such a drug, biological product, or device; (iii) or a product or technology intended to enhance the use or effect of such a drug, biological product, or device.
A security countermeasure is a drug or device, as defined in the FD&C Act or a biological product, as defined in the PHS Act that: (i)(a) The Secretary determines to be a priority to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or treat harm from any biological, chemical, radiological, or nuclear agent identified as a material threat by the Secretary of Homeland Security, or (b) to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or treat harm from a condition that may result in adverse health consequences or death and may be caused by administering a drug, biological product, or device against such an agent; and (ii) is determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to be a necessary countermeasure to protect public health.
To be a Covered Countermeasure, qualified pandemic or epidemic products or security countermeasures also must be approved or cleared under the FD&C Act; licensed under the PHS Act; or authorized for emergency use under sections 564, 564A, or 564B of the FD&C Act.
A qualified pandemic or epidemic product also may be a Covered Countermeasure when it is exempted under the FD&C Act for use as an investigational drug or device that is the object of research for possible use for diagnosis, mitigation, prevention, treatment, or cure, or to limit harm of a pandemic or epidemic or serious or life-threatening condition caused by such a drug or device. A security countermeasure also may be a Covered Countermeasure if it may reasonably be determined to qualify for approval or licensing within ten years after the Department's determination that procurement of the countermeasure is appropriate.
Section VI lists the Ebola Virus Disease Therapeutics that are Covered Countermeasures. Section VI also refers to the statutory definitions of Covered Countermeasures to make clear that these statutory definitions limit the scope of Covered Countermeasures. Specifically, the Declaration notes that Covered Countermeasures must be ''qualified pandemic or epidemic products, or security countermeasures, or drugs, biological products, or devices authorized for investigational or emergency use, as those terms are defined in the PREP Act, the FD&C Act, and the Public Health Service Act.''
The Secretary may specify that liability immunity is in effect only to Covered Countermeasures obtained through a particular means of distribution. The Declaration states that liability immunity is afforded to Covered Persons for Recommended Activities related to clinical trials that are permitted to proceed after FDA review, that administer or use the Covered Countermeasure under an IND, and that are directly supported by the United States, as described in Section III of this Declaration, through present or future Federal contracts, cooperative agreements, grants, other transactions, interagency agreements, or memoranda of understanding or other Federal agreements or arrangements.
This limitation is intended to afford liability immunity to activities that are related to clinical trials permitted to proceed after FDA review that administer or use the Covered Countermeasure under an IND and that are directly supported by the United States. As stated in Section III of the Declaration, the term ''directly support'' means that the United States has provided some form of tangible support such as supplies, funds, products, technical assistance, or staffing. As of the date of this Declaration, those activities primarily are those with a direct connection to the conduct of clinical trials in the United States and West Africa, but this Declaration also would apply to use in qualifying clinical trials outside those areas.
For governmental program planners only, liability immunity is afforded only to the extent they obtain Covered Countermeasures through voluntary means, such as (1) donation; (2) commercial sale; (3) deployment of Covered Countermeasures from Federal stockpiles; or (4) deployment of donated, purchased, or otherwise voluntarily obtained Covered Countermeasures from State, local, or private stockpiles.
This last limitation on distribution is intended to deter program planners that are government entities from seizing privately held stockpiles of Covered Countermeasures. It does not apply to any other Covered Persons, including other program planners who are not government entities.
Section VIII, Category of Disease, Health Condition, or Threat Back to TopThe Secretary must identify, for each Covered Countermeasure, the categories of diseases, health conditions, or threats to health for which the Secretary recommends the administration or use of the countermeasure. In Section VIII, the Secretary states that the disease threat for which she recommends administration or use of the Covered Countermeasures is Ebola virus disease.
Section IX, Administration of Covered Countermeasures Back to TopThe PREP Act does not explicitly define the term ''administration'' but does assign the Secretary the responsibility to provide relevant conditions in the Declaration. In Section IX, the Secretary defines ''Administration of a Covered Countermeasure:''
Administration of a Covered Countermeasure means physical provision of the countermeasures to recipients, or activities and decisions directly relating to public and private delivery, distribution, and dispensing of the countermeasures to recipients; management and operation of countermeasure programs; or management and operation of locations for purpose of distributing and dispensing countermeasures.
The definition of ''administration'' extends only to physical provision of a countermeasure to a recipient, such as vaccination or handing drugs to patients, and to activities related to management and operation of programs and locations for providing countermeasures to recipients, such as decisions and actions involving security and queuing, but only insofar as those activities directly relate to the countermeasure activities. Claims for which Covered Persons are provided immunity under the Act are losses caused by, arising out of, relating to, or resulting from the administration to or use by an individual of a Covered Countermeasure consistent with the terms of a Declaration issued under the Act. Under the Secretary's definition, these liability claims are precluded if the claims allege an injury caused by physical provision of a countermeasure to a recipient, or if the claims are directly due to conditions of delivery, distribution, dispensing, or management and operation of countermeasure programs at distribution and dispensing sites.
Thus, it is the Secretary's interpretation that, when a Declaration is in effect, the Act precludes, for example, liability claims alleging negligence by a manufacturer in creating a therapeutic, or negligence by a health care provider in prescribing the wrong dose, absent willful misconduct. Likewise, the Act precludes a liability claim relating to the management and operation of a countermeasure distribution program or site, such as a slip-and-fall injury or vehicle collision by a recipient receiving a countermeasure at a retail store serving as an administration or dispensing location that alleges, for example, lax security or chaotic crowd control. However, a liability claim alleging an injury occurring at the site that was not directly related to the countermeasure activities is not covered, such as a slip and fall with no direct connection to the countermeasure's administration or use. In each case, whether immunity is applicable will depend on the particular facts and circumstances.
The Secretary must identify, for each Covered Countermeasure specified in a Declaration, the population or populations of individuals for which liability immunity is in effect with respect to administration or use of the countermeasure. This section explains which individuals should use the countermeasure or to whom the countermeasure should be administered'--in short, those who should be vaccinated or take a drug or other countermeasure. Section X provides that the population includes ''any individual who uses or who is administered a Covered Countermeasure in accordance with the Declaration.''
In addition, the PREP Act specifies that liability immunity is afforded: (1) To manufacturers and distributors without regard to whether the countermeasure is used by or administered to this population; and (2) to program planners and qualified persons when the countermeasure is either used by or administered to this population or the program planner or qualified person reasonably could have believed the recipient was in this population. Section X includes these statutory conditions in the Declaration for clarity.
The Secretary must identify, for each Covered Countermeasure specified in the Declaration, the geographic area or areas for which liability immunity is in effect with respect to administration or use of the countermeasure, including, as appropriate, whether the Declaration applies only to individuals physically present in the area or, in addition, applies to individuals who have a described connection to the area. Section XI provides that liability immunity is afforded for the administration or use of a Covered Countermeasure without geographic limitation. This could include claims related to administration or use in West Africa. It is possible that claims may arise in regard to administration or use of the Covered Countermeasures outside the U.S. that may be resolved under U.S. law.
In addition, the PREP Act specifies that liability immunity is afforded: (1) To manufacturers and distributors without regard to whether the countermeasure is used by or administered to individuals in the geographic areas; and (2) to program planners and qualified persons when the countermeasure is either used or administered in the geographic areas or the program planner or qualified person reasonably could have believed the countermeasure was used or administered in the areas. Section XI includes these statutory conditions in the Declaration for clarity.
The Secretary must identify, for each Covered Countermeasure, the period or periods during which liability immunity is in effect, designated by dates, milestones, or other description of events, including factors specified in the PREP Act. Section XII identifies the effective time period. The effective time period commences at the start of clinical trials permitted to proceed after FDA review that administer or use the Covered Countermeasure under an IND and that are directly supported by the United States, as described in Section III of the Declaration. Liability immunity is afforded to claims arising from such administration or use of the Covered Countermeasures after that date that have a causal relationship with any of the Recommended Activities stated in this Declaration.
Section XIII, Additional Time Period of Coverage Back to TopThe Secretary must specify a date after the ending date of the effective period of the Declaration that is reasonable for manufacturers to arrange for disposition of the Covered Countermeasure, including return of the product to the manufacturer, and for other Covered Persons to take appropriate actions to limit administration or use of the Covered Countermeasure. In addition, the PREP Act specifies that for Covered Countermeasures that are subject to a Declaration at the time they are obtained for the Strategic National Stockpile under 42 U.S.C. 247d-6b(a), the effective period of the Declaration extends through the time the countermeasure is used or administered pursuant to a distribution or release from the Stockpile. Liability immunity under the provisions of the PREP Act and the conditions of the Declaration continues during these additional time periods. Thus, liability immunity is afforded during the ''Effective Time Period,'' described under XII of the Declaration, plus the ''Additional Time Period''' described under section XIII of the Declaration.
Section XIII provides for twelve (12) months as the additional time period of coverage after expiration of the Declaration. Section XIII also explains the extended coverage that applies to any products obtained for the Strategic National Stockpile during the effective period of the Declaration.
Section XIV, Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program Back to TopSection 319F-4 of the PREP Act authorizes a Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) to provide benefits to eligible individuals who sustain a serious physical injury or die as a direct result of the administration or use of a Covered Countermeasure. Compensation under the CICP for an injury directly caused by a Covered Countermeasure is based on the requirements set forth in this Declaration, the administrative rules for the Program, and the statute. To show direct causation between a Covered Countermeasure and a serious physical injury, the statute requires ''compelling, reliable, valid, medical and scientific evidence.'' The administrative rules for the Program further explain the necessary requirements for eligibility under the CICP. Please note that, by statute, requirements for compensation under the CICP may not always align with the requirements for liability immunity provided under the PREP Act. Section XIV, ''Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program'' explains the types of injury and standard of evidence needed to be considered for compensation under the CICP.
Further, the administrative rules for the CICP specify if countermeasures are administered or used outside the United States, only otherwise eligible individuals at American embassies, military installations abroad (such as military bases, ships, and camps) or at North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) installations (subject to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement) where American servicemen and servicewomen are stationed may be considered for CICP benefits. Other individuals outside the United States may not be eligible for CICP benefits.
The Secretary may amend any portion of a Declaration through publication in the Federal Register.
Declaration, Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act Coverage for Ebola Virus Disease Therapeutics
I. Determination of Public Health Emergency or Credible Risk of Future Public Health Emergency Back to Top42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(1)I have determined that there is a credible risk that the spread of Ebola virus and the resulting disease or conditions may in the future constitute a public health emergency.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(6)I have considered the desirability of encouraging the design, development, clinical testing, or investigation, manufacture, labeling, distribution, formulation, packaging, marketing, promotion, sale, purchase, donation, dispensing, prescribing, administration, licensing, and use of the Covered Countermeasures.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(1)I recommend the manufacture, testing, development, distribution, administration, and use of the Covered Countermeasures under the conditions stated in this Declaration, including the condition that the activities relate to clinical trials permitted to proceed after review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that administer or use the Covered Countermeasure under an investigational new drug application (IND) and that are directly supported by the United States. The term ''directly supported'' in this Declaration means that the United States has provided some form of tangible support such as supplies, funds, products, technical assistance, or staffing.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a), 247d-6d(b)(1)Liability immunity as prescribed in the PREP Act and conditions stated in this Declaration is in effect for the Recommended Activities described in section III.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(i)(2),(3),(4),(6),(8)(A) and (B)Covered Persons who are afforded liability immunity under this Declaration are ''manufacturers,'' ''distributors,'' ''program planners,'' ''qualified persons,'' and their officials, agents, and employees, as those terms are defined in the PREP Act, and the United States. In addition, I have determined that the following additional persons are qualified persons: Any person authorized to prescribe, administer, or dispense the Covered Countermeasures or who is otherwise authorized to perform an activity to carry out clinical trials permitted to proceed after FDA review that administer or use the Covered Countermeasure under an IND and that are directly supported by the United States, as described in Section III of this Declaration.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6b(c)(1)(B), 42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(i)(1) and (7)Covered Countermeasures are the following Ebola Virus Disease Therapeutics: ZMapp monoclonal antibody therapeutic.
Covered Countermeasures must be ''qualified pandemic or epidemic products,'' or ''security countermeasures,'' or drugs, biological products, or devices authorized for investigational or emergency use, as those terms are defined in the PREP Act, the FD&C Act, and the Public Health Service Act.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a)(5) and (b)(2)(E)I have determined that liability immunity is afforded to Covered Persons only for Recommended Activities involving Covered Countermeasures that are related to clinical trials permitted to proceed after FDA review that administer or use the Covered Countermeasure under an IND and that are directly supported by the United States, as described in Section III of this Declaration, through present or future Federal contracts, cooperative agreements, grants, other transactions, interagency agreements, memoranda of understanding, or other Federal agreements or arrangements.
I have also determined that for governmental program planners only, liability immunity is afforded only to the extent such program planners obtain Covered Countermeasures through voluntary means, such as (1) donation; (2) commercial sale; (3) deployment of Covered Countermeasures from Federal stockpiles; or (4) deployment of donated, purchased, or otherwise voluntarily obtained Covered Countermeasures from State, local, or private stockpiles.
VIII. Category of Disease, Health Condition, or Threat Back to Top42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(2)(A)The category of disease, health condition, or threat for which I recommend the administration or use of the Covered Countermeasures is Ebola virus disease.
IX. Administration of Covered Countermeasures Back to Top42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a)(2)(B)Administration of the Covered Countermeasure means physical provision of the countermeasures to recipients, or activities and decisions directly relating to public and private delivery, distribution and dispensing of the countermeasures to recipients, management and operation of countermeasure programs, or management and operation of locations for purpose of distributing and dispensing countermeasures.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a)(4), 247d-6d(b)(2)(C)The populations of individuals include any individual who uses or is administered the Covered Countermeasures in accordance with this Declaration.
Liability immunity is afforded to manufacturers and distributors without regard to whether the countermeasure is used by or administered to this population; liability immunity is afforded to program planners and qualified persons when the countermeasure is used by or administered to this population, or the program planner or qualified person reasonably could have believed the recipient was in this population.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(a)(4), 247d-6d(b)(2)(D)Liability immunity is afforded for the administration or use of a Covered Countermeasure without geographic limitation.
Liability immunity is afforded to manufacturers and distributors without regard to whether the countermeasure is used by or administered in any designated geographic area; liability immunity is afforded to program planners and qualified persons when the countermeasure is used by or administered in any designated geographic area, or the program planner or qualified person reasonably could have believed the recipient was in that geographic area.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(2)(B)Liability immunity for Covered Countermeasures begins on the effective date and extends for twelve (12) months from that date.
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(3)(B) and (C)I have determined that an additional twelve (12) months of liability protection is reasonable to allow for the manufacturer(s) to arrange for disposition of the Covered Countermeasure, including return of the Covered Countermeasures to the manufacturer, and for Covered Persons to take such other actions as are appropriate to limit the administration or use of the Covered Countermeasures.
Covered Countermeasures obtained for the Strategic National Stockpile (''SNS'') during the effective period of this Declaration are covered through the date of administration or use pursuant to a distribution or release from the SNS.
XIV. Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program Back to Top42 U.S.C 247d-6eThe PREP Act authorizes a Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (''CICP'') to provide benefits to certain individuals or estates of individuals who sustain a covered serious physical injury as the direct result of the administration or use of the Covered Countermeasures, and benefits to certain survivors of individuals who die as a direct result of the administration or use of the Covered Countermeasures. The causal connection between the countermeasure and the serious physical injury must be supported by compelling, reliable, valid, medical and scientific evidence in order for the individual to be considered for compensation. The CICP is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (''HRSA''), within the Department of Health and Human Services. Information about the CICP is available at the toll free number 1-855-266-2427 or
42 U.S.C. 247d-6d(b)(4)Any amendments to this Declaration will be published in the Federal Register.
Dated: April 9, 2015.
Sylvia M. Burwell,
[FR Doc. 2015-09412 Filed 4-21-15; 8:45 am]
These planes are obviously junk. Time to Sell some Scorpions.'‹Air Force rushes to repair A-10 after 'catastrophic' engine failure in ISIS territory
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 17:54
Published time: April 24, 2015 16:36A U.S. Air Force (USAF) A-10 Thunderbolt II (Reuters / Tim Chong)
An A-10 aircraft operated by the United States military suffered from a ''catastrophic'' engine failure during a routine refueling mission and was diverted to a base in Iraq to be repaired, the Pentagon says.
The US Air Forceacknowledgedthis week that a maintenance repair team was deployed to Al Asad Air Base in Iraq recently after the malfunction sidelined an A-10C Thunderbolt II. The Air Force did not note the specific date of the incident, but described the glitch as ''catastrophic.''
The jet was not involved in a combat mission when the failure occurred, the Air Force said, but had to be diverted to a base in hostile territory where an expedited repair was ordered to fix the plane's number one engine.
Colonel Michael Stohler, the commander of the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, said the aircraft safely landed ''in a location that was not fully secure and we needed it repaired and flown out of there as quickly as possible.''
According to the Hill, the Al Asad base in the largely-Sunni western province of Al Anbar was coming under "regular fire'' from militants from the self-styled Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) as recently as this past January.
Getting the A-10 out of Al Assad, Stohler said, was the ''number one priority'' for officials on the base.
READ MORE: Air Force general loses job for telling airmen lobbying to keep A-10 'is committing treason'
The Pentagon reportedly thought repairing the jet would take upwards of a month, the Air Force said, but a maintenance team was deployed to the base and fixed it in five days.
''This fix required removing and replacing multiple major components on the aircraft that are normally not done,'' he said. ''It was accomplished in hot weather at a base with minimal support structure. The maintenance personnel slept 16 in a tent. There were no shower facilities. They worked long hours with minimal equipment to rebuild this aircraft, test it and then fly it out,'' Stohler said.
The Air Force plans to retire a fleet of around 300 Warthogs '' officially the A-10 Thunderbolt II '' over the next few years, and expects the maneuver to save the Pentagon upwards of $4.2 billion by 2019.
READ MORE: War chest: US Air Force seeks more cash to boost Iraq & Syria ops, surveillance
The A-10 has previously been used extensively in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and defense journalist Tyler Rogoway wrote recently that the jets would likely deal a heavy blow to the IS due to its sheer maneuverability, armor, defensive suite and construction. At the same time, the jet has garnered opposition from critics who cite a recent report indicating the A-10 has killed more US troops in friendly-fire incidents and more Afghan civilians than any other aircraft operated by the Pentagon.
Earlier this week, lawmakers on Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee in the US House declined to weigh in on the fleet's future, instead passing the fate of the program to a full committee that is expected to meet later this month and debate the A-10, according to Defense News.
On Thursday, Roll Call reported that the House Armed Services Committee is expected to continue funding the planes through the 2016 defense authorization mark.
WLBT : Cochran staffer suspended following drug arrest
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 00:42
WLBT : Cochran staffer suspended following drug arrestCochran staffer suspended following drug arrest
Bob Burks
Posted: 04/24/2015 7:39 PM
WASHINGTON, D. C (Mississippi News Now) - One of Senator Thad Cochran's staff has been arrested in Washington on drug charges. Forty-nine year old Fred Pagan is charged with drug possession.Custom and Border Protection officers in Cincinnati, Ohio, intercepted a package addressed to Fred Pagan which contained GBL, a well-known date rape drug.
Late Friday, Senator Cochran's office released the following statement:
''Senator Cochran is disturbed and deeply saddened by the arrest of his long-time aide Fred Pagan, and is suspending him of all duties pending the outcome of this case.''
According to court documents, when Homeland Security and Metro Police went to Pagan's apartment with a search warrant, He told agents he had ordered the GBL from a business in China and knew the substance was illegal. He also admitted to receiving three prior shipments.
During the search of the home, they found 181.5 grams of a substance that tested positive for Methamphetamine. Full Story
Agenda 21
Temperatures set to plunge by TEN DEGREES with a Nordic blast making UK colder than Moscow | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 02:19
Weather experts predict temperatures will dip by around ten degreesPlunge means Britain will be colder than Moscow, Stockholm and FinlandArctic airmass from Iceland to blame for the sharp change in temperatureForecaster also predict thousands of runners could be in for wet London Marathon By Sam Matthew for MailOnline
Published: 07:00 EST, 24 April 2015 | Updated: 19:52 EST, 24 April 2015
Put away the flip flops and the sunglasses, as an Arctic airmass is on the way.
After one of the warmest Aprils on record, there will be a dramatic change next week with temperatures set to fall by around ten degrees.
The plunge means Britain will go from being hotter than Turkey and Ibiza to colder than Moscow, Stockholm and Finland in a matter of days.
It also threatens to cause a wet and miserable time for the thousands of runners taking part in Sunday's London Marathon.
Red sky in the morning, shepherd's warning: Forecasters predict that temperatures are set to plunge by 10C
People were making the most of the sunshine outside Exeter Cathedral before the Arctic airmass arrives
Britain is set to go from being hotter than Turkey and Ibiza to colder than Moscow, Stockholm and Finland in a matter of days
The Met Office has forecast rain through the morning in the capital with the chance of thunderstorms and heavy downpours early on.
According to forecasters we will begin to see the Arctic airmass, also known as a polar maritime mass, on Saturday after it has blasted over from Iceland.
'It is going to be increasingly unsettled and colder across the nation over the coming week,' said Laura Young spokesperson for the Met Office.
'We have had a three week period of glorious sunshine and people get used to it, this will be a shock to the system.
'There are people in Devon wearing flip flops at the moment and next week they will need to bring their boots back out.'
The grim forecast comes after Britain basked in what looked to be one of the warmest Aprils on record.
After temperatures rocketed into the 70s, they were expected to dip to around 8C (46F) in the north and between 12C (53F) and 14C (57F) in the south.
Overnight they may also plummet to below zero across the country, experts warned.
Enjoy it while it lasts: Torrential rain, thunder and even hail have been predicted by forecasters
Piers Corbyn, forecaster for WeatherAction, said: 'Next week is certainly going feel like a return winter and will be very different to the warm weather we have just had.
'A cold plunge is on the way again the result of this wildly deviating jet stream which has led to ups and downs in the weather through the first part of this year.
'It is set to nosedive southwards again opening the gates to cold air from the north, a very chilly end to April is likely.'
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UFO filmed during eruption at Calbuco volcano, Chile
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:50
(C) YouTubeMysterious: UFO spotted at the eruption site of the Calbuco volcano
Footage captured at the Calbuco volcano eruption in Chile has caused controversy - after viewers spotted a 'UFO' in the sky among the plumes of dust and ash.The unidentified flying object appears to hover in mid-air to the left of the eruption for a few seconds, flashing against the ash filled sky.
Moments later, the mysterious object disappeared.
The clip was uploaded to YouTube on April 23 by Ana Luisa Cid and has already clocked up more than 200,000 views.
Ana wrote: "Luminous object near the plume, captured on 22 April 2015.
"Some believe it may be a drone or a police helicopter.
"What is striking, in my opinion, is that the object remained static, then vanished."Calbuco, like 90% of all volcanoes, lies within the "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates converge along the edges of the Pacific Ocean.
The plates are rock slabs which make up Earth's surface, floating on a layer of molten rock under the crust.
Eruptions happen when gas dissolves under pressure within magma, until it cannot be contained.
Calbuco had lay dormant for 40 years but dramatically erupted into life - the first on Wednesday afternoon followed by a second powerful blast.
Mr Rothery said: "When then tectonic plates move it creates gases which then bubbles to the surface sparking the eruption.
"It's a bit like shaking a can of beer and when you pull the tab, it foams up."
The Calbuco volcano is one of the most active in Chile but its eruption took officials in the area by surprise.
THE POPE!-Statement by the President on Armenian Remembrance Day | The White House
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:47
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
April 23, 2015
This year we mark the centennial of the Meds Yeghern, the first mass atrocity of the 20th Century. Beginning in 1915, the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire were deported, massacred, and marched to their deaths. Their culture and heritage in their ancient homeland were erased. Amid horrific violence that saw suffering on all sides, one and a half million Armenians perished.
As the horrors of 1915 unfolded, U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, Sr. sounded the alarm inside the U.S. government and confronted Ottoman leaders. Because of efforts like his, the truth of the Meds Yeghern emerged and came to influence the later work of human rights champions like Raphael Lemkin, who helped bring about the first United Nations human rights treaty.
Against this backdrop of terrible carnage, the American and Armenian peoples came together in a bond of common humanity. Ordinary American citizens raised millions of dollars to support suffering Armenian children, and the U.S. Congress chartered the Near East Relief organization, a pioneer in the field of international humanitarian relief. Thousands of Armenian refugees began new lives in the United States, where they formed a strong and vibrant community and became pillars of American society. Rising to great distinction as businesspeople, doctors, scholars, artists, and athletes, they made immeasurable contributions to their new home.
This centennial is a solemn moment. It calls on us to reflect on the importance of historical remembrance, and the difficult but necessary work of reckoning with the past. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all our interests. Peoples and nations grow stronger, and build a foundation for a more just and tolerant future, by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past. We welcome the expression of views by Pope Francis, Turkish and Armenian historians, and the many others who have sought to shed light on this dark chapter of history.
On this solemn centennial, we stand with the Armenian people in remembering that which was lost. We pledge that those who suffered will not be forgotten. And we commit ourselves to learn from this painful legacy, so that future generations may not repeat it.
Turkey's Erdogan Slams Nations Recognizing Armenian Genocide
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 05:26
ANKARA (AP) -- Turkey's president has lashed out at country leaders who have recognized the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide on the centenary of the massacres.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday accused France, Germany, Russia and Austria -- whose leaders or parliaments recently described the killings as genocide -- of supporting "claims constructed on Armenian lies." He accused the United States of siding with Armenia although President Barack Obama stopped short of using the term in his annual message.
Erdogan said: "They should first, one-by-one, clean the stains on their own histories."
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed in what is widely viewed as the first genocide of the 20th century. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide.
Turkije hekelt Poetin om gebruik term 'genocide'
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:54
De Turkse regering heeft vandaag hard uitgehaald naar de Russische president Vladimir Poetin wegens diens gebruik van de term genocide om de moord op honderdduizenden Armenirs door Ottomaanse Turken te beschrijven. Het land verwerpt en veroordeelt het hanteren van de term voor de Armeense kwestie.
Volgens Ankara is het een duidelijk geval van de pot verwijt de ketel dat hij zwart ziet. 'Gezien de massale moordpartijen en verdrijvingen die Rusland de afgelopen eeuw heeft aangericht in de Kaukasus, Centraal-Azi en Oost-Europa denken we dat dat land het best weet wat genocide is en wat de juridische kenmerken daarvan zijn', liet het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken in een verklaring weten.
Naar schatting hebben mogelijk tot 1,5 miljoen Armenirs het leven gelaten bij de massamoord in het Osmaanse rijk die op 24 april 1915 begon.
Duitsland: genocideOok de Duitse Bondsdag is het erover eens. De massamoord op Armenirs was volkerenmoord ofwel genocide. Alle fracties in het Duitse parlement scharen zich achter de lezing van voorzitter Norbert Lammert dat: 'hetgeen wat midden in de Eerste Wereldoorlog in het Osmaanse rijk onder de ogen van de wereldgemeenschap heeft plaatsgevonden, een volkerenmoord was'.
Nog voor het zomerreces wil de Bondsdag komen met een officile verklaring ten aanzien van de gruwelijkheden tegen de Armenirs. Daarin moet in ieder geval de passage worden opgenomen: 'hun lot is een voorbeeld van de geschiedenis van massale vernietigingen, etnische zuiveringen, verdrijvingen, ja van volkerenmoorden waar de twintigste eeuw zo verschrikkelijk door getekend is.'
OostenrijkHet Oostenrijkse parlement besloot dinsdag de vervolging van de Armenirs in het Osmaanse rijk te betitelen als genocide. Ankara riep daarop zijn ambassadeur terug uit Wenen voor overleg. De kwestie van de Armeense genocide ligt door de Turkse opstelling in veel landen, waaronder ook Nederland, moeilijk.
Lammert beklemtoonde vandaag dat de huidige Turkse regering niet verantwoordelijk is voor hetgeen er honderd jaar geleden gebeurde. 'Maar zij is medeverantwoordelijk voor wat daarmee gedaan wordt.' Ook de rol van Duitsland liet hij niet onbelicht. Het toenmalige Duitse keizerrijk was een nauwe bondgenoot van het Osmaanse rijk.
What Obama's Refusal to Acknowledge the Armenian Genocide Tells Us About Ourselves '-- and the Rest of the World
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:51
(This post is from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Today, April 24, 2015, is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. During the next several years, about one and a half million Armenians were murdered by the Ottoman Empire: shot, worked to death, or marched into the Syrian desert to starve or die of thirst. An American official who was an eyewitness wrote home, ''The whole country [is] one vast charnel house, or, more correctly speaking, slaughterhouse.''
For most Americans this seems like it happened a million years ago on another planet. But as with everything important about history, if you pay attention you'll realize it was yesterday, two blocks away from where you live. In my case, I was named after my mother's oldest brother Jonathan; soon after he was born in 1928 my grandparents moved with him to Beirut, and because a new baby kept them busy, they hired a young woman as a maid. She was desperate: she was Armenian, and had walked over mountains and hundreds of miles to get to Lebanon, and was the only member of her family still alive.
' ' '
So what happened is a historical fact, and it shouldn't be difficult to get presidents and prime ministers to say, ''Today we remember the Armenian Genocide.'' But it's almost impossible, especially in the U.S. '-- because Turkey has made Armenian Genocide denial part of its national identity, and we're dependent on Turkey's support for our broader mideast policies.
During Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, he explicitly promised that ''as President I will recognize the Armenian Genocide.'' Samantha Power, author of A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide and now Obama's Ambassador to the U.N., recorded a video urging Armenian Americans to support him because he would acknowledge the genocide: ''I know [Obama] very well and he's a person of incredible integrity '... He's a true friend of the Armenian people, an acknowledger of the history '... he's a person who can actually be trusted.''
Obama's commitment was quietly removed from his website sometime after December, 2010, and this Armenian Remembrance Day, he broke his promise for the seventh year in a row.
And Obama's gone far beyond acts of omission. When the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution recognizing the genocide, Hillary Clinton, then Secretary of State, said, ''The Obama administration strongly opposes [this] and will work very hard to make sure it does not go to the House floor.'' She and Obama were '-- with Nancy Pelosi's assistance '-- successful.
Likewise, Israel has long relied on an alliance with Turkey, and has always refused to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. In 2001, the director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem stated that Shimon Peres had ''entered into the range of actual denial of the Armenian Genocide, comparable to denials of the Holocaust.''
This is not hyperbole. In fact, American and Israeli denial of the Armenian Genocide often uses exactly the same language as Iranian denial of the Holocaust.
In 2006, then-Iranian president Ahmadinejad said what was needed was a ''fact-finding commission'' to straighten out what had actually happened to all the Jews and Roma during World War II. In 2007, Condoleezza Rice advocated ''historical commissions'' to determine where those Armenians had disappeared to in World War I.
When confronted directly about what he personally believed happened, Ahmadinejad declared ''I'm not a historian.'' What did Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, say when asked what he believed happened to Armenians? ''I'm not a historian.''
Armenian mother and children (Library of Congress/Genocide Museum)
Library of Congress
So yes, Iranian Holocaust denial is deeply vile. But on Armenian Remembrance Day most of all, we should see that our own genocide denial is as well. Recognizing this would help prevent some of our more embarrassing outbursts of hypocrisy. One of the reasons Hillary Clinton worked so hard to prevent Congress from recognizing the Armenian Genocide is because we needed Turkey's help to impose sanctions on Iran '... a country she knows is awful because they engage in Holocaust denial: ''when heads of state and religious leaders deny the Holocaust from their bully pulpits, we cannot let their lies go unanswered.''But there's something more subtle that we should also understand today:
We can see clearly that our own denial of the Armenian Genocide is purely instrumental. That is, Obama and the rest of them don't act as they do because they loathe Armenians and devote their every waking moment to plans to exterminate them. Rather, they're motivated by straightforward, grubby power politics.
Similarly, this is a plausible explanation for the behavior of much of the Iranian faction that's given to Holocaust denial: they're not all obsessive anti-Semites who hope to call the Holocaust back for an encore, they simply find it politically convenient to deny it happened.
And if their straightforward, grubby power calculations change, their behavior will change as well '-- just as there are loud rumblings in Israel about recognizing the Armenian Genocide now that their alliance with Turkey is on the rocks.
' ' '
In 1919, Henry Morgenthau, U.S. Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during World War I, said this about the Armenian Genocide: ''I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this.''
Twenty years later his son, Henry, Jr., was Treasury Secretary. My other grandfather, my father's father, was working at the Treasury when he received this letter from his cousin Lilly, from Germany:
''Aunt Helen wrote me you have a fine place in the treasury department,'' she penned, on pages my family has saved for 76 years. ''Have you or any of your friends, any acquaintances in England? The only possibility to emigrate there is to have a job as a house-maid. I have much to do but I am very happy with my work and think it the best to get over this terrible time. You all cannot imagine how desperate the Jews are. I remain, your cousin, Lilly.''
You can take whatever meaning you want from this. The meaning I take is that all of history and all our lives mean nothing to the people who run the world; they see them simply as chips to use in their endless scramble to get to the top and stay there for as many delicious seconds as possible. I'll never be on Obama's side, or Ahmadinejad's side, or Benjamin Netanyahu's side, or Recep Tayyip Erdogan's side. Instead, most days, but today in particular, I think about how best to be on the side of Lilly and my grandparents' Armenian maid.
Photo: AFP/Getty Images
War on Cash
The ''War on Cash'' Migrates to Switzerland | David Stockman's Contra Corner
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 13:14
Banks Increasingly Refuse Cash Withdrawals '' Switzerland Joins the Fun
The war on cash is proliferating globally. It appears that the private members of the world's banking cartels are increasingly joining the fun, even if it means trampling on the rights of their customers.
Yesterday we came across an article at Zerohedge, in which Dr. Salerno of the Mises Institute notes that JP Morgan Chase has apparently joined the ''war on cash'', by ''restricting the use of cash in selected markets, restricting borrowers from making cash payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines and auto loans, as well as prohibiting storage of cash in safe deposit boxes''.
This reminded us immediately that we have just come across another small article in the local European press (courtesy of Dan Popescu), in which a Swiss pension fund manager discusses his plight with the SNB's bizarre negative interest rate policy. In Switzerland this policy has long ago led to negative deposit rates at the commercial banks as well. The difference to other jurisdictions is however that negative interest rates have become so pronounced, that it is by now worth it to simply withdraw one's cash and put it into an insured vault.
Having realized this, said pension fund manager, after calculating that he would save at least 25,000 CHF per year on ever CHF 10 m. deposit by putting the cash into a vault, told his bank that he was about to make a rather big withdrawal very soon. After all, as a pension fund manager he has a fiduciary duty to his clients, and if he can save money based on a technicality, he has to do it.
Swiss National Bank headquarters
Photo credit: Daniel Rohr
A Legally Murky Situation '' but Collectivism Wins OutWhat happened next is truly stunning. Surely everybody is aware that Switzerland regularly makes it to the top three on the list of countries with the highest degree of economic freedom. At the same time, it has a central bank whose board members are wedded to Keynesian nostrums similar to those of other central banks. This is no wonder, as nowadays, economists are trained in an academic environment that is dripping with the most vicious statism imaginable. As a result, withdrawing one's cash is evidently regarded as ''interference with the SNB's monetary policy goals''. Thus SRF reports:
''Since the national bank has introduced negative interest rates, pension funds in the country are in trouble. Banks are passing the negative rates on to them. This results in the saved pension money shrinking, instead of producing a return. A number of pension funds are therefore thinking about keeping their money in an external vault instead of leaving it in bank accounts.
One fund manager showed that for every CHF 10 m. in pension money, his fund would save CHF 25,000 '' in spite of the costs involved in vault rent, cash transportation and other expenses.
However, as our research team has found out, there is one bank that refuses to pay out money in such large amounts. The editorial team has gotten hold of a letter from a large Swiss bank in which it tells its customer, a pension fund:
''We are sorry, that within the time period specified, no solution corresponding to your expectations could be found.''
Bank expert Hans Geiger says that this ''is most definitely not legal''. The pension fund has a sight account, and has the contractual right to dispose of its money on demand.
(emphasis added)
Indeed, although we all know that fractionally reserved banks literally don't have the money their customers hold in demand deposits, the contract states clearly that customers may withdraw their funds at any time on demand. The maturity of sight deposits is precisely zero.
So how come the unnamed ''large bank'' (they should have named it, just to see what happens'...) is so bold as to break the law by refusing to pay out funds in a demand deposit? Note here that it is indeed breaking the law, as there is nothing in Swiss legislation that states that banks are allowed to refuse or delay servicing withdrawals from demand deposits upon request.
The answer is that it has probably received a ''directive'' from the Swiss National Bank. Note here that these directives are not legally binding. SFR further:
''The president of the pension funds association ASIP, Hanspeter Konrad, has been irritated for weeks that pension funds are suffering from negative interest rates. He says: ''We simply cannot understand that the banks are butting in here''. Konrad suspects that the National Bank is exerting its influence.
Indeed, the SNB confirms that it doesn't like to see the hoarding of cash to circumvent its negative interest rate policy.''The National Bank has therefore recommended to the banks to approach withdrawal demands in a restrictive manner.''
Hans Giger, professor eremitus at the University of Zurich, says to this that the question how far the SNB can go is legally complicated. While the SNB is not allowed to influence the contract between a bank and a pension fund, it can however ''issue directives to the banks in the collective interest of the Swiss economy''. What banks do with the SNB's directives is however up to them.
(emphasis added)
In other words, large depositors in Swiss banks have now become victims of collectivism. Collectivism is of course precisely what informs all central planning endeavors. Obviously, property rights count for nothing if the central planners can revoke them at the drop of a hat.
ConclusionIt is undoubtedly a huge red flag when in one of the countries considered to be a member of the ''highest economic freedom in the world'' club, commercial banks are suddenly refusing their customers access to their cash. This money doesn't belong to the banks, and it doesn't belong to the central bank either.
If this can happen in prosperous Switzerland, based on some nebulous notion of the ''collective good'', which its unelected central planners can arbitrarily determine and base decisions upon, it can probably happen anywhere. Consider yourself warned. As the modern day fiat money system inevitably cruises toward its final denouement, individual rights will come increasingly under attack as the world's ruling elites and centrally directed banking cartels begin to batten down the hatches.
Better continue stacking, and keep a pile of this within grabbing distance '' after all, it can be purchased at a generous discount these days:
VIDEO-CNN Won't Cut Away from White House Correspondents' Dinner, Reassures Viewers They'll 'Find Out All of What Happened in the Streets of Baltimore by This Time Tomorrow' - Hit & Run :
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 12:37
There was a gigantic peaceful march for Freddie Gray in Baltimore this afternoon. And then, in the evening, things got more violent, with some of the demonstrators throwing rocks and bottles at cops and smashing the windows of businesses and cars. (The authorities are currently blaming these incidents on "isolated pockets of people from out of town.") At least 12 people were arrested; and inside Camden Yards, where the Orioles were playing the Red Sox, the jumbotron delivered this message to the crowd:
Seems like a pretty big story, no? And if you wanted to see TV reporters trying to piece together what exactly was going on, you could check out the live feeds at WBAL and WJZ.
But you needn't have bothered checking CNN. Here (via Richard Wojcicki) is Errol Louis acknowledging the events taking place less than an hour north of DC...and explaining why his network wasn't interrupting its White House Correspondents' Dinner coverage to show viewers what was happening:
"You can find a live feed if you actually want to watch what's going on," Louis says, then gives a very brief sketch of "what I'm seeing on Twitter." His conclusion: "You can find out what you want to find out. And, you know, something else is going on'--the most powerful man in the world is gonna tell some jokes....
"We don't control a lot of this stuff. We sort of make our best choices, and we'll'--we'll catch up. People will be informed....They'll find out all of what happened in the streets of Baltimore by this time tomorrow."
So apparently that's what they mean by "24-hour news channel."
VIDEO-U.S. Counterterror Operations Kill Hostages, Infamous American Al Qaeda Member Adam Gadahn |
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 01:10
President Barack Obama apologized and said he takes ''full responsibility'' for a U.S. counterterrorism operation in January that accidentally killed an American and an Italian national being held by Al Qaeda.
Separately, the White House said, American Al Qaeda member Adam Gadahn was also killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in January. The long-sought California-born Gadahn had served as an Al Qaeda translator and spokesman.
Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto were killed in a U.S. counterterrorism strike on an Al Qaeda compound in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. Weinstein, of Rockville, Maryland, was captured in Pakistan while working as an economic development adviser in 2011. Lo Porto was kidnapped in 2012 when he had traveled to Pakistan's Punjab region for a humanitarian aid worker position.
President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House on April 23, 2015. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
''As a husband and as a father, I cannot begin to imagine the anguish that the Weinstein and Lo Porto families are enduring today,'' Obama said from the White House. ''As president and as commander in chief, I take full responsibility for all of our counterterrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovani.''
''On behalf of the United States government, I offer our apologies to the families,'' Obama said.
Obama said the operation was ''fully consistent'' with U.S. guidelines and that based on intelligence, including hundreds of hours of surveillance, the U.S. believed it to be an Al Qaeda compound with no civilians present and that ''capturing these terrorists was not possible.''
''What we did not know, tragically, is that Al Qaeda was hiding in the presence of Warren and Giovani,'' Obama said.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed the strike killed ''at least one'' Al Qaeda leader, Ahmed Farouq, an American.
''It is a cruel and bitter truth that in the fog of war generally, and in the fight against terrorist specifically, mistakes '-- sometimes deadly mistakes '-- occur,'' Obama said. ''But one of the things that sets America apart from many other nations, one of the things that makes us exceptional, is our willingness to confront squarely our imperfections as we learn from our mistakes.''
Obama said he has directed a full review of what happened.
''We will identify the lessons that can be learned from this tragedy and any changes that should be made. We will do our utmost to ensure it is not repeated and we will do our best to prevent the loss of innocent lives,'' he said.
In an emotional statement, Elaine Weinstein said her family is ''devastated'' by the news that her husband will never safely return home.
This image made from video released anonymously to reporters in Pakistan on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, which is consistent with other AP reporting, shows Warren Weinstein, a 72-year-old American development worker who was kidnapped in Pakistan by al-Qaida in 2011. The White House says Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian held by the terror organization since 2012, were inadvertently killed during U.S. counterterrorism operations in a border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan in January 2015. (AP Photo via AP video, File)
''We were so hopeful that those in the U.S. and Pakistani governments with the power to take action and secure his release would have done everything possible to do so and there are no words to do justice to the disappointment and heartbreak we are going through,'' she said. ''We do not yet fully understand all of the facts surrounding Warren's death but we do understand that the U.S. government will be conducting an independent investigation of the circumstances. We look forward to the results of that investigation. But those who took Warren captive over three years ago bear ultimate responsibility. I can assure you that he would still be alive and well if they had allowed him to return home after his time abroad working to help the people of Pakistan.
''The cowardly actions of those who took Warren captive and ultimately to the place and time of his death are not in keeping with Islam and they will have to face their God to answer for their actions,'' she said.
Elaine Weinstein thanked her Maryland representatives and specific members of the FBI, but said ''the assistance we received from other elements of the U.S. government was inconsistent and disappointing over the course of three and a half years.
''We hope that my husband's death and the others who have faced similar tragedies in recent months will finally prompt the U.S. government to take its responsibilities seriously and establish a coordinated and consistent approach to supporting hostages and their families,'' she said.
Elaine Weinstein also said she was ''disappointed'' by the Pakistani government and military, which should have made finding her husband ''a priority for them based on his contributions to their country, but they failed to take action earlier in his captivity when opportunity presented itself, instead treating Warren's captivity as more of an annoyance than a priority. I hope the nature of our future relationship with Pakistan is reflective of how they prioritize situations such as these.''
Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, Earnest said Obama has no regrets over the killing of the two American militants.
Fred Lucas contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Officials: MCA Testing Suspended Due To Cyber Attack CBS Minnesota
Sun, 26 Apr 2015 00:48
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) '-- It wasn't just a computer glitch that caused the state to temporarily halt the annual school test known as the MCAs.
It was a deliberate attack on the system.
The Minnesota Department of Education says it has a contract with a company called Pearson, which works with school districts nationwide in administering online standardized tests.
Officials say they discovered evidence Tuesday of what's called a ''distributed denial of service attack,'' or DDOS.
That means someone on the outside deliberately disrupted the online MCAs, as well as tests in other states.
The MCAs, or Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, are given to students in grades 3 through 8 in reading, math and science. Students in their sophomore and junior years of high school also take the tests.
But both this week and last week, students struggled to log in.
''Someone gave me the analogy today of this type of attack,'' said Josh Collins, a spokesperson for the Department of Education. ''If you are in line at the grocery store and you are trying to pay and your son is going, 'Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom,' that is a denial of service attack.''
The company that administers the tests first discovered a server failure. Then there was a problem with too much traffic at one time.
On Tuesday, the company found out an outsider was deliberately disrupting the system, overwhelming it so that students couldn't log in and take their tests.
''It is not an attempt to steal data or hack into the system,'' Collins said. ''Rather, it is an attempt to overwhelm it so that it can't function. This is something someone intentionally did to disrupt it from the outside.''
He says there is no indication any student data was taken.
MCA scores are seen as an indicator of a student's growth year to year. They're also used to track the progress of a school.
Teachers worry the technical problems have created more anxiety for students who understand the tests are important.
''Testing can already be an anxious time for students,'' Collins said. ''We know that, so anything that potentially increases that anxiety is concerning to us. That's part of the reason we decided to suspend testing.''
On Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Education notified school districts that MCA testing will resume on Thursday.
The department says Pearson has assured them the problems have been fixed and the company has put new protections in place to prevent a similar attack on the testing system.
An investigation is taking place to find the person or people responsible for the attack.
VIDEO-Exercise 'not key to obesity fight' - BBC News
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 23:50
Physical activity has little role in tackling obesity - and instead public health messages should squarely focus on unhealthy eating, doctors say.
In an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, three international experts said it was time to "bust the myth" about exercise.
They said while activity was a key part of staving off diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia, its impact on obesity was minimal.
Instead excess sugar and carbohydrates were key.
The experts, including London cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, blamed the food industry for encouraging the belief that exercise could counteract the impact of unhealthy eating.
An obese person does not need to do one iota of exercise to lose weight, they just need to eat lessDr Aseem Malhotra, CardiologistThey even likened their tactics as "chillingly similar" to those of Big Tobacco on smoking and said celebrity endorsements of sugary drinks and the association of junk food and sport must end.
They said there was evidence that up to 40% of those within a normal weight range will still harbour harmful metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity.
But despite this public health messaging had "unhelpfully" focused on maintaining a healthy weight through calorie counting when it was the source of calories that mattered most - research has shown that diabetes increases 11-fold for every 150 additional sugar calories consumed compared to fat calories.
And they pointed to evidence from the Lancet global burden of disease programme which shows that unhealthy eating was linked to more ill health than physical activity, alcohol and smoking combined.
Dr Malhotra said: "An obese person does not need to do one iota of exercise to lose weight, they just need to eat less. My biggest concern is that the messaging that is coming to the public suggests you can eat what you like as long as you exercise.
"That is unscientific and wrong. You cannot outrun a bad diet."
But others said it was risky to play down the role of exercise. Prof Mark Baker, of the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence, which recommends "well-balanced diets combined with physical activity", said it would be "idiotic" to rule out the importance of physical activity.
Ian Wright, director general at Food and Drink Federation, said: "The benefits of physical activity aren't food industry hype or conspiracy, as suggested. A healthy lifestyle will include both a balanced diet and exercise."
He said the industry was encouraging a balanced diet by voluntarily providing clear on-pack nutrition information and offering products with extra nutrients and less salt, sugar and fat.
"This article appears to undermine the origins of the evidence-based government public health advice, which must surely be confusing for consumers," he said.
VIDEO-Shocker on CBS: Earth 'Not As Warm...As the Climate Models Predicted' | MRCTV
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 22:59
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
On the 24 April 2015 edition of CBS Evening News, a NASA scientist made a surprising admission about climate change during a report about an erupting volcano in South America. Correspondent Michelle Miller turned to Dr. Allegra LeGrande, who detailed how the gases from a volcanic eruption can lead to a reduction in the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth. Le Grande added that "this is a small component of why we're not as warm today as the climate models predicted we would be seven years ago."
VIDEO-Weekly Address: Fighting for Trade Deals that Put American Workers First | The White House
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 21:31
April 25, 2015 | 3:33 | Public Domain
In this week's address, the President lays out why new, high-standards trade agreements are important for our economy, our businesses, our workers, and our values.
Download mp4 (131MB) | mp3 (8MB)
VIDEO-States prepare to hold Common Core test makers accountable - 8 News NOW
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 21:16
LAS VEGAS '' State SBAC testing was suspended again Friday for all Clark County school students because of system delays and crashes from test maker Measured Progress.
State officials learned that two other states were dealing with the same server problems and were not able to administer the test to all of their students.
Nevada, Montana and North Dakota are positioning themselves to hold the test makers accountable over the botched Common Core assessments. Testing in the states was halted last week after a widespread system crash caused by capacity issues with New Hampshire-based Measured Progress.
Officials from the three states say they are discussing legal options with their state attorneys general.
Principal Keith Whipperman of Leavitt Middle School said his students tried to take the SBAC or Common Core test 20 times.
''The kids take this very seriously, they come prepared, they come into the lab, they get kicked out of the machine," said Whipperman.
Superintendent Kristen Baesler said North Dakota schools dealt with similar problems.
"We began experiencing a significant drop-off of students and the server actually shut down, and bumped all of our students off," Baesler said.
The state superintendent of Montana said their students experienced very similar delays and a slowdown of the system due to an overload of database servers causing many students to not take the test.
Nevada has also filed breach of contract notices and is unlikely to meet a federal testing mandate after its largest school district said it won't attempt to test anymore without a problem-free guarantee.
Measured Progress has apologized for the technical problems. CEO and President Martin Borg of Measured Progress issued the following statement:
''We regret that schools in Clark County School District were unable to complete their Smarter Balanced online assessments over the past few days, and we apologize for the frustration and inconvenience that students and educators experienced. We are actively working with the state of Nevada on a plan to resolve the difficulties and improve the testing experience for all students. We are eager to move forward once we receive the state's approval of the plan. We continue to work with officials in Nevada to deliver Smarter Balanced online assessments. To date, more than 115,000 students in Nevada have successfully completed Smarter Balanced assessments.''
Montana says it may require the test makers to reimburse the state for any future federal funding lost.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
VIDEO-Earth Day 2015: The President and Bill Nye in Conversation, Everglades, Florida | The White House
Sat, 25 Apr 2015 17:47
April 24, 2015 | 6:15 | Public Domain
As you know, President Obama celebrated Earth Day this week by visiting the Florida Everglades where he spoke about the threat that climate change poses to our economy and to the world, in the latest part of his effort to call attention to act on the threat of climate change. The President also announced how we're investing millions in new funding to protect our parks, as well as new actions the Department of Agriculture will take in partnership with farmers, ranchers and forest land owners to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. While in Florida the President sat down with Bill Nye the Science Guy in the Everglades to discuss climate change, conservation, and science education in America.
VIDEO-Bubble Guppies S03E02 The Police Cop etition 720p - YouTube
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:34
VIDEO-'Aliens could share more tech with us, if we warmonger less' - Former Canada Defense Minister - YouTube
Fri, 24 Apr 2015 18:21

Clips & Documents

Agenda 21
Bill Nye and Obama-1-Intro on WH driveway.mp3
Bill Nye and Obama-2-science peep-10 years STEM.mp3
Bill Nye and Obama-3-catch kids at 10.mp3
Bill Nye and Obama-4-Deniers-evidence facts.mp3
Shocker on CBS- Earth 'Not As Warm...As the Climate Models Predicted'.mp3
Common Core
MCA Testing Suspended Due To Cyber Attack.mp3
Drone Nation
jeh-johnson on unintended kill.MP3
JCD Clips
armenia 2 blame kurds.mp3
armenia 3.mp3
armenia background.mp3
clinton 2 fishy story.mp3
clinton 3 -- reuterss guy.mp3
Clinton 4 kicker with book story.mp3
clinton and gates foundation.mp3
excerpt James Bond Diamonds.mp3
gender and depression.mp3
hillary ONE backf grounder.mp3
jenner 3 -- the dad.mp3
jenner 3 -- the song question.mp3
Jenner4 -- shameless joke.mp3
odd story about al gueda in Italy.mp3
transgenderism 2 the guy from harvard.mp3
transgenerism on News Hour 1.mp3
Jenner-Im a republican.mp3
Out There
Can Def Min in 60s-Paul Hellyer-2-80 types of aliens.mp3
Can Def Min in 60s-Paul Hellyer.mp3
Shut Up Slave!
Bubble Guppies kids cartoon-tickets-jamie burcham.mp3
Über Sources
Nicaragua-Sally-1-FU to chiners electricity.mp3
Nicaragua-Sally-2-tourism to Ortega.mp3
Nicaragua-Sally-3-brother eminent domain.mp3
Nicaragua-Sally-4-driving for uber after midnight.mp3
Nicaragua-Sally-5-uber trick and introduction.mp3
CNN goes for jokes instead of riots.mp3
WHCD-1-Castro Brothers name check.mp3
WHCD-2-Anger translator setups.mp3
WHCD-3-Anger translator with payload.mp3
WHCD-4-CNN Cecile Strong bordain cricket.mp3
WHCD-5-Brian Williams.mp3
WHCD-6-Rand Paul-Mein Leader.mp3
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