725: Cricket Flour

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 48m
May 28th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir T, Alex Button,

Associate Executive Producers: John Cox, Baronet Sir Sheets of the Cuban Leaf, Tony Nist

Cover Artist: MartinJJ

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Scot McKenzie Giblet
ITM Adam and John
Just letting you know that I'm still doing my bit to propagate the formula with a new No Agenda short story called Conscience For Sale, now in the Kindle store.
Here's the blurb...
It's only Polly Benton's second day working for a multinational outsourcing corporation when she gets the call to attend a meeting at the White House. The President can't decide whether the United States should go to war in the Middle East or not, so the Vice President is looking for ways to speed things up and cost is not an option. But is it really possible to outsource the decision to go to war? And what price is Polly willing to pay to further her career?
I've also just finished the first draft of the next No Agenda novel, which will be called The Boy with Involuntary Social Network Disorder.
Keep up the great work and thank you for your courage.
Scott
noagendanovels.com
TODAY
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Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''725, 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. § 1725^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
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FIFA
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'‹6 FIFA officials arrested on suspected corruption charges, face extradition to US '-- RT News
Wed, 27 May 2015 07:16
Published time: May 27, 2015 06:45Reuters / Christian Hartmann
A major Swiss operation carried out early morning raids on senior FIFA officials staying at a Zurich hotel. They're reportedly facing corruption charges and may be extradited to the United States.
"The bribery suspects - representatives of sports media and sports promotion firms - are alleged to have been involved in schemes to make payments to the soccer functionaries - delegates of FIFA and other functionaries of FIFA sub-organizations - totaling more than US$100 million,"the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said in a statement.
Football's big shots were staying at a lavish five-star hotel in the Swiss Alpswhere FIFA officials are staying ahead of this week's FIFA presidential election.
New York Times reported they were caught unawares as police entered reception, obtained keys and proceeded upstairs. The arrests were all made quietly '' some without handcuffs, others even allowed luggage. Pictures emerged online of the figures being led out under covers to avoid disclosing some identities.
Sepp Blatter, FIFA's president, was reportedly not on the arrest list, with spokesman Walter de Gregoria telling the AP''He is not involved at all.''Blatter is expected to become sports' most powerful persona again this Friday, when he secures a fifth term as president.
The Swiss investigation plans to unseal cases against more than 10 officials, the NYT reported.
The paper added that the indictment features the names of 14 officials, citing a government official close to the matter. The total sum received in bribes by the officials over the years allegedly stands at $150 million.
The official confirmed the charges against Webb, as well as Eugenio Figuerdo, Jack Warner, Eduardo Li, Julio Rocha, Costas Takkas, Rafael Esquivel, Jos(C) Maria Marin and Nicols Leoz.
Further charges were also expected against sports-marketing executives who were involved in and facilitated the payments. They reportedly include Alejandro Burzaco, Aaron Davidson, Hugo Jinkis and Mariano Jinkis. Jos(C) Margulies was reportedly an intermediary who facilitated illegal payments.
The BBC reports that it confirmed the names of four of the arrested and they include Eduardo Li, Jeffrey Webb, Jose Maria Marin and Eugenio Figuerado.
NYTIMES REPORTERS WERE ON SCENE-FIFA vote to kick Israel out of world football conveniently blocked by US intervention - Stop the War Coalition
Thu, 28 May 2015 03:16
The FIFA corruption crisis came just as its annual congress was due to debate a motion calling for Israel to be suspended from world football.How convenient for Israel, that on 27 May 2015, the US ordered Swiss police to raid, incarcerate and extradite to the US six FIFA officials for alleged corruption. The raid, with obviously pre-warned New York Times reporters on the scene, came one day before the annual congress of FIFA, football's world governing body, was meeting in Zurich and was expected to vote on a motion to expel Israel from FIFA, with a good chance of getting majority support.
THERE IS a unique situation in the Middle East: in that one country, Israel, is deliberately hindering another - Palestine - from playing football, and exhibits racism and discrimination against Palestinians within its own jurisdiction.
Due to this, Palestinians are demanding action which is perhaps slightly belated, but nonetheless, as urgent as ever. On 20 March 2015, the Palestinian Football Federation (PFA) submitted a motion for debate at the upcoming 28-29 May FIFA annual congress in Zurich. The motion calls for the suspension of the Israeli Football Federation (IFA) from FIFA until the following conditions are satisfied:
Football participants and all equipment related to the sport are able to move freely in, out and within Palestine.Football facilities are to be built and maintained in Palestine without hindrance.Football clubs established within illegal settlements in the West Bank are to be banned from playing in IFA competitions IFA is to take firm action in order to eliminate racist and apartheid practices within its own leagues.IFA is to recognise the PFA as the sole governing body for football within Palestine.These conditions address longstanding grievances. PFA has supported initiatives by FIFA for nearly two years, but regrettably - though not unexpectedly, these came to naught. For this reason, it argues, strong pressure in the form of suspension of IFA is needed to bring about essential change.
Israeli repression of football in PalestineThe Israeli Football Federation is effectively a state institution that is supported financially by the government and controlled by the State Comptroller. It cannot escape its complicity in its government's actions and so breaches FIFA's Statute 3, which prohibits racist actions punishable by suspension or expulsion. FIFA has challenged this complicity, but a 2009 declaration in the Knesset clarified that the IFA was a "public institution...supported [by the State] ".
Israel's assault on footballersFootballers have suffered tremendously in Palestine. During Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014, 16 footballers and coaches - and 13 other sportspersons - were killed. Three more, Saji Darwish, Oda'i Nafez Jabr and Mohammad al-Qatri, were shot dead in the West Bank. Al-Qatri was apparently executed after his arrest.
In January of 2014, two footballers and family members, 19-year-old Johar Nasr Halabiyeh and 17-year-old Adam Halabiyeh were walking beside Israel's Apartheid Wall and were shot repeatedly by Israeli soldiers. Their injuries left them both permanently disabled.
Restriction of movement of footballersIsrael also systematically restricts the freedom of movement of all Palestinian athletes, including footballers. The use of road blocks to control Palestinian movement often means that away games can take two days and cause worry for players' families, even though the game could be in a neighbouring town or village.
Athletes, staff and officials are also routinely denied permission to travel internationally, as well as between the West Bank and Gaza. Matches have had to be cancelled and foreign visitors have been humiliated at borders.
Arrest, imprisonment and torture of footballersMany athletes and footballers in particular have been targeted because of their participation in sports. For example, in July 2009, leading national team member, Mahmoud Sarsak, was arrested without charge, imprisoned for three years and tortured while in prison. He was only released after worldwide pressure was imposed by FIFA and UEFA. In April 2014, Sameh Maraabeh was arrested and imprisoned without charge for eight months then denied permission to travel to the 2015 Asian Games in Australia.
Damage and destruction inflicted on facilitiesFootball has suffered tremendously due to Israel's restrictions on the development and maintenance of football facilities in Palestinian territories. For example, uncountable football pitches and buildings were either severely damaged or totally destroyed in Israel's wars in 2008/9 and 2012 on the Gaza Strip.
In 2014, during Operation Protective Edge, the pitches and buildings of 30 Gazan football clubs were damaged or destroyed, but the rebuilding of facilities in the West Bank has been extremely difficult. Since many of these facilities are in Areas B and C (80 percent of the West Bank) Israel has the power to prevent development for what they deem ''security reasons'' while FIFA officials have been prevented from constructing new facilities as part of FIFA's Goal Project. Additionally, the importing of new equipment to both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has been blocked and massive taxes have been imposed.
Israeli repression of football for Palestinian citizens of IsraelAccording to FIFA's own statutes on racism, IFA should immediately be suspended for its discrimination against Palestinian athletes who are Israeli citizens. For instance, Israel has singularly failed to eliminate overt racism at the Beitar club that has branches in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.
The blatant racism imposed at Beitar Club has been highlighted to FIFA and UEFA by The Mossawa Centre and the Coalition Against Racism. IFA has never been disciplined for the club's failure to employ any Arabs, and the management that signed two Chechen Muslims was ousted, as were the players - after destructive demonstrations by fans. In November of 2014, during a football match, Beitar fans chanted "Death to Arabs." This kind of chanting has been an issue in the past and continues.
IFA recently segregated Palestinian youth teams from Jewish youth teams by splitting a national children's league in the al-Shomoron area, in clear breach of FIFA's statute (No 3) on racism. Reports say that this action was taken following the request of parents of Jewish child participants. The rights group, Adalah (the Legal Centre for Arab Minorities in Israel) has taken IFA to the district court and a decision is yet to be determined.
Israel has failed to stop the alarming growth of racism against Arab minorities in Israeli football. The Coalition Against Racism in Israel's 2013 report stated that incidents in the premier league were rising steeply and that despite various initiatives in this field, it appears that so long as enforcement measures are not announced, including penalties, this trend will not show any significant decline.
Why play against an Israeli team? Israeli breaches of football's codes of behaviour are indicative of the extreme and worsening racism within Israeli society and the apartheid system imposed by the Israeli government. The whole world knows of the Gaza massacre and many will have noted how little has been achieved in rebuilding the infrastructure and dwellings destroyed in the 2014 onslaught.
However, most people in the world do not know of the ongoing, month by month repressive acts throughout the West Bank - nor of the ongoing repression of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, who comprise 20 percent of the population. Israel ignores international law and does not respect the human rights of Palestinians.
While FIFA and UEFA often argue that politics and sport don't mix, FIFA's president Sepp Blatter has publically recognised that sport has a political dimension. For Israelis, sport is a profoundly political issue and it is desperate to be accepted as a country like any other. Thus it seizes upon every opportunity to emphasise its close partnership with Europe and has hosted UEFA matches, even in Jerusalem, which it has illegally annexed and wishes to promote as its ''undivided capital''.
Uniting against racism in footballFIFA suspended the South African Football Association in 1964 and only re-admitted it in 1992 once apartheid had been rejected in civil and sporting society. Several prominent South African leaders who campaigned against apartheid in South Africa, including Archbishop Tutu, have stated that Israeli apartheid is far worse than South African Apartheid and that Israel is guilty of far more serious crimes against humanity.
The president of the Asian Football Confederation, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, declared his commitment to tackling the ''illegal Israeli practices'' hindering Palestinian soccer.
European campaignsThe UK's Red Card Israeli Racism campaign has worked for the rights of Palestinian footballers for about four years. Also active have been EuroPalestine (France), BDS France, BDS Italia, and groups in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Irish Republic, Luxembourg, Northern Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and elsewhere.
Considering Israel's failure to abide by the rules of FIFA, IFA must be suspended until Israel learns to respect human rights of Palestinians and observes international law.
- Geoff Lee is a member of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign
Source: Middle East Eye
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Just when FIFA was considering kicking Israel out of international competitions, the US came out with the indictments of some top official."
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FIFA deal to see USA-USSR in finals and USSR to loose?
F-Russia-U.S. Senators call for resignation of FIFA head Sepp Blatter for supporting Russia 2018 World Cup -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:04
(C) AFP
US senators are calling for Sepp Blatter to be ousted as the head of Fifa over his support for Russia's world cup despite Vladimir Putin's military intervention in Ukraine.John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, and another senator wrote a letter to members of the Fifa Congress urging them to deny Mr Blatter a fifth-term as the head of football's global body.
"In light of President Blatter's continued support for Russia hosting the 2018 Fifa World Cup - despite Russia's ongoing violations of Ukraine's territorial integrity and other challenges to the post-WWII security architecture - we ask that you reconsider your support for President Blatter's fifth term as Fifa President," the senators wrote.
Mr McCain and Robert Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, said that "allowing Russia to host the World Cup would bolster the Putin regime at a time when it should be condemned".
They added that more than 40 Fifa member nations had imposed sanctions on Russia in response to the fighting in Ukraine, which has claimed more than 6,000 lives according to the UN.The senators urged members of the Fifa Congress to "deny the Putin regime the privilege of hosting the 2018 World Cup". Mr Blatter has been president of Fifa since 1998 but has been under fire for years following allegations of corruption within the governing body.
Qatar faced numerous accusations that it paid bribes to secure the 2022 World Cup but was cleared by a Fifa report last year. Mr Blatter has been accused of not taking seriously the claims of human rights abuses in both Qatar and Russia.
Russia Eyes Use of Prison Labor to Prepare for World Cup | TIME
Thu, 28 May 2015 14:02
TIMESportsWorld CupRussia Eyes Use of Prison Labor to Prepare for World CupMaxim Shemetov'--ReutersJournalists look at a light installation showing the official logotype of the 2018 FIFA World Cup during its unveiling ceremony at the Bolshoi Theater building in Moscow, October 28, 2014.Country hopes to keep costs down amid economic strugglesThe Russian government has proposed using prisoners to help prepare for the 2018 World Cup.
Alexander Khinshtein, a lawmaker, has gotten the backing of the Russian prison service to enlist some of the country's prisoners in building projects related to the soccer tournament, the Associated Press reports. Such an initiative would help keep costs of the World Cup down, since Russia typically pays prisoners about $300 per month for labor projects.
''It'll help in the sense that there will be the opportunity to acquire building materials for a lower price,'' Khinshtein told the AP. ''And apart from that it'll make it possible to get prisoners into work, which is very positive.''
The total estimated budget for the 2018 World Cup is 638 billion rubles, or more than $12 billion. However, the Russian ruble has lost significant value against the dollar since the start of 2014 because of international sanctions imposed against the country and the falling price of oil.
[AP]
Putin Slams US Over FIFA Arrests: "Another Blatant Attempt By The US To Meddle Outside Its Jurisdiction" | Zero Hedge
Thu, 28 May 2015 14:42
Following yesterday's political intervention by the US in which 14 FIFA affiliates were perp-walked out of Zurich's swankiest hotel just days ahead of Sepp Blatter's re-election, one person was quite displeased with this latest US intervention on the international arena: Russian president Vladimir Putin who accused the United States of meddling outside its jurisdiction by arresting officials from FIFA, further hinting that it was part of an attempt to take the 2018 World Cup away from his country.
As a reminder, Russia won the right to stage the 2018 World Cup during 2010 under Blatter's governance. The award is now the subject of a Swiss criminal investigation.
As a further reminder, epic corruption at FIFA, as well as every other global institution, from the Clinton foundation to the global capital markets, to US Congress, has been firmly established and well known to everyone for years, if not decades. And yet, the rigged system has worked well enough that nobody dared to touch it.
That is until US AG Loretta Lynch decided it was time to take matters into American hands. This, in turn, raised Putin's blood pressure as the Russian understands what the true purpose of this latest US intervention was.
According to Putin, the DOJ indictment which led to the arrest of over a dozen individuals on massive corruption charges "is yet another blatant attempt [by the US] to extend its jurisdiction to other states."
Putin added that the arrests were a ''clear attempt'' to prevent the re-election of Sepp Blatter as Fifa president and that the Swiss had Russia's backing.
Vladimir Putin, right, with Sepp Blatter.
"It looks very strange, the arrests are carried out on the request of the USA side,'' he said. ''They are accused of corruption '' who is? International officials. I suppose that someone broke some rules, I don't know. But definitely, it's got nothing to do with the USA. Those officials are not US citizens. If something happened it was not in the US and it's nothing to do with them."
''It's another clear attempt by the USA to spread its jurisdiction to other states. And I have no doubt '' it's a clear attempt not to allow Mr Blatter to be re-elected as president of Fifa, which is a great violation of the operating principles of international organizations. The US prosecutor, as our media report, has already said that those Fifa officials have committed a crime. As if the prosecutor didn't know about the principle of the presumption of innocence.''
What is just as ironic is that the one reason the US determined it has jurisdiction over the case is only because FIFA's corrupt officials had used US banks as intermediaries to funnel and otherwise launder bribes and other flows of funds. The same criminal banks which the Department of Justice busted just a week earlier for rigging the FX market.
How many people were arrested in the DOJ's crackdown on criminal US banks? 0.
How many people are arrested as part of the DOJ's crackdown on FIFA: 14.
One can start to sense an agenda in play.
Quoted by the Guardian, citing the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden and the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, both of whom have evaded prosecution in the United States by hiding abroad, Putin questioned Washington's right to request the Fifa officials' extradition from Switzerland.
''Unfortunately, our American partners use such methods to achieve their selfish aims and illegally persecute people. I do not rule out that in the case of Fifa, it's exactly the same,'' Putin said.
What happens next? Sepp Blatter's reelection this coming Friday, which until yesterday had been guaranteed, is now virtually assured to fail as Putin's frontman at FIFA is shown the door.
What else likely happens? Following some dramatic procedural changes, Russia loses the hosting of the 2018 World Cup.
One thing that is certain not to happen: Qatar will keep the 2022 World Cup venue. Why? Because as we showed yesterday, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee had donated between $250,001 and $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation. And that is all it takes to buy the silence of the US DO"J".
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FIFA Corruption Infographic from Justice.gov - fifa.grumpyradio.com
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United Passions: How Fifa spent £16m on a film where Sepp Blatter is a hero - BBC News
Wed, 27 May 2015 07:16
Tim Roth is Sepp Blatter A £19m film version of Fifa's history, in which president Sepp Blatter is one of the heroes, is opening in Serbia but no plans have been announced for worldwide release. What is going on?
Sepp Blatter is happy to have been played by Tim Roth. "In this case the casting was well done," the president of Fifa said when he met the actor at a lakeside hotel. "We have some common, let's say, qualities."
Roth, star of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, portrays the Swiss administrator in United Passions. The film tells how Fifa, world football's governing body, grew from its creation by a dedicated bunch of "mavericks" in Paris in 1904 to become overseer of today's multi-billion-pound industry.
Gerard Depardieu plays long-serving president Jules Rimet, credited with creating the World Cup in 1930. Sam Neill is Blatter's immediate predecessor, Brazilian Joao Havelange.
Fifa, which supplied £16m of the film's £19m budget, says it is "open, self-critical and highly enjoyable", as it deals with efforts to defeat corruption. It has been suggested, however, that Blatter demanded changes to the script.
The real Sepp Blatter It has been noted that the money is the equivalent of one year's funding for Fifa's "Goal" programme that supports football in poorer nations.
The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last month, with Fifa facing accusations that it is a mere vanity project showing Blatter and Havelange as commercial visionaries. "Everything I've done up until this point has been for the good of football," Blatter's character says in the official trailer.
There are unintentional echoes of Fifa's current image problems. A Uruguayan official is depicted telling Jules Rimet: "You need the money, we need the world championship."
Who makes a sports film where the heroes are the executives?John OliverFifa has been accused of ignoring bribery over Qatar's successful bid to hold the 2022 World Cup. Blatter responded by describing parts of the British media as "racist".
Greg Dyke, chairman of the England's Football Association, has since called for Blatter, who has been in charge of Fifa since Havelange quit in 1998 amid allegations of accepting bribes, to resign. "Among the British public, the Fifa brand is severely damaged," he said. "I suspect that is true throughout large parts of Europe."
Fifa is now a huge brand, lending its name to computer games, football stickers, books and other merchandise. Can United Passions improve its image?
"It's an appalling trailer," says public relations expert Mark Borkowski. "In a way it underlines the level to which Fifa's reputation has gone. It's idea porn, really. People in an organisation get very excited about something and, within their little bubble, they convince themselves that it's brilliant."
Still gleaming: Jules Rimet (and his trophy), as played by Gerard Depardieu "This movie, like Fifa itself, looks terrible," said comedian John Oliver on the US show Last Week Tonight. "Who makes a sports film where the heroes are the executives?"
"With Fifa sanctioning and Blatter helping promote it," writes Ryan Rosenblatt, ironically, on the SB Nation sports website, "I'm sure United Passions will be a fair, accurate look at world football's governing body."
The trailer, which has generated more than 57,000 views on YouTube, is all most people can currently see of United Passions. The film is scheduled for release in Serbia on Thursday, following a launch in Portugal last week. Fifa is promising it will be out in several other countries, including Russia, soon.
Sam Neill as Joao Havelange No UK release date has been announced. "We will make a communication at the appropriate moment," says a spokeswoman for publicists Cinepress.
Of the film's three stars, only Depardieu attended the Cannes premiere. Roth, who declined to speak to the BBC, has previously hinted at subversion in his performance.
"I was like, 'Where's all the corruption in the script?'" he told the Times. "Where is all the back-stabbing, the deals? So it was a tough one. I tried to slide in a sense of it, as much as I could get in there." Director Frederic Auburtin has said he inserted "ironic parts".
Given this attitude and the limited release, is there a sense of embarrassment about the project?
The Arsenal Stadium Mystery - murder investigation is launched after a player is poisoned and dies on the pitch at Highbury, in this 1939 thrillerYesterday's Hero - Ian McShane plays washed-up alcoholic footballer with passing resemblance to George Best, in 1979 film scripted by Jackie Collins Escape To Victory - WW2 escape attempt by Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and various Ipswich Town players, takes place against backdrop of a football match played by English POWs against their German captors. John Huston directed in 1981The Damned United - 2009 adaptation of David Peace's controversial novel, recounting the story of Brian Clough's 44-day tenure as Leeds United manager in 1974"Hagiography has been a consummate skill in the sport-writing world, with ghost writers or tame official chroniclers portraying the lives of superstars," says Alan Tomlinson, author of Fifa: The Men, the Myths and the Money. "But no commission, no vanity project of hagiographic commissioning, has rivalled the project of Sepp Blatter.
"United Passions has a small, niched Eastern European showing well away from the action. Even Blatter may suspect that this laughable film project is best put to one side."
Organisations - and even countries - have long promoted their interests using film.
The Baz Luhrmann-directed epic Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, was part-funded by the Australian government and timed to coincide with a tourism marketing campaign for the country in Europe, Asia and North America.
Eurostar offered funding for the 2008 Shane Meadows film Somers Town, featuring youths living near London's St Pancras Station, noted the Creative Review, which said this put the train operator "in the position of potentially being a brand that could grow to be seen as a patron of British cinema".
The 1988 release Mac and Me, about an alien who befriends a boy in a wheelchair, was paid for by McDonald's. The Rotten Tomatoes review website called it "a thinly veiled feature-length commercial for McDonalds and Coca-Cola".
Roman Polanski's 1971 film of Macbeth was financed by Playboy. "It worked to make the brand seem more upmarket," says Sheldon Hall, a film historian at Sheffield Hallam University. "But people laughed when the words 'Hugh Hefner presents...' came up on the screen as they waited for a Shakespeare production. However, it was actually a serious film."
And during the 1960s the United Nations part-funded The Poppy is Also a Flower, an action movie showing the work of its agents in tackling the opium trade in Iran. Its cast included Omar Sharif, Yul Brynner, Rita Hayworth and Anthony Quayle. But it was about fictional field operatives, not real-life administrators.
"United Passions is most unusual," says Hall. "Usually, if you are going to dramatise the history of your organisation, the people are either dead or out of the picture. I can't think of a directly comparable example."
Fifa says it is promoting "direct communication with fans" to foster "understanding" of its work. "It is hoped that this film, albeit fictionalised and therefore not entirely based on actual events, will contribute to this goal," it adds.
Mark Borkowski thinks the organisation might be on to something and that critics with a "European, media-savvy perspective" might be missing the point.
"One thing that you realise about Fifa is that tiny little places you might never have heard of are members and, unlike the UK, some of them venerate its work to develop football," he says. "The film is a way to try to influence opinions and throw out memes globally. It will be lying around long after Fifa's gone through its present trials and tribulations. It might just work."
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BUGS!
Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes with Cricket Flour -
Tue, 26 May 2015 06:21
Scrumptious sweets for your sweet!
These tasty cupcakes are a healthier version of those cupcakes we desperately want to eat but avoid due to oils and refined sugars. Nothing like a little zucchini and cricket flour from Next Millennium Farms to add energy and nutrients to your chocolate fix!
Chocolate Zucchini Cricket Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream
Made with Protein 2050 organic cricket flour
Makes 12 Cupcakes
Ingredients
¼ cup NMF Protein2050 organic cricket flour
1 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup agave nectar or organic honey
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup shredded zucchini
¼ cup unsweetened organic applesauce
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ cup unsweetened chocolate chips
Strawberry Buttercream icing
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup strawberries, pureed
4 cups icing sugar
Directions
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.Remove excess water from zucchini using some paper towel to squeeze out as much moisture as possible.In a bowl whisk together first group of dry ingredients and set aside.In a second bowl combine honey (or agave), coconut oil, vanilla, egg and egg white and use an electric or hand mixer on low until well-combined and smooth.Add zucchini, applesauce and almond milk and mix again.Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined '' do not over mix.Fold in the chocolate chips.Divide batter into the cupcake liners.Bake for 20-25 minutes, until you can insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then remove to continue to cool completely before icing.Strawberry Buttercream icing directions
Cream together butter and strawberry puree using an electric or hand mixer.Add icing sugar and continue to mix until smooth.Frost some delicious cupcakes.
F-Russia
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U.S. partially lifts sanctions to create 'uncontrolled access point' via the exportation of communications software, services
Mon, 25 May 2015 16:24
(C) Sputnik
The US Treasury permitted the export of communications software and services to Crimea, in a move similar to its partial lifting of the embargo against Cuba earlier this year.The US Treasury Department authorized the export of social media and communications software and services to the Russian region of Crimea on Friday.
Although Crimea already has many Internet users and bloggers who document changes and conditions on the peninsula, the explanatory note states that the new action "is in U.S. national security and foreign policy interests because it helps create a potentially uncontrolled access point." The United States does not consider Crimea to be a part of Russia, but rather a part of Ukraine that it has enacted an embargo against, similar to one previously enacted over Cuba.
"In addition, creating an opportunity for people in the Crimea region of Ukraine to draw attention to these issues may also encourage other countries to join with the United States and other like-minded countries currently imposing sanctions on Russia," the explanatory note to the new act states.
According to the license requirements, the nationality of the Crimea resident will be used to determine what country the product is being exported to. Over 99 percent of Crimea residents became Russian nationals in 2014. Ukrainian law does not permit dual citizenship.
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Putin's Macedonian Gambit
Fri, 22 May 2015 22:03
Macedonia, a small, impoverished Balkan state, has appeared in the newspapers lately, which it seldom does outside of Southeastern Europe. Macedonia was the only Yugoslav republic to escape the collapse of Tito's federation in the early 1990's without bloodshed, but its history since then has been a tale of woes. As everywhere in the Balkans, crime, corruption and ethnic politicking have rendered Macedonia a less than fully functional state, and all-out war between the Slavic Macedonian majority and the Albanian minority was narrowly averted in 2001. Diplomatic intervention by NATO and the EU cooled heads and a bloody conflagration was headed off, but only just.
Now Macedonia is in turmoil again. Earlier this month, a massive cross-border raid led to the deaths of eight policemen and fourteen terrorists, said by the government in Skopje to be Albanian radicals who infiltrated the border city of Kumanovo to perpetrate mass murder. The country's fragile ethnic balance has been thrown into chaos by the spectacular raid, the actual events of which remain shrouded in a good deal of mystery, in best Balkan fashion.
Macedonia has a long history of such never-solved major crimes. Back in 1995, President Kiro Gligorov, who got his country independence without bloodshed, was seriously injured by a car bomb, yet nobody was ever charged in the spectacular crime, though most Balkan spy-watchers detected more than a whiff of shadowy networks controlled by UDBA, Tito's nasty secret police, behind the assassination attempt.
Similarly, it seems safe to expect that the real story behind the Kumanovo raid will remain shrouded in mystery, as some wish. In the absence of evidence, rumors have spread like wildfire. Most Slavic Macedonians attribute the attack to Albanian radicals bent on creating Greater Albania to include western Macedonia '-- it doesn't help that some Albanian politicians state their goal openly '-- while most Albanians believe the raid was a ''false flag'' operation by Skopje to discredit them. Since false flag terrorism really does happen in the Balkans, it's difficult to say with any certainty what really transpired in Kumanovo.
It should be noted that the Kumanovo atrocity was exceptionally well timed for Skopje, where the beleaguered government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is facing mass protests against crime and corruption during his near-decade in power. Confronted with public outrage, Gruevski has retreated into ethnic politics, per standard Balkan practice. On cue, the Kremlin has backed Skopje, suddenly remembering that they represent Russia's Slavic Orthodox ''brothers,'' with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov bluntly stating this week, ''The events in Macedonia are blatantly controlled from the outside.''
According to the Kremlin, Macedonia is being lined up by the Americans and NATO to be the next ''color revolution'' which, like the alleged ''coup'' in Kyiv early last year, will install a pro-Western government in power against the (alleged) popular will. It must be said that, as in Ukraine, Moscow is lining itself up with a coalition of corrupt cronies that, if widespread Balkan rumors are to be believed, is tracking to fall from power, and soon. The recent resignation of top officials, including Macedonia's interior minister and intelligence chief, over revelations of their deep corruption has been taken as a bad sign by most impartial observers.
Never wanting to miss a crisis that could be geopolitically useful, the Kremlin has dispatched numerous ''diplomats'' '-- in reality, Russian intelligence officers '-- to their embassy in little Skopje, and they have been busy disseminating disinformation aimed at maligning the West and Macedonians who want a less corrupt government. A popular Russian rumor is that the Kumanovo terrorists were, in reality, American and British special forces who infiltrated Macedonia from the NATO base in Kosovo, Camp Bondsteel. Of course there is no evidence for this fairytale but that only makes it more popular among Macedonians who like spooky conspiracies.
Upping the ante in Kremlin Active Measures, to use the proper Chekist term, is a new piece in the right-wing Macedonian outlet Fakti by the Russian political strategist Sergei Markov, which posits a grand conspiracy theory about Western manipulation of recent Macedonian events. The root issue, he explains, is pipeline politics being orchestrated by the Americans and the Europeans, and Western intelligence is pulling the strings behind anti-government protests in Skopje, while NATO spy agencies were behind the Kumanovo terrorist raid. There is no evidence for any of this, but Markov goes one step further and explicitly fingers the National Security Agency and its partner the BND, Germany's foreign intelligence service, as the culprits behind the nefarious destabilization of Macedonia. Thanks to the Snowden Operation that Moscow has orchestrated over the last couple years, NSA is now the all-purpose boogeyman for Kremlin agitprop, though as the former technical director for NSA's Balkan operations, I'm confident in stating that nobody at Fort Meade is ''really'' behind Macedonia's grave crisis.
The Kremlin's hand behind this Active Measure is revealed by the author of this hit-piece. Sergei Markov is not, as one might suspect, a tinfoil-hatted conspiracy monger, some sort of Russian Alex Jones webcasting from his basement. Instead, he is a very prominent Moscow academic and politician who just happens to be the guy Putin drags out to sound scholarly when propagating absurd Kremlin lies. He has denied that Moscow had anything to do with the assassination of FSB defector Sasha Litvinenko in London, while Tallinn has fingered him as a suspect in the massive 2007 cyber-attacks on Estonia; as a result, he has been banned from that country, and Ukraine has done the same over Markov's vicious anti-Ukrainian statements. He has recently warned of deep Russophobia in Stockholm, threatening that Russia may start World War III if Moscow feels ''backed into a corner'' '-- by Sweden.
Moscow's equally outlandish talking points in Macedonia have been made clear by Professor Markov. I explained a few weeks ago that Putin's Kremlin has initiated a secret offensive in the Balkans, in both Bosnia and Macedonia, using Special War to open up another front as Europe slides towards greater crisis and perhaps wider war. Appealing to Slavic Orthodox ''brothers'' in Southeastern Europe, while sending spies and cash to stir up trouble, is a surefire way to exacerbate ethnic tensions in already damaged societies, but Moscow does not care about consequences. Russia seeks to cause problems for NATO and the EU in the Balkans, and it is doing so successfully. Shattering the fragile settlements of the Wars of Yugoslav Succession in the 1990's, maintained with difficulty by the West, will be easy for the Russians. That the cost of this dirty and unnecessary war will be borne by innocent people in Southeastern Europe is no concern of Vladimir Putin's.
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Vladimir Putin signs new law against 'undesirable NGOs' - Telegraph
Mon, 25 May 2015 14:51
Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law on Saturday giving prosecutors the power to declare foreign and international organisations "undesirable" in Russia and shut them down.
The law is part of a Kremlin campaign to stifle dissent that intensified after Mr Putin began his third term in 2012. His return to the presidency had been accompanied by mass street protests that Mr Putin accused the United States of fomenting. Russian suspicions of Western intentions have been further heightened because of tensions over Russia's role in the conflict in Ukraine.
The new Russian law allows prosecutors to declare an organisation undesirable if it presents a threat to Russia's constitutional order, its defeces or its security.
Laws passed in recent years already have led to increased pressure on Russian non-governmental organisations, particularly those that receive foreign funding. Rights activists fear the new law could be used to extend the crackdown to Russian branches of international groups and the Russian activists who work with them.
In a statement, US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said the United States is "deeply troubled" by the new law, calling it "a further example of the Russian government's growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world."
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The potential powder keg of Transnistria
Tue, 26 May 2015 17:57
(C) UnknownTransnistria is a potential powder keg
It's really deplorable how, over the last decades, we've all had to become students in a kind of "military geography", remembering the names of regions and provinces, of cities, towns, and villages because those have become a war zone, a battlefield, an area of instability, etc. Was it Mark Twain who said that "God created war so that Americans would learn geography"? Or is it, rather, the Devil that's giving us all those unwanted lessons?A new international conflict seems to be brewing. Now it's Transnistria, a strip of land and a state, the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Pridnestrovie), located to the East of the Dniester River, where it borders Ukraine. In 1990 the region declared its independence and broke away from Moldova, thereby getting tightly wedged between Moldova and Ukraine. To maintain peace and security in the area, a joint military command structure and a tri-lateral peacekeeping force, comprised of Russian, Moldovan, and Transnistrian units, were established in 1992, with 10 Ukrainian observers joining in 1998. Ukraine was also a party to a number of negotiating formats over Transnistria, including the latest one of 2006.
So far so good, but a few days ago Kiev scrapped its 1995 agreement with Russia on military transit to Transnistria via Ukraine. With Moldova not obliging too, what this means is that the Russian peacekeeping units are kind of trapped there. Time will show whether it's a "no in/no out" situation or a compromise is still possible, but the development seems to be extremely dangerous. To understand why this is so, here is a bit of history.
Since the Soviet era, Transnistria is home to three major ethnic groups: Moldovans, Russians, and Ukrainians, with the Slavic element of Russians plus Ukrainians constituting quite a sizable majority of something about 60%. These people have spoken Russian or Ukrainian, or both, since the time immemorial, so when the Moldavian Parliament ruled in 1989 that the official language of the republic was to be Romanian (Moldavian) written in the Latin script, with 5 years given to non-Romanian citizens to learn it,this immediately created widespread insecurity amongst Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking population of Pridnestrovie.
In the meantime, pan-Romanian nationalism in Moldova, with the idea of re-uniting with Romania becoming almost a national obsession, reached its highest. That's when, amidst suspicions and claims that "the Romanians were coming back to their fascist past", Transnistria declared its independence from Moldova. What followed was a series of clashes between the sides, culminating with a most violent armed conflict, into which the Russian Moldova-based 14th Army was soon drawn on the side of the breakaway republic.
This is how General Alexander Lebed, the then commander of the 14th Army, described the situation in 1992: "650 people had already been killed and 4,000 wounded on the Transdnestrian side alone. The number of refuges was between 120,000 and 150,000. Factories, including an oil-refinery, a bio-chemical plant and a brewery, had been set on fire in Bendery, where over 50 per cent of the housing had been destroyed. In the same town, almost all the schools, kindergartens and medical facilities had been severely damaged and were no longer in use."
"I can confirm officially", he went on, "that here on the territory of Transdnister, there is no post-Communists, pro-Communists, neo-Communists nor any other kind of regime. There are simply people living here, who are being systematically, thoroughly and brutally annihilated. Moreover, they are being annihilated in such a way that the SS of fifty years ago look like schoolboys in comparison... The shadow of fascism hangs over this land of plenty. I think that our formerly great country should know about that. And it should remember how much it cost to break the back of fascism forty-seven years ago. It should stir its historical memory and remember what concessions to fascism can turn into." (Quoted in Harold Elletson's "The General Against the Kremlin.")But back to the current situation. What makes the latest developments over Transnistria too ominous is the fact that, controlled by the authorities of Transnistria and guarded by Russian troops, there's a huge Russian, formerly Soviet, ammunition depot there, located some 2 km from the Ukrainian border. With 22,000 or even more tons of military equipment and ammunition, it's reported to be one of the largest in Europe. A gigantic powder keg, a sleeping volcano... What will happen, if it explodes? I don't know.
Yury Nickulichev is a professor at the Russian Academy for National Economy and Civil Service.
Transnistria asks Putin for protection from external threats
Tue, 26 May 2015 17:58
(C) Flickr/ Minamie's Photo
The representatives of 66 public organizations in the breakaway Transnistrian Moldovan Republic (TMR) decided at a Monday meeting to prepare an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking him to protect the people of Transnistria if any external threat emerge.The meeting participants decided to add to the text of the appeal before June 1 and then send it to Transnistria's President Yevgeny Shevchuk for him to hand it to Vladimir Putin.
"We would like to appeal to Vladimir Putin so that in case of an emergence of some threat to Transnistria he, being a guarantor of peace on the territory of Transnistria ... would take all the measures needed: political, diplomatic, economic, sanctional, and, of course, in case of a threat, other measures as well," the head of the National Union of Women of Transnistria, Tatyana Dolishnyaya said.
Participants in Monday's meeting expressed serious concern with the political situation in Transnistria - namely with Kiev's decision to repeal an agreement permitting Russian forces to travel across Ukraine to Moldova, the Ukrainian military equipment near the border with Transnistria and the activation of NATO structures in Moldova.
"We found ourselves blocked, gripped in a vice, both from the side of Moldova and Ukraine. This is for the first time in 25 years," Valerian Tulgara, chairman of the Union of Moldovans of Transnistria said.
In 1990, the breakaway republic of Transnistria, with a predominantly Russian and Ukrainian population, declared its independence from Moldova. The region is now seeking international recognition.
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Putin foe's grave sudden illness: "spoiled yogurt" or "something else" to blame - Boing Boing
Wed, 27 May 2015 15:41
Vladimir Kara-Murza of the anti-Putin, pro-democracy Open Russia movement is in a Moscow hospital after he suddenly fell unconscious. Doctors diagnosed him with kidney failure. A Russian journalist said doctors at the hospitaltold him that they ''suspect poisoning.'' But Kara-Murza's father told a newspaper, ''The deputy head doctor of the hospital came out and told us that everything was fine with his heart, his lungs, his stomach, etc. It all had to do with his kidneys. It could have been spoiled yogurt or something else.''
My bet is on "something else."
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Russia digs 100 km ditch along border with south-eastern Ukraine
Wed, 27 May 2015 16:24
(C) RIA Novosti/Valeriy MelnikovIzvarino border crossing point in Lugansk Region, Ukraine.
Russia has erected 40km of fortified walls, and more than 100km of defensive trenches on its border with the rebel Ukrainian regions of Lugansk and Donetsk."The engineering fortification of the state border is aimed at ensuring stability in the Rostov region, and preventing the illegal circulation of firearms," Russia's border service said in a statement.
The government agency said that it intercepted over 60 illegal weapons shipments across the border since the beginning of the year. In doing so, it confiscated 40 firearms, 200 grenades, 100 shells and 40 landmines.
The border service said it had to arrest more than 400 people for either illegally crossing the border or approaching the secure zone next to it, and open fire on five occasions. Occasional media reports have surfaced in recent months about spillover from the restive region, locked in a stand-off with the central government in Kiev for the past year, including a report of a Donetsk man illegally trying to cross into Russia in a Soviet-era off-road vehicle.
Following the announcement, Kiev accused Russia of trying to seal in Russian fighters who have been drawn to the ranks of the rebel republics. Moscow strenuously denies that there are any Russian soldiers in eastern Ukraine.
"If the mercenaries decide to try to get back into Russia from Ukraine on their armored vehicles, their entry will be blocked. This is a clear signal to the mercenaries in Donbass - they might have come here, but they are not going back. At least, they aren't going back out alive," said government spokesman Andrey Lysenko.
Ukraine itself is spending $200 million to build what has been termed the European Bulwark on a different segment of its 2,200-km border with Russia, further up north. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2018.
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CYBER!
APNewsBreak: IRS Says Thieves Stole Tax Info From 100,000 - ABC News
Thu, 28 May 2015 01:16
Sophisticated criminals used an online service run by the IRS to access personal tax information from more than 100,000 taxpayers, part of an elaborate scheme to steal identities and claim fraudulent tax refunds, the IRS said Tuesday.
The thieves accessed a system called "Get Transcript," where taxpayers can get tax returns and other filings from previous years. In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address, the IRS said.
"We're confident that these are not amateurs," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "These actually are organized crime syndicates that not only we but everybody in the financial industry are dealing with."
Koskinen wouldn't say whether investigators believe the criminals are based overseas '-- or where they obtained enough personal information about the taxpayers to access their returns. The IRS has launched a criminal investigation. The agency's inspector general is also investigating.
Identity thieves, both foreign and domestic, have stepped up their efforts in recent years to claim fraudulent tax refunds. The agency estimates it paid out $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds to identity thieves in 2013.
"Eighty percent of the of the identity theft we're dealing with and refund fraud is related to organized crime here and around the world," Koskinen said. "These are extremely sophisticated criminals with access to a tremendous amount of data."
Congress is already pressing the IRS for information about the breach.
"That the IRS '-- home to highly sensitive information on every single American and every single company doing business here at home '-- was vulnerable to this attack is simply unacceptable," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "What's more, this agency has been repeatedly warned by top government watchdogs that its data security systems are inadequate against the growing threat of international hackers and data thieves."
Koskinen said the agency was alerted to the thieves when technicians noticed an increase in the number of taxpayers seeking transcripts.
The IRS said they targeted the system from February to mid-May. The service has been temporarily shut down.
Taxpayers sometimes need copies of old tax returns to apply for mortgages or college aid. While the system is shut down, taxpayers can still apply for transcripts by mail.
The IRS said its main computer system, which handles tax filing submissions, remains secure.
"In all, about 200,000 attempts were made from questionable email domains, with more than 100,000 of those attempts successfully clearing authentication hurdles," the agency said. "During this filing season, taxpayers successfully and safely downloaded a total of approximately 23 million transcripts."
The agency is still determining how many fraudulent tax refunds were claimed this year using information from the stolen transcripts. Koskinen provided a preliminary estimate, saying less than $50 million was successfully claimed.
Thieves can also use the information to claim fraudulent tax refunds in the future. As identity theft has exploded, the agency has added filters to its computer system to identify suspicious returns. These filters look for anomalies in the information provided by the taxpayer.
Caliphate!
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Why have there been no ISIS attacks in Israel?
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Will Aleppo become the capital of a new Caliphate? | Middle East Eye
Thu, 28 May 2015 03:34
Throughout most of its history, Aleppo had been a city-state, or a capital for surrounding territory in what is now North Syria and parts of south Turkey. There are strong indications now that this ancient city may once again assume this role, but this time around in a far more sinister way.
The ''mother of all battles'' is what a looming showdown in Aleppo is being called, as revitalised Islamist rebel forces fresh from victories in nearby Idlib are preparing to mount an all-out offensive in the next few weeks to seize the remaining part of the city under government control. The stakes couldn't be any higher - no less than the fate of the Syrian nation hangs in the balance - and the final lines of division might be drawn here.
The plan, drawn up by the insurgency's three most powerful regional backers - Turkey, Saudi and Qatar - is to overrun the entire northwest of Syria and create a rebel controlled ''safe zone,'' and through direct military intervention prevent the Syrian regime's aircraft and missiles from targeting it, thereby essentially setting up a de facto mini state.
To that end, there has been unprecedented cooperation and coordination between those powers who have put aside their rivalries and differences after King Salman of Saudi assumed the throne. This effort has seen them pour enormous financial, logistical and military resources into setting up what is called the ''Fatih Army'' or the Army of Conquest, and controlling the flow of its battles directly through an operations room in Turkey as well as intelligence officers on the ground. This was given the go ahead by the US, which under pressure from those allies again seems to have flipped its priority in Syria from battling the Islamic State (IS) to regime change.
It is worth mentioning that after almost a year of US-led coalition bombing, IS has continued to expand and grow, and now controls half of Syria and a third of Iraq. US policy here, as many had foreseen, is a confused and muddled disaster.
If the name of the Fatih Army sounds ominous, then its composition is even more disturbing, being made up primarily of al-Qaeda's affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as other hardline Salafi jihadist groups like Ahrar el-Sham. This army has already ''conquered'' most of Idlib province, and is looking to go for Aleppo next.
Apathy meets al-Qaeda advanceThat there is global apathy towards an al-Qaeda army - backed and sponsored by the Western world's predominant Middle Eastern allies - preparing to take over Aleppo and possibly establish another caliphate similar - albeit hostile - to its neighbouring Islamic State, is very indicative of what the Syrian crisis has come to after four years.
This once tolerant, secular, multicultural and multi-confessional nation with a diverse society and rich heritage will soon become home to two of the world's most noxious, extremist and violently fanatical statelets. In their wake, all of Syria's non-Sunni Muslim inhabitants are being ethnically cleansed and displaced. Predictably, this is what happened in Idlib after it fell to the Fatih Army, which saw all of its Christians abandon their homes and flee to government-controlled areas, to little media attention. This will undoubtedly happen in Aleppo too, which has a very large Christian population comprised of various denominations, including ethnic Armenians.
Leaders of the Christian community here have sounded the alarm, and warned that after surviving for countless centuries in one of the first lands inhabited by ancient Christians, their presence here might be coming to a final end. Again, the absence of any media concern about this impending calamity is very telling.
The backers of the insurgency have now dropped any pretence of ''moderate'' rebel groups fighting the Syrian regime, and have almost completely ditched and sidelined the umbrella opposition in exile which they for so long touted as the ''legitimate representatives'' of the Syrian people. In their stead, we now have an al-Qaeda army preparing to ''liberate'' north Syria.
Gone are all those grand slogans along with the ''moderate'' rebel groups we have heard so much about in the news, who after all these years proved to be little more than incompetent and corrupt profiteers. Those groups disintegrated, many of their former fighters joining the extremist jihadist groups who also seized their sophisticated US supplied weapons.
This rebel farce of course was well known to us Syrians, but was never a newsworthy item. We've always known that the only effective insurgents on the ground were the Islamists and the jihadists, and that the others were there for show, for the camera crews and media consumption. Maintaining this image no longer seems to be a concern however. After failing to convince Nusra to ''rebrand'' and ditch its ties with al-Qaeda, The Fatih Army was formed as a more palatable and purely cosmetic media-friendly cover name.
Partitioning SyriaThis is what the nations who claim to back the Syrian people's aspirations for freedom and a democratic inclusive state have deemed fit to unleash upon us. After failing to topple the Syrian regime for four years and realising there would never be any political compromise that would fit their goals, they have now decided to partition Syria and facilitate its partial takeover by jihadists.
It doesn't seem that previous lessons have been learned, with Afghanistan being the prime precedent. You simply cannot deal with and hope to control the jihadi proxies that you are using to fulfil your military ambitions. Quite simply those groups don't play by the rules, and will turn on you the first chance they get and follow their own ideologically motivated agendas. The repercussions of doing so have always been, and will continue to be, extremely dangerous and profound.
Al-Qaeda was first spawned by backing the same sort of Islamists against the Soviets in Afghanistan. The destabilising fallout is still being felt today, with subsequent manifestations becoming even more violent and extreme, culminating in the Islamic State. Let's not forget that for many months at the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the precursor to what was to form the Islamic State's Syrian division was an integral part of the Syrian insurgency named, yes you guessed it, Jabhat al-Nusra. When the ''bad al-Qaeda'' went rogue, the very powers that today back the ''good al-Qaeda'' started to bomb it, and to little effect. It is now just a question of when, not if, Nusra becomes the ''bad guys'' and have to be bombed.
Needless to say, the majority of Syrians refuse the partitioning of their nation and its takeover by extremists under any pretexts. But that this pretext should be ''freeing them from tyranny and oppression'' is yet another sad little irony in the black comedy that is Syria's conflict.
This is felt especially acutely in Aleppo, whose helpless people have endured years of a deadly stalemated war that has killed many of them and destroyed all they held precious. It now seems they must again dread the day they will be ''conquered'' and ''liberated'' as it would likely mean the loss of what little they still have left of their city, and what little hope they still hold for the future.
Exodus of minoritiesIn all likelihood, Aleppo becoming the capital of yet another caliphate would see the majority of its inhabitants abandoning it in droves, and the complete loss of its religious minorities, hence its unique character and identity.
The people here are bracing themselves for the worst, for a momentous battle ahead. The outcome of this battle is by no means a foregone conclusion though, as Syria's ambassador to the UN has warned in no uncertain terms that Aleppo is a red line, which once crossed would see the escalation of the conflict to other nations. Whether these words are empty and mere rhetoric remains to be seen and depends largely on what the regime's prime backer, Iran, decides to do.
This month is a very sensitive time for Iran, as it prepares to sign a historic nuclear agreement while regional tensions are soaring. While the ball is now squarely in its park with regards to Syria, it may choose to delay its move until the picture becomes clearer.
Speculation is rife that along with the nuclear deal, regional issues are being hammered out too. Could it be that Iran would accept the partitioning of Syria as long as it gets to keep a majority Shia and Alawi ''protectorate'' along the coast? Or is it sticking to its guns and thwarting the planned ''mother of all battles'' in Aleppo by demanding it be stopped, or threatening a serious escalation if it isn't? How will the flow of war and proxy showdown in Yemen affect Syria?
The coming weeks will tell, and they will be some of the most difficult the people of Syria and Aleppo have seen yet.
- Edward Dark is MEE's Aleppo-based columnist and writes under a pseudonym.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Photo: A Syrian man carries a body after it was removed from the rubble of buildings following a reported barrel bomb attack by government forces on the Qadi Askar district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on 20 May (AFP)
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PressTV-ISIL planning 'nuclear attack in US'
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:33
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The ISIL terrorist group claims that it has enough money to buy a nuclear weapon from Pakistan and carry out an attack inside the United States next year.
The group said in an article in its English-language online magazine Dabiq that the weapon could be smuggled into the United States via its southern border with Mexico.
British journalist John Cantlie wrote in the article ISIL ''has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wilayah (Province) in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region.''
''The weapon is then transported overland until it makes it to Libya, where the mujahidin move it south to Nigeria,'' the journalist said.
He added that ''drug shipments from Columbia bound for Europe pass through West Africa, so moving other types of contraband from East to West is just as possible.''
John Cantlie
Cantlie continued the weapon and accompanying radicals would then move up through Central America and Mexico before entering the US.
"From there it's a quick hop through a smuggling tunnel and hey presto, they're mingling with another 12 million 'illegal' aliens in America with a nuclear bomb in the trunk," he wrote.
"Perhaps such a scenario is far-fetched but it's the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it's infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago,'' Cantlie said.
Cantlie is a photojournalist who was abducted in Syria by ISIL in November 2012. He has appeared in several videos since his abduction and criticized Western powers.
The journalist also said President Barack Obama's policies against ISIL have failed.
The report comes while the terror network has gained grounds in Iraq and Syria.
The terrorists took control of the major Iraqi city of Ramadi and the Syrian ancient city of Palmyra.
The ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, are engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.
They have been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.
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Women rescued from Boko Haram now suspected of aiding the terrorist group
Thu, 21 May 2015 00:51
REUTERS/Afolabi SotundeWomen and children rescued from Boko Haram in Sambisa forest receive medical attention at the clinic of the Internally Displaced People camp in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria. May 3, 2015.
All 275 women, girls and children rescued from Boko Haram and taken to the safety of a northeast Nigerian refugee camp have been taken into military custody amid suspicions that some are aiding the Islamic extremists, a camp official and a Nigerian military intelligence officer said Wednesday.
They said soldiers on Tuesday took the group from Malkohi Camp to the airport at Yola city, where a military plane flew them to an unknown destination.
Spokesman Sani Datti of the National Emergency Management Agency, which manages the camp, said he was aware that soldiers removed the group but said he had no other information about an "entirely military affair."
The army spokesman for 23rd Armoured Brigade in Yola could not be immediately reached for comment.
An intelligence officer told The Associated Press the move followed fears that some women were communicating at night with Boko Haram. The camp official said the suspicions were voiced during trauma counseling sessions. Both requested anonymity because the affair is sensitive.
The group '-- which includes 67 women and girls and the rest young children '-- was brought to Malkohi on May 2.
They told The Associated Press heartrending stories of their captivity and the trauma of their rescue from a Sambisa Forest camp, where Boko Haram fighters stoned several of them to death. Others were crushed accidentally by a military armored car and three women died when a land mine exploded. All the rescued children were badly malnourished.
One young woman, Binta Ibrahim, told how at 16 she rescued three children aged between 2 and 4, cared for them during a year of captivity under Boko Haram and brought them to the safety of the refugee camp.
Ibrahim's humanity so moved U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power that she called her an inspiration at the commencement address for the University of Pennsylvania this week.
"Binta is a Muslim. The three kids she saved are Christian. Tell me a more powerful rejection of Boko Haram's perversion of Islam than Binta's love for those kids," she said.
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IT Chief at Bangladesh Coca-Cola Unit Arrested as ISIS Suspect - NBC News.com
Tue, 26 May 2015 06:24
DHAKA '-- An IT manager at a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Co was one of two men arrested in Bangladesh on suspicion of planning to fight for Islamic State in Syria, police and company sources said on Monday.
The pair were detained during a raid in the capital, Dhaka, on Sunday night, said Sheikh Nazmul Alam, a senior official of the police detective branch.
One man, Aminul Islam, was the information technology head of a multinational company, and worked as a regional coordinator for Islamic State, while the other, Sakib Bin Kamal, was a teacher at a school in Dhaka, he added.
A police official and a company source told Reuters that Islam worked at International Beverages Private Ltd, a Coca-Cola unit. The company source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, confirmed the arrested man was the head of IT, and said he had been absent from work for several days.
In a statement, the subsidiary said it was aware of media reports that the employee, whom it named as Aminul Islam Baig, had been arrested. "We will fully cooperate with the law enforcement agencies as required," it said.
"We can confirm Mr. Md Aminul Islam Baig is an employee of IBPL," a Coca-Cola spokesman said by email. "We are cooperating fully ... with the law enforcement agencies on this matter."
Alam said the suspects had confessed to having persuaded at least 25 students to join Islamic State, the militant group that has captured swathes of Syria and Iraq.
At least 12 people have been arrested in Bangladesh in recent months for suspected involvement with Islamic State, and reports of its growing influence have raised fears across South Asia.
It remains unclear whether militants organizing under its name are acting on their own or as part of a centralized initiative from the Middle East.
Bangladesh, whose population is around 90 percent Muslim, is already on alert. Three secular bloggers including a U.S. citizen, Avijit Roy, have been killed by radical Islamists since February.
In a separate development on Monday, the Interior Ministry banned Ansarullah Bangla Team, a group that has claimed responsibility for the killings, as an extremist militant organization.
'-- ReutersFirst published May 25 2015, 6:50 PM
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ISIS complains about 'conspiracy theories' claiming that the group is a puppet in the hands of western intelligence agencies
Mon, 25 May 2015 16:04
(C) AFP Photo/HO/Al-Furquan MediaAn image grab taken from a propaganda video released on March 17, 2014 by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)'s al-Furqan Media allegedly shows ISIL fighters at an undisclosed location in the Anbar province
The Islamic State (Isis) group has released a new issue of its slick propaganda magazine Dabiq, featuring articles justifying the enslavement of Yazidi girls and condemning conspiracy theorists, as well as a report by British hostage John Cantlie.The 79-page English language publication's ninth issue, titled They Plot And Allah Plots, opens with a front-page photo of US Secretary of State John Kerry posing with Arab foreign ministers after talks on an anti-IS coalition in Saudi Arabia in September last year.
The picture is followed by a piece praising a botched jihadi attack on a Texas cartoon contest, carried out by two self-professed IS sympathisers, earlier in May.
The gunmen, named as Elton Simpson, 30, and Nadir Soofi, 34, were shot dead by a police officer guarding the event organised by hard-line conservatives critical of Islam at Garland's Curtis Culwell Centre near Dallas.
The publication also features an article suggesting that the terror group is losing militants to conspiracy theories.
Titled Conspiracy Theory Shirk (Sin) the piece implies that some fighters have grown delusional because of conjectures saying that IS is a puppet in the hands of western intelligence agencies.
"If the mujahedeen liberated territory occupied by the kuffar [infidels], they would say that the kuffar allowed them to do so because kafir [disbelievers] interests' necessitated a prolonged war," the article reads.
"According to these theorists, almost all the events of the world were somehow linked back to the kuffar, their intelligence agencies, research, technology, and co-conspirators! Conspiracy theories have thereby become an excuse to abandon jihad."
Pelted with Quranic quotations, the magazine details recent IS military actions in Iraq and Syria, particularly praising a suicide attack carried out by what it says were two German twins at an army base near Baghdad in April.
In another section, the publication justifies, on purported religious grounds, the enslavement and rape of Yazidi women kidnapped in northern Iraq in July 2014.
Part of the magazine is dedicated to portraying IS as a functional state rather than a terror group.
An article titled Healthcare In The Khilafah follows up on a video released in April, announcing the supposed launch of an Islamic State Health Service that parroted the British National Health Service (NHS).
In an attempt to lure Muslims living in developed countries to travel to a war zone, the article features pictures of clean hospital facilities and boasts of the opening of a medical college in Raqqa, Syria, and of a college for medical studies in Mosul, Iraq.
Claiming that the extremist group provides "the Muslims with extensive healthcare" the piece says: "The Islamic State offers everything that you need to live and work here, so what are you waiting for?"
The reality on the ground is very different. In March, Abu Mohammed, an activist living in Raqqa, told IBTimes UK that under IS rule, Islamist fighters were granted free access to health care but common citizens were not.
Mohammed said private health clinics in the city had been closed and the public hospital in Tel Abyad was open but charged high prices for treatment.
As in previous issues, the magazine ends with an article purportedly penned by British photojournalist John Cantlie, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012 and has since appeared in a series of IS videos.
In it Cantlie slams the US policy in the Middle East and warns of the growing threat IS poses to the West.
The 44-year-old was captured with US journalist James Foley and held with other American and British hostages Steven Sotloff, David Haines, Alan Henning and Peter Kassig, who have been all murdered by IS militants.
He previously hinted he has accepted the role of IS news anchor/reporter in order to survive.
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Saudi Arabia performs 84th beheading in 2015 '-- RT News
Wed, 20 May 2015 19:36
Published time: May 17, 2015 17:39Edited time: May 19, 2015 06:28Reuters / Andrew Biraj
A Pakistani national sentenced to death for drug smuggling has been decapitated in Saudi Arabia, AFP reports. This brings the number of executions since the start of the year to 84 '' almost as much as for the whole of 2014.
Iftikhar Ahmed Mohammed Anayat was found guilty of attempting to bring heroin into the Gulf kingdom in balloons concealed in his stomach.
The man was beheaded in the Red Sea city of Jeddah on Sunday, the agency reported, referencing the Saudi Interior Ministry.
The death penalty was carried out a day after an execution of an Indonesian maid, Karni Bt. Medi Tarsim, who was indicted on murdering her employer's 4-year-old child.
Earlier this week, another Indonesian domestic worker, Siti Zainab, was beheaded, despite claims that the woman was mentally ill.
Since King Salman ascended to the Saudi throne, after the death of his predecessor King Abdullah on January 15, 2015, executions, including those of foreign nationals, in the country have stepped up, raising concern in the international community.
READ MORE: Beheading of 5 foreigners in Saudi Arabia triggers outcry from human rights campaigners
Drug trafficking, rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the strict Sharia law practiced in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi authorities explained that the beheadings are needed to show the country's commitment to ''maintaining security and realizing justice'' as well as deter people from criminal acts.
For this reason, the executions are often carried out in public places.
In January, a video of an execution was leaked online, showing a woman's head severed from her body in the middle of a road.
The Saudi officials commented on the incident by saying that the only violation during the act was its illegal filming. The man responsible for making the video was arrested and is awaiting trial, they told CNN.
Saudi Arabia's judicial system is harshly criticized by human rights watchdogs, with Amnesty International ranking the monarchy among the world's top three executioners.
87 people were beheaded in the country in 2014, with half of the executions carried out for non-lethal offenses, Amnesty International said.
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Islamic State Expands to Malaysia, Infiltrates Military | Washington Free Beacon
Thu, 21 May 2015 02:51
In this undated file image posted on Monday, June 30, 2014, by the Raqqa Media Center of the Islamic State group, a Syrian opposition group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, fighters from the Islamic State group parade in Raqqa, north Syria / AP
BY:Bill GertzMay 20, 2015 5:00 am
The Islamic State terror group is expanding operations in Southeast Asia where in Malaysia more than 100 Islamists, including some linked to the military, have been arrested in recent weeks, according to a State Department security report.
''Malaysian authorities have now arrested more than 100 individuals linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including over 30 suspects in March and April alone,'' says a May 19 report by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), a government group that promotes partnership between the State Department and the private sector. The Islamic State terrorist organization is known by three acronyms: IS, ISIS, and ISIL.
The seven-page internal report produced for U.S. corporations abroad is the latest indication that the Obama administration's strategy against Islamic State is failing. The president has limited U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq to airstrikes and training for local forces that appear to be struggling in efforts to counter IS forces.
Despite President Obama's vow to strike IS on the level of strategic messaging, the administration has failed to conduct a counter-ideological campaign against the group due to what critics say is the influence within government of Islamist sympathizers who have blocked aggressive information campaigns against the extremists.
This week, the Iraqi city of Ramadi fell to IS militants, a victory that the Pentagon sought to deemphasize. IS has begun mass executions in Ramadi, according to reports from the region.
In addition to Malaysia, IS has expanded its operations to North Africa, including Libya, and to Afghanistan.
A recent worrying indicator was the discovery last month of an IS cell in Malaysia. The group had acquired 40 kilograms of explosives it intended to use in terrorist bombing attacks.
''The good news is that Malaysian authorities have proven successful at disrupting cells early, before they become fully operational,'' the report said. ''The bad news, however, is that radicalization continues to find a foothold in Malaysia.''
An even more troubling sign, according to the report, was the discovery that two people arrested in early April were members of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The arrests raise ''concern that ISIL has supporters within the country's armed forces,'' the report said.
Last month Malaysian officials disclosed that some 70 army soldiers were linked to the Islamic State, although it is not clear whether they were sympathizers or operational jihadists.
The report said the Malaysian government is tracking the effort to infiltrate its armed forces and attempting to stop it.
''Governments of countries in which extremist ideology may have infiltrated the military can ill afford to discount the possibility of insider threat,'' the report said.
Malaysia is an emerging U.S. ally in the Obama administration's policy shift to Asia and is expected to increase military cooperation with U.S. forces.
The most recent disrupted plot in Malaysia's central province of Selangor led to the arrest of 11 people on April 26. The suspects had been testing homemade bombs that were to be used against government buildings and police stations throughout the country.
''Although the cell had not yet demonstrated its capability to conduct a large-scale attack, the significant cache of ammonium nitrate and potassium nitrate recovered by authorities suggests one of the most developed plots by Malaysian militants to date,'' the report said.
Other Islamist plots were uncovered on April 5, when authorities arrested 17 people for a plot to hit strategic targets in Kuala Lumpur, and on March 26 when two Iraqis were caught planning to blow up embassies of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the capital.
Those arrested in recent raids range from radicalized teenagers influenced by online jihadist postings to veteran militants who have fought in the Middle East.
''Each of these distinct demographics may pose a unique threat based on its knowledge, skills, and experience,'' the report said.
Up to 105 Malaysians have traveled to Syria, and a small number have returned to the Southeast Asia nation of 30 million people. Ten Malaysians have been killed in the Syrian civil war.
By contrast, neighboring Indonesia has some 500 Islamists fighting in Syria out of a population of 250 million.
Once the conflict ends, those fighters are expected to return to their home countries and continuing waging jihad against their governments.
According to the OSAC report, the leader of an IS cell that was plotting attacks in Malaysia, Murad Halimmuddin Hassan, is believed to have undergone militant training in Syria last year. A second terrorist, an Islamist cleric, traveled to Syria in September to join IS and returned to Malaysia in December.
''Foreign fighters often pose an elevated threat due to the tactical proficiency, ideological fervor, and transnational networks they develop abroad,'' the report said. ''The legitimacy derived from having directly engaged in combat can also transform them from individual threats to force multipliers if they are capable of mobilizing aspiring militants radicalized at home.''
Jihadists in Southeast Asia include former members of groups engaged in regional conflicts, including the Kumpulan Militan Malaysia (KMM) and Jemaah Islamiyah, two insurgent organizations.
Malaysia's geography'--it is a tropical archipelago and peninsula'--has made it a relatively easy country for terrorists to travel freely in, something that has facilitated cross-border terror attacks in Philippines and Indonesia.
The objective of the Islamic State terrorists in Malaysia is to topple the government.
''While such a prospect may be highly untenable, attacks on logistical and ideological targets are plausible and would have a significant impact on the U.S. private sector,'' the report said.
Terrorists in the country appear to be targeting banks for robberies to fund operations, and also may engage in kidnapping and ransom plots.
Attack targets may include police and army facilities, which could yield weapons for the group's future operations.
Ideological targets include government buildings and Western establishments such as pubs, discos, and bars.
''Although no U.S. private-sector targets were named in recent raids, such was the case last year, when Malaysian authorities arrested 19 suspects whose plans included the bombing of a Carlsberg brewery,'' the report said.
Malaysian authorities involved in counterterrorism operations against IS include the police Counterterrorism Division (E8) of the Special
Branch, which has successfully broken up the recent plots.
The report warned that despite counterterrorism efforts, ''Islamist extremism continues to find a foothold in Malaysia.''
Local politics in the country also could facilitate a resurgent Islamicization and risks ''creating an environment conducive to Islamic radicalization,'' the report said.
''Thus while the government of Malaysia may be fully committed to and capable of interdicting plots before the point of attack, their tolerance of a more fundamentalist brand of Islam may unintentionally facilitate their foundation,'' OSAC said.
Malaysia's Home Ministry said 154 Malaysians are known to have been associated in IS and 91 have been arrested in the country, the Malay Mail Online reported Tuesday. Others have been killed or remain at large.
''This situation is very worrying to the government as it involves children. Hence, the government's move in tabling the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2015 is very apt,'' the Malaysian Home Ministry stated, referring to a controversial counter-terrorism law.
Rohan Gunaratna, a counterterrorism expert at Singapore's International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said during a conference in March that the Islamic State is stepping up operations in the region. So far, 22 terrorist groups in Southeast Asia have joined IS and are supporting the group, mainly in online.
''As ISIS loses territory, it will become more insurgent, hit-and-run, and terrorist in nature, and its influence will spread overseas,'' he told the Straits Times newspaper.
''The world must brace itself for a new wave of terrorist strikes, both on the scale we have witnessed in Sydney, Copenhagen, Paris and Ottawa recently, and also ISIS-directed attacks that may even mirror the scale of 9/11.''
On the fall of Iraq's Ramadi, Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters on Monday not ''to read too much into this.''
''What this means for our strategy is simply that we'--the coalition and Iraqi partners'--now have to go back and retake Ramadi,'' Warren said.
Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, chief of staff of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters last week that coalition forces conducted around 420 airstrikes near Ramadi and Fallujah, 165 within the past month against buildings and vehicles.
The military strikes, combined with Iraqi ground forces operations, have weakened IS, he said.
''You can take a look at how Daesh operated last summer to how they're operating today, it's significantly different,'' Weidley said using yet another acronym for IS. ''And that speaks to the degradation that Daesh has undergone over the last eight or nine months.''
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NA-Tech News
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iPhone text crash only works with banner notifications
effective. Power لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ 冗
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Robot Journalists and News Publishing will gain traction
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Comments | The Big Meh - NYTimes.com
Tue, 26 May 2015 07:50
Comments | The Big Meh - NYTimes.comHTTP/1.1 302 Found Date: Tue, 26 May 2015 07:50:53 GMT Server: Apache Set-Cookie: NYT-S=deleted; expires=Thu, 01-Jan-1970 00:00:01 GMT; path=/; domain=www.stg.nytimes.com Set-Cookie: NYT-S=0MKyyIqtYtFvnDXrmvxADeHDtxawfhismudeFz9JchiAIUFL2BEX5FWcV.Ynx4rkFI; expires=Thu, 25-Jun-2015 07:50:53 GMT; path=/; domain=.nytimes.com Location: http://mobile.nytimes.com/comments/2015/05/25/opinion/paul-krugman-the-big-meh.html?_r=1 Content-Length: 0 nnCoection: close Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: nginx/1.0.15 Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 nnCoection: close X-Powered-By: Express Cache-Control: private,max-age=3600,s-maxage=3600 ETag: "1577682408" Content-Encoding: gzip Transfer-Encoding: chunked Date: Tue, 26 May 2015 07:50:53 GMT X-Varnish: 2201681225 2201621101 Age: 2825 Via: 1.1 varnish Connection: keep-alive Set-Cookie: RMID=007f01016042556425dd0006;Path=/;Domain=.nytimes.com;Expires=Wed, 25 May 2016 07:50:53 UTC
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Microsoft's Cortana coming to Google, Apple devices
Thu, 28 May 2015 14:43
Microsoft's Cortana coming to Google, Apple devicesHTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 14:43:55 GMT Server: Apache Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Encoding: gzip Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
1 hour ago by Matt Day, The Seattle TimesMicrosoft's Cortana virtual assistant will be released later this year for users of Google and Apple smartphones.
The Seattle-area company announced the move on Tuesday, saying that Cortana is coming to other platforms alongside other new apps designed to let Windows 10 users to link the files on their iPhone or Google smartphone to their Windows PC. Microsoft's aim with the Windows 10 operating system, set for release later this year, is in part to grab more attention on smartphones amid anemic market share for its own Windows Phone operating system.
Cortana, released for Windows Phone last year, is a voice-activated application that's part search engine, part scheduling assistant and application manager. Microsoft bills the app as a way to give people information they need when they need it. Google's Now service and Apple's Siri perform similar functions. Cortana has until now been available only on Windows Phone, though Microsoft announced in January that the application would be integrated into Windows 10.
Cortana won't have all of its features on the other platforms because Google and Apple don't offer third-party app makers like Microsoft the necessary system access, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore said in a blog post.
In addition to Cortana, a new Phone Companion feature with Windows 10 will sync users' photos, documents and files stored in Microsoft's OneDrive Web-accessed storage, Belfiore said. An Xbox music app will be designed to perform the same function for users' music libraries.
"Regardless of the operating systems you choose across your devices, everything important to you should roam across the products you already own - including your phone," Belfiore said.
The Phone Companion app will show up in a few weeks as an update to the preview version of Windows 10 currently in testing, Belfiore said. Cortana for Google's Android will be available at the end of June, with an Apple variant set for release later this year.
Explore further:OrangeSec pair said Cortana visited Android
(C)2015 The Seattle TimesDistributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Microsoft's Cortana coming to Google, Apple devicesHTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Thu, 28 May 2015 14:43:55 GMT Server: Apache Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Encoding: gzip Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
1 hour ago by Matt Day, The Seattle TimesMicrosoft's Cortana virtual assistant will be released later this year for users of Google and Apple smartphones.
The Seattle-area company announced the move on Tuesday, saying that Cortana is coming to other platforms alongside other new apps designed to let Windows 10 users to link the files on their iPhone or Google smartphone to their Windows PC. Microsoft's aim with the Windows 10 operating system, set for release later this year, is in part to grab more attention on smartphones amid anemic market share for its own Windows Phone operating system.
Cortana, released for Windows Phone last year, is a voice-activated application that's part search engine, part scheduling assistant and application manager. Microsoft bills the app as a way to give people information they need when they need it. Google's Now service and Apple's Siri perform similar functions. Cortana has until now been available only on Windows Phone, though Microsoft announced in January that the application would be integrated into Windows 10.
Cortana won't have all of its features on the other platforms because Google and Apple don't offer third-party app makers like Microsoft the necessary system access, Microsoft's Joe Belfiore said in a blog post.
In addition to Cortana, a new Phone Companion feature with Windows 10 will sync users' photos, documents and files stored in Microsoft's OneDrive Web-accessed storage, Belfiore said. An Xbox music app will be designed to perform the same function for users' music libraries.
"Regardless of the operating systems you choose across your devices, everything important to you should roam across the products you already own - including your phone," Belfiore said.
The Phone Companion app will show up in a few weeks as an update to the preview version of Windows 10 currently in testing, Belfiore said. Cortana for Google's Android will be available at the end of June, with an Apple variant set for release later this year.
Explore further:OrangeSec pair said Cortana visited Android
(C)2015 The Seattle TimesDistributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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All Hands On Deck!
Wed, 27 May 2015 05:24
Signal to Noise - KQ2RP - All Hands On Deck!HTTP/1.1 200 OK Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 P3P: CP="Tumblr's privacy policy is available here: https://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/privacy" X-Tumblr-User: kq2rp X-Tumblr-Pixel-0: https://px.srvcs.tumblr.com/impixu?T=1432704284&J=eyJ0eXBlIjoidXJsIiwidXJsIjoiaHR0cDpcL1wva3EycnAudHVtYmxyLmNvbVwvcG9zdFwvMTE5OTUzMTIzMzMwXC9hbGwtaGFuZHMtb24tZGVjayIsInJlcXR5cGUiOjAsInJvdXRlIjoiXC9wb3N0XC86aWRcLzpzdW1tYXJ5In0=&U=IFKKBCFFMB&K=b78e0c22c2b5ca75218c7203d2ed2d1919981b1ef0f4474425be351269b8bec8--https://px.srvcs.tumblr.com/impixu?T=1432704284&J=eyJ0eXBlIjoicG9zdCIsInVybCI6Imh0dHA6XC9cL2txMnJwLnR1bWJsci5jb21cL3Bvc3RcLzExOTk1MzEyMzMzMFwvYWxsLWhhbmRzLW9uLWRlY2siLCJyZXF0eXBlIjow X-Tumblr-Pixel-1: LCJyb3V0ZSI6IlwvcG9zdFwvOmlkXC86c3VtbWFyeSIsInBvc3RzIjpbeyJwb3N0aWQiOiIxMTk5NTMxMjMzMzAiLCJibG9naWQiOiIzNTk2MTc1MCIsInNvdXJjZSI6MzN9XX0=&U=DLMNCINAJO&K=2d08916b01e9982b53a6952f742ce2c33331e5f6b5104f774eba11930728c39d X-Tumblr-Pixel: 2 Link: ; rel=shorturl Link: ; rel=icon X-UA-Compatible: IE=Edge,chrome=1 Content-Encoding: gzip X-UA-Device: desktop Vary: X-UA-Device Content-Length: 7475 Accept-Ranges: bytes Date: Wed, 27 May 2015 05:24:44 GMT Connection: close
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The Next Roomba May Recognize All Your Crap | WIRED
Tue, 26 May 2015 06:01
Video Credit: iRobot
The Internet of Things is plagued by communication breakdowns. While connected thermostats, egg trays, and even forks can beam data to apps and offer phone-based controls, this isn't exactly what we were promised from this technology.
In order for the Internet of Everything to achieve its real promise of context-aware automation without much user input, disparate pieces of hardware must communicate with one another, understand what's going on, and control themselves accordingly. Like a sentient being, your home should ''know'' when to preheat the oven, turn on a bedside lamp, or brew a fresh pot of coffee. If you're using an app, you're essentially using a remote control. There's nothing particularly ''smart'' about that.
The Internet of Things is going to simplify our lives. But we need some tech that doesn't yet exist to see that happen.
Colin Angle, the CEO of iRobot, thinks making the Internet of Things more useful means marginalizing apps in favor of maps. The company recently announced that by the end of this year, it will market a robot that can create a map of your home by recognizing and labeling everything in it using a camera and a cloud-based engine. It will use that info to drive next-generation operating systems for connected homes.
''This idea that the Internet of Things is going to simplify our lives'--I think it will, but we're going to need some technology that doesn't yet exist in order to take the benefits,'' Angle told WIRED. ''What you don't want is eight gazillion apps on the phone for every single component'... What we need to do to improve things rather than make them more complicated is to have our homes be able to track the intent of the people living in it. And then do the right thing.''
Angle and iRobot aren't interesting in building an OS for the home. Let the big dogs do that. ''The big home automation players will be Google and Apple, and I don't see how anyone else is going to compete with them,'' he says. However, these in-home maps are intended to become a crucial cross-platform piece of the puzzle. Angle describes the maps and their potential use cases as ''the context engine that drives the intent'' for future in-home automation.
Angle wouldn't come out and say that this little cartography bot would be a Roomba, but it certainly seems like a perfect fit. He says iRobot has been focused on taking an expensive laser-rangefinder mapping system and reworking it with cheaper parts to make it accessible to the general public. By replacing the lasers with ''an 80-cent camera,'' iRobot brought the cost of the system from thousands of dollars to about $20.
Roombas already can detect and avoid objects, but recognizing exactly what those objects are is a different beast entirely. By streaming video from its cameras to a cloud-based object-classification system, it can tell whether the object in front of it is a bookcase or a TV stand, label it accordingly on a map, and share that detailed plan with next-generation home-infrastructure systems.
The camera system wouldn't be the only modification necessary for the Roomba to create maps of your home. Because iRobot's map-making system uses the cloud to analyze, recognize, and label objects, connectivity would need to be built into the robot itself or its charging dock.
By automatically recognizing objects and their locations, maps could dramatically enhance connected systems.
''It's a camera and cloud-based AI engine where we trained it on faucets by going on the Web, downloading pictures of faucets, and using neural network learning on what makes a faucet,'' Angle explains. ''I think it's pretty cool that it can actually differentiate dishwashers from ovens because ovens have windows in the door and dishwashers don't.''
These current maps are 2D, but Angle says 3D maps aren't far behind. By automatically recognizing objects and their places in the home, even the flat maps could dramatically enhance in-home systems. To prove it, Angle showed me how this works: Opening his laptop, he plays a simple animation of a little dot scooting around a home's floorplan. ''Watch this and tell me what just happened.''
The dot moves through the front door, pauses by the dining room table, enters the kitchen, pauses in front of the refrigerator, then makes a bee-line for the couch. The dot is clearly coming home, putting its stuff down, grabbing a snack or a beer from the fridge, and sitting down on the couch to watch TV.
''That is enough context for the house to know exactly what to do,'' Angle says. ''Without ever touching anything, your favorite channel can come on, the lights can come on, the temperature can adjust in the right places '... You don't care about what the temperature is on the wall here, you care about the temperature on the couch, because that's where you're at.''
Of course, the map can't automate all these tasks. But as more and more traditional appliances feature their own sensors and connectivity, having a map that includes the smart components in your home could drive interoperability between devices without app input. Based on a person's location in the home, things would just magically react in an appropriate way.
According to Angle, it's even possible to automate tasks without having to track a user's location. With door sensors, smart fridges, and connected cookware, a simple sequence of events could be enough to trigger actions.
''You can infer the same sort of thing without having to track the person, as long as that information is being uploaded within the context of the map,'' Angle explains. ''The devices would need to be connected in order to track that temporal sequence, in order to determine intent.''
While Roomba already cleans floors, the upcoming map-bot could pave the way for a bonafide, all-knowing Rosie the Robot. A combination of a 3D-mapping system, a mobile robot with an arm, and a picture of a pristine home would help robots do much more than vacuum.
''There'll be a moment where you can put everything in your house the way you want it to be, capture it, and say 'keep it this way,''' Angle explains. ''[The robot] can go and put everything away because everything has a place.''
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Chiner$
South China Sea dispute: China state paper warns of 'war' unless US backs down | smh.com.au
Tue, 26 May 2015 15:43
Sui-Lee Wee -May 25, 2015
China dredges for land reclamation on the Spraty islands Photo: CSIS
Beijing: A Chinese state-owned newspaper said on Monday that "war is inevitable" between China and the United States over the South China Sea unless Washington stops demanding Beijing halt the building of artificial islands in the disputed waterway.
The Global Times, an influential nationalist tabloid owned by the ruling Communist Party's official newspaper the People's Daily, said in an editorial that China was determined to finish its construction work, calling it the country's "most important bottom line".
The editorial comes amid rising tensions over China's land reclamation in the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea. China last week said it was "strongly dissatisfied" after a US spy plane flew over areas near the reefs, with both sides accusing each other of stoking instability.
China should "carefully prepare" for the possibility of a conflict with the United States, the newspaper said.
"If the United States' bottomline is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea," the newspaper said. "The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as 'friction'."
Such commentaries are not official policy statements, but are sometimes read as a reflection of government thinking. The Global Times is among China's most nationalist newspapers.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $US5 trillion ($6.39 trillion) in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.
The United States has routinely called on all claimants to halt reclamation in the Spratlys, but accuses China of carrying out work on a scale that far outstrips any other country.
Washington has also vowed to keep up air and sea patrols in the South China Sea amid concerns among security experts that China might impose air and sea restrictions in the Spratlys once it completes work on its seven artificial islands.
China has said it had every right to set up an Air Defence Identification Zone in the South China Sea but that current conditions did not warrant one.
The Global Times said "risks are still under control" if Washington takes into account China's peaceful rise.
"We do not want a military conflict with the United States, but if it were to come, we have to accept it," the newspaper said.
Reuters
'ACCIDENT' EXPECTED-U.S. and China walking the razor edge in a war of nerves over South China Sea -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:05
(C) AP Photo/ Stephen Shaver, Pool
Peace is hanging in the balance in the South China Sea region, Michael Auslin noted, presenting three possible real-world scenarios under which Washington and Beijing may draw themselves into a direct conflict.Although Beijing has not set yet a formal air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea, it has obviously laid down a "redline" in the region, noted Michael Auslin, a resident scholar and the director of Japan Studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), adding that the peace is hanging in the balance in this part of the Asia Pacific region.
"The Obama Administration apparently having decided to challenge China's claims, the US and China are now potentially closer to an armed encounter than at any time in the past 20 years," the scholar underscored depicting three scenarios of a potential conflict.
According to Michael Auslin, an "accident" is one of the possible scenarios. The US Navy is purportedly considering sending its vessels within 12 miles of China's manmade islands in the South China Sea, the expert elaborated, and so far entering into China's "sovereign territory." The US move may result in a collision with a Chinese maritime patrol, "with each side responding in turn."
The expert does not exclude the possibility of a mid-air collision between Chinese and US fighters over the sea, such as happened in 2001, when a US Navy plane collided with a Chinese fighter jet. An accident could lead to a stand-off, the scholar emphasized.
Dubbing another possible scenario "premeditation," Mr. Auslin stressed that China may also decide "that stopping American incursion into their newly claimed waters early on is the best opportunity to make the risks to Washington seem too high."
The scholar suggested that China's military forces may launch an operation in order to prevent US planes from flying in "restricted" skies, at the same time "leaving the US to decide how far to respond." Such a move would have sparked a confrontation, despite the fact Obama is currently bogged down in the Middle East and Ukraine.
According to Auslin's third scenario, an "indirect conflict," Beijing may decide to stop ships and planes of America's regional allies and escort them out of the skies above China's manmade islands. Such a move may trigger chain reaction, the scholar emphasized, claiming that a direct clash between China and any of its neighbors will inevitably result in Washington's involvement in the conflict.
"With no de-escalation mechanisms, and deep distrust on both sides, the more capable China becomes in defending its claimed territory, the more risks the US will face in challenging those claims," warned the scholar.
"That may not ensure that there will be a military encounter, but it steadily raises the chances of one," he concluded.
EuroLand
EU Leaders OK Military Mission to Halt Mediterranean Migration | News | teleSUR English
Thu, 28 May 2015 03:25
The first phase of the plan involving surveillance and intelligence gathering will likely begin in the next few weeks.
Military missions against migrants crossing the Mediterranean were given the green light by the European Union Foreign Affairs Council Monday.
Representatives from the EU's 28 countries agreed on a joint initiative against boats smuggling migrants, which carry tens of thousands of people attempting the perilous journey from North Africa to Europe every week.
Starting in June, the mission will involve the use of EU warships and surveillance aircraft. The EU's foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, said the mission would ''disrupt the business model of smugglers and traffickers networks in the Mediterranean.''
European leaders took action April 23, after a boat transporting more than 750 migrants capsized off the coast of Italy. During an emergency summit on migration, EU leaders agreed to triple funding toward border control, including Operation Triton, a surveillance and intelligence gathering mission funded by 16 European nations.
The plan will need U.N. backing for military action to take place against smugglers, but the first phase of the plan '' surveillance and intelligence gathering '' is likely to go ahead in the next few weeks.
In a document published last week, the European Commission announced a quota system to evenly distribute migrants who arrive in Europe to relieve pressure off Italy and Greece, which are currently the first ports of call. France, Britain, Spain, Hungary and others oppose these plans.
More than 1,750 migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year, more than 30 times the number of casualties in the same period last year, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Although the issue of migration is receiving greater global attention, many countries are reluctant to commit to support for migrants, even for those stranded at sea.
In related news, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, will provide assistance to the thousands of immigrants stranded off the coast of Thailand, Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, announced in his weekly address.
Agenda 21
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"Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security." —President Obama on climate change #ActOnClimate— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 20, 2015
You are a traitor if you deny climate change
Tue, 26 May 2015 17:59
Photo by Shutterstock/Barnaby Chambers
First, let me be clear about this reality: Planet Earth is warming because of human activity, because of us, and that is profoundly affecting the climate. There is no honest doubt about this; the overwhelming evidence supports it, so much so that 97 percent of climate scientists agree on it.
Phil Plait writes Slate's Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!
The effects of climate change are profound. We are already seeing more extreme weather, more powerful tropical storms, more wildfires. As the sea level rises, coastal populations are threatened, including military bases.
I have been saying for a long time that climate change is a threat to our national security, and it's long past time to call out those who would deny this as abetting that threat.
President Obama did just this last week, in a speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. My Slate colleague Eric Holthaus wrote all about this, and I strongly urge you to read that article. Obama used words like ''negligence'' and ''dereliction of duty'':
After all, isn't that the true hallmark of leadership? When you're on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant. You plan for every contingency. And if you see storm clouds gathering, or dangerous shoals ahead, you don't sit back and do nothing. You take action'--to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. And so, too, with climate change. Denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.
This sentiment was reinforced in a tweet from the president:
Take a moment and ponder this. The president of the United States of America said that people who deny the reality of climate change are a threat to national security. And he strongly implied that members of Congress who do so are guilty of dereliction of duty.
I agree. And they do so on the basis of what is at best wrong information, and at worst a passel of lies.
The only doubt is manufactured, sole-sourced by the fossil fuel industry. Senators, Congress critters, ''think tanks,'' sponsored by fossil fuel (and using the same tactics as the tobacco industry)'--the doubt they sow is as fake as $3 bill, and just as obvious (and embarrassing). From ridiculous and patently false claims that global warming has slowed, that the world can't be warming because winter still exists, that (seriously) plants like carbon dioxide so we're just feeding them; these people's only purpose is to slow any real progress on fixing the planetary mess we're in.
And in that way, they are making things far, far worse.
As the latest example, look at an op-ed in Forbes magazine written by Heartland Institute's James Taylor (yes, thatHeartland Institute). Taylor has a history of cherry-picking and distorting results from real climate scientists, and he's doing the same thing here.
In the op-ed, he claims that global warming has not caused global sea ice retreat. This is a gross distortion of reality. The truth is that in the arctic we're seeing record low levels of sea ice year after year, including just this year, when in March the North Pole saw the lowest maximum ice extent on record.
Arctic sea ice minimum extents since 1979, when satellite measurements were started. This is the 2013 graph that I extended to add 2014's minimum. The blue line is a linear fit to the numbers. Even James Taylor could spot this trend.Graph by NSIDC
It takes a very twisted view of the world to claim global warming isn't doing anything to polar ice not two months after that record was broken. And as we know very, very well, Arctic sea ice is on a long, drastic decline that does not show any signs of recovery at all.
But note how Taylor phrases it, using ''global'' ice. That includes Antarctic sea ice, but as I have written about over and over again, that is really unfair. Antarctic sea ice is very different than at the North Pole; Antarctica is a continent and conditions there are literally polar opposites. The southern sea ice fluctuates quite a bit year to year, and in fact wind-driven snow can be increased by global warming (warmer air can hold more moisture), so glossing over local conditions the way Taylor does is at best misleading.
Land ice loss from Antartcica from 2002''2009. Note the scale of the graph on the left: It's in billions of tons.Diagram by NASA
I'll also note Taylor links to some satellite data from the University of Illinois Polar Research Group to make his claim '... and that same group has issued a rebuttal saying Taylor cherry-picked his data and refutes his claim. Oops.
As much as I loathe what Taylor is doing and saying, I reserve my strongest feelings for people like Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahaoma); my own senator, Cory Gardner (R-Colorado); and virtually all the GOP presidential candidates, who claim with various degrees of head-in-the-sand-ness that humans aren't causing global warming.
These people have a sworn duty to protect the people of our nation. What they are doing is the exact opposite in every way. They cut NASA's funding to investigate climate change. They even cut the Pentagon's funding to act on it. The Pentagon.
"Maybe if I stay this way until 2016 I can get re-elected."Photo by Shutterstock/alphaspirit
In the medium to long run these politicians are putting us at greater risk from drought, wildfire, extreme weather, and rising sea levels. In the near run they are cruelly crippling our ability to do the kind of research that has made the United States of America a world leader in scientific innovation.
They claim to love this country. But they sure don't act that way.
I have written about the reality of global warming and the lies of the deniers so often that to list them all would be counterproductive. Instead, here are some highlights that you can use to counter the denial; check links therein to find even more.
'... and, of course, always check Skeptical Science when you hear a claim from someone saying global warming isn't real. The vast, overwhelming amount of the time, that claim is nitrogen-rich.
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Catholics all over the world organize to promote pope's climate change message
Sun, 24 May 2015 18:31
NEW YORK (AP) -- There will be prayer vigils and pilgrimages, policy briefings and seminars, and sermons in parishes from the U.S. to the Philippines.When Pope Francis releases his much-anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks, a network of Roman Catholics will be ready. These environmental advocates - who work with bishops, religious orders, Catholic universities and lay movements - have been preparing for months to help maximize the effect of the statement, hoping for a transformative impact in the fight against global warming."This is such a powerful moment," said Patrick Carolan, executive director of Franciscan Action Network, a Washington-based advocacy group formed by Franciscan religious orders. "We're asking ourselves, `What would be the best way for us to support the faith community in getting this out and using it as a call to action?'"Francis is issuing the encyclical by the end of June with an eye toward the end-of-year U.N. climate change conference in Paris. While previous popes have made strong moral and theological arguments in favor of environmental protection, Francis will be the first to address global warming in such a high-level teaching document.The pope, who will address the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 25 when he visits the U.S., has said he wants the encyclical to be released in time to be read and absorbed before the Paris talks. Advocates are pressing for a binding, comprehensive agreement among nations to curb rising global temperatures, which scientists say are largely driven by carbon emissions."People are really putting a lot of weight on this," said Nancy Tuchman, director of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago. "I think the real hope is that he says it like it is and tells us there has to be a call to action and it has to be immediate."The institute, which has been working to unite 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities as a common voice on climate change, plans to collect papers from students, faculty and staff with their reflections on the document and how they can be "one of its champions," Tuchman said. A school colloquium on the papers is planned for Sept. 9.Carolan was among about 40 Catholic leaders who gathered in Rome this month for a strategy meeting organized by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, a network he co-founded which includes organizations representing religious orders, church aid agencies, Catholic social justice advocates and others. The movement started a petition that urges political leaders to take action to curb global warming and plans a prayer vigil in Washington the night before Francis' Sept. 24 address to Congress, where he is likely to touch on environmental protection.His audience at the Capitol will include skeptics on climate change, and like-minded groups are preparing a response to the encyclical.The Heartland Institute, a conservative Chicago-based think-tank that sent a team to Rome last month to warn the pope against the U.N.'s climate change agenda, says it is building relationships with Catholic leaders and planning to distribute reports on sustainable development and challenges to climate science to a Catholic audience.Jim Lakely, a Heartland spokesman, said since the Rome event, the institute has heard from Catholic groups, bloggers and others "who share our concern that the pope is being misadvised by the United Nations on this complicated scientific issue."At the same time, however, other Catholics worldwide are mobilizing to echo the pope's words among the faithful.Catholic Earthcare Australia, the ecology agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, plans an event on the encyclical at the Australian Parliament and will publish a book on the encyclical for use in parishes.In the Philippines, the Archdiocese of Manila's decade-old ecology ministry is asking bishops to encourage all parishes to ring their church bells when the encyclical is released, among other efforts to highlight the pope's statement, ministry director Lou Arsenio said. Each September, the Manila ecology ministry holds a month of liturgies and church activities on environmental protection called a "Season of Creation.""The big issue here is that environmental issues are not just about science but about ethics and moral values," said Pablo Canziani, an atmospheric physicist who works with the Argentine bishops' conference.Canziani, who worked with then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires before he became Pope Francis, recently led a two-day environmental seminar organized for Argentine diocesan priests. Canziani said he and others also hope to incorporate prayers related to the encyclical in the many upcoming Argentine pilgrimages to shrines dedicated to the Virgin Mary.In the U.S., Dan Misleh, director of the Catholic Climate Covenant, an education and advocacy network that works with the U.S. bishops, is preparing model sermons on the expected themes of the encyclical.Over the last 15 years or so, Catholic and other faith traditions have been increasingly taking up environmental protection, or what they call creation care, as a moral issue, emphasizing the impact not only on nature but also on poor people who struggle for access to clean water and farmable land and are often the most vulnerable in natural disasters.However, theologians and secular environmental activists say this stunningly popular pope, who has captured the world's attention, can bring into focus the human toll from climate change in a way few other leaders can."The social justice aspect, and the way climate change is going to affect the poor and underprivileged and less privileged - that's not the first thing people think about when they think about climate change," said Lou Leonard, a World Wildlife Fund vice president who specializes in climate change issues. "For those who see this primarily as an issue of polar bears or other impact on species - which is all really important - this is an opportunity to say this is as much a human issue as anything else."The church, given its reach and structure, also provides an unparalleled network for amplifying calls to reduce global warming.Bishops' conferences in many countries, including in the U.S., have social justice programs that focus on the environment. Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami, head of the U.S. bishops' domestic justice and human development committee, speaks frequently about Catholic teaching on preserving creation and the impact of climate change on the poor.Global warming has also emerged as an issue for Caritas International, a confederation of Catholic charitable groups who play a major role in development and disaster relief in more than 160 countries. Caritas leaders worldwide said in a survey released this month that climate change was a top contributor to food insecurity.Major environmental organizations are also abuzz about the encyclical and have been contacting Catholic groups for guidance. In webinars for them, Carolan has been explaining what an encyclical is. Misleh has cautioned the groups that the pope will be making a theological statement and speaking "as a Catholic, not a member of the Sierra Club."
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NOAA: Below-normal Atlantic Hurricane Season is likely this year.
Wed, 27 May 2015 18:36
(Credit: NOAA)
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be below-normal, but that's no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy.
For the hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 - November 30, NOAA is predicting a 70 percent likelihood of 6 to 11 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 3 to 6 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to 2 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). While a below-normal season is likely (70 percent), there is also a 20 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a 10 percent chance of an above-normal season.
''A below-normal season doesn't mean we're off the hook. As we've seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities,'' said NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., referring to the 1992 season in which only seven named storms formed, yet the first was Andrew '' a Category 5 Major Hurricane that devastated South Florida.
''The main factor expected to suppress the hurricane season this year is El Ni±o, which is already affecting wind and pressure patterns, and is forecast to last through the hurricane season,'' said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. ''El Ni±o may also intensify as the season progresses, and is expected to have its greatest influence during the peak months of the season. We also expect sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic to be close to normal, whereas warmer waters would have supported storm development.''
Included in today's outlook is Tropical Storm Ana, but its pre-season development is not an indicator of the overall season strength. Ana's development was typical of pre-season named storms, which often form along frontal boundaries in association with a trough in the jet stream. This method of formation differs from the named storms during the peak of the season, which originate mainly from low-pressure systems moving westward from Africa, and are independent of frontal boundaries and the jet stream.
NOAA's National Hurricane Center will use a prototype storm surge graphic this season to highlight areas at risk for inundation from storm surge. (Credit: NOAA)
With the new hurricane season comes a new prototype storm surge watch/warning graphic from NOAA's National Hurricane Center, intended to highlight areas along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States that have a significant risk of life-threatening inundation by storm surge from a tropical cyclone.
The new graphic will introduce the concept of a watch or warning specific to the storm surge hazard. Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a tropical cyclone, and it can occur at different times and at different locations from a storm's hazardous winds. In addition, while most coastal residents can remain in their homes and be safe from a tropical cyclone's winds, evacuations are often needed to keep people safe from storm surge. Having separate warnings for these two hazards should provide emergency managers, the media, and the general public better guidance on the hazards they face when tropical cyclones threaten.
Also new this season is a higher resolution version (2 km near the storm area) of NOAA's Hurricane Weather Research and Forecasting model (HWRF), thanks to the upgrades to operational computing. A new 40-member HWRF ensemble-based data assimilation system will also be implemented to make better use of aircraft reconnaissance-based Tail Doppler Radar data for improved intensity forecasts. Retrospective testing of 2015 HWRF upgrades demonstrated a five percent improvement in the intensity forecasts compared to last year.
This week, May 24-30, is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. To help those living in hurricane-prone areas prepare, NOAA offers hurricane preparedness tips, along with video and audio public service announcements at www.hurricanes.gov/prepare.
"It only takes one hurricane or tropical storm making landfall in your community to significantly disrupt your life,'' said FEMA Deputy Administrator Joseph Nimmich. ''Everyone should take action now to prepare themselves and their families for hurricanes and powerful storms. Develop a family communications plan, build an emergency supply kit for your home, and take time to learn evacuation routes for your area. Knowing what to do ahead of time can literally save your life and help you bounce back stronger and faster should disaster strike in your area."
NOAA will issue an updated outlook for the Atlantic hurricane season in early August, just prior to the historical peak of the season.
NOAA also issued its outlook for the Eastern Pacific and Central Pacific basins. For the Eastern Pacific hurricane basin, NOAA's 2015 outlook is for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season. That outlook calls for a 70 percent probability of 15-22 named storms, of which 7-12 are expected to become hurricanes, including 5-8 major hurricanes. For the Central Pacific hurricane basin, NOAA's outlook is for a 70 percent chance of an above-normal season with 5-8 tropical cyclones likely.
NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.
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Feds to require climate change plans for states seeking disaster relief
Tue, 26 May 2015 17:50
A new Federal Emergency Management Agency policy requiring states to address climate change before they can become eligible for grant funding is drawing fire from congressional Republicans.
The regulations, part of a FEMA State Mitigation Plan Review Guide issued last month, are not set to take effect until next March. But lawmakers are demanding an explanation for the rules now.
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In a letter to FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate, the lawmakers said they're concerned that the agency's decision will create unnecessary red tape in the disaster preparedness process.''As you know, disaster mitigation grants are awarded to state and local governments after a presidential major disaster declaration,'' they wrote. ''These funds are crucial in helping disaster-stricken communities prepare for future emergencies.''
The letter was signed by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), David Vitter (R-La.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and James Lankford (R-Okla.).
In the revised guide, the agency said mitigation planning regulation requires consideration of the probability of future hazards and events to reduce risks and potential dangers.
''Past occurrences are important to a factual basis of hazard risk, however, the challenges posed by climate change, such as more intense storms, frequent heavy precipitation, heat waves, drought, extreme flooding and higher sea levels, could significantly alter the types and magnitudes of hazards impacting states in the future,'' FEMA said in its guide.
But in their letter, the senators said climate change is still being debated, citing "gaps in the scientific understanding around climate change.''
The letter goes on to ask FEMA to explain which statutory authority the agency relied on to require states to consider climate change, whether or not the agency still agrees with its 2012 statement that hurricanes follow a cycle of increased and decreased activity over decades and how much it will cost states to comply with the new requirement.
In a January White House blog post about a new flood standard for federal investments, Fugate and then-presidential adviser John Podesta (who has since joined the Hillary Clinton camp) recognized the effects of climate change.
"Effects of climate change will make extreme weather events more frequent and more severe," they wrote. "And the climate is changing '-- earlier this month, NASA and NOAA announced that 2014 was the hottest year on record globally, meaning that 14 of the 15 hottest years in recorded history have happened this century."
FEMA's new requirements will take effect March 6, 2016.
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Why Do Many Reasonable People Doubt Science? - National Geographic Magazine
Thu, 28 May 2015 13:57
There's a scene in Stanley Kubrick's comic masterpiece Dr. Strangelove in which Jack D. Ripper, an American general who's gone rogue and ordered a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, unspools his paranoid worldview'--and the explanation for why he drinks ''only distilled water, or rainwater, and only pure grain alcohol'''--to Lionel Mandrake, a dizzy-with-anxiety group captain in the Royal Air Force.
Ripper: Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water?
Mandrake: Ah, yes, I have heard of that, Jack. Yes, yes.
Ripper: Well, do you know what it is?
Mandrake: No. No, I don't know what it is. No.
Ripper: Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face?
The movie came out in 1964, by which time the health benefits of fluoridation had been thoroughly established, and antifluoridation conspiracy theories could be the stuff of comedy. So you might be surprised to learn that, half a century later, fluoridation continues to incite fear and paranoia. In 2013 citizens in Portland, Oregon, one of only a few major American cities that don't fluoridate their water, blocked a plan by local officials to do so. Opponents didn't like the idea of the government adding ''chemicals'' to their water. They claimed that fluoride could be harmful to human health.
Actually fluoride is a natural mineral that, in the weak concentrations used in public drinking water systems, hardens tooth enamel and prevents tooth decay'--a cheap and safe way to improve dental health for everyone, rich or poor, conscientious brusher or not. That's the scientific and medical consensus.
To which some people in Portland, echoing antifluoridation activists around the world, reply: We don't believe you.
We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge'--from the safety of fluoride and vaccines to the reality of climate change'--faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you'd think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative. And there's so much talk about the trend these days'--in books, articles, and academic conferences'--that science doubt itself has become a pop-culture meme. In the recent movie Interstellar, set in a futuristic, downtrodden America where NASA has been forced into hiding, school textbooks say the Apollo moon landings were faked.
In a sense all this is not surprising. Our lives are permeated by science and technology as never before. For many of us this new world is wondrous, comfortable, and rich in rewards'--but also more complicated and sometimes unnerving. We now face risks we can't easily analyze.
We're asked to accept, for example, that it's safe to eat food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) because, the experts point out, there's no evidence that it isn't and no reason to believe that altering genes precisely in a lab is more dangerous than altering them wholesale through traditional breeding. But to some people the very idea of transferring genes between species conjures up mad scientists running amok'--and so, two centuries after Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, they talk about Frankenfood.
The world crackles with real and imaginary hazards, and distinguishing the former from the latter isn't easy. Should we be afraid that the Ebola virus, which is spread only by direct contact with bodily fluids, will mutate into an airborne superplague? The scientific consensus says that's extremely unlikely: No virus has ever been observed to completely change its mode of transmission in humans, and there's zero evidence that the latest strain of Ebola is any different. But type ''airborne Ebola'' into an Internet search engine, and you'll enter a dystopia where this virus has almost supernatural powers, including the power to kill us all.
In this bewildering world we have to decide what to believe and how to act on that. In principle that's what science is for. ''Science is not a body of facts,'' says geophysicist Marcia McNutt, who once headed the U.S. Geological Survey and is now editor of Science, the prestigious journal. ''Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not.'' But that method doesn't come naturally to most of us. And so we run into trouble, again and again.
Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division
Square Intuitions Die HardThat the Earth is round has been known since antiquity'--Columbus knew he wouldn't sail off the edge of the world'--but alternative geographies persisted even after circumnavigations had become common. This 1893 map by Orlando Ferguson, a South Dakota businessman, is a loopy variation on 19th-century flat-Earth beliefs. Flat-Earthers held that the planet was centered on the North Pole and bounded by a wall of ice, with the sun, moon, and planets a few hundred miles above the surface. Science often demands that we discount our direct sensory experiences'--such as seeing the sun cross the sky as if circling the Earth'--in favor of theories that challenge our beliefs about our place in the universe.
The trouble goes way back, of course. The scientific method leads us to truths that are less than self-evident, often mind-blowing, and sometimes hard to swallow. In the early 17th century, when Galileo claimed that the Earth spins on its axis and orbits the sun, he wasn't just rejecting church doctrine. He was asking people to believe something that defied common sense'--because it sure looks like the sun's going around the Earth, and you can't feel the Earth spinning. Galileo was put on trial and forced to recant. Two centuries later Charles Darwin escaped that fate. But his idea that all life on Earth evolved from a primordial ancestor and that we humans are distant cousins of apes, whales, and even deep-sea mollusks is still a big ask for a lot of people. So is another 19th-century notion: that carbon dioxide, an invisible gas that we all exhale all the time and that makes up less than a tenth of one percent of the atmosphere, could be affecting Earth's climate.
Even when we intellectually accept these precepts of science, we subconsciously cling to our intuitions'--what researchers call our naive beliefs. A recent study by Andrew Shtulman of Occidental College showed that even students with an advanced science education had a hitch in their mental gait when asked to affirm or deny that humans are descended from sea animals or that Earth goes around the sun. Both truths are counterintuitive. The students, even those who correctly marked ''true,'' were slower to answer those questions than questions about whether humans are descended from tree-dwelling creatures (also true but easier to grasp) or whether the moon goes around the Earth (also true but intuitive). Shtulman's research indicates that as we become scientifically literate, we repress our naive beliefs but never eliminate them entirely. They lurk in our brains, chirping at us as we try to make sense of the world.
Most of us do that by relying on personal experience and anecdotes, on stories rather than statistics. We might get a prostate-specific antigen test, even though it's no longer generally recommended, because it caught a close friend's cancer'--and we pay less attention to statistical evidence, painstakingly compiled through multiple studies, showing that the test rarely saves lives but triggers many unnecessary surgeries. Or we hear about a cluster of cancer cases in a town with a hazardous waste dump, and we assume pollution caused the cancers. Yet just because two things happened together doesn't mean one caused the other, and just because events are clustered doesn't mean they're not still random.
We have trouble digesting randomness; our brains crave pattern and meaning. Science warns us, however, that we can deceive ourselves. To be confident there's a causal connection between the dump and the cancers, you need statistical analysis showing that there are many more cancers than would be expected randomly, evidence that the victims were exposed to chemicals from the dump, and evidence that the chemicals really can cause cancer.
Photo: Bettman/Corbis
Evolution on TrialIn 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee, where John Scopes was standing trial for teaching evolution in high school, a creationist bookseller hawked his wares. Modern biology makes no sense without the concept of evolution, but religious activists in the United States continue to demand that creationism be taught as an alternative in biology class. When science conflicts with a person's core beliefs, it usually loses.
Even for scientists, the scientific method is a hard discipline. Like the rest of us, they're vulnerable to what they call confirmation bias'--the tendency to look for and see only evidence that confirms what they already believe. But unlike the rest of us, they submit their ideas to formal peer review before publishing them. Once their results are published, if they're important enough, other scientists will try to reproduce them'--and, being congenitally skeptical and competitive, will be very happy to announce that they don't hold up. Scientific results are always provisional, susceptible to being overturned by some future experiment or observation. Scientists rarely proclaim an absolute truth or absolute certainty. Uncertainty is inevitable at the frontiers of knowledge.
Sometimes scientists fall short of the ideals of the scientific method. Especially in biomedical research, there's a disturbing trend toward results that can't be reproduced outside the lab that found them, a trend that has prompted a push for greater transparency about how experiments are conducted. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, worries about the ''secret sauce'''--specialized procedures, customized software, quirky ingredients'--that researchers don't share with their colleagues. But he still has faith in the larger enterprise.
''Science will find the truth,'' Collins says. ''It may get it wrong the first time and maybe the second time, but ultimately it will find the truth.'' That provisional quality of science is another thing a lot of people have trouble with. To some climate change skeptics, for example, the fact that a few scientists in the 1970s were worried (quite reasonably, it seemed at the time) about the possibility of a coming ice age is enough to discredit the concern about global warming now.
Last fall the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which consists of hundreds of scientists operating under the auspices of the United Nations, released its fifth report in the past 25 years. This one repeated louder and clearer than ever the consensus of the world's scientists: The planet's surface temperature has risen by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 130 years, and human actions, including the burning of fossil fuels, are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the warming since the mid-20th century. Many people in the United States'--a far greater percentage than in other countries'--retain doubts about that consensus or believe that climate activists are using the threat of global warming to attack the free market and industrial society generally. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the most powerful Republican voices on environmental matters, has long declared global warming a hoax.
The idea that hundreds of scientists from all over the world would collaborate on such a vast hoax is laughable'--scientists love to debunk one another. It's very clear, however, that organizations funded in part by the fossil fuel industry have deliberately tried to undermine the public's understanding of the scientific consensus by promoting a few skeptics.
The news media give abundant attention to such mavericks, naysayers, professional controversialists, and table thumpers. The media would also have you believe that science is full of shocking discoveries made by lone geniuses. Not so. The (boring) truth is that it usually advances incrementally, through the steady accretion of data and insights gathered by many people over many years. So it has been with the consensus on climate change. That's not about to go poof with the next thermometer reading.
But industry PR, however misleading, isn't enough to explain why only 40 percent of Americans, according to the most recent poll from the Pew Research Center, accept that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming.
The ''science communication problem,'' as it's blandly called by the scientists who study it, has yielded abundant new research into how people decide what to believe'--and why they so often don't accept the scientific consensus. It's not that they can't grasp it, according to Dan Kahan of Yale University. In one study he asked 1,540 Americans, a representative sample, to rate the threat of climate change on a scale of zero to ten. Then he correlated that with the subjects' science literacy. He found that higher literacy was associated with stronger views'--at both ends of the spectrum. Science literacy promoted polarization on climate, not consensus. According to Kahan, that's because people tend to use scientific knowledge to reinforce beliefs that have already been shaped by their worldview.
Americans fall into two basic camps, Kahan says. Those with a more ''egalitarian'' and ''communitarian'' mind-set are generally suspicious of industry and apt to think it's up to something dangerous that calls for government regulation; they're likely to see the risks of climate change. In contrast, people with a ''hierarchical'' and ''individualistic'' mind-set respect leaders of industry and don't like government interfering in their affairs; they're apt to reject warnings about climate change, because they know what accepting them could lead to'--some kind of tax or regulation to limit emissions.
In the U.S., climate change somehow has become a litmus test that identifies you as belonging to one or the other of these two antagonistic tribes. When we argue about it, Kahan says, we're actually arguing about who we are, what our crowd is. We're thinking, People like us believe this. People like that do not believe this. For a hierarchical individualist, Kahan says, it's not irrational to reject established climate science: Accepting it wouldn't change the world, but it might get him thrown out of his tribe.
''Take a barber in a rural town in South Carolina,'' Kahan has written. ''Is it a good idea for him to implore his customers to sign a petition urging Congress to take action on climate change? No. If he does, he will find himself out of a job, just as his former congressman, Bob Inglis, did when he himself proposed such action.''
Science appeals to our rational brain, but our beliefs are motivated largely by emotion, and the biggest motivation is remaining tight with our peers. ''We're all in high school. We've never left high school,'' says Marcia McNutt. ''People still have a need to fit in, and that need to fit in is so strong that local values and local opinions are always trumping science. And they will continue to trump science, especially when there is no clear downside to ignoring science.''
Meanwhile the Internet makes it easier than ever for climate skeptics and doubters of all kinds to find their own information and experts. Gone are the days when a small number of powerful institutions'--elite universities, encyclopedias, major news organizations, even National Geographic'--served as gatekeepers of scientific information. The Internet has democratized information, which is a good thing. But along with cable TV, it has made it possible to live in a ''filter bubble'' that lets in only the information with which you already agree.
How to penetrate the bubble? How to convert climate skeptics? Throwing more facts at them doesn't help. Liz Neeley, who helps train scientists to be better communicators at an organization called Compass, says that people need to hear from believers they can trust, who share their fundamental values. She has personal experience with this. Her father is a climate change skeptic and gets most of his information on the issue from conservative media. In exasperation she finally confronted him: ''Do you believe them or me?'' She told him she believes the scientists who research climate change and knows many of them personally. ''If you think I'm wrong,'' she said, ''then you're telling me that you don't trust me.'' Her father's stance on the issue softened. But it wasn't the facts that did it.
If you're a rationalist, there's something a little dispiriting about all this. In Kahan's descriptions of how we decide what to believe, what we decide sometimes sounds almost incidental. Those of us in the science-communication business are as tribal as anyone else, he told me. We believe in scientific ideas not because we have truly evaluated all the evidence but because we feel an affinity for the scientific community. When I mentioned to Kahan that I fully accept evolution, he said, ''Believing in evolution is just a description about you. It's not an account of how you reason.''
Maybe'--except that evolution actually happened. Biology is incomprehensible without it. There aren't really two sides to all these issues. Climate change is happening. Vaccines really do save lives. Being right does matter'--and the science tribe has a long track record of getting things right in the end. Modern society is built on things it got right.
Doubting science also has consequences. The people who believe vaccines cause autism'--often well educated and affluent, by the way'--are undermining ''herd immunity'' to such diseases as whooping cough and measles. The anti-vaccine movement has been going strong since the prestigious British medical journal the Lancet published a study in 1998 linking a common vaccine to autism. The journal later retracted the study, which was thoroughly discredited. But the notion of a vaccine-autism connection has been endorsed by celebrities and reinforced through the usual Internet filters. (Anti-vaccine activist and actress Jenny McCarthy famously said on the Oprah Winfrey Show, ''The University of Google is where I got my degree from.'')
In the climate debate the consequences of doubt are likely global and enduring. In the U.S., climate change skeptics have achieved their fundamental goal of halting legislative action to combat global warming. They haven't had to win the debate on the merits; they've merely had to fog the room enough to keep laws governing greenhouse gas emissions from being enacted.
Some environmental activists want scientists to emerge from their ivory towers and get more involved in the policy battles. Any scientist going that route needs to do so carefully, says Liz Neeley. ''That line between science communication and advocacy is very hard to step back from,'' she says. In the debate over climate change the central allegation of the skeptics is that the science saying it's real and a serious threat is politically tinged, driven by environmental activism and not hard data. That's not true, and it slanders honest scientists. But it becomes more likely to be seen as plausible if scientists go beyond their professional expertise and begin advocating specific policies.
It's their very detachment, what you might call the cold-bloodedness of science, that makes science the killer app. It's the way science tells us the truth rather than what we'd like the truth to be. Scientists can be as dogmatic as anyone else'--but their dogma is always wilting in the hot glare of new research. In science it's not a sin to change your mind when the evidence demands it. For some people, the tribe is more important than the truth; for the best scientists, the truth is more important than the tribe.
Scientific thinking has to be taught, and sometimes it's not taught well, McNutt says. Students come away thinking of science as a collection of facts, not a method. Shtulman's research has shown that even many college students don't really understand what evidence is. The scientific method doesn't come naturally'--but if you think about it, neither does democracy. For most of human history neither existed. We went around killing each other to get on a throne, praying to a rain god, and for better and much worse, doing things pretty much as our ancestors did.
Now we have incredibly rapid change, and it's scary sometimes. It's not all progress. Our science has made us the dominant organisms, with all due respect to ants and blue-green algae, and we're changing the whole planet. Of course we're right to ask questions about some of the things science and technology allow us to do. ''Everybody should be questioning,'' says McNutt. ''That's a hallmark of a scientist. But then they should use the scientific method, or trust people using the scientific method, to decide which way they fall on those questions.'' We need to get a lot better at finding answers, because it's certain the questions won't be getting any simpler.
Washington Post science writer Joel Achenbach has contributed to National Geographic since 1998. Photographer Richard Barnes's last feature was the September 2014 cover story on Nero.
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New Zealand hit by the 'biggest storm on Earth'
Tue, 26 May 2015 17:37
Snow surrounding the Shotover River in Queenstown.
A storm blasting Antarctic weather over New Zealandis currently the biggest storm on earth according to WeatherWatch.The low stretches from just south of Fiji to Antarctica's ice shelf, but only 20 per cent of the storm is affecting New Zealand.
WeatherWatch.co.nz said the forecast air pressure at its centre over the next 24 hours would be greater than that of Hurricane Katrina when it made landfall in 2005.
Weather expert Philip Duncan said, "It's fairly normal to get a cold snap in late May. We're less than a week away from winter, it's not surprising to get a blast like this."
But he said the low's strength was surprising.
"The depth of this storm south of New Zealand is up there with some of the biggest hurricanes we've seen. It's a really big storm."
However, WeatherWatch.co.nz said only the storm's edges were affecting New Zealand - its centre lay around 1000 to 1500kms to our south east.Southland, Otago and Banks Peninsula woke this morning to the heaviest dumping of snow so far this year.
Overnight, areas of Central Otago and Southland saw up to 30 cm of snow, according to Metservice.
The North Island didn't escape the cold weather with light snow falls reported in Napier and heavier falls on the Napier-Taupo Rd.
Queenstown Airport was temporarily closed, with heavy snow right down to the township, and snow flurries blanketed Invercargill.
Dunedin was battered by an onslaught of nasty weather, said MetService, hit by snow, showers and offshore thunderstorms.
(C) Petra BalsillieArrowtown blanketed in snow.
15 cm of snow was reported just above the city, while its hill suburbs saw around 10 cm.Mr Duncan said the South Island low had joined forces with the subtropical low that affected the North Island on Saturday.
"The two of them are working together to dredge up Antarctic air.
"So we've got this air at the moment being pulled up from Antarctica, and dumped over New Zealand."
There were a number of road closures for eastern parts of the South Island, with drivers advised to use extreme caution and to drive to the conditions.
MetService said while it was a cold morning, nowhere reached a record low for May.
Winter's icy grip took hold in the North Island as well, with snow reported down to sea level in Hawke's Bay.
Light snow falls were reported in the Napier suburbs of Taradale and Maraenui, and motorists experienced sleet on the way to work between Hastings and Napier.
(C) Brenda ReayA farm at Puketapu, Hawkes Bay.
Heavier falls were experienced inland, on the Napier-Taupo Rd and further north at Waikoau and Putere,Cold southwest winds continued to bring showers across Auckland, and saw a severe weather warning put in place for Wairarapa and western Bay of Plenty where there was a risk of gales.
Last night's lightening storm and strong winds in Dunedin cut electricity to Musselburgh, Port Chalmers and part of the Otago Peninsula.
Aurora Energy said lightening damaged transformers, while severe winds brought down a power line.
Central Otago and Wanaka also experienced black outs.
Delta crews were responding to faults and making repairs as soon as it was possible to do so safely.
Overnight wind and rain and this morning's brief snow in Hawke's Bay resulted in power cuts in some "higher-up" rural areas.
Unison Networks customer relations manager Danny Gough said "a few hundred" customers had their supply cut, in some cases for up to two hours.
Temperatures were expected to rise slightly tomorrow, with warm weather set to return by Friday.
Meteorologist Georgina Griffiths said, "On Thursday morning, expect frosts across many parts of the North Island, as wind drops out, leaving the cold air behind."
The minimum temperature forecast for Thursday is 6C for Auckland, Tauranga and Wellington, 3C for Napier, 1C Palmerston North and 0C for Hamilton, Taupo and Masterton.
Video link here
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Benjamin Franklin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 28 May 2015 05:02
Benjamin Franklin6th President of PennsylvaniaIn officeOctober 18, 1785 '' November 5, 1788Vice PresidentCharles BiddleThomas MifflinPreceded byJohn DickinsonSucceeded byThomas MifflinUnited States Minister to SwedenIn officeSeptember 28, 1782 '' April 3, 1783Appointed byCongress of the ConfederationPreceded byPosition establishedSucceeded byJonathan RussellUnited States Minister to FranceIn officeSeptember 14, 1778 '' May 17, 1785Serving with Arthur Lee, Silas Deane, John AdamsAppointed byContinental CongressPreceded byPosition establishedSucceeded byThomas Jefferson1st United States Postmaster GeneralIn officeJuly 26, 1775 '' November 7, 1776Preceded byPosition establishedSucceeded byRichard BacheSpeaker of the Pennsylvania AssemblyIn officeMay 1764 '' October 1764Preceded byIsaac NorrisSucceeded byIsaac NorrisPersonal detailsBorn(1706-01-17)January 17, 1706Boston, Massachusetts Bay, British AmericaDiedApril 17, 1790(1790-04-17) (aged 84)Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.Political partyIndependentSpouse(s)Deborah ReadChildrenWilliamFrancisSarahSignatureBenjamin FranklinFRS (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705][1] '' April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A renowned polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions.[2] He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department and a university.
Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his early and indefatigable campaigning for colonial unity; as an author and spokesman in London for several colonies, then as the first United States Ambassador to France, he exemplified the emerging American nation.[3] Franklin was foundational in defining the American ethos as a marriage of the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious, with the scientific and tolerant values of the Enlightenment. In the words of historian Henry Steele Commager, "In a Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat."[4] To Walter Isaacson, this makes Franklin "the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become."[5]
Franklin, always proud of his working class roots, became a successful newspaper editor and printer in Philadelphia, the leading city in the colonies.[6] With two partners he published the Pennsylvania Chronicle, a newspaper that was known for its revolutionary sentiments and criticisms of the British policies. He became wealthy publishing Poor Richard's Almanack and The Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was also the printer of books for the Moravians of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1742 on). Franklin's printed Moravian books (printed in German) are preserved, and can be viewed, at the Moravian Archives located in Bethlehem. Franklin visited Bethlehem many times and stayed at the Moravian Sun Inn.
He played a major role in establishing the University of Pennsylvania and was elected the first president of the American Philosophical Society. Franklin became a national hero in America when as agent for several colonies he spearheaded the effort to have Parliament in London repeal the unpopular Stamp Act. An accomplished diplomat, he was widely admired among the French as American minister to Paris and was a major figure in the development of positive Franco-American relations. His efforts to secure support for the American Revolution by shipments of crucial munitions proved vital for the American war effort.
For many years he was the British postmaster for the colonies, which enabled him to set up the first national communications network. He was active in community affairs, colonial and state politics, as well as national and international affairs. From 1785 to 1788, he served as governor of Pennsylvania. Toward the end of his life, he freed his own slaves and became one of the most prominent abolitionists.
His colorful life and legacy of scientific and political achievement, and status as one of America's most influential Founding Fathers, have seen Franklin honored on coinage and the $100 bill; warships; the names of many towns; counties; educational institutions; corporations; and, more than two centuries after his death, countless cultural references.
Early life in BostonBenjamin Franklin was born on Milk Street, in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 17, 1706,[1][Note 1] and baptized at Old South Meeting House. He was one of seventeen children born to Josiah Franklin, one of ten born by Josiah's second wife, Abiah Folger. Among Benjamin's siblings were his older brother James and his younger sister Jane.
Josiah wanted Ben to attend school with the clergy, but only had enough money to send him to school for two years. He attended Boston Latin School but did not graduate; he continued his education through voracious reading. Although "his parents talked of the church as a career"[7] for Franklin, his schooling ended when he was ten. He worked for his father for a time, and at 12 he became an apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who taught Ben the printing trade. When Ben was 15, James founded The New-England Courant, which was the first truly independent newspaper in the colonies.
When denied the chance to write a letter to the paper for publication, Franklin adopted the pseudonym of "Mrs. Silence Dogood", a middle-aged widow. Mrs. Dogood's letters were published, and became a subject of conversation around town. Neither James nor the Courant's readers were aware of the ruse, and James was unhappy with Ben when he discovered the popular correspondent was his younger brother. Franklin was an advocate of free speech from an early age. When his brother was jailed for three weeks in 1722 for publishing material unflattering to the governor, young Franklin took over the newspaper and had Mrs. Dogood (quoting Cato's Letters) proclaim: "Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech."[8] Franklin left his apprenticeship without his brother's permission, and in so doing became a fugitive.[9]
PhiladelphiaAt age 17, Franklin ran away to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, seeking a new start in a new city. When he first arrived, he worked in several printer shops around town, but he was not satisfied by the immediate prospects. After a few months, while working in a printing house, Franklin was convinced by Pennsylvania Governor Sir William Keith to go to London, ostensibly to acquire the equipment necessary for establishing another newspaper in Philadelphia. Finding Keith's promises of backing a newspaper empty, Franklin worked as a typesetter in a printer's shop in what is now the Church of St Bartholomew-the-Great in the Smithfield area of London. Following this, he returned to Philadelphia in 1726 with the help of Thomas Denham, a merchant who employed Franklin as clerk, shopkeeper, and bookkeeper in his business.[9]
Junto and libraryIn 1727, Benjamin Franklin, then 21, created the Junto, a group of "like minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community." The Junto was a discussion group for issues of the day; it subsequently gave rise to many organizations in Philadelphia, PA.
Reading was a great pastime of the Junto, but books were rare and expensive. The members created a library, initially assembled from their own books. This did not suffice, however. Franklin conceived the idea of a subscription library, which would pool the funds of the members to buy books for all to read. This was the birth of the Library Company of Philadelphia: its charter was composed by Franklin in 1731. In 1732, Franklin hired the first American librarian, Louis Timothee.
Originally, the books were kept in the homes of the first librarians, but in 1739 the collection was moved to the second floor of the State House of Pennsylvania, now known as Independence Hall. In 1791, a new building was built specifically for the library. The Library Company is now a great scholarly and research library with 500,000 rare books, pamphlets, and broadsides, more than 160,000 manuscripts, and 75,000 graphic items.
NewspapermanUpon Denham's death, Franklin returned to his former trade. In 1728, Franklin had set up a printing house in partnership with Hugh Meredith; the following year he became the publisher of a newspaper called The Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette gave Franklin a forum for agitation about a variety of local reforms and initiatives through printed essays and observations. Over time, his commentary, and his adroit cultivation of a positive image as an industrious and intellectual young man, earned him a great deal of social respect. But even after Franklin had achieved fame as a scientist and statesman, he habitually signed his letters with the unpretentious 'B. Franklin, Printer.'[9]
In 1732, Ben Franklin published the first German language newspaper in America '' Die Philadelphische Zeitung '' although it failed after only one year, because four other newly founded German papers quickly dominated the newspaper market.[10]
Franklin saw the printing press as a device to instruct colonial Americans in moral virtue. Frasca argues he saw this as a service to God, because he understood moral virtue in terms of actions, thus, doing good provides a service to God. Despite his own moral lapses, Franklin saw himself as uniquely qualified to instruct Americans in morality. He tried to influence American moral life through construction of a printing network based on a chain of partnerships from the Carolinas to New England. Franklin thereby invented the first newspaper chain. It was more than a business venture, for like many publishers since, he believed that the press had a public-service duty.[11]
When Franklin established himself in Philadelphia, shortly before 1730, the town boasted two "wretched little" news sheets, Andrew Bradford's American Mercury, and Keimer'sUniversal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences, and Pennsylvania Gazette. This instruction in all arts and sciences consisted of weekly extracts from Chambers's Universal Dictionary. Franklin quickly did away with all this when he took over the Instructor and made it The Pennsylvania Gazette. The Gazette soon became Franklin's characteristic organ, which he freely used for satire, for the play of his wit, even for sheer excess of mischief or of fun. From the first he had a way of adapting his models to his own uses. The series of essays called "The Busy-Body", which he wrote for Bradford's American Mercury in 1729, followed the general Addisonian form, already modified to suit homelier conditions. The thrifty Patience, in her busy little shop, complaining of the useless visitors who waste her valuable time, is related to the ladies who address Mr. Spectator. The Busy-Body himself is a true Censor Morum, as Isaac Bickerstaff had been in the Tatler. And a number of the fictitious characters, Ridentius, Eugenius, Cato, and Cretico, represent traditional 18th-century classicism. Even this Franklin could use for contemporary satire, since Cretico, the "sowre Philosopher", is evidently a portrait of Franklin's rival, Samuel Keimer.
As time went on, Franklin depended less on his literary conventions, and more on his own native humor. In this there is a new spirit'--not suggested to him by the fine breeding of Addison, or the bitter irony of Swift, or the stinging completeness of Pope. The brilliant little pieces Franklin wrote for his Pennsylvania Gazette have an imperishable place in American literature.
The Pennsylvania Gazette, like most other newspapers of the period, was often poorly printed. Franklin was busy with a hundred matters outside of his printing office, and never seriously attempted to raise the mechanical standards of his trade. Nor did he ever properly edit or collate the chance medley of stale items that passed for news in the Gazette. His influence on the practical side of journalism was minimal. On the other hand, his advertisements of books show his very great interest in popularizing secular literature. Undoubtedly his paper contributed to the broader culture that distinguished Pennsylvania from her neighbors before the Revolution. Like many publishers, Franklin built up a book shop in his printing office; he took the opportunity to read new books before selling them.
Franklin had mixed success in his plan to establish an inter-colonial network of newspapers that would produce a profit for him and disseminate virtue.[12] He began in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1731. After the second editor died, his widow Elizabeth Timothy took over and made it a success, 1738''46. She was one of the colonial era's first woman printers.[13] For three decades Franklin maintained a close business relationship with her and her son Peter who took over in 1746.[14] The Gazette had a policy of impartiality in political debates, while creating the opportunity for public debate, which encouraged others to challenge authority. Editor Peter Timothy avoided blandness and crude bias, and after 1765 increasingly took a patriotic stand in the growing crisis with Great Britain.[15] However, Franklin's Connecticut Gazette (1755''68) proved unsuccessful.[16]
FreemasonIn 1731, Franklin was initiated into the local Masonic Lodge. He became Grand Master in 1734, indicating his rapid rise to prominence in Pennsylvania.[17][18] That same year, he edited and published the first Masonic book in the Americas, a reprint of James Anderson'sConstitutions of the Free-Masons. Franklin remained a Freemason for the rest of his life.[19][20]
Common-law marriage to Deborah ReadIn 1723, at the age of 17, Franklin proposed to 15-year-old Deborah Read while a boarder in the Read home. At that time, Read's mother was wary of allowing her young daughter to marry Franklin, who was on his way to London at Governor Sir William Keith's request, and also because of his financial instability. Her own husband had recently died, and Mrs. Read declined Franklin's request to marry her daughter.[9]
While Franklin was in London, his trip was extended, and there were problems with Sir William's promises of support. Perhaps because of the circumstances of this delay, Deborah married a man named John Rodgers. This proved to be a regrettable decision. Rodgers shortly avoided his debts and prosecution by fleeing to Barbados with her dowry, leaving Deborah behind. Rodgers's fate was unknown, and because of bigamy laws, Deborah was not free to remarry.
Franklin established a common-law marriage with Deborah Read on September 1, 1730. They took in Franklin's young, recently acknowledged illegitimate son, William, and raised him in their household. In addition, they had two children together. The first, Francis Folger Franklin, born October 1732, died of smallpox in 1736. Their second child, Sarah Franklin, familiarly called Sally, was born in 1743. She eventually married Richard Bache, had seven children, and cared for her father in his old age.
Deborah's fear of the sea meant that she never accompanied Franklin on any of his extended trips to Europe, despite his repeated requests. She wrote to him in November 1769 saying she was ill due to "dissatisfied distress" from his prolonged absence, but he did not return until his business was done.[21] Deborah Read Franklin died of a stroke in 1774, while Franklin was on an extended mission to England; he returned in 1775.
William FranklinIn 1730, at the age of 24, Franklin publicly acknowledged the existence of William, his son, who was deemed 'illegitimate' as he was born out of wedlock, and raised him in his household. His mother's identity is not known.[22] He was educated in Philadelphia.
Beginning at about age 30, William studied law in London in the early 1760s. He fathered an illegitimate son, William Temple Franklin, born February 22, 1762. The boy's mother was never identified, and he was placed in foster care. Franklin later that year married Elizabeth Downes, daughter of a planter from Barbados. After William passed the bar, his father helped him gain an appointment in 1763 as the last Royal Governor of New Jersey.
A Loyalist, William and his father eventually broke relations over their differences about the American Revolutionary War. The elder Franklin could never accept William's position. Deposed in 1776 by the revolutionary government of New Jersey, Franklin was arrested at his home in Perth Amboy at the Proprietary House and imprisoned for a time, the younger Franklin went to New York in 1782, which was still occupied by British troops. He became leader of the Board of Associated Loyalists '-- a quasi-military organization, headquartered in New York City. They initiated guerrilla forays into New Jersey, southern Connecticut, and New York counties north of the city.[23] When British troops evacuated from New York, William Franklin left with them and sailed to England. He settled in London, never to return to North America.
In the preliminary peace talks in 1782 with Britain, "... Benjamin Franklin insisted that loyalists who had borne arms against the United States would be excluded from this plea (that they be given a general pardon). He was undoubtedly thinking of William Franklin."[24]
Benjamin Franklin found out about Temple (as he called him), his only patrilineal grandson, on his second mission to England. He got to know the boy and became fond of him, arranging for his education. He never told his wife Deborah about him.[25] Franklin gained custody and brought Temple with him upon return to Philadelphia in 1775. Deborah had died the year before. Franklin brought up Temple within his household.
Beginning at age 16, Temple Franklin served as secretary to his grandfather during his mission to Paris during the Revolutionary War. Although he returned to the United States with his grandfather in the 1780s, he could not find an appointment. He returned to Europe, living for a time in England and then in France. He died in Paris in 1823 and was buried in P¨re Lachaise Cemetery.
Success as an authorIn 1733, Franklin began to publish the noted Poor Richard's Almanack (with content both original and borrowed) under the pseudonym Richard Saunders, on which much of his popular reputation is based. Franklin frequently wrote under pseudonyms. Although it was no secret that Franklin was the author, his Richard Saunders character repeatedly denied it. "Poor Richard's Proverbs", adages from this almanac, such as "A penny saved is twopence dear" (often misquoted as "A penny saved is a penny earned") and "Fish and visitors stink in three days", remain common quotations in the modern world. Wisdom in folk society meant the ability to provide an apt adage for any occasion, and Franklin's readers became well prepared. He sold about ten thousand copies per year (a circulation equivalent to nearly three million today).[9] In 1741 Franklin began publishing The General Magazine and Historical Chronicle for all the British Plantations in America, the first such monthly magazine of this type published in America.
In 1758, the year he ceased writing for the Almanack, he printed Father Abraham's Sermon, also known as The Way to Wealth. Franklin's autobiography, begun in 1771 but published after his death, has become one of the classics of the genre.
Daylight saving time (DST) is often erroneously attributed to a 1784 satire that Franklin published anonymously.[26] Modern DST was first proposed by George Vernon Hudson in 1895.[27]
Inventions and scientific inquiriesFranklin was a prodigious inventor. Among his many creations were the lightning rod, glass armonica (a glass instrument, not to be confused with the metal harmonica), Franklin stove, bifocal glasses and the flexible urinary catheter. Franklin never patented his inventions; in his autobiography he wrote, "... as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously."[28]
His inventions also included social innovations, such as paying forward. Franklin's fascination with innovation could be viewed as altruistic; he wrote that his scientific works were to be used for increasing efficiency and human improvement. One such improvement was his effort to expedite news services through his printing presses.[29]
Population studiesFranklin had a major influence on the emerging science of demography, or population studies.[30]Thomas Malthus is noted for his rule of population growth and credited Franklin for discovering it.[31] Kammen (1990) and Drake (2011) say Franklin's "Observations on the Increase of Mankind" (1755) stands alongside Ezra Stiles' "Discourse on Christian Union" (1760) as the leading works of eighteenth century Anglo-American demography; Drake credits Franklin's "wide readership and prophetic insight."[32][33]
In the 1730s and 1740s, Franklin began taking notes on population growth, finding that the American population had the fastest growth rates on earth.[34] Emphasizing that population growth depended on food supplies'--a line of thought later developed by Thomas Malthus'--Franklin emphasized the abundance of food and available farmland in America. He calculated that America's population was doubling every twenty years and would surpass that of England in a century.[35] In 1751, he drafted "Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, &c." Four years later, it was anonymously printed in Boston, and it was quickly reproduced in Britain, where it influenced the economists Adam Smith and later Thomas Malthus. Franklin's predictions alarmed British leaders who did not want to be surpassed by the colonies, so they became more willing to impose restrictions on the colonial economy.[36]
Franklin was also a pioneer in the study of slave demography, as shown in his 1755 essay.[37]
Atlantic Ocean currentsAs deputy postmaster, Franklin became interested in the North Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns. While in England in 1768, he heard a complaint from the Colonial Board of Customs: Why did it take British packet ships carrying mail several weeks longer to reach New York than it took an average merchant ship to reach Newport, Rhode Island? The merchantmen had a longer and more complex voyage because they left from London, while the packets left from Falmouth in Cornwall.
Franklin put the question to his cousin Timothy Folger, a Nantucket whaler captain, who told him that merchant ships routinely avoided a strong eastbound mid-ocean current. The mail packet captains sailed dead into it, thus fighting an adverse current of 3 miles per hour (5 km/h). Franklin worked with Folger and other experienced ship captains, learning enough to chart the current and name it the Gulf Stream, by which it is still known today.
Franklin published his Gulf Stream chart in 1770 in England, where it was completely ignored. Subsequent versions were printed in France in 1778 and the U.S. in 1786. The British edition of the chart, which was the original, was so thoroughly ignored that everyone assumed it was lost forever until Phil Richardson, a Woods Hole oceanographer and Gulf Stream expert, discovered it in the Biblioth¨que Nationale in Paris in 1980.[38][39] This find received front page coverage in the New York Times.[40]
It took many years for British sea captains to adopt Franklin's advice on navigating the current; once they did, they were able to trim two weeks from their sailing time.[41][42] In 1853, the oceanographer and cartographer Matthew Fontaine Maury noted that Franklin only charted and codified the Gulf Stream, he did not discover it:
Though it was Dr. Franklin and Captain Tim Folger, who first turned the Gulf Stream to nautical account, the discovery that there was a Gulf Stream cannot be said to belong to either of them, for its existence was known to Peter Martyr d'Anghiera, and to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in the 16th century.[43]
ElectricityFranklin's discoveries resulted from his investigations of electricity. Franklin proposed that "vitreous" and "resinous" electricity were not different types of "electrical fluid" (as electricity was called then), but the same electrical fluid under different pressures. He was the first to label them as positive and negative respectively,[44] and he was the first to discover the principle of conservation of charge.[45]
In 1750, he published a proposal for an experiment to prove that lightning is electricity by flying a kite in a storm that appeared capable of becoming a lightning storm. On May 10, 1752, Thomas-Fran§ois Dalibard of France conducted Franklin's experiment using a 40-foot-tall (12 m) iron rod instead of a kite, and he extracted electrical sparks from a cloud. On June 15 Franklin may possibly have conducted his well known kite experiment in Philadelphia, successfully extracting sparks from a cloud. Franklin's experiment was not written up with credit[46] until Joseph Priestley's 1767 History and Present Status of Electricity; the evidence shows that Franklin was insulated (not in a conducting path, where he would have been in danger of electrocution). Others, such as Prof. Georg Wilhelm Richmann, were indeed electrocuted during the months following Franklin's experiment.
In his writings, Franklin indicates that he was aware of the dangers and offered alternative ways to demonstrate that lightning was electrical, as shown by his use of the concept of electrical ground. If Franklin did perform this experiment, he may not have done it in the way that is often described'--flying the kite and waiting to be struck by lightning'--as it would have been dangerous.[47] Instead he used the kite to collect some electric charge from a storm cloud, which implied that lightning was electrical.[citation needed] On October 19 in a letter to England with directions for repeating the experiment, Franklin wrote:
When rain has wet the kite twine so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it streams out plentifully from the key at the approach of your knuckle, and with this key a phial, or Leyden jar, may be charged: and from electric fire thus obtained spirits may be kindled, and all other electric experiments [may be] performed which are usually done by the help of a rubber glass globe or tube; and therefore the sameness of the electrical matter with that of lightening completely demonstrated.[48]
Franklin's electrical experiments led to his invention of the lightning rod. He noted that conductors with a sharp rather than a smooth point could discharge silently, and at a far greater distance. He surmised that this could help protect buildings from lightning by attaching "upright Rods of Iron, made sharp as a Needle and gilt to prevent Rusting, and from the Foot of those Rods a Wire down the outside of the Building into the Ground; ... Would not these pointed Rods probably draw the Electrical Fire silently out of a Cloud before it came nigh enough to strike, and thereby secure us from that most sudden and terrible Mischief!" Following a series of experiments on Franklin's own house, lightning rods were installed on the Academy of Philadelphia (later the University of Pennsylvania) and the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in 1752.[49]
In recognition of his work with electricity, Franklin received the Royal Society's Copley Medal in 1753, and in 1756 he became one of the few 18th-century Americans elected as a Fellow of the Society. The cgs unit of electric charge has been named after him: one franklin (Fr) is equal to one statcoulomb.
Wave theory of lightFranklin was, along with his contemporary Leonhard Euler, the only major scientist who supported Christiaan Huygens' wave theory of light, which was basically ignored by the rest of the scientific community. In the 18th century Newton'scorpuscular theory was held to be true; only after Young's well known slit experiment in 1803 were most scientists persuaded to believe Huygens' theory.[50]
MeteorologyOn October 21, 1743, according to popular myth, a storm moving from the southwest denied Franklin the opportunity of witnessing a lunar eclipse. Franklin was said to have noted that the prevailing winds were actually from the northeast, contrary to what he had expected. In correspondence with his brother, Franklin learned that the same storm had not reached Boston until after the eclipse, despite the fact that Boston is to the northeast of Philadelphia. He deduced that storms do not always travel in the direction of the prevailing wind, a concept that greatly influenced meteorology.[51]
After the Icelandic volcanic eruption of Laki in 1783, and the subsequent harsh European winter of 1784, Franklin made observations connecting the causal nature of these two separate events. He wrote about them in a lecture series.[52]
Traction kitingThough Benjamin Franklin has been most noted kite-wise with his lightning experiments, he has also been noted by many for his using kites to pull humans and ships across waterways.[53] The George Pocock in the book A TREATISE on The Aeropleustic Art, or Navigation in the Air, by means of Kites, or Buoyant Sails[54] noted being inspired by Benjamin Franklin's traction of his body by kite power across a waterway. In his later years he suggested using the technique for pulling ships.
Concept of coolingFranklin noted a principle of refrigeration by observing that on a very hot day, he stayed cooler in a wet shirt in a breeze than he did in a dry one. To understand this phenomenon more clearly Franklin conducted experiments. In 1758 on a warm day in Cambridge, England, Franklin and fellow scientist John Hadley experimented by continually wetting the ball of a mercury thermometer with ether and using bellows to evaporate the ether.[55] With each subsequent evaporation, the thermometer read a lower temperature, eventually reaching 7 °F (''14 °C). Another thermometer showed that the room temperature was constant at 65 °F (18 °C). In his letter Cooling by Evaporation, Franklin noted that, "One may see the possibility of freezing a man to death on a warm summer's day."
Temperature's effect on electrical conductivityAccording to Michael Faraday, Franklin's experiments on the non-conduction of ice are worth mentioning, although the law of the general effect of liquefaction on electrolytes is not attributed to Franklin.[56] However, as reported in 1836 by Prof. A. D. Bache of the University of Pennsylvania, the law of the effect of heat on the conduction of bodies otherwise non-conductors, for example, glass, could be attributed to Franklin. Franklin writes, "... A certain quantity of heat will make some bodies good conductors, that will not otherwise conduct ..." and again, "... And water, though naturally a good conductor, will not conduct well when frozen into ice."[57]
Oceanography findingsAn aging Franklin accumulated all his oceanographic findings in Maritime Observations, published by the Philosophical Society's transactions in 1786.[58] It contained ideas for sea anchors, catamaran hulls, watertight compartments, shipboard lightning rods and a soup bowl designed to stay stable in stormy weather.
Decision-makingIn a 1772 letter to Joseph Priestley, Franklin lays out the earliest known description of the Pro & Con list,[59] a common decision-making technique:
... my Way is, to divide half a Sheet of Paper by a Line into two Columns, writing over the one Pro, and over the other Con. Then during three or four Days Consideration I put down under the different Heads short Hints of the different Motives that at different Times occur to me for or against the Measure. When I have thus got them all together in one View, I endeavour to estimate their respective Weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out: If I find a Reason pro equal to some two Reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two Reasons con equal to some three Reasons pro, I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the Ballance lies; and if after a Day or two of farther Consideration nothing new that is of Importance occurs on either side, I come to a Determination accordingly.[59]
Science humorWhile traveling on a ship, Franklin had observed that the wake of a ship was diminished when the cooks scuttled their greasy water. He studied the effects at Clapham Common, London on a large pond there. "I fetched out a cruet of oil and dropt a little of it on the water...though not more than a teaspoon full, produced an instant calm over a space of several yards square." He later used the trick to "calm the waters" by carrying "a little oil in the hollow joint of my cane."[60]
Musical endeavorsFranklin is known to have played the violin, the harp, and the guitar. He also composed music, notably a string quartet in early classical style. He developed a much-improved version of the glass harmonica, in which the glasses rotate on a shaft, with the player's fingers held steady, instead of the other way around; this version soon found its way to Europe.[61]
ChessFranklin was an avid chess player. He was playing chess by around 1733, making him the first chess player known by name in the American colonies.[62] His essay on "The Morals of Chess" in Columbian magazine in December 1786 is the second known writing on chess in America.[62] This essay in praise of chess and prescribing a code of behavior for the game has been widely reprinted and translated.[63][64][65][66] He and a friend also used chess as a means of learning the Italian language, which both were studying; the winner of each game between them had the right to assign a task, such as parts of the Italian grammar to be learned by heart, to be performed by the loser before their next meeting.[67] Franklin was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 1999.[62]
Public lifeIn 1736, Franklin created the Union Fire Company, one of the first volunteer firefighting companies in America. In the same year, he printed a new currency for New Jersey based on innovative anti-counterfeiting techniques he had devised. Throughout his career, Franklin was an advocate for paper money, publishing A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency in 1729, and his printer printed money. He was influential in the more restrained and thus successful monetary experiments in the Middle Colonies, which stopped deflation without causing excessive inflation. In 1766 he made a case for paper money to the British House of Commons.[68]
As he matured, Franklin began to concern himself more with public affairs. In 1743, he first devised a scheme for The Academy, Charity School, and College of Philadelphia. However, the person he had in mind to run the academy, Rev. Richard Peters, refused and Franklin put his ideas away until 1749, when he printed his own pamphlet, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania.[69]:30 He was appointed president of the Academy on November 13, 1749; the Academy and the Charity School opened on August 13, 1751.
In 1743, Franklin founded the American Philosophical Society to help scientific men discuss their discoveries and theories. He began the electrical research that, along with other scientific inquiries, would occupy him for the rest of his life, in between bouts of politics and moneymaking.[9]
In 1747, he retired from printing and went into other businesses.[70] He created a partnership with his foreman, David Hall, which provided Franklin with half of the shop's profits for 18 years. This lucrative business arrangement provided leisure time for study, and in a few years he had made discoveries that gave him a reputation with educated persons throughout Europe and especially in France.
Franklin became involved in Philadelphia politics and rapidly progressed. In October 1748, he was selected as a councilman, in June 1749 he became a Justice of the Peace for Philadelphia, and in 1751 he was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly. On August 10, 1753, Franklin was appointed joint deputy postmaster-general of British North America, with William Hunter. Franklin's most notable service in domestic politics was his reform of the postal system, with mail sent out every week.[9]
In 1751, Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond obtained a charter from the Pennsylvania legislature to establish a hospital. Pennsylvania Hospital was the first hospital in what was to become the United States of America.
Between 1750 and 1753, the "educational triumvirate"[71] of Dr. Benjamin Franklin, the American Dr. Samuel Johnson of Stratford, Connecticut, and the immigrant Scottish schoolteacher Dr. William Smith built on Franklin's initial scheme and created what Bishop James Madison, president of the College of William & Mary, called a "new-model"[72] plan or style of American college. Franklin solicited, printed in 1752, and promoted an American textbook of moral philosophy from the American Dr. Samuel Johnson titled Elementa Philosophica[73] to be taught in the new colleges to replace courses in denominational divinity.
In June 1753, Johnson, Franklin, and Smith met in Stratford.[74] They decided the new-model college would focus on the professions, with classes taught in English instead of Latin, have subject matter experts as professors instead of one tutor leading a class for four years, and there would be no religious test for admission.[75] Johnson went on to found King's College (now Columbia University) in New York City in 1754, while Franklin hired William Smith as Provost of the College of Philadelphia, which opened in 1755. At its first commencement, on May 17, 1757, seven men graduated; six with a Bachelor of Arts and one as Master of Arts. It was later merged with the University of the State of Pennsylvania to become the University of Pennsylvania. The College was to become influential in guiding the founding documents of the United States: in the Continental Congress, for example, over one third of the college-affiliated men who contributed the Declaration of Independence between September 4, 1774, and July 4, 1776, were affiliated with the College.[76]
In 1753, both Harvard University[77] and Yale University[78] awarded him honorary degrees.[79]
In 1754, he headed the Pennsylvania delegation to the Albany Congress. This meeting of several colonies had been requested by the Board of Trade in England to improve relations with the Indians and defense against the French. Franklin proposed a broad Plan of Union for the colonies. While the plan was not adopted, elements of it found their way into the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.
In 1756, Franklin organized the Pennsylvania Militia (see "Associated Regiment of Philadelphia" under heading of Pennsylvania's 103rd Artillery and 111th Infantry Regiment at Continental Army). He used Tun Tavern as a gathering place to recruit a regiment of soldiers to go into battle against the Native American uprisings that beset the American colonies. Reportedly Franklin was elected "Colonel" of the Associated Regiment but declined the honor.
Also in 1756, Franklin became a member of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce (now the Royal Society of Arts or RSA, which had been founded in 1754), whose early meetings took place in coffee shops in London's Covent Garden district, close to Franklin's main residence in Craven Street during his missions to England. The Craven street residence, which he used on various lengthy missions from 1757 to 1775, is the only one of his residences to survive. It opened to the public as the Benjamin Franklin House museum on January 17, 2006.
After his return to the United States in 1775, Franklin became the Society's Corresponding Member and remained closely connected with the Society. The RSA instituted a Benjamin Franklin Medal in 1956 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Franklin's birth and the 200th anniversary of his membership of the RSA.
In 1757, he was sent to England by the Pennsylvania Assembly as a colonial agent to protest against the political influence of the Penn family, the proprietors of the colony. He remained there for five years, striving to end the proprietors' prerogative to overturn legislation from the elected Assembly, and their exemption from paying taxes on their land. His lack of influential allies in Whitehall led to the failure of this mission.
Whilst in London, Franklin became involved in radical politics. He was a member of the Club of Honest Whigs, alongside thinkers such as Richard Price, the minister of Newington Green Unitarian Church who ignited the Revolution Controversy. During his stays at Craven Street between 1757 and 1775, Franklin developed a close friendship with his landlady, Margaret Stevenson, and her circle of friends and relations, in particular her daughter Mary, who was more often known as Polly.
In 1759, he visited Edinburgh with his son, and recalled his conversations there as "the densest happiness of my life".[80] In February 1759, the University of St Andrews awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, and in October of the same year he was granted Freedom of the Borough of St Andrews.[81]
In 1762, Oxford University awarded Franklin an honorary doctorate for his scientific accomplishments; from then on he went by "Doctor Franklin". He also managed to secure an appointed post for his illegitimate son, William Franklin, by then an attorney, as Colonial Governor of New Jersey.[9]
He joined the influential Lunar Society of Birmingham, with whom he regularly corresponded and, on occasion, visited in Birmingham.
At this time, many members of the Pennsylvania Assembly were feuding with William Penn's heirs, who controlled the colony as proprietors. After his return to the colony, Franklin led the "anti-proprietary party" in the struggle against the Penn family, and was elected Speaker of the Pennsylvania House in May 1764. His call for a change from proprietary to royal government was a rare political miscalculation, however: Pennsylvanians worried that such a move would endanger their political and religious freedoms. Because of these fears, and because of political attacks on his character, Franklin lost his seat in the October 1764 Assembly elections.
The anti-proprietary party dispatched Franklin to England again to continue the struggle against the Penn family proprietorship. During this trip, events drastically changed the nature of his mission.[82]
Years in EuropeIn London, Franklin opposed the 1765 Stamp Act. Unable to prevent its passage, he made another political miscalculation and recommended a friend to the post of stamp distributor for Pennsylvania. Pennsylvanians were outraged, believing that he had supported the measure all along, and threatened to destroy his home in Philadelphia. Franklin soon learned of the extent of colonial resistance to the Stamp Act, and he testified during the House of Commons proceedings that led to its repeal.[83] With this, Franklin suddenly emerged as the leading spokesman for American interests in England. He wrote popular essays on behalf of the colonies, and Georgia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts also appointed him as their agent to the Crown.[82]
Franklin spent two months in German lands in 1766, but his connections to the country stretched across a lifetime. He declared a debt of gratitude to German scientist Otto von Guericke for his early studies of electricity. Franklin also co-authored the first treaty of friendship between Prussia and America in 1785.
In September 1767, Franklin visited Paris with his usual traveling partner, Sir John Pringle. News of his electrical discoveries was widespread in France. His reputation meant that he was introduced to many influential scientists and politicians, and also to King Louis XV.[84]
While living in London in 1768, he developed a phonetic alphabet in A Scheme for a new Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling. This reformed alphabet discarded six letters Franklin regarded as redundant (c, j, q, w, x, and y), and substituted six new letters for sounds he felt lacked letters of their own. His new alphabet, however, never caught on, and he eventually lost interest.[85]
In 1771, Franklin made short journeys through different parts of England, staying with Joseph Priestley at Leeds, Thomas Percival at Manchester and Dr. Darwin at Lichfield.[86] Franklin belonged to a gentleman's club (which he called "honest Whigs"), which held stated meetings, and included members such as Richard Price and Andrew Kippis. He was also a corresponding member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, which included such other scientific and industrial luminaries as Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Josiah Wedgwood and Erasmus Darwin. He had never been to Ireland before, and met and stayed with Lord Hillsborough, whom he believed was especially attentive. Franklin noted of him that "all the plausible behaviour I have described is meant only, by patting and stroking the horse, to make him more patient, while the reins are drawn tighter, and the spurs set deeper into his sides."[87] In Dublin, Franklin was invited to sit with the members of the Irish Parliament rather than in the gallery. He was the first American to receive this honor.[86]
While touring Ireland, he was moved by the level of poverty he saw. Ireland's economy was affected by the same trade regulations and laws of Britain that governed America. Franklin feared that America could suffer the same effects should Britain's "colonial exploitation" continue.[88] In Scotland, he spent five days with Lord Kames near Stirling and stayed for three weeks with David Hume in Edinburgh.
Defending the American causeOne line of argument in Parliament was that Americans should pay a share of the costs of the French and Indian War, and that therefore taxes should be levied on them. Franklin became the American spokesman in highly publicized testimony in Parliament in 1766. He stated that Americans already contributed heavily to the defense of the Empire. He said local governments had raised, outfitted and paid 25,000 soldiers to fight France'--as many as Britain itself sent'--and spent many millions from American treasuries doing so in the French and Indian War alone.[89][90]
In 1773, Franklin published two of his most celebrated pro-American satirical essays: "Rules by Which a Great Empire May Be Reduced to a Small One", and "An Edict by the King of Prussia".[91]
Hutchinson lettersIn June 1773 Franklin obtained private letters of Thomas Hutchinson and Andrew Oliver, governor and lieutenant governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, that proved they were encouraging the Crown to crack down on the rights of Bostonians. Franklin sent them to America, where they escalated the tensions. The British began to regard him as the fomenter of serious trouble. Hopes for a peaceful solution ended as he was systematically ridiculed and humiliated by Solicitor-GeneralAlexander Wedderburn, before the Privy Council on January 29, 1774. He returned to Philadelphia in March 1775, and abandoned his accommodationist stance.[92]
Coming of revolutionIn 1763, soon after Franklin returned to Pennsylvania from England for the first time, the western frontier was engulfed in a bitter war known as Pontiac's Rebellion. The Paxton Boys, a group of settlers convinced that the Pennsylvania government was not doing enough to protect them from American Indian raids, murdered a group of peaceful Susquehannock Indians and marched on Philadelphia. Franklin helped to organize a local militia to defend the capital against the mob. He met with the Paxton leaders and persuaded them to disperse. Franklin wrote a scathing attack against the racial prejudice of the Paxton Boys. "If an Indian injures me," he asked, "does it follow that I may revenge that Injury on all Indians?"[93]
He provided an early response to British surveillance through his own network of counter-surveillance and manipulation. "He waged a public relations campaign, secured secret aid, played a role in privateering expeditions, and churned out effective and inflammatory propaganda."[94]
Declaration of IndependenceBy the time Franklin arrived in Philadelphia on May 5, 1775, after his second mission to Great Britain, the American Revolution had begun '' with fighting between colonials and British at Lexington and Concord. The New England militia had trapped the main British army in Boston. The Pennsylvania Assembly unanimously chose Franklin as their delegate to the Second Continental Congress. In June 1776, he was appointed a member of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Although he was temporarily disabled by gout and unable to attend most meetings of the Committee, Franklin made several "small but important"[96] changes to the draft sent to him by Thomas Jefferson.
At the signing, he is quoted as having replied to a comment by Hancock that they must all hang together: "Yes, we must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."[97]
PostmasterWell known as a printer and publisher, Franklin was appointed postmaster of Philadelphia in 1737, holding the office until 1753, when he and publisher William Hunter were named deputy postmasters''general of British North America, the first to hold the office. Franklin was responsible for the British colonies as far as the island of Newfoundland, opening Canada's first post office at Halifax, Nova Scotia, while Hunter became postal administrator in Williamsburg, Virginia and oversaw areas south of Annapolis, Maryland. Franklin reorganized the service's accounting system, then improved speed of delivery between Philadelphia, New York and Boston. By 1761, efficiencies lead to the first profits for the colonial post office.[98]
When the lands of New France were ceded to the British under the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the new British province of Quebec was created among them, and Franklin saw mail service expanded between Montreal, Trois-Rivi¨res, Quebec City, and New York. For the greater part of his appointment, Franklin lived in England (from 1757 to 1762, and again from 1764 to 1774) '-- about three-quarters of his term.[99] Eventually, his sympathies for the rebel cause in the American Revolution lead to his dismissal on January 31, 1774.
On July 26, 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the United States Post Office and named Benjamin Franklin as the first United States Postmaster General. Franklin had been a postmaster for decades and was a natural choice for the position.[100] Franklin had just returned from England and was appointed chairman of a Committee of Investigation to establish a postal system. The report of the Committee, providing for the appointment of a postmaster general for the 13 American colonies, was considered by the Continental Congress on July 25 and 26. On July 26, 1775, Franklin was appointed Postmaster General, the first appointed under the Continental Congress. It established a postal system that became the United States Post Office, a system that continues to operate today.[101]
Ambassador to France: 1776''1785In December 1776, Franklin was dispatched to France as commissioner for the United States. He took with him as secretary his 16-year-old grandson, William Temple Franklin. They lived in a home in the Parisian suburb of Passy, donated by Jacques-Donatien Le Ray de Chaumont, who supported the United States. Franklin remained in France until 1785. He conducted the affairs of his country toward the French nation with great success, which included securing a critical military alliance in 1778 and negotiating the Treaty of Paris (1783).
Among his associates in France was Honor(C) Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau'--a French Revolutionary writer, orator and statesman who in early 1791 would be elected president of the National Assembly.[102] In July 1784, Franklin met with Mirabeau and contributed anonymous materials that the Frenchman used in his first signed work: Considerations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus.[103] The publication was critical of the Society of the Cincinnati, established in the United States. Franklin and Mirabeau thought of it as a "noble order", inconsistent with the egalitarian ideals of the new republic.[104]
During his stay in France, Benjamin Franklin was active as a freemason, serving as Grand Master of the Lodge Les Neuf SÅ'urs from 1779 until 1781. His lodge number was 24. He was a Past Grand Master of Pennsylvania. In 1784, when Franz Mesmer began to publicize his theory of "animal magnetism" which was considered offensive by many, Louis XVI appointed a commission to investigate it. These included the chemist Antoine Lavoisier, the physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly, and Benjamin Franklin.[105] In 1781, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[106]
Franklin's advocacy for religious tolerance in France contributed to arguments made by French philosophers and politicians that resulted in Louis XVI's signing of the Edict of Versailles in November 1787. This edict effectively nullified the Edict of Fontainebleau, which had denied non-Catholics civil status and the right to openly practice their faith.[107]
Franklin also served as American minister to Sweden, although he never visited that country. He negotiated a treaty that was signed in April 1783. On August 27, 1783, in Paris, Franklin witnessed the world's first hydrogen balloon flight.[108]Le Globe, created by professor Jacques Charles and Les Fr¨res Robert, was watched by a vast crowd as it rose from the Champ de Mars (now the site of the Eiffel Tower).[109] This so enthused Franklin that he subscribed financially to the next project to build a manned hydrogen balloon.[110] On December 1, 1783, Franklin was seated in the special enclosure for honoured guests when La Charli¨re took off from the Jardin des Tuileries, piloted by Jacques Charles and Nicolas-Louis Robert.[108][111]
Constitutional ConventionWhen he returned home in 1785, Franklin occupied a position only second to that of George Washington as the champion of American independence. Le Ray honored him with a commissioned portrait painted by Joseph Duplessis, which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. After his return, Franklin became an abolitionist and freed his two slaves. He eventually became president of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.[112]
In 1787, Franklin served as a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention. He held an honorary position and seldom engaged in debate. He is the only Founding Father who is a signatory of all four of the major documents of the founding of the United States: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris and the United States Constitution.
In 1787, a group of prominent ministers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, proposed the foundation of a new college named in Franklin's honor. Franklin donated £200 towards the development of Franklin College (now called Franklin & Marshall College).
Between 1771 and 1788, he finished his autobiography. While it was at first addressed to his son, it was later completed for the benefit of mankind at the request of a friend.
Franklin strongly supported the right to freedom of speech:
In those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own. Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech ...
Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom, and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech, which is the right of every man ...
'--Silence Dogood no. 8, 1722[113]In his later years, as Congress was forced to deal with the issue of slavery, Franklin wrote several essays that stressed the importance of the abolition of slavery and of the integration of blacks into American society. These writings included:
In 1790, Quakers from New York and Pennsylvania presented their petition for abolition to Congress. Their argument against slavery was backed by the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society and its president, Benjamin Franklin.
President of PennsylvaniaSpecial balloting conducted October 18, 1785, unanimously elected Franklin the sixth president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, replacing John Dickinson. The office of president of Pennsylvania was analogous to the modern position of governor. It is not clear why Dickinson had to be replaced with less than two weeks remaining before the regular election. Franklin held that office for slightly over three years, longer than any other, and served the constitutional limit of three full terms. Shortly after his initial election he was reelected to a full term on October 29, 1785, and again in the fall of 1786 and on October 31, 1787. Officially, his term concluded on November 5, 1788, but there is some question regarding the de facto end of his term, suggesting that the aging Franklin may not have been actively involved in the day-to-day operation of the council toward the end of his time in office.
Virtue, religion, and personal beliefsLike the other advocates of republicanism, Franklin emphasized that the new republic could survive only if the people were virtuous. All his life he explored the role of civic and personal virtue, as expressed in Poor Richard'saphorisms. Franklin felt that organized religion was necessary to keep men good to their fellow men, but rarely attended religious services himself.[115] When Franklin met Voltaire in Paris and asked this great apostle of the Enlightenment to bless his grandson, Voltaire said in English, "God and Liberty," and added, "this is the only appropriate benediction for the grandson of Monsieur Franklin."[116]
Franklin's parents were both pious Puritans.[117] The family attended the Old South Church, the most liberal Puritan congregation in Boston, where Benjamin Franklin was baptized in 1706.[118] Franklin's father, a poor chandler, owned a copy of a book, Bonifacius: Essays to Do Good, by the Puritan preacher and family friend Cotton Mather, which Franklin often cited as a key influence on his life.[119] Franklin's first pen name, Silence Dogood, paid homage both to the book and to a widely known sermon by Mather. The book preached the importance of forming voluntary associations to benefit society. Franklin learned about forming do-good associations from Cotton Mather, but his organizational skills made him the most influential force in making voluntarism an enduring part of the American ethos.[120]
Franklin formulated a presentation of his beliefs and published it in 1728.[121] It did not mention many of the Puritan ideas as regards belief in salvation, the divinity of Jesus, and indeed most religious dogma. He clarified himself as a deist in his 1771 autobiography,[122] although he still considered himself a Christian.[123] He retained a strong faith in a God as the wellspring of morality and goodness in man, and as a Providential actor in history responsible for American independence.[124]
It was Ben Franklin who, at a critical impasse during the Constitutional Convention in June 1787, attempted to introduce the practice of daily common prayer with these words:
... In the beginning of the contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine Protection. '' Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. ... And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance. I have lived, Sir, a long time and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth '' that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings that "except the Lord build they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: ... I therefore beg leave to move '' that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that service.[125]
However, the motion met with resistance and was never brought to a vote.[126]
Franklin was an enthusiastic supporter of the evangelical minister George Whitefield during the First Great Awakening. Franklin did not subscribe to Whitefield's theology, but he admired Whitefield for exhorting people to worship God through good works. Franklin published all of Whitefield's sermons and journals, thereby boosting the Great Awakening.[127]
When he stopped attending church, Franklin wrote in his autobiography:
... Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity; that He made the world, and governed it by His providence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter.[128][129]
Franklin retained a lifelong commitment to the Puritan virtues and political values he had grown up with, and through his civic work and publishing, he succeeded in passing these values into the American culture permanently. He had a "passion for virtue".[130] These Puritan values included his devotion to egalitarianism, education, industry, thrift, honesty, temperance, charity and community spirit.[131]
The classical authors read in the Enlightenment period taught an abstract ideal of republican government based on hierarchical social orders of king, aristocracy and commoners. It was widely believed that English liberties relied on their balance of power, but also hierarchal deference to the privileged class.[132] "Puritanism ... and the epidemic evangelism of the mid-eighteenth century, had created challenges to the traditional notions of social stratification"[133] by preaching that the Bible taught all men are equal, that the true value of a man lies in his moral behavior, not his class, and that all men can be saved.[133] Franklin, steeped in Puritanism and an enthusiastic supporter of the evangelical movement, rejected the salvation dogma, but embraced the radical notion of egalitarian democracy.
Franklin's commitment to teach these values was itself something he gained from his Puritan upbringing, with its stress on "inculcating virtue and character in themselves and their communities."[134] These Puritan values and the desire to pass them on, were one of Franklin's quintessentially American characteristics, and helped shape the character of the nation. Franklin's writings on virtue were derided by some European authors, such as Jackob Fugger in his critical work Portrait of American Culture. Max Weber considered Franklin's ethical writings a culmination of the Protestant ethic, which ethic created the social conditions necessary for the birth of capitalism.[135]
One of Franklin's notable characteristics was his respect, tolerance and promotion of all churches. Referring to his experience in Philadelphia, he wrote in his autobiography, "new Places of worship were continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary Contribution, my Mite for such purpose, whatever might be the Sect, was never refused."[128] "He helped create a new type of nation that would draw strength from its religious pluralism."[136] The first generation of Puritans had been intolerant of dissent, but by the early 18th century, when Franklin grew up in the Puritan church, tolerance of different churches was the norm, and Massachusetts was known, in John Adams' words, as "the most mild and equitable establishment of religion that was known in the world."[137] The evangelical revivalists who were active mid-century, such as Franklin's friend and preacher, George Whitefield, were the greatest advocates of religious freedom, "claiming liberty of conscience to be an 'inalienable right of every rational creature.'"[138] Whitefield's supporters in Philadelphia, including Franklin, erected "a large, new hall, that ... could provide a pulpit to anyone of any belief."[139] Franklin's rejection of dogma and doctrine and his stress on the God of ethics and morality and civic virtue made him the "prophet of tolerance."[136] While he was living in London in 1774, he was present at the birth of British Unitarianism, attending the inaugural session of the Essex Street Chapel, at which Theophilus Lindsey drew together the first avowedly Unitarian congregation in England; this was somewhat politically risky, and pushed religious tolerance to new boundaries, as a denial of the doctrine of the Trinity was illegal until the 1813 Act.[140]
Although Franklin's parents had intended for him to have a career in the Church,[7] Franklin as a young man adopted the Enlightenment religious belief in deism, that God's truths can be found entirely through nature and reason.[141] "I soon became a thorough Deist."[142] As a young man he rejected Christian dogma in a 1725 pamphlet A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain,[143] which he later saw as an embarrassment,[144] while simultaneously asserting that God is "all wise, all good, all powerful."[144] He defended his rejection of religious dogma with these words: "I think opinions should be judged by their influences and effects; and if a man holds none that tend to make him less virtuous or more vicious, it may be concluded that he holds none that are dangerous, which I hope is the case with me." After the disillusioning experience of seeing the decay in his own moral standards, and those of two friends in London whom he had converted to Deism, Franklin turned back to a belief in the importance of organized religion, on the pragmatic grounds that without God and organized churches, man will not be good.[145] Moreover, because of his proposal that prayers be said in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, many have contended that in his later life Franklin became a pious Christian.[146][147]
At one point, he wrote to Thomas Paine, criticizing his manuscript, The Age of Reason:
For without the Belief of a Providence that takes Cognizance of, guards and guides and may favour particular Persons, there is no Motive to Worship a Deity, to fear its Displeasure, or to pray for its Protection ... think how great a Proportion of Mankind consists of weak and ignorant Men and Women, and of inexperienc'd and inconsiderate Youth of both Sexes, who have need of the Motives of Religion to restrain them from Vice, to support their Virtue, and retain them in the Practice of it till it becomes habitual, which is the great Point for its Security; And perhaps you are indebted to her originally that is to your Religious Education, for the Habits of Virtue upon which you now justly value yourself. If men are so wicked with religion, what would they be if without it.[148]
According to David Morgan,[149] Franklin was a proponent of religion in general. He prayed to "Powerful Goodness" and referred to God as "the infinite". John Adams noted that Franklin was a mirror in which people saw their own religion: "The Catholics thought him almost a Catholic. The Church of England claimed him as one of them. The Presbyterians thought him half a Presbyterian, and the Friends believed him a wet Quaker." Whatever else Franklin was, concludes Morgan, "he was a true champion of generic religion." In a letter to Richard Price, Franklin stated that he believed that religion should support itself without help from the government, claiming, "When a Religion is good, I conceive that it will support itself; and, when it cannot support itself, and God does not take care to support, so that its Professors are oblig'd to call for the help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."[150]
In 1790, just about a month before he died, Franklin wrote a letter to Ezra Stiles, president of Yale University, who had asked him his views on religion:
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as it probably has, of making his doctrines more respected and better observed; especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any particular marks of his displeasure.[9]
On July 4, 1776, Congress appointed a three-member committee composed of Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams to design the Great Seal of the United States. Franklin's proposal (which was not adopted) featured the motto: "Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God" and a scene from the Book of Exodus, with Moses, the Israelites, the pillar of fire, and George III depicted as pharaoh. The design that was produced was never acted upon by Congress, and the Great Seal's design was not finalized until a third committee was appointed in 1782.[151][152]
Thirteen VirtuesFranklin sought to cultivate his character by a plan of 13 virtues, which he developed at age 20 (in 1726) and continued to practice in some form for the rest of his life. His autobiography lists his 13 virtues as:
"Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.""Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.""Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.""Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.""Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.""Industry. Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.""Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.""Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.""Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.""Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.""Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.""Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.""Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates."Franklin did not try to work on them all at once. Instead, he would work on one and only one each week "leaving all others to their ordinary chance." While Franklin did not live completely by his virtues, and by his own admission he fell short of them many times, he believed the attempt made him a better man contributing greatly to his success and happiness, which is why in his autobiography, he devoted more pages to this plan than to any other single point; in his autobiography Franklin wrote, "I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the benefit."[153]
Slaves and slaveryDuring Franklin's lifetime slaves were numerous in Philadelphia. In 1750, half the persons in Philadelphia who had established probate estates owned slaves. Dock workers in the city consisted of 15% slaves. Franklin owned as many as seven slaves, two males of whom worked in his household and his shop. Franklin posted paid ads for the sale of slaves and for the capture of runaway slaves and allowed the sale of slaves in his general store. Franklin profited from both the international and domestic slave trade, even criticizing slaves who had run off to join the British Army during the colonial wars of the 1740s and 1750s. Franklin, however, later became a "cautious abolitionist" and became an outspoken critic of landed gentry slavery. In 1758, Franklin advocated the opening of a school for the education of black slaves in Philadelphia. After returning from England in 1762, Franklin became more anti-slavery, in his view believing that the institution promoted black degradation rather than the idea blacks were inherently inferior. By 1770, Franklin had freed his slaves and attacked the system of slavery and the international slave trade. Franklin, however, refused to publicly debate the issue of slavery at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Similar to Thomas Jefferson, Franklin tended to take both sides of the issue of slavery, never fully divesting himself from the institution.[154][155]
Death and legacyFranklin struggled with obesity throughout his middle-aged and later years, which resulted in multiple health problems, particularly gout, which worsened as he aged. In poor health during the signing of the US Constitution in 1787, he was rarely seen in public from then until his death.
Benjamin Franklin died from pleuritic attack[156] at his home in Philadelphia on April 17, 1790, at age 84. Approximately 20,000 people attended his funeral. He was interred in Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia. In 1728, aged 22, Franklin wrote what he hoped would be his own epitaph:
The Body of B. Franklin Printer; Like the Cover of an old Book, Its Contents torn out, And stript of its Lettering and Gilding, Lies here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be wholly lost: For it will, as he believ'd, appear once more, In a new & more perfect Edition, Corrected and Amended By the Author.[157]
Franklin's actual grave, however, as he specified in his final will, simply reads "Benjamin and Deborah Franklin".[158]
In 1773, when Franklin's work had moved from printing to science and politics, he corresponded with a French scientist, Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg, on the subject of preserving the dead for later revival by more advanced scientific methods, writing:
I should prefer to an ordinary death, being immersed with a few friends in a cask of Madeira, until that time, then to be recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But in all probability, we live in a century too little advanced, and too near the infancy of science, to see such an art brought in our time to its perfection.[159] (Extended excerpt also online.)[160]
His death is described in the book The Life of Benjamin Franklin, quoting from the account of Dr. John Jones:
... when the pain and difficulty of breathing entirely left him, and his family were flattering themselves with the hopes of his recovery, when an imposthume, which had formed itself in his lungs, suddenly burst, and discharged a quantity of matter, which he continued to throw up while he had power; but, as that failed, the organs of respiration became gradually oppressed; a calm, lethargic state succeeded; and on the 17th instant (April 1790), about eleven o'clock at night, he quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of eighty-four years and three months.[161]
A signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Franklin is considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. His pervasive influence in the early history of the nation has led to his being jocularly called "the only President of the United States who was never President of the United States."[162] Franklin's likeness is ubiquitous. Since 1928, it has adorned American $100 bills, which are sometimes referred to in slang as "Benjamins" or "Franklins." From 1948 to 1963, Franklin's portrait was on the half dollar. He has appeared on a $50 bill and on several varieties of the $100 bill from 1914 and 1918. Franklin appears on the $1,000 Series EE Savings bond. The city of Philadelphia contains around 5,000 likenesses of Benjamin Franklin, about half of which are located on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway (a major thoroughfare) and Benjamin Franklin Bridge (the first major bridge to connect Philadelphia with New Jersey) are named in his honor.
In 1976, as part of a bicentennial celebration, Congress dedicated a 20-foot (6 m) marble statue in Philadelphia's Franklin Institute as the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial. Many of Franklin's personal possessions are also on display at the Institute, one of the few national memorials located on private property.
In London, his house at 36 Craven Street was first marked with a blue plaque and has since been opened to the public as the Benjamin Franklin House.[163] In 1998, workmen restoring the building dug up the remains of six children and four adults hidden below the home. The Times reported on February 11, 1998:
Initial estimates are that the bones are about 200 years old and were buried at the time Franklin was living in the house, which was his home from 1757 to 1762 and from 1764 to 1775. Most of the bones show signs of having been dissected, sawn or cut. One skull has been drilled with several holes. Paul Knapman, the Westminster Coroner, said yesterday: "I cannot totally discount the possibility of a crime. There is still a possibility that I may have to hold an inquest."
The Friends of Benjamin Franklin House (the organization responsible for the restoration) note that the bones were likely placed there by William Hewson, who lived in the house for two years and who had built a small anatomy school at the back of the house. They note that while Franklin likely knew what Hewson was doing, he probably did not participate in any dissections because he was much more of a physicist than a medical man.[164]
BequestFranklin bequeathed £1,000 (about $4,400 at the time, or about $112,000 in 2011 dollars[165]) each to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia, in trust to gather interest for 200 years. The trust began in 1785 when the French mathematician Charles-Joseph Mathon de la Cour, who admired Franklin greatly, wrote a friendly parody of Franklin's "Poor Richard's Almanack" called "Fortunate Richard". The main character leaves a smallish amount of money in his will, five lots of 100 livres, to collect interest over one, two, three, four or five full centuries, with the resulting astronomical sums to be spent on impossibly elaborate utopian projects.[166] Franklin, who was 79 years old at the time, wrote thanking him for a great idea and telling him that he had decided to leave a bequest of 1,000 pounds each to his native Boston and his adopted Philadelphia. By 1990, more than $2,000,000 had accumulated in Franklin's Philadelphia trust, which had loaned the money to local residents. From 1940 to 1990, the money was used mostly for mortgage loans. When the trust came due, Philadelphia decided to spend it on scholarships for local high school students. Franklin's Boston trust fund accumulated almost $5,000,000 during that same time; at the end of its first 100 years a portion was allocated to help establish a trade school that became the Franklin Institute of Boston, and the whole fund was later dedicated to supporting this institute.[167][168]
Franklin on U.S. postageBenjamin Franklin is a prominent figure in American history comparable to Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, and as such he has been honored on U.S. postage stamps many times. The image of Franklin, the first Postmaster General of the United States, occurs on the face of U.S. postage more than any other notable American save that of George Washington.[169]
Franklin appeared on the first U.S. postage stamp (displayed above) issued in 1847. From 1908 through 1923 the U.S. Post Office issued a series of postage stamps commonly referred to as the Washington-Franklin Issues where, along with George Washington, Franklin was depicted many times over a 14-year period, the longest run of any one series in U.S. postal history. Along with the regular issue stamps Franklin however only appears on a few commemorative stamps. Some of the finest portrayals of Franklin on record can be found on the engravings inscribed on the face of U.S. postage.[169]
Bawdy Ben"Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress" is a letter written by Benjamin Franklin, dated June 25, 1745, in which Franklin gives advice to a young man about channeling sexual urges. Due to its licentious nature, the letter was not published in collections of Franklin's papers in the United States during the nineteenth century. Federal court decisions from the mid- to late- twentieth century cited the document as a reason for overturning obscenity laws, using it to make a case against censorship.
Exhibitions"The Princess and the Patriot: Ekaterina Dashkova, Benjamin Franklin and the Age of Enlightenment" exhibition opened in Philadelphia in February 2006 and ran through December 2006. Benjamin Franklin and Dashkova met only once, in Paris in 1781. Franklin was 75 and Dashkova was 37. Franklin invited Dashkova to become the first woman to join the American Philosophical Society; she was the only woman so honored for another 80 years. Later, Dashkova reciprocated by making him the first American member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Places and things named after Benjamin FranklinAs a founding father of the United States, Franklin's name has been attached to many things. Among these are:
The State of Franklin, a short-lived independent state formed during the American Revolutionary WarCounties in at least 16 U.S. statesSeveral major landmarks in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Franklin's longtime home, including:The Sons of Ben soccer supporters club for the Philadelphia UnionBen Franklin Stores chain of variety stores, with a key-and-spark logoFranklin Templeton Investments an investment firm whose New York Stock Exchange ticker abbreviation, BEN, is also in honor of FranklinThe Ben Franklin effect from the field of psychologyBenjamin Franklin Shibe, baseball executive and namesake of the longtime Philadelphia baseball stadiumBenjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, the fictional character from the M*A*S*H novels, film, and television programBenjamin Franklin Gates, Nicolas Cage's character from the National Treasure films.Several US Navy ships have been named the USS Franklin or the USS Bonhomme Richard, the latter being a French translation of his penname "Poor Richard". Two aircraft carriers, USS Franklin (CV-13) and USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31) were simultaneously in commission and in operation during World War II, and Franklin therefore had the distinction of having two simultaneously operational US Navy warships named in his honor. The French ship Franklin (1797) was also named in Franklin's honor.Franklinia alatamaha, commonly called the Franklin tree. It was named after him by his friends and fellow Philadelphians, botanists James and William Bartram.AncestryFranklin's father, Josiah Franklin, was a tallow chandler, a soap-maker and a candle-maker. Josiah was born at Ecton, Northamptonshire, England, on December 23, 1657, the son of Thomas Franklin, a blacksmith-farmer, and Jane White. Benjamin's mother, Abiah Folger, was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, on August 15, 1667, to Peter Folger (Governor Thomas Mayhew's assistant), a miller and schoolteacher, and his wife Mary Morrill, a former indentured servant.
Josiah Franklin had 17 children with his two wives. He married his first wife, Anne Child, in about 1677 in Ecton and emigrated with her to Boston in 1683; they had three children before emigrating and four after. After her death, Josiah married Abiah Folger on July 9, 1689, in the Old South Meeting House by Samuel Willard. Benjamin, their eighth child, was Josiah Franklin's 15th child and tenth and last son.
Benjamin Franklin's mother, Abiah Folger, was born into a Puritan family among those that fled to Massachusetts to establish a purified Congregationalist Christianity in New England, when King Charles I of England began persecuting Puritans. They sailed for Boston in 1635. Her father was "the sort of rebel destined to transform colonial America";[170] as clerk of the court, he was jailed for disobeying the local magistrate in defense of middle-class shopkeepers and artisans in conflict with wealthy landowners. Ben Franklin followed in his grandfather's footsteps in his battles against the wealthy Penn family that owned the Pennsylvania Colony.
Ancestors of Benjamin Franklin
8. Henry Francklineb. 1573, Ecton, Northamptonshire, England[171]
4. Thomas Franklinb. 1598, Ecton, Northamptonshire, England[171]
9. Agnes Joanesb. Ecton, Northamptonshire, England
2. Josiah Franklinb. December 23, 1657, Ecton, Northamptonshire, England
5. Jane Whiteb. England
1. Benjamin Franklin[172]b. 1705, Boston, Massachusetts
12. John Folger Jr.b. abt. 1594, Norwich, England
6. Peter Folgerb. 1617, Norwich, Norfolk, England
13. Meribah Gibbsb. England
3. Abiah Folgerb. August 15, 1667, Nantucket, Massachusetts
7. Mary Morrillb. c. 1619, England
See alsoNotes^Contemporary records, which used the Julian calendar and the Annunciation Style of enumerating years, recorded his birth as January 6, 1705. The provisions of the British Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, implemented in 1752, altered the official British dating method to the Gregorian calendar with the start of the year on January 1 (it had been March 25). These changes resulted in dates being moved forward 11 days, and for those between January 1 and March 25, an advance of one year. For a further explanation, see: Old Style and New Style dates.^Portraits of Franklin at this time often contained an inscription, the best known being Turgot's acclamation, "Eripuit fulmen coelo sceptrumque tyrannis." (He snatched the lightning from the skies and the scepter from the tyrants.) Historian Friedrich Christoph Schlosser remarked at the time, with ample hyperbole, that "Such was the number of portraits, busts and medallions of him in circulation before he left Paris, that he would have been recognized from them by any adult citizen in any part of the civilized world." '' Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Franklin, Benjamin". Encyclop...dia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. References^ abEngber, Daniel (2006). "What's Benjamin Franklin's Birthday?". Retrieved 2009-06-17. Engber clearly explains Franklin's confusing birthdates, which are shared by many notable people, not the least of whom are George Washington and Thomas Paine ^"Inventor". The Franklin Institute. Retrieved April 25, 2012. ^H.W. Brands, The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (2000)^Isaacson 2003, p. 491^Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Franklin (2003), p. 492^H.W. Brands. The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. (2010). p. 390.^ ab'--'-- (1901) [1771]. "Introduction". Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Macmillan's pocket English and American classics. New York: Macmillan. p. vi. Retrieved February 1, 2011. ^Isaacson, (2003) p 32^ abcdefghiCarl Van Doren, Benjamin Franklin. (1938).^"German Newspapers in the US and Canada". Retrieved October 7, 2014. ^Frasca, Ralph (1997). "Benjamin Franklin's Journalism". Fides et Historia29 (1): 60''72. ^Ralph Frasca, Benjamin Franklin's Printing Network: Disseminating Virtue in Early America (2006) excerpt and text search^Baker, Ira L. (1977). "Elizabeth Timothy: America's First Woman Editor". Journalism Quarterly54 (2): 280''285. doi:10.1177/107769907705400207. ^Ralph Frasca, "'The Partnership at Carolina Having succeeded, was Encourag'd to Engage in Others': The Genesis of Benjamin Franklin's Printing Network", Southern Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the South (2006), Vol. 13 Issue 1/2, pp 1''23.^Smith, Jeffery A. (1993). "Impartiality and Revolutionary Ideology: Editorial Policies of the 'South-Carolina Gazette,' 1732''1735". Journal of Southern History49 (4): 511''526. ^Frasca, Ralph (2003). "'I am now about to establish a small Printing Office ... at Newhaven": Benjamin Franklin and the First Newspaper in Connecticut". Connecticut History44 (1): 77''87. ^The History Channel, Mysteries of the Freemasons: America, video documentary, August 1, 2006, written by Noah Nicholas and Molly Bedell^"Freemasonry Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon website". Freemasonry.bcy.ca. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^Van Horne, John C. "The History and Collections of the Library Company of Philadelphia," The Magazine Antiques, v. 170. no. 2: 58''65 (1971).^Lemay, J. A. Leo. "Franklin, Benjamin (1706''1790)," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: OUP, 2004).^November 1769 Letter from Deborah Read to Ben Franklin, franklinpapers.org^Skemp SL. William Franklin: Son of a Patriot, Servant of a King, Oxford University Press US, 1990, ISBN 0-19-505745-7, p. 4^Fleming, Thomas, The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle for Survival, (Collins, NY, 2007) p. 30^Fleming, p. 236^"Editor Claude-Anne Lopez describes her 'life with Benjamin Franklin'", Yale Bulletin and Calendar, Vol. 28, No. 34, June 23, 2000, accessed November 3, 2012^Benjamin Franklin, writing anonymously (April 26, 1784). "Aux auteurs du Journal". Journal de Paris (in French) (Duke University Press) 28 (117): 23. doi:10.2307/2922719. JSTOR 2922719. Revised English version retrieved on March 11, 2008.^G. V. Hudson (1898). "On seasonal time". Trans Proc R Soc N Z31: 577''88. ^Benjamin Franklin. "Part three". The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. ^Franklin, Benjamin. "The Pennsylvania Gazette". FranklinPapers.org, October 23, 1729^Dr. Alan Houston (2008). Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement. Yale U.P. pp. 106''41. ^I. Bernard Cohen (2005). The Triumph Of Numbers: How Counting Shaped Modern Life. W. W. Norton. p. 87. ^James David Drake (2011). The Nation's Nature: How Continental Presumptions Gave Rise to the United States of America. U. of Virginia Press. p. 63. ^Michael G. Kammen (1990). People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization. Cornell U.P. p. 81. ^J. A. Leo Lemay (2008). The Life of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 3: Soldier, Scientist, and Politician, 1748''1757. U. of Pennsylvania Press. p. 245. ^Isaacson 2003, p. 150^Owen Aldridge, Alfred (1949). "Franklin as Demographer". Journal of Economic History9 (1): 25''44. JSTOR 2113719. ^George William Van Cleve (2010). A Slaveholders' Union: Slavery, Politics, and the Constitution in the Early American Republic. U. of Chicago Press. p. 148. ^Philip L. Richardson (February 8, 1980), "Benjamin Franklin and Timothy Folger's first printed chart of the Gulf Stream", Science, vol. 207, no. 4431, pp. 643''645.^"How Franklin's chart resurfaced", The Philadelphia Inquirer, posted December 18, 2005, accessed November 26, 2010^John N. Wilford, "Prints of Franklin's chart of Gulf Stream found," New York Times (N.Y., N.Y.), pp. A1, B7 (February 6, 1980).^1785: Benjamin Franklin's 'Sundry Maritime Observations', The Academy of Natural Sciences, April 1939 m^1785: Benjamin Franklin's 'Sundry Maritime Observations' . NOAA Ocean Explorer.^Source: Explanations and Sailing Directions to Accompany the Wind and Current Charts, 1853, p. 53, by Matthew Fontaine Maury^"Benjamin Franklin (1706''1790)", Science World, from Eric Weisstein's World of Scientific Biography.^Conservation of Charge at the Wayback Machine (archived February 18, 2008). Archived February 18, 2008.^Steven Johnson (2008) in The Invention of Air, p. 39, notes that Franklin published a description of the kite experiment in The Pennsylvania Gazette without claiming he had performed the experiment himself, a fact he shared with Priestley 15 years later.^Franklin's Kite, Museum of Science, Boston.^Wolf, A., History of Science, Technology, and Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century. New York, 1939. p. 232^Krider, E. Philip. Benjamin Franklin and Lightning Rods at the Wayback Machine (archived January 10, 2006). Physics Today. January 2006. Archived January 10, 2006.^Jogn Gribbin, "In search of Schr¶dinger's cat", Black Swan, p. 12^Heidorn, Keith C. Heidorn, PhD. Eclipsed By Storm. The Weather Doctor. October 1, 2003.^http://www.dartmouth.edu/~volcano/Fr373p77.html^Fisher, Sydney George (1903). The True Benjamin Franklin (5 ed.). Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott Company. p. 19. ^Pocock, George (1851). A TREATISE on The Aeropleustic Art, or Navigation in the Air, by means of Kites, or Buoyant Sails. London: Longmans, Brown, and Co. p. 9. ^"The Writings of Benjamin Franklin: London, 1757''1775". Historycarper.com. Retrieved September 14, 2010. ^Faraday, Michael (1839). Experimental researches in electricity2. R. & J.E. Taylor. p. v. ... Franklin's experiments on the non-conduction of ice ... ^Jones, Thomas P. (1836). Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania. Pergamon Press. pp. 182''183. In the fourth series of his electrical researches, Mr. Faraday ... ^Price, Richard; Thomas, David Oswald; Peach, Bernard (1994). The Correspondence of Richard Price: February 1786 '' February 1791. Duke University Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-8223-1327-8. Retrieved October 2, 2009. ^ abBell Jr., Whitfield J., ed. (1956). "Benjamin Franklin's 1772 letter to Joseph Priestley". Mr. Franklin: A Selection from His Personal Letters. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. ^*W. Gratzer, Eurekas and Euphorias, pgs 80,81^Bloch, Thomas. The Glassharmonica. GFI Scientific.^ abcJohn McCrary, Chess and Benjamin Franklin-His Pioneering Contributions (PDF). Retrieved on April 26, 2009.^David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess, Oxford University Press (2nd ed. 1992), p. 145. ISBN 0-19-866164-9.^The essay appears in Marcello Truzzi (ed.), Chess in Literature, Avon Books, 1974, pp. 14''15. ISBN 0-380-00164-0.^The essay appears in a book by the felicitously named Norman Knight, Chess Pieces, CHESS magazine, Sutton Coldfield, England (2nd ed. 1968), pp. 5''6. ISBN 0-380-00164-0.^Franklin's essay is also reproduced at the U.S. Chess Center Museum and Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. Retrieved December 3, 2008.^William Temple Franklin, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, reprinted in Knight, Chess Pieces, pp. 136''37.^John Kenneth Galbraith. (1975). Money: Where It Came, Whence It Went, pp. 54''54. Houghton Mifflin Company.^Montgomery, Thomas Harrison (1900). A History of the University of Pennsylvania from Its Foundation to A. D. 1770. Philadelphia: George W. Jacobs & Co. LCCN 00003240. ^James N. Green, "English Books and Printing in the Age of Franklin," in The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World (2002), 257.^Olsen, Neil C., Pursuing Happiness: The Organizational Culture of the Continental Congress, Nonagram Publications, ISBN 978-1-4800-6550-5ISBN 1-4800-6550-1, 2013, p. 174^Smith, Horace Wemyss, The Life and Correspondence of the Rev. Wm. Smith, D.D., Philadelphia, 1880, Volume 1: pp. 566''567.^Samuel Johnson, Elementa philosophica: containing chiefly, Noetica, or things relating to the mind or understanding: and Ethica, or things relating to the moral behaviour. Philadelphia, Printed by B. Franklin and D. Hall, at the new-printing-office, near the market, 1752^Olsen, pp. 163''274^Olsen, p. 163^Olsen, p. 308^Honorary Degrees Harvard University. Retrieved August 20, 2012.^Honorary Degrees Yale University. Retrieved August 20, 2012.^Benjamin Franklin resume. In Search of a Better World. Benjamin Franklin Exhibit. Retrieved August 20, 2012.^Buchan, James. Crowded with Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment: Edinburgh's Moment of the Mind. HarperCollins Publishers. 2003. p. 2^"The Kate Kennedy Club". The Kate Kennedy Club. Archived from the original on March 27, 2009. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^ abJ. A. Leo Lematy, "Franklin, Benjamin". American National Biography Online, February 2000.^Peter Charles Hoffer, Benjamin Franklin Explains the Stamp Act Protests to Parliament, 1766 (2015)^Isaacson, Walter. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Simon & Schuster. 2003.^Benjamin Franklin's Phonetic Alphabet. Omniglot.com.^ abSparks, Jared. Life of Benjamin Franklin. US History.org.^Google Books '' Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin By Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Haskell Dole, 2003. Books.google.ie. March 31, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7661-4375-3. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^Benjamin Franklin. PBS.org.^James A. Henretta, ed. (2011). Documents for America's History, Volume 1: To 1877. Bedford/St. Martin's. p. 110. ^Isaacson (2004). Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. pp. 229''30. ^Franklin, Benjamin. "reprinted on The History Carper". ^Sheila L. Skemp, The Making of a Patriot: Benjamin Franklin at the Cockpit (Oxford University Press; 2012)^Franklin, Benjamin. "A Narrative of the Late Massacres ..." reprinted on The History Carper.^Crews, Ed (Summer 2004). "Spies and Scouts, Secret Writing, and Sympathetic Citizens". Colonial Williamsburg Journal (The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation). Retrieved April 19, 2009. ^Key to Declaration American Revolution.org.^Isaacson, pp. 311''312^Sparks, Jared (1856). The Life of Benjamin Franklin: Containing the Autobiography, with Notes and a Continuation. Boston: Whittemore, Niles and Hall. p. 408. Retrieved December 16, 2007. ^"1753 Benjamin Franklin", St(C)phanie Ouellet, in A Chronology of Canadian Postal History, National Museum of History, Ottawa.^"1760-1840 Planting the Imperial Postal System in British North America", A Chronology of Canadian Postal History, National Museum of History, Ottawa.^Walter Isaacson. Benjamin Franklin: an American life, pp. 206''9, 301^"History of the United States Postal Systems". Inventors.about.com. Retrieved June 20, 2011. ^"The Book in the Painting: De la Caisse d'Escompte." isthisjefferson.org Accessed February 1, 2013.^Considerations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus, December 2011.^Van Doren, Carl. Benjamin Franklin (The Viking Press: New York). 1938. pp. 709''710.^Schwartz, Stephan A. "Franklin's Forgotten Triumph: Scientific Testing" American Heritage, October 2004.^"Book of Members, 1780''2010: Chapter F"(PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 28, 2014. ^"Edict of Versailles (1787)", Encyclopedia of the Age of Political Ideals, downloaded January 29, 2012^ abPiers Letcher '' Jacques Charles (May 25, 2003). Eccentric France: Bradt Guide to mad, magical and marvellous France. Books.google.co.uk. ISBN 978-1-84162-068-8. Retrieved March 17, 2010. ^"Science and Society, Medal commemorating Charles and Robert's balloon ascent, Paris, 1783". Scienceandsociety.co.uk. Retrieved March 17, 2010. ^"Fiddlers Green, History of Ballooning, Jacques Charles". Fiddlersgreen.net. Retrieved June 20, 2011. ^"Federation Aeronautique Internationale, Ballooning Commission, Hall of Fame, Robert Brothers". Fai.org. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved March 17, 2010. ^Citizen Ben, Abolitionist, PBS^Coffman, Steve, ed. (2012). Words of the Founding Fathers: Selected Quotations of Franklin, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton, with Sources. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-7864-5862-2. ^Myra Jehlen, Michael Warner, editors, The English Literatures of America, 1500-1800, Psychology Press, p 891 1997, ISBN 0415919037^Franklin, Autobiography, ed. Lemay, p. 65^Isaacson, 2003, p. 354^Isaacson, 2003, pp. 5''18^Old South Church. "Isaacson, 2003, p. 15". Oldsouth.org. Archived from the original on May 31, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^"If I have been," Franklin wrote to Cotton Mather's son seventy years later, "a useful citizen, the public owes the advantage of it to that book." in Isaacson, 2003, p. 26^Isaacson, 2003, p. 102^Franklin, Benjamin (November 20, 1728). "Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion". Benjamin Franklin Papers. franklinpapers.org. Retrieved December 24, 2010. ^Franklin, Benjamin (1771). Autobiography and other writings. Cambridge: Riverside. p. 52. ^Olson, Roger (October 19, 2009). The Mosaic of Christian Belief: Twenty Centuries of Unity and Diversity. InterVarsity Press. Other Deists and natural religionists who considered themselves Christians in some sense of the word included Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. ^Isaacson, 2003, p. 486^Michael E. Eidenmuller. "Online Speech Bank: Benjamin Franklin's Prayer Speech at the Constitutional Convention of 1787". Americanrhetoric.com. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^Rossiter, Clinton. 1787. The Grand Convention (1966), pp. 184''85^Isaacson, 2003, pp. 107''13^ abFranklin Benjamin "Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography". Section 2 reprinted on UShistory.org.^"Benjamin Franklin". History.hanover.edu. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^Isaacson, p. 485^Isaacson, 2003, p.149^Bailyn, 1992, pp. 273''4, 299''300^ abBailyn, 1992, p. 303^Isaacson, 2003, pp. 10, 102, 489^Weber, Max The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit of Capitalism", (Penguin Books, 2002), translated by Peter Baehr and Gordon C. Wells, pp. 9''11^ abIsaacson,2003 pp. 93ff^Bailyn, 1992, p. 248^Bailyn, 1992, p. 249^Isaacson, 2003, p. 112^"Chapter 2, The History of Essex Hall by Mortimer Rowe B.A., D.D. Lindsey Press, 1959". Unitarian.org.uk. Retrieved June 20, 2011. ^Isaacson, 2003, p. 46^Franklin, Benjamin. Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. Chapter IV. reprinted on USGenNet.org.^"A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain". Historycarper.com. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^ abIsaacson, Walter (November 30, 2004). Isaacson, 2003, p. 45. Google Books. ISBN 978-0-684-80761-4. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^Isaacson, 2003, p 46, 486^Henry Louis Mencken, George Jean Nathan (October 19, 2009). The American Mercury, Volume 8. Garber Communications. It is well known that in his youth Benjamin Franklin was a thorough-going Deist, but because he proposed that prayers be said in the Constitution Convention of 1787 many have contended that in later life he became a pious Christian. ^Ralph Frasca (October 19, 2009). Benjamin Franklin's Printing Network: Disseminating Virtue in Early America. University of Missouri Press. Despite being raised a Puritan of the Congregationalist stripe by his parents, who "brought me through my Childhood piously in the Dissenting Way," Franklin recalled, he abandoned that denomination, briefly embraced deism, and finally became a non-denominational Protestant Christian. ^"Historical Writings '' Benjamin Franklin's letter to Thomas Paine". WallBuilders. September 11, 2001. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^Morgan, David T. "Benjamin Franklin: Champion of Generic Religion". The Historian. 62#4 2000. pp 722+^Benjamin Franklin to Richard Price, October 9, 1780 Writings 8:153''54^"The Great Seal of the United States" (July 2003). Bureau of Public Affairs, United States Department of State.^"1782: Original Design of the Great Seal of the United States," Our Documents: 100 Milestone Documents from the National Archives. National Archives (Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 18''19.^Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin page 38 forward by Benjamin Franklin^Hoffer (2011), pp. 30''31^Waldstreicher (2004), p. xii, xiii^Isaacson, Walter (2003). Benjamin Franklin: an American life. New York: Simon & Schuster. ^Benjamin Franklin: In His Own Words. Library of Congress.^The Last Will and Testament of Benjamin Franklin. The Franklin Institute Science Museum.^The Doctor Will Freeze You Now from Wired.com^Engines of Creation E-drexler.com^Sparks, pp 529''530.^Firesign Theater quote, meant humorously but poignantly.^"Benjamin Franklin House". Benjamin Franklin House. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^The Craven Street Gazette (PDF), Newsletter of the Friends of Benjamin Franklin House, Issue 2, Autumn 1998^Measuring Worth Select $4,400 and 1790 and 2011 in online calculator^Richard Price. Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution, and the Means of Making it a Benefit to the World. To which is added, a Letter from M. Turgot, late Comptroller-General of the Finances of France: with an Appendix, containing a Translation of the Will of M. Fortun(C) Ricard, lately published in France. London: T. Cadell, 1785.^"Excerpt from Philadelphia Inquirer article by Clark De Leon". Mathsci.appstate.edu. February 7, 1993. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^"History of the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology". Bfit.edu. Archived from the original on July 31, 2008. Retrieved September 21, 2009. ^ abScotts Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps^Isaacson 2003, p. 14^ abSalzman, Rob. "Thomas Franckline / Jane White". e-familytree.net. Retrieved January 20, 2011. ^Salzman, Rob. "Benjamin Franklin / Deborah Read". e-familytree.net. Retrieved January 20, 2011. Further readingBiographiesBecker, Carl Lotus. "Benjamin Franklin", Dictionary of American Biography (1931) '' vol 3, with hot links onlineBrands, H. W.The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (2000) '' excellent long scholarly biography excerpt and text searchIsaacson, Walter (2003). Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-6084-8. , well written popular biographyKetcham, Ralph. Benjamin Franklin (1966) 228 pp online edition, short biography by scholarLemay, J. A. Leo. The Life of Benjamin Franklin, the most detailed scholarly biography, with very little interpretation; 3 volumes appeared before the author's death in 2008Morgan, Edmund S. Benjamin Franklin (2003) the best short introduction excerpt and text search, interpretation by leading scholarSchiff, Stacy, A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America, (2005) Henry HoltVan Doren, Carl. Benjamin Franklin (1938), standard older biography excerpt and text searchWood, Gordon. The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin (2005), influential intellectual history by leading historian. excerpt and text searchWright, Esmond. Franklin of Philadelphia (1986) '' excellent scholarly study excerpt and text searchFor young readers
Asimov, Isaac. The Kite That Won the Revolution, a biography for children that focuses on Franklin's scientific and diplomatic contributions.Fleming, Candace. Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life. Atheneum/Anne Schwart, 2003, 128 pages, ISBN 978-0-689-83549-0.Scholarly studiesAnderson, Douglas. The Radical Enlightenments of Benjamin Franklin (1997) '' fresh look at the intellectual roots of FranklinBuxbaum, M.H., ed. Critical Essays on Benjamin Franklin (1987)Chaplin, Joyce. The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius. (2007)Cohen, I. Bernard. Benjamin Franklin's Science (1990) '' Cohen, the leading specialist, has several books on Franklin's scienceConner, Paul W. Poor Richard's Politicks (1965) '' analyzes Franklin's ideas in terms of the Enlightenment and republicanismDull, Jonathan. A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution (1985)Dray, Philip. Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America. (2005). 279 pp.Ford, Paul Leicester. The Many-Sided Franklin (1899) online edition '' collection of scholarly essaysGleason, Philip. "Trouble in the Colonial Melting Pot." Journal of American Ethnic History 2000 20(1): 3''17. ISSN 0278-5927 Full text online in Ingenta and Ebsco. Considers the political consequences of the remarks in a 1751 pamphlet by Franklin on demographic growth and its implications for the colonies. He called the Pennsylvania Germans "Palatine Boors" who could never acquire the "Complexion" of the English settlers and to "Blacks and Tawneys" as weakening the social structure of the colonies. Although Franklin apparently reconsidered shortly thereafter, and the phrases were omitted from all later printings of the pamphlet, his views may have played a role in his political defeat in 1764.Houston, Alan. Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement (2009)Lemay, J. A. Leo, ed. Reappraising Benjamin Franklin: A Bicentennial Perspective (1993) '' scholarly essaysMathews, L. K. "Benjamin Franklin's Plans for a Colonial Union, 1750''1775." American Political Science Review 8 (August 1914): 393''412.Olson, Lester C. Benjamin Franklin's Vision of American Community: A Study in Rhetorical Iconology. (2004). 323 pp.McCoy, Drew R. (1978). "Benjamin Franklin's Vision of a Republican Political Economy for America". William and Mary Quarterly35 (4): 607''628. JSTOR 1923207. Newman, Simon P. "Benjamin Franklin and the Leather-Apron Men: The Politics of Class in Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia," Journal of American Studies, August 2009, Vol. 43#2 pp 161''175; Franklin took pride in his working class origins and his printer's skills.Schiff, Stacy. A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America (2005) (UK title Dr Franklin Goes to France)Schiffer, Michael Brian. Draw the Lightning Down: Benjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment. (2003). 383 pp.Stuart Sherman "Franklin" 1918 article on Franklin's writings.Skemp, Sheila L. Benjamin and William Franklin: Father and Son, Patriot and Loyalist (1994) - Ben's son was a leading LoyalistSletcher, Michael. 'Domesticity: The Human Side of Benjamin Franklin', Magazine of History, XXI (2006).Waldstreicher, David. Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution. Hill and Wang, 2004. 315 pp.Walters, Kerry S.Benjamin Franklin and His Gods. (1999). 213 pp. Takes position midway between D. H. Lawrence's brutal 1930 denunciation of Franklin's religion as nothing more than a bourgeois commercialism tricked out in shallow utilitarian moralisms and Owen Aldridge's sympathetic 1967 treatment of the dynamism and protean character of Franklin's "polytheistic" religion.York, Neil. "When Words Fail: William Pitt, Benjamin Franklin and the Imperial Crisis of 1766," Parliamentary History, October 2009, Vol. 28#3 pp 341''374Primary sourcesSilence Dogood, The Busy-Body, & Early Writings (J.A. Leo Lemay, ed.) (Library of America, 1987 one-volume, 2005 two-volume) ISBN 978-1-931082-22-8Autobiography, Poor Richard, & Later Writings (J.A. Leo Lemay, ed.) (Library of America, 1987 one-volume, 2005 two-volume) ISBN 978-1-883011-53-6Bailyn, Bernard, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1992)Benjamin Franklin papers, M. S. Coll. 900, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa. Finding aidBenjamin Franklin Reader edited by Walter Isaacson (2003)Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography edited by J. A. Leo Lemay and P. M. Zall, (Norton Critical Editions, 1986); 390pp; text, contemporary documents and 20th century analysisHouston, Alan, ed. Franklin: The Autobiography and other Writings on Politics, Economics, and Virtue.Cambridge University Press, 2004. 371 pp.Ketcham, Ralph, ed. The Political Thought of Benjamin Franklin. (1965, reprinted 2003). 459 pp.Leonard Labaree, and others., eds., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, 39 vols. to date (1959''2008), definitive edition, through 1783. This massive collection of BF's writings, and letters to him, is available in large academic libraries. It is most useful for detailed research on specific topics. The complete text of all the documents are online and searchable; The Index is also online at the Wayback Machine (archived September 28, 2010)."The Way to Wealth." Applewood Books; November 1986. ISBN 0-918222-88-5"Poor Richard's Almanack." Peter Pauper Press; November 1983. ISBN 0-88088-918-7Poor Richard Improved by Benjamin Franklin (1751)"Writings (Franklin)|Writings." ISBN 0-940450-29-1"On Marriage.""Satires and Bagatelles.""A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain.""Fart Proudly: Writings of Benjamin Franklin You Never Read in School." Carl Japikse, Ed. Frog Ltd.; Reprint ed. May 2003. ISBN 1-58394-079-0"Heroes of America Benjamin Franklin.""Experiments and Observations on Electricity." (1751)External linksListen to this article (3 parts) · (info)This audio file was created from a revision of the "Benjamin Franklin" article dated 2008-08-04, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. (Audio help)Biographical and guides
Special Report: Citizen Ben's Greatest Virtues Time MagazineFinding Franklin: A Resource Guide Library of CongressGuide to Benjamin Franklin By a history professor at the University of Illinois.Benjamin Franklin: An extraordinary life PBSBenjamin Franklin: First American Diplomat, 1776''1785 US State DepartmentThe Electric Benjamin Franklin ushistory.orgBenjamin Franklin: A Documentary History by J. A. Leo LemayBenjamin Franklin 1706''1790 Text of biography by Rev. Charles A. Goodrich, 1856Cooperative Hall of Fame testimonial for founding the Philadelphia ContributionshipOnline edition of Franklin's personal library Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Franklin, Benjamin". Encyclop...dia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Benjamin Franklin", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .Benjamin Franklin at C-SPAN's American Writers: A Journey Through HistoryBooknotes interview with James Srodes on Franklin: The Essential Founding Father, May 19, 2002.Online writings
Autobiography
In the arts
Benjamin Franklin
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PersondataNameFranklin, BenjaminAlternative namesShort descriptionAmerican printer, writer, politicianDate of birthJanuary 17, 1706Place of birthBoston, MassachusettsDate of deathApril 17, 1790Place of deathPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
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SnowJob
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Reddit Now Funds Tor | a.nolen
Thu, 21 May 2015 01:14
Alexis Ohanian, the face of Reddit.
Reddit, the ''front page of the internet'', now partially funds the Tor Project. The Tor Project is an internet ''anonymity network'' which was set up by the US Navy. Tor claims to help internet users hide from repressive governments, in reality it's a US espionage tool designed to get 'interesting' targets to self-select.
Tor users are not sophisticated actors. Organizations which are serious about security do not use Tor, because rumblings about Tor's 'vulnerabilities' have been reaching the mainstream media since 2007 (at least). Why would agencies like the NSA want to watch poorly organized and poorly informed 'onion routing' users? Well, there's the blackmail angle: child pornography is all over the Tor network. There's also the 'useful idiot' angle: simple-minded fanatics who believe they're more dangerous than they really are and who can be easily manipulated into doing things that help the 'intelligence community'. Think Lulzsec.
I've written about Reddit before: it's a website where users post links to articles, which are then 'rated' by other users'... all under the eyes of specially chosen 'moderators' who remove material they don't like. The site was founded by Alexis Ohanian, a one-time 'wunderkind' internet entrepreneur and the son of an Armenian immigrant who grew up in the 'Metroplex' around Washington D.C.. Samuel Altman of Y Combinator and Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz invested in the Reddit operation, which was bought by Cond(C) Nast, a division of the Newhouse family's Advance Publications. As of 2014, Ohanian continues as Reddit's executive chairman. The position must not keep him very busy, because Ohanian also runs an investment firm called Das Kapital Capital when he's not making tech proclamations on mainstream news networks. This is how Ohanian describes himself:
In 2006, Alexis Ohanian sold reddit.com, a startup he co-founded with Steve Huffman, to Cond(C) Nast Digital.
This made him a 23-year-old accredited investor, one of the most dangerous things in the world. Suddenly becoming more dangerous than a raptor, Jules & Vincent from Pulp Fiction, and Predator (combined) he set off to invest some of this capital in startups led by founders just like him (long on ideas, short on experience, but full of energy). Besides, he wanted to live vicariously through these of startup founders '-- only sleep better.
''I'm dangerous!''
Back in 2013 Ohanian tried to sell information about Reddit users to Stratfor via email. (So he may be dangerously stupid!) Stratfor is a sort of CIA-for-hire and Ohanian's inbox was hacked by Wikileaks. When Russia Today reported on Ohanian's nefarious business proposal, RT was ''partially banned'' from Reddit. I'm told by multiple Reddit users that linking to anolen.com will get you ghost-banned, or if you're too high-profile for that, you'll be harassed by foul-mouthed Reddit moderators.
Alongside his Tor work, Ohanian is now getting involved in international affairs. A few weeks ago he decided to insert himself into the Armenian Genocide narrative by visiting his father's native country on his birthday, which also happens to be the day designated for the genocide's memorial. All this at a time when NATO is courting Turkey in strange ways.
The thrust of the Reddit founder's platform is to get the Armenian Genocide officially recognized as a genocide by the US government'' the US, Britain and until recently France have been reluctant to call the 1915 genocide what it was'' this reluctance predates current relations with Turkey, so the stalling *probably* also has something to do with prominent international railway investors' role in the massacre of this Christian minority by the Ottomans. Putin has no problem recognizing the genocide, by the way'' so what is Ohanian doing? Perhaps voicing the concerns of US potentates who don't like seeing Islamic Turkey gain too much power.
Why would a crony-capitalist wunderkind roll the dice by propping up the Tor network'' especially when he's stretching himself thin over a century-old ethnic grievance?
I'm confident that Reddit has its genesis in the 'intelligence community' just like Tor, which makes it particularly stupid for Tor to have accepted Reddit funding. It's bad tradecraft to link different operations to each other, because when one is exposed, they all are. Tor is notorious for sloppy practices on its back-end, I've written about that here. In a nutshell, Tor tried to make itself look 'internationally diverse' by setting up a myriad of different shell organizations over the globe, but they didn't go the extra mile to make sure these shell organizations appeared to be active and take funding from different sources.
Jacob Appelbaum, the face of the Tor Project. Check out all the weirdness around him here.
I don't think Tor's, and now Reddit's, sloppiness problems are unique to their operation'' I think the whole US 'intelligence community' is run like a third-generation company. Their pathetic Twitter-like project 'Zunzuneo' is another good example of bad work.
There are some intelligence organizations that do a lot with very little, Cuba is one example and Jordan may be another one. The United States, however, is the opposite of these two. The US 'intelligence community' has phenomenal resources, but appears to have a real problem recruiting competent talent. Perhaps this is because 'IC' leaders are preoccupied with reliability instead of ability; perhaps the American 'IC' is what happens when you employ too many sons and lovers.
Tor has been criticized over the last two years for its reliance on US government funding, in 2013 the Washington Post (even!) reported that 60% of Tor's funding still comes from ''the Feds''. The WP was white-washing: it turns out that 75% of 2013 Tor funding came from the USG.
According to The Daily Dot, a very pro-Tor blog/internet news source:
In response to increasing public and internal dialogue, the organization [Tor] will be making a sustained push to increase funds from all other sources in order to decrease their dependence on the U.S. government.
Developers recently discussed the push to diversify funding at Tor's biannual meeting in Spain, including setting a goal of 50 percent non-U.S. government funding by 2016.
Tor developers at the meeting also brought up the possibility of lobbying foreign governments within, for instance, the European Union.
However, increasing non-governmental funding is a major priority.
In response to this obvious PR problem, Tor has attempted to ''eclipse'' US government sponsorship by looking for ''non-governmental'' sponsors'... like Reddit. Herein lies the great irony.
This official Reddit plush toy will only set you back US$142 and is available from the Reddit Store.
I eagerly await learning who Tor enlists over the next few months'... which EU governments, ''non-governmental'' actors and business concerns will reach out and grab the tar-baby. In the meantime, here's the list of 2015 Tor sponsors who have already self-identified:
Read all about those ''concerned citizens'' here.
Yahtzee!
'... which is overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a US propaganda organ that funded Tor through 2006-2013.
'National' as in 'United States of America'.
I guess the Swedes worked out their differences with the Jacob Appelbaum and Ed Snowden. According to the Digital Defenders Partnership:
The Digital Defenders Partnership has its origins in the Freedom Online Coalition, and is managed by Hivos, an international NGO based in the Netherlands. As an initial investment, the governments of the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Estonia, Republic of Latvia, Czech Republic and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) have dedicated financial support.
SIDA funded Tor from 2010-2013. Forget 'Iron Curtain', think 'Digital Curtain'.
SRI International, or as it used to be called 'The Stanford Research Institute', is a huge, US-government derived, private research consultancy which was founded in 1946 with Herbert Hoover's help and continues to do a phenomenal amount of work for the US military. Child movie star and US ambassador Shirley Temple was married to one of SRI's stars, Charles Alden Black, a Navy intelligence officer. From her Washington Post obituary:
Luminaries who paid visits to Miss Temple in Hollywood included Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, J. Edgar Hoover and Eleanor Roosevelt. She received an honorary child-sized Oscar in 1935.
''As long as our country has Shirley Temple,'' Franklin Roosevelt said, ''we will be all right.''
Presumably the same goes for SRI International.
Concluding remarks:
1) It's interesting that the Broadcasting Board of Governors and SIDA are now trying to hide their Tor sponsorship behind daughter/partner organizations.
2) Tor still isn't your friend.
3) Armenia, beware of Americans bearing gifts.
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Reddit CEO Ellen Pao: "It's not our site's goal to be a completely free-speech platform" | Business Insider
Thu, 21 May 2015 01:42
Interim Reddit CEO Ellen Pao is caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to online harassment.
Last week, Reddit introduced controversial new rules to fight the rampant harassment and make users feel safer on the mega-popular social sharing and community site.
Some of Reddit's user base saw it as censorship, as too vague to possibly enforce, or as Reddit pandering to a vocal minority of complainers.
Many others appreciated the principle behind Reddit's anti-harassment stance, but saw the anti-harassment policy as lacking teeth, given the fact that Reddit wouldn't lay out specifics of what it would do with any reports of harassment.
To defend the new anti-harassment policy, Pao went on NPR's All Things Considered to give comments that only further confused the situation.
When asked if Reddit would ever delete offensive subreddits (small communities within Reddit) like ''Gas The Kikes'' (which actually exists) if it made a Jewish user uncomfortable, Pao basically dodged the question (emphasis ours):
The question is whether it would make them fear for their safety, or the safety of those around them or where it makes them feel like it's not a safe platform. Somebody expressing ideas that aren't consistent with everybody's views is something that we encourage. There are certain posts that do make people feel unsafe, that people feel threatened or they feel that their family or friends or people near them are going to be unsafe, and those are the specific things that we are focused on today.
It's not our site's goal to be a completely free-speech platform. We want to be a safe platform and we want to be a platform that also protects privacy at the same time.
In other words, Pao isn't ruling out the idea that Reddit could heavily moderate comments, but won't give specifics on who or how.
Right now, Pao says that the team dealt with 20 to 30 harassment claims in the past ''half a week,'' and that Reddit is building tools to find and deal with repeat offenders using fake, so-called ''throwaway'' accounts.
It's understandable that Pao and the Reddit team want to provide a safer space without pissing off the base of users that have gotten it to its current 100-million-user strong peaks of success.
But if it's serious about fighting harassment, Reddit is going to have to go public with an enforceable set of specific rules, and soon, or else it's going to completely alienate both camps.
Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
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First Look Publishes Open Source Code To Advance Privacy, Security, and Journalism - The Intercept
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:07
The Intercept and its publisher First Look Media strongly believe in the benefits of free and open source software '-- in part because we rely on such software every day. To keep our journalists and sources safe, we use secure communication tools like the data-encryption system GnuPG, the Off-the-Record secure messaging protocol, the SecureDrop communications platform, and the secure calling and texting app Signal. To publish on the web, we use the GNU/Linux operating system; the Apache web server; OpenSSL, a web encryption library; WordPress, the open-source blogging engine; and Piwik, which tracks web traffic. The list goes on.
We greatly appreciate the hard work of developers who give away their code to benefit the internet and the world. And today we're excited to contribute back to the open source community by launching First Look Code, the home for our own open source projects related to privacy, security, data, and journalism. To begin with, First Look Code is the new home for document sanitization software PDF Redact Tools, and we've launched a brand new anti-gag order project called AutoCanary.
PDF Redact ToolsWhen The Intercept first launched, part of my job involved redacting documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden before publishing them. Because we didn't want to inadvertently publish sensitive information we'd intended to redact '-- as no less cautious an institution than The New York Times once did '-- I developed PDF Redact Tools, a simple command-line program for Mac OS X and Linux that helps with redacting, stripping metadata, and sanitizing PDFs in preparation for publishing.
Read more about PDF Redact Tools on its new website.
AutoCanaryA warrant canary is a regularly published statement that a company hasn't received any legal orders that it's not allowed to talk about, such as a national security letter.
Canaries can help prevent web publishers from misleading visitors and prevent tech companies from misleading users when they share data with the government and are prevented from talking about it. One such situation arose '-- without a canary in place '-- in 2013, when the U.S. government sent Lavabit, a provider of encrypted email services apparently used by Snowden, a legal request to access Snowden's email, thwarting some of the very privacy protections Lavabit had promised users. This request included a gag order, so the company was legally prohibited from talking about it. Rather than becoming ''complicit in crimes against the American people,'' in his words, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison, chose to shut down the service.
Warrant canaries are designed to help companies in this kind of situation. You can see a list of companies that publish warrant canary statements at Canary Watch. As of today, First Look Media is among the companies that publish canaries.
We're happy to announce the first version of AutoCanary, a desktop program for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux that makes the process of generating machine-readable, digitally-signed warrant canary statements simpler.
Read more about AutoCanary on its new website.
Canary Watch
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:07
"Warrant canary" is a colloquial term for a regularly published statement that a service provider has not received legal process that it would be prohibited from saying it had received, such as a national security letter. Canarywatch tracks and documents these statements. This site lists warrant canaries we know about, tracks changes or disappearances of canaries, and allows submissions of canaries not listed on the site.
Follow us on Twitter for updates and notifications about canaries on this site.
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Loretta Lynch Joins Obama Administration Fearmongering Over Encryption - The Intercept
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:31
Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Wednesday expressed ''grave concerns'' about how encryption is hampering law enforcement, joining the ranks of Obama administration officials who are trying to make a crucial feature of the Internet seem like something nefarious.
''We are seeing many more people involved in terrorism investigations using peer to peer communications, specifically encrypted communications'--communications that are designed to disappear once they are sent,'' Lynch said in response to a reporter's question at a press conference that was otherwise mostly about the indictments of FIFA soccer officials.
She said secure communications technology gives her ''grave concerns'' about law enforcement's ''ability to have eyes on people whose sworn duty is to harm Americans here and abroad.''
Lynch's comments put her in lock step with NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers and White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who have asked Congress to crack down on encrypted technologies that have proliferated in the wake of government surveillance disclosures made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google are now offering, or will soon offer, encryption by default on their chat and email clients.
The administration's leading opponent of cryptology, FBI Director James Comey, echoed Lynch's comments, saying that encryption makes it more difficult for law enforcement officers to monitor Islamic State sympathizers in the U.S.
''I can't stand here with any high confidence when I confront a world that is increasingly dark to me and tell you that I got it all covered, '' he said, adding that encrypted communications are ''unavailable to us even with court orders.''
Comey has described encryption as having nefarious uses, often evoking imagery of plotting terrorists or child porn peddlers when describing how the communications method is used.
But Alison Macrina, the founder of the Library Freedom Project, which focuses on training librarians around the country to utilize encryption tools, told The Intercept that Lynch and Comey were ''fearmongering,'' and ignoring how vitally important secure communication is to a variety of people not engaged in wrongdoing.
''Strong encryption tools are vital if people are to use the web safely, and the users who rely on encryption are from all walks of life'--journalists, students, small business owners, activists and even law enforcement,'' Macrina noted.
She added that focusing strictly on bad actors to make a case against encryption is, ''like saying you want to ban roads because some people use them to drive drunk'--ignoring the majority of people who use them to drive their cars their cars to work, or ride their bikes to school.''
(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Text - H.R.3361 - 113th Congress (2013-2014): USA FREEDOM Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:21
H. R. 3361
To reform the authorities of the Federal Government to require the production of certain business records, conduct electronic surveillance, use pen registers and trap and trace devices, and use other forms of information gathering for foreign intelligence, counterterrorism, and criminal purposes, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,SECTION 1.Short title; table of contents.(a) Short title.'--This Act may be cited as the ''USA FREEDOM Act''.
(b) Table of contents.'--The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec.'‚1.'‚Short title; table of contents.Sec.'‚2.'‚Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.Sec.'‚101.'‚Additional requirements for call detail records.Sec.'‚102.'‚Emergency authority.Sec.'‚103.'‚Prohibition on bulk collection of tangible things.Sec.'‚104.'‚Judicial review of minimization procedures for the production of tangible things.Sec.'‚105.'‚Liability protection.Sec.'‚106.'‚Compensation for assistance.Sec.'‚107.'‚Definitions.Sec.'‚108.'‚Inspector general reports on business records orders.Sec.'‚109.'‚Effective date.Sec.'‚110.'‚Rule of construction.Sec.'‚201.'‚Prohibition on bulk collection.Sec.'‚202.'‚Privacy procedures.Sec.'‚301.'‚Minimization procedures.Sec.'‚302.'‚Limits on use of unlawfully obtained information.Sec.'‚401.'‚Appointment of amicus curiae.Sec.'‚402.'‚Declassification of decisions, orders, and opinions.Sec.'‚501.'‚Prohibition on bulk collection.Sec.'‚601.'‚Additional reporting on orders requiring production of business records.Sec.'‚602.'‚Business records compliance reports to Congress.Sec.'‚603.'‚Annual reports by the Government on orders entered.Sec.'‚604.'‚Public reporting by persons subject to FISA orders.Sec.'‚605.'‚Reporting requirements for decisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.Sec.'‚606.'‚Submission of reports under FISA.Sec.'‚701.'‚Sunsets.SEC. 2.Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or a repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).
SEC. 101.Additional requirements for call detail records.(a) Application.'--Section 501(b)(2) (50 U.S.C. 1861(b)(2)) is amended'--
(1) in subparagraph (A)'--
(A) in the matter preceding clause (i), by striking ''a statement'' and inserting ''in the case of an application other than an application described in subparagraph (C) (including an application for the production of call detail records other than in the manner described in subparagraph (C)), a statement''; and
(B) in clause (iii), by striking ''; and'' and inserting a semicolon;
(2) by redesignating subparagraphs (A) and (B) as subparagraphs (B) and (D), respectively; and
(3) by inserting after subparagraph (B) (as so redesignated) the following new subparagraph:
''(C) in the case of an application for the production on a daily basis of call detail records created before, on, or after the date of the application relating to an authorized investigation (other than a threat assessment) conducted in accordance with subsection (a)(2) to protect against international terrorism, a statement of facts showing that'--
''(i) there are reasonable grounds to believe that the call detail records sought to be produced based on the specific selection term required under subparagraph (A) are relevant to such investigation; and
''(ii) there are facts giving rise to a reasonable, articulable suspicion that such specific selection term is associated with a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; and''.
(b) Order.'--Section 501(c)(2) (50 U.S.C. 1861(c)(2)) is amended'--
(1) in subparagraph (D), by striking ''; and'' and inserting a semicolon;
(2) in subparagraph (E), by striking the period and inserting ''; and''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
''(F) in the case of an application described in subsection (b)(2)(C), shall'--
''(i) authorize the production on a daily basis of call detail records for a period not to exceed 180 days;
''(ii) provide that an order for such production may be extended upon application under subsection (b) and the judicial finding under paragraph (1);
''(iii) provide that the Government may require the prompt production of call detail records'--
''(I) using the specific selection term that satisfies the standard required under subsection (b)(2)(C)(ii) as the basis for production; and
''(II) using call detail records with a direct connection to such specific selection term as the basis for production of a second set of call detail records;
''(iv) provide that, when produced, such records be in a form that will be useful to the Government;
''(v) direct each person the Government directs to produce call detail records under the order to furnish the Government forthwith all information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to accomplish the production in such a manner as will protect the secrecy of the production and produce a minimum of interference with the services that such person is providing to each subject of the production; and
''(vi) direct the Government to'--
''(I) adopt minimization procedures that require the prompt destruction of all call detail records produced under the order that the Government determines are not foreign intelligence information; and
''(II) destroy all call detail records produced under the order as prescribed by such procedures.''.
SEC. 102.Emergency authority.(a) Authority.'--Section 501 (50 U.S.C. 1861) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(i) Emergency authority for production of tangible things.'--
''(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the Attorney General may require the emergency production of tangible things if the Attorney General'--
''(A) reasonably determines that an emergency situation requires the production of tangible things before an order authorizing such production can with due diligence be obtained;
''(B) reasonably determines that the factual basis for the issuance of an order under this section to approve such production of tangible things exists;
''(C) informs, either personally or through a designee, a judge having jurisdiction under this section at the time the Attorney General requires the emergency production of tangible things that the decision has been made to employ the authority under this subsection; and
''(D) makes an application in accordance with this section to a judge having jurisdiction under this section as soon as practicable, but not later than 7 days after the Attorney General requires the emergency production of tangible things under this subsection.
''(2) If the Attorney General authorizes the emergency production of tangible things under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall require that the minimization procedures required by this section for the issuance of a judicial order be followed.
''(3) In the absence of a judicial order approving the production of tangible things under this subsection, the production shall terminate when the information sought is obtained, when the application for the order is denied, or after the expiration of 7 days from the time the Attorney General begins requiring the emergency production of such tangible things, whichever is earliest.
''(4) A denial of the application made under this subsection may be reviewed as provided in section 103.
''(5) If such application for approval is denied, or in any other case where the production of tangible things is terminated and no order is issued approving the production, no information obtained or evidence derived from such production shall be received in evidence or otherwise disclosed in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, office, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the United States, a State, or political subdivision thereof, and no information concerning any United States person acquired from such production shall subsequently be used or disclosed in any other manner by Federal officers or employees without the consent of such person, except with the approval of the Attorney General if the information indicates a threat of death or serious bodily harm to any person.
''(6) The Attorney General shall assess compliance with the requirements of paragraph (5).''.
(b) Conforming amendment.'--Section 501(d) (50 U.S.C. 1861(d)) is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (1)'--
(A) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking ''pursuant to an order'' and inserting ''pursuant to an order issued or an emergency production required'';
(B) in subparagraph (A), by striking ''such order'' and inserting ''such order or such emergency production''; and
(C) in subparagraph (B), by striking ''the order'' and inserting ''the order or the emergency production''; and
(2) in paragraph (2)'--
(A) in subparagraph (A), by striking ''an order'' and inserting ''an order or emergency production''; and
(B) in subparagraph (B), by striking ''an order'' and inserting ''an order or emergency production''.
SEC. 103.Prohibition on bulk collection of tangible things.(a) Application.'--Section 501(b)(2) (50 U.S.C. 1861(b)(2)), as amended by section 101(a) of this Act, is further amended by inserting before subparagraph (B), as redesignated by such section 101(a) of this Act, the following new subparagraph:
''(A) a specific selection term to be used as the basis for the production of the tangible things sought;''.
(b) Order.'--Section 501(c) (50 U.S.C. 1861(c)) is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (2)(A), by striking the semicolon and inserting '', including each specific selection term to be used as the basis for the production;''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(3) No order issued under this subsection may authorize the collection of tangible things without the use of a specific selection term that meets the requirements of subsection (b)(2).''.
SEC. 104.Judicial review of minimization procedures for the production of tangible things.Section 501(c)(1) (50 U.S.C. 1861(c)(1)) is amended by inserting after ''subsections (a) and (b)'' the following: ''and that the minimization procedures submitted in accordance with subsection (b)(2)(D) meet the definition of minimization procedures under subsection (g)''.
SEC. 105.Liability protection.Section 501(e) (50 U.S.C. 1861(e)) is amended to read as follows:
''(e)(1) No cause of action shall lie in any court against a person who'--
''(A) produces tangible things or provides information, facilities, or technical assistance pursuant to an order issued or an emergency production required under this section; or
''(B) otherwise provides technical assistance to the Government under this section or to implement the amendments made to this section by the USA FREEDOM Act.
''(2) A production or provision of information, facilities, or technical assistance described in paragraph (1) shall not be deemed to constitute a waiver of any privilege in any other proceeding or context.''.
SEC. 106.Compensation for assistance.Section 501 (50 U.S.C. 1861), as amended by section 102 of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(j) Compensation.'--The Government shall compensate a person for reasonable expenses incurred for'--
''(1) producing tangible things or providing information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with an order issued with respect to an application described in subsection (b)(2)(C) or an emergency production under subsection (i) that, to comply with subsection (i)(1)(D), requires an application described in subsection (b)(2)(C); or
''(2) otherwise providing technical assistance to the Government under this section or to implement the amendments made to this section by the USA FREEDOM Act.''.
Section 501 (50 U.S.C. 1861), as amended by section 106 of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(k) Definitions.'--In this section:
''(1) CALL DETAIL RECORD.'--The term 'call detail record''--
''(A) means session identifying information (including originating or terminating telephone number, International Mobile Subscriber Identity number, or International Mobile Station Equipment Identity number), a telephone calling card number, or the time or duration of a call; and
''(B) does not include'--
''(i) the contents of any communication (as defined in section 2510(8) of title 18, United States Code);
''(ii) the name, address, or financial information of a subscriber or customer; or
''(iii) cell site location information.
''(2) SPECIFIC SELECTION TERM.'--The term 'specific selection term' means a discrete term, such as a term specifically identifying a person, entity, account, address, or device, used by the Government to limit the scope of the information or tangible things sought pursuant to the statute authorizing the provision of such information or tangible things to the Government.''.
SEC. 108.Inspector general reports on business records orders.Section 106A of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Public Law 109''177; 120 Stat. 200) is amended'--
(1) in subsection (b)'--
(A) in paragraph (1), by inserting ''and calendar years 2012 through 2014'' after ''2006'';
(B) by striking paragraphs (2) and (3);
(C) by redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5) as paragraphs (2) and (3), respectively; and
(D) in paragraph (3) (as so redesignated)'--
(i) by striking subparagraph (C) and inserting the following new subparagraph:
''(C) with respect to calendar years 2012 through 2014, an examination of the minimization procedures used in relation to orders under section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861) and whether the minimization procedures adequately protect the constitutional rights of United States persons;''; and
(ii) in subparagraph (D), by striking ''(as such term is defined in section 3(4) of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 401a(4)))'';
(2) in subsection (c), by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(3) CALENDAR YEARS 2012 THROUGH 2014.'--Not later than December 31, 2015, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives a report containing the results of the audit conducted under subsection (a) for calendar years 2012 through 2014.'';
(3) by redesignating subsections (d) and (e) as subsections (e) and (f), respectively;
(4) by inserting after subsection (c) the following new subsection:
''(d) Intelligence assessment.'--
''(1) IN GENERAL.'--For the period beginning on January 1, 2012, and ending on December 31, 2014, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community shall assess'--
''(A) the importance of the information acquired under title V of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.) to the activities of the intelligence community;
''(B) the manner in which that information was collected, retained, analyzed, and disseminated by the intelligence community;
''(C) the minimization procedures used by elements of the intelligence community under such title and whether the minimization procedures adequately protect the constitutional rights of United States persons; and
''(D) any minimization procedures proposed by an element of the intelligence community under such title that were modified or denied by the court established under section 103(a) of such Act (50 U.S.C. 1803(a)).
''(2) SUBMISSION DATE FOR ASSESSMENT.'--Not later than 180 days after the date on which the Inspector General of the Department of Justice submits the report required under subsection (c)(3), the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives a report containing the results of the assessment for calendar years 2012 through 2014.'';
(5) in subsection (e), as redesignated by paragraph (3)'--
(A) in paragraph (1)'--
(i) by striking ''a report under subsection (c)(1) or (c)(2)'' and inserting ''any report under subsection (c) or (d)''; and
(ii) by striking ''Inspector General of the Department of Justice'' and inserting ''Inspector General of the Department of Justice, the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, and any Inspector General of an element of the intelligence community that prepares a report to assist the Inspector General of the Department of Justice or the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community in complying with the requirements of this section''; and
(B) in paragraph (2), by striking ''the reports submitted under subsections (c)(1) and (c)(2)'' and inserting ''any report submitted under subsection (c) or (d)'';
(6) in subsection (f), as redesignated by paragraph (3)'--
(A) by striking ''The reports submitted under subsections (c)(1) and (c)(2)'' and inserting ''Each report submitted under subsection (c)''; and
(B) by striking ''subsection (d)(2)'' and inserting ''subsection (e)(2)''; and
(7) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(g) Definitions.'--In this section:
''(1) INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY.'--The term 'intelligence community' has the meaning given that term in section 3 of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 U.S.C. 3003).
''(2) UNITED STATES PERSON.'--The term 'United States person' has the meaning given that term in section 101 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801).''.
SEC. 109.Effective date.(a) In general.'--The amendments made by sections 101 through 103 shall take effect on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(b) Rule of construction.'--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to alter or eliminate the authority of the Government to obtain an order under title V of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.) as in effect prior to the effective date described in subsection (a) during the period ending on such effective date.
SEC. 110.Rule of construction.Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the production of the contents (as such term is defined in section 2510(8) of title 18, United States Code) of any electronic communication from an electronic communication service provider (as such term is defined in section 701(b)(4) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1881(b)(4)) under title V of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.).
SEC. 201.Prohibition on bulk collection.(a) Prohibition.'--Section 402(c) (50 U.S.C. 1842(c)) is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (1), by striking ''; and'' and inserting a semicolon;
(2) in paragraph (2), by striking the period and inserting a semicolon; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(3) a specific selection term to be used as the basis for selecting the telephone line or other facility to which the pen register or trap and trace device is to be attached or applied; and''.
(b) Definition.'--Section 401 (50 U.S.C. 1841) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
''(4) The term 'specific selection term' has the meaning given the term in section 501.''.
SEC. 202.Privacy procedures.(a) In general.'--Section 402 (50 U.S.C. 1842) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(h) The Attorney General shall ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place to safeguard nonpublicly available information concerning United States persons that is collected through the use of a pen register or trap and trace device installed under this section. Such policies and procedures shall, to the maximum extent practicable and consistent with the need to protect national security, include protections for the collection, retention, and use of information concerning United States persons.''.
(b) Emergency authority.'--Section 403 (50 U.S.C. 1843) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(d) Information collected through the use of a pen register or trap and device installed under this section shall be subject to the policies and procedures required under section 402(h).''.
SEC. 301.Minimization procedures.Section 702(e)(1) (50 U.S.C. 1881a(e)(1)) is amended'--
(1) by striking ''that meet'' and inserting the following: ''that'--
''(A) meet'';
(2) in subparagraph (A) (as designated by paragraph (1) of this section), by striking the period and inserting ''; and''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
''(B) consistent with such definition'--
''(i) minimize the acquisition, and prohibit the retention and dissemination, of any communication as to which the sender and all intended recipients are determined to be located in the United States at the time of acquisition, consistent with the need of the United States to obtain, produce, and disseminate foreign intelligence information; and
''(ii) prohibit the use of any discrete communication that is not to, from, or about the target of an acquisition and is to or from an identifiable United States person or a person reasonably believed to be located in the United States, except to protect against an immediate threat to human life.''.
SEC. 302.Limits on use of unlawfully obtained information.Section 702(i)(3) (50 U.S.C. 1881a(i)(3)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
''(D) LIMITATION ON USE OF INFORMATION.'--
''(i) IN GENERAL.'--Except as provided in clause (ii), to the extent the Court orders a correction of a deficiency in a certification or procedures under subparagraph (B), no information obtained or evidence derived pursuant to the part of the certification or procedures that has been identified by the Court as deficient concerning any United States person shall be received in evidence or otherwise disclosed in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in or before any court, grand jury, department, office, agency, regulatory body, legislative committee, or other authority of the United States, a State, or political subdivision thereof, and no information concerning any United States person acquired pursuant to such part of such certification shall subsequently be used or disclosed in any other manner by Federal officers or employees without the consent of the United States person, except with the approval of the Attorney General if the information indicates a threat of death or serious bodily harm to any person.
''(ii) EXCEPTION.'--If the Government corrects any deficiency identified by the order of the Court under subparagraph (B), the Court may permit the use or disclosure of information obtained before the date of the correction under such minimization procedures as the Court shall establish for purposes of this clause.''.
SEC. 401.Appointment of amicus curiae.Section 103 (50 U.S.C. 1803) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(i) Amicus curiae.'--
''(1) AUTHORIZATION.'--A court established under subsection (a) or (b), consistent with the requirement of subsection (c) and any other statutory requirement that the court act expeditiously or within a stated time'--
''(A) shall appoint an individual to serve as amicus curiae to assist such court in the consideration of any application for an order or review that, in the opinion of the court, presents a novel or significant interpretation of the law, unless the court issues a written finding that such appointment is not appropriate; and
''(B) may appoint an individual to serve as amicus curiae in any other instance as such court deems appropriate.
''(2) DESIGNATION.'--The presiding judges of the courts established under subsections (a) and (b) shall jointly designate not less than 5 individuals to be eligible to serve as amicus curiae. Such individuals shall be persons who possess expertise in privacy and civil liberties, intelligence collection, telecommunications, or any other area that may lend legal or technical expertise to the courts and who have been determined by appropriate executive branch officials to be eligible for access to classified information.
''(3) DUTIES.'--An individual appointed to serve as amicus curiae under paragraph (1) shall carry out the duties assigned by the appointing court. Such court may authorize the individual appointed to serve as amicus curiae to review any application, certification, petition, motion, or other submission that the court determines is relevant to the duties assigned by the court.
''(4) NOTIFICATION.'--The presiding judges of the courts established under subsections (a) and (b) shall notify the Attorney General of each exercise of the authority to appoint an individual to serve as amicus curiae under paragraph (1).
''(5) ASSISTANCE.'--A court established under subsection (a) or (b) may request and receive (including on a non-reimbursable basis) the assistance of the executive branch in the implementation of this subsection.
''(6) ADMINISTRATION.'--A court established under subsection (a) or (b) may provide for the designation, appointment, removal, training, or other support for an individual appointed to serve as amicus curiae under paragraph (1) in a manner that is not inconsistent with this subsection.''.
SEC. 402.Declassification of decisions, orders, and opinions.(a) Declassification.'--Title VI (50 U.S.C. 1871 et seq.) is amended'--
(1) in the heading, by striking ''Reporting Requirement'' and inserting ''Oversight''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new section:
''SEC. 602.Declassification of significant decisions, orders, and opinions.
''(a) Declassification required.'--Subject to subsection (b), the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Attorney General, shall conduct a declassification review of each decision, order, or opinion issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (as defined in section 601(e)) that includes a significant construction or interpretation of any provision of this Act, including a construction or interpretation of the term 'specific selection term', and, consistent with that review, make publicly available to the greatest extent practicable each such decision, order, or opinion.
''(b) Redacted form.'--The Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Attorney General, may satisfy the requirement under subsection (a) to make a decision, order, or opinion described in such subsection publicly available to the greatest extent practicable by making such decision, order, or opinion publicly available in redacted form.
''(c) National security waiver.'--The Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Attorney General, may waive the requirement to declassify and make publicly available a particular decision, order, or opinion under subsection (a) if'--
''(1) the Director of National Intelligence, in consultation with the Attorney General, determines that a waiver of such requirement is necessary to protect the national security of the United States or properly classified intelligence sources or methods; and
''(2) the Director of National Intelligence makes publicly available an unclassified statement prepared by the Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence'--
''(A) summarizing the significant construction or interpretation of a provision under this Act; and
''(B) that specifies that the statement has been prepared by the Attorney General and constitutes no part of the opinion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.''.
(b) Table of contents amendments.'--The table of contents in the first section is amended'--
(1) by striking the item relating to title VI and inserting the following new item:
''TITLE VI'--OVERSIGHT''.
(2) by inserting after the item relating to section 601 the following new item:
''Sec. 602. Declassification of significant decisions, orders, and opinions.''.SEC. 501.Prohibition on bulk collection.(a) Counterintelligence access to telephone toll and transactional records.'--Section 2709(b) of title 18, United States Code, is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by striking ''may'' and inserting ''may, using a specific selection term as the basis for a request''.
(b) Access to financial records for certain intelligence and protective purposes.'--Section 1114(a)(2) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3414(a)(2)) is amended by striking the period and inserting ''and a specific selection term to be used as the basis for the production and disclosure of financial records.''.
(c) Disclosures to FBI of certain consumer records for counterintelligence purposes.'--Section 626(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681u(a)) is amended by striking ''that information,'' and inserting ''that information that includes a specific selection term to be used as the basis for the production of that information,''.
(d) Disclosures to governmental agencies for counterterrorism purposes of consumer reports.'--Section 627(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681v(a)) is amended by striking ''analysis.'' and inserting ''analysis and a specific selection term to be used as the basis for the production of such information.''.
(e) Definitions.'--
(1) COUNTERINTELLIGENCE ACCESS TO TELEPHONE TOLL AND TRANSACTIONAL RECORDS.'--Section 2709 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(g) Specific selection term defined.'--In this section, the term 'specific selection term' has the meaning given the term in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861).''.
(2) ACCESS TO FINANCIAL RECORDS FOR CERTAIN INTELLIGENCE AND PROTECTIVE PURPOSES.'--Section 1114 of the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3414) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(e) In this section, the term 'specific selection term' has the meaning given the term in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861).''.
(3) DISCLOSURES TO FBI OF CERTAIN CONSUMER RECORDS FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE PURPOSES.'--Section 626 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681u) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(n) Specific selection term defined.'--In this section, the term 'specific selection term' has the meaning given the term in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861).''.
(4) DISCLOSURES TO GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES FOR COUNTERTERRORISM PURPOSES OF CONSUMER REPORTS.'--Section 627 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681v) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
''(g) Specific selection term defined.'--In this section, the term 'specific selection term' has the meaning given the term in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861).''.
SEC. 601.Additional reporting on orders requiring production of business records.Section 502(b) (50 U.S.C. 1862(b)) is amended'--
(1) by redesignating paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) as paragraphs (5), (6), and (7), respectively; and
(2) by inserting before paragraph (5) (as so redesignated) the following new paragraphs:
''(1) the total number of applications described in section 501(b)(2)(B) made for orders approving requests for the production of tangible things;
''(2) the total number of such orders either granted, modified, or denied;
''(3) the total number of applications described in section 501(b)(2)(C) made for orders approving requests for the production of call detail records;
''(4) the total number of such orders either granted, modified, or denied;''.
SEC. 602.Business records compliance reports to Congress.Section 502(b) (50 U.S.C. 1862(b)), as amended by section 601 of this Act, is further amended'--
(1) by redesignating paragraphs (1) through (7) as paragraphs (2) through (8), respectively; and
(2) by inserting before paragraph (2) (as so redesignated) the following new paragraph:
''(1) a summary of all compliance reviews conducted by the Federal Government of the production of tangible things under section 501;''.
SEC. 603.Annual reports by the Government on orders entered.(a) In general.'--Title VI (50 U.S.C. 1871 et seq.), as amended by section 402 of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new section:
''SEC. 603.Annual report on orders entered.
''(a) Report by Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.'--The Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts shall annually submit to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate and, subject to a declassification review by the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence, make publicly available on an Internet website'--
''(1) the number of orders entered under each of sections 105, 304, 402, 501, 702, 703, and 704;
''(2) the number of orders modified under each of those sections;
''(3) the number of orders denied under each of those sections; and
''(4) the number of appointments of an individual to serve as amicus curiae under section 103, including the name of each individual appointed to serve as amicus curiae.
''(b) Report by Director of National Intelligence.'--The Director of National Intelligence shall annually make publicly available a report that identifies, for the preceding 12-month period'--
''(1) the total number of orders issued pursuant titles I and III and sections 703 and 704 and the estimated number of targets affected by such orders;
''(2) the total number of orders issued pursuant to section 702 and the estimated number of targets affected by such orders;
''(3) the total number of orders issued pursuant to title IV and the estimated number of targets affected by such orders;
''(4) the total number of orders issued pursuant to applications made under section 501(b)(2)(B) and the estimated number of targets affected by such orders;
''(5) the total number of orders issued pursuant to applications made under section 501(b)(2)(C) and the estimated number of targets affected by such orders; and
''(6) the total number of national Security letters issued and the number of requests for information contained within such national security letters.
''(c) National security letter defined.'--The term 'national security letter' means any of the following provisions:
''(1) Section 2709 of title 18, United States Code.
''(2) Section 1114(a)(5)(A) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978 (12 U.S.C. 3414(a)(5)(A)).
''(3) Subsection (a) or (b) of section 626 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681u(a), 1681u(b)).
''(4) Section 627(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681v(a)).''.
(b) Table of contents amendment.'--The table of contents in the first section, as amended by section 402 of this Act, is further amended by inserting after the item relating to section 602, as added by such section 402, the following new item:
''Sec. 603. Annual report on orders entered.''.SEC. 604.Public reporting by persons subject to FISA orders.(a) In general.'--Title VI (50 U.S.C. 1871 et seq.), as amended by section 603 of this Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new section:
''SEC. 604.Public reporting by persons subject to orders.
''(a) Reporting.'--A person may semiannually publicly report the following information with respect to the preceding half year using one of the following structures:
''(1) Subject to subsection (b), a report that aggregates the number of orders or national security letters the person was required to comply with in the following separate categories:
''(A) The number of national security letters received, reported in bands of 1000 starting with 0-999.
''(B) The number of customer accounts affected by national security letters, reported in bands of 1000 starting with 0-999.
''(C) The number of orders under this Act for content, reported in bands of 1000 starting with 0-999.
''(D) With respect to content orders under this Act, in bands of 1000 starting with 0-999, the number of customer accounts affected under orders under title I;
''(E) The number of orders under this Act for non-content, reported in bands of 1000 starting with 0-999.
''(F) With respect to non-content orders under this Act, in bands of 1000 starting with 0-999, the number of customer accounts affected under orders under'--
''(i) title IV;
''(ii) title V with respect to applications described in section 501(b)(2)(B); and
''(iii) title V with respect to applications described in section 501(b)(2)(C).
''(2) A report that aggregates the number of orders, directives, or national security letters the person was required to comply with in the following separate categories:
''(A) The total number of all national security process received, including all national security letters and orders or directives under this Act, reported as a single number in a band of 0-249 and thereafter in bands of 250.
''(B) The total number of customer selectors targeted under all national security process received, including all national security letters and orders or directives under this Act, reported as a single number in a band of 0-249 and thereafter in bands of 250.
''(3) Subject to subsection (b), a report that aggregates the number of orders or national security letters the person was required to comply with in the following separate categories:
''(A) The number of national security letters received, reported in bands of 500 starting with 0-499.
''(B) The number of customer accounts affected by national security letters, reported in bands of 500 starting with 0-499.
''(C) The number of orders under this Act for content, reported in bands of 500 starting with 0-499.
''(D) The number of customer selectors targeted under such orders, in bands of 500 starting with 0-499.
''(E) The number of orders under this Act for non-content, reported in bands of 500 starting with 0-499.
''(F) The number of customer selectors targeted under such orders, reported in bands of 500 starting with 0-499.
''(b) Period of time covered by reports.'--With respect to a report described in paragraph (1) or (3) of subsection (a), such report shall only include information'--
''(1) except as provided in paragraph (2), for the period of time ending on the date that is at least 180 days before the date of the publication of such report; and
''(2) with respect to an order under this Act or national security letter received with respect to a platform, product, or service for which a person did not previously receive such an order or national security letter (not including an enhancement to or iteration of an existing publicly available platform, product, or service), for the period of time ending on the date that is at least 2 years before the date of the publication of such report.
''(c) Other forms of agreed to publication.'--Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the Government and any person from jointly agreeing to the publication of information referred to in this subsection in a time, form, or manner other than as described in this section.
''(d) National security letter defined.'--The term 'national security letter' has the meaning given the term in section 603.''.
(b) Table of contents amendment.'--The table of contents in the first section, as amended by section 603 of this Act, is further amended by inserting after the item relating to section 603, as added by section 603 of this Act, the following new item:
''Sec. 604. Public reporting by persons subject to orders.''.SEC. 605.Reporting requirements for decisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.Section 601(c)(1) (50 U.S.C. 1871(c)) is amended to read as follows:
''(1) not later than 45 days after the date on which the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review issues a decision, order, or opinion, including any denial or modification of an application under this Act, that includes a significant construction or interpretation of any provision of this Act or results in a change of application of any provision of this Act or a new application of any provision of this Act, a copy of such decision, order, or opinion and any pleadings, applications, or memoranda of law associated with such decision, order, or opinion; and''.
SEC. 606.Submission of reports under FISA.(a) Electronic surveillance.'--Section 108(a)(1) (50 U.S.C. 1808(a)(1)) is amended by striking ''the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate,'' and inserting ''the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate''.
(b) Physical searches.'--Section 306 (50 U.S.C. 1826) is amended'--
(1) in the first sentence, by striking ''Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate,'' and inserting ''Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate''; and
(2) in the second sentence, by striking ''and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives''.
(c) Pen register and trap and trace devices.'--Section 406(b) (50 U.S.C. 1846(b)) is amended'--
(1) in paragraph (2), by striking ''; and'' and inserting a semicolon;
(2) in paragraph (3), by striking the period and inserting a semicolon; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:
''(4) each department or agency on behalf of which the Government has made application for orders approving the use of pen registers or trap and trace devices under this title; and
''(5) for each department or agency described in paragraph (4), a breakdown of the numbers required by paragraphs (1), (2), and (3).''.
(d) Access to certain business records and other tangible things.'--Section 502(a) (50 U.S.C. 1862(a)) is amended by striking ''Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate'' and inserting ''Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives, the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate, and the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate''.
(a) USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005.'--Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking ''June 1, 2015'' and inserting ''December 31, 2017''.
(b) Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.'--Section 6001(b)(1) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (50 U.S.C. 1801 note) is amended by striking ''June 1, 2015'' and inserting ''December 31, 2017''.
Passed the House of Representatives May 22, 2014.
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Trains Good, Planes bad (whoo hoo!)
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Plane plunges 13,000ft as both engines fail
Wed, 27 May 2015 23:22
A Singapore Airlines passenger plane carrying 194 people dropped 13,000ft after both engines lost power in a 'huge storm'.
The Airbus A330-300 was three and a half hours into its five-hour flight from Singapore to Shanghai when its Rolls-Royce Trent 772 engines failed at 39,000ft.
The pilots managed to restore power by putting the aircraft into a controlled descent to 26,000ft, before climbing again.
SQ836 continued normally to Shanghai and landed at 10.56pm local time on Saturday, Singapore Airlines said.
It said both engines were 'thoroughly inspected' and 'no anomalies' were detected.
Aviation experts said it was a 'very unusual occurrence' for both engines to lose power.
Singapore Airlines, Airbus and Rolls-Royce are investigating the incident.
'We are not able to provide further information, but we can confirm that the same aircraft was used for the return flight,' a Singapore Airlines spokesman said.
'Both engines experienced a temporary loss of power and the pilots followed operational procedures to restore normal operation of the engines.'
Industry website Flightradar24 said the plane 'lost both engines during the cruise' while flying through a 'huge storm' in the South China Sea, off China's south coast.
Rolls-Royce said its engines have an 'exceptional record of safety and reliability, established over 20 years'.
The British manufacturer is working with the airline to provide support and technical assistance, a spokesman said.
Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor of aviation information firm Flightglobal, said the incident was a 'very unusual occurrence' that 'highlights the requirements of rigorous pilot training'.
'Generally these engines are extremely reliable and they work continuously for 13-14 hours a day for months and years,' he said.
Passengers appeared not to have posted about the incident on social media, meaning they may have been unaware of the engine problem.
An unnamed pilot with a Southeast Asian airline told Reuters: 'We do occasionally lose power in one engine for various reasons, but you hardly ever lose both engines.
'If that happens, you follow the procedures in your checklist and try to restart the engines. The pilots successfully did that here.'
Last week, Airbus warned of a technical bug potentially affecting the engines of its A400M military transporters.
It was discovered during an internal test after one crashed in Spain, killing four people.
Singapore Airlines has 29 Airbus A330-300s in its fleet, as well as 19 Airbus A380-800 superjumbos.
Singapore Airlines jet plunges 13,000 feet after losing power in 'both' engines
Thu, 28 May 2015 02:48
(C) Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty ImagesSingapore Airlines said power was restored after the pilots 'followed operational procedures'.
Airlines announces investigation after Airbus A330-300 carrying 194 people suffered engine failures travelling from Singapore to ShanghaiA Singapore Airlines Airbus with 182 passengers and 12 crew on boardlost power to both enginesen route to Shanghai -falling 3,962m (13,000ft) - the airline said on Wednesday as it announced an investigation into the incident.
The Airbus A330-300 flight on 23 May "encountered bad weather at 39,000 feet (11.9 km) about three and a half hours after departure" from Singapore, the airline said in a statement.
"Both engines experienced a temporary loss of power and the pilots followed operational procedures to restore normal operation of the engines," it said.
"The flight continued to Shanghai and touched down uneventfully at 10.56pm local time," it said.
It added that the Airbus A330-300 plane's two Rolls-Royce engines "were thoroughly inspected and tested upon arrival in Shanghai with no anomalies detected".
"We are reviewing the incident with Rolls-Royce and Airbus," Singapore Airlines said.
In a Twitter post late on Tuesday, Flightradar24 said the flight, codenamed SQ836, "lost power on both engines & 13,000 feet before power returned".
In a subsequent post, it said the plane "lost both engines during the cruise" while flying through a "huge storm", pinpointing an area in the South China Sea off China's southern coast where the incident occurred.Singapore Airlines, Asia's third largest carrier by market value, currently has 29 Airbus A330-300s in its passenger fleet.
It also has a fleet of 19 Airbus A380-800 superjumbos.
The airline, along with its subsidiaries SilkAir, Scoot, and Tiger Airways, flies to 119 destinations across 35 countries.
Last week Airbus warned of a technical bug potentially affecting the engines of its A400M military planes that was discovered during an internal test after one crashed in Spain.
Comment: In April, the Serbian President's plane suffered an engine failure, sending the aircraft into a horrifying 60-second plunge over the Adriatic Sea. A few days later it was revealed that the "co-pilot had spilled coffee on the instrument panel" causing the accidental descent!Recently a cargo plane, Carson Air Flight 66, crashed in Vancouver's North Shore Mountains following an "uncontrolled descent". According to Transportation Safety Board investigator Bill Yearwood:
"The radar track showed a very steep descent," he said. "The crew did not call, declare an emergency or have any stress, which gives us an idea that whatever happened, happened suddenly. The radar track gives us information on how fast it was descending ... and that is consistent with uncontrolled flight."
What is going on?As well as these planes 'falling out the sky', we also have planes suddenly 'disappearing' from radar, sometimes in "unprecedented" blackouts; more planes diverting due to "electrical burning and smoke smells", "engine fires" and plane wings "bursting into flames"; statistics showing a disturbing trend in "air rage"; the tragic Germanwings crash not being the full story and the still unresolved mystery of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370?
SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Year of the planes Cluster of plane problems as 2014 comes to a close
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Belgian airspace closed: Air traffic control failure grounds all flights as power outage causes chaos
Thu, 28 May 2015 02:37
(C) Getty Images/AFP/E. Lalmand
An electrical failure at Belgium air traffic control forced the closure of airspace above Belgium on Wednesday morning, Eurocontrol said in a statement. The regional airspace will remain shut until at least 4 p.m. local time, the Brussels Airport authority and Eurocontrol both said.Just over 60 flights were cancelled, and 21 were diverted, the airport said at about 11:40 a.m. There were 10,176 departures from the airport, and 10,193 landings last month. In 2013, the Brussels Airport authority estimated that 510,000 passengers based in the Netherlands use the capital city airport.
The electrical failure is causing significant delays, according to the airport authorities. "A number of flights are being diverted to airports in the neighbourhood," they stated.
The cause of the problem was not yet announced. Wednesday morning marked the beginning of a three-and-a-half month long project to renovate runway 25L at the airport.
Dutch air traffic control reports that some of the Belgian flights will land in the Netherlands. Flights that had to cross Brussels airspace on the way to the Netherlands can reroute via Germany or the North Sea.
Only planes flying at high altitudes above Belgium that do not have to land in the country can continue their journey over it. Those are handled by air traffic control in Maastricht, and not workers in Belgium.
The power blackout began at 9:30 a.m. This is the first time such an electrical problem caused so much trouble for Belgian airspace, a Flanders regional broadcaster reported.
In March, a largepower outagein Noord-Holland and Flevoland brought Amsterdam Airport to a standstill. The power loss lasted for 1.5 hours and resulted in cancellations and diversions for many Amsterdam flights.
With reporting by Zack Newmark and Taneli Savela
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FAA Group to Review Mental-Health Screenings for Pilots - WSJ
Thu, 28 May 2015 12:59
Following the lead of European regulators reacting to the presumed suicidal co-pilot who brought down a Germanwings jet, the Federal Aviation Administration has set up an advisory group to consider possible changes in mental-health screening of U.S. commercial pilots.
The industry-government committee, which also includes labor and medical experts, can look at everything from potential regulatory changes to voluntary efforts by...
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NWO
Statement by the President on Senate Passage of Trade Promotion Authority and Trade Adjustment Assistance
Tue, 26 May 2015 17:35
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
May 22, 2015
Today's bipartisan Senate vote is an important step toward ensuring the United States can negotiate and enforce strong, high-standards trade agreements. If done right, these agreements are vital to expanding opportunities for the middle class, leveling the playing field for American workers, and establishing rules for the global economy that help our businesses grow and hire by selling goods Made in America to the rest of the world. This Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation includes strong standards that will advance workers' rights, protect the environment, promote a free and open Internet, and it supports new robust measures to address unfair currency practices. The legislation also includes an important extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) to help all American workers participate in the global economy.
I want to thank Senators of both parties for sticking up for American workers by supporting smart trade and strong enforcement, and I encourage the House of Representatives to follow suit by passing TPA and TAA as soon as possible.
MIC
Need more destruction: Pentagon's new multibillion dollar arms contracts with Israel and Saudi Arabia
Fri, 22 May 2015 21:48
(C) Reuters / Paul Hanna
The Pentagon has announced new multibillion dollar arms contracts with the regimes in Israel and Saudi Arabia, America's primary allies in the Middle East. Both are knee-deep in military conflicts destabilizing the region.The $1.9 billion deal with Israel implies supply of some 3,000 Hellfire precision missiles, 250 AIM-120C advanced medium-range air-to-air missiles, 4,100 GBU-39 small diameter bombs and 50 BLU-113 bunker buster bombs. The order also includes 14,500 tail kits for Joint Direct Attack Munitions for 220kg and 900kg bombs and a variety of Paveway laser-guided bomb kits.
Israeli media sees the deal as "compensation" for the rapprochement between Iran and the US, which Washington sees as trying to get Tehran's nuclear program under control.
Tel Aviv has been sharply criticizing Washington for its decision to negotiate a nuclear deal with Tehran, and Israel has even ostentatiously "reserved the right" to conduct a unilateral air strike on Iran.
"The proposed sale of this equipment will provide Israel the ability to support its self-defense needs," the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said, adding that the new contract is meant to"replenish" Israel's arsenal without supplying the country with any kind of new weapons.
In November 2014 it was reported that Pentagon was going to supply Israel with 3,000 smart bombs, similar to those used by the Israeli Air Force in Gaza last summer, where an estimated 100 tons of munitions were dropped.
The main contractors to fulfill the lucrative Israeli arms deal will be Boeing, Ellwood National Forge, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Missile Systems, AFP reported.
As for Saudi Arabia, the world's largest buyer of American weapons, it wants to buy 10 Seahawk MH-60R helicopters along with radars, navigation systems and 38 Hellfire missiles.
(C) Reuters / Paolo BayasMH-60R Seahawk helicopter.
According to a Congressional Research Service (CRS) report, between 2010 and 2014 Riyadh spent $90 billion on American weapons, becoming world's leading buyer of US-made arms.The helicopters will be supplied by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp, while associated gear will be produced by Lockheed Martin.
The US administration must notify Congress 30 days ahead of the sale of weapons to a foreign government, as lawmakers have a right to block or amend any arms deal.
Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have been recently conducting offensive operations on the territory of their neighbors.During the 50-day campaign in Gaza last summer, where Israel actively used its Air Force, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority of them unarmed civilians.
Israel is also regularly targeting airstrikes on the territory of neighboring Syria.
(C) Reuters / Paul Hanna
Apart from multiple airstrikes against military installations controlled by the Syrian Army, Damascus has accused Israel of providing air support to armed terrorist groups in Syria.Saudi Arabia has initiated and led airstrikes on the territory of neighbor Yemen, where Houthi rebels have seized power and ousted a Riyadh-backed president.Since late March, when airstrikes were launched and a naval blockade of Yemen was imposed, at least 1,250 people have been killed and over 5,000 wounded in the conflict, according to the World Health Organization. Local estimates of casualties have been much higher.
Hillary 2016
The election is over. What happens to all that campaign cash? - CSMonitor.com
Mon, 18 May 2015 16:57
Business/Saving MoneySave this article
(Read article summary)An estimated 5.8 billion was spent on the 2012 election. Where can candidates spend their leftover money? What is off limits?
By Brandon Ballenger, Contributor / November 11, 2012
The election is over. For now, no more attack ads, no more barrage of emails begging for money.
But speaking of cash, what about the money raked in by campaigns that was left unspent?
It's a little too early to call the grand total of all 2012 election spending, but the Center for Responsive Politics estimates it will be above $5.8 billion, 7 percent higher than 2008. ''But outside spending,'' the group says, ''is a wild card that makes predictions tricky.''
Outside spending includes money from corporations, unions, individuals, and other political groups. Investigative journalism site ProPublica's PAC Track is trying to do the math, and right now says prominent political action committees spent a total of $581 million. That includes ''Super PACs,'' which because of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling, opened the door for unlimited fundraising and spending.
As for the campaigns, The New York Times breaks it down pretty well, although they pair up the campaigns and their political parties' spending with their biggest Super PAC supporters. (Super PACs can't legally coordinate with the campaigns '' you won't hear Obama or Romney say ''I approve this message'' at the end, but the money is still supporting them.) That means there's some overlap with the ProPublica numbers, but it gives us a ballpark idea: all told, somewhere above $2 billion between the two major parties. In 2008, Politico said it was unprecedented for that number to be more than $1 billion.
The NYT tallies include data through mid-October and may not match what's finally reported to the Federal Election Commission, but here's what we know so far'...
ObamaRomneyRaised$934.0m$881.8mSpent$852.9m$752.3mRemainder$134.7m$193.3mSo what happens to that monster chunk of change remaining? We asked the Federal Election Commission, an independent agency that regulates campaign finance.
How leftover money can be spentHere's what an FEC spokesperson told us:
"Surplus funds may be used in connection with a future election. Funds may be transferred between authorized committees of the same candidate (for example, from a previous campaign committee to a current campaign committee) without limit as long as the committee making the transfer has no ''net debts outstanding.'' CFR 110.3(c) and 116.2(c)(2). Alternatively, a candidate may redesignate a former campaign committee as the principal campaign committee of his or her current campaign and use the excess funds of the previous campaign in the current campaign.
Pages 51-57 of the FEC's Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees (http://www.fec.gov/pdf/candgui.pdf) discuss the permissible, personal and prohibited uses of campaign funds. Pages 117-121 discuss winding down activity."
This explains a few things. One, debts have to be paid first '' and there isn't always a surplus of funds to cover them. Hillary Clinton is still paying off her $25 million 2008 presidential campaign debt. (But she's down to just $73,000 as of mid-October.) According to Politico, so are Rudy Giuliani and many 2012 Republican contenders: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain. (Ron Paul, however, has a $2 million surplus.) Want to look up other candidates' financial situations? Go crazy at the FEC disclosure page.
Second, the FEC's statement tells us money can be used for future campaigns. President Obama can't win a third term '' but could he help Hillary Clinton pay off her campaign debt?
Chapter 8 of the FEC campaign guide, Expenditures and Other Uses of Campaign Funds, says money can be donated to charities and state and local candidates. It also allows ''unlimited transfers to any national, state or local party committee.'' But for national candidates, there's a limit of $2,000. So that's out.
Could those funds be passed on to Obama's VP, Joe Biden? (On Election Day, he joked he might run for president again.) This is possible, but not directly '' the money would have to go to the Democratic National Committee, which could spend it to support Biden.
The FEC guide also tells us the money could be refunded to donors, spent on gifts (or ''donations of nominal value'') to non-family members, moving expenses after leaving office, home security for officeholders, and work-related ''travel expenses for a federal officeholder and his or her accompanying spouse and children,'' although a 2007 law puts some restrictions on that. (Interestingly, campaign cash can also be used prior to the election to pay candidates a salary '' but not to incumbents, and it's capped at the lesser of what they made last year or what the office they're seeking pays.)
Forbidden uses of campaign cashThe big no-no, of course, is personal use of political contributions. Campaign cash can't be spent on expenses that would exist even if the (former) candidate hadn't run for office. That's a broad definition, but the guide spells out some specific examples including college tuition, groceries, funeral expenses, clothes (excluding stuff like campaign T-shirts), mortgage or rent payments, leisure and entertainment, and gym and country club dues.
Just a couple of decades ago, former candidates could spend money on this stuff. Factcheck.org says, ''Retiring federal lawmakers used to be able to pocket extra cash and use it for cars, vacations, clothes, pet grooming, whatever '' but that changed in 1989 with the passage of the Ethics Reform Act.''
Brandon Ballenger is a writer for Money Talks News, a consumer/personal finance TV news feature that airs in about 80 cities as well as around the Web. This column first appeared in Money Talks News.
Cultural Marxism
Porn actors must wear protective goggles during shoots: California safety standard - Boing Boing
Thu, 28 May 2015 06:21
California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health has issued a set of safety standards for all California porn production sets. The 21-page standards presentation (PDF) goes into graphic detail about the safety precautions that are to be undertaken when adult video actors perform various acts.
Here's one eye-opening detail from the document:
Personal Protective Equipment.1. Where occupational exposure remains after institution of engineering and work practice controls, the employer shall provide, at no cost to the employee, appropriate personal protective equipment such as, but not limited to, condoms, gloves for cleaning, and, if contact of the eyes with OPIM-STI is reasonably anticipated, eye protection. Personal protective equipment will be considered "appropriate" only if it prevents blood or OPIM'--STI* from passing through to or reaching the employee's eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes, or non-intact skin under normal conditions of use and for the duration of time which the protective equipment will be used.
In the LA Daily News, Diane Duke, CEO of the Canoga Park-based Free Speech Coalition, said the proposed standards overshoots what is needed on porn sets:''These are regulations designed for medical settings, and are unworkable on an adult film set '-- or even a Hollywood film set,'' Duke said in a statement. Duke said her organization and several other groups would prefer to see the proposed regulation amended with input from both performers and public health officials, ''in ways that protect adult film performers without stigmatizing and shutting down an entire industry.''
* ''OPIM'--STI'' means pre-ejaculate, ejaculate, semen, vaginal secretions, fecal matter and rectal secretions, secretions from wounds or sores that are potentially infected with sexually transmitted pathogens, any other bodily fluid when visibly contaminated with blood or all bodily fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between bodily fluids.
Image: Shutterstock
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-Bill Gates biggest fear is a killer flu - Business Insider
Thu, 28 May 2015 13:49
May 27, 2015, 4:04 PM114,410You would think that Bill Gates, the ever-so-friendly richest man in the world, wouldn't be afraid of much.
But as he recently told Ezra Klein at Vox, he does have some major fears for humanity.
"I rate the chance of a nuclear war within my lifetime as being fairly low," says Gates. "I rate the chance of a widespread epidemic, far worse than Ebola, in my lifetime, as well over 50%."
Gates is 59 years old.
So that means an outbreak of sorts is possibly coming in the next few decades.
It's especially terrifying, Gates says, given the way we reacted to the last epidemic: The Ebola outbreak of last year showed how unready the world is for dealing with infectious disease.
The last widespread killer epidemic was the Spanish Flu. Between 1918 and 1919, it killed between 20 million and 40 million people worldwide '-- more than World War I.
What's even more frightening, Gates says, is that we don't even know where the Spanish Flu came from '-- it was just called the "Spanish Flu" because the press in Spain were the first to report on it.
In many ways, we're even more vulnerable to an infectious catastrophe today. Gates tells Vox that according to his modeling, 50 times more people cross borders today than they did back in 1918.
Because of that and other factors, Gates estimates that the next Spanish flu-like epidemic could kill 33 million humans in 250 days. That number of people would be about equal to the population of Canada.
"We've created, in terms of spread, the most dangerous environment that we've ever had in the history of mankind," Gates tells Vox.
Watch the entire video interview below and read the full feature story here.
VIDEO-Charlie Rose and Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Thu, 28 May 2015 07:21
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VIDEO-Washington Free Beacon editor: Stephanopoulos acted like 'campaign operative' in leaking our scoop about donation to Clintons | MRCTV
Thu, 28 May 2015 05:21
Interesting conversation on CNN's Reliable Sources between host Brian Stelter and Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti about the Beacon's scoop on ABC newsman George Stephanopoulos donating $75,000 to the Clinton Global Foundation (May 24, 2015).
VIDEO-John Kerry: Ben Franklin Could Not Be Confirmed to Office If He Lived Today | MRCTV
Thu, 28 May 2015 05:03
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Kerry: Ben Franklin Could Not Be Confirmed to Office If He Lived Today See More at: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/cnsnewscom-staff/kerry-ben-franklin-could-not-be-confirmed-office-if-he-lived-today
VIDEO-NBC Touts Possible Hillary Running Mate Dismissing E-Mail Scandal as 'Side Show' | MRCTV
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:54
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
In a story for Tuesday's NBC Today devoid of any Hillary Clinton critics, correspondent Andrea Mitchell highlighted ''one Democratic ally,'' Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, ''considered a potential running mate by some should Clinton win the nomination,'' dismissing the e-mail scandal still swirling around the former Secretary of State as a ''side show.''
A soundbite ran of Castro proclaiming: ''What you have here with these e-mails is basically a witch hunt.''
VIDEO-Charlie Rose on Climate Change: 'Do We Have Too Many Scientific Deniers?' | MRCTV
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:51
Crossposted on Newsbusters.
On the May 25 edition of PBS's Charlie Rose show, the host couldn't get through a interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson without asking about climate change and what to do about all those ''scientific deniers?''
VIDEO-ABC Touts Hillary Clinton Predicting Her Hair Won't Turn White If Elected President | MRCTV
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:37
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
In Wednesday's edition of the liberal media spinning for Hillary Clinton, ABC's World News Tonight chose not to mention any of the recent developments regarding the various Clinton scandals but instead promote her prediction that, unlike previous presidents, her hair would not turn white if she's elected president.
After previewing George Stephanopoulos's interview with newly-declared 2016 GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, anchor David Muir eagerly transitioned to Clinton as she was ''making headlines of her own tonight.''
VIDEO-Attorney General Loretta Lynch FIFA Indictments | Video | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 28 May 2015 04:18
May 27, 2015Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a statement on the Justice Department's 47-count indictment against FIFA (International'... read more
Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a statement on the Justice Department's 47-count indictment against FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) officials over allegations of corruption and bribery.'‚She began her remarks with a call on the Senate to pass the USA FREEDOM Act. close
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*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
Related VideoClips from This Video
VIDEO-Fifa in crisis amid corruption arrests and World Cup voting inquiry '' as it happened | Football | The Guardian
Thu, 28 May 2015 03:38
Jeffrey Webb: Current Fifa vice-president and executive committee member, Concacaf president, Caribbean Football Union (CFU) executive committee member and Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) president.
Eduardo Li: Current Fifa executive committee member-elect, Concacaf executive committee member and Costa Rican soccer federation (FEDEFUT) president.
Julio Rocha: Current Fifa development officer. Former Central American Football Union (UNCAF) president and Nicaraguan soccer federation (FENIFUT) president.
Costas Takkas: Current attach(C) to the Concacaf president. Former CIFA general secretary.
Jack Warner: Former Fifa vice-president and executive committee member, Concacaf president, CFU president and Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special adviser.
Eugenio Figueredo: Current Fifa vice-president and executive committee member. Former Conmebol president and Uruguayan soccer federation (AUF) president.
Rafael Esquivel: Current Conmebol executive committee member and Venezuelan soccer federation (FVF) president.
Jos(C) Maria Marin: Current member of the Fifa organising committee for the Olympic football tournaments. Former CBF president.
Nicols Leoz: Former Fifa executive committee member and Conmebol president.
Four of the defendants were sports marketing executives:
Alejandro Burzaco: Controlling principal of Torneos y Competencias SA, a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.
Aaron Davidson: President of Traffic Sports USA Inc (Traffic USA).
Hugo and Mariano Jinkis: Controlling principals of Full Play Group SA, a sports marketing business based in Argentina, and its affiliates.
VIDEO-Will Israel be kicked out of FIFA? - CNN.com
Thu, 28 May 2015 02:58
Story highlightsIsrael says it approved 95% of travel; Palestinians say travel bans ensnare coaches, goaliesFIFA members could vote on Palestinian bid to suspend Israel, which FIFA leader hopes to avoidPalestinians say Israel restricts players' movements; Israel says they're mixing sports, politicsBlatter met with both associations, as well as Israeli and Palestinian political leaders, during a visit to the region in hopes of finding a way to ease the tension. FIFA is the international soccer governing body.
"Football has the power to connect people," Blatter said at a press conference last week in Jerusalem. "Football has the power to construct bridges. I am coming here and going to your neighbors ... to try to construct bridges and to try and make sure that football is not dividing, but football is uniting."
Instead of a vote, Blatter suggests a game between the two national teams, offering Zurich, Switzerland, as a possible location.
The Palestinian group objects to Israeli teams playing in the West Bank. They also say Israel restricts movements of Palestinian players between the West Bank and Gaza as well as for international matches.
"They keep bullying here and there, and I think they have no right to keep being the bully of the neighborhood," Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub said of Israel. "If the Israelis are using the issue of security, I can say that their security concern is mine. I am ready to fix parameters for security concerns, but security should not be used ... as a tool in order to keep this racist, apartheid policies."
He declared the situation in the West Bank far worse than apartheid that existed in South Africa because right-wingers and extremists in Israel want to "delete Palestine." In the 1960s, FIFA suspended South Africa for decades after it failed to comply with the association's nondiscrimination policies. The nation was also expelled from FIFA a month after the Soweto Youth Uprising of 1976.
"I am not asking for the suspension of the Israeli association; I am asking to end the suffering of the Palestinian footballers," Rajoub said. "I am asking to end the grievances, the humiliation we are facing."
Israel Football Association President Ofer Eini said the restrictions on movement are a question of security. Eini said the association has no influence over such matters. He said the Palestinians are mixing sports and politics.
Association CEO Rotem Kemer said 95% of travel requests for players have been approved in 2015.
"We will continue helping the Palestinian association," Eini said. "We will extend a hand to them. If football is to be the unifying thing, I embrace them because I want football to flourish there just like I want it to flourish here."
While it may be true that 95% of permits have been approved this year, Susan Shalabi, director of the Palestine Football Association's international relations department, said even denying one permit can have a hugely detrimental effect on competition.
"So they say they've approved 95% of the permits. Let's be more optimistic and assume that they approve 99%. What's the point if the 1% includes the head coach, captain or goalkeeper of the national team? Or those of a visiting team? Will any association accept to play without all or any of these? It's about the principle, not statistics. Footballers should not be denied to move at all," Shalabi said.
Blatter said he is working to remove the suspension vote from the agenda. The vote would require 75% of FIFA's 209 member associations to succeed. Blatter said Israel has not violated any FIFA rules, and that other mechanisms exist to address issues between FIFA members, such as an ethics committee and a disciplinary committee, but he said FIFA rules allow the Palestinians to call for a vote.
The Palestinian bid to have Israel suspended from FIFA is part of much broader international pressure coming to bear on Israel to recognize a Palestinian state. The Vatican's recent recognition of Palestinian statehood is the latest in a series of such successes for the Palestinian Authority.
The International Criminal Court has recognized Palestinian membership, and the United Nations recognized the Palestinians as a nonmember observer state. A bid for full recognition failed to get the necessary U.N. Security Council votes in December.
CNN's Kareem Khadder and Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.
VIDEO-IRS Hacked, Compromising Info of Over 100,000 People - Off The Grid
Wed, 27 May 2015 22:55
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Breaking news reports coming direct from the Internal Revenue Service today, stating their systems have been compromised by "organized crime syndicates" that "everybody in the financial industry are dealing with."
IRS Commissioner John Koskinien is "confident" these hackers are not "amateurs." The thieves reportedly accessed a system called "Get Transcript," in which, according to AP, taxpayers can get tax returns and other filings from previous years. The thieves had to clear a security screen that required some knowledge about the particular taxpayer, including a Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address.
"Eighty percent of the identity theft we're dealing with and refund fraud is related to organized crime here and around the world," the Commissioner stated. "These are sophisticated criminals with access to a tremendous amount of data."
Still no word on whether these hackers are local U.S. citizens or if the attacks are coming from abroad.
A criminal investigation is already underway. The IRS claims its main computer system remains secure.
Does this attack make living off the grid more appealing to you? Continue the discussion below.
VIDEO-Can Scientists Be Trusted? Not According To The Tea Party - YouTube
Wed, 27 May 2015 22:55
VIDEO-Inside Amy Schumer - The Universe - Uncensored - YouTube
Wed, 27 May 2015 20:05
VIDEO-Queen's Speech 2015 - Speeches - GOV.UK
Wed, 27 May 2015 18:52
Watch the State Opening of Parliament.
My Lords and members of the House of Commons.
My government will legislate in the interests of everyone in our country. It will adopt a one nation approach, helping working people get on, supporting aspiration, giving new opportunities to the most disadvantaged and bringing different parts of our country together.
My government will continue with its long-term plan to provide economic stability and security at every stage of life. They will continue the work of bringing the public finances under control and reducing the deficit, so Britain lives within its means. Measures will be introduced to raise the productive potential of the economy and increase living standards.
Legislation will be brought forward to help achieve full employment and provide more people with the security of a job. New duties will require my ministers to report annually on job creation and apprenticeships. Measures will also be introduced to reduce regulation on small businesses so they can create jobs.
Legislation will be brought forward to ensure people working 30 hours a week on the National Minimum Wage do not pay income tax, and to ensure there are no rises in Income Tax rates, Value Added Tax or National Insurance for the next 5 years.
Measures will be brought forward to help working people by greatly increasing the provision of free childcare.
Legislation will be introduced to support home ownership and give housing association tenants the chance to own their own home.
Measures will be introduced to increase energy security and to control immigration. My government will bring forward legislation to reform trade unions and to protect essential public services against strikes.
To give new opportunities to the most disadvantaged, my government will expand the Troubled Families programme and continue to reform welfare, with legislation encouraging employment by capping benefits and requiring young people to earn or learn.
Legislation will be brought forward to improve schools and give every child the best start in life, with new powers to take over failing and coasting schools and create more academies.
In England, my government will secure the future of the National Health Service by implementing the National Health Service's own 5 year plan, by increasing the health budget, integrating healthcare and social care, and ensuring the National Health Service works on a 7 day basis. Measures will be introduced to improve access to general practitioners and to mental healthcare.
Measures will also be brought forward to secure the real value of the basic State Pension, so that more people live in dignity and security in retirement. Measures will be brought forward to increase the rights of victims of crime.
To bring different parts of our country together, my government will work to bring about a balanced economic recovery. Legislation will be introduced to provide for the devolution of powers to cities with elected metro mayors, helping to build a northern powerhouse.
My government will continue to legislate for high-speed rail links between the different parts of the country.
My government will also bring forward legislation to secure a strong and lasting constitutional settlement, devolving wide-ranging powers to Scotland and Wales. Legislation will be taken forward giving effect to the Stormont House Agreement in Northern Ireland.
My government will continue to work in cooperation with the devolved administrations on the basis of mutual respect.
My government will bring forward changes to the standing orders of the House of Commons. These changes will create fairer procedures to ensure that decisions affecting England, or England and Wales, can be taken only with the consent of the majority of Members of Parliament representing constituencies in those parts of our United Kingdom.
My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union and pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all member states.
Alongside this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.
Measures will also be brought forward to promote social cohesion and protect people by tackling extremism. New legislation will modernise the law on communications data, improve the law on policing and criminal justice, and ban the new generation of psychoactive drugs.
My government will bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights.
Members of the House of Commons.
Estimates for the public services will be laid before you.
My Lords and members of the House of Commons
My government will continue to play a leading role in global affairs, using its presence all over the world to re-engage with and tackle the major international security, economic and humanitarian challenges.
My ministers will remain at the forefront of the NATO alliance and of international efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat terrorism in the Middle East.
The United Kingdom will continue to seek a political settlement in Syria, and will offer further support to the Iraqi government's programme for political reform and national reconciliation.
My government will maintain pressure on Russia to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, and will insist on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.
My government looks forward to an enhanced partnership with India and China.
Prince Philip and I look forward to our state visit to Germany next month and to our state visit to Malta in November, alongside the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. We also look forward to welcoming His Excellency the President of The People's Republic of China and Madame Peng on a state visit in October.
My government will seek effective global collaboration to sustain economic recovery and to combat climate change, including at the climate change conference in Paris later this year.
My government will undertake a full strategic defence and security review, and do whatever is necessary to ensure that our courageous armed forces can keep Britain safe.
My government will work to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons, cyber attacks and terrorism.
Other measures will be laid before you.
My Lords and members of the House of Commons
I pray that the blessing of almighty God may rest upon your counsels.
VIDEO-ISIS In Greater Israel's Scheme | Real Jew News
Wed, 27 May 2015 16:38
Brother NathanaelMay 26, 2015 @ 7:05 pmText ''Text'' Text
ISIS In Greater Israel's SchemeBy Brother Nathanael KapnerCopyright 2015
Greater Israel is alive and wreaking hell in the Middle East.
ISIS is doing Israel's bidding, prosecuting the toppling of Assad and neutering of Iran's regional influence.
ISIS is the perfect shill. Not once has it decried the Zionist state. But with the anti-Zionist ''Syria, Iran'' Axis of Resistance out, Greater Israel kicks in.
America's complicit.
Just last week, Judicial Watch published Department of Defense documents showing America aiding the rise of Islamic State in order to ''isolate'' the Syrian regime.
[Clip: ''Declassified documents were published showing that as early as 2012, US intelligence predicted the rise of Islamic State. The Report shows the powers who supported the Syrian opposition like America envisioned the creation of an independent principality in eastern Syria and supported it. They also clearly predicted the establishment of Islamic State through its union with other terror organizations in Syria and Iraq.'']
More than ''predicted.'' Assad says America ''created'' ISIS.
[Clip: ''A lot of analysts and a lot of journalists say that you have helped ISIS to emerge because it's an opportunity for you to appear like a shield.''
''But ISIS was created in Iraq in 2006 under the supervision of the Americans. I'm not in Iraq and I wasn't in Iraq. I wasn't controlling Iraq. The Americans controlled Iraq, and ISIS came from Iraq to Syria, because chaos is contagious.'']
And nobody creates chaos better than Jewmerica where Neocon Jews'-- Kagan, Kristol, Wieseltier'--want Assad out. What a friend they have in ISIS!
Just last March, Iraqi forces arrested three military advisors discovered inside an Islamic State facility carrying US and Israeli passports.
ISIS is good for the Jews and the lies and evasions keep pouring in.
[Clip: ''How big a presence do jihadists and especially those allied to al-Qaida play in the rebels who are opposing and fighting Assad in Syria?''
''The jihadi presence is big and getting bigger. And the longer the conflict goes on there, the bigger it will get.''
''Do you worry about the possibility of, yah, you lose Assad, who is somebody who is no friend of Israel, but on the other hand you then get a situation where you have al-Qaeda factions running part of Syria?''
''We've long advocated for Bashar al-Assad's departure.
If he goes now, we would view that as a very positive development. He is an ally of Iran, and ally of Hezbollah. We understand that if jihadists were to come in it wouldn't be good but wouldn't be as bad as the current situation.'']
It's Jews for Jihadists. That's why ISIS keeps gaining ground.
[Clip: ''Now, an international coalition led by the US is bombing ISIS from the air. Is it a problem for you, or is it help for you?''
''It's neither, none of them. Because it's not a problem of course if you attack terrorists, but at the same time, if you're not serious, you don't help us.''
''Why not serious?''
''ISIS has expanded in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya, in the region in general. So, how can you say that it was effective? They're not serious, that's why they don't make any help to anyone in this region.'']
America, run by Jews, ''help'' anyone?
Jews only help themselves and ISIS plays right into their hands.
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Brother NathanaelMay 26, 2015 @ 7:12 pmDear Real Jew News Family,
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JohnMay 26, 2015 @ 8:08 pmI've suspected for awhile that the Jews were holding the US back in the fight against ISIS.
For example, a few days ago ISIS took the southern most border crossing between Syria and Iraq. There is nothing, no civilians and no place to hide, for hundreds of miles on either side of this crossing.
It couldn't be a nicer, fatter target for US planes. But so far, as far as I know, there has been no attempt to hit it.
Further, it seems to me that closing the entire border would be a strategic, and doable (there are only four roads between the two countries), objective of the US, but I don't see any effort towards this nor even hear anyone talking about it.
SeraphimMay 26, 2015 @ 8:11 pmThe manipulation of the Islamic world to do the dirty jobs for Israel is much older.
The Muslim Brotherhood was a creation of MI6.
''Hizb ut-Tahrir (Arabic: حزب اÙتحرير'Ž Ḥizb at-TaḥrÄr; Party of Liberation) is an international pan-Islamic political organisation. They are commonly associated with the goal of all Muslim countries unifying as an Islamic state or caliphate ruled by Islamic law (sharia) and with a caliph head of state elected by Muslims.
The organization was founded in 1953 as a Sunni Muslim organization in Jerusalem by Taqiuddin al-Nabhani, an Islamic scholar and appeals court judge (Qadi) from the Palestinian village of Ijzim. Since then Hizb ut-Tahrir has spread to more than 50 countries and by one estimate has about one million members.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is very active in the West, particularly in the United Kingdom, and is also active in several Arab and Central Asian countries, despite being banned by some governments. The group also has a growing presence in North America, known as Hizb ut-tahrir America, or HTA.''
What both organizations realized was to eliminate the Christian population of Palestine and around Israel, a clear goal of the Antichrists.
KathJulianeMay 26, 2015 @ 9:04 pmTerrific and powerful Video, dear +BN!
Oren is the biggest giveaway about Israeli strategy. I can just read his thoughts through the static whitenoise his Jewbrain throws off:
''ISIS not as bad as President Assad, '...and besides that, look at all the Christians they murder in Iraq, Syria, and Libya as a bonus.''
''Jews for Jihadists,'' that's hilarious! Just love the globe effect zooming in on Jewmerica!
Robert Kagan is looking more like ''His Bloatitude,'' Jabba the Hut every day. He and Nuland, what a pair of Kaganopotomi.
And, you found a neocon Jew with white fluffy hair even wilder than Wiesanthal's or Ben Gurion's that's new to me '-- Leon Wieseltier, a member of the Jewish Establishment literati in Washington DC '-- writer, critic, amateur philosopher and magazine editor, and, of course the requisite child of Holocaust Survivors'.
Wieseltier was the literary editor of the progressive, liberal soft-Stalinist magazine (until after WWII), The New Republic which turned neocon in the 80s. He is currently the Isaiah Berlin Senior Fellow in Culture and Policy at the hawkish Brookings Institution where his wife also works, and a contributing editor and critic at The Atlantic.
President al-Assad wound up owning French TV.
I located the interview which was on April 20 of this year. His answers are so plain, simple, logical, and direct, there's no doubting he's telling the absolute truth. And he never gets tripped up by hostile interviewers.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeoVa8C0cek
Transcript:
http://tinyurl.com/pres-assad-France2
Like Mark Twain said (paraphrase), ''Always tell the truth. Then you never have to remember what you said. And, If someone asks you if it was true what you said, your answer would be ''Well, if I said that, then it must be the truth.''
Like Assad points out time and again in his interviews, the Syrian people overwhelming support him and they trust their army. He wouldn't be president if he didn't have the support of the people.
If the Syrian people really wanted him out, the military would have ousted him long ago, and not work so long and hard as they have the past going on 4 years.
The SAA trusts al-Assad, as do the people, and he behaves like the First Citizen of Syria, not like a tyrant. As commander in chief, he makes an effort to spend time with his generals and top commanders out in the field; and always makes sure to spend time with junior and petty officers, and the enlisted personnel.
Last New's Years Eve, he was in the trenches sharing a simple meal with the enlisted guys. The SAA is fully integrated, not divided up by religion. In every unit, Shiites with Sunnis who serve with Christians who serve with Druzes.
His troops love and greatly respect their Commander in Chief '-- the Lion of Syria.
The SAA just won a major engagement and spiritual victory over IS. You wouldn't see a personal message from troops to Obama like ''For the sake of our commander in chief''We Broke the Seige'' found in a photograph on the Syrian Arab Army Facebook page:
SyAAF covered the retreat of the Syrian Army units inside Jisr al-Sho`or hospital providing cover fire and not allowing al-Nusra terrorists to reach them.
The operation was conducted by two Su-24m2 attack bombers.
Also, Mohajer IV drones were in the sky providing the artillery with target coordinates.
The operation resulted in securing the troops inside into a safe location.
The troops are in bad shape, they have been fighting for weeks under siege but they are safe. We will publish more when available. (Published May 22 about 1/2 way down):
President al-Assad was very quick to personally commend the commanders of the Syrian troops who withstood the seige at the hospital, just above in the timeline:
And they got Liberated!
Commander in Chief of the Syrian Armed Forces in a phone call with the commanding officer of the units liberated from Jisr al-Sho`our hospital addressing the unit:
' With your heroism you represent every soldier in the Syrian Arab Army.
' You endured, and resisted because you do not know surrender, nor defeat.
' Your trust in God, and your comrades in the Syrian Arab Army that they will reach you, and liberate you, only shows how this army is formed, and what its military doctrine; and its trust of it self, and its members and their achievements.
' Your lives, and the lives of every soldier in the Syrian Arab Army, and the National Defense Force was and will always be our top priority, and we work hard to protect that.
' The way you retrieved your injured comrades, and did not leave them behind will show the whole world the values the Syrian Arab Army have.
' May the fallen heroes of the hospital, and the fallen heroes fell during the battle to liberate you rest in peace. And may every fallen soldier scarified [sacrificed] his life defending every inch of his homeland rest in peace.
' I salute you, and through you I salute every soldier defending his homeland.
Colonel Sohbea replying to the Commander in Chief:
' We salute you sir, and on my behalf, and on the behalf of the soldiers of Jist al-Sho`our hospital thank you for your personal interest in us; and we thank our brothers in arm, those who helped us and stood by us, and those who kept raising our morals while we were battling terrorism.
Syrian Arab Armyhttps://www.facebook.com/syrianmilitary~~~*~~~
On a last note for now, the Syrian Arab Army long ago opted for an integrated military force and not units segregated by religious faith. Sunnis, Shi'ites, Alawites, Christians, and Druzes all for and alongside each other.
And they are all free to pray as they want according to their traditions.
I've located several pictures of Syrian Christian soldiers praying to icons of Jesus and the Virgin Mary next to burned out churches just as the Muslims pray with their heads on the Koran. With the ISIS and Takfiri plague, Muslim mosques and holy sites aren't safe, either.
Many Christians in Syria keep a picture of President al-Assad somewhere close or on their home altars and pray for God's blessings and strength for their president and their country.
And many Syrian Christians as well as Muslims pray for President Putin and Russia as well. As do I.
God bless you dear +BN for keeping track of things all of these years. You were writing about this in 2011.
My donation will be forthcoming at the beginning of the month.
IC XCNI KA
TonyMay 26, 2015 @ 9:10 pmLast month ISIS attacked and seized Palestine refugees camp in Yarmouk
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/world/middleeast/islamic-state-seizes-palestinian-refugee-camp-in-syria.html?_r=0
http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/chronicles-palestinian-refugee
The question is if ISIS is fighting as Muslims why is not backing the biggest push against endless injustice apartheid in Palestine, ethnic cleanings and illegal settlements of Israel, and supporting their political cause and of the Muslim world, which is Palestinian state and liberty?
Israel has the strongest military and most technological advanced has full support form America, and many other countries in Europe and Saudis as well as many other Africa.
Why is ISIS never attacking Israel and is attacking refugee Palestinians?
KathJulianeMay 26, 2015 @ 10:33 pmIf anyone would like to read or make a copy of the FOIA DOD documents released to Judicial Watch that +BN referred to, I had some trouble at the JW site with their PDF, but Fox News has the 100 page document at their site.
The entire package is related to the Bengazi incident when Ambassador Stevens and 3 other Americans were killed in a militant assault on the consulate outpost.
The intelligence estimates describing the rise of the proto-Islamic State start at p 68 of the PDF dealing with Iraq.http://www.foxnews.com/politics/interactive/2015/05/18/defense-department-documents-given-to-judicial-watch-under-foia-suit/
ObviousMay 26, 2015 @ 11:33 pmYes, Brother, it is obvious that ISIS or ISIL (as obummer likes to say) is a Jew funded, owned, and operated via the surrogate USA and other allies.
That is why there is no opposition right now'...BUT'...last week it was revealed that 50% of Syria was taken over'...so they only have 50% to go!
I believe all the constant negative press including violent, vicious, sadistic, and criminal videos, pictures, etc., released and unleashed on all developed nations especially the JEWSA, is designed to build public opinion so they can finally go in and finish off Assad and attack Iran on the claim that they are going after ISIS.
Yes a ruse that millions are starting to see through. Israel and America sure do have a 'friend in ISIL' don't they?!
Here are the lyrics to that song You Have A Friend In Me, written by Randy Newman:
You've got a friend in meYou've got a friend in meWhen the road looks rough aheadAnd you're miles and milesFrom your nice warm bedJust remember what your old pal saidBoy, you've got a friend in meYou've got a friend in meYou've got a friend in meYou've got a friend in meYou've got troubles, well I've got 'em tooThere isn't anything I wouldn't do for youWe stick together and we see it throughYou've got a friend in meYou've got a friend in me
Some other folks might beA little bit smarter than I amBigger and stronger tooMaybeBut none of them will ever love you the way I doIt's me and youAnd as the years go byBoys, our friendship will never dieYou're gonna seeIt's our destinyYou've got a friend in meYou've got a friend in meYou've got a friend in me
Irene Bonney FaulkesMay 26, 2015 @ 11:34 pmYes indeed, it is obvious ISIS is the creation of Israel, its Mossad, U.S.A., Saudis and British MI5.
For long, the British with their Intelligence expertise and the 'Establishment' with its past and present inroads of the Jews through the marriage of male aristocrats to wealthy Jewesses, have been pursuing their aspirations about oil in the Middle East.
Laurence of Arabia on behalf of the British Government promised the Arabs they would be given Palestine if they would assist in taking it from the Germans in the first World War.
At that time, the Australian Light Brigade made a name for itself. The Empire's brave have always helped win their battles.
It has always been a question as to why ISIS was not capturing and torturing any Jews. Why would it when it was the darling of the said Jews?
The Americana Air force could have detroyed ISIS at any time had it wished to do so. It even refrained from positive assistance to prevent the massacres of so many, including Christians.
How is it that there was never an outry in that country from the very large and major percentage of supposed Christians there? Not a bleep, did those 'sheep' utter to prevent such massacres.
Will their be a reprisal from heaven upon them?
If their economy fails totally, yes, there would be the death of millions of them. Vengeance is not ours but God's as He says.
The souls under the altar will be crying out in heaven for vengeance.
They did so in the period up to A.D.70 (as in the book of Revelation) when the Old Israel was finished for ever by the judgment of the Son of Man in heaven.
Those today pursuing Christians and Moslems are the enemies of Christ and of Christianity. They bear the curse taken on their forbears in Judaism, who said, 'Crucify Him'. The Romans had to obey.
The Judaism they follow is not Old Testament but of the Talmud and Kabbalah.
The believers in that religion are using ISIS to further their long held aims for the Middle East, Islam, Christianity and the world.
Eileen K.May 26, 2015 @ 11:40 pmI'm happy that you wrote on ISIS and its relationship with Israel, Br. Nat.
ISIS is, indeed, a creation of Israel's Mossad; and, that's why it never threatened or attacked the Zionist Entity. Israel supplies its creation with both arms and funds so that it can launch attacks on Israel's enemies - namely, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Hezbollah.
As far as Jewmerica's concerned, its fake airstrikes on ISIS positions fools nobody, as Iranian officials have repeatedly pointed out. Syria's Bashar al-Assad has also pointed out the same fact; that Jewmerica's fight against ISIS is a sham.
I'm disappointed that no large contributions have been coming your way. I'm sure you have a rather large readership, and there are enough of them with enough financial resources to contribute at least $1,000 to help you out.
If a hundred contributed $1,000 each, you'd have $100,000 in your coffers, with which you could maintain your video productions and travel to even more cities to spread the Gospel.
If a hundred contributed $5,000 each, you'd have $500,000.
I'm sorry I'm not in that category, Brother; but I'll be sending you another contribution around next week.
God bless you always,
Eileen
Smart GuyMay 26, 2015 @ 11:56 pmRussia cannot stay out of this war.
To save Christianity and Civilization from the twin evils of radical Islam and Zionism Russia has to enter the war.
Hitting America with an EMP weapon now looks certain.
HugoMay 27, 2015 @ 12:31 amThe result of these Jewish NEOCON instigated wars & chaos''whose goal has always been fulfillment of the Yinon plan using U.S military power as their proxy'' is swarms of desperate refugees washing up on Europe's shores.
The Jewish controlled European M.S.M. then tells Europeans they must accept these desperate people. Europeans accept them because they are decent.
Nowhere does this same M.S.M. inform us that the problem is a purely Jewish created one and that the only nation not accepting any refugees is the one on whose behalf the problem was created in the 1st place''ISRAEL!
But the internet means people are awakening fast.
Small wonder there was a international conference in Israel on May 10th requesting cyber hate crime laws to stop websites like this one naming and shaming the real culprits. Panic is beginning to set in.
http://davidduke.com/50829/
PussPocketMay 27, 2015 @ 12:53 amWhat's with all this constant talk about ISIS playing into the hands of Israel etc.?
There are TONS of people that know, that ISIS is not only an American creation, but that it IS an Israeli Invention.
Surely you've heard and seen plastered all over ''Israeli Secret Intelligence Service''? Surely.
Don't go around thinking ISIS is ''Islamic'', because it just isn't.
That's just the JEWS protecting themselves from the DUMB who believe whatever CNN (Cabala News Network) tells them.
SIGH'... pretty sad the whole ordeal.
jomoMay 27, 2015 @ 5:10 amAnother great explanatory video Brother Nathanael!
CorneliusMay 27, 2015 @ 5:27 amThe Jewish controlled media stated a year ago that ISIS was funded by kidnapping and trucks smuggling oil.
Since that is impossible, I knew it was a cover up, to hide the fact it was funded with drug money from the reestablished heroine trade from occupied Afghanistan.
Flown into Europe and the United States by corrupt elements in the Air Force under CIA supervision.
During the reign of the Sjah of Iran, corrupt elements in the Iranian Air Force, were flying the drugs from Afghanistan straight into Dobbins AFB in Georgia with C-130's. This drug money was used to fund CIA projects.
Now that the CIA has their cash cow back they were able to fund a brand new project: Islamic State.
ebbeMay 27, 2015 @ 6:40 amHi Brother.
Great site wonderful interesting articles.
I'm Muslim Indian SouthAfrican'...my question is how do we all humanity save ourselves from NWO, pagans, zionists jews, immorality usuary or this system?
Greg GroebnerMay 27, 2015 @ 7:26 amThank you, Brother Nathanael.
This video is one especially that Christians need to see; otherwise, the emotional horror at the work of ISIS will be misdirected to only further undermine order and civility in the Mideast.
It seems to me that this destabilization of the Mideast region will continue as long as the US has resources to act internationally. An internal crises would change the equation '-- bad for us in the US, but probably good for other regions of the world. In either case, it is pretty late for the Mideast.
About Brother's financial difficulties, I'd guess that the main problem is not only that we're a bunch of tightwads, but that the anonymous viewers fear that donating is burning a bridge of no return; a definitive paper trail proving the crime of anti-semitism.
So, some ''money-laundering'' scheme needs to be pursued; those with marketable skills who have already burnt that bridge becoming a donation conduit for those willing to pay for those skills but fearing a direct paper trail.
KeyneMay 27, 2015 @ 7:41 amSmart Guy: Are factions of radical islam and Zionism really different, or are they controlled by the same masters? Hmmm'...'...
Brother NathanaelMay 27, 2015 @ 8:04 amDear All -
The rubber finally hit the road. I'm broke. I'm out of money. And I don't want to borrow money from credit cards.
Can someone(s) please bail me out with a sizable donation? Like $5000 or more?
( Even a loan which I will pay back in 10 monthly regular installments/please email me: bronathanael[at]yahoo[dot]com )
If not, then I will not be able to continue these Videos on a regular basis. The production costs are very high due to employing a Videographer to assist me.
I will be forced to spread out in intervals my Videos (1 Video per month) with the few donations I get that keep me barely online. At this point, I don't foresee doing another Video until the end of June due to a dearth of donations.
Last week I sent out an Appeal to 4000 regular viewers and readers. Only 5 responded. This does not bode well for the continuance of my Video productions.
PLEASE HELP!
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PPS A Special Thanks to Margaret C for your care package. God BLESS You dear Margaret!
+Brother Nathanael Kapner @http://brothernathanaelfoundation.org/about
b vitMay 27, 2015 @ 8:16 amYou'd be surprised how many people aren't aware of Greater Israel'....even the Muslims.
Most of them think Greater Israel is Palestine. Palestine is only a new back deck built onto the Jew House. ISIS is helping carve out the Promised Land which stretches ''From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.''
This is not a hunch, guess, conspiracy theory, or BS'.....its happening. We are also witnessing a Muslim Removal Act that makes the Indian Removal Act look like child's play.
The ones not being killed outright are being unsettled and shipped off to various parts of the world - mostly Europe and America where they will be used to help bankrupt the Middle Class. Classic ''Killing of two birds'....''
Ft. NolanMay 27, 2015 @ 8:51 amFor all of the abandoned equipment, Humvees, trucks, et al, now being used by ISIS, did anyone ''Low-Jack'' these vehicles prior to their being shipped? And if so, how difficult is it to find and target these vehicles?
I would go so far as to say that just about every piece of materiel bigger than a footlocker has an RFID chip which allows detection from a mile away (or more!) which should help with finding its location and with that, its current user/owner.
Somebody is playing games and we are being played along with it. [So what else is new?]
VIDEO-Why is the U.S. bringing down the hammer on FIFA? - CNN.com
Wed, 27 May 2015 16:34
Story highlightsMichael Garcia, a onetime U.S. attorney, was tasked with looking into FIFA's bidding processU.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch oversaw the case in Brooklyn, New YorkJeffrey Webb, the FIFA vice president and head of CONCACAF, is one of the people facing chargesThe body that governs soccer, the most popular sport in the world, is a multibillion-dollar behemoth.
Great power, yes. Great responsibility? Not so much, critics say.
FIFA has been regularly accused of bribery and kickbacks, allegations that reached a fever pitch after it awarded Russia and Qatar the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, respectively.
Afterward, the group carried out its own internal investigation and cleared itself.
So why is the United States, a country where soccer ranks far below football and basketball in popularity, now taking top FIFA officials to court?
In order to understand that, we'll have to take you through a journey that, as you'll see, involves Americans at all stages.
First up ...
Michael Garcia
Michael Garcia:The World Cup is a big deal. It comes around every four years, and when it does, it's the biggest sporting spectacle on the planet.
When FIFA awarded the 2018 games to Russia and followed that with the even more head-scratching choice of Qatar in 2022, critics and other governments cried foul. They smelled shenanigans. They wanted a transparent account of the bidding process to see if Qatar and Russia cut any corners.
FIFA brought in Michael Garcia, a onetime U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He was tasked with looking into the behavior of the two nations.
He spent 19 months scrutinizing the bids to host the two tournaments.
By the time he was done, his findings stretched to 350 pages.
So what did FIFA do?
It suppressed the report, released a puny 42-page summary -- and cleared itself of any wrongdoing in November.
Garcia hit back. He labeled FIFA's findings on his report "incomplete and erroneous."
Loretta Lynch
James Comey and Loretta Lynch:As we mentioned earlier, Garcia is a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. The guy who held that job before him? James Comey.
He's the current FBI director. And the developments today are a result of a three-year FBI investigation.
Then there's the second New York connection: Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
She oversaw the case in Brooklyn before she was appointed to lead the Justice Department.
But why did U.S. authorities start looking into FIFA to begin with?
When FIFA cleared itself of wrongdoing, the FBI wasn't ready to do the same.
It wanted to know whether any of the allegations of bribe-taking and kickbacks by FIFA officials took place on American soil.
And it knew it was on the right track, especially after it secured the cooperation of a former top FIFA official -- and an American -- named Chuck Blazer.
Blazer had found himself in a bind. He hadn't paid his taxes for many, many years and was looking at serious prison time. So he became an informant, who provided documents and recordings of meetings with FIFA colleagues that hinted at not-so-kosher dealings, law enforcement officials said.
But still, why would the U.S. care?
That brings us to another name ...
Jeffrey Webb, head of CONCACAF
CONCACAF:The U.S. is part of CONCACAF, the FIFA-affiliated governing body for North America and the Caribbean.
Blazer was the No. 2 man there. And with him as a cooperating witness, American officials set out to see whether corruption touched tournaments held in the Americas.
Federal investigators in the United States say they think it did.
One of the people facing charges now is Jeffrey Webb. He's the FIFA vice president, and he also heads CONCACAF.
Prosecutors said those arrested accepted bribes and kickbacks totaling more than $100 million, from the early 1990s until now.
In return, they provided media, marketing and sponsorship rights to soccer matches in the Americas.
But can the U.S. actually go after FIFA officials?
Yes. Because it is ...
The FBI seal
The United States of America:The United States brought charges against the suspects because the plots were allegedly hatched on American soil.
"According to U.S. request, these crimes were agreed and prepared in the U.S., and payments were carried out via U.S. banks," the Swiss Office of Justice said.
Prosecutors also say they think the broad reach of U.S. tax and banking regulations aid their ability to bring the charges.
In addition, U.S. authorities claim jurisdiction because the American television market, and billions paid by U.S. networks, is the largest for the World Cup.
Who has been charged?
VIDEO-''The President Blinked'': Why Obama Changed Course on the ''Red Line'' in Syria | Obama at War | FRONTLINE | PBS
Wed, 27 May 2015 00:56
In August of 2013, a rebel-held suburb of Damascus was attacked with sarin gas '-- a nerve agent that causes lung muscle paralysis and results in death from suffocation.
The attack killed 1,400 men, women and children, and at the White House, officials asserted ''with high confidence'' that the government of Bashar al-Assad was responsible.
One year earlier, President Barack Obama had described Assad's potential use of chemical weapons as ''a red line'' that would have ''enormous consequences'' and ''change my calculus'' on American military intervention in Syria's civil war.
When Assad appeared to cross that line, Obama ordered the Pentagon to prepare to attack.
''Our finger was on the trigger,'' Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tells veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith in tomorrow's new documentary, Obama at War. ''We had everything in place and we were just waiting for instructions to proceed.''
But as FRONTLINE details in the below excerpt from Obama at War, the president had second thoughts.
''The president was looking for a way to not have to make good on the threat that he had made,'' Col. Andrew Bacevich (Ret.), author of The Limits of Power, tells FRONTLINE. ''I think because the president having drawn that red line realized that he had no appetite for direct military engagement in Syria.''
As the documentary details, wary of involving America in a potentially long-term military engagement, Obama decided to seek airstrike authorization from a Congress he knew to be opposed rather than proceed with his initial plan.
''He was describing it as seeking strong political support for this decisive move. He had all the rhetoric of action,'' David Ignatius of The Washington Post tells FRONTLINE. ''But in truth, it was stepping back from the imminent attack that was ahead '... it was all in motion, and at the last minute, the president blinked.''
Go inside one of the most controversial foreign policy decisions of Obama's presidency in this advance excerpt from Obama at War:
In the end, a surprise diplomatic opportunity arose: following an off-hand remark from Secretary of State John Kerry that Assad could avoid airstrikes by turning over all of his chemical weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov contacted his Syrian counterpart, who got Assad to agree.
''It was the right decision,'' Derek Chollet, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, tells FRONTLINE in tomorrow's film. ''Had we conducted the military campaign that had been planned, we would not have taken out a high percentage of his chemical weapons. The credible threat of force brought about an opening for diplomacy, to come in, which then led to something that no one thought was possible.''
But extremist groups, including what would eventually become ISIS, exploited the decision not to attack, gaining a foothold by promising Syrian locals what the U.S. had not: protection from the Assad regime.
For a full, inside look at the Obama administration's ongoing struggle to deal with Syria's civil war and the accompanying rise of ISIS, watch Obama at War tomorrow night at 10 p.m. EST on PBS.
President Obama pauses while speaking in the White House briefing room on Aug. 20, 2012. In his remarks, the president said use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a "red line." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
VIDEO-Hypocrite! 'US not engaged in major war': Obama Memorial Day remark slammed -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Tue, 26 May 2015 17:54
(C) Reuters / Jonathan ErnstUS President Barack Obama bows his head after placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia May 25, 2015
Barack Obama has made a speech, saying that this Memorial Day is the first in 14 years without major US war. Critics and social media users slammed him as hypocritical, saying the US remains involved in military conflicts and proxy wars."Today is the first Memorial Day in 14 years that the United States is not engaged in a major ground war," Obama said on Memorial Day, a US holiday for remembering those who died while serving in the country's armed forces.
He added that this Memorial Day is the first "since our war in Afghanistan came to an end," but admitted that about 10,000 US troops remain on a mission to train and assist Afghan forces, even though "Afghanistan remains a very dangerous place."
"And as so many families know, our troops continue to risk their lives for us," Obama said.
Obama also said that the wars which America waged were "for democracy, the peace we've laid to preserve it."
The statement by US president was met with strong criticism both from experts and social media users."What a joke. Of course the US is still at war,"wrote Brian Fernandes, a user on Facebook.
"The US still has troops in Afghanistan and plans to keep them there for years. And they have fomented wars in Ukraine, Africa, Syria, and now Yemen. The US is the most barbaric war-mongering nation on Earth," added another, Richard Tina.
Screenshot from facebook.com
The 13-year war US war in Afghanistan ended in December 2014, concluding in a cost of nearly $1 trillion and the lives of over 2,200 Americans, according to the New York Times. Despite America's combat operations being rolled back, troops remained as part of an agreement reached between Washington and Kabul.Afghanistan still sees explosions and shootings. In January three US military contractors were killed in Afghanistan, after gunfire erupted at Kabul International Airport's military facility.
The Taliban's leadership declared that the Obama administration's decision to slow US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan would hamper peace efforts in the country.
Washington is "participating pretty directly in an ongoing conflict in Iraq" in addition to a number of proxy wars that they are supporting," former US marine Ross Caputi told RT.
The war in Afghanistan "is certainly not over, and it won't be over for many years - arguably even after the US troops leave. Wars always leave a destructive wake of violence after them, and there is sort of lag to the violence also."Caputi believes that the US government is attempting to present a certain picture of US foreign policy and US military engagements around the world.
"Most of the time the picture they are trying to present is very different from what is actually going on the ground. This is part of something that they call information operations, and they use a number of tactics in these information operations."
Washington uses"misinformation"which is a part of"perception management," he says.
"So that is what they are doing, they are trying to manage way that the public perceives US foreign policy, even if that means deceiving them."
Countries once invaded or interfered with by the US and its allies - Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia or Syria - have become hotbeds for militants from Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and similar terrorist groups.
Though Washington has not officially declared war since 1941 (in WWII), Syria became the seventh country that Barack Obama - recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize - has bombed in his presidency.Washington is also involved in on-ground training of the military in the countries, engaged in internal wars, including the one in Ukraine. In April, paratroopers of the US 173rd Airborne Brigade arrived in western Ukraine to provide training for Ukrainian government troops who fight against rebels in eastern Ukraine.
VIDEO-U.S. Air Force confirms electromagnetic pulse weapon - CNN Video
Tue, 26 May 2015 07:13
');jQuery(owl._items[0]).find('.media__icon').remove();}}function currentVideoCollectionContainsId (currentVideoId) {var nextVideoIndex = 0,vidObj,i;if (jQuery.isArray(currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length > 0) {for (i = 0; i 0) {for (i = 0; i 0) {nextPlay = currentVideoCollection[getNextVideoIndex(currentVideoId)].videoUrl;if (nextPlay === undefined || nextPlay === null) {nextPlay = currentVideoCollection[0].videoUrl;}moveToNextTimeout = setTimeout(function () {location.href = nextPlay;}, nextVideoPlayTimeout);}}callbackObj = {onAdPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, token, mode, id, duration, blockId, adType) {clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);/* Add VisualRevenue event on video ad start */if (Array.isArray(window._vrq)) {window._vrq.push(['video', 'adroll', configObj.video]);}},onAdEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, token, mode, id, blockId, adType) {/* Add VisualRevenue event on video ad stop */if (Array.isArray(window._vrq)) {window._vrq.push(['video', 'adstop', configObj.video]);}},onCVPReady: function (containerId, cvpId, event) {setCarouselDisplayIndex();},onContentPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);setNowPlaying(contentId);/* Add VisualRevenue event on video start */if (Array.isArray(window._vrq)) {window._vrq.push(['video', 'play', configObj.video]);}var idx,cvp = containerId && window.cnnVideoManager.getPlayerByContainer(containerId).videoInstance.cvp || null,prevVideoId = (window.jsmd && window.jsmd.v && (window.jsmd.v.eVar18 || window.jsmd.v.eVar4)) || '';if (cvp && typeof cvp.reportAnalytics === 'function') {if (prevVideoId.length === 0 && document.referrer && document.referrer.search(/\/videos\//) >= 0) {prevVideoId = document.referrer.replace(/^(?:http|https)\:\/\/[^\/]\/videos\/(.+\.\w+)(?:\/video\/playlists\/.*)?$/, '/video/$1');if (prevVideoId === document.referrer) {prevVideoId = '';}}if (jQuery.isArray(currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length > 0) {idx = getNextVideoIndex(contentId);nextVideoId = currentVideoCollection[idx].videoId;nextVideoUrl = currentVideoCollection[idx].videoUrl;currentVideoCollectionId = (window.jsmd && window.jsmd.v && window.jsmd.v.eVar60) || nextVideoUrl.replace(/^.+\/video\/playlists\/(.+)\//, '$1');}cvp.reportAnalytics('videoPageData', {videoCollection: currentVideoCollectionId,videoBranding: CNN.omniture.branding_content_page,templateType: CNN.omniture.template_type,nextVideo: nextVideoId,previousVideo: prevVideoId,referrerType: '',referrerUrl: document.referrer});}},onContentMetadata: function (containerId, playerId, metadata, contentId, duration, width, height) {var embedContainer = embedLinkHandler.getEmbedContainer();if (typeof metadata !== 'undefined' &&(typeof embedContainer.length !== 'undefined' &&embedContainer.length Boeing has developed a weapon that can target and destroy electronic systems in a specific building.
VIDEO-Autopsy conducted on B.B. King's body after daughters' explosive allegation - CNN.com
Tue, 26 May 2015 06:04
Story highlightsKing died this month in home hospice care in Las VegasHis daughters accuse two of his aides of poisoning himThe coroner's office says there's "no evidence to substantiate the allegations"Two of B.B. King's daughters, Patty King and Karen Williams, made the accusations in identically worded affidavits: "I believe my father was murdered and that he was administered foreign substances."
The allegations were reported by the Associated Press, which was provided the documents by the daughters' lawyer. In it, the family members allege that King was poisoned by two of his closest aides.
John Fudenberg, the coroner for Clark County, Nevada, said initial autopsy results found "no evidence to substantiate the allegations." But full forensic results will take six to eight weeks.
The autopsyKing died May 14 in home hospice care in Las Vegas at age 89. No investigation was conducted at the time of his death. And King's attending physician listed the cause as multi-infarct dementia, which is caused by a series of small strokes.
Fudenberg, the coroner, told CNN the singer's body was shipped from mortuary to the coroner's office on Sunday.
"The family has made some allegations. I can't go into specifics," Fudenberg said Monday: "We were contacted by several of the family members' legal counsel. They were making allegations of foul play."
Blues legend B.B. King dies at age 89
No commentThe daughters' lawyer, Larissa Drohobyczer, did not respond to a CNN call for a comment. King and Williams also refused to comment.
CNN attempted to contact the Las Vegas Police late Monday night about the investigation but was unsuccessful. CNN was also unable to reach the associates who are being accused.
But one of them -- King's business manager, LaVerne Toney -- told the AP that the the daughters have been "making allegations all along. What's new?"
A public viewing for musician is scheduled for Friday at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi. Funeral services are set for the following day.
"Our investigation will not prohibit or delay the services they have planned," Fudenberg said.
VIDEO-Drone Crashes, Hits 2 People During Marblehead Parade CBS Boston
Tue, 26 May 2015 05:34
MARBLEHEAD (CBS) '' A drone flying above a Memorial Day parade crowd lost control, crashed into a building, and landed on a man's head.
Luckily, the incident only left Scot Yount with minor injuries. But the Marblehead resident knows the story could have had a much different ending.
Moments earlier, Yount had been holding his one-year-old daughter, Ellery. Like other parade attendees, he noticed the tiny aircraft hovering above the crowd, capturing video of the festivities.
Yount passed Ellery to his wife and continued watching the parade in front of a toy store at the corner of Washington St and Pleasant St.
Scot Yount and his daughter Ellery (WBZ-TV)
''And then I heard people yell and felt this clunk on my head and the back of my neck,'' Yount told WBZ. ''I realized I just got hit by the thing.''
On Monday afternoon, Yount had a bandage covering a cut on his neck, likely caused by one of the drone propellers. But he refused medical treatment, along with another bystander who had the drone ricochet off her shoulder.
No charges will be filed. Police Chief Bob Picariello told WBZ no permits are required to fly the drone.
Yount is a former television news journalist in the Boston area and said he's followed some of the controversy about drone regulations. He said his close call raises big questions about the tiny aircraft, and believes there should be some license required before people fly drones over crowds of people.
Man flying drone over Marblehead Memorial Day Parade prior to crash (Photo credit: Sean Lorenz)
Federal Aviation Adminstration safety guidelines suggest not flying the aircraft near people.
''That guy (drone operator) has to think about where he flies the thing and what could have happened if he hit my daughter. I'd be pretty upset,'' Yount said.
WBZ contacted the owner of the drone, but has yet to hear back. A police report described the man as very apologetic and embarrassed.
Man who was operating crashed drone (L) and Scot Yount (R) (Image from viewer video)
''He reported that he has flown the drone numerous times without ever having a negative experience,'' the report said. ''He explained that it was poor judgement, and wouldn't be flying the drone over Marblehead again.''
Ryan Kath can be reached at rkath@cbs.com. You can follow him on Twitter and connect with him on Facebook.

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Agenda 21

Amy SHumer CC - Bill Nye.mp3
Bill Nye-Climate Change is Real-Bullship.mp3
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Caliphate!

Bob Woodward- Wrong, Bush Did Not Lie Us Into Iraq.mp3

Drone Nation

Drone Crashes, Hits 2 People During Marblehead Parade.mp3

EuroLand

eu-military-refugee-plan-EUMC.pdf
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FIFA

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Hillary 2016

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JCD Clips

airbus 220 singapore engine failure.mp3
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NWO

British Queen-MY Government.mp3

SCIENCE!

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SnowJob

BILLS-113hr3361rfs-USA FREEDOM ACT.pdf
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Tech

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Words Matter

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