728: It's the Mold!

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 45m
June 7th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir Mark Workman Baron of Galt's Gultch, Sir Brad Dougherty Baron of Jersey Shore, Douglas Chick

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Haggis, Mark McAvoy

Cover Artist: Nick The Rat


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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Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape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''728, 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. § 1728^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.
Agenda 21
Global warming 'pause' caused by glitch in data
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 16:06
Temperature buoy, Nantucket Sound. Once recordings are adjusted to compensate for problems in the way temperatures were measured, a perceived global warming slowdown largely disappears. Photograph: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via The New York Times
Global warming has not undergone a ''pause'' or ''hiatus'', according to US government research that undermines one of the key arguments used by sceptics to question climate science.
The new study reassessed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (Noaa) temperature record to account for changing methods of measuring the global surface temperature over the past century.
The adjustments to the data were slight, but removed a flattening of the graph this century that has lead climate sceptics to claim the rise in global temperatures had stopped.
'No hiatus'''There is no slowdown in warming, there is no hiatus,'' said lead author Dr Tom Karl, who is the director of Noaa's National Climatic Data Centre.Dr Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist and the director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said: ''The fact that such small changes to the analysis make the difference between a hiatus or not merely underlines how fragile a concept it was in the first place.''
The results, published this week in the journal Science, showed the rate of warming over the past 15 years (0.116 degrees per decade) was almost exactly the same as, in fact slightly higher than, the past five decades (0.113 degrees per decade).
In 2013, the UN's most comprehensive report on climate science made a tentative observation that the years since 1998 had seen a ''much smaller increasing trend'' than the preceding half century. The results highlighted the inadequacy of using the global mean surface temperature as the primary yardstick for climate change.
Dr Karl said: ''There's been a lot of work done trying to understand the so-called hiatus and understand where is this missing heat.'' A series of studies have since identified a number of factors, including heat transferred into deep oceans and small volcanic eruptions, that affected the temperature at the surface of the Earth.
''Those studies are all quite valid and what they suggest is had those factors not occurred the warming rate would even be greater than what we report,'' said Dr Karl.
'' (Guardian service)
The global warming 'hiatus' never actually happened, study says | The Verge
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 23:34
Global warming hasn't slowed down '-- we were just measuring it wrong, according to a new study published today in the journal Science.
In 2013, a landmark UN report on climate change described a strange contradiction: greenhouse gases were still on the rise, but Earth's surface temperatures hadn't increased as fast as expected. Researchers have spent years trying to explain this phenomenon, dubbed a "global warming hiatus," while skeptics have seized upon it as evidence that warnings about human-driven climate change were overblown. But a new report suggests that there was no significant decrease in global warming over the last 15 years. In short, the hiatus never happened.
This result directly challenges what the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in 2013, when it reported that global temperatures rose at a far lower rate between 1998 and 2012 than from 1951 to 2012 (0.05°C per decade compared to 0.12°C per decade). According to the authors of today's study, however, the IPCC's data was flawed. Using corrected measurements and more recent data, they find that temperatures rose at a rate of 0.106°C per decade between 1998 and 2014, more than twice the rate they reported with older data and without adjusting for biases. That's also on par with the 0.113°C rate they report for 1950 to 1999.
"There was never a hiatus to begin with."
"Our analysis tells us that there was never a hiatus to begin with," says Russell Vose, head of climate science at the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a co-author of today's study.
In its 2013 report, the IPCC acknowledged that 15-year hiatuses are "common" in historical records, suggesting that the apparent decline may be due to natural weather variations. But the evidence was perplexing given the ongoing rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gases, and because it contradicted most computer projections. Several studies have suggested that the increased heat absorbed by deep oceans may be to blame, while others have pointed to volcanic activity, lower solar energy levels, or air pollution.
The NOAA study would appear to undermine these hiatus studies, but Vose says that's not the case. "If those various factors weren't operating during that period of time, we might actually have seen even more warming," he says.
(NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information)
The results come as surface temperature datasets are expanding to cover more weather observation stations, resulting in more accurate readings. The authors analyzed more than double the amount of data previously compiled by the NOAA, from buoys and commercial ships as well as the land surface. In doing so, they took into account the variations on how ships and buoys collect ocean temperatures as well as the recent increase in land observation stations '-- factors that the IPCC did not consider.
"The fact that such small changes to the analysis make the difference between a hiatus or not merely underlines how fragile a concept it was in the first place," says Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at the Columbia University Earth Institute who was not involved in today's study. For some climate scientists, the notion of a recent hiatus was always tenuous, if not a red herring. As they have pointed out, overall temperatures still rose during the supposed hiatus period, and the 15-year time frame was too short to separate signal from noise.
"This paper will have very significant policy implications."
"I think for scientists, the hiatus was not regarded as something that was fundamentally changing the picture of global warming," says Ronald Prinn, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT, who was not involved in the NOAA study. But he says it could have stronger repercussions at the political level, since climate change skeptics may no longer be able to point to the hiatus to make their case. "I think that this paper will have very significant policy implications," he adds.
But there are still some major gaps that remain to be filled. Experts say the relative lack of temperature data from the Arctic is most glaring, as the authors acknowledge, since that region has warmed much faster than the rest of the globe. Others argue that using 1950 as a baseline year is misleading, since global warming didn't accelerate until the 1970s. But for those who never bought into the hiatus to begin with, today's findings are a welcomed affirmation.
"I hope that this study helps to put this false idea of a hiatus to rest," says Stefan Rahmstorf, a professor of ocean physics at Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who was not involved in the study. "It didn't have any merit in the first place."
NOAA Fiddles With Climate Data To Erase The 15-Year Global Warming 'Hiatus'
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:43
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists have found a solution to the 15-year ''pause'' in global warming: They ''adjusted'' the hiatus in warming out of the temperature record.
New climate data by NOAA scientists doubles the warming trend since the late 1990s by adjusting pre-hiatus temperatures downward and inflating temperatures in more recent years.
''Newly corrected and updated global surface temperature data from NOAA's [National Centers for Environmental Information] do not support the notion of a global warming 'hiatus,''' wrote NOAA scientists in their study presenting newly adjusted climate data.
To increase the rate in warming, NOAA scientists put more weight on certain ocean buoy arrays, adjusted ship-based temperature readings upward, and slightly raised land-based temperatures as well. Scientists said adjusted ship-based temperature data ''had the largest impact on trends for the 2000-2014 time period, accounting for 0.030°C of the 0.064°C trend difference.'' They added that the ''buoy offset correction contributed 0.014°C'... to the difference, and the additional weight given to the buoys because of their greater accuracy contributed 0.012°C.''
NOAA says for the years 1998 to 2012, the ''new analysis exhibits more than twice as much warming as the old analysis at the global scale,'' at 0.086 degrees Celsius per decade compared to 0.039 degrees per decade.
''This is clearly attributable to the new [Sea Surface Temperature] analysis, which itself has much higher trends,'' scientists noted in their study. ''In contrast, trends in the new [land surface temperature] analysis are only slightly higher.''
Global surface temperature data shows a lack of statistically significant warming over the last 15 years '-- a development that has baffled climate scientists. Dozens of explanations have been offered to explain the hiatus in warming, but those theories may be rendered moot by NOOA's new study.
NOAA's study, however, notes the overall warming trend since 1880 has not been significantly changed. What's increased is the warming trend in recent decades.
''Our new analysis now shows the trend over the period 1950-1999, a time widely agreed as having significant anthropogenic global warming, is 0.113 [degrees Celsius per decade], which is virtually indistinguishable with the trend over the period 2000-2014'" of 0.116 degrees per decade, according to the study.
The U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's ''statement of two years ago '-- that the global surface temperature has shown a much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years than over the past 30 to 60 years' '-- is no longer valid,'' the study claims.
But that's not all NOAA did to increase the warming trend in recent decades. Climate expert Bob Tisdale and meteorologist Anthony Watts noted that to ''manufacture warming during the hiatus, NOAA adjusted the pre-hiatus data downward.''
''If we subtract the [old] data from the [new] data'... we can see that that is exactly what NOAA did,'' Tisdale and Watts wrote on the science blog Watts Up With That.
''It's the same story all over again; the adjustments go towards cooling the past and thus increasing the slope of temperature rise,'' Tisdale and Watts added. ''Their intent and methods are so obvious they're laughable.''
NEXT PAGE: 'Adjusting Good Data Upwards To Match Bad Data Seems Questionable'
Tags: Anthony Watts, Barack Obama, Bob Tisdale, Cato Institute, Chip Knappenberger, Georgia Tech, Judith Curry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Patrick Michaels, Richard Lindzen
Lost and found: Earth's missing heat
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 23:02
What if the missing heat has been there all along? In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change flagged an odd phenomenon: Atmospheric temperature data collected over the past few decades suggested that global warming had slowed down beginning around 1998. Global warming skeptics crowed, and scientists delved into the global climate system to find out where the missing heat had gone. But a new analysis suggests that the real culprits are the data themselves. When better corrections for various sources of bias are applied to the data, the authors say, the so-called global warming hiatus vanishes'--and in fact, they argue, global warming may have sped up.
LMI Government Consulting | News Item
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 22:59
Asheville, N.C., June 4, 2015 '-- A new article published in Science, and co-authored by LMI climate analytics expert James McMahon, refutes the notion that climate change is ''on hiatus,'' finding that global surface temperatures, in fact, continue to increase. The research was led by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) in Asheville, N.C., and addresses the ''global warming hiatus,'' a much-studied phenomenon referring to the period of relatively little increase in globally averaged surface temperatures since about 1998. By performing a new global surface temperature analysis that contains improved time-dependent bias corrections for ocean sea surface temperatures, a more comprehensive set of land surface air temperature stations, and two additional years of data that were not available to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, researchers discovered that global trends are higher than reported by the IPCC'--especially in recent decades'--and that the central estimate for the rate of warming during the first 15 years of the 21st century is at least as great as the last half of the 20th century. McMahon, who serves as senior advisor to the article's lead author, NCEI Director Thomas R. Karl, has significant experience in physics and atmospheric chemistry, offering a complementary analytical perspective to NOAA's climate scientists. ''LMI works with our clients to offer practical solutions to complex problems; measuring the globally averaged surface temperature of the Earth is one of those problems,'' McMahon said. ''When scientists from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information were analyzing the data, they found that explaining the changes was a complex task. LMI was an integral part of the team that helped distill the complicated science into easy to understand language and figures.'' ''LMI's mission to serve at the highest levels requires us to push the limits of understanding on the biggest challenges facing our clients,'' McMahon said. ''Understanding the risks and opportunities posed by the changing climate will continue to grow in importance for our clients. To respond to this growing need, LMI is strengthening our climate services offering, including providing strategic and scientific advice to clients such as NOAA.''
About LMILMI is a government consulting firm committed to helping government leaders and managers reach decisions that make a difference. LMI draws on its 50 years of experience as a pioneer in logistics by applying an unmatched knowledge of people, processes, and assets to a variety of sectors, including defense, intelligence, healthcare, energy and environment, homeland security, and civil government.
Contact UsTo learn more about our services and other LMI initiatives, contact us today
LMI Government Consulting | Officers
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 22:57
Download the ReportOur steadfast adherence to a principled approach led LMI to stellar outcomes for our clients and for ourselves in 2014'--just as it has since our very beginnings.Download now >>
Contact UsTo learn more about LMI and what we can do for you, contact us today.
LMI Government Consulting | History
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 22:55
With a track record of success that now runs over 50 years, LMI has lots of reasons to celebrate. We've accomplished far more than could possibly have been envisioned back in 1961, when we began as a small group of logistics specialists. Since then, we have grown into a thriving, diverse, 900+ person strong organization that serves every agency in the U.S. government, and numerous state, local, and global organizations. We have worked on thousands of engagements, solving problems that cross a broad spectrum of functional areas'--from long-standing logistics challenges to new areas, such as environmental management and sustainability.
The past 50 years have been good to LMI, but we're just getting started. Read below for highlights of our storied career, and see why we're ready to keep making our mark on government management, far into the future.
Our OriginsIn September 1961, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara sent a memorandum to President John F. Kennedy, advising ''that we can achieve major breakthroughs in logistics management, where we spend half of the Defense budget, by sponsoring the establishment of a special, full-time organization of highly talented business management specialists.'' President Kennedy agreed, and three weeks later'--October 3, 1961'--the Logistics Management Institute was born.
The Early DaysLMI's Certificate of Incorporation established LMI's objectives, which included engaging in and procuring research, development, engineering, and advisory services for the United States government or any nonprofit organization operated exclusively for scientific, educational, or charitable purposes. Secretary McNamara summarized LMI's original intent this way: ''LMI is to be a fact-finding and research organization, designed to seek solutions to [highly complex logistics] problems.''
The first group of LMI Trustees included such luminaries as Charles H. Kellstadt, former Chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Company, writer and management consultant Peter Drucker, Professor Carlton Pederson of Stanford University, Dean Stanley E. Teele of Harvard University, and Professor Sterling Livingston of the Harvard Business School.
As an FFRDCIn 1985, after nearly a quarter of a century as a nonprofit, the Deputy Secretary of Defense designated LMI a federally funded research and development center. As an FFRDC, LMI was precluded from competing with profit-seeking firms to obtain its work. However, by 1998, LMI had grown substantially and faced compromising limitations as an FFRDC. Congressional restrictions on FFRDC funding were forcing LMI to turn away long-standing clients that needed research and analysis support. Meanwhile, demand grew to apply LMI knowledge and expertise across both civil and defense agencies.
Thus, the Board of Directors voted to end LMI's status as an FFRDC and to return the company to a not-for-profit government consulting firm status. This change allowed LMI to maintain the ethics and cultural practices it developed as an FFRDC, but freed it to pursue government consulting work without restriction.
TodayToday, LMI is still governed by an esteemed Board of Directors and operates with complete integrity, free of commercial and political interest. We continue to act as a trusted advisor to government managers, both global and domestic, and to bring the best, most creative management and technical minds to bear on solving complex issues.
We still operate the world's most advanced logistics consulting group, but have expanded our scope to provide world-class expertise in the following:
We now serve public sector clients in:
50 Years of InnovationSee how LMI's historic past has shaped a vibrant consultancy today, and how we make a difference everyday.
Reflections, Insights, and the FutureSenior leadership past and present, share their experiences of helping to shape LMI.
Nelson FordLMI President & CEO
Paul IgnatiusLMI Co-Founder & Chairman of the Board 1987-1993
Perkins PedrickLMI President 1978-1989
Lt. General Robert PursleyLMI President 1989-1992
General William TuttleLMI President 1992-2001
Contact UsTo learn more about LMI and what we can do for you, contact us today.
Coming Soon: NCEI | National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 23:01
The demand for high-value environmental data and information has dramatically increased in recent years. To improve our ability to meet that demand, NOAA's existing three National Data Centers'--the National Climatic Data Center, the National Geophysical Data Center, and the National Oceanographic Data Center, which includes the National Coastal Data Development Center'--are merging into the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI).
NCEI will be responsible for hosting and providing access to one of the most significant archives on Earth, with comprehensive oceanic, atmospheric, and geophysical data. From the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun and from million-year-old sediment records to near real-time satellite images, NCEI will be the Nation's leading authority for environmental information.
The transition to NCEI will take time and will continue the tradition of excellence, unmatched expertise, and trusted, authoritative data that the previous three Data Centers established. The top priority during the transition to NCEI is to maintain the full spectrum of atmospheric, oceanographic, coastal, and geophysical products and services that the Data Centers currently deliver. While NCEI's product portfolio will evolve as current products and services are assessed, no products or services are currently slated to be cut or reduced.
In the coming weeks, we will keep you informed as we continue with the merger. Our goal is to ensure this process remains as transparent as possible to our users. We are committed to continuing to provide you with the data, information, and services you have come to rely on.
If you have specific questions about this merger, please let us know at ncei.info@noaa.gov.
Flash - Path to 2 C emerges as thorn at climate talks - France 24
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 06:46
(C) AFP/File / by Celine Serrat | The world community has rallied around the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), but how to get there is becoming a headache
BONN (AFP) - The world community has rallied around the goal of limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), but how to get there is becoming a headache.
One of the many knots to untangle at UN climate talks is whether to set a trajectory for reaching 2 C -- and if so, how.
Some countries say the 2 C goal itself is too vague, and needs to be buttressed by a long-term ceiling for greenhouse gas emissions.
"It would be clearer and more concrete than 2 C. But it's a tough issue," says French negotiator Laurence Tubiana, whose country will host the November 30 to December 11 UN parlay in Paris where the pact is set to be sealed.
The idea of a pathway first arose in 2009 at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, where a small group of leaders, desperate to avoid a fiasco, cobbled together an agreement setting a 2 C target.
It was only the following year that members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) endorsed the goal.
Negotiators also specified the limit be set against a benchmark of temperature before the Industrial Revolution, when coal began to be burned in big quantities, followed by gas and oil.
But important stepping stones for reaching 2 C have not yet been put in place.
And the mood in Bonn, at the halfway point in an 11-day round of pre-Paris talks, shows how problematic the issue is.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that on current emissions trends, the planet could be up to 4.8 C warmer by 2100, which would drive an increase in hunger, floods and homelessness.
For a good chance of attaining the 2 C limit, global annual carbon emissions must fall by 40 to 70 percent by 2050 compared to 2010 levels -- and to zero or below by 2100, the IPCC says.
Translating the requirements of science into political language that satisfies 195 nations, including highly climate-vulnerable states and major users or producers of fossil fuels, is a big ask.
Several options for the draft accord are being booted around.
Small-island states are calling for carbon emissions to peak as soon as possible to limit warming to 1.5 C, a safer but far tougher goal.
European nations, meanwhile, want a reduction of at least 60 percent by 2050 over 2010 levels.
"If countries really want to show that they are moving out of fossil fuels, as the IPCC recommends, they have to set a target for 2050 and a deadline for reaching zero emissions," says Alix Mazounie, a French activist with the Climate Action Network (CAN).
But, as a European negotiator acknowledged, "the problem with setting a precise figure is that it opens up the question over who does what to get there.
"Any attempt to calculate national (carbon-cutting) contributions for 2050 will be a surefire failure."
- Textual trap? -
But sketchier objectives may also be unacceptable.
Big fossil-fuel exporters Saudi Arabia and Australia, for instance, are against anti-oil and anti-coal terms such as "decarbonisation" of the economy.
"Net zero emissions by 2100," an idea supported by the United States, Canada and Japan, seems to be making headway in some quarters, but not others.
"Adding 'net' to a goal of 'zero emissions' may prove to be a trap," British campaign group ActionAid says.
The term may empower countries to count carbon-absorbing forests and farmland towards emissions offsets, rather than actively curb the pollution, it said.
With just three words, the UNFCCC "could drive devastating land grabs and hunger through the large-scale use of land, biofuels and biomass to absorb rising carbon dioxide emissions", ActionAid warned.
by Celine Serrat
? 2015 AFP
War on Chicken
Egg shortage
Avian flu outbreak that has seen 44m US birds culled could mean the end of eggs | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:02
25% of America's industrial egg product production offline due to avian fluCalifornian drought expected to make problems worseMore than 44m chickens and other birds have been culled since DecemberEggless alternatives invented by San Francisco firm seeing record interest By Mark Prigg For Dailymail.com
Published: 16:46 EST, 2 June 2015 | Updated: 22:44 EST, 2 June 2015
America is facing a major egg crisis due to bird flu, experts have warned.
They say 25 per cent of the country's egg production is already offline due to the virus, with more producers expecting to be hit.
To replace eggs, manufacturers are increasingly turning a hi-tech San Francisco firm that makes an 'eggless egg' using a secret blend of plants.
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25 per cent of the country's egg production is already offline due to avian influenza, with more producers expecting to be hit.
WHAT BIRD FLU HAS HIT The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed bird flu in commercial and backyard flocks in 16 states so far.
Four states (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska) have declared an emergency response to deal with the outbreak.
The H5N2 strain of the virus has been found in commercial and backyard flocks in 14 states so far: Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.
The H5N8 strain has appeared in commercial and backyard flocks in California, Idaho, Indiana, Oregon and Washington.
In Canada, the H5N2 strain was confirmed in Ontario and British Columbia, and the H5N1 strain was confirmed in British Columbia.
More than 44 million chickens, turkeys and other birds have been culled since last December.
The American Bakers Association (ABA) is among those urging bakers and other food makers to look at alternatives.
'Due to the avian influenza, egg supplies are decreasing at an alarming rate,' said Robb MacKie, ABA President & CEO.
'Recent data shows that approximately 25 percent of industrial egg product production, including liquid, frozen, and powdered eggs, is now offline due to the avian influenza.
'This represents a major blow to egg product ingredients bakers rely upon, and without quickly accessing additional supplies, bakers will face a dire situation.'
The ABA has called for the government to boost imports.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed bird flu in commercial and backyard flocks in 16 states so far.
Four states (Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska) have declared an emergency response to deal with the outbreak.
The H5N2 strain of the virus has been found in commercial and backyard flocks in 14 states so far: Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.
The H5N8 strain has appeared in commercial and backyard flocks in California, Idaho, Indiana, Oregon and Washington.
In Canada, the H5N2 strain was confirmed in Ontario and British Columbia, and the H5N1 strain was confirmed in British Columbia.
Dozens of countries have imposed total or partial bans on U.S. poultry and egg imports since the outbreak of what is called highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).
Each of the top 10 importers has introduced restrictions.
Total bans have been imposed by China, South Korea and Angola, whose markets were valued at nearly $700 million last year.
However, according to Josh Tetrick of Hampton Creek, the firm behind the plant alternative, the time is right to shift away from eggs.
'There is a real opportunity here to reboot the food system,' he told Dailymail.com.
'This is not about a quick fix - its about rethinking the system from the ground up'.
Although Hampton Creek began offering an eggless mayonnaise, now carried by chains such as Whole Foods around the globe, Tetrick also revealed the firm has plans to launch everything from a pancake mix to scrambled eggs within months - all using the firm's blend of plants.
Tetrick says that in recent weeks, the firm has seen unprecedented demand.
'We are seeing firms going from asking for a sample to asking is we can replace their entire mayonnaise order within days,' he said.
'We are currently ramping up our production, and we are confident we can meet the increased demand.
'As well as avian flu, California is dealing with drought, and our production methods use far less water,' he said.
Avian flu outbreak set to increase price of eggs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has confirmed bird flu in commercial and backyard flocks in 16states so far.
HAMPTON CREEKHampton Creek, based in San Francisco, analyzed thousands of plants to a mix that can replicate mayonnaise.
Its best-known product, Just Mayo, is a mayonnaise that uses a type of Canadian yellow pea as a substitute for eggs.
the firm also makes a range of flavoured mayonnaise products, and cookie dough, and its products are available at Costco, Dollar Tree, Walmart and Whole Foods.
The avian flu outbreak has hit producers in the midwest hardest.
Indiana is training 300 prisoners to kill infected chickens and banning bird shows at county fairs. Mississippi is considering road barricades and planning biosecurity measures. Iowa is trying to figure out how to deal with a mountain of dead - and reeking - chickens.
Federal health experts are hopeful that the virulent bird flu that has devastated Midwestern poultry farms in recent months has reached its peak and will taper off as the weather warms.
Fears that the virus, which has led to the deaths of nearly 45 million birds in 16 states and Canada, could come roaring back in the fall, when temperatures cool, have agriculture officials across the U.S. preparing for the worst.
Even states that haven't been hit yet are taking no chances.
'We're better safe than sorry,' said Dr. Robert Cobb, state veterinarian for Georgia, the nation's leading producer of chickens raised for meat, which has not had any cases so far.
'All the research I've been able to find is showing that this virus could likely stick around for years.'
After a backyard flock in northeastern Indiana tested positive in early May - the state's first case of the virus - Indiana's State Board of Animal Health banned all bird shows at county fairs this summer, following similar moves in Iowa, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
The board and other state agencies also began planning what they would need in the event of a wider outbreak, including portable toilets and protective gear for personnel.
And they asked the Department of Corrections to begin training non-violent offenders to help with any culls needed.
In late May, the first group of 50 inmates were fit-tested for respirators, and began training on how to safely remove chickens from cages and transfer them to an enclosed cart used to asphyxiate the birds.
Hampton Creek sells a range of its egless product, called Just Mayo, in supermarkets across the US, and is carried by Costco and Whole Foods among others.
Denise Derrer, spokeswoman for the state board of animal health, said crews of low-level offenders have also helped with state recovery efforts after floods and tornadoes and will be used in the event of a wider outbreak.
'We can't count on warm weather killing off this virus,' Derrer said.
To the south, Mississippi State Veterinarian Jim Watson, whose state has so far escaped the outbreak, is prepping for the virus to arrive later this year or in early 2016. He and his team have discussed road barricades, biosecurity and the possibility of declaring a state of emergency.
The team has purchased a second foam-based system, used to spray inside infected barns and suffocate birds.
'We're on the Mississippi River, so there's going to have to be geese and ducks that are contaminated coming down that flyway,' Watson said. 'Even though we have very few chicken farms on the water, those birds are going to stray all over the state during hunting season.'
Just a day after USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford told Reuters last week that the agency believed the worst was over, Nebraska announced that a new egg farm with 3 million hens had tested positive. Iowa also reported another outbreak, resulting in the need to cull 1 million more birds.
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Women and Food - Textures
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All this fear over terrorism
Will you die from a terrorist attack? Some will
Some will be hit by a truck
Die of lung cancer
I worry about dying and regretting spending time on stupid stuff
Like worrying about terrorism, or watching senseless mind controlling Television
That's the Genesis of this show, not work for the man and his dollar, work for my soul
Isis tweets helped US to bomb command centre | The Times
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 16:08
A series of boastful tweets by Islamic State fighters helped the US military to destroy a command centre that lies at the heart of the jihadists' social media operation.
Messages were picked up by a Florida-based US air force monitoring group, which used them to help direct jets towards the target within 22 hours of the messages being sent.
Fighter aircraft dropped three joint direct attack munitions (JDAMs), which destroyed the building. Its location was not disclosed.
''[We went from] a post on social media to bombs on target within less than 24 hours,'' said General Herbert ''Hawk'' Carlisle, head
If US Is Really Able To Target ISIS Sites Based On Social Media Posts... Why Is It Trying To Stop ISIS From Using Social Media? | Techdirt
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 16:05
You may have heard the story that came out recently, claiming that the US Air Force was able to bomb an ISIS headquarters building based on a photo posted to social media. The story has gone somewhat viral and has been getting a lot of attention. The key bit, from DefenseTech:''The guys that were working down out of Hurlburt, they're combing through social media and they see some moron standing at this command. And in some social media, open forum, bragging about the command and control capabilities for Daesh, ISIL. And these guys go: 'We got an in.' So they do some work, long story short, about 22 hours later through that very building, three [Joint Direct Attack Munitions] take that entire building out.''
Frankly, this story has the "too good to be true" or "too good to fact check" kind of feel to it -- and tons of press have picked up on it. We'll leave it to others to sort out whether or not it really happened. However, if it did happen, doesn't it seem bizarre that folks in our government are -- at the very same time -- insisting that social media sites should be censoring and shutting down ISIS social media accounts? After all, if they can provide so much information to allow us to bomb ISIS headquarters in under a day (remember: "we kill based on metadata"), then shouldn't the US government actually be encouraging more of these "morons" to be posting photos and revealing their whereabouts and other secrets?It seems like the US always struggles with this kind of crap. Nearly a decade ago, we had Senators demanding that YouTube not allow "terrorists" to keep their accounts, even as YouTube coverage was helping to reveal atrocities and bring more attention to horrible attacks. Or we'd see stories of law enforcement using Craiglist to help bust prostitution rings while still blaming Craigslist and demanding they stop allowing such things to happen on the platform.
Why is it that grandstanding American politicians always want to blame the platforms for people doing bad stuff on those platforms, even when those platforms appear to provide all sorts of useful information that apparently help law enforcement, intelligence agencies and the military do their jobs?
Death Plunge: ISIS throws gay men off buildings under guise of Sharia law | Fox News
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 00:16
ISIS militants publicly executed three unidentified men by throwing them off the roof a building in Mosul as hundreds gathered to watch.The condemned were held by their feet and dropped head first.
The Islamic State has released a series of horrifying photos showing blindfolded men tossed head-first off a building because, ISIS claimed, they were gay.
In photos obtained by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), ISIS militants are shown publicly executing the unidentified men for violating Sharia law.
A crowd of spectators, including children, was gathered below the 100-foot building in Mosul as the men were held by their ankles and then sent plunging to their deaths. The photos were believed to be recent.
The photos were released by ISIS on Wednesday via social media and in a report by the terror group entitled, ''Implementation of the Punishment of Those Who Have Committed Acts of Homosexuality'' on the jihadist online forum Shumoukh Al-Islam, according to the research group.
Warning: extremely graphic images
The terror group also recently has employed ''flirt squads,'' in which militants pose as homosexuals in an attempt to lure gay men out into the open for death by public execution.
''ISIS wants the Muslim world to know that it is executing gays because it displays their credentials as enforcers of Sharia law,'' Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst for The Clarion Project told FoxNews.com. ''There is widespread anti-homosexual sentiment in the Muslim world because of the belief that Sharia requires the execution of gays. Homosexuals are often not only seen as harming themselves but as dire threats to society as a whole.''
The extremist group's hatred of gays has been widely known, with reports of public executions coming as early as last December.
In recent months, ISIS has publicly executed men accused of homosexuality in both Iraq and Syria by not only throwing them off tall buildings, but by burning them alive or stoning them to death. The accused are often shot if they happen to survive the brutal methods, according to MEMRI.
''You won't see a significant backlash to ISIS' crimes because there is no gay rights movement in the Muslim world and the gay rights advocates in the West are usually silent when it comes to persecution overseas,'' Mauro said. ''From ISIS' perspective, they only stand to gain from executing gays and telling the world about it.''
Horrified activists in Syria have said in recent reports that ISIS fighters have taken their intolerance to a new low. Photos on social media show the doomed, blindfolded men being hugged just before they are executed.
"ISIS has never forgiven one person," Abu Mohammed Hussam, of the activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said to FoxNews.com in May. ''They kill people and then say... God will forgive. They hug the men to show the people who are watching that ISIS is not at fault."
In addition to homosexuality, ISIS considers several so-called offenses punishable by execution including blasphemy and consorting with the enemy. The Islamic State also publicly stoned a woman to death after she was accused of adultery.
Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych
ISIS conducts more executions of men for being gay | Slideshow | Fox News
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 00:15
ISIS conducts more executions of men for being gay | Slideshow | Fox NewsIRAQISIS conducts more executions of men for being gay
On June 3, 2015, Islamic State (ISIS) operatives in Iraq's Ninveh province published photos of a public execution in Mosul of three men convicted of acts of homosexuality.The three men were blindfolded and dropped head first from the roof of a tall building in front of a large crowd of spectators, including children.
Publicly executed by ISIS for being gayISIS militants publicly executed three unidentified men by throwing them off the roof a building in Mosul as hundreds gathered to watch.The condemned were held by their feet and dropped head first.
Warning: Images are of an extremely graphic natureThe executions were held at atop a building in the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul in Iraq.
Warning: Images are of an extremely graphic natureThe terrorist organization has been holding this public executions since December and those who survive the brutal fall are shot to death.
Warning: Images are of an extremely graphic natureHundreds gather to watch the executions from below.
Warning: Images are of an extremely graphic naturean ISIS operative delivers statement to the public before the executions begin.
On June 3, 2015, Islamic State (ISIS) operatives in Iraq's Ninveh province published photos of a public execution in Mosul of three men convicted of acts of homosexuality.The three men were blindfolded and dropped head first from the roof of a tall building in front of a large crowd of spectators, including children.
ISIS conducts more executions of men for being gayWarning: Graphic Content: Wreckage from Malaysia jetliner crash site in UkraineExecution of captured Jordanian pilotControversial cartoons published by Charlie HebdoKate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, gives birth to baby girlSLIDESHOW: Photos of Iraqi military gear claimed by ISIS in Ramadi(C)2015 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. All market data delayed 20 minutes. Privacy - Terms - FAQ
Ministry of Truth
Foundations plan to pay news media to cover radical UN agenda | Fox News
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 05:01
Oct. 16, 2012: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L), U.N. Foundation founder and chairman Ted Turner (C) and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan pose as they celebrate the 15th anniversary of Turner's historic $1 billion gift to the U.N. at the Global Leadership Awards dinner hosted by the U.N. Foundation and United Nations Association-USA in New York. (Reuters)
EXCLUSIVE: The United Nations Foundation created by billionaire Ted Turner, along with a branch of media giant Thomson Reuters, is starting to train a squadron of journalists and subsidize media content in 33 countries'--including the U.S. and Britain--in a planned $6 million effort to popularize the bulky and sweeping U.N.-sponsored Sustainable Development Goals, prior to a global U.N. summit this September. where U.N. organizers hope they will be endorsed by world leaders.
The unprecedented media push is formally intended to start on May 25 but is already underway. It is intended to help breathe some new life into a sprawling U.N. effort--supported by, among others, the Obama administration--to create a global social and environmental agenda for the next 15 years.
It is taking place in parallel with an equally strong but unrelated media cheerleading push by supporters of strong climate change action to help set in stone a new global greenhouse gas emissions treaty at a Paris summit in December.
A junior partner in the U.N. Foundation media training and subsidy effort is a not-for-profit organization known as the Jynwel Charitable Foundation Limited, whose co-director is a flamboyant Malaysian financial named Jho Low. Jynwel, a Low family creation, also recently plunked down $25 million to take over a sputtering U.N. humanitarian news agency known as IRIN and sharpen its message.
The training and subsidy effort ''comes at a time when people want to know what it will take to eradicate extreme poverty and tackle the big questions related to sustainability,'' Kathy Calvin, CEO of the U.N. Foundation, told Fox News. ''If our work helps encourage the media to dive deeper into these issues, we are achieving something that is core to our mission but also a public good worthy of 2015's moment in history.''
''This is an important year or a robust decision on what the world and the U.N. will do in the next 15 years,'' added Aaron Sherinian, the Foundation's chief communications and marketing officer. ''We thought we would do well to connect as many people to the conversation as possible.''
In fact, the media-training-and-subsidy blitz could also be described as extraordinary bid to pump up public interest and editorial support for a vast and wobbly U.N. campaign to create a new social and environmental agenda that is too nebulous to criticize and too ponderous to implement with any coherent effect. Nonetheless, that agenda is intended to drive national social, economic and environmental agendas for the next 15 years.
The new goals, known as the SDGs, have been under formal discussion in various U.N. fora for the past year. They consist of 17 major goals and 169 related targets and amount to a broad-based socialist and/or progressive agenda that by 2030 promises to end poverty and all forms of malnutrition everywhere, ''attain healthy lives for all,'' ''reduce income equality within and between countries,'' and ''promote sustainable production and consumption,'' among many other things.
The subtargets cover everything from ''create and diversify seed and plant banks,'' to ''end preventable newborn, infant and under-five deaths,'' to ''achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including young people and persons with disabilities,'' along with much, much more.
The goals are the centerpiece of what the U.N. calls the ''post-2015 development process'' They are a grab-bag of environmental and social development measures that are too sprawling in scope and too open-ended to be effective, or apparently even to be widely understood.
So far as the new training and subsidy initiative is concerned, however, the problem is seen less in terms of problematic content and more in terms of popularizing the message by refocusing and re-educating the media'--as well as helping to pay some of them for delivering the new intellectual freight.
''Very often the problem of the UN is that the speeches long, full of acronyms, and the jargon is difficult to understand,'' Monique Villa, head of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, told Fox News. ''Making the jargon of the U.N. understandable is quite important.''
Under the plan, Villa's foundation, Thomson Reuters' non-profit arm, will carry out the training under contract from U.N. Foundation. (The Thomson Reuters Foundation, according to its website, also carries on for-profit training sessions.)
Journalists from Australia to Peru, and from Britain to Zimbabwe will be given five-day training programs by instructors drawn largely from the ranks of former Reuters journalists. The material will include encompass among other things how to better understand and explain U.N. opaque concepts of sustainability, with at least one section devoted to ''financial and economic concepts,'' Villa said.
Training sessions for the journalists'--whose parent organizations are as yet unnamed'--are slated to run through August.
U.S. training sessions will take place in New York and Los Angeles, although who will be given instruction'--and whose editorial platforms will be subsidized'--has not yet announced. Overall subsidies are expected to range between $25,000 and $100,000, with 15 recipients named by the end of May and another 15 by the end of June.
''Depending on financing we might be able to add a few more outlets to the list'' a U.N. Foundation spokesperson told Fox News.'' She emphasized that the subsidies are ''grants designed to enhance the capacity of media organizations to partner on these issues. Full editorial control of content remains with the media outlet.''
Individual media outlets would announce their participation ''once partnership details are finalized,'' she said.
The subsidy approach, U.N. Foundation's Sherinian said, was ''not dissimilar'' to the funding that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided for sveral years to the left-wing British newspaper The Guardian, to publish what amounts to sponsored news about economic development issues, including the Foundation's campaign to extirpate AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
''We are asking the media to do what they do well,'' Sherinian added. ''If a media organization has the ability to do what it has done well, and if it could do more innovative work,'' then ''we are asking them to engage on the issue.''
The effort would also include ''putting them in touch with people on the ground doing implementation work''--in other words, those who are actually going to put the goals into practice.
Not all of the funding for the effort has yet been raised, he added. ''We are in both implementing and fundraising mode.''
At the same time as the U.N.-supporting foundations are boosting coverage of the ''post-2015 development agenda,'' an even bigger media coalition has just announced it will start lumping content for collective use in support of a new U.N.-sponsored treaty on greenhouse gases, which is supposed to be agreed upon at a summit meeting in December in Paris.
The so-called Climate Publishers Network, a 25-member group that includes The Guardian as well as such high-profile newspaper as Le Monde in France and El Pais in Spain, as well as the China Daily, have agreed to drop their mutual licensing fees to allow all network members to share their coverage on the climate change issue prior to the December 11 summit.
The network arrangement is slated to disband immediately afterward.
The U.N. Foundation's Sherinian said that the two programs ''were not formally affiliated in a specific way,'' and said he could not confirm ''if or how the outlets involved in the Climate Publishers Network coincide with those involved in our program to date.''
But like the Climate Publishers with their self-imposed shut-off date, he said the U.N. Foundation would not commit to maintaining the SDG subsidy effort beyond this year'--it was, he said, ''too early to say.''
The same could be said of the success of either full-court effort to help build a media groundswell for the expansive and expensive U.N.-supported objectives.
George Russell is Editor-at-Large of Fox News. He is reachable on Twitter at@GeorgeRusselland on Facebook atFacebook.com/George.Russell
EU to counter 'Russian propaganda' with its own Russian propaganda unit
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:04
(C) AP Photo/Virginia Mayo
The European Union set up a special unit to counter what it says is "propaganda" coordinated by Russia amid the Ukraine crisis, Czech media reported on Thursday.PRAGUE (Sputnik) - The Brussels-based unit is tasked with monitoring Russian media and promoting activity of EU institutions, Hospodarske Noviny newspaper said.
The team was created in the framework of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and consists of five individuals, according to the daily. The Czech Foreign Ministry sources confirmed the information, the newspaper added.
Western institutions have taken several attempts to counter Russian coverage of the global events.
In December 2014, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics announced the country was attempting to convince the EU to allocate funds to set up a European channel broadcasting in Russian that would be devoidof "propaganda." The channel's Russian-language programming will be launched in June 2015.
In March, US Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Victoria Nuland told the US House Foreign Affairs Committee that the State Department has increased funding for Russian-language broadcasting twofold compared to spending levels during the 2014 Maidan protests.
Russia's relationship with the West has deteriorated amid a year-long ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Many US and European media outlets adopted a one-sided approach to covering events, accusing Russia of contributing to the military conflict in Ukraine.
An opinion poll, made by ICM Research for Sputnik, revealed in May that the majority of respondents in France, Germany, Britain and Greece had little trust in how mainstream media covered the Ukrainian conflict.
EPA study: Fracking hasn't widely harmed our drinking water '-- but it does pose risks - Vox
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 05:07
Each year, oil and gas companies employ "fracking" at nearly 30,000 wells around the United States '-- injecting water and chemicals deep underground at high pressures to crack open shale rock and extract the fossil fuels inside. This innovation, which took off in the mid-2000s, has led to a huge boom in oil and gas production. But it's also spurred concern that gas or chemicals might leak into nearby water supplies.
"We did not find evidence [of] widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water," the EPA concluded
Now the Environmental Protection Agency has weighed in with a massive new study on the water question. After a four-year investigation, the EPA concludedthat certain activities related to hydraulic fracturing had real potential to threaten our drinking water supplies '-- say, because of gas leakingfrom poorly constructed wells, or due to improper handling of the wastewater that flows out after fracking is completed. The study even identified a small number of cases where contamination of drinking water had occurred, in states like Pennsylvania.
Crucially, however, the agency also said it couldn't find evidence that the fracking boom has led to "widespread, systematic" harm to the nation's drinking water. That could be because accidents are in fact rare. But the EPA also noted that it lacked the data to say for sure.Here'sthe key section of the report:
We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.Of the potential mechanisms identified in this report, we found specific instances where one or more mechanisms led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells. The number of identified cases, however, was small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells.
This finding could reflect a rarity of effects on drinking water resources, but may also be due to other limiting factors. These factors include: insufficient pre- and post-fracturing data on the quality of drinking water resources; the paucity of long-term systematic studies; the presence of other sources of contamination precluding a definitive link between hydraulic fracturing activities and an impact; and the inaccessibility of some information on hydraulic fracturing activities and potential impacts.
The oil and gas industry is hailing this study as a major victory, arguing that it shows fracking is broadly safe. Yes, there have been a few problems here and there, but those can be tackled with proper safeguards. "Today's draft study affirms that hydraulic fracturing does not present systemic impacts on drinking water," said Marty Durbin, CEO of America's Natural Gas Alliance, in a statement.
Environmental groups, meanwhile, are focusing on the fact that the study found troubling instances when fracking activities can go awry. They've also highlighted the study's limitations. According to a previous investigation by Neela Banerjee of InsideClimate News, the EPA couldn't get permission from oil and gas companies to test water before wells were fracked and then go re-test afterward. That meant the agency couldn't establish a proper baseline to fully measure contamination.
The EPA reportedly struggled to procure key data from oil and gas companies
"The report, while limited, shows fracking can and has impacted drinking water sources in many different ways," said Amy Mall of the Natural Resources Defense Council in a statement. But, she added: "This study is missing some critical elements, hamstringing its comprehensiveness. Among other things, thereare reportsindustry has not cooperated in providing important information."
The EPA said it hoped the report would help policymakers decide "how best to protect drinking water resources now and in the future." Right now, fracking islargely regulated at the state level, and different states have taken very different approaches. North Dakota and Texas have adopted a light touch on regulations '-- and fracking for oil and gas has surged in both states. By contrast, New York Statehas banned fracking altogether, in part over concerns about air and water pollution.
How fracking works '-- and how it might harm water suppliesTo better understand the potential water risks, let's first take a look at how energy companies actually employ hydraulic fracturing (and horizontal drilling) to extract natural gas from shale rock. Here's a sample operation in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania:
1) First, a well needs to be drilled all the way down to the layer of gas-rich shale. This shale layer can sit more than 5,000 feet underground, and drilling can take as long as a month. The well is typically lined with cement and a steel casing to prevent any leakage into groundwater near the surface.
There are several stages where drilling could, conceivably, pollute the water
2) Once the drill reaches all the way down to the shale layer, it slowly turns and begins drilling horizontally, for a mile or more along the rock.
3) A "perforating gun" loaded with explosive charges is lowered to the bottom of the well and punctures tiny holes in the horizontal section of the casing that's deep down in the shale layer.
4)Now comes the actual "fracking," or "completion," stage: a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals is pumped into the well at extremely high pressures and goes through the tiny holes in the casing. The fluids crack open the shale rock. The sand holds those cracks open. And the chemicals help the natural gas seep out.
5) The "flowback" stage: The water and chemicals flow back out of the well and are taken for disposal or treatment.
6) Finally, natural gas begins flowing from the shale and up out of the well, where it's eventually shipped to consumers via pipeline. A typical well can produce gas for 20 to 40 years, pumping out thousands of cubic feet of gas each day.
Now, there are lots of different points during the above process that could potentially threaten water supplies, as the EPA illustrates in this graphic:
(Environmental Protection Agency)
Some examples:
1) Fracking requires a lot of water: It takes a lot of water to crack open that shale rock, between 1 and 5 million gallons per well. Nationwide, the EPA study estimates, the fracking industry used some 44 billion gallons of water in 2011 and 2012. That was only 1 percent of the nation's freshwater, but in areas like western Texas, the fraction was far higher '-- and, in these areas, better water management may be needed.
2) Poorly constructed wells can leak methane or chemicals: This is one potential source of contamination of water supplies near the surface. In recent years, fracking wellshave blown outin states like North Dakota. In another incident, thousands of gallons of fracking fluidleaked out of a storage tankin Dimock, Pennsylvania. And poorly constructed wellswith cement problemscan allow fluids or gas to migrate upward.
The EPA study notes that this is a particular concern for older wells that were drilled before they were repurposed for fracking. "Although new wells can be designed to withstand the stresses associated with hydraulic fracturing operations, older wells may not have been built or tested to the same specifications and their reuse for this purpose could be of concern," the study notes.
Again, it was difficult to say how often this happened. The agency found evidence that between 0.4 and 12 spills of chemicals or fracking fluids occurred for every 100 fracked wells in Pennsylvania. (None of those spills contaminated groundwater.) If you extrapolated this nationwide, it would mean somewhere between 100 and 3,700 spills annually. But, the EPA noted, "it is unknown whether these spill estimates are representative of national occurrences."
3) Wastewater pollution: A separate issue is what happens with all that water after it has been used to crack open shale and is pumped back up to the surface. The oil and gas industry produces billions of gallons of this murky wastewater each year, which typically contains chemicals that were added for the fracking process.
In many states, this wastewater is pumped back underground into separate "injection wells." But when there aren't enough injection wells available, the water is either stored in tanks and holding ponds or sent off to treatment plants. That raises the risk of either accidental spills or improper treatment. In 2013, three treatment plants in Pennsylvania were fined for dumping waste into the Allegheny River.
The EPA notes that accidents are relatively rare, but they can be destructive: "The EPA characterization of hydraulic fracturing-related spills found that 8% of the 225 produced water spills included in the study reached surface water or ground water. These spills tended to be of greater volume than spills that did not reach a water body. A well blowout in Bradford County, Pennsylvania spilled an estimated 10,000 gal of produced water into a tributary of Towanda Creek, a state-designated trout fishery."
Again, the EPA did not find evidence that these incidents added up to "systematic" or "widespread" harm to America's drinking water supplies. But they can certainly cause problems in isolation.
Shut Up Slave!
You Can Be Prosecuted for Clearing Your Browser History | The Nation
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 06:30
Khairullozhori Matanov, a friend of the Boston bomber, is being sentenced under a law whose purview is growing disturbingly wide.
Matanov and his lawyer Paul Glickman stand before Judge Marianne B. Bowler on Friday, May 30, 2014 in Boston. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)
Khairullozhon Matanov is a 24-year-old former cab driver from Quincy, Massachusetts. The night of the Boston Marathon bombings, he ate dinner with Tamerlan and Dhzokhar Tsarnaev at a kebob restaurant in Somerville. Four days later Matanov saw photographs of his friends listed as suspects in the bombings on the CNN and FBI websites. Later that day he went to the local police. He told them that he knew the Tsarnaev brothers and that they'd had dinner together that week, but he lied about whose idea it was to have dinner, lied about when exactly he had looked at the Tsarnaevs' photos on the Internet, lied about whether Tamerlan lived with his wife and daughter, and lied about when he and Tamerlan had last prayed together. Matanov likely lied to distance himself from the brothers or to cover up his own jihadist sympathies'--or maybe he was just confused.
Then Matanov went home and cleared his Internet browser history.
Matanov continued to live in Quincy for over a year after the bombings. During this time the FBI tracked him with a drone-like surveillance plane that made loops around Quincy, disturbing residents. The feds finally arrested and indicted him in May 2014. They never alleged that Matanov was involved in the bombings or that he knew about them beforehand, but they charged him with four counts of obstruction of justice. There were three counts for making false statements based on the aforementioned lies and'--remarkably'--one count for destroying ''any record, document or tangible object'' with intent to obstruct a federal investigation. This last charge was for deleting videos on his computer that may have demonstrated his own terrorist sympathies and for clearing his browser history.
Matanov faced the possibility of decades in prison'--twenty years for the records-destruction charge alone.
Federal prosecutors charged Matanov for destroying records under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a law enacted by Congress in the wake of the Enron scandal. The law was, in part, intended to prohibit corporations under federal investigation from shredding incriminating documents. But since Sarbanes-Oxley was passed in 2002 federal prosecutors have applied the law to a wider range of activities. A police officer in Colorado who falsified a report to cover up a brutality case was convicted under the act, as was a woman in Illinois who destroyed her boyfriend's child pornography.
Prosecutors are able to apply the law broadly because they do not have to show that the person deleting evidence knew there was an investigation underway. In other words, a person could theoretically be charged under Sarbanes-Oxley for deleting her dealer's number from her phone even if she were unaware that the feds were getting a search warrant to find her marijuana. The application of the law to digital data has been particularly far-reaching because this type of information is so easy to delete. Deleting digital data can inadvertently occur in normal computer use, and often does.
In 2010 David Kernell, a University of Tennessee student, was convicted under Sarbanes-Oxley after he deleted digital records that showed he had obtained access to Sarah Palin's Yahoo e-mail account. Using publicly available information, Kernell answered security questions that allowed him to reset Palin's Yahoo password to ''popcorn.'' He downloaded information from Palin's account, including photographs, and posted the new password online. He then deleted digital information that may have made it easier for federal investigators to find him. Like Matanov, he cleared the cache on his Internet browser. He also uninstalled Firefox, ran a disk defragmentation program to reorganize and clean up his hard drive, and deleted a series of images that he had downloaded from the account. For entering Palin's e-mail, he was eventually convicted of misdemeanor unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and felony destruction of records under Sarbanes-Oxley. In January 2012, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found that Kernell's awareness of a potential investigation into his conduct was enough to uphold the felony charge.
At the time Kernell took steps to clean his computer, he does not appear to have known that there was any investigation into his conduct. Regardless, the government felt that they were entitled to that data, and the court agreed that Kernell was legally required to have preserved it.
Hanni Fakhoury, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the feds' broad interpretation of Sarbanes-Oxley in the digital age is part of a wider trend: federal agents' feeling ''entitled'' to digital data.
Fakhoury compares the broad application of Sarbanes-Oxley in the digital realm to the federal government's resistance to cellphone companies that want to sell encrypted phones that would prevent law enforcement from being able to access users' data. When the new encrypted iPhone came out, FBI Director James Comey told reporters that he didn't understand why companies would ''market something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.''
''At its core,'' Fakhoury says, ''what the government is saying is, 'We have to create a mechanism that allows everybody's [cellphone] data to be open for inspection on the off-chance that one day in the future, for whatever random circumstance, we need to see that data.'''
Similarly, Fakhoury says the government's underlying theory in cases like Kernell's is, ''Don't even think about deleting anything that may be harmful to you, because we may come after you at some point in the future for some unforeseen reason and we want to be able to have access to that data. And if we don't have access to that data, we're going to slap an obstruction charge that has as 20-year maximum on you.''
As more and more data are stored online, the government wants and believes it deserves access to that data for policing purposes. But Fakhoury disagrees.
''The idea that you have to create a record of where you've gone or open all your cupboards all the time and leave your front door unlocked and available for law enforcement inspection at any time is not the country we have established for ourselves more than 200 years ago.''
This past February the Supreme Court somewhat narrowed the scope of Sarbanes-Oxley in the case of Yates v. United States. The feds had charged a commercial fishing captain under the same record-destruction law for throwing a batch of undersized fish overboard after a federal agent had instructed him not to. The Court ruled that applying Sarbanes-Oxley to the dumping of fish was too far afield from the law's original corporate-crime purpose. Another Tsarnaev associate, Azamat Tazhayakov, who helped throw Tsarnaev's backpack full of fireworks into a dumpster, may see his conviction overturned because of the Yates decision.
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But it appears that, at least for now, cases like Matanov's and Kernell's are still fair game. The Supreme Court did not answer the pressing question of how broadly federal prosecutors are allowed to use Sarbanes-Oxley in the digital age. Can you be prosecuted for deleting a potentially incriminating tweet? For uninstalling Firefox? For clearing your browser history? How much of their digital data should citizens have to preserve in case law enforcement wants to take a look?
In March, Matanov pleaded guilty to all four counts of obstruction of justice. When he entered his plea, he told Judge William G. Young that he maintains his innocence but fears a decades-long sentence were he to go to trial. His plea agreement with prosecutors calls for a 30-month sentence'--still a harsh punishment for little more than deleting videos and clearing his browser history. Matanov's sentencing hearing is scheduled for June.
''The whole case is mystery,'' Matanov has said. The ''FBI is trying to destroy my life.''
Read Next: The Boston Marathon: all my tears, all my love
BLACKMAILING THE SAUDIS-Paul joins crusade to expose secret 9/11 documents | TheHill
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 05:08
Sen. Rand Paul is joining a crowd of House lawmakers intent on revealing to the public 28 pages of secret text about Sept. 11, 2001.
The Kentucky Republican and presidential candidate '-- fresh off a closely watched battle to kill some government surveillance powers '-- led the charge on Tuesday with legislation to force the disclosure of pages extracted from a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks. The pages were blacked out by the Bush administration on national security grounds.
''We cannot let page after page of blanked-out documents be obscured by a veil,'' Paul said at a packed Capitol press conference on Tuesday, flanked by fellow lawmakers and families of victims of the 2001 attack. ''We owe it to these families, and we cannot let this lack of transparency erode trust and make us feel less secure.''Paul's legislation follows a similar bill in the House, which has been led by Reps. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have signed on to co-sponsor Paul's bill.
For years, Jones and other lawmakers have been fighting for the release of the pages, which are believed to paint senior officials within Saudi Arabia as complicit in the terror attacks.
''We all are calling today for the release of these 28 pages,'' Paul said.
In addition to his stand-alone bill, Paul said he would introduce the measure as an amendment to the defense authorization bill in the Senate next week.
The push has gained the backing of former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee who oversaw a separate congressional inquiry in the Sept. 11 attacks.
''The 28 pages are very important and will, I think, inform the American people and, in so doing, will cause the American government to reconsider the nature of our relationship with Saudi Arabia,'' Graham said on Tuesday. ''But beyond that, these are emblematic of a pattern of withholding information unnecessarily and to the detriment of the American people.''
Some lawmakers who have read the pages disagree with their characterization about Saudi Arabia, Osama bin Laden's home country.
Perhaps surprisingly, Saudi Arabia supports releasing the pages. Keeping them secret, the kingdom has said, has allowed people to suspect that their contents are worse than they actually are.
Even though the documents remain secret to the public, some lawmakers are able to view the pages by requesting permission from the House Intelligence Committee. More than 30 such requests were granted during the last Congress. Twenty-five such requests were granted in 2013-2014, and 17 have been so far this year, according to a committee spokesman.
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby seeks to keep Freddie Gray autopsy report secret
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:45
(C) Reuters / Adrees LatifBaltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby wants to block the release of the autopsy report and other "sensitive" documents in the upcoming trial of six police officers accused of Freddie Gray's death in custody.Mosby toldThe Baltimore Sun that prosecutors "have a duty to ensure a fair and impartial process for all parties involved" and "will not be baited into litigating this case through the media."
Attorneys for the police officers oppose the "gag order," saying that the move suggests the state is trying to hide something in the autopsy report. Furthermore, they point to the fact that Mosby herself made a big show of announcing the charges to the media.
"Mrs. Mosby is the one who did an announcement discussing what she said the evidence was in a nationally televised speech," Ivan Bates, attorney for Sergeant Alicia White, told the Sun. "Now that it is time to turn over the evidence, to ask for a protective order is beyond disingenuous."
"It's as if she wants to do everything to make sure our clients do not get a fair trial," Bates added.
Mosby charged Lieutenant Brian Rice, Sergeant White, and officers Caesar Goodson Jr, William Porter, Edward Nero, and Garrett Miller with crimes and misdemeanors ranging from misconduct to "depraved-heart murder" on May 1.
The six police officers were involved in the arrest of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, who died in mid-April from a fatal spinal injury he allegedly suffered inside a police van. Gray's death prompted weeks of peaceful protests, boiling over into a riot on April 27, the day of his funeral. Maryland declared a state of emergency because of the unrest, and almost 3,000 National Guard troops were deployed in Baltimore.
Mosby previously sought a "gag order" to prevent all parties from discussing the high-profile case in public, and has not released the autopsy report to the police, contrary to long-standing practice. The Baltimore Sun is among 19 news organizations challenging the gag order request.
Bates says the new protective order would allow only the prosecutors and defense lawyers to access the documents, and could mean that all new filings making reference to the documents would have to be sealed. He said this would make it more restrictive than a gag order.
"If your case is as good as you said it was, why don't you just show the evidence?" Bates told the Baltimore Sun. "You can't holler and say, 'I'm about accountability for the citizens,' and then run around filing for a protective order."
Following her announcement of the charges against six officers, Mosby became somewhat of a celebrity and attracted considerable media attention.
Defense lawyers said they had "deep-seated concerns" about Mosby attending public events and doing magazine interviews, while asking for an extension to answer their motions in the case.
"It's very disconcerting that six [defense] lawyers were able to write these motions in two weeks, and the state's attorney's office has over 200 or some attorneys and they need an extension," Bates said.
Why has the murder rate in some US cities suddenly spiked? - BBC News
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 22:08
Some say the "Ferguson effect" has had a chilling effect on policing Murder and violent crime rates have risen in multiple US cities since the beginning of 2015, after falling for two decades. Some have put this down to a so-called Ferguson effect, referring to the protests against perceived police brutality, that sometimes became violent. Could that be true?
What do the statistics say?There are no national figures on crime in the US available yet for 2015, but some cities have released their own figures.
In New York City, the murder rate has gone up by 20% in 2015 compared with the first few months of 2014. Mayor Bill de Blasio called a special news conference at which he acknowledged the increase, but said it could be contained. He said he had faith in the New York Police Department that they will "turn the tide".
In other cities, there are similar increases reported. In Baltimore, murders are up 37% and in Los Angeles, violent crime is up by 27% (although murders are down 2%). In Houston, murders are up nearly 50% so far this year.
What is the Ferguson effect? Protestors cheered when police officers were indicted in Freddie Gray's death This is a term coined by St Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, whose police officers had been one of the forces dealing with the summer protests and riots in Ferguson, Missouri, following the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.
He said in November his police officers had been drawing back from everyday enforcement due to fears they could be charged. As a result, he said, the "criminal element is feeling empowered".
The phrase was repeated recently by Heather MacDonald, a fellow at the US Manhattan Institute, in a piece for the Wall Street Journal.
The Ferguson effect, she said, was taking hold across the country "under the onslaught of anti-cop rhetoric".
Multiple police officers Ms MacDonald spoke to told her police morale is at an all-time low and they are now worried about being charged, recorded and assaulted while trying to do their jobs and keep communities safe.
"Unless the demonisation of law enforcement ends, the liberating gains in urban safety will be lost," she wrote.
Baltimore's police boss, Anthony Batts, said the riots had another effect on crime. Scores of pharmacies had been looted and the surge in the supply of drugs has "thrown off the balance" between gangs in the city, he said.
"There's enough narcotics on the streets of Baltimore to keep it intoxicated for a year," he said.
What about other reasons? Police in Ferguson, Missouri used former military vehicles to control the streets after the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by police The Ferguson effect is an unlikely reason, said Jeffery Ulmer, associate head of the Department of Sociology and Criminology at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania.
"Is it possible that somehow high-profile police shootings have angered some local populations and caused a rise in violent crime of all kinds in the last few months? Yes. Do I find that scenario likely nationwide? No, not at all."
More likely, he said, is that local forces are at play.
Violent crime rates are often in response to major changes in policing, but are mostly driven by social factors such as the size of the youth population, the amount of socioeconomic disadvantage and social disorganisation in a given city.
Police officers turned their backs to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in January Violent crime being up in NYC is related to the decrease in "stop and frisk", said Alfred Blumstein, a criminologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The New York City Police Department's historical main tactic for stopping people has significantly decreased after the way it was exercised was deemed unconstitutional.
"Inevitably, there was a trade off," said Mr Blumstein. "[Stop and Frisk] was certainly a deterrent effect to carrying a gun in the street."
New York City's historic drop in crime since the 1980s is "astonishing", said Mr Blumstein, but continuing downward trends cannot go on forever.
Mayor de Blasio said summer was also to blame - last year saw an uptick in crime at the end of spring and beginning of summer for New York City as well. Researchers from the University of North Carolina found a correlation between higher temperatures and violent crime rates in a 2004 study.
Could the increase be just a blip?Violent crime is not going up everywhere. Philadelphia has seen a 41% decrease in murders since 2007.
Short-term spikes are statistically unreliable, especially if they come after a long-term decline, and could just be a blip, said Dr James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston.
"It's a ridiculous silly game of focusing too much on too little, trying to ascribe it to something like the impact of [events in] Ferguson," said Mr Fox. "None of these statistics are reliable."
A wider window of statistics would be much more reliable than a handful of figures representing January to May of this year, he said.
That flattened feeling police officers are having in Baltimore? It will pass, Dr Fox said.
"I don't want to minimise the tragedy of so many dying... but the sky is not falling," he said.
Anthony Reuben, head of statistics, BBC News:Some of the rises in violent crime so far this year are indeed striking, but I understand there have been similarly impressive falls in other cities.
It is usually a mistake to declare a trend based on a few months of figures for a handful of cities. It is also difficult to blame this selection of figures on a nationwide problem with US policing, or anything else for that matter.
I'm sure the relevant police departments are looking at these figures very carefully, but we will need considerably more data over a longer period to be able to draw any meaningful conclusions.
Russia Gets Very Serious on De-dollarizing | New Eastern Outlook
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 06:59
Russia is about to take another major step towards liberating the Ruble from the Dollar System. Its Finance Ministry just revealed it is considering issuing Russian state debt in Chinese Yuan. That would be an elegant way to decouple from the dependence and blackmail pressures from the US Treasury financial terrorism operations while at the same time strengthening the bonds between China and Russia''Washington's worst geopolitical nightmare.
Russian Deputy Minister of Finance, Sergei Storchak, announced that his ministry is making a careful study of what would be required to issue Russian bonds denominated in Chinese Yuan. The latest news is part of a long-term strategy between Russia and China that goes at the heart of American hegemony'--the role of the dollar as the leading world central bank reserve currency.
The dollar is used in some 60% of central bank reserves today. The second largest is the Euro. Now clearly China is carefully moving, as the world's largest trading nation, to create its Renminbi or Chinese Yuan as another major reserve currency. That has huge geopolitical implications. So long as the US dollar is leading reserve currency, the world must de facto buy US dollar Treasury bonds for its reserves. That has allowed Washington to have budget deficits since 1971 when the dollar left the gold exchange standard. In effect, China, Japan, Russia, Germany'--all trade surplus countries, finance Washington's deficits that allow her to make wars around the world. It is a paradox that Russia and China at least, are determined to end as soon as possible.
Last year Russia and China signed enormous 30-year energy deals for delivery of Russian oil and gas to China. The payments will be in local currencies not in dollars. Already in 2014 settlement in national currencies between China and Russia in bilateral trade increased nine times over 2013. Lin Zhi, head of the Europe and Central Asia Department of the Chinese Ministry of Economic Development announced last November that, ''About 100 Russian commercial banks are now opening corresponding accounts for settlements in yuan. The list of commercial banks where ordinary depositors can open an account in yuan is also growing.'' Last November 18 Russia's largest bank, Sberbank became the first Russian bank to begin financing letters of credit in Chinese yuan.
Long-term strategy
What all this indicates is that Russia and China are carefully planning a long-term strategy of getting out from dependence on the US currency, something that, as the US sanctions last year revealed, make both countries vulnerable to US currency wars of devastating impact.
China has just been accepted ''in principle'' by the Group of 7 finance ministers to have its yuan included in the International Monetary Fund basket of currencies making up IMF Special Drawing Rights. Today only US dollar, Euro and Japanese Yen are included in the basket. Including the yuan would be a huge step towards making the yuan a recognized international reserve currency, and at the same time would weaken the dollar share.
China's foreign reserves consist overwhelmingly of US dollar claims, mainly US Treasury bonds, which is a strategic weakness, because in case of war these can be frozen, as Iran knows too well. It is imperative for China to increase the gold content of the reserves and to diversify the rest into other currencies.
China has also agreed with Russia to unify the new Silk Road high-speed rail project with Russia and Russia's Eurasian Economic Union. At the same time Beijing has announced it is creating a huge $16 billion fund to develop gold mines along the rail route linking Russia and China and Central Asia. That suggests plans to greatly build up gold as central bank reserve share. China's central bank has greatly increased its gold holdings in recent years, though whether it is now greater than the alleged Federal Reserve gold holdings of 8000 tons is not yet public. It is expected China must reveal its gold reserves on being formally accepted into the IMF SDR basket perhaps later this year.
Last year, 2014, Song Xin, president of the China Gold Association stated, ''We need to establish our gold bank as soon as possible'...It can further help us acquire reserves and give us more say and control in the gold market.'' A gold sector fund involving countries along the Silk Road has been set up in northwest China's Xi'an City this May, led by Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), part of China's national bank, PBOC. China is the world's largest gold producer. Among the 65 countries along the routes of the Silk Road Economic Belt, there are numerous Asian countries identified as important reserve bases and consumers of gold. Xinhua reports that 60 countries have invested in the fund, which will facilitate central banks of member states to increase their holdings of gold.
Dr. Diedrick Goedhuys, former economic adviser to the Reserve Bank of South Africa in an interview told me, ''I want to emphasize the unique quality of gold, when viewed as a financial asset, of being an asset that is no-one's liability. A treasury bond, for instance, is an asset in my hands, but a liability, or debt to be repaid, in the books of the treasury. Gold is a pure asset. The Chinese gold mining plan is of vast importance. It's a long-term plan; it may take ten years before it has a significant effect.''
Now with Washington and Wall Street increasingly frustrated at how to weaken the Ruble and China's Renminbi, those two powers are making giant strides to break free from their dollar chains, a move that could liberate much of mankind if done in a good way.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook''.
Russia may soon sell its debt in yuan '' Finance Ministry '-- RT Business
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 08:27
Published time: June 03, 2015 18:17Deputy Minister of Finance Sergei Storchak (RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov)
Russia is considering issuing debt in Chinese yuan in the coming years, which will facilitate Russian corporate borrowers' access to the Chinese market, Russia's Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said.
"In general, study of the Chinese market's opportunities is currently underway," Storchak told journalists on Wednesday. The yuan bond issues could happen in the coming years, but only after a proper study, the official added.
READ MORE:Russia-China trading settlements in yuan increases 800%
The Russian Ministry of Finance has a lot of issues to explore, like how to organize Russia's entrance into the Chinese market and its infrastructure, according to Storchak. It should also understand how to work with the agent banks and intermediaries, which could be potential investors. It is important to explore how to register the debt issues according to the requirements of the Chinese securities supervisor as well.
READ MORE: Russia's biggest bank launches financing in Chinese yuan
Understanding the mechanism for the repatriation of currency earnings from the sale of securities is another important aspect, Storchak thinks. "As long as yuan is not freely convertible, there are certain nuances".
He also added that having the ability to access new markets in different jurisdictions is only for the better. Russia is satisfied with its own market, but understands that participating only in its own domestic market reduces opportunities for corporate participants and puts the market under unnecessary pressure, according to the Deputy Finance Minister.
Russia and China have been strengthening financial cooperation recently. Last year, the Russian and Chinese central banks agreed on a currency swap agreement to increase trade in domestic currencies and cut dependence on the US dollar for bilateral payments. In November, Sberbank, Russia's largest, became the first bank in the country to issue credit guarantees denominated in Chinese yuan. Switching to mutual settlements in local currencies, which have already increased by more than 800 percent in 2014, should also help stimulate trade.
Trade between Russia and China reached $95.3 billion in 2014. Moscow and Beijing plan to boost trade turnover to $100 billion in 2015, and to $200 billion by 2020, the Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui said in April.
Putin: Flow of illegal migrants into Europe tied to global food shortage
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 07:11
Global food shortage could be behind the influx of migrants from Africa and the Middle East into Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera ahead of his visit to Milan's exposition "Expo Milano 2015 '-- Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life."Political instability and terrorist activity in various regions of the world are also tied to the problem of food shortage, Putin said, explaining that "all of this is interconnected. The wave of illegal migrants that is engulfing Italy and the entire Europe is also linked to this."
Russia has allocated over $200 million to help reduce food shortage worldwide through a number of UN programs, the president said.
"A lot of countries in the world are getting the necessary help and support through these programs using Russian resources," Putin stressed.
Recent studies have suggested that the world will need to produce twice as much food by 2150 as it does now, as its growing population is expected to reach nine billion by that time.
Some 1,800 asylum seekers fleeing conflict-torn North Africa and Middle East states in search of better life conditions have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015. This is a 20-fold increase over the same period in 2014.
The European Union has established a naval mission to counter illegal migrant trafficking, destroying the boats that people are smuggled in.
OSCE representative to Ukraine resigns
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 07:13
(C) OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) representative to Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini resigned over disagreements between the sides involved in Contact Group reconciliation talks, a source close to negotiations said Saturday.Tagliavini's resignation was reported in Swiss national media late Friday. The Die Suedostschweiz daily later cited the country's Federal Department of Foreign Affairs as confirming the Swiss diplomat's intention to leave the post in the near future.
"Having seen that it is not help that the sides need, but that they cannot agree in the first place, Ms. Tagliavini decided that her future work will not get the peace process moving," the source told RIA Novosti.
The working groups in trilateral talks on the Ukrainian crisis began earlier this week in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The source said some of their participants "extremely upset" Tagliavini with behavior "that could at times be interpreted as rude."
"The last meetings of the Contact Group and its subgroups demonstrated that the sides' negotiability has virtually gone down to zero."
A self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) envoy to the talks, meanwhile, expressed hope that negotiations would not be affected by Tagliavini's anticipated resignation.
Vladislav Deinego also said the Swiss diplomat's move was not likely linked to the latest round of talks in Minsk.
Tagliavini, born in Basel in 1950, began her diplomatic career in 1982. She served as the UN Observer Mission in Georgia's (UNOMIG) deputy leader in the late 1990s, then headed it from 2002 to 2006. The New Journal of Zurich daily labeled Tagliavini as "the outstanding diplomat of Switzerland" in 2003.
Comment: The parties responsible for increasing tensions don't need the OSCE. They say Russia invaded Ukraine 389 times, and that's going to be the story no matter what. They believe that they're the reality creators:"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality - judiciously, as you will - we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"
But now, thanks to their lunacy, reality is actually a lot closer to 'Russian propaganda'. Check out:
Pentagon chief to meet with US top brass, diplomats to hone Russia tactics
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 19:34
(C) Reuters/Hoang Dinh Nam
The US defense secretary says relations with Russia have taken a "sad turn" and he will meet with US military leaders and diplomats in Europe to assess NATO's tactics toward Moscow. It comes two days before Obama will discuss Russian sanctions at the G7."We have something that has taken a sad turn recently, which is Russia," US Defense Secretary Ashley Carter told troops at the US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
The meeting between Carter and two dozen military leaders and ambassadors based in Europe is scheduled to take place Friday at the headquarters of the US European Command in Stuttgart, which controls US forces in the region.
US forces have been increasingly active in Europe in recent months, leading a massive series of NATO military exercises, collectively dubbed Operation Atlantic Resolve. Alliance and US military leaders have repeatedly said the operation is a message to Russia, which NATO has labeled an aggressor and accused of involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.
NATO has also formed a rapid response force in Europe, with an aimed total strength of 30,000 troops.
Moscow has said that Kiev is fighting a civil war with its citizens in eastern Ukraine, not with Russian forces. The Kremlin has consistently and adamantly denied any presence of Russian troops or hardware in eastern Ukraine, pointing out that there is no evidence proving otherwise.
However, Washington keeps blaming Russia - even to the point of ignoring international observers' reports. On Thursday, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told RT's Gayane Chichakyan that recent violence in Ukraine was the fault of "separatists and Russia" - failing, however, to provide any backing for her words.
Carter's trip to Stuttgart will, among other things, evaluate how effective Western sanctions and military actions have been in deterring Russia, US defense officials said.
Pentagon spokesman Brent Colburn added that the meeting is aimed to "inform the secretary's thinking as he heads into his first NATO ministerial meeting in June."
When asked if the meeting would include the discussion of providing Ukraine with lethal weapons, an official said Carter was still open to the idea, and that the issue could come up.
There have been calls from US officials to supply lethal weapons to Kiev for months now, including from General Philip Breedlove, the head of US European Command and NATO forces in Europe. Ukrainian officials, like Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and President Petro Poroshenko, have been asking for weapons. An agreement for "defensive" lethal weapons supplies has already been reached with 11 countries, according to an analytical report for Poroshenko's annual address to the parliament.
Kiev's parliament has also recently signed a law allowing unhindered access to the country for foreign troops on peacekeeping missions, should they answer Kiev's request.
Kremlin has reacted by warning Ukraine against any provocative action, saying it is "very important to avoid any actions or steps that provoke escalation of tension," RIA Novosti reported Dmitry Peskov as saying. With violence rising again in southeast Ukraine, Moscow has once again reiterated its calls "to concentrate on implementation of [Minsk] agreements," Peskov said.
The new bill on international peacekeeping missions in Ukraine contradicts the Minsk agreements, Russian State Duma MP Leonid Slutsky said. "Minsk-2 did not provide for peacekeepers in resolution of the national conflict," Slutsky said, Tass reported.
On Thursday, Washington announced that Obama plans to urge EU leaders to keep sanctions in place against Russia at the two-day G7 summit, which will begin Sunday in the German town of Elmau.
Canada (laughably) warns Russia it won't rejoin G7 with Putin in power
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 19:34
(C) Reuters/Grigory DukorRussia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Canadian PM Stephen Harper has pledged to "strongly oppose" Russia rejoining the Group of Seven nations as long as Vladimir Putin is president. The G7 suspended Moscow last year over the conflict in Ukraine, but hasn't ruled out allowing it back."I don't think Russia under Vladimir Putin belongs in the G7. Period," Harper said in an exclusive interview with AP ahead of his trip to Ukraine and the G7 meeting in Bavaria this week. "Canada would very, very strongly oppose Putin ever sitting around that table again. It would require consensus to bring Russia back and that consensus will just not happen."According to Harper, who faces re-election in October, Moscow is hard to get on with.
"Russia is more often than not trying deliberately to be a strategic rival, to deliberately counter the good things we're trying to achieve in the world than for no other reason than to just counter them," Harper said, adding that the "mindset of the guy we are dealing with is that the Cold War has never ended and, 'I've got to fight to change the ending somehow.'""I don't think there is any way under this leader Russia will ever change," Harper said.Last year's summer summit of the world's leading industrialized nations was the first in 17 years without Russia. It was due to have taken place in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi. The meeting was called off after Crimea reunited with Russia following a referendum - a move deemed by leading Western nations as an "illegal annexation" of territory.
President Barack Obama, who will join the leaders of Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan at the upcoming G7 summit in Germany, plans to urge European allies to continue with sanctions against Russia. White House officials said they are concerned by the outburst of violence in Ukraine earlier this week.
"We continue to see very concerning Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine," Obama's deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, said in a conference call with journalists, AP reported. "That is why it's so important that sanctions are kept in place, so that they're not just seen as one-time punishments that are then able to be waited out by countries that continue to violate international law and international norms."
Kiev forces shelled the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Wednesday, mostly the southwest Petrovsky and Kirovsky districts, killing at least six people and injuring 90 others. The RT crew, who were among the first reporters at the scene, recorded dramatic footage of the shelling's aftermath.Moscow says Kiev has breached the Minsk deal. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the timing of the new tensions is connected with the upcoming EU summit, which is to take place in Brussels on June 25-26. US State Department spokesperson Marie Harf has refused to acknowledge that the Kiev authorities are violating the Minsk peace agreements, however, ignoring daily OSCE reports that equally implicate the government and the rebel forces.By imposing sanctions on Moscow, the US is aiming to change the country's political leadership, the Russian Foreign Ministry says, adding that Washington is "twisting the arms" of its allies so that they can maintain an "anti-Russian front."
"Behind the formally-declared aim to make us alter our position toward Ukraine, [we] see the [US] plan to form the social and economic conditions to change the leadership in Russia," said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
According to Ryabkov, first of all Western countries wanted "to punish" Russia for "free will of people in Crimea and [the city of] Sevastopol," who in a March referendum decided to separate from Ukraine and to join Russia.
The Ukraine conflict began last April, when Kiev sent regular forces and volunteer battalions to the southeastern Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, after rebels there refused to recognize the country's coup-imposed authorities. Despite failing to provide any fact-based proof whatsoever, the West has pointed the finger at Russia for allegedly masterminding the Ukrainian unrest and supporting the rebels in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions. According to the UN Human Rights Office, at least 6,116 people have been killed and 15,474 wounded during a year of bloody fighting.
Stepped up military drills
Since Russia's reunion with Crimea, NATO forces have stepped up military exercises along the Russian border - in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. US, Spain, Canada, Romania and Turkey sent their warships to take part in the "Sea Breeze 2014" joint naval exercises with Ukraine in the Black Sea. Moscow responded with an increased number of flights of its long-range "Bear" Tu-95 bombers in the vicinity of the airspace of NATO members, as well as heavyweight drills on own territory.
According to the Canadian PM, Russia has significantly stepped up its long-range bomber patrols near North American airspace. A senior Canadian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AP that there were allegedly 52 Russian patrols last year, compared to 23 in each of the previous two years."This is a country that has shown a willingness to invade its neighbors, to actually seize territory that does not belong to it, and so I don't think we should take this escalation of a hostile military posture lightly. It needs to be treated seriously," Harper said.
Part of the "serious treatment" plan came with a new bill introduced by the US legislators in April. The House Armed Services Committee's bill proposes adding some $30 million to target the so-called "Russian propaganda," which allegedly "pose[s] a challenge to the NATO system." According to a copy of the bill seen by the Washington Times, "The committee believes that the Department of Defense and NATO should fully explore how the United States, NATO and member-states can, as necessary, establish deterrence mechanisms against activities such as those undertaken by the Russian government in Ukraine."
(C) Reuters/Alexander ErmochenkoA firefighter works to extinguish a fire at a local market, which was recently damaged by shelling, in Donetsk, Ukraine, June 3, 2015.
Exchange of sanctionsIn 2014, the European Union and the US introduced a range of orders and sanctions in response to Crimea joining Russia and the situation in southeast Ukraine. Russia in its turn banned agricultural imports from sanctioning countries in August. The current restrictions are applied to meat, poultry and fish, cheese, milk, fruit and vegetables from the US, the EU countries, Australia, Canada and Norway.
The embargo was introduced for one year, possibly to be prolonged if the situation fails to improve. The Russian prime minister warned EU officials earlier this week that if they decided to tighten the regime of sanctions against Russia, an equivalent reply would follow inevitably.
According to European experts, the sanctions cost the West '‚¬40 billion last year, including '‚¬12 billion is losses by European farmers. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov acknowledged last November that the country is losing about $40 billion a year because of the Western sanctions.
Meanwhile, the US has created a "loophole in its sanctions against Russia" to allow exports of communications software to Crimea, Bloomberg reported. According to the Federal Register, the official journal of the US federal government, the rule lets companies "facilitate Internet-based communication between people located in the Crimea region of Ukraine and other people around the world."
The demoralized Ukrainian Army
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 07:09
(C) Reuters/Alexander ErmochenkoA firefighter works to extinguish a fire at a local market, which was recently damaged by shelling, in Donetsk, Ukraine, June 3, 2015.
It operates like a slapdash Keystone cops bunch - its ranks filled with unhappy conscripts wanting no part of fighting their own people.Corruption is rampant. Hundreds of millions of dollars disappear into the pockets of high-ranking military officials.
Ordinary Ukrainians suffer enormously from impoverishment, unemployment, skyrocketing inflation, unaffordable goods and services, and hugely repressive regime practices.
Documents obtained by Donbass military intelligence show "poor morale leads to alcohol abuse and violation of military discipline among (Ukrainian) soldiers, according to statistical data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (along with) the growth of crime committed against the civilian population."
Mass desertions continue - fed up Ukrainian soldiers going AWOL. They're underpaid, poorly fed and clothed, deplorably treated overall, and opposed to fighting their own people.
Cell phone use is banned. Soldiers can't stay in touch with families and loved ones. They're prohibited from going into cities. They can't leave Ukrainian controlled southeastern areas.Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) intelligence believes mass desertions will follow Kiev's resumption of full-scale war.
Ukrainian soldiers aren't trained to evacuate their wounded and dead. "The command considers this training unpractical as evacuation attempts result in mounting death(s) among the personnel," a Kiev report said.
"(O)nly three percent of units passed a battle training check. Only five percent of servicemen know their spheres of action," it explained.
In late May, DPR's Defense Ministry said "(i)n certain units, military tasks will not be executed without the use of additional compulsory measures. There is a threat of entire units leaving their positions."
"(M)ost (Ukrainian) military personnel will be inactive, will not put up resistance because (they're) not properly organized...prepared" or motivated to fight.
"(I)f a command is given to begin military actions, (they'll) seek to leave the dangerous areas to save their own lives" - including officers and rank-and-file soldiers.
Desperate for recruits avoiding conscription, Kiev is practically drafting the lame, halt and blind.
Reports indicate epileptics and tuberculosis sufferers are being conscripted. So are alcoholics, drug addicts and "morons," according to Poroshenko advisor Yuri Biryukov.
Official policy is "take all we can get. The quality is not important," he said. Volunteer battalions demonstrate a "quantitatively different level of motivation, discipline and support," he added.
They include Nazi-infested elements committing horrendous war crimes. Most Ukrainian youths want no part of fighting. Many vote with their feet and leave. Others go into hiding to avoid imprisonment for draft-dodging.
On May 29, Sputnik News cited volunteer Azov battalion member Serhiy Korotky saying only 10 of 400 Ukrainian generals want to wage war. Others prefer leaving.
"The whole generalship of the Ukrainian army...must be 'dragged' through a lie detector. Only 10 of them will stay, as the others want to (go to) Russia," he said.
Military budget theft is rampant, he added - from gasoline to most everything else.
In contrast, Donbass freedom fighters are highly motivated. They reject fascist rule. They want real democracy. They routed Ukrainian forces earlier. They're prepared to do it again if necessary.
What's Kiev's plan for Saakashvili in Odessa? -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 07:05
(C) Sputnik/ Nikolay Lazarenko
While analysts continue to discuss what Georgia's ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili's appointment as governor of Ukraine's Odessa region might actually mean to Ukraine, American bimonthly international affairs magazine The National Interest comes with its analysis of the "great friend of Ukraine" and his "Stanislavski school of governance."US bimonthly international affairs magazine The National Interest came up with an analysis of Georgia's former President Saakashvili, wanted by his country's prosecutors for embezzlement, abuse of power and politically-motivated attacks.
The magazine bluntly analyzed his "knowledge, experience and unique know-how", as well as what his "school of governance" is all about and what it will mean to Ukraine.
"Saakashvili heroically fought corruption, dismissing the whole police force and building a new corps from scratch. The man who created an easy fire, easy hire environment (for foreign investors). And he tirelessly - some would argue even recklessly - fought Russia; not to win against Russia, but to be seen fighting. In many respects," the outlet says.
Not appearing to fail is the main secret of what might be called the Stanislavski School of Governance, it states."Saakashvili did not lose the war with Russia in 2008; he defended the West! He did not lose the elections of 2012; he graciously conceded defeat! He did not run away from the rage of the people he had tortured; he was in "self-imposed" exile! He believed in rule of law, that is, for the rest of us. If it is a matter of perception, Saakashvili will perform; if he fails, make no mistake, it is Odessa that will have failed. A leader who is not prepared to assume the responsibility of his failures is dangerous, because he is ultimately reckless."
The worst insult of all, the magazine says, is that leading Kiev politicians appointed a person who is afraid to come home to face criminal charges--as the governor of an important region, with a large concentration of Russian speakers.
And then looks at the region's prospects:
"Does it [appointment] intend to outfit Saakashvili with a rubber stamp legislature, as he enjoyed in Georgia? Will he be authorized to conduct raids on opposition headquarters or take over opposition television and radio stations, as was his method of suppressing dissent in Georgia?"
"Will they accept his use of imprisonment, torture, confiscation of private property and even murder to build the sort of authoritarian state he constructed in Georgia?"
"And above all, does Ukraine wish a region with a large Russian-speaking minority to be governed by a person who had so often expressed his hatred for President Putin and the Russian Federation?"If Saakashvili has really given up his Georgian citizenship, Tbilisi may even have reason to celebrate this sad mistake, but whether Ukrainians will is another matter, the magazine concludes.
Saakashvili's bizarro world: U.S.-armed Ukraine could 'capture all of Russia' -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 07:05
(C) AP Photo/ Virginia Mayo
Mikhail Saakashvili, the former president of Georgia, told Ukrainian television that with the appropriate knowledge, skills and weaponry, the Ukrainian military could "capture the whole of Russia."Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili told Ukrainian television on Saturday that a properly armed and prepared Ukrainian army has the "spirit" to capture all of Russia.
In an interview for Ukraine's Channel 24, Saakashvili noted that "our officers, who were trained by the Americans, are now training your military. They say that the spirit of Ukrainian soldiers is the best in the world, and that if they were given the necessary knowledge, skills and weapons, they would be able to capture the whole of Russia."
Saakashvili told the television channel that he believes that "the main problem for Ukraine is its outdated anti-tank weaponry. But newer [weapons systems] exist in the US, and, if they were willing to provide them, Ukraine would smash the first 50 Russian tanks, everything will go completely differently from there."
The former Georgian president noted that the US "saw the feat of the Ukrainian people," and "saw that Ukraine is ready to defend the democratic values, so integral for the United States." He noted that the US is "ready to provide Ukraine with [anti-tank weaponry], ready to give drones and artillery."
Saakashvili, who left Georgia immediately after President Giorgi Margvelashvili's inauguration in November 2013, is facing several charges in his home country over his alleged abuse of power, the use of excessive force against protesters and the carrying out of politically motivated murders. Late last year, Georgian Foreign Affairs Minister David Kereselidze noted that if rumors of Saakashvili's involvement in the post-coup Ukrainian government turned out to be true, they would negatively affect bilateral relations between the two countries.Ahead of the 2008 war with South Ossetia, Georgia was heavily armed by the US; many Russian analysts have concluded that the US provided Saakashvili with tacit approval for the attack on the breakaway republic of South Ossetia.
Comment: Saakashvili seems to have left objective reality behind for a world more to his liking. Could he possibly be more wrong? No, apparently Ukraine, whose armed forces currently can't even defeat some local homegrown militias, has what it takes to do what no country has done before: take on Russia, and win. Dream on, Mikhail.
'Russia would attack NATO only in mad person's dream' - Putin
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 07:02
(C) RIA Novosti/Alexei DruzhininRussian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia is not building up its offensive military capabilities overseas and is only responding to security threats caused by US and NATO military expansion on its borders, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Italian outlet Il Corriere della Sera.Speaking to the paper on the eve of his visit to Italy, Putin stressed that one should not take the ongoing"Russian aggression"scaremongering in the West seriously, as a global military conflict is unimaginable in the modern world.
"I think that only an insane person and only in a dream can imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO. I think some countries are simply taking advantage of people's fears with regard to Russia. They just want to play the role of front-line countries that should receive some supplementary military, economic, financial or some other aid,"Putin said.
Certain countries could be deliberately nurturing such fears, he added, saying that hypothetically the US could need an external threat to maintain its leadership in the Atlantic community."Iran is clearly not very scary or big enough" for this, Putin noted with irony.
Russia's President invited the journalists to compare the global military presence of Russia and the US/NATO, as well as their military spending levels. He also urged them to look at the steps each side has taken in connection with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Russia's military policy is "not global, offensive, or aggressive," Putin stressed, adding that Russia has "virtually no bases abroad," and the few that do exist are remnants of its Soviet past.
He explained that there were small contingents of Russian armed forces in Tajikistan on the border with Afghanistan, mainly due to the high terrorist threat in the area. There is an airbase in Kyrgyzstan, which was opened at request of the Kyrgyz authorities to deal with a terrorist threat there. Russia also has a military unit in Armenia, which was set up to help maintain stability in the region, not to counter any outside threat.
In fact, Russia has been working towards downsizing its global military presence, while the US has been doing the exact opposite."We have dismantled our bases in various regions of the world, including Cuba, Vietnam, and so on," the president stressed. "I invite you to publish a world map in your newspaper and to mark all the US military bases on it. You will see the difference."
Meanwhile, it would take only 17 minutes for missiles launched from US submarines on permanent alert off Norway's coast to reach Moscow, Putin said, noting that this fact is somehow not labeled as "aggression" in the media. The US has carried out the oft-cited strategic bomber flights along Russia's borders since Soviet times without interruption, while Russia stopped them in the early 1990s and has only resumed them just recently.
The combined military spending of NATO countries is ten times higher than that of the Russian Federation, Putin stressed.
America has been setting up "anti-missile systems, bases and radars located in the European territory or in the sea," despite Russia's repeated warnings that this undermines international security.
Revealingly, it is the United States that chose to withdraw from the ABM treaty limiting anti-ballistic missile arsenals, which Putin believes was "the cornerstone of the entire international security system." The Russian leader questioned the move: "Did someone expect Russia to disarm unilaterally?"
He explained that Moscow had tried to dissuade the US from withdrawing from the treaty, and instead "create an ABM system together, the three of us: Russia, the United States and Europe." This proposal was declined, and Russia had to, likewise, begin developing "overpowering anti-ballistic defense" systems to ensure strategic balance. According to Putin, Russia has made "significant strides in this area."
"Everything we do is just a response to the threats emerging against us. Besides, what we do is limited in scope and scale, but is, however, sufficient to ensure Russia's security," Putin underlined.
Nevertheless, Putin said he views America not as Russia's rival, but rather as a partner and ally on many pressing world issues, such as global terrorism, Middle Eastern crises and Iran's nuclear program.
"We are not just partners; I would say we are allies in addressing the issues related to non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are undoubtedly allies in the fight against terrorism. There are some other areas of collaboration as well. The central theme of Expo Milano...is yet another example of our joint work," Putin said.
Expo Milano 2015 is an international gathering in Milan, Italy, which this year has been promoted under the slogan "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life," and which Putin will also be visiting. Russia is taking part in the event, presenting its own technologies and innovations.
Hillary 2016
Whistleblower Tells Oversight Committee of Crimes Committed By Hillary and Huma Abedin '' Red Statements
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 06:13
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, during the Open Government Partnership event in New York September 20, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES '' Tags: POLITICS)This could be the end of Hillary 2016. Two whistleblowers met behind closed doors with the Oversight Committee staffers and the lead general counsel for the committee. The revelations are nothing short of explosive. One of the whistleblowers (WB) is already well known, Richard Higbie, but the second one, who is still unnamed has evidence of possible crimes by Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton and a cover up of those crimes by former Acting Inspector General of the State Department, Harold Geisel, who had previously been accused of playing politics in his position as watchdog for the State Department.
The meeting that occurred on May 1st, lasted three hours. The Daily Caller was allowed to read the notes from that meeting with the understanding that they would not reveal the name of the second WB. It was their testimony about an inspector turned WB , who was investigating Huma Abedin's work with Taneo, a company founded by a former Bill Clinton staffer, Doug Band. Taneo bills itself as a company who can put companies together with federal officials, which is a very serious conflict of interest for Abedin. It was during this investigation that the inspector found out Hillary was using a private server for her emails.
The inspector found out that Abedin and Clinton used the private email server to hide what they were doing. That made it possible to find evidence that implicated Hillary in possible crimes. The State Department still refuses to explain how Abedin could have possibly gotten an exemption that would allow her to work for Taneo.
Now, here's the problem Hillary has. The inspector managed to keep his notes and recordings made during the investigation, which he says shows that Hillary was ''criminally culpable'' in the actions and possibly in the cover up. According to the notes, the inspector had told WB Higbie that what has come out about Hillary's private email and server is not the whole story and ''only half of the hard truth was out.''
The second whistleblower is still at the State Department and had to withhold much of what he knows because of the nondisclosure agreement he was forced to sign. However, he has readily agreed to testify under oath to the committee if they subpoena him, which allows him to break the nondisclosure agreement without penalty. This will create problems for Hillary, Abedin and the former acting IG but also will be a giant headache for the State Department that has been dragging it's feet and trying to scuttle the investigation.
Read more at the Daily Caller.
Root Certs on iOS8.vBeta4 email
Hey Adam,
I want to keep my info anonymous. I work for one of the largest companies in the world and thought I'd share something I found. I was digging through the root certificates on an iPad Air 2 running iOS 8.4 beta 4 and found:
Federal Common Policy CA
Government Root Certification Authority
Chambers of Commerce Root
DoD Root CA 2
China Network Information Center EV Certificate Root
DoD CLASS 3 Root
Chambers of Commerce Root - 2008
VRK Gov. Root CA
Obviously there are a lot more root certs. But those are the ones I have found so far that are directly related to the U.S. Gov or other countries Gov. This bothers me because from what I understand anyone with access to a root certificate can act as a middle man between a ssl connection and spy/snoop on your encrypted connection.
Thanks for all you do!
Edward Snowden: The World Says No to Surveillance - NYTimes.com
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 19:45
MOSCOW '-- TWO years ago today, three journalists and I worked nervously in a Hong Kong hotel room, waiting to see how the world would react to the revelation that the National Security Agency had been making records of nearly every phone call in the United States. In the days that followed, those journalists and others published documents revealing that democratic governments had been monitoring the private activities of ordinary citizens who had done nothing wrong.
Within days, the United States government responded by bringing charges against me under World War I-era espionage laws. The journalists were advised by lawyers that they risked arrest or subpoena if they returned to the United States. Politicians raced to condemn our efforts as un-American, even treasonous.
Privately, there were moments when I worried that we might have put our privileged lives at risk for nothing '-- that the public would react with indifference, or practiced cynicism, to the revelations.
Never have I been so grateful to have been so wrong.
Edward Snowden
Frederick Florin / Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images
Two years on, the difference is profound. In a single month, the N.S.A.'s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated.
This is the power of an informed public.
Ending the mass surveillance of private phone calls under the Patriot Act is a historic victory for the rights of every citizen, but it is only the latest product of a change in global awareness. Since 2013, institutions across Europe have ruled similar laws and operations illegal and imposed new restrictions on future activities. The United Nations declared mass surveillance an unambiguous violation of human rights. In Latin America, the efforts of citizens in Brazil led to the Marco Civil, an Internet Bill of Rights. Recognizing the critical role of informed citizens in correcting the excesses of government, the Council of Europe called for new laws to protect whistle-blowers.
Beyond the frontiers of law, progress has come even more quickly. Technologists have worked tirelessly to re-engineer the security of the devices that surround us, along with the language of the Internet itself. Secret flaws in critical infrastructure that had been exploited by governments to facilitate mass surveillance have been detected and corrected. Basic technical safeguards such as encryption '-- once considered esoteric and unnecessary '-- are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private. Such structural technological changes can ensure access to basic privacies beyond borders, insulating ordinary citizens from the arbitrary passage of anti-privacy laws, such as those now descending upon Russia.
Though we have come a long way, the right to privacy '-- the foundation of the freedoms enshrined in the United States Bill of Rights '-- remains under threat. Some of the world's most popular online services have been enlisted as partners in the N.S.A.'s mass surveillance programs, and technology companies are being pressured by governments around the world to work against their customers rather than for them. Billions of cellphone location records are still being intercepted without regard for the guilt or innocence of those affected. We have learned that our government intentionally weakens the fundamental security of the Internet with ''back doors'' that transform private lives into open books. Metadata revealing the personal associations and interests of ordinary Internet users is still being intercepted and monitored on a scale unprecedented in history: As you read this online, the United States government makes a note.
Spymasters in Australia, Canada and France have exploited recent tragedies to seek intrusive new powers despite evidence such programs would not have prevented attacks. Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain recently mused, ''Do we want to allow a means of communication between people which we cannot read?'' He soon found his answer, proclaiming that ''for too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: As long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.''
At the turning of the millennium, few imagined that citizens of developed democracies would soon be required to defend the concept of an open society against their own leaders.
Yet the balance of power is beginning to shift. We are witnessing the emergence of a post-terror generation, one that rejects a worldview defined by a singular tragedy. For the first time since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we see the outline of a politics that turns away from reaction and fear in favor of resilience and reason. With each court victory, with every change in the law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear. As a society, we rediscover that the value of a right is not in what it hides, but in what it protects. '
Lawyer fights against Harper's C-51 Bill, a "fascist and dictatorial piece of legislation"
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:50
(C) Unknown
Constitutional lawyer Rocco Galati did not thank people for attending a rally opposing Bill C-51, saying instead that it is every Canadians' duty to fight against what he called a "fascist and dictatorial piece of legislation."The Toronto lawyer, who previously launched cases against Marc Nadon's Supreme Court appointment and recent changes to the Citizenship Act, vowed to fight the Anti-Terrorism Act on constitutional grounds.
Several hundred people attended the rally in Toronto on May 30. Galati listed five ways in which he says the bill infringes on Canadians' constitutional rights, and called for citizens to withhold their votes to parties and politicians that have supported it.
"We at the Constitutional Rights Centre will challenge the constitutionality of this bill and encourage other organizations to do the same," Galati said.
Secret Surveillance Agency More Powerful Than the NSA
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 05:20
The National Security Agency (NSA) may have been forced to take a stutter step in its surveillance program (or resort to methods not made public) earlier this week regarding the collecton of metadata under the PATRIOT Act, but there is another agency that is more secretive, more invasive, and has more information on you than could be gathered from your metadata.
Gawker's Phase Zero reports on the scope of this shadow agency's surveillance:
If you have a telephone number that has ever been called by an inmate in a federal prison, registered a change of address with the Postal Service, rented a car from Avis, used a corporate or Sears credit card, applied for nonprofit status with the IRS, or obtained non-driver's legal identification from a private company, they have you on file.
The agency is the National Security Analysis Center (NSAC), a shadow branch of the U.S. Justice Department that employees over 400 people (including nearly 300 analysts) and boasts an annual budget of over $150 million.
As with so many other departments designed to seize our liberty and exchange it for ''safety'' from ''terrorists,'' the NSAC was created in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and was tasked with identifying any other similar threats that may have sneaked into the United States with similar purposes.
Post-9/11, however, the bureau's mission shifted to include scanning the country for ''domestic terrorists,'' too. Phase Zero reports:
NSAC was created to focus scrutiny on new threat, specifically on Americans, particularly Muslims, who might pose a hidden threat (the [Foreign Terrorist Tracking] Task Force became a unit within NSAC's bureaucratic umbrella). As Americans began traveling abroad to join al-Shabaab and then ISIS, the Center's dragnet expanded to catch the vast pool of ''youth'' who also might fit a profile of either radicalism or law-breaking. Its mission runs the full gamut of ''national security threats...to the United States and its interests,'' according to a partially declassified Justice Department Inspector General report. That includes everything from terrorism to counter-narcotics, nuclear proliferation, and espionage.
How is the mission accomplished? Phase Zero reports that ''in partnership with the military,'' the NSAC conducts:
deep background investigations of foreign-born and foreign-connected soldiers, civilians, and contractors working for the government. Its investigations go far beyond traditional security ''vetting''; NSAC scours certain select government employees, contractors and their affiliates, examining multiple layers of connected relatives and associates. And the Center hosts dozens of additional ''liaison'' officers from other government agencies, providing those agencies with frictionless access to private information about U.S. residents that they would otherwise not have.
Using access to databases of information available only to its analysts, the NSAC drills deep into the Internet to collect and collate data on anyone who happens to fit a profile programmed into its surveillance software. In other words: data mining. Phase Zero lays out the when and how of the program:
Homeland Security Presidential Directive-2 (HSPD-2), signed by George W. Bush in October 2001, established FTTTF and directed it to use ''advanced data mining software'' to find and prevent ''aliens who engage in or support terrorist activity'' from entering the United States. Though data mining was at the center of its mission, other agencies'--particularly the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) and the Pentagon's Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA)'--funded the development of many of the techniques.
The American people have repeatedly rejected the notion of a domestic intelligence agency operating within our borders. Yet NSAC has become the real-world equivalent. Along the way in its development though, the Center has rarely been discussed in the federal budget or in congressional oversight hearings available to the public. And being neither solely a part of the intelligence community (IC) nor solely a law enforcement agency (and yet both), it skirts limitations that exist in each community, allowing it to collect and examine information on people who are not otherwise accused of or suspected of any crime.
Thus making every American a suspect and turning the Constitution into nothing more than the easily pierced parchment barrier that the Founders feared it would become in the custody of the corrupt.
Due process is the bane of this type of data mining and despite the recent rapid growth of the latter, the former has been a reliable protection against despotism for nearly a millennium.
Turning its focus away from potential overseas dangers to those growing in its own backyard, as part of Project Scarecrow, the NSAC began monitoring those affiliated with the so-called ''sovereign citizen'' movement and others it deemed ''domestic threats.''
The scope of the surveillance extended beyond Americans, however. NSAC, in partnership with police, "batch-matched dates of birth with licensed drivers to isolate a set of Pakistani men thought to be potentially connected to a terrorist group. The identities of foreign-born or connected hazardous materials (HAZMAT) drivers in the U.S. were added to a group of 'special interest individuals' constantly run against suspect datasets."
Phase Zero obtained a cache of incriminating documents that revealed that the NSAC and the Task Force uses "data from many divergent public, government and international sources for the purpose of monitoring the electronic footprints of terrorists and their supporters, identifying their behaviors, and providing actionable intelligence to appropriate law enforcement, government agencies, and the intelligence community."
Constitutionalists should catch several problematic phrases in that ostensibly ''patriotic'' purpose.
First, what is a terrorist? Isn't a terrorist a person convicted of committing terror, the same as a murderer is a person convicted of murder? Not in the United States of 2015.
Since the signing of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), the United States has become a battlefield and every American is a potential ''covered person,'' meaning a person covered by the provisions of that act that would permit the president to apprehend (kidnap, in less euphemistic language) anyone he alone suspects of having some sort of association with terrorists.
That brings us to the second problem: What does the NSAC mean when it targets those suspected of beings ''supporters'' of terrorists?
Fearing that this type of language potentially could be applied to journalists and that the specter of such a scenario would have a chilling effect on free speech and freedom of the press in violation of the First Amendment, award-winning journalist Chris Hedges filed a lawsuit on January 12, 2012 challenging the constitutionality of the NDAA.
Hedges claims that his extensive work overseas, particularly in the Middle East, could qualify him as a ''covered person'' who, by way of such writings, interviews and/or communications, had ''substantially supported'' or ''directly supported'' ''al-Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces.
Similar concerns exist in the equally vague language of the NSAC's internal memo published by Phase Zero. It is nearly indisputable in the contemporary climate of near-constant surveillance that the NSAC would use its terrorist tracking mandate to gather and store personal information on millions of Americans who've done nothing remotely connected to anything that could be construed as a threat to national security.
Thanks to the Phase Zero report it is now known that, regarding the scope of the surveillance:
An average of 6,000 target packages a month are prepared by the Center, many resulting in leads to law enforcement authorities, but the majority just human metadata living in perpetual link analysis limbo. The volume of data open to Center, and the complex queries made have resulted in the Task Force building four unique software systems to manage analyst access and data management.
Tax money is being taken from Americans and used to build the walls of the Panopticon higher and higher, making each of us a prisoner within walls we work to pay for.
So, while the NSA servers are temporarily shut down, the computers at the super-secret NSAC continue monitoring and mining personal data of millions of unsuspecting Americans.
White House presses for new cyber laws after vast hack - Yahoo News
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 21:37
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Police State
TSA agent revives woman in line who choked on a doughnut - MarketWatch
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 16:04
Be careful before you bite into that doughnut -- it is National Doughnut Day, after all.
A woman started choking at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint line at JFK International Airport earlier this week. She had been eating a doughnut, which got stuck in her throat and caused her to stop breathing and go limp.
TSA supervisory behavior detection officer Glenn Davis stepped in and attempted to use the Heimlich maneuver, according to a TSA news release.
''The woman started to turn blue. She had no pulse,'' Davis said. ''We tried CPR. I started with chest compressions and I instructed her husband to pinch her nose and breathe into her mouth.''
After about five minutes, the woman started to cough and regained consciousness. She returned to a stable condition, but it's unclear whether she has eaten a doughnut since.
''Today might be Doughnut Day, but there's one woman who is probably going to say 'No thanks' if someone offers her one of the sweet treats today,'' a TSA spokesperson said.
Germans getting pissed at Greece, as they will affect All Eurozone credit rating and payment terms
Greek Banks On Verge Of Total Collapse: Bank Run Surges "Massively" As Depositors Yank '‚¬700 Million Today Alone
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 19:57
While the Greek government believes it may have won the battle, if not the war with Europe, the reality is that every additional day in which Athens does not have a funding backstop, be it the ECB (or the BRIC bank), is a day which brings the local banking system to total collapse.
As a reminder, Greek banks already depends on the ECB for some '‚¬80.7 billion in Emergency Liquidity Assistance which was about 60% of total deposits in the Greek financial system as of April 30. In other words, they are woefully insolvent and only the day to day generosity of the ECB prevents a roughly 40% forced "bail in" deposit haircut a la Cyprus.
The problem is that a Greek deposit number as of a month and a half ago is hopefully inaccurate. It is also the biggest problem for Greece, which has been desperate to prevent an all out panic among those who still have money in the banking system.
Things got dangerously close to the edge last Friday (as noted before) when things for Greece suddenly looked very bleak ahead of this week's IMF payment and politicians were forced to turn on the Hope Theory to the max, promising a deal with Europe had never been closer.
It wasn't, and instead Greece admitted its sovereign coffers are totally empty this week when it "bundled" its modest '‚¬345 million payment to the IMF along with others, for a lump '‚¬1.5 billion payment, which may well never happen.
And the bigger problem for Greece is that after testing yesterday the faith and resolve of its depositors (not to mention the Troika, aka the Creditors) and found lacking, said depositors no longer believe in the full faith (ignore credit) of the Greek banking system.It may have been the Greek government's final test.
Because accoring to banking sources cited by Intelligent News, things today went from bad to horrible for Greek banks, when Greeks "responded with massive outflowsto the Greece's government decision to bundle the four tranches to IMF into one by the end of the June."
According to banking sources, the net outflows sharply increased on Friday and the available liquidity of the domestic banking system reduced at very low and dangerous levels.
The same sources estimate the outflows on Friday around 700 million Euros from 272 million Euros on Thursday. The available emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) for the Greek banks is estimated around 800 million Euros. In addition, the outstanding amount of the total deposits of the private sector (households and corporations) has declined under 130 billion Euros or lower than the levels at early 2004.
The total net outflows in the last 7 business days are estimated 3.4 billion Euros threatening the stability of the Greek banks.
This means 2.5% of all Greek deposits were pulled in just the past 5 days! Indicatively, this is the same as if US depositors had yanked $280 billion from US banks (where total deposits amount to about $10.7 trillion)
As further reported, the Bank of Greece is set to examine on Monday if Greece will urgently ask additional ELA. However, since one of the main conditions by the ECB to keep providing ELA to Greece is for its banks to be "solvent" (a condition which is only possible thanks to the ECB), one wonders at what point the Troika, whose clear intention it has been from day one to cause the Greek bank run in the process leading to the fall of the Tsipras government, will say "no more."
For those interested, according to IN, the deposit (out)flows in the last 7 business days are as follows:
Finally, for those who missed it, here is the first hand account of the Greek bank run from precisely a week ago as retold by ZH contributor Tom Winnifrith:
Witnessing the great bank run first hand as I deposit money in Greece
Jim Mellon says that the Greeks should build a statue in my honour as on Friday I opened a bank account in Greece and made a deposit. Okay it was only 10 Euro, I need to put in another 3,990 Euro to get my residency papers so I can buy a car, a bike and a gun, but it was a start. But the scenes at the National Bank in Kalamata were of chaos, you could smell the panic and they were being replicated at banks across Greece.
For tomorrow is a Bank Holiday here and if you are going to default on your debts/ switch from Euros to New Drachmas a bank holiday weekend is the best time to do it. And with debt repayments that cannot be met due on June 5 (next Friday) Greece is clearly in the merde. If it defaults all its banks go bust.
But I had to open an account and make a deposit. Outside the bank in the main street of Kalamata there are two ATMs. The lines at both were ten deep when I arrived and when I left an hour later. Inside I was directed to the two desks marked "Deposit". You go there to put in money, to open an account or if you are so senile that you cannot do basic admin of your account without assistance. As such it was me depositing cash and four octogenerians who had not got a clue about anything. Actually I lie. These folks may have been gaga but they were not so gaga that they were actually going to deposit cash, I was the sole depositer.
Friday was also the day when pensions are paid into bank accounts. On the Wednesday and Thursday it was reported that Greeks withdrew 800 million Euro from checking accounts. Friday's number will dwarf that. Whe you go to a Greek bank you pull off a ticket and wait for your number to be called. The hall in my bank contains about 60 seats all of which were filled. There were folks standing behind the seats and in fact throughout the hall, all wanting to get their cash out before the bank closed at 2 PM.
At the side of the room, shielded by a glass screen sat a man behind a big desk. He tapped away at his screen and made phone calls. Ocassionally folks wandered over, shook papers in his face and harangued him having got no joy elsewhere. So I guess he was the bank manager. I rather expected him to end one phone call and stand up to say "That was Athens - all the money has gone, its game over folks." But he didn't. He may well do so at some stage soon.
Eventually I got the the front of my five person queue of the senile and opened my account. Passport, tax number, phone number all in order. I handed over a 10 Euro note and the polite - if somewhat stressed - young man gave me about ten pieces of paper to sign and stamped my passbook. I have done my bit for Greece and have given it 10 Euro which I will lose one way or another in due course. So Jim - time to lobby for that statue.
The Government did not put up a default notice on Friday as I half expected. The can kicking goes on. The ATMs will be emptied this weekend and on Tuesday and in the run up to a potential default day next Friday the banks will be packed again with folks taking out whatever money they can.
It is not just the bank coffers that are being emptied. To get to The Greek Hovel where I sit now from my local village of Kambos is a two mile drive. On my side of the valley there is some concrete track but it is mainly a mud road. On the other side of the valley there is a deserted monastery so to honour the Church - even if there are no actual monks there - a concrete road was built in the good times. By last summer it was more pothole than road.
By law, since I have water and electricity, I can demand that the road be mended and so last summer I went to the Kambos town hall (4 full time staff serving a population of 536) and did just that. They said "the steam roller is broken and we have no money but will try to do it in the Autumn." They did not.
But last week a gang of men appeared and the road is now pothole free, indeed in some places we have a whole new concrete surface. And as I head towards Kalamta there are extensive road mending programmes. At Kitries, the village has found money to renovate its beach front. It is a hive of activity across the Mani.
Quite simply each little municipality is spending every cent it has as fast as it can. The Greek State asked all the town halls to hand over spare cash a few weeks ago to help with the debt repayment. The town halls know that next time it will not be a request but an order. But by then all the money they had hoarded will have been spent. That is Greekeconomics for you.
Everyone knows that something has to give and that it will probanly happen this summer. The signs are everywhere
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The Danes are revolting: Tax Administration set on fire
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:49
In Fredensborg, Denmark, ten official cars from the Tax Administration Office were set on fire and destroyed overnight in a protest. As ExstraBladet reports, police received notification Wednesday night at 3:09 a.m. that the Tax Administration offices on Kratvej were on fire. So far, there are no suspects. But, as Martin Armstrong notes, the police will undoubtedly hunt for someone retaliating against the Tax Man.As Martin Armstrong further points out, this is not the first time the world has seen this...
On February 18, 2010, a man in a dispute with the IRS for seizing his home flew his plane in a suicide mission directly into the IRS building in Austin, Texas.
His battle against the Tax Man made him a hero to many.As the economy turns down and governments become far more aggressive to grab money from everyone, we should see a sharp rise in these types of incidents.
This is part of the rising trend in civil unrest.
This is all insane since money is no longer tangible; taxes are also no longer necessary. We should seriously address the fact that money is not what it used to be.
We have moved forward in technology, science, medicine, and every field except economics. France is high on the list for a major tax revolution as nearly 50% of GDP is consumed by annual tax collections. That is totally insane. And they wonder why the rich flee and unemployment rises? This is the 21st century, not the 17th. Money has changed and taxes are no longer necessary, yet they create it anyway. That is like me giving you a $100 bonus and then charging you $50 to receive it.
What's the point? They spend more than they collect anyway.
36(b)(1) Arms Sales Notification - Turkey
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 15:24
The Department of Defense is publishing the unclassified text of a section 36(b)(1) arms sales notification. This is published to fulfill the requirements of section 155 of Public Law 104-164 dated July 21, 1996.
Ms. B. English, DSCA/DBO/CFM, (703) 601-3740.
The following is a copy of a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Transmittals 15-23 with attached transmittal, policy justification and 620C(d) document.
Dated: June 1, 2015.
Aaron Siegel,
Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.
Transmittal No. 15-23Notice of Proposed Issuance of Letter of Offer Pursuant to Section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act, as amended(i) Prospective purchaser: Turkey
(ii) Total Estimated Value
Major Defense Equipment *$238 millionOther$ 72 millionTotal$310 million(iii) Description and Quantity or Quantities of Articles or Services under Consideration for Purchase: Four (4) MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) Block 1B Baseline 2 systems and the overhaul, upgrade, and conversion of seventeen (17) MK 15 Phalanx CIWS Block 0 systems to the Block 1B Baseline 2 configuration. Also included are twenty one (21) Remote Control Stations, twenty one (21) Local Control Stations, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of program and ogistics support.
(iv) Military Department: Navy (LLI)
(v) Prior Related Cases: None
(vi) Sales Commission, Fee, etc., Paid, Offered, or Agreed to be Paid: None
(vii) Sensitivity of Technology Contained in the Defense Article or Defense Services Proposed to be Sold: None
* as defined in Section 47(6) of the Arms Export Control Act.
(viii) Date Report Delivered to Congress: 20 May 2015.
Turkey'--MK 15 Phalanx CIWS UpgradesThe Republic of Turkey has requested a possible sale for four (4) MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) Block 1B Baseline 2 systems and the overhaul, upgrade, and conversion of seventeen (17) MK 15 Phalanx CIWS Block 0 systems to the Block 1B Baseline 2 configuration. Also included are twenty one (21) Remote Control Stations, twenty one (21) Local Control Stations, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical documentation, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of program and logistics support. The estimated cost is $310 million.
Turkey is a partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in the region. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our NATO ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives.
The proposed sale will provide the Turkish Navy with enhanced self-defense capabilities for surface combatants supporting both national and multinational naval operations. The sale will extend the life of existing weapons systems and add four new weapons to Turkey's two future Landing Ships Tank (LST) vessels. Turkey has significant experience in maintaining and supporting CIWS, particularly MK 15 Phalanx CIWS Block 0, and has capable infrastructure that will require minimal updates.
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. The purchaser has requested offsets. At this time, agreements are undetermined and will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and contractor.
Implementation of this proposed sale will not require the assignment of any additional U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Turkey. However, Contractor Engineering and Technical Services (CETS) may be required on an interim basis for installations and integration.
There will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale.
[FR Doc. 2015-13626 Filed 6-3-15; 8:45 am]
U.S. Quietly Starts Channeling Arms From $1.6 Billion Fund to Iraq
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 20:06
U.S. Quietly Starts Channeling Arms From $1.6 Billion Fund to Iraq
(Reuters) -- The United States has quietly started delivering promised arms for Iraqi soldiers from a $1.6 billion fund approved by Congress last year, officials said, following mounting Iraqi frustration over the pace of coalition assistance.
The Pentagon said long-awaited equipment from the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF) started being fielded about two weeks ago and was moving as fast as possible. Officials noted extensive, previous arms transfers under different U.S. authorities.
Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi laid bare his frustrations at a gathering in Paris this week, saying Baghdad had received "almost none" of the promised international assistance.
"They're complaining the program is too slow. But the fact is it's a slow system," said Douglas Ollivant, a former Iraq adviser in the Obama and Bush administrations.
By contrast, he added, "they tell the Russians they want fighter planes and they show up in a month."
The first U.S. material provided to Iraqi forces under ITEF outfitted an Iraqi army brigade with rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers, mortars, protective masks and other gear.
And more arms were on the way, Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Elissa Smith said.
"This is the first of several planned unit equipment issues
for the coming weeks, which will include Peshmerga units," said
Smith, referring to Kurdish forces.
She said the first issue of equipment from the fund to Iraq's army occurred the week of May 18th, the same week that Ramadi fell to Islamic State, handing the Iraqi military its biggest defeat in nearly a year. A delivery of AT-4 anti-tank weapons last weekend also came from the fund, she said.
"We are, in terms of ITEF, still close to its starting point," a U.S. government official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
A Pentagon document completed last year detailed plans for
ITEF to provide a host of U.S. equipment, ranging from 45,000 pieces of body armor for Iraqi forces to 14,400 M4 rifles for Kurdish forces. Sunni fighters would get 5,000 AK-47 assault rifles. (Click 1.usa.gov/11nsTuN to read the document.)
U.S. officials acknowledge that a big test of the program will be getting the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad to arm Sunni tribes, a crucial step, they say, toward reconciliation.
While arms are just part of a broader U.S. effort that includes air strikes, training and surveillance, the Iraqis see the pace of the weapons flow from Washington as one of the few measurable gauges of President Barack Obama's commitment to the fight - and they say the deliveries are too slow. Obama has already ruled out any major deployment of "boots on the ground."
Still, some U.S. officials feel that Abadi's complaints about weapons and other assistance broadly reflect domestic pressure, particularly after the fall of Ramadi last month.
"He's feeling pressure from all sides," one official said.
The Pentagon has cited coalition deliveries of tens of millions of rounds of ammunition and hundreds of vehicles to Iraq since last summer. The bulk of these were provided through different authorities than ITEF, such as coalition donations and traditional foreign military sales.
"A lack of weapons and ammunition is not the central problem," said a U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing instead "vulnerabilities in organization and leadership" of Iraq's security forces.
U.S. officials appeared to play down concerns about whether Iraq would be able to secure newly-provided weapons, after abandoned U.S.-provided arms and vehicles repeatedly ended up in Islamic State hands over the past year.
"Loss of weapons is an inherent risk when arming an allied military during active conflict," the military official said.
Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Tom Brown.
Alms for the poor military-industrial complex: US Air Force to reveal new bomber contract in early August -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 07:01
In its quest to realize the ever-elusive pipe dream of an affordable bomber, the US Air Force will soon award a contract for its new generation of long-range bombers. Will it come in under budget? Or balloon out of control like the B-2 and F-35?When the Pentagon first proposed development of the B-2 stealth bomber, it estimated that the cost would be, roughly, $441 million per plane. That number was - be it through lack of foresight or malice - a fairly generous estimate. Within six years, that price skyrocketed to $2.2 billion per plane, not to mention the $135,000 it cost to pilot the B-2 per hour of flight.
For its next fleet of long-range bombers, the Pentagon is hoping to keep those costs down, and in August, it plans to announce whether defense contracting firms Northrop Grumman or Boeing Co-Lockheed Martin Corp will be awarded the contract.
To save money, the project is expected to rely on already existing technologies, cutting down on research costs. The Air Force is also looking to downsize the new plane, creating something roughly half the size of the B-2.
Whichever company wins could receive between $50 billion to $80 billion to build between 80 and 100 aircraft.
That equates to roughly $550 million per plane. But if past precedent is any indication, that price could climb.
"There'll be a tendency to load this thing with every toy that can be developed because it's the only game in town," Tom Christie, a former Pentagon acquisition executive, told Bloomberg News. "It's worse now than it ever was."
The Pentagon's top acquisition official, Frank Kendall, said that the Air Force had just completed a new review of the design proposals.
"We looked at the design to make sure it's at the level of maturity it's supposed to be," Kendall said, according to Breaking Defense.
The Pentagon's decision could also have major repercussions for the defense contracting sector. With close to $100 billion at stake, the losing bidder could suffer heavy losses. Kendall has assured the public that the Pentagon's decision will not take the broader contracting impact into consideration, but will choose whichever company proves better for the project.
The bomber planes aren't the only projects giving the Pentagon budget woes. The notoriously costly F-35 fighter jet has so far set the US government back a whopping $400 billion. Despite the seemingly limitless finances thrown into the jet's development, it's suffered a number of setbacks, including failing engine designs, and a computerized system which could be surprisingly vulnerable to cyberattack.
Big Pharma
Feds sanitize Vaccine Injury reporting BIG time
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:44
June 1st, 2015, I published UK's Independent Newspaper Blows Lid Off Vaccine Damages only to find that investigative reporter extraordinaire Sharyl Attkisson published her article Government Wipes Recent Vaccine Injury Data from Website the day before, May 31st. What a truly exciting coincidence, I think, insofar as it seems unforeseen circumstances were plotting to expose the true dichotomy about vaccines and the horrific, life-long and life-endangering damages they cause: vaccine adverse reactions.What I find absolutely stunning about Sharyl's reporting is that she apparently is fearless in laying out the skullduggery involved with the feds deliberate actions, which seem to be efforts to 'salvage' a sinking ship: vaccines'--due to their adverse reactions reporting and claims settlements by the U.S. Vaccine Court. I wonder what the feds will do to skew the VAERS reporting system where U.S. citizens report adverse reactions.
However, I would not like to take any 'thunder' away from Attkisson's excellent work, so I strongly advise my readers to take the time to read her full report here and savor what she reveals: the U.S. feds probably are running scared about how many vaccine damage claims have been paid to damaged vaccinees, especially recently, which is not a favorable trend for Big Pharma's 'sacred cows'.
Nevertheless, I feel compelled to re-emphasize Sharyl's statement that
In the unusual vaccine court, the government acts on behalf of pharmaceutical companies rather than the public, defending vaccine makers against alleged victims. Money damages are not paid by vaccine companies, but through fees collected from patients on every dose of vaccine. [CJF emphasis added]
Older Data Doesn't in Reflect Uptick Awards to Vaccine Victims
HRSA says vaccine makers had no influence over the decision to revert to older data. The agency said it did so to synch up with a statistic the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides for the same chart that is only current through 2013: the number of vaccine doses distributed in US.
I'll bet you dollars to donuts that vaccine makers HAD influence over the decision to revert to older data. Furthermore, what kind of cockamamie statistical reporting uses 'older data' if not for the prime purpose to skew information? That reminds me of the CDC's statistical information games about vaccines causing autism [1], the skewing of autism-vaccine data for ten years or so as documented by the CDC's William Thompson, PhD, [2], and the apparent misinformation given under oath during congressional hearings by another CDC PhD, Coleen Boyle [3]. When will Congress wake up and do what citizens send them to Capitol Hill to do, and that is, exercise OVERSIGHT that's not influenced by vested interests'--in this case, Big Pharma?Since the feds have decided to obfuscate [substitute 'white lie'] about vaccine damage reporting, we can expect that reporters like Sharyl Attkisson and I will not be able to access 'close to reality' vaccine data. What a tragedy for everyone in the USA!
Personally, I'm willing to go on record saying that U.S. citizens really can't trust corporate science at all because their minions have infiltrated governance to the point of control or what's referred to as "fascism". What is fascism? The Free Dictionary by Farlex [6] online defines it as,
1. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of the opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. [Emphasis added]
b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.
2. Oppressive, dictatorial control.Some examples that point toward that system of government are Monsanto's chief lobbyist Michael Taylor, now FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Foods [4] and Monsanto's former corporate attorney, who now is a U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, Clarence Thomas [5].I'd like to offer a word of caution. Expect more 'sanitizing' to come in all areas affecting our lives. It's not going to make things better, easier or clearer, especially when transparency is handed over to the string-pullers.References
[1]"Vaccinations: Deadly Immunity," Robert F. Kennedy Jr. investigates the government cover-up of a mercury/autism scandal.[2]The CDC whistleblower William W. Thompson: Final (for now) roundup and epilogue[3] Video highlights from first congressional hearing on autism in 10-years[4]fda.gov[5]monsanto.com[6]thefreedictionary.com/fascism
About the author
Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.
Cultural Marxism
How Caitlyn Jenner won Bruce Jenner's Olympic medals - The Washington Post
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 06:23
After Bruce Jenner's highly publicized transition to Caitlyn Jenner '-- well-documented on ''Keeping Up With the Kardashians,'' in a Diane Sawyer interview and in a Vanity Fair cover that made her arguably the most famous transgender person in the world '-- a lesser star of the media universe took to social media to say: No way.
''Sorry,'' Drake Bell, a musician and former child star, wrote in a tweet since deleted, as Us Weekly reported. ''Still calling you Bruce.''
[Highlights from Caitlyn Jenner's interview with Vanity Fair]
Immediately excoriated by many who deemed the tweet transphobic, Bell tried to explain himself.
''I'm not dissing him! I just don't want to forget his legacy!'' Bell wrote '-- in another tweet he later deleted. ''He is the greatest athlete of all time! Chill out!''
There's no doubt that it's insensitive for former Nickelodeon stars, news organizations and just about anyone to refuse to refer to someone by the name he or she prefers '-- whether that person is Malcolm X, Cary Grant, Muhammad Ali, Chelsea Manning or Jay Z.
But Bell's insensitive declaration raised an interesting point.
Did Bruce Jenner or Caitlyn Jenner win those Olympic gold medals and appear on those TV shows? And if Caitlyn Jenner did, must history be rewritten? Is every source that refers to ''Bruce Jenner, record-breaking athlete'' '-- or ''Bruce Jenner, guest star on 'Silver Spoons''' '-- now in need of a correction?
A few months after Bruce Jenner revealed, "I am a woman," during an in-depth interview with Diane Sawyer, the former athlete and reality TV star is appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair as Caitlyn. (Editor's note: This video has been updated.) (Nicki DeMarco, Thomas Johnson and Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)
Wikipedia thought so. By Tuesday evening, the ubiquitous crowdsourced encyclopedia was redirecting its ''Bruce Jenner'' page to ''Caitlyn Jenner'' and using the pronoun ''she.''
Example: ''At the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada, she won the gold medal in the decathlon, setting a world record of 8,616 points, beating her own world record set at the Olympic Trials,'' the Caitlyn Jenner Wikipedia page read at 11:24 p.m. EST on June 1. This sentence was a bit jarring: ''Jenner was also the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1976.'' Even the Wikipedia page for ''Can't Stop the Music,'' a poorly received '-- and pretty darn obscure '-- film featuring the Village People that Jenner appeared in in 1980, lists ''Caitlyn Jenner'' as a star.
Could Bruce be Caitlyn before he knew he could be Caitlyn? Further complicating the question were Jenner's own statements about her transition. Jenner told Diane Sawyer to use pronouns such as ''he'' and ''him.'' But in Vanity Fair, she implied that Caitlyn '-- or a version of Caitlyn '-- was there all along.
''I'd walk off the stage and I'd feel like a liar,'' Jenner said of the 1976 Olympic win, as The Washington Post's Soraya McDonald noted. ''And I would say, 'F'--, I can't tell my story. There's so much more to me than those 48 hours in the stadium, and I can't talk about it.' It was frustrating.''
Of course, terabytes of Internet space have been filled with writing about the appropriate use of pronouns when referring to transgender people. GLAAD's media reference guide is particularly handy.
Except when it comes to referring to transgender people in the past.
''Ideally a story will not use pronouns associated with a person's birth sex when referring to the person's life prior to transition,'' the organization wrote. ''Try to write transgender people's stories from the present day, instead of narrating them from some point in the past, thus avoiding confusion and potentially disrespectful use of incorrect pronouns.''
The problem: Caitlyn Jenner is an American legend, and her story began decades ago.
More about Jenner's transition:
You don't have to like it. You don't have to even have to understand it. But you must respect Bruce Jenner's decision to come out as Caitlyn, says Post opinion writer Jonathan Capehart. (Tom LeGro/The Washington Post)
Actually, Caitlyn Jenner just broke the Internet
Caitlyn Jenner to receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award at ESPY's
Highlights from Jenner's Vanity Fair interview
'Call me Caitlyn'
Clegg's wife asked former Dutch FM to lobby for member of Gaddafi clique - nrc.nl
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 22:19
BuitenlandNick Clegg's wife Miriam Gonzlez asked Dutch top lobbyist Bernard Bot to lobby at the Dutch Public Prosecution Service for a businessman from Colonel Gaddafi's clique. Bot, previous Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, now works as a consultant for the Libyan who in the Netherlands is suspected to have diverted at least 28.5 million dollars from Libyan state funds.
Gonzlez, a partner at law firm Dechert in London, asked Bot for help last year when Clegg was still Deputy Prime Minister for the Liberal Democrats. The suspected Libyan, Ismael A. and his family are clients of Dechert. Ismael (45) is the son-in-law of previous Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem.
Ismail being investigated by several countriesResearch by NRC Handelsblad shows that Ismael and his in-laws are being investigated by several countries. Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United States are investigating the Libyan millions that were stolen by the Gaddafi clique. In diverting the money, Ismael would have cooperated with Mohamed Ghanem, Shukri Ghanem's son. He was one of Colonel Gaddafi's confidants. When asked, Ismael denies all imputations.
Gonzlez and Bot know each other from the period they both worked in Brussels. She worked in the cabinet of European Commissioners Patten and Ferrero-Waldner, he was a permanent representative of the Netherlands to the EU. Bot was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007. After that, he became a partner at lobbying firm Meines Holla & Partners in The Hague, where he specializes in complex international matters.
Palladyne manages 700 million dollars of Libyan state fundsIn June 2013, it became known that the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service, FIOD, had raided Ismael's residence and his company, Palladyne International Asset Management in Amsterdam. Palladyne manages 700 million dollars worth of assets from Libyan state funds. The Public Prosecution Service seized 28.5 million dollars, the amount that would have been diverted.
When Gonzlez asked Bot for help, the issue had lasted for a year already without any willingness from the Public Prosecution Service to clarify the suspicions of money laundering, fraud and forgery, the former minister says to NRC Handelsblad. According to him, the request was if he could use his ''influence'' to set the case in motion again. Bot says to have complied with the request after studying the case. The former Minister doesn't see any problems. The suspicions were ''all refuted with rebuttals by the lawyers.''
Bot wrote he was no advocate to suspected businessmanSubsequently, in letters to the Dutch chief prosecutor, Bot insisted on lifting the seizure of the businessman's possessions. He also requested that his client be given more information on the investigation, as he confirms to this newspaper. In his letters, Bot wrote that he was no advocate to the suspected Libyan businessman. Now he turns out to be the suspect's paid consultant.
The Public Prosecution Office doesn't want to react to Bot's statements.
Before Gonzlez joined Dechert at the end of 2011, she was a partner at competing law firm DLA Piper.
Earlier that year, the British press revealed that DLA Piper had lobbied for the Gaddafi regime during negotiations with the EU on illegal migration from Libya to Europe. At the time, the law firm stated Gonzlez didn't act on behalf of the Libyan government.
Neil Gerrard, the main lawyer at Dechert working on this file, who also worked at DLA Piper until 2011, does not wish to answer questions about clients. Miriam Gonzlez does not respond to requests for comments.
Statement from Ismael A.:
Lees meer over:Moammar GaddafiNick Clegg
Corporate Jet Group Seeks Air Traffic Privacy Assurances - WSJ
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 00:05
WASHINGTON'--The latest complaints about a proposed air-traffic control modernization are from private jet operators worried that outsiders will be better able to identify and track the movements of corporate executives and celebrities.
The privacy issue was raised publicly for the first time on Thursday by the major U.S. business aviation trade group, which wants federal regulators to agree to protect the confidentiality of such...
Florida child sex sting nets former workers from Disney, SeaWorld and Universal Studios - The Washington Post
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 05:39
They arrived for a week. Morning, noon and night. A total of 22 men, all seeking the same thing: sex with an underage girl.
One after another, they walked into a sparsely furnished house in Clermont, Fla., expecting to find a 10- or 12- or 14-year-old girl. Instead, they found justice.
Again and again, sheriff's deputies burst into the living room and arrested the men for soliciting sex with a minor. Operation L & P was named after the two counties, Lake and Polk, collaborating on the undercover sting operation and timed to occur just before kids went on summer vacation. From May 18 to 25, detectives from both departments posed as underage girls or their parents in Internet chat rooms.
[Secret rooms, stuffed animals, sex toys: The home that became a child-porn studio]
It's a tried and tested technique for ensnaring sex offenders. In this case, however, the catch was particularly alarming. Not only because authorities caught enough suspects to field a football game, but because of whom they arrested. And where they had worked.
Among those apprehended during the week-long sting was a handful of men whose jobs involved children, including three current and former theme park employees and a youth counselor.
Jeff Conrad, for example, told deputies that he had worked at Disney's Magic Kingdom, half an hour away in Orlando. Disney told News13 in Florida that the man left Disney before the arrest.
''He traveled to have sex with a 14-year-old child,'' Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday. ''He had access to kids because, as he said, he was a Disney employee working at Magic Kingdom.''
Two more suspects worked at Orlando theme parks, Judd said: Ryan Mayer at SeaWorld and Tomas Adames at Universal Studios. (Both companies told local media after the arrests that the men are no longer employed with them.)
['Nice guy' wrestling coach had child porn, pot farm and guns at his N.J. home, police say]
Some men allegedly brought sex toys. One allegedly brought a whip. Another allegedly arrived with an extra pair of underwear, intending to claim his child victim's panties as a trophy, according to local newspaper the Daily Commercial.
''Their communications and desires were outrageous and deviant,'' Judd said. ''All 22 traveled to have sex and brought outrageous tools for deviant sex.''
One of the most disturbing cases was the arrest of Ahmad Saleem, a 22-year-old community activist and youth counselor. He is the founder of Saleem Academy, an organization dedicated to empowering young Muslims. He is also the former Orlando organizer for the Council on American''Islamic Relations (CAIR). CAIR said Saleem worked for the organization only for a short time and had left before his arrest, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Saleem allegedly showed up to the sting thinking he was about to have sex with a 12-year-old. He also showed up in a vehicle with a specialty license plate reading: ''Invest in Children.''
[Ten-year-old girl killed in house fire, hours before trial of her accused rapist]
On Thursday morning, the Saleem Academy Web site hinted at its founder's fraught legal future and inner demons.
None of those arrested have filed pleas yet.
Authorities had little pity for Saleem or his fellow suspects.
''If you're going to prey on children, the Florida sheriffs are going to come after you with a vengeance,'' Judd said. ''You never know from which county we'll be looking for you.''
Judd has gained such a reputation for pursuing sex offenders in Polk that he approached authorities in neighboring Lake County, where he hoped suspects would be less suspicious, according to the Daily Commercial.
''This was a warning and a message that we are after these types of people with a vengeance,'' he said. ''If we didn't get you in this operation, you better be sure we will in the next one. We are after you. Leave our children alone.''
Operation L & P also went after prostitution in the two counties. Detectives pursued a similar strategy, posing as both prostitutes and johns online. Authorities arrested 79 people for prostitution, including a woman who was four months pregnant, two high school girls, and a husband who drove his wife to the Clermont house so she could earn the couple some money by having sex. One john arrived at the house in an Uber he had hired in Cape Coral, two hours away.
''We arrested the [Uber] driver, too,'' Judd said.
Also swept up in the sting was Steven Fabrico, whom Judd showed posing in a photo with one of his two luxury cars.
''He owns two Jaguars, and he gets food stamps,'' Judd said. ''I guess that's so he can save his food money to engage in prostitution.''
MORE READING: Why R. Kelly, like Bill Cosby, can't escape sexual predator allegations
Florida deputy accused of accepting sexual favors in exchange for dropping an arrest
Recall push targets judge who said rapist didn't 'intend to harm' a 3-year-old victim
Michael E. Miller is a foreign affairs reporter for The Washington Post. He writes for the Morning Mix news blog. Tweet him: @MikeMillerDC
VIDEO-Sergey Lavrov interview to Bloomberg TV - YouTube
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 13:23
VIDEO-CNN's Cuomo to Pam Geller: 'You're Throwing A Stone;' 'Overt Provocation' | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 13:07
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
Chris Cuomo pressed Pam Geller on the 4 June 2015 edition of CNN's New Day over her leadership of "a group that does take shots at Islam on a regular basis." Cuomo underlined that "you can show the cartoon. People have the equal right to criticize your showing the cartoon as an overt provocation of a religion." He also wondered, "Why go slight for slight with the Muslims?" The anchor later asserted, "It just seems like you're throwing a stone at something that doesn't really help anything."
VIDEO-ABC, NBC Continue to Skip EPA Report Finding Fracking Doesn't Harm Drinking Water | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 12:37
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
ABC and NBC sustained their refusal on Friday morning to cover a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that found oil and natural gas fracking does not cause harm to the country's drinking water.
After all three networks omitted any mention of the study on their Thursday evening newscasts, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today continued that pattern while CBS This Morning broke through and provided a new brief on the topic.
VIDEO-AHOLE JEB-Face the Nation Transcripts May 31, 2015: Jeb Bush, John Brennan - CBS News
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 07:19
(CBS News) -- A transcript from the May 31, 2015 edition of Face the Nation. Guests included Jeb Bush, CIA Director John Brennan, Peggy Noonan, John Dickerson, David Ignatius and Dan Balz.
BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS HOST: Today marks my official debut, as it were, as moderator of FACE THE NATION.
Our aim is going to be very simple here, to find interesting people from all segments of American life who have something to say and give them a chance to say it.
SCHIEFFER: That was me, 24 years ago.
And today is my last broadcast on FACE THE NATION.
But we're going to keep with that tradition set nearly a quarter-of- century-ago. We will stay focused on the news.
And there is news this morning. Secretary of State John Kerry has been injured in a bicycle accident in France. And Beau Biden, son of Vice President Joe Biden, has died of brain cancer.
Plus, we will hear from potential Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
SCHIEFFER: Now, you're not telling me that there's possibility you may not run?
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Look, I hope I -- I hope I run, to be honest with you. I would like to run. But I haven't made the decision.
SCHIEFFER: And the director of the CIA, John Brennan.
I will also have some personal thoughts on 58 years as a reporter, because this is FACE THE NATION.
Good morning.
The news from overnight, Vice President Biden's son and former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden has died after a long battle with brain cancer. He was 46. He leaves a wife and two children.
And this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry has broken his right leg in a bicycle accident in the French Alps while in Europe for discussions on the Iran nuclear deal. He was airlifted to a hospital in Geneva and will return home later today. He's expected to make a full recovery.
The major story this weekend, Congress must decide today whether to extend the National Security Agency's authority to secretly collect and keep a record of telephone calls. Intelligence agencies say that is vital to the fight against terrorists.
As we continue our survey of likely 2016 presidential candidates, we caught up yesterday with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush at the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville.
We asked him if he believes the nation's security will be in danger if the program is allowed to expire.
BUSH: I do. I do. And it's not violation of civil liberties.
There's no evidence, not a shred of evidence that the metadata program has violated anybody's civil liberties. The first duty of our national government is to protect the homeland. And this has been an effective tool, along with many others. And the Patriot Act ought to be reauthorized as is.
SCHIEFFER: What do you think is the greatest threat to our national security right now?
BUSH: Wow. We have a lot more than we did just a few years ago, as we have pulled back. We have these new asymmetric threats of terror, ISIS and other terrorist groups that want to destroy Western civilization. So, I think that's front and center, maybe the most important one.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let's talk a little bit about ISIS and these recent successes that they have had. And it always seems to come as a surprise when they make another gain. At the very least, do you think we need to put some ground troops back in there?
BUSH: I think we need to coordinate with the Iraqi government and with the Iraqi military. We need to embed American troops, as we have done successfully in the past, to help train them, to identify targets, to do what we do really well.
We need to encourage the Iraqi government to provide support to the Sunni tribes, as we did during the surge. I think we need to arm the Kurds as well, in coordination with the Iraqi government. We need a strategy. We don't have a strategy right now. We have series of tactics reacting to whatever is going on, on the ground.
That doesn't mean we have to have combat troops in harm's way. But I think, in concert with other countries, and certainly in an effort to try to restrict Iranian influence in Iraq, that we can play a constructive role.
SCHIEFFER: Some of the administration's critics, even some people in the Pentagon, are saying privately that the administration is sort of just buying time and is trying to leave this for the next president to deal with.
BUSH: It looks that way, because you don't have a clear strategy.
And I think the strategy is both military, as well as political. We need to make sure that Iraq is stable for the region and to create -- narrowing the influence of ISIS not just in Iraq, but in Syria. So, it doesn't appear that they have a strategy.
Then they put -- every time that they talk about a strategy, they put conditions on that strategy to make it harder to actually implement it. So, I think the first thing you need to do is take advice of military leaders that know a lot about this than folks in the White House. Take their input. Create a strategy. Express what the strategy is.
And the strategy ought to be take out ISIS in coordinated way and do it over the long haul. This is not something that is going to happen overnight.
SCHIEFFER: And you think that can be done without putting ground combat troops in...
BUSH: I do. I do.
But it does require training of the Iraqi military. It requires garnering the support of the region. It requires the airpower that we have right now. It requires better intelligence. It requires special forces, for sure. The president is using that, and that's a good thing.
SCHIEFFER: The secretary of defense said the other day, the Iraqis basically turned and ran during this latest encounter.
BUSH: I don't know if that's true or not. He certainly has more information than I do.
But the simple fact is, if we can reengage with the government and with the military and train them and embed troops with them, and narrow the influence of the Shia militia and restore what existed when the president came into power, which was a fragile, but a secure Iraq, then we will be far better off than what we have today.
SCHIEFFER: But I guess what I'm asking is, if they won't do it, we can't do it for them, can we?
BUSH: No, exactly right.
But we should be engaged to make it possible for them to do it. That's the point. When we pulled back, the Iraqi military was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a -- it was battle-tested and it was -- Iraq was a far more secure place. As we pulled back, all of the sectarian influences began.
They started firing the professionals and putting in political hacks, and that's the problem. We did not engage politically. And when we left militarily, we left a huge void.
SCHIEFFER: Governor, let's talk a little bit about politics. It's pretty obvious that you're running for president. You're going around the country. You're raising huge amounts of money for your super PAC, in addition to making all the traditional campaign stops everywhere.
Watchdog groups and some of your opponents are saying you're really maybe violating campaign laws, and that the attorney general ought to be investigating, because they point out that you can't raise money and coordinate strategy with these super PACs. And once you declare as a candidate, you can't do that anymore.
Do you think, in some way, you may be just at least violating the spirit of the law? Do you feel that you have violated the law here?
BUSH: No, of course not. I would never do that.
And I'm nearing the end of this journey of traveling and listening to people, garnering, trying to get a sense of whether my candidacy would be viable or not. We're going to complete -- completely adhere to the law, for her.
Look, politics is politics. There's always people that are going to be carping on the sidelines. And should I be a candidate -- and that will be in the relatively near future, where that decision will be made -- there will be no coordination at all with any super PAC.
SCHIEFFER: Now, you're not telling me that there's a possibility you may not run?
BUSH: Look, I hope I -- I hope I run, to be honest with you. I would like to run. But I haven't made the decision.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what would have to happen between now and then to convince you not to run?
BUSH: Who knows. Who knows. I have learned not to answer a lot of hypothetical questions.
SCHIEFFER: You're probably going to run.
BUSH: I hope so. I hope I'm a candidate in the near future.
SCHIEFFER: Let me just...
BUSH: And if I am a candidate, by the way, I'm going to have a chance to talk about my record, share my heart, and offer ideas that will give people a sense that their future might be brighter than what we have today.
SCHIEFFER: Last year, you said -- and I'm going to quote you -- anyone running for president should be prepared to -- quote -- "lose the primary to win the general election without violating your principles."
What hot-button issues would you be willing to separate yourself from, say, the right wing of your party to carry out that philosophy?
BUSH: Yes, that -- when I said that, I don't mean I'm going to go out of my way to lose the primary, because then you have no chance of winning the general.
But the simple point is, I think people are so disaffected and believe -- and so cynical about politicians and politics, they don't want to hear someone say, well, I'm for this now, and then immediately shift back to another position for the general election.
Those days, if they ever existed, are over. So, I have views that are different than some in our party. And they -- that's what we will sort out. If I'm a candidate, I will go...
BUSH: I'm not going to back down on views on immigration, for example. I think we have an immigration problem.
It's a system that's broken. The legal system is broken. We need to narrow family petitioning and expand economic immigrants. We need to enforce the law. And we can't use this -- keep having this be political issue, when we're missing the opportunity to create high growth that everybody could benefit from.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you about that. You have said in the past that you do support a path for legal citizenship and residency for the 11 million people here in this country that are here illegally. A lot of your opponents say that's amnesty.
BUSH: Right.
SCHIEFFER: Are you -- do you still favor path to citizenship for these people?
BUSH: I'm for a path to legalized status, where people get a provisional work permit, where they pay taxes, pay a fine, learn English, don't commit crimes, don't receive federal government assistance, and where they earn legal status. They don't earn citizenship. They don't cut in line with people that have been patiently waiting on the outside.
That seems to be a fair system. But those that are opposed to that or call that amnesty don't have plan really to deal with the 11 million people that are here illegally.
SCHIEFFER: Well, President Obama, as you well know, has taken several executive actions on immigration. Would you overturn those actions that he took if you're elected?
BUSH: I think the Supreme Court is going to overturn them. I think it's unconstitutional. I have read the law. I have written a written a book about this. And I'm kind of all in on the immigration subject. And the simple fact is, he doesn't have the authority to do what he did. He knows that, and he's doing this for political purposes to create a wedge for Democrats to win elections, I think. And I think that's their view. So, now, going forward...
SCHIEFFER: What if the Supreme Court doesn't overturn it? Would you void those actions?
BUSH: The solution ought to be to change the law.
And that's what I would do as president of the United States. Change the law to create a different status for those so-called DREAM Act kids than other people. And if you have come here when you were a kid...
SCHIEFFER: But you could just overturn those. As the new president, you could issue another executive order.
BUSH: Sure. But I think we need to fix the whole immigration system. That's the path.
SCHIEFFER: So, you wouldn't just do that?
BUSH: No, I think it ought to be the first -- one of the first priorities for substantive policy changes, is fixing a broken immigration system. And this would be part of that.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about Social Security.
You recently said you favor raising the retirement age for Social Security. To what age?
BUSH: I think it needs to be phased in over an extended period of time. I have seen ideas that are 68, for example.
So people that already have the supplemental retirement system, which is a contract, I don't think we violate that. For people that are about ready to be beneficiaries of their supplemental retirement, I don't think we change that.
But we need to look over the horizon and begin to phase in over an extended period of time going from 65 to 68 or 70. And that by itself will help sustain the retirement system for anybody under the age of 40.
SCHIEFFER: What about means-testing?
BUSH: I think it ought to be considered, for sure.
SCHIEFFER: You do think so? BUSH: I do so, yes.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about someone that, if you do get the nomination, may be your opponent, Hillary Clinton. Do you think it is all right for foreign governments to contribute millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation when she was secretary of state and now that she's running for president?
BUSH: No, I don't, or at least, at a minimum, they should be fully disclosed, which was the agreement I thought she had between the government and the Clinton Foundation.
It turns out that the rules don't always apply consistently for the Clintons. And so just -- just clear transparency, because it looks to me, what I have read about this, is that in fact the reason why transparency was suggested by the Obama administration was to avoid the exact problem we now face, which is the implication of favoritism.
SCHIEFFER: Well, her camp would come back and say, look, there's no suggestion even of any quid pro quo. Do you take them at their word?
BUSH: Well, there's the implication of it, for sure, if you read these articles. But they signed a deal with the administration. I will come in to the Department of State and I will make sure that my spouse will report any dealings he has with other countries and so will the foundation.
And the net result was, they did some, but they didn't do them all. And now you have this doubt. It's inappropriate.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you. I have talked to your brother a couple of times over the last year, and he's very candid. He says one of the problems that you're going to have is him. And he says you cannot let the campaign become about him.
BUSH: Right.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think he's your main challenge?
BUSH: No, I don't.
This is hard for me, to be honest with you, to -- I have to do the Heisman on my brother that I love. This is not something I'm comfortable doing. But I'm my own person. I have my own life experience. And I will be successful, if I'm a candidate, when I share my heart and talk about what I have done as governor of the state, where I cut taxes, reduced the state government work force by 11 percent, moved the state to AAA bond rating.
They called me Veto Corleone because I believe that government incomes should grow far less than personal income, which grew at 4.5 percent during my time. As I tell that story, people will begin to say, yes, look, he's a Bush. That's fine. But I'm for him because he has ideas that will help me rise up. And so I don't -- my brother is not going to be a problem at all. I seek out his advice. I love him dearly. I have learned from his successes and his mistakes.
SCHIEFFER: Let me -- that's an interesting question. What do you think you learned from him, successes and mistakes?
BUSH: Well, the successes clearly are protecting the homeland. We were under attack, and he brought -- he unified the country and he showed dogged determination. And he kept us safe.
And you can talk about a lot of stuff, but when you're president of the United States and you're confronted with that kind of event, to respond the way he did is admirable. And I have learned from that.
And I think I learned also from not having -- keeping the reins on spending. Because of the war and because of the focus on protecting the homeland, I think he let the Republican Congress get a little out of control in terms of the spending.
SCHIEFFER: Making a decision to run for president is an enormous personal decision for anyone to make. Your brother talked about it. I know you have talked about it. Your father talked about putting your family through this exercise.
BUSH: Yes.
SCHIEFFER: Have you talked to your family about this?
SCHIEFFER: And are you comfortable with what you're doing here as far as your family is concerned?
BUSH: I am. I am.
I have prayed about it and I have talked at length my wife of 41 years, who is the love of my life, and my kids. And they're totally all in. They know how ugly it can be. And it's hard for a family. It's easier as a candidate. You can kind of slough it off when the attacks start.
But we're in an ugly time politically. And one of the, I think, next challenges for the next president is to restore some civility in our political process. But, in the interim, it's ugly for sure. But that was the big decision for me to even pursue the consideration of running, to be honest with you, was to make sure that Columba and my family were all in on this. And they are.
SCHIEFFER: One more question.
BUSH: Yes.
SCHIEFFER: When are you going to announce? BUSH: Bob, first of all, let me say how much I just respect your service to our country. FACE THE NATION is the go-to place. And I just appreciate everything you have done.
Unfortunately, you won't be around for me to announce a possible candidacy.
SCHIEFFER: And when do you think that will be? Next month?
BUSH: It will be -- it will be soon, for sure. I have trip to Germany, Poland, and Estonia a week from Monday. And after that, I will have to make up my mind.
SCHIEFFER: All right.
Well, I would like to tell you that we will certainly like to have you. I won't be here, but John Dickerson will.
SCHIEFFER: And I know he will be glad to see you, if you want to come tell us about it.
BUSH: Thank you, sir.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: We're now back with the head of the Central Intelligence Agency, the director, John Brennan.
Director, thank you so much for coming.
Let me just start off with this. Congress is coming back, the Senate is, today to try to find some way to come to some resolution about the exploration of this authority that the National Security Agency has to collect so-called metadata, in other words, collect these phone records and keep track of them.
Some people say they have no business during that whatsoever and they want it to end. Others say it is absolutely vital to fighting the war on terrorism.
I take it you come down on the -- on that side of it.
First of all, let me say it's an honor to be here. You're an icon in the broadcast news industry. And it really is an honor to be on your last show.
SCHIEFFER: Well, thank you very much. BRENNAN: The tools that the government has used over the last dozen years to keep this country safe are integral to making sure that we're able to stop terrorists in their tracks.
The tools that we had under the Patriot Act, those ways that we are able to monitor their activities, really have helped stop attacks. These tools are all part of a package of safeguards that have been put in place. And so the president, the attorney general, the director of FBI, director of national intelligence, the heads of NSA and CIA all are very supportive of an extension of those capabilities and those authorities. And, unfortunately, I think that there has been a little too much political grandstanding and crusading for ideological causes that have skewed the debate on this issue. But these tools are important to American lives.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what happens if this does run out at midnight tonight? Because Senator Rand Paul, among others, says he's going to do everything he can to delay this. Let's just say they don't do anything, these authorities expire. What happens?
BRENNAN: Well, the bureau does not have the ability then to track these various elements that we are looking at who are trying to carry out attacks here in the homeland, whether it's the roving wiretap, individuals who use multiple phones in order to conduct communications and to plan attacks, whether or not it's the ability to be able to go into business records and get court orders.
These are very important authorities that have not been abused by the government. These are authorities that have been used by the government to make sure that we're able to safeguard Americans. And the sad irony is that most Americans expect the government to protect them. And so although there's a lot of debate that goes on, on the Congress and the Hill on this issue, I think, when you go out to Boise or Tampa or Louisville, Americans are expecting their law enforcement and homeland security and intelligence professionals to do their work. And these authorities are important.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think that terrorist elements will take advantage of this?
BRENNAN: I think terrorist elements have watched very carefully what has happened here in the United States, whether or not it's disclosures of classified information or whether it's changes in the law and policies. They are looking for the seams to operate within.
And this is something that we can't afford to do right now, because if you look at the horrific terrorist attacks and violence that is being perpetrated around the globe, we need to keep our country safe. And our oceans are not keeping us safe the way they did a century ago.
SCHIEFFER: Is there any kind of backup plan or anything that -- or is there anything that will go into effect to try to make up for this, while Congress is trying to decide what to do about it? BRENNAN: Well, law enforcement and intelligence professionals will always use whatever authorities and capabilities and tools they have.
And if these lapse, I think we're going to have fewer tools. But we will be working as hard as we can to protect the American people. We have a very good track record of doing that. We need to continue to do that when we look at what's happening, but particularly in the Middle East and how ISIL and other groups are trying to export their violence, to include on our shores.
SCHIEFFER: Well, you know, after 9/11, people said, when you looked back at the summer before 9/11, there were all kind of red lights blinking and we kind of missed that. Are you worried that we may be seeing another kind of situation like that here?
BRENNAN: Yes, because these tools give us better ability to see the tactical moves that various terrorists groups or individuals are making. And what we need to do is to have a strategic intelligence perspective, but, at the same time, we need to have those technical tools and capabilities here in the homeland to stop that attack.
SCHIEFFER: All right, we're going to come back talk more about this in our next half-hour coming after the break.
But now we will have some personal thoughts about 58 years of being a reporter.
SCHIEFFER: As I prepared for this last broadcast as moderator of FACE THE NATION, I thought back to when I was in the ninth grade and saw my byline in the school newspaper and decided right then I wanted to be a reporter.
I got a chance to do that. When I was a young reporter, I wanted to work for CBS, because Walter Cronkite was my hero. And I got a chance to do that.
And after I was here awhile, I wanted to be the moderator of FACE THE NATION. And I got to do that, and did it for 24 years.
Maybe it's because I just love the news, but, at the time, I thought every job I ever had was the best job in the world, going behind police lines, talking to cops and soldiers and then senators and even presidents.
I tried to remember that the news is not about the newscaster. It's about the people who make it and those who are affected by it.
I will be honest, I'm going to miss being in the middle of things, but the one thing I will never forget is the trust you placed in me and how nice you were to have me as a guest in your home over so many years. That meant the world to me. And it always will.
SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but for most of you, we will be right back with a lot more FACE THE NATION, including more from CIA Director John Brennan, and our panel, and a final goodbye.
So, I hope you will stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SCHIEFFER: And welcome back to FACE THE NATION. We continue our discussion with CIA director John Brennan.
Mr. Director, what do you consider -- I asked Jeb Bush this same question -- what do you see now as the main threat to our security?
BRENNAN: Well, terrorism continues to be, I think, at the forefront of our concerns. When we look at what is happening throughout the Middle East with ISIS, the destruction that is occurring in that part of the world.
And the destabilization that is occurring is affecting our national interests abroad but also they have great potential to bring that threat here to the homeland.
But also in the cyber digital environment this is an area that continues to evolve. And there's a lot of room for troublemaking in that environment as far as hacking, as well as trying to destroy different types of infrastructure.
So I think this is something that as we look out over the next five or 10 years we're going to have to make sure that we're aware of the threats that exist within that digital cyber environment that puts our national security at risk.
SCHIEFFER: Is ISIS actively planning an attack on the U.S. homeland?
BRENNAN: ISIS has been very sophisticated and adept at using the Internet to propagate its message and reach out to individuals. We see what is happening as far as thousands upon thousands of individuals, including many thousands from the West, that have traveled into Syria and Iraq. And a number of these individuals are traveling back.
And what we see, they're also using the Internet as a way to incite and encourage individuals to carry out acts of violence.
So as the director of FBI says, you know, this use of these websites and their Internet capabilities is something of great concern. So yes, I think ISIS is a threat not just in the Middle East and South Asia and African regions but also to Europe as well as to the United States.
SCHIEFFER: Director, does the political breach we have with Israel, has that degraded or in any way made -- hurt our intelligence gathering capabilities?
BRENNAN: Absolutely not. There is very, very strong relationship between United States and Israel on the intelligence, security and military fronts. It's one of the great things, I think, about our system; there can be policy differences between our governments but the intelligence and security professionals know that we have an obligation to keep our countries safe and secure.
And so although there's been great debate about the Iranian nuclear negotiations that are ongoing, the CIA, NSA and other intelligence community entities are working very close with their Israeli as well as other counterparts.
SCHIEFFER: Another question I asked Jeb Bush, some of the critics of this administration and some of them are within the government. The ones in the government are not saying these things publicly but saying that the president seems to be just trying to buy time here, that he's not ready to make a full commitment here in this war on terrorism and basically is just trying to keep things together well enough that he can leave it to the next president to resolve it.
Do you see that?
BRENNAN: I don't see anything like that. I've been involved in this administration in different capacities for the last six and a half years and there has been a full court effort to try to keep this country safe.
Dealing with some of these problems in the Middle East, whether you're talking about Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, others, these are some of the most complex and complicated issues that I've seen in my 35 years, working on national security issues. So there are no easy solutions.
I think the president has tried to make sure that we're able to push the envelope when we can to protect this country. But we have to recognize that sometimes our engagement and direct involvement will stimulate and spur additional threats to our national security interests.
SCHIEFFER: But whatever else you want to say about Iraq, every single gain that ISIS has made seems to have come as a surprise to the United States government.
Is that a fair statement?
BRENNAN: No, I think that we -- I went back over the intelligence of last week, taking a look at what we knew and when we knew it about ISIS and its movements inside of Iraq and Syria. We saw a growing strength. There are a lot of factors that come to play in terms of what gains they're able to make on the ground and as has been discussed, sometimes there are different Iraqi units that either don't have the leadership, the logistic support that they need in order to counter ISIS.
And therefore it's looked at as a lack of a will to fight. But I must say that there has been a fair amount of intelligence about the growing capabilities of ISIS as well as the challenges that beset the Iraqi government, the sectarian tensions that continue to fuel a lot of these problems.
So I think the intelligence mission is to try make sure our policymakers and others understand developments as they evolve but a lot of times these developments are fast-breaking and very dynamic. And the situation there is quite precarious in many areas.
SCHIEFFER: Well, nobody plays down how difficult this is. It's an enormously difficult task, but what do you need to be doing or what needs to be done that hasn't been done? Because I see -- it seems to me that ISIS is getting stronger, not getting weaker.
BRENNAN: Well, I think we can look at both Iraq and Syria; we need to make sure that we're able to maintain military pressure on the battlefield against ISIS, against Nusra, the other terrorist extremist elements there.
But at the same time I believe firmly that we're not going to resolve this problem on the battlefield. We have to keep the pressure on them but at the same time there has to be a viable political process that's able to bring together the actors inside Iraq and Syria and for them to be able to decide how they're going to have a peaceful future.
So it's a combination of military and political pressures that need to be brought to bear.
This is going to be a long fight. I don't see this being resolved anytime soon. We need to turn back ISIS, we will turn back ISIS, I have no doubt about it. But I think there is going to be unfortunately a lot of bloodshed between now and then.
SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you a little bit about the negotiations to try to limit Iran's nuclear power.
If we can come to some agreement with Iran, do you feel confident that we will have the intelligence capability to know if they're cheating?
BRENNAN: Well, one of the, I think, very strong parts of the framework that is being discussed and hopefully will be negotiated with a settlement is that there is a very rigorous inspection campaign that's part of this framework, that the IAEA and others will have access to the various nuclear facilities.
But I believe that the U.S. intelligence and other intelligence agencies will need to be able to continue to watch, monitor and see whether or not Iran is adhering and abiding by the various requirements of the deal.
We're working very closely with our partners to do that. We've learned a lot about the Iranian program over the last decade. So I'm confident that we're going to be able to bring to bear some of those capabilities that we -- and expertise -- that we have developed.
SCHIEFFER: The travel ban on the so-called Taliban Five -- these are the five prisoners who were at Guantanamo, who were released in exchange for the release Bowe Bergdahl. There was a ban on them. They couldn't travel for a year from their host country; that ban is ending.
What should be done about that, are you concerned that these people might go back to the fight now?
BRENNAN: Well, they are Afghan citizens and we have been engaged with the Qatari government. I've talked personally to senior Qatari officials about their monitoring of these individuals that have been in Qatar for the last year. And looking what are the arrangements that could be put in place and what is going to be the disposition of these individuals, whether they will be sent back to Afghanistan or able to stay in Doha, so this is continuing. It's part of the ongoing process of discussing with our Qatari partners what is in the best interest of national security.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what do you want?
Do you want them to stay there or you want to put them in jail?
What do you want to do with them?
BRENNAN: I want to make sure that they're not going to be allowed to return to the fight. And I think this is part of the rehabilitation process as well as a monitoring and observing process. So arrangements that could be worked out with the Qataris, with the Afghans, I think, we're trying to still look at what are the possibilities here.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Mr. Director, thank you so much for joining us on this broadcast. It was a pleasure to have you.
BRENNAN: Thank you very much.
SCHIEFFER: All the best.
BRENNAN: Best wishes to you. Thank you.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you so much.
We'll be right back with our panel in just a minute.
SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with our panel: Peggy Noonan, a "Wall Street Journal" columnist, CBS News contributor; David Ignatius, a columnist with "The Washington Post"; Dan Balz, the chief correspondent at "The Washington Post" and the unofficial dean of the Washington press corps, I would say; and CBS News political director -- and 20 minutes from now will officially start a new job -- John Dickerson.
And, John, if you can answer this question, you can just have the job. And that is, what is the Senate going to do when they come into session later today?
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Here is what they think they're going to do. They are going to try to deal with Patriot Act which is going to expire at the end of today. Rand Paul says he's going to end the Patriot Act. Well, the Republicans running the Senate say that's not going to happen. It may happen for a few days, it may go away. But what Mitch McConnell is hoping to do is take this House bill that passed, the USA Freedom Act, maybe add a few changes to it. But that they will pass that through the Senate, and then basically what might happen is the Patriot Act would in fact go away. But then this modification of what passed through the House would pass, and the Patriot Act would basically come back in a new form around Wednesday or Thursday.
SCHIEFFER: So, does that make sense to you, Dan?
DAN BALZ, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, it seems to be the only way they can get this done. Rand Paul is -- clearly has a strong position on this, but also is using it for his political purposes in his presidential campaign. He's trying to raise money off his opposition to it. So he's firmly committed to stopping this for the time being, but I assume that over the next couple of days, they will get it resolved.
PEGGY NOONAN, COLUMNIST, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: I think some this of comes under the heading, timing is everything. When the whole issue of privacy and the Patriot Act came up in a very big way about 18 months, two years ago, there was a certain relative sense of calm in which a debate could be launched and become serious. I kind of think right now, there is a heightened sense of danger, the government is reporting more threats. There is ISIS, there is a hotter sense of danger. I think at the end of the day, that will work against those who certainly -- it will work against Rand Paul wanting to get rid of the Patriot Act -- but it may work against certain fixes that frankly I think are needed, but timing is everything.
DAVID IGNATIUS, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: First I want to say, thank you. You taught everyone in journalism how to do it right. Treating people with respect and also asking them tough questions always, as in your interview with Jeb Bush.
Talking about this question of the Patriot Act. What is striking to me is the way in which the consensus that used to exist about surveillance has fragmented. You have president Obama allied with John Boehner, the speaker of the House. More or less in tension with the Senate Republican leadership, which is itself split. The question for me is how are you going to put back together a consensus about whatever emerges from the process this week. Is there really going to be public support for that? Because without it, these tools that John Boehner talked about are not going to be effective.
SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean, how dangerous a position is this, Peggy? I mean, this sounds pretty serious to me if they don't get this thing done in some way.
NOONAN: If it disappears for a few days? Well, I think John Brennan made it very clear. We're going to do whatever we have to do. We're not just going to say, OK, we'll see you in a few days. We're not going to do any work.
It does sound serious, and I think that at the end of the day will force some kind of outcome that may go quicker than we hoped in the Congress. But I think the reason that consensus has fallen apart comes down to the word meta data. And an increasing sense on the part of many people, that oh my gosh, this government that we have can really kind of make us feel violated or actually violate our privacy. That's not a small thing. It's a serious Fourth Amendment thing. It was the Fourth Amendment because it was the fourth biggest thing to take care of. Searches and seizures. So I think this is an inevitable argument. An argument worth having. But timing will affect it.
SCHIEFFER: Well, the cavalcade of presidential candidates continues to roll on, what do we have, three people this week. Martin O'Malley makes it official, he's going to run, he is the former governor of Maryland. He's also the former mayor of Baltimore. He's in. Bernie Sanders is the other Democrat that said he's going to run. Hillary Clinton of course is out there. Does anybody -- and then we had two Republicans also announce, George Pataki and who, somebody else--
SCHIEFFER: Rick Santorum, and then I think Lindsey Graham is going to announce later this week.
I mean, where does this end?
IGNATIUS: Fox News puts limits on the number of candidates who can appear on a televised debate, I mean, that is going to be a choke point.
NOONAN: Think about this. Two dozen men and a woman. That's a lot of people on a debate stage. That's an impossible number of guys in ties. Nobody is going to get to say anything. They actually do have to do something just to make the debate itself coherent as they begin.
SCHIEFFER: Well, who -- what happens next? I mean how -- obviously all of these people are not going -- these campaigns are not going to last until we get to election day. I'm worried about two things. No. 1, we'll all be asleep by then. I mean, is it just so much talk going on that by the time we get to the real election season, nobody is going to be very interested any more?
DICKERSON: I think you're going to have -- on the Republican side, you have to at some point have a fight over something that distinguishes person A from person B. Or in this case person B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and J and K. They have to do something. And one thing that is interesting about this national debate over surveillance is we've seen a flashpoint about real differences over policy. The flashpoint though has been between Rand Paul and everyone else. All other Republicans this week were fighting to issue press releases in which they could condemn Rand Paul. But then Rand Paul went from beyond surveillance and said the hawks within the conservative movement were responsible for the growth of ISIS.
What you're seeing there is an ideological but also a policy debate. If you want to be a candidate who distinguishes yourself from all the others, you have to take positions that are going to distinguish you. I think that is what we'll start to see a little bit.
SCHIEFFER: One thing we saw, we saw Jeb Bush this morning say flatly he does favor some kind of legal status for the 11 million immigrants who are here without papers. That is going to set him apart from a lot of people in that Republican field.
BALZ: It definitely does. And he has stuck to that position through this long period of quote/unquote, noncandidacy that I thought you grilled him very effectively on.
But one of the problems right now is that there are so many candidates, and so little real shape to this race, that it's hard for people to know who they really need to go after. Who they think they need to draw a distinction with. So until we get to the next phase, when everybody is formally in, when the debates begin, even as clumsy and difficult as they're going to be, we're going to be in a period in which it's not quite clear how sharply those differences are going to get engaged. But as John says, they will get engaged.
NOONAN: I think one of the things that is very good is to remember, these guys and a woman are running for president. That means you ought to be forthcoming about the way you look philosophically at the Mideast. What you think America is doing there. What immigration means. These are big issues you want to be talking about. I'm glad they have really started engaging. Maybe it started with the Marco Rubio speech in a way at the Council on Foreign Relations.
I'm disheartened that Mrs. Clinton seems to get away with not talking about these things. She wants to be president, too. She's wanted it for a long time. She knows where she stands. So instead we have listening tours. It would be lovely to see a talking and explaining tour.
SCHIEFFER: How long can she maintain that status, David? So far she has -- has she had any news conferences?
IGNATIUS: She maintains it as long as she is the presumptive candidate and tries to ration what she says. I actually think it's in her interests for the Democratic field to broaden a little bit. For O'Malley, for Sanders, for others to come in, and so she's running against them and testing her ideas against their ideas, not running against the press. Because that's the situation she's in now. It has not been a very favorable one for her.
BALZ: She's about to make a turn. On June 13 she will have an announcement. It will be the announcement, the formal launch of the candidacy. At that point, according to the people around her, she will lay out in more detail than she has done so far, what she wants to do as a presidential candidate and president, and after that, they have, they say, a schedule in which she will go into more detail about this. So she will chose the moments at which she decides to talk more about these issues. I think the question is, how much she will then take questions about the things she stands for or doesn't stand for, how much she is willing to engage with her rivals and with the press.
SCHIEFFER: I mean, she can run against the Democrats, I mean, if she didn't want to run against the other -- the other -- run against the Republicans is what I meant to say, if she didn't want to run against the other Democrats. But I don't see much. Peggy, what is your sense?
NOONAN: I was interested in Martin O'Malley's announcement this week, in which he seemed to me to do two things. One to say predictably, I'm the new generation, and I'm going to get rid of these old folks. He had a very sharp point to make about how the presidency is not a crown that two families get to pass back and forth.
But more interestingly, he did talk about issues. He talked about his stance. It seemed top me he was not only to the left of Mrs. Clinton trying to get that be where he was coming from, he seemed implicitly critical of President Obama, you know, he painted a certain America of unhappiness and racial division and economic inequality and why is nobody on Wall Street been arrested in the past eight years. It seemed from a certain point of view that was kind of a rebuke of his sitting president.
So, he may make it a little bit interesting in terms of the arguments.
BALZ: He's not just implicitly critical of President Obama, when I spoke to him on Friday, he was explicitly critical on the trade issue and said he felt that the president has been captured by the corporate interests who stand to gain from the trade deals. So, he's taking on both of them at this point.
DICKERSON: And just to pick up on that trade point, he is attacking on trade in part also to expose a vulnerability of Hillary Clinton who has been gingerly on the question of trade -- obviously there's a long history with NAFTA and President Clinton but Hillary Clinton is trying to play it safe on those answers. And what Martin O'Malley is doing by taking a strong stand on trade, is point out and show the areas in which she's not being forthright.
SCHIEFFER: All right, well we're going to end it there. Thank you all. Presiding over my last panel here it's been a lot of fun. John, you're going to love this job.
We'll be right back after this short break.
SCHIEFFER: You want some more pizzazz in the standup?
Here we go, this is the last take. A good take. Five, four, three, two, one. The administration sees Hussein's participation...
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: We were in Nigeria. And you couldn't get the name of the leader of Nigeria correct to save his life. Over and over and over again, Obasanjo.
SCHIEFFER: The Nigerian chief of state General Obasanjo.
SCHIEFFER: Obasanjo and the president will talk about...
Kelly Kolay (ph), Coyaba (ph), Kelly Kobaya (ph) has our story.
NFL linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and Brendon, I'm going to let you say your name for us, because I've said it about six ways today. And I apologize for that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, coming up, Dr. Robert Arnot (ph).
SCHIEFFER: I'm sorry, I dropped the coffee. This is -- this has been a very unusual morning.
SCHIEFFER: Well, Hillary Clinton is at the tail end of a six nation tour of Africa. You'd think she'd be exhausted, but there was the Secretary of State last night cutting loose at a reception at a reception in South Africa. She didn't even flinch when this diplomatic dance took an unexpected turn.
SCHIEFFER: We'll be back next week with another show about what else, politics. See you on FACE THE NATION next Sunday.
Well, that's it for us. We'll see you right here next week rain or shine on FACE THE NATION.
That's it for us. Remember our troops who are away from home and their families back home and we'll see you next week right here on FACE THE NATION.
Well, that's about it for us today. We'll be back here same place, same time, same station. So thanks for watching. And we hope to see you then on FACE THE NATION.
SCHIEFFER: And that's it for us today as I say goodbye for this last time as moderator of FACE THE NATION. I want to you meet all of the people who have worked so hard to make this broadcast what it is over the years. FACE THE NATION was here long before I came to CBS. I know I'm leaving it in good hands. I want to thank our team and I want to thank all of you for watching. It takes a lot of folks to get this show on the air and I'm really proud of all of them. So, here they are. And I want all of you to take a bow.
(C) 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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VIDEO-America's Strongest Allies - YouTube
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 00:07
VIDEO-Trevor Aaronson: How this FBI strategy is actually creating US-based terrorists - YouTube
Sun, 07 Jun 2015 00:00
VIDEO-Egg rationing in America has officially begun - The Washington Post
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 23:51
You'll see higher egg prices at the grocery store, thanks to a bird flu outbreak. PostTV explains the egg shortage, and what products will be more expensive next. (Jhaan Elker, Rebecca Schatz and Julie Percha/The Washington Post)
In recent days, an ominous sign has appeared throughout Texas. "Eggs [are] not for commercial sale," read warnings, printed on traditional 8 1/2-by-11-inch pieces of white paper and posted at H-E-B grocery stores across Texas. "The purchase of eggs is limited to 3 cartons of eggs per customer."
H-E-B, which operates some 350 supermarkets, is one of the largest chains not only in the state, but in the whole country. And it has begun, as the casual but foreboding notices warn, to ration its eggs.
"The United States is facing a temporary disruption in the supply of eggs due to the Avian Flu," a statement released on Thursday said. "H-E-B is committed to ensuring Texas families and households have access to eggs. The signs placed on our shelves last week are to deter commercial users from buying eggs in bulk."
The news, as the grocer suggests, comes on the heels of what has been a devastating several months for egg farmers in the United States. Avian flu, which has proven lethal in other parts of the world, has spread throughout the United States like wildfire. Since April, when cases began spreading by the thousands each week, the virus has escalated to a point of national crisis.
As of this month, some 46 million chickens and turkeys have been affected, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nearly 80 percent of those are egg-laying hens, a reality that has been crippling for the egg industry.
But it's becoming increasingly clear that it isn't merely those who produce eggs that will suffer. Those who eat them will pay a price, too.
The wholesale price of eggs sold in liquid form (a.k.a. egg beaters, the kind used by large food manufacturers) has skyrocketed '-- from $0.63 per dozen to more than $1.50 '-- since the virus began to spread. While that stands to affect the price of breads, pastas, cakes and other commercial confections made with eggs, it also bodes poorly for food service providers, such as McDonald's, which sell millions of egg-filled meals every morning. Texas-based fast-food chain Whataburger recently announced that it will be shortening its breakfast hours for the foreseeable future.
"We know this is no fun for anyone and hope this doesn't last long, and we apologize the supply of eggs cannot currently meet demand," the company wrote on its Facebook page.
In-shell egg prices have risen too. The average price per dozen has just about doubled since the end of May, according to the USDA. Have a look at that red line in chart below.
But incremental price increases are hardly as noticeable as strict limits on purchases, such as those already appearing at one of the country's largest supermarket chains, which makes the signs at H-E-B stores all the more foreboding. H-E-B has called the disruption "temporary" but hasn't delineated any time frame for the three-dozen-egg limit.
Given how fruitless efforts have been to contain the flu so far, it's hard to imagine the system will be flooded with a fresh stream of eggs any time soon. It seems likely, in other words, that other grocers will begin rationing eggs, too, before H-E-B is able to sell patrons as many as they wish to eat.
And with each wrinkle of bad news, the idea of a national egg shortage, which was once uttered as though it were a mere apocalyptic musing, is suddenly looking like a real possibility.
Roberto A. Ferdman is a reporter for Wonkblog covering food, economics, immigration and other things. He was previously a staff writer at Quartz.
VIDEO-MSNBC Reporter Asks Miss Piggy If She's Pro-Choice - YouTube
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 22:40
VIDEO-Galaxy S 6 v 6: Wireless Charging, Wide Angle Selfie - YouTube
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 20:18
VIDEO-Urban warfare military explosions rock Flint, Michigan, residents failed to get the memo -- Society's Child -- Sott.net
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 19:43
(C) unknown
Yet another location is erupting into urban army exercises ahead of the nationwide Jade Helm drills that have many concerned about martial law and the true intentions of mock takeovers of U.S. cities across the map.This time, it was unexpected "simulated explosions" that rattled residents in a neighborhood of Flint, Michigan after the U.S. Army initiated training without warning the locals - despite the fact that the drills, which will last until June 12, had been planned for six months.
According to WNEM 5:"I was standing there, and all of a sudden, boom!" Jean Glenn said.
"I mean it was loud, it blew up the whole sky or whatever, it was like four or five big bangs," Annette Humphrey said.
Explosions you'd expect in a war zone echoed through Flint. People's homes shook and those inside were caught off-guard. It all went down Tuesday at the shuttered Lowell Junior High on the city's east side.
MLive added:"They should warn the residents around here at least when there's something that loud and scary," said Nicole Robinson, 28. "That's pretty crazy."
The exercises involve the use of "training simunitions and helicopters. Sounds associated with the training may be heard in the local area," the city's statement says.
"The Flint Police Department is aware of the training and will contact residents in the immediate area where training will occur."
Transparency is definitely part of the issue, and it will do little to dispel the growing concerns about the real reasons for military training all across the country in cities from Florida to Michigan to Texas and Utah.Technically, a press release was put out, but the news went out such a short time before that most had no idea it was coming.
Just after 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, the city sent out a release informing the public about the exercises. People say the explosions went off around 2 Tuesday afternoon, but why were residents given such short notice?
"Obviously, I can't speak for the Army on that, but we try to give people a heads up when we can, we can't go into too much detail, we don't want people just coming to these things and sightseeing," Lorenz said. (source)
The Army and city blamed a last-minute change in schedule that prompted an 'early start':"Yesterday was a unique situation," said Chief James Tolbert. "For whatever reason the timetable was moved up. And we put it out as soon as we could. We did put it out before there was any type of explosives."
Meanwhile, reporters since that time have been asked not to film the events - get this, so that terrorists won't hunt down the troops involved if their faces are shown:[...] the officials from the army didn't wanted their faces shown during our broadcast.
The concern: terrorists may try to find them and harm them.
Officials do say they will release more information following the exercises, but specifics will be kept secret so tactics aren't passed to our enemies.
The excuses for why a press release wasn't put out sooner and why residents weren't put on notice there in Michigan hardly holds water when you look at the past examples of urban warfare training that also curiously kept locals in the dark.Infowars carried this report about training Florida back in March that also caught people off guard with 'little or no notice':
The Department of Defense is conducting military training in Broward County this week, with exercises involving low flying helicopters that will 'scare the crap out of people', according to one local reporter.
"This type of training where military helicopters go around scaring the crap out of people has been conducted in different cities across the country and is designed to certify service members in urban environment operations for any future overseas deployments," writes Chris Joseph of the Broward/Palm Beach New Times, adding, "Don't panic. Those military aircraft and soldiers you see down the street are only a drill."
The U.S. military routinely conducts urban warfare exercises domestically, sometimes with little or no warning whatsoever, drawing criticism that the drills are designed to acclimate Americans to a state of martial law.
Last year, the Twin Cities were also "occupied" by urban training without warning, when low-flying helicopters buzzed concerned residents:With no warning for residents, military helicopters flew low Monday evening over St. Paul and Minneapolis in a federal training exercise, about which officials released almost no information.
The St. Paul police watch commander initially had no information on the exercise.
He was later informed that it was a training exercise involving Homeland Security and local law enforcement.
"Apparently (local law enforcement) worked something out last March. Apparently they were supposed to go through the city of Minneapolis PIO to let people know, but that didn't work out so well," Thune said. "One day's notice is hardly any kind of excuse for doing this kind of thing anyway.
"It's incredibly unsafe," Thune added. "When you've got Blackhawk helicopters flying between buildings full of people in the middle of the night, it's just not safe. ... It's absolutely wrong for us as a civilian police department to be engaging in military exercises. It shouldn't happen here."
Perhaps the element of surprise is key to the training... if so, what is its true purpose?Perhaps we will all wake up one day, surprised to find that this kind of conduct has not made us, or the world, any safer; and that instead our liberties have been slipping away, while the population has become quietly accustomed to military occupation and, yes, martial law.
VIDEO-Owner of Greenwood Village house blown apart by SWAT says: 'This is an abomination. This is an atrocity' - 7NEWS Denver TheDenverChannel.com
Sat, 06 Jun 2015 19:31
Flash Flood Watch issued June 6 at 4:09AM MDT expiring June 7 at 12:00AM MDT in effect for: Conejos, Mineral, Rio Grande
Flood Advisory issued June 6 at 12:18PM MDT expiring June 12 at 6:00PM MDT in effect for: Pitkin
Flood Advisory issued June 6 at 10:14AM MDT expiring June 7 at 4:10PM MDT in effect for: Adams
Flood Advisory issued June 2 at 3:57PM MDT expiring June 5 at 3:57AM MDT in effect for: Larimer
Flood Warning issued June 5 at 9:10AM MDT expiring June 9 at 12:00PM MDT in effect for: Logan, Morgan, Washington
Flood Warning issued June 5 at 9:10AM MDT expiring June 10 at 6:00AM MDT in effect for: Morgan
Flood Warning issued June 5 at 4:21PM MDT expiring June 7 at 6:55AM MDT in effect for: Boulder
Flood Warning issued June 4 at 9:27AM MDT expiring June 5 at 3:27PM MDT in effect for: Weld
Flood Warning issued June 4 at 9:27AM MDT expiring June 9 at 12:00PM MDT in effect for: Weld
Flash Flood Watch issued June 6 at 9:07AM MDT expiring June 7 at 12:00AM MDT in effect for: Delta, Dolores, Garfield, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Mesa, Montrose, Ouray, Rio Blanco, San Miguel
Flash Flood Watch issued June 5 at 10:11AM MDT expiring June 7 at 12:00AM MDT in effect for: Archuleta, Dolores, Hinsdale, La Plata, Montezuma, San Juan, San Miguel
Flash Flood Watch issued June 5 at 10:11AM MDT expiring June 8 at 3:00PM MDT in effect for: Delta, Garfield, Mesa
Flood Warning issued June 6 at 7:49AM MDT expiring June 7 at 9:00PM MDT in effect for: Pueblo
Flood Warning issued June 6 at 7:49AM MDT expiring June 9 at 12:00AM MDT in effect for: Otero
Flood Warning issued June 5 at 6:12AM MDT expiring June 6 at 8:00PM MDT in effect for: Adams
Areal Flood Advisory issued June 5 at 3:26PM MDT expiring June 9 at 3:15PM MDT in effect for: Eagle
Flood Advisory issued June 4 at 9:58AM MDT expiring June 9 at 5:00PM MDT in effect for: Boulder
Flash Flood Watch issued June 3 at 5:55PM MDT expiring June 8 at 3:00PM MDT in effect for: Delta, Garfield, Mesa
VIDEO-6 week cycle FBI
Fri, 05 Jun 2015 18:59
Investigative reporter Trevor Aaronson- executive director of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism '' has spent years researching and writing about FBI terrorism ''stings'' on mentally retarded and destitute Muslims orchestrated by informants convicted of rape and child molestation, who make some $100,000 per sting.
Aaronson notes:
The FBI is responsible for more terrorism plotsin the United Statesthan any other organization.More than al Qaeda,more than al Shabaab,more than the Islamic State,more than all of them combined.
I've spent years pouring through the case filesof terrorism prosecutions in the United States,and I've come to the conclusion that the FBIis much better at creating terrorists than it is at catching terrorists.
Aaronson points out that the FBI hasn't denied his reports:
We used the court file to find out whetherthe defendants had any connections to international terrorist groups,whether an informant was used,and whether the informant played the role of an agent provocateurby providing the means and opportunity.And we submitted that to the FBIand we asked them to respond to our database.If they believed there were any errors,we asked them to tell us what they were and we'd go back and checkand they never challenged any of our findings.Later, I used that data in a magazine articleand later in my book,and on appearances on places like CBS and NPR,they were offered that opportunity againto say, ''Trevor Aaronson's findings are wrong.''And they've never come forward and said,''These are the problems with those findings.''So the data has since been used by groups like Human Rights Watchon its recent report on these types of sting operations.And so far, the FBI has never really respondedto these charges that it's really not catching terroristsso much as it's catching mentally ill peoplethat it can dress up as terrorists in these types of sting operations.
And see this.
Clinton and Bush's top counter-terrorism czar '' Richard Clarke '' said:
A lot of the cases after 9/11 were manufactured or enormously exaggerated and were announced with great trumpets by the attorney general and the FBI director so that we felt that they were doing something when, in fact, what they were doing was not helpful, not relevant, not needed.
We noted in 2011:
The Washington Post ran a story about one alleged threat entitled ''Was it a terror sting or entrapment?'', showing that the U.S. government lent material support to the wanna-be terrorists, and put violent ideas in their headsThere are numerous other instances of entrapment of peaceful or mentally incompetent people who are then arrested as ''terrorists''. For example, the ''mastermind'' of the terrorism plot was a self-confessed ''pothead'' , another was a crackhead, and that they were all semi-retarded. And see this, this and this


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