About Hexagonal Awareness Month | Hexagonal Awareness Month
Thu, 18 Jun 2015 23:33
Are you aware of hexagons on a day-to-day basis? Do you ever find yourself being less aware of hexagons than you would perhaps like to be? Is it hard to find time in your schedule to be as aware of hexagons as you might otherwise be?
While it is certainly true that "every month is Hexagonal Awareness Month," or indeed should be, it is an inescapable fact of modern life that not all of us can be aware of hexagons all the time. Hexagonal Awareness Month is a time for those who might otherwise not be aware of hexagons to become more aware of them, and for those of us who are aware of hexagons to be even more aware of them. It is the one awareness month that unites us all as a people, and binds us together as a society.
The ancient and sacred rite of Hexagonal Awareness Month is among the most hallowed times of the hexagonal year. The first recorded observance was in 2012, but it has possibly been celebrated in one form or another since the early Neolithic era. Ancient structures in the Near East indicate at least a rudimentary awareness of hexagons among early agricultural peoples, and hints of hexagonal consciousness can be seen throughout the historical era.
It is likely that Hexagonal Awareness Month will continue to increase in popularity in the coming years, as more and more sentient beings throughout the planet ascend to new, higher states of hexagonal consciousness.
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape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.
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.
DomesticWorld War IThe 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.
World War IIDuring 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".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. The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.
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 WarDuring 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 DrugsThe National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988, but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998, 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". The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.
Iraq WarIn early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program. 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. 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.
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. 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.
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt ActThe 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.
Ad CouncilThe 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.
InternationalThrough 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.
Psychological operationsThe 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.
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public. 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.
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.
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap."  The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.
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, 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.
See alsoReferences^ 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''733, 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. § 1733^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
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Planned Parenthood's new street team approach- Shake hands, psych!
Obama And Hillary Both Had No Problem Using Confederate Flag During Presidential Campaigns
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:55
In the wake of the Charleston shooting, and subsequent pictures of the shooter posing with a Confederate flag, Barack Obama this week said that the flag belongs in a museum.
It seems he has changed his tune in the last three years somewhere, however, given that he was using the symbol during his 2012 re-election campaign.
Indeed, Obama had his own Confederate flag campaign badge, which states ''Where the confederate flag still flies, we have built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.''
The quote was taken from Obama's racially heated speech in 2008, during which he also praised his mentor former pastor the controversial Reverend Wright.
Obama was not alone in using the symbol of the Confederate flag, synonymous with the South, to solicit political support.
Hillary clinton had her own brand of Confederate merchandise in 2008.
Strange given that she has also stated that the flag has no place in the US today.
She's also staying quiet about her husband's previous use of the 'racist' symbol.
And the fact that it flew above her house for 12 years:
While online auction site eBay declared it would prohibit Confederate flag merchandise, these items still remain available.
Walmart and other retailers have jumped on the bandwagon to ban a flag, as if this will make any difference to racial tensions currently playing out across the nation.
As Deborah Simmons wrote in her column for The Washington Times yesterday, ''I ask, what happens after the flag comes down? Are racism and bigotry supposed to go poof?''
''It's undeniable that the history and the heritage of South Carolina, rebel U.S. state of the first order, are intertwined. Period.'' Simmons added, urging that the flag represents heritage.
''You cannot give true due to South Carolina and its history and heritage without marking the roles that blacks have played, as well as their history and heritage.'' Simmons added.
The fact is that racism and bigotry will not disappear overnight just because a flag is hidden from view, especially given that the establishment and its corporate media mouthpieces are continually intent on fanning the flames of racial division.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones' Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.
Renewed push to remove Jefferson Davis statue from UT campus | KXAN.com
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:56
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- The governor of South Carolina and other state leaders made history Monday, calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from the state Capitol grounds. The move comes after nine people were killed at a historic African-American church Wednesday. Police say a white supremacist, motivated by hate, committed the killings.
''For good and for bad, whether it is on the statehouse grounds, or in a museum, the flag will always be a part of the soil of South Carolina,'' said Gov. Nikki Haley. ''But this is a moment in which we can say that flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state.''
In light of what happened in South Carolina, there is a renewed push to take down one of six statues of famous men on the University of Texas campus. In just one day,1,500 people signed a petition to new UT President Greg Fenves urging him to take down the statue of Jefferson Davis.
The Littlefield Fountain on the South Mall is named after George Littlefield, who donated thousands of dollars to the university. He was a rancher, a regent at the university and a Confederate officer. Four other statues, including ones of Robert E. Lee and Albert Sydney Johnston, also have ties to the Confederacy. But all the focus now is on Davis, president of the seceding states.
''We feel like starting from the top is the way to go, and Jefferson Davis was president of the confederacy,'' said Joe Deshotel, part of the Travis County Democrats and prominent organizer of the petition.
He said the statues should go and adds Davis belongs in history books and museums, not atop a pedestal on the way to the UT Tower.
''U.S. soldiers helped Iraqis take down the statue of Sadam Hussein,'' said Deshotel. ''Nobody thought for a second that his regime would be forgotten '-- and the scars that he put on that country would be forgotten '-- but it was important symbolism for liberation.''
''He has a much, much, deeper history,'' replied Marshall Davis, with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
He said the Davis statue should stand as a way to honor his role as both a United States senator and Secretary of War.
''I think it is important that we look at the entire contributions of these men, who we've named counties and schools after, and whose statues are everywhere in Texas and in the South,'' Davis added.
Fenves met with Student Government leaders Monday to talk about taking down the Davis statue.
''President Fenves had a very productive meeting and good conversation about the Jefferson Davis statue with Student Government leaders,'' a university spokesperson said. ''The student and university leaders will work collaboratively to continue gathering all of the information and perspectives needed to make a decision about the statue.''
''Once we start to remove these symbols, then we remove the cover for those who hide behind those values,'' said Deshotel.
''I think there is a motive, the idea, that we take down everything Confederate, then, 'Oh it never happened.' I don't think that's fair to the men who fought and died to protect their homeland from an invading army,'' said Davis.
Many parts of the South still associate in some way with the Confederacy. More than two dozen Texas counties are named after prominent figures from the Confederacy, mostly in West Texas. Lee County, in Central Texas, was named after Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Many schools and streets have also been named after Confederate leaders, such as Lee and Davis. However, other controversies have led to name changes in the past right here in Austin. In 2010, the University of Texas changed the name of the dorm Simkins Hall to Creekside. William Stuart Simkins served in the Confederate Army and later became a leader in the Ku Klux Klan.
Ten years prior, Gov. George W. Bush began the push to bring down a plaque that had the Confederate flag and part of a quote the NAACP said should be removed. In 2013, the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a court motion to bring the original plaque back, saying the state illegally took down the original one.
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Sun, 21 Jun 2015 20:07
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Every mass shooting over last 20 years has one thing in common'... and it's not guns | Waking Up Wisconsin
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 16:24
(NaturalNews) The following is a republishing of an important article written by Dan Roberts from AmmoLand.com. It reveals the real truth about mass shootings that bureaucrats and lawmakers are choosing to sweep under the rug: psychiatric drugs. If you want to know the real reason why mass shootings are taking place, this is the ''inconvenient truth'' the media won't cover.
As part of a collective grassroots effort to defend the Bill of Rights against usurpers and tyrants, Natural News (and now, Waking Up Wisconsin) is republishing this article without asking for permission first. When it comes to fighting tyrants and defending liberty, the unstated agreement across the entire liberty-loving grassroots community is, ''Use our articles; help spread the word!'' Every article I write here on Natural News, for example, may be reprinted with credit and a link back to the original source article on NaturalNews.com.
Here's the full article by Dan Roberts:
Dan Roberts // Ammo Land
Nearly every mass shooting incident in the last twenty years, and multiple other instances of suicide and isolated shootings all share one thing in common, and it's not the weapons used.
The overwhelming evidence points to the signal largest common factor in all of these incidents is the fact that all of the perpetrators were either actively taking powerful psychotropic drugs or had been at some point in the immediate past before they committed their crimes.
Multiple credible scientific studies going back more than a decade, as well as internal documents from certain pharmaceutical companies that suppressed the information show that SSRI drugs ( Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors ) have well known, but unreported side effects, including but not limited to suicide and other violent behavior. One need only Google relevant key words or phrases to see for themselves. www.ssristories.com is one popular site that has documented over 4500 '' Mainstream Media '' reported cases from around the World of aberrant or violent behavior by those taking these powerful drugs.
The following list of mass shooting perpetrators and the drugs they were taking or had been taking shortly before their horrific actions was compiled and published to Facebook by John Noveske, founder and owner of Noveske Rifleworks just days before he was mysteriously killed in a single car accident. Is there a link between Noveske's death and his ''outting'' of information numerous disparate parties would prefer to suppress, for a variety of reasons?
I leave that to the individual readers to decide. But there is most certainly a documented history of people who ''knew too much'' or were considered a ''threat'' dying under extraordinarily suspicious circumstances.
From Katherine Smith, a Tennessee DMV worker who was somehow involved with several 9/11 hijackers obtaining Tennessee Drivers Licenses, and was later found burned to death in her car, to Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Gary Webb, who exposed a CIA Operation in the 80's that resulted in the flooding of LA Streets with crack cocaine and was later found dead from two gunshot wounds to the head, but was officially ruled as a ''suicide'', to Frank Olson, a senior research micro biologist who was working on the CIA's mind control research program MKULTRA.
After Olson expressed his desire to leave the program, he was with a CIA agent in a New York hotel room, and is alleged to have committed ''suicide'' by throwing himself off the tenth floor balcony. In 1994, Olson's sons were successful in their efforts to have their fathers body exhumed and re examined in a second autopsy by James Starrs, Professor of Law and Forensic science at the National Law Center at George Washington University. Starr's team concluded that the blunt force trauma to the head and injury to the chest had not occurred during the fall but most likely in the room before the fall. The evidence was called ''rankly and starkly suggestive of homicide.'' Based on his findings, in 1996 the Manhattan District Attorney opened a homicide investigation into Olson's death, but was unable to find enough evidence to bring charges.
As I said, I leave it to the individual readers to make up their own minds if Noveske suffered a similar fate. On to the list of mass shooters and the stark link to psychotropic drugs.
' Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold's medical records have never been made available to the public.
' Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather's girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.
' Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.
' Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
' Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
' Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.
' Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
' Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
' A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.
' Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..
' A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.
' Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.
' TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.
' Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.
' James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.
' Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
' Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) '' school shooting in El Cajon, California
' Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.
' Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.
' Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic's file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.
' Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.
' Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide. The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.
' Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.
' Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems. Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.
' Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17. His family found him dead of suicide '' hanging from a tall ladder at the family's Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.
' Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet. Kara's parents said '''.... the damn doctor wouldn't take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit. I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil'...'')
' Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002, (Gareth's father could not accept his son's death and killed himself.)
' Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family's detached garage.
' Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft. Seven days later his mother found him dead, hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.
' Kurt Danysh, age 18, and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.
' Woody __, age 37, committed suicide while in his 5th week of taking Zoloft. Shortly before his death his physician suggested doubling the dose of the drug. He had seen his physician only for insomnia. He had never been depressed, nor did he have any history of any mental illness symptoms.
' A boy from Houston, age 10, shot and killed his father after his Prozac dosage was increased.
' Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a fellow middle school student. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and depression and was taking Zoloft and ''other drugs for the conditions.''
' Matti Saari, a 22-year-old culinary student, shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine.
' Steven Kazmierczak, age 27, shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amounts of Xanax in his system.
' Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen, age 18, had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School '' then he committed suicide.
' Asa Coon from Cleveland, age 14, shot and wounded four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon was on Trazodone.
' Jon Romano, age 16, on medication for depression, fired a shotgun at a teacher in his New York high school.
Missing from list'... 3 of 4 known to have taken these same meds'....
' What drugs was Jared Lee Loughner on, age 21'...'... killed 6 people and injuring 14 others in Tuscon, Az?
' What drugs was James Eagan Holmes on, age 24'..... killed 12 people and injuring 59 others in Aurora Colorado?
' What drugs was Jacob Tyler Roberts on, age 22, killed 2 injured 1, Clackamas Or?
' What drugs was Adam Peter Lanza on, age 20, Killed 26 and wounded 2 in Newtown Ct?
Those focusing on further firearms bans or magazine restrictions are clearly focusing on the wrong issue and asking the wrong questions, either as a deliberate attempt to hide these links, or out of complete and utter ignorance.
Don't let them! Force our elected ''representatives'' and the media to cast a harsh spotlight on this issue. Don't stop hounding them until they do.
About Dan RobertsDan Roberts is a grassroots supporter of gun rights that has chosen AmmoLand Shooting Sports News as the perfect outlet for his frank, 'Jersey Attitude' filled articles on Guns and Gun Owner Rights. As a resident of the oppressive state of New Jersey he is well placed to be able to discuss the abuses of government against our inalienable rights to keep and bear arms as he writes from deep behind NJ's Anti-Gun iron curtain. Read more from Dan Roberts or email him at DRoberts@ammoland.com You can also find him on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dan.roberts.18
Original article at:http://www.ammoland.com/2013/04/every-mass-s'...
White Supremacist Group That Influenced Roof Is Paid For With Your Tax Dollars | Crooks and Liars
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:18
That's right. The CCC is a 501(c)(4 )tax-exempt organization which claims to be organized for social welfare. As such, it pays no taxes as other for-profit organizations do, which means those taxes you pay help the CCC stay in the business of promoting white supremacy.
Tax-exempt social welfare groups are supposed to ''primarily promote the common good and general welfare of the people of the community as a whole,'' according to IRS documents.
The Council of Conservative Citizens explains on its website that its members believe ''that the American people and government should remain European in their composition and character'.... We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind.''
Groups that espouse hate can be stripped of their tax-exempt status, said Marcus Owens, who ran the IRS's exempt organizations division in the 1990s. That happened to the neo-Nazi group National Alliance in 1982. The Council of Conservative Citizens has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a ''notorious, racist hate group.''
This is where you might ask why they remain tax-exempt. My dark money article lays it all out for you. They aren't likely to revoke that tax-exempt status any time soon, because Republicans have intimidated and defanged the IRS.
While liberal advocacy groups had pushed for rules on campaign financing and ''dark money'''--political contributions from undisclosed sources'--conservatives manufactured a crisis to pressure IRS Commissioner John Koskinen into delaying a transparency rule that would apply to dark money in the 2016 election cycle.
So yes, your tax dollars keep this organization alive, and yes, the IRS will do absolutely nothing about it.
US targets 'insider trading' hackers - BBC News
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:28
The financial markets represent rich pickings for hackers Hackers suspected of breaking into corporate email accounts to steal financial secrets are under investigation in the US.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked at least eight leading companies to provide details about their data breaches, Reuters has learned from a former SEC boss.
He warned that stolen data could be used for a new type of insider trading.
The US government wants big firms to step up cybersecurity.
John Reed Stark, a former head of internet enforcement at the SEC, told the news agency that asking firms to disclose details about breaches was "an absolute first" and this move came as the US government focused on a "dangerous, new method of unlawful insider trading".
He said that the SEC had asked for information on the tactics of the hackers - who often target employees with phishing emails that take them to fake websites that steal passwords and other information.
The SEC has not confirmed who is involved in its investigation.
'Solid evidence'Security firms are also increasingly issuing alerts about hackers in search of financial secrets.
One such group - FIN4 - was reported by security company FireEye in December.
"We have solid evidence that there is at least one group and probably multiple groups that are breaching corporate networks to gain knowledge and trade in the markets in an advantaged position," said regional FireEye president Richard Turner.
Operating since mid-2013, the group is believed to have hacked into email accounts at more than 100 companies, looking for confidential market information.
It used a technique known as spear-phishing, where emails laden with malware are sent to specific people in an organisation with information targeted to that individual.
The companies are not named but come from a range of industries, including biotechnology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
Such firms were targeted because their shares tend to be more volatile and therefore more profitable, according to FireEye.
It said that the hackers had good English and a deep understanding of how the financial markets worked.
Civil casesThe group obtained documents related to discussions of mergers and acquisitions, then added malware to the documents and sent them on to top executives, research suggested.
US companies are currently required to disclose any breaches only if they are deemed to be "material" under federal securities law.
The SEC does have the power to bring civil cases against hackers but has so far brought only a handful.
In 2007 a Ukrainian trader named Oleksandr Dorozhko was accused of hacking into IMS Health. He was later ordered to pay $580,000 (£368,000).
Until more was done to catch the hackers, the attacks would continue, said Mr Turner.
"There is no correlation between the proportion of attacks and the proportion of prosecutions so, from the point of view of an organised crime group, online is a pretty good place to do business."
About SciTech Software AB
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:31
SciTech Software is a software development and consulting company. The company was founded in 1991 with the intention of creating software for scientific instruments, but our focus has shifted towards creating tools for developers.
We have worked in close collaboration with Thermometric AB (acquired by TA Instruments in 2006) with some of our products, but now we concentrate on our own tool for the .NET Framework: .NET Memory Profiler.
We have extensive experience developing using C++, Java and C#. Currently, our main development environment is the .NET Framework.
Agency chief: Contractor's credential used to breach system | The Charlotte Observer The Charlotte Observer
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:30
The head of the government agency that suffered two massive cyberattacks said Tuesday that a hacker gained access to its records with a credential used by a federal contractor.
Despite calls for her ouster, the director of the Office of Personnel Management said if anyone is responsible for the breaches, it's the hackers.
Katherine Archuleta told a Senate hearing that old computer networks were to blame for the cyberbreak-ins that exposed private information on nearly every federal employee and personal histories of millions with security clearances.
"If there is anyone to blame, it's the perpetrators," she said.
Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee panel where she testified, said OPM officials are blaming antiquated systems, but not all the breaches occurred exclusively on older networks.
"I still don't think we know exactly what's gone on," Boozman said later in the afternoon on his way out of a classified briefing on cybersecurity.
Archuleta told a House oversight committee last week that many of the agency's systems were too old to support encryption, which would have made the data harder to steal. But the agency's independent watchdog is challenging that assessment in written testimony to be delivered Wednesday to the same committee.
OPM Inspector General Patrick McFarland says some of the systems involved in the data breach were modern, so encryption could have been used.
Boozman and other senators said there was concern that people who stole the information could use it to file fake tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said, "People would discover it because they would file their returns and the IRS would say, 'Oh, you've already filed, and we've already sent your return.' So this is really serious."
President Barack Obama has said he continues to have confidence in Archuleta, although several Republican and Democratic lawmakers have called on her to step down '-- the latest being Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.
"Under Katherine Archuleta's watch, OPM allowed one of the largest breaches of federal employees' personal information in our nation's history," Daines said Tuesday. "Ms. Archuleta has refused to take accountability for this great failure '-- in turn failing the American people, whom she swore an oath to protect and defend."
Daines, who worked in Montana's technology sector for more than 12 years, is among the Americans who received a notice that his information might have been compromised in the latest breach.
Archuleta testified that an "adversary" somehow obtained a user credential used by KeyPoint Government Solutions, a contractor based in Loveland, Colorado. She didn't say specifically when that occurred or if it was linked to the two cyberbreaches that exposed private information on nearly every federal employee and personal histories of millions with security clearances.
"I want to be very clear that while the adversary leveraged '-- compromised '-- a KeyPoint User credential to gain access to OPM's network, we don't have any evidence that would suggest that KeyPoint as a company was responsible or directly involved in the intrusion," she said.
The agency has not identified any "pattern or material deficiency" that led to the compromise, Archuleta said, and the company has actively worked to secure its network and meet additional protective controls the government has asked.
Archuleta said the cyberattacks were discovered because of OPM's stepped-up efforts in the past 18 months to improve security, but she acknowledged the office still has work to do. She said that in fiscal 2014 and 2015, the agency committed nearly $67 million toward shoring up its information technology infrastructure and in June of last year began completely redesigning the network.
She said that work is on schedule and on budget, that OPM has added firewalls and a better authentication process for remote access and that it is increasing the types of ways used to encrypt data. A new data center network is expected to be completed by the end of this fiscal year. The agency's budget request for fiscal 2016 includes an additional $21 million above 2015 spending to further support modernization.
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:22
Ann Barron-DiCamillo is Director of the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), leading DHS's efforts to improve the Nation's cybersecurity posture, coordinate cyber information sharing, and proactively manage cyber risks. Arriving at DHS in October 2012, Barron-DiCamillo served initially with the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), where she led the Program Development and Capabilities Integration branch. Prior to joining DHS, Barron-DiCamillo spent four years with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) at Fort Meade, Md. She held positions as the Chief of the Capabilities and Control Branch and the Chief Engineer of the Enclave Host Security Division. She was also responsible for ensuring that solutions provided for and incorporated protection, detection, diagnosis, and reaction capabilities into Department of Defense (DOD) information and information systems. Under her leadership, DISA integrated host security solutions, capabilities, and configuration risk management (i.e. CMRS) programs into the DOD system architecture in order to provide a net-centric enterprise vision for network operation. Barron-DiCamillo was also responsible for deploying and sustaining the Host-Based Security System (HBSS), which monitors, detects, and counters against known cyber-threats. Barron-DiCamillo's Federal Government experience also includes time as chief of Analytical and Modeling Simulation team with the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and as legislative aide to then-U.S. Congressman Dr. Tom A. Coburn of Oklahoma. Outside of government, Barron-DiCamillo has experience as Director, Jefferson Consulting Group/Thompson Advisory Group and Privacy Council; software developer, The Motley Fool; and applications developer, American Management Systems. Barron-DiCamillo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University and earned her Master of Science Degree in Information Systems from American University. She has earned the Department of Commerce's Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional since 2003.
Our Team '' KeyPoint Consulting
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:12
Also see Our Strategic Partners.
We are immensely proud of the solid team of experienced and tested Practitioners from a range of high profile backgrounds including industry and global consultancies, who have joined the team to make us arguably of the most broadly positioned operations to assist organisations from virtually any industry and at any level.
And because the individual practitioners are self-sustaining, we bring to our clients both hunger for hard work, and a small and responsive infrastructure with managed overheads that places us in every major city in the country, not to mention Jansenville, Bathurst and Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape!
Please note that all CVs are in Microsoft Word (.pdf) format.
So here's the Team!
Maura Jarvis(Port Elizabeth)
Senior Executive, and specialist in Strategic Planning, Facilitation, and Coaching. Accounting Officer and mother of four, so there is no challenge she cannot find a solution for! We all listen to her, so best you do too'...
CV '' Maura Jarvis
Ian Taylor(Port Elizabeth)
Executive consultant with a wealth of knowledge and experience in HR and IR matters. A great believer in setting the correct strategy and having a solid people foundation from which to launch your business.
CV Ian Taylor
Angelique Diedericks(Port Elizabeth)
Psychologist & Executive Consultant with an enormous amount of knowledge & experience in various types of well researched psychometric assessment tools used for recruitment- & development purposes.
CV Angelique Diedericks
Helga du Preez(Port Elizabeth)
Helga is our friendly office administrator.
Irene Jones(Port Elizabeth)
Strong HR Outsource resource, and formidable as a project resource. Experienced remuneration benchmarking consultant, and ideal in interface with both workers and managers. Best golfer in the team, and a whizz with the computer'...
CV '' Irene Jones
Colin Koen(Cape Town)
Colin is the architect of our EVOLVE leadership program. He has consulted nationally with many organizations in the fields of Performance Management and Leadership development. His strong business focus, and exceptional skills as a Trainer and Executive coach have achieved recognition in a number of Blue Chip companies across the country.
CV '' Colin Koen
CV '' Corrie Smit
Motivated, creative HR and IR consultant with extensive experience on all three sides of the fence'...'... Relationship builder and passionate about people and empowering others. Always willing to take up new challenges and values honesty and integrity, work-life balance (family) and empowerment of others.
CV '' Louine Lloyd
Absolute winner in administration of projects and consulting support roles. Direct communicator and excellent in diagnostics. Quick, efficient and deadly accurate '' you don't mess with this lady'...
CV '' Catherine Varner
Any of these Practitioners can be accessed through our main office in Port Elizabeth.
Should you have an urgent or frustrating query to which you would prefer a written response, or simply prefer an electronic interaction on a routine query, try our HOTLINE QUERY FACILITY on our CONTACT page. One of our Consultants will respond within 24 hours, either with an answer or with ideas or thoughts to progress the debate constructively. (We know that HR solutions are not text book driven!)
CONTACT US:email@example.com, or through our contact page.
Resources based in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and East London.
Building 1, Ascot Office Park, Conyngham Road, Greenacres, Port Elizabeth
T: 041 373 2130/1
F: 086 528 8018
Our Companies | Altegrity
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:01
To learn more about the brands in the Altegrity portfolio, visit the business websites.
KrollKroll is the leading global provider of risk solutions. For over 40 years, Kroll has helped clients make confident risk management decisions about people, assets, operations, and security through a wide range of investigations, due diligence and compliance, cyber security, physical and operational security, and data and information management services. Headquartered in New York with more than 55 offices across 26 countries, Kroll has a multidisciplinary team of nearly 2,300 employees and serves a global clientele of law firms, financial institutions, corporations, non-profit institutions, government agencies, and individuals. Visit www.kroll.com.
HireRightAs one of the world's largest providers of employment screening services, HireRight specializes in helping organizations of all sizes and locations efficiently implement, manage and control their screening programs. Visit www.hireright.com.
USISUSIS empowers government agencies to make smarter security-based decisions. Visit www.usis.com.
Board of Directors | Altegrity
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:00
Steven W. Alesio '' ChairmanSteven Alesio is a Senior Advisor of Providence Equity Partners, the majority owner of Altegrity, and Chairman of the Board of Altegrity. Prior to joining Providence in 2010, Mr. Alesio was most recently chairman of the board and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, a provider of credit information on businesses and corporations. He held these positions from 2005 until his retirement from the company in 2010. From 2001 to 2005, he served in various senior leadership positions with the firm, including senior vice president, president and chief operating officer, and was elected to the board of directors. Prior to joining Dun & Bradstreet in 2001, Mr. Alesio spent 19 years with the American Express Company, where he served in marketing and general management roles.
Mr. Alesio is currently a director of CDW and Genworth Financial. He is also the founding sponsor and senior advisor of the All Stars Project of New Jersey, a non-profit organization focused on inner-city youth. Mr. Alesio received a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science from St. Francis College.
Charles E. GottdienerCharlie Gottdiener, Managing Director of Providence Equity Partners, is focused on portfolio operations and is based in its New York office. Mr. Gottdiener is currently a director of Altegrity, Edline, JBP Holdings (Assessment Technologies Institute and Jones and Bartlett Publishers), and Survey Sampling International. Prior to joining Providence in 2010, Mr. Gottdiener spent seven years at Dun & Bradstreet, where he served in a number of strategy and operating roles, including as president of the $1 billion revenue global risk, analytics and Internet solutions business unit.
Prior to joining Dun & Bradstreet in 2002, Mr. Gottdiener held several leadership positions in consulting with the Boston Consulting Group, CSC Index, and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young. Mr. Gottdiener received a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts from Grinnell College.
Julian MarkbyJulian Markby is a principal with J. Markby & Associates, Inc., a provider of strategic advice regarding corporate development activities to companies in diverse industries. With more than 25 years in the investment banking industry as an advisor, financier and senior coverage banker, Mr. Markby has held executive-level roles at McKinley Capital LLC, PaineWebber, Drexel Burnham Lambert and First National Bank of Boston.
In addition to serving on the boards of directors of Altegrity, Altegrity Holding Corp., Altegrity Acquisition Corp. and US Investigations Services, LLC, Mr. Markby is also a board member for Momentive Performance Materials Inc., SP Fiber Holdings and Thiele Kaolin Company. Mr. Markby previously served on the boards of NewPage Corporation and three hedge funds managed by Greenwich Alternative Investments. Mr. Markby received a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University.
Alfred T. MockettAlfred T. Mockett is an accomplished business leader with over 30 years of experience in executive and non-executive roles across global technology, telecommunications and professional services companies. Most recently, Mr. Mockett served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the board of directors of Dex One Corporation, a leading marketing solutions company. In addition, Mr. Mockett currently serves as Chairman of Hibu Group Limited, a provider of online marketing solutions and websites to small and medium-sized enterprises. Mr. Mockett's extensive experience includes executive management and strategic decision-making roles with Motive, Inc., American Management Systems, BT Group (formerly British Telecom), and Memorex Telex.
Mr. Mockett serves as an independent member of the boards of directors for Altegrity, Inc.; Altegrity Holding Corp.; Altegrity Acquisition Corp.; and US Investigations Services, LLC.
R. Davis NoellDavis Noell is a Managing Director of Providence Equity Partners and is based in its New York office. Mr. Noell is currently a director of Stream Global Services. Prior to joining Providence in 2003, Mr. Noell was an analyst in Deutsche Bank's media investment banking group. Mr. Noell received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Christopher C. RagonaChris Ragona is a Managing Director of Providence Equity Partners based in the firm's Providence office. He is currently a director of Altegrity, Q9 Networks and SRA International. Prior to joining Providence in 2007, Mr. Ragona was a vice president with GTCR Golder Rauner, where he worked primarily on investments in the transaction processing, technology services and business process outsourcing industries. Previously, Mr. Ragona was with Oak Hill Capital Management, McKinsey & Company and Bowles Hollowell Conner & Company. He received a Master of Business Administration from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts from Duke University.
USIS (company) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:59
USIS was founded in 1996 after the investigative branch of the OPM was privatized. Its creation was due to an effort of Vice President of the United StatesAl Gore's effort to reduce the size of the civil service. Originally known as U.S. Investigations Services Inc., it was at first an employee-owned company. Around 2000 the Carlyle Group invested in USIS and in 2003 Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe committed capital to them. In 2007 Carlyle announced that it would sell USIS to Providence Equity Partners, a private equity firm, for US$1.5 billion. In the fiscal year 2012 the company received $253 million for the contract work of the OPM, 67% of the OPM's contract spending for the fiscal year.
Aaron Alexis background checkEditIn 2007 an OPM contract investigator employed by USIS conducted the field work for the OPM-FIS background investigation on Aaron Alexis, who has been accused of killing twelve people at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, September 16, 2013.
Edward Snowden background check and investigationEditIn 2011, OPM contract investigators employed by USIS conducted the field work for the OPM security clearance re-investigation on Edward Snowden, who leaked classified documents beginning on June 5, 2013. On June 18, 2013, the Subcommittee on Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce and the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight, both of the U.S. SenateHomeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, held a joint hearing. Michelle B. Schmitz, the OPM assistant inspector general for investigations, testified that USIS had been under investigation since late 2011, stating that it involves a "complicated contract fraud case." Patrick McFarland, the OPM inspector general, did not reveal the reason for the investigation of USIS, and said when asked about Snowden's security clearance re-investigation, "We do believe there may be some problems."
USIS response to accusations regarding its Alexis and Snowden checksEditIn a September 8, 2014, media release, the company insisted that, despite being "the target of inaccurate and misleading public allegations," USIS is a responsible government contractor. It labeled as myth reports that USIS botched its field work for OPM background investigations on Aaron Alexis and Edward Snowden, calling the claim "absolutely false." The company asserted that "OPM confirmed in sworn testimony before Congress on February 11, 2014 that the investigative file compiled by USIS on Aaron Alexis 'was complete and in compliance with all investigative standards.'" USIS also said it followed all OPM-mandated procedures and protocols in its background investigation of Edward Snowden. The company further clarified that it "does not grant security clearances and plays no role in making those determinations." The decision to grant or renew a clearance, said USIS, "is the sole responsibility of the federal government agency that requested the background investigation."
Fraud investigation and chargesEditIn June 2013 the office of Senator Claire McCaskill stated that USIS was "under active criminal investigation". A statement from USIS stated that it was unaware that it was under criminal investigation. It added that "USIS complied with that subpoena and has cooperated fully with the government's civil investigative efforts". USIS, as the government's No. 1 provider of background checks for the United States, earned $253 million in awards this year alone.
On January 23, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice filed fraud charges against USIS. The suit was originally filed by a long time USIS employee, whistleblower Blake Percival. The suit, United States of America, ex rel Blake Percival vs USIS alleges that beginning in at least March 2008 and continuing through at least September 2012, USIS management devised and executed a scheme to deliberately circumvent contractually required quality reviews of reports of investigation of completed background investigations in order to increase the company's revenues and profits. USIS responded that the faulty checks "relate to a small group of individuals over a specific time period."
Cyber attackEditOn July 7, 2014, the company said it was hit by a cyber attack prompting the US government to suspend its work with the firm. Experts who have examined the hack "believe it has all the markings of a state-sponsored attack," but did not detail possible suspects.
OPM drops USISEditOn September 9, 2014, the OPM confirmed it would not renew any of its contracts with USIS upon their expiration at month's end. USIS said it was "deeply disappointed with OPM's decision," which affects 3,000 employees handling a caseload that averaged about 21,000 background investigations a month for total fees of $320 million during the last fiscal year.
Texas passes law to build gold and silver bullion depository, repatriate gold
Wed, 17 Jun 2015 17:41
The lack of faith in central bank trustworthiness is spreading. First Germany, then Holland, and Austria, and now -as we noted was possible previously - Texas has enacted a Bill to repatriate $1 billion of gold from The NY Fed's vaults to a newly established state gold bullion depository. "People have this image of Texas as big and powerful ... so for a lot of people, this is exactly where they would want to go with their gold," and the Bill includes a section to prevent forced seizure from the Federal Government.From 2011:
"The University of Texas Investment Management Co., the second-largest U.S. academic endowment, took delivery of almost $1 billion in gold bullion and is storing the bars in a New York vault, according to the fund's board."
The decision to turn the fund's investment into gold bars was influenced by Kyle Bass, a Dallas hedge fund manager and member of the endowment's board, Zimmerman said at its annual meeting on April 14. Bass made $500 million on the U.S. subprime-mortgage collapse.
"Central banks are printing more money than they ever have, so what's the value of money in terms of purchases of goods and services," Bass said yesterday in a telephone interview. "I look at gold as just another currency that they can't print any more of."
And now, after we noted the possibility previously,as The Epoch Times reports, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law on Friday, June 12, that will allow Texas to build a gold and silver bullion depository. In addition, Texas will repatriate $1 billion worth of bullion from the Federal Reserve in New York to the new facility once completed.On the surface the bill looks rather innocent, but its implications are far reaching. HB 483, "relating to the establishment and administration of a state bullion depository" to store gold and silver coins, was introduced by state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione.
Capriglione told the Star-Telegram:
"We are not talking Fort Knox. But when I first announced this, I got so many emails and phone calls from people literally all over the world who said they want to store their gold ... in a Texas depository. People have this image of Texas as big and powerful ... so for a lot of people, this is exactly where they would want to go with their gold."
But isn't New York, where most of the world's gold is stored, also big and powerful? Why does the state of Texas want to go through the trouble of building its own storage facility?
There are precisely two important reasons. One involves distrust in the current storage system. The second threatens the paper money system as a whole."In a lot of cases with gold you may not have clear title to the metal.You may have a counterparty relationship that makes you a creditor. If the counter-party has a problem unrelated to gold, they can default and then you become an unsecured creditor in bankruptcy," said Keith Weiner, president of the Gold Standard Institute.
This means you get whatever is left after liquidation, often just a fraction of the initial value of your holdings.
"This exact scenario happened with futures broker MF Global. I knew people who had warehouse receipts to gold bars with a specific serial number. But that gold had an encumbered title and they became unsecured creditors in bankruptcy," said Weiner.
In Texas, two big public pension funds from the University of Texas (UoT) and the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) own gold worth more than $1 billion.
Being uncomfortable with holding purely financial gold in the form of futures and Exchange-traded Funds, University of Texas actually took delivery of the gold bars in 2011 and warehoused it with HSBC Bank in New York.
At the time pension fund board member and hedge fund manager Kyle Bass explained: "As a fiduciary, which I am in that position to the extent you own gold and you are going for a long time, and it's not a trade. ... We looked at the COMEX at the time and they had about $80 billion of open interest between futures and futures options. And in the warehouse they had $2.7 billion of deliverables. We are going to own it a long time. You are on the board, you are a fiduciary, so that's an easy one, you go get it."
Bass is implying that there is much more financial gold out there than physical, and that it is prudent to actually hold the physical.
Taking the gold to Texas would then also solve the counter-party risk. "In this case it's going to be a depository, the gold is going to be there, they are not going to be able to lend it out and it won't serve as collateral for other transactions of the bank." said Victor Sperandeo of trading firm EAM Partners. "Because if the bank closes, you are screwed."
"I think that somebody was looking at that, we better have this under our complete control," said constitutional lawyer and gold expert Edwin Vieira, of the Texas bill. "They don't want to have the gold in some bank somewhere and in two to five years it turns out not to be there."
So far most of the attention has focused on the part of the depository and the big institutions. However, the bill also includes a provision to prevent seizure, which is important for private parties who want to avoid another 1933 style confiscation of their bullion by Federal authorities.Section A2116.023 of the bill states:"A purported confiscation, requisition, seizure, or other attempt to control the ownership ... is void ab initio and of no force or effect."Effectively, the state of Texas will protect any gold stored in the depository from the federal government.
And free from the threat of confiscation, private citizens can use gold and silver as money, completely bypassing the paper money system.
"People can legally do that with gold contracts. The difficulty is the implementation. Now Texas has set up a mechanism with the depository. We have accounts in that institution and can easily transfer back and forth certain amounts.So we can run our money system a gold or silver basis if we were so inclined,"said Vieira.
This would not be possible if the gold is stored in a bank because of the risks of bank holidays and bankruptcies. It would also not be possible if the federal government could confiscate gold.
According to Vieira, this anti-seizure provision rests on Article 1, section 10 of the Constitution of the United States, which obliges the States to not make anything tender in payment of debts apart from gold and silver coin.
"If someone from the Department of Justice comes along you are going to see legal and political fireworks. The state is going to say 'we need to have a mechanism to make gold and silver money. This is pursuant to the constitutional provision we have. You can't touch this. Our state power on the constitutional level is more powerful than any statute you may pass,'" said Vieira.
Because one of the litigant parties is a state, the case would go directly to the Supreme Court.
"We are talking about something completely new in terms of the legal playing field. This is no longer a fringe concept," he adds, but cautions about a possible fight with the federal government: "We will have to see how committed the governor and the attorney general are."
Official Statement from Governor Abbott:Governor Greg Abbott today signed House Bill 483 (Capriglione, R-Southlake; Kolkhorst, R-Brenham) to establish a state gold bullion depository administered by the Office of the Comptroller. The law will repatriate $1 billion of gold bullion from the Federal Reserve in New York to Texas. The bullion depository will serve as the custodian, guardian and administrator of bullion that may be transferred to or otherwise acquired by the State of Texas. Governor Abbott issued the following statement:
"Today I signed HB 483 to provide a secure facility for the State of Texas, state agencies and Texas citizens to store gold bullion and other precious metals. With the passage of this bill, the Texas Bullion Depository will become the first state-level facility of its kind in the nation, increasing the security and stability of our gold reserves and keeping taxpayer funds from leaving Texas to pay for fees to store gold in facilities outside our state."
* * *Is this the first step down a road to secession? Notably, they'll need that gold to establish their own country once they win the potentially imminent war with the US military which starts on Monday (Jade Helm).* * *This implicit subordination of The Fed's gold sends a more ominous signal of rising fears of confiscation and leaves us wondering just how long before every state (and or country) decides to follow Texas' lead?
Greece Rejects "Totally Unaccepetable" IMF Counterproposal Demanding Pension Cuts, VAT Hike
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:19
As reported earlier and as tipped here on Monday, markets will have to call off the party for now because the focus of the Greek debt deal negotiations has now shifted back to Brussels after all eyes had turned briefly to Athens on Tuesday following reports which indicated a deal in principle had been struck. Here's what we said less than 24 hours ago:
The IMF demands no tax hikes and pension cuts. Instead it will get almost exclusively tax hikes, amounting to 92% of the proposed measures, and just a few cuts, few of which actually impact Greek pensions. In short: the proposal is not only unsustainable, it is also unenforceable, something which the Germans - already facing a third Greek bailout - will be quick to point out.
Which is why tomorrow, after Tsipras is finished with the meeting with the Troika, he will have a new homework assignment: revise the "final final" proposal and come up with much less in tax hikes, much more in spending cuts: something which the already furious hard-line elements within Syriza will have a field day with.
And that is precisely what happened. As WSJ reports, creditors have decided to stick to their ''red lines'' after all:
Significant divisions remain between Greece and its international creditors over measures Athens must implement before receiving desperately needed bailout aid, according to a document seen by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday ahead of a crucial meeting of eurozone finance ministers.
Key points of disagreement are corporate taxation, the overhaul of Greece's pension system and value-added taxes, according to the document. For instance, Greece had planned to increase corporate taxes to 29%, but in the document creditors limited increase to 28%. That may cause new budget shortfalls that need to be plugged with other measures.
The Greek government has proposed increasing pension system revenues largely by raising social-security contributions from employers and limiting early retirement.
In the document, the creditors insist on savings worth 1% of Greece's gross domestic product by next year and also call for eliminating a supplementary payment to the poorest pensioners, known as EKAS, by the end of 2017. The
Greek proposal wanted EKAS to be phased out only between 2018 and 2020.
The creditors also continue to insist on raising funds worth 1% of GDP from VAT, up from the 0.74 proposed by Greece.
And more from MNI:
One official said that the IMF disagrees with heavy taxation in businesses and the special corporate tax and wants more spending cuts in pensions and other public sector areas.
The International Monetary Fund sent its own version of a counter proposal to Greece's debt talks late Tuesday, a government official has told MNI, illustrating the growing dissent among the country's international
The new proposal, sent to Greece late Tuesday, was deemed unacceptable by the Syrzia-led government, the official said, who used a Greek expression to suggest that receiving it was like "touching fire".
As indicated above, Athens isn't pleased with the IMF's position:
GREECE OFF'L: IMF PROPOSAL TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE TO GOVERNMENTAFP confirms:
Put simply, the IMF has decided that allowing Greece to wriggle from under the troika's thumb by substituting unenforceable tax hikes for actual, sustainable fiscal reform would send the wrong message to Spain and Portugal ahead of elections this fall where Podemos in Spain and the socialists in Portugal may well score decisive victories at the ballot box.
So it's back to square one '-- or square four, or five, or whatever square the negotiations were on when talks were still mired in an intractable stalemate last week.
Of course that means the terminal Greek bank run '-- which had already driven the Greek banking sector's remaining deposits to a level below the Eurosystem's total claims on Greece '-- will officially restart after taking a breather on Wednesday morning. Sure enough, despite reports earlier in the day that Greece had not requested an ELA increase, the ECB has now raised the limit again in anticipation of further withdrawals. Via Reuters:
The European Central Bank approved the amount of emergency funding (ELA) Athens requested for its banks on Wednesday, a banking source with direct knowledge of the decision said, without disclosing what amount Greece had asked for.
"The Bank of Greece got approval for the ELA it requested. If necessary the ECB governing council will convene again in the next 24 hours," the source said.
So as we've said all along, the troika will get its pension cuts and VAT hike come hell, high water, or Grimbo, because that's the only way to keep the Syriza germ from spreading and it's also the only guaranteed way to ensure that any and all "radicalists" are purged from the Greek government. That is, if you thought The Left Platform was upset on Tuesday, you haven't seen anything yet, because when Tsipras comes to parliament with a deal that looks identical to what the troika put forth months ago, political upheaval will follow in short order and either Syriza will be transformed into a party that will accept Greece's fate as Germany's debt serf, or Greeks will demand a new government and a Grexit '-- either outcome is ultimately preferable, from the troika's perspective, to giving the rest of the EU periphery hope that austerity (or what passes for austerity in Europe) is negotiable. So, either the Greek negotiators will finally enact the "dreaded" pension cuts and VAT hike (in its originally proposed form), or else the Troika will be able to wash its hands of a Greek default and blame it all on Greek intransigence while sending a strong message to political sympathizers that they will get nothing from the institutions.
Reinforcing this point is the following from Bundesbank board member Joachim Nagel (via MNI):
Bundesbank Executive Board member Joachim Nagel said Wednesday that he opposes another debt relief for Greece at this point, arguing that such a move could encourage other EMU countries to follow the example.
A debt relief for Greece "sets the wrong incentive for other countries," Nagel said at a conference in Frankfurt. "At this stage, a second debt relief would set the wrong incentives, especially for governments that are already weak" and struggling with growing opposition to austerity.
Then again, maybe all of this is just an elaborate attempt to hide the fact that Greece's fate has already been decided by Mario Draghi, whose former employer suggested as much earlier this week.
Finally, courtesy of the WSJ, here is a redline comparison of the original Greek proposal and the IMF's counter:
The five-page document, which is still a work in progress, outlines the so-called prior actions the Greek government is willing to undertake, as well as the creditor's feedback on several overhauls through the ''track changes'' function. Key points of disagreement are corporate and sales taxation and the overhaul of Greece's pension system, according to the document.
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Greek debt crisis: Tsipras turns on creditors - BBC News
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:56
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has criticised Greece's international creditors for failing to accept his government's latest reform proposals.
He said that this never occurred with equivalent measures put forward by Ireland and Portugal when they were negotiating bailouts.
Either the creditors did not want a deal or were serving "special interests", he added.
The remarks came as Mr Tsipras prepared for fresh talks to secure a debt deal.
Greece must repay '¬1.6bn (£1.1bn) to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by the end of the month, or face default and possible exit from the EU.
Eurozone finance ministers are due to finalise a deal on Wednesday evening.
On Wednesday, the ECB again increased additional emergency funding for Greek banks to stave off fears of a bank run - the fifth time in eight days it has done so as fearful savers withdraw up to '¬1bn a day from domestic banks.
Greek pensioners fear being hit further by austerity measures Only once agreement is reached will creditors unlock the final '¬7.2bn tranche of bailout funds.
The agreement being formed is believed to include:
New taxes on businesses and the wealthySelective increases in VATSavings in pensions linked to curbing early retirement and increasing pension contributionsNo further reductions in pensions or public-sector wages - "red lines" for Greece's Syriza governmentSee the proposals in full
Mr Tsipras is to meet the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - the trio evaluating his proposals.
They are hoping to finalise a deal that would release further loans to Greece before it runs out of money.
Wednesday: Eurozone's 19 finance ministers meet to go through details of latest proposalsThursday-Friday: Scheduled meeting of all 28 EU member states - any agreement could receive leaders' backing hereSaturday-Tuesday: Agreement will need to be approved by Greek parliament and other eurozone governments - including vote in German BundestagTuesday 30 June: Deadline for Greek repayment of '¬1.6bn to IMFCan Greece stay in the euro?
Peston: End of an act in tragedy
How did Greece get in this mess?
The Greek government has put forward budget proposals that it says meet the targets demanded by its creditors.
But the BBC's Chris Morris in Brussels says they include far more tax rises and far fewer spending cuts than its creditors had suggested, and the IMF in particular is refusing to accept them.
This prompted Mr Tsipras to tweet: "The repeated rejection of equivalent measures by certain institutions never occurred before - neither in Ireland nor Portugal.
"This odd stance seems to indicate that either there is no interest in an agreement or that special interests are being backed."
Our correspondent says he appears to be alluding to fears that there are those elsewhere in the Eurozone who want to put the Greek Prime Minister in an impossible position, and engineer the collapse of his radical left-wing government.
There are also reports that Greece has rejected an IMF counter-proposal calling for bigger VAT increases, and deeper pension and public spending cuts.
If agreement is reached, it will have to be endorsed by Greece's parliament, with some critics at home accusing the left-wing prime minister of reneging on his party's campaign pledge to end austerity.
Got Chrome? Google Just Silently Downloaded This Onto Your Computer | We Are Change
Mon, 22 Jun 2015 16:29
By Alec CopeWe Are Change
''Don't Be Evil'' '' Google
On June 17th, Google did not announce (the news broke) that the DARPA affiliated corporation has been silently downloading audio listeners onto every computer that has Chrome.
This effectively means that Google sees your privacy as piddly-squat, which does not necessarily come off as a surprise, when one considers Google's censorship of We Are Change '' this very organization as nothing. The website Private Internet Access's Rick Falkvinge reported how he came to understand this new policy:
''It looked like just another bug report. ''When I start Chromium, it downloads something.'' Followed by strange status information that notably included the lines ''Microphone: Yes'' and ''Audio Capture Allowed: Yes''.
Without consent, Google's code had downloaded a black box of code that '' according to itself '' had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room.''
Without going into detail, Falkvinge describes the nature of open-sourced/free-software and how it relies on transparency and the innovation of many software programmers before being finished as a final product. The transparency allows the user to know that the open-sourced software truly does what it claims to do. Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome is supposed to operate the same way. Only Google abused the nature of open-sourced transparency, and by-passed the process that would have prevented this from happening.
Google rationalized that enabling the ability to be eavesdropped via your personal computer was well worth it, because now ''Ok, Google'' works! Now when you say certain words, Chrome begins searching preliminaries '' is it truly worth losing the stability of your privacy though? Obviously, it is Google's servers that respond to what is being said along with your computer. So a computer black-box was installed, hooked onto a private corporation's server and now has the ability to eavesdrop on you and Google had no intention to let anyone know about it!
Eventually Google did respond to the accusation, in which Falkvinge ''paraphrased'':
''1) Yes, we're downloading and installing a wiretapping black-box to your computer. But we're not actually activating it. We did take advantage of our position as trusted upstream to stealth-insert code into open-source software that installed this black box onto millions of computers, but we would never abuse the same trust in the same way to insert code that activates the eavesdropping-blackbox we already downloaded and installed onto your computer without your consent or knowledge. You can look at the code as it looks right now to see that the code doesn't do this right now.
2) Yes, Chromium is bypassing the entire source code auditing process by downloading a pre-built black box onto people's computers. But that's not something we care about, really. We're concerned with building Google Chrome, the product from Google. As part of that, we provide the source code for others to package if they like. Anybody who uses our code for their own purpose takes responsibility for it. When this happens in a Debian installation, it is not Google Chrome's behavior, this is Debian Chromium's behavior. It's Debian's responsibility entirely.
3) Yes, we deliberately hid this listening module from the users, but that's because we consider this behavior to be part of the basic Google Chrome experience. We don't want to show all modules that we install ourselves.''
The writer describes that ''software switches'' are no longer enough to protect against this type of eavesdropping, software switches are programs that turn off your webcam/mic etc,. Really, the author feels a physical switch that cuts electrical connection to the device is required to prevent this. It is an odd thing to observe for me, because many people were furious when news of the NSA's technological trawler of private information became common knowledge. When Google silently attempts to install even more passage ways for your intimate information to be siphoned, not much is said about it.
In fact many have begun the repetitive nature of apathetic perception, one example being ''It only eavesdrops when you say, ''OK, Google'' (Wouldn't it need to listen to everything to know when you say, ''OK, Google''?) and it goes on and on. Ultimately, there will always be a large portion of users who simply do not care whether or not a shadowy corporation is listening to them, or a maniacal government for that matter.
Yet in principle, the fact Google did this with the intention of users having no clue that they have had their privacy sliced even deeper; simply demonstrates the corporation's lack of compassion and boundaries. However you choose to handle this story, deleting Chrome in exchange for more private-oriented software programs, not doing anything or learning more about it; one thing is clear: we also have a responsibility to ensure this type of usurpation is not treated with an accepting embrace. More learn what is happening by the day, it is only a matter of time before there is a tipping point '' I hope to see you there. Thanks for reading.
The power of Taylor Swift - CNN.com
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:07
Story highlightsSwift took Apple to task for not paying artistsAn Apple executive tweeted what appears to be a reversalThe singer is known for being a savvy businesswomanThat's what the superstar singer apparently did when she complained about the tech company not paying artists during the three-month free trial period of Apple Music.
"Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months," Swift wrote in an open letter. "I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company."
Quicker than you could say "1989" (the title of her album she threatened to withhold from the company), an Apple executive was tweeting what appeared to be a reversal of that policy.
Apple caves after Taylor Swift threatens to pull album
"#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period," tweeted Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "We hear you @taylorswift13 and indie artists. Love, Apple."
Swift tweeted her joy, and even her boyfriend, superproducer Calvin Harris, acknowledged her power, tweeting, "I just played a gig inside a giant owl and my girl just changed the entire music industry what a day."
Of course the Internet had suggestions for other tasks Swift should seek to accomplish, everything from eradicating police brutality to getting free Wi-Fi in airports.
Sharp businesswomanSwift is known for being outspoken and business-savvy.
She recently shamed OK magazine for what she said was a misleading headline, and let's not forget how she hopped on grabbing the domain taylorswift.porn to protect her wholesome image.
Brands swoop in to buy .porn and .sucks before the trolls do
Singer and activist Billy Bragg praised Swift on Facebook.
"I have to take my hat off to her now that she has defeated Apple Music's attempt to give our music away for free on their new streaming service," Bragg wrote. "Taylor can do this because she exercises control over her own work, rather than following the standard practice of signing all rights over to her record company. We need to see more of this in the industry if artists hope ensure that the rights of creators can trump the might of corporations."
There was a time when it didn't seem like Swift could get any bigger.
She's got massive success in the music industry, millions of devoted fans and a permanent place in pop culture history, the latter thanks to an incident that the world will never, ever allow Kanye West to forget.
But clearly, that wasn't enough for the (literally) towering singer.
In one week, she became the second-biggest selling act of 2014 and the only solo platinum-selling artist of the year -- all with the debut of "1989." She pulled her music off Spotify, the most popular streaming site in the world, and managed to get pulled into a political controversy thanks to a remark during the U.S. Senate race in Iowa.
You just couldn't get away from her. Morning shows? There was Swift performing on "Good Morning America." Prime time? Look, it's Swift on "The Voice." Online? Between her tweets, "1989"-related photos and a countdown clock, she was ubiquitous.
For all we know, she's even boosted the sales of tap shorts.
It's the next step in the evolution of the singer who launched her career in country music at the age of 16. Now 25, she has weathered critics who have kept a tally of some of her alleged celebrity sins: Her music wasn't country enough, her wide-eyed "Gosh, I really won" awards acceptance speeches weren't genuine, and her relationships were mostly fodder for publicity and potential song material.
Taylor Swift's '1989' has biggest sales week since 2002
So what did Swift do? She released her first fully pop album, designated "Shake It Off" -- an ode to her haters -- as the first single and declared herself happily single at the time.
"I really like my life right now," Swift told Rolling Stone in 2014. "I have friends around me all the time. I've started painting more. I've been working out a lot. I've started to really take pride in being strong. I love the album I made. I love that I moved to New York. So in terms of being happy, I've never been closer to that."
It would seem Swift has long been on the path to world domination. Big Kenny of the country duo Big and Rich said the singer showed that she had what it took even as a teen at the annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville.
"She just had a charge in her that was twice her age, really," he said of the then-15-year-old. "From the get-go."
Singer-songwriter Frankie Ballard toured with her and said Swift isn't one of those stars who mails it in.
"She was plugged in. She was there every day," he said of his tourmate. "She was the captain of the ship."
Protected by 'Swifties'Swift gets that if this were high school, she would be the annoying straight-A student who is gorgeous, is friends with the other cool kids (Swift is BFFs with the likes of actress Selena Gomez and singer Lorde), volunteers after school and dates the cutest boys. But she's running for homecoming queen and is courting your vote -- hard.
Not that she doesn't already have plenty of admirers. Her fans, known as "Swifties," are equal parts adoring and protective. Come for Taylor Swift on Twitter, and you are sure to encounter her army.
They are paying her back in part for being one of the most accessible music artists in the business. She does meet-and-greets, surprises them at their bridal showers, stalks their timelines and Instagram feeds, and even made them part of her newest project.
Before the world ever heard a note from "1989," Swift handpicked fans who had really, really wanted to meet her and invited them to her homes around the world for a listening party. They got hours to hang with their idol, taking Polaroids and delving into the new album. The fans were allowed to share their experiences and asked only to keep details about the new songs under wraps.
5 reasons you love Taylor Swift ... even if you don't want to
Swift told NPR that not only did they honor her request, but her fans stood guard when the album was leaked online two days before its October 27 release date.
"Anytime they'd see an illegal post of it, they'd comment, 'Why are you doing this? Why don't you respect the value of art?' " Swift said. " 'Don't do this. We don't believe in this. This is illegal. This isn't fair. This isn't right.' And it was wild seeing that happen."
She needed that support in face of New Yorkers disliking the fact that she had been named Global Welcome Ambassador for Tourism of the Big Apple. The choice of the Reading, Pennsylvania, native to represent New York was less than popular, despite her move to Tribeca and her single "Welcome to New York."
"I'm incensed! It's insulting," Twisted Sister frontman and Queens, New York, native Dee Snider told the New York Daily News. "She doesn't have any life experience here or connection to the town."
Taylor Swift: Dating is last thing on my mind
Center of controversyIt's not just New York. Swift also became part of the debate in Iowa during the waning days of the 2014 campaign.
Tom Harkin, the state's retiring U.S. senator, entangled Swift in a bit of political negativity when he invoked her name while discussing Republican Joni Ernst, who was vying for his seat.
"Well, I (got to) thinking about that. I don't care if she's as good-looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she's wrong for the state of Iowa," Harkin said. He later apologized and said, "I shouldn't have said those things," but Ernst made some hay from the comment and won election.
Swift has also ended up as part of the debate about Internet music streaming.
In November, she pulled her catalog from Spotify, leaving its 40 million users bereft of her five albums. Spotify quickly courted her return with a playlist filled with songs like "Taylor" by Jack Johnson and "You're Amazing" by Epic Connection.
"We hope she'll change her mind and join us in building a new music economy that works for everyone," Spotify said in a statement. "We believe fans should be able to listen to music wherever and whenever they want."
Swift told Yahoo Music that the decision was her own.
"I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment," she said. "And I'm not wiling to contribute my life's work to an experiment that I don't feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music."
Never underestimate Taylor Swift. Right now, she's standing very tall.
Why Taylor Swift is everything to the music industry
House passes check on Internet transition, multiple DHS measures
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:46
House passes check on Internet transition, multiple DHS measuresBy Adam MazmanianJun 23, 2015The plan to transition a key Internet architecture function out of federal control will get a modest check by Congress if the Dotcom Act is passed into law. The bill cleared one hurdle on June 23, passing the House of Representatives by a vote of 378-25.
The bill would give Congress 30 legislative days to review any proposal to devolve the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority contract to a new organization proposed by international stakeholders acting under the auspices of the non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
The IANA function is essentially the address book of the Internet, mapping numerical nodes to web addresses. Many have concerns that if the U.S. doesn't handle this key function, the basic architecture of the global Internet could become subject to governance by countries without strong traditions of freedom of expression, or by the International Telecommunication Agency at the United Nations. The bill also requires the National Telecommunications and Information Agency to extend the current IANA contract while deliberations continue -- something that was expected to happen with or without legislation.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), said the review period gives Congress a chance to consult with experts on a proposed transition scheme. "If... we find that ICANN and/or its proposals [don't] adequately protect the free and open Internet, Congress can then take action to either completely stop the transfer or require more safeguards be put in place," Shimkus said on the House floor. "We get one bite at the apple on this and we have to make sure it's done correctly."
DHS updatesThe House also passed a slate of measures designed to improve management and operations at the Department of Homeland Security:
The DHS Interoperable Communications Act, already passed by the Senate, passed the House on June 23 on a voice vote. It requires the agency to develop a strategy for improving radio communications among components. The strategy is intended to cover day-to-day operations, emergencies and planned special events that require the cooperation of multiple DHS components. According to a 2012 report by the DHS Inspector General, about $430 million worth of DHS radios could not connect different DHS components, due to poor governance and a lack of interoperability requirements.The DHS IT Duplication Reduction Act of 2015 requires the CIO of the agency to take an internal census of IT systems, report on whether systems are duplicative, and come up with a strategy for reducing the number of such systems. The bill was sponsored by freshman Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) who serves on the Homeland Security Committee and chairs the IT Subcommittee on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The measure passed on a voice vote.To counter the threat potentially posed by unmanned aircraft, the Homeland Security Drone Assessment and Analysis Act seeks new policies from DHS, in conjunction with other departments. Specifically, the legislation seeks policies on deterring or mitigating the risks posed by an attack from a small- to medium-sized drone. Under the bill, DHS would share anti-drone attack strategies with state, local and tribal authorities. The measure passed on a voice vote.The DHS Paid Administrative Leave Accountability Act of 2015 places new controls and oversight on leave taken by personnel. The bill tasks the Chief Human Capital Officer at DHS with monitoring employees on administrative leave for six months or longer. Lawmakers want DHS to end the practice of extending paid leave to employees with personnel issues, which was brought to light in an October 2014 GAO report. The bill passed on a voice vote.The Federally Funded Research and Development Sunshine Act of 2015 gives Congress new visibility into research projects being conducted under the Federally Funded Research and Development Centers at DHS. The bill requires the agency to give Congress a list of ongoing and concluded projects at FFRDCs. Currently the Science and Technology Directorate at DHS is under no obligation to inform Congress about ongoing research. The bill passed on a voice vote.The Department of Homeland Security Headquarters Consolidation Accountability Act provides measures for oversight of the development of a planned DHS headquarters campus for the agency in Washington, D.C. It passed on a voice vote.About the Author
Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.
Taylor Swift speaks and Apple listens, how the superstar became music's most powerful voice
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:47
By Ryan Faughnder and Randy Lewis LATimes.com 6/25/15
As Kanye West learned the hard way back in 2009, it's not smart to mess with Taylor Swift..
The rapper's attempt to upstage the then-teenage singer-songwriter during an awards show backfired almost immediately, with West's ''Imma let you finish'' becoming a snarky Internet catchphrase.
Few today would dare grab the microphone from Swift, now 25. Her clout was underscored Sunday when she forced Apple '-- financially, the world's mightiest company '-- to abandon plans to withhold artist royalties for music streamed during the three-month free trial period for Apple Music.
''Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing,'' Swift said in an open letter to Apple in which she threatened to withhold her latest album, ''1989,'' from the service. ''I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done.''
Taylor Swift didn't like that Apple's new music streaming service, Apple Music, would offer consumers a free three-month trial without pay for writers, producers or artists. Her sway was strong enough to change Apple's policies.
That was enough. Apple executive Eddy Cue, who oversees Internet services including iTunes and Apple Music, spoke with Swift that day and later posted on Twitter that the company had changed course.
''Apple will always make sure that artist are paid,'' Cue tweeted Sunday night. ''#AppleMusic will pay artist for streaming, even during customer's free trial period.''
Neil Young's longtime manager Elliot Roberts called it ''a watershed moment'' and a rare victory for musicians who have seen their earnings from recorded music steadily decline in the digital age.
''This is a chance for artists to finally reclaim their art,'' he said. ''I applaud Taylor for finally standing up for that concept.''
Others had complained about Apple's plans, to no avail. Few in the industry were surprised that Apple listened to Swift.
''She wields a mighty sword,'' said Nielsen analyst David Bakula. ''She is at the top of the game. She is the most well-known, most well-liked and most outspoken artist out there. When Taylor speaks, it's so much more than just her social media following.''
Swift has demonstrated business savvy and self-assuredness on a par with her songwriting skills throughout her career.
At 11, she persuaded her parents to travel from their home in Wyomissing, Pa., to visit Nashville so she could pursue her interest in songwriting. She released her self-titled first album when she was 16.
Her record label, Big Machine Records, was practically a start-up when Taylor signed with it '-- because label head Scott Borchetta promised her a strong hand in writing and producing her own work.
In person, Swift is assertive and intensely focused but also engaging. She has a politician's way with interviewers, asking them about family members they've mentioned in the past and sharing anecdotes that illuminate her own family dynamics.
Last fall, she invited fans to a private listening session in her Beverly Hills home for ''1989.'' She introduced them to her mother, Andrea, and father, Scott, as well as her cat, which she named Olivia Benson after the character on NBC's ''Law & Order: SVU,'' a show she says she's ''obsessed with.''
At concerts, she is chatty and confessional between songs, working in narratives that allow concertgoers a view inside her creative process of songwriting. She lets fans know that every scenario in her songs isn't always reportage on her real-world comings and goings but often the product of one young woman's rich imagination or drawn from the experiences of her many girlfriends including Lena Dunham and Selena Gomez.
A deft user of social media, Swift has kept up the direct connection with fans with the advent of Twitter and Facebook. Swift often patrols Instagram and Tumblr posts about her to find and reward her most ardent followers with invitations to special events, concert meet-and-greets, phone calls or personalized merchandise.
She has co-produced her albums '-- a rarity in the music business for any woman, but all the more unusual for one starting out as a teenager. And she's also exerted a hands-on role in the marketing of her music, merchandise and crafting her concert productions.
Each of her last three albums, ''Speak Now'' in 2010, ''Red'' in 2012 and ''1989,'' released in October, sold more than 1 million copies in the first week of release, a feat that has become increasingly rare as music fans have turned more to streaming and file sharing rather than purchasing singles or albums. ''1989'' has sold 4.9 million copies in the U.S.
All told, her albums have sold 28 million copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen Music. Forbes estimates her net worth at $200 million.
All that has translated to clout few other artists can claim.
Last November, she pulled her catalog from Spotify, the Swedish streaming service that counts 20 million paying subscribers, in a dispute over Spotify's so-called freemium model, which gives users free access if they tolerate commercials between songs. About 55 million people use the free version of Spotify.
For artists less popular than Swift '-- and that's almost everyone '-- pulling music from Spotify and similar services means missing out on a fast-growing business and lots of exposure. But Swift is in a rare position of power to put pressure on the tech companies.
''It's my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album's price point is,'' Swift wrote in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal last year. ''I hope they don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art.''
Apple Music, set to launch June 30, won't have a long-term free model but does plan to offer new customers their first three months of service for free.
Apple executives hope the three-month trial will get users to pay the $9.99 a month for access to its library of 30 million songs. But the smaller independent labels expressed fears that the loss of revenue would be too costly for their operations and artists.
Apple showed no sign of backing down, however '-- until Swift spoke up.
''I'm happy she did it,'' said veteran music industry executive Irving Azoff, who manages the Eagles. ''I give kudos to Apple for two things: They've designed a service, I've seen it in a big way, and if it works the way it's supposed to it's going to be incredible.
''Second, Eddy Cue is a good guy, and they are an artist-friendly company. He saw the error in their ways, and the fact is he stepped up and fixed it,'' Azoff said.
The generally positive response to Swift's letter contrasted markedly with the reaction to Jay Z's struggling streaming service, Tidal, which promised higher royalty rates for labels and music publishers. Jay Z and his fellow co-owners '-- including Madonna and Jack White '-- were blasted by critics who scoffed at the image of music's highest earners complaining about low royalty rates.
Swift carefully worded her letter to convince consumers her protest was not about lining her own pockets but about supporting struggling indie artists, writers and producers.
''I am elated and relieved,'' Swift tweeted on Sunday. ''Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us.''
Tags: Apple, Taylor Swift
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Leap second on June 30 will be 'mini-Y2K'
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 15:26
A leap second will occur on June 30.(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Short on time? Don't worry. This month you'll get an extra second.
A "leap second" will be added on June 30 at midnight Coordinated Universal Time (or 8 p.m. EDT). Leap seconds are added occasionally to help keep the atomic clock synced up with the earth's rotation.
"The earth's spin isn't uniform, it's not constant," Nick Stamatakos, the chief of earth orientation parameters at the United States Naval Observatory, told USA TODAY Network.
Because of the earth's inconsistent speed, scientists in the 1950s created an atomic clock to keep precise track of time. However, as the earth's rotation sped up and slowed down, the atomic clock continued steadily ahead and the two time indicators grew farther apart.
To fix that inconsistency, scientists then created the UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) to help bridge the gap between the earth time and the atomic clock. However, the atomic clock continues to race ahead, so at least once every 10 years scientists add an extra second to the UTC to keep them closer together. It's particularly important for things like GPS navigation, Stamatakos said.
"The GPS will tell a user where his location is relative to the GPS spacecraft," he said. In order to do that, the GPS spacecraft has to know time very accurately and that time has to incorporate the earth speeding up and slowing.
"If you don't know the time accurately you can mistake where you are and your speed," according to Stamatakos.
"Having these leap seconds every so often is like having a mini Y2K every couple years," Stamatakos said. In advance, many people working with computer systems have tested them to see how they will deal with the extra second, he said.
The stock market is sometimes impacted because computers are so fast now that trading can happen in a second or less.
"Some U.S. exchanges will pause around the leap second as a precaution or will halt after-hours trading beforehand," according to MarketPlace's Mitchell Hartman.
"In every-day life, this extra second has practically no importance. However, in every field where exact time is needed (e.g. astronomy, navigation, spaceflight, but also computer networks for stock markets or energy supply, and much more) this second is of great importance," Wolfgang Dick, a spokesman for the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, the organization that maintains global time, told USA TODAY Network in an email.
What will you do with your extra second?
Follow @lagrisham on Twitter
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1LoZCUR
New AMA policy favors ending nonmedical vaccine exemptions - Yahoo News UK
Sat, 20 Jun 2015 11:49
CHICAGO (AP) '-- The American Medical Association has adopted policies against nonmedical vaccine refusals and for transgender people in the military.
The nation's largest doctors' group says parents should not be able to refuse to have their kids vaccinated for personal or religious reasons. That's because of the health risks unvaccinated kids pose to others.
At its annual policymaking meeting in Chicago on Monday, the AMA said it would support efforts to end those exemptions in state immunization mandates.
The AMA also adopted a policy saying there's no medically valid reason for the military's ban on transgender service members. And it agreed to organize efforts to create guidelines for assessing whether older physicians remain competent to safely treat patients.
The group has considerable lobbying clout and its positions tend to influence policymakers.
Medical tyranny: California Vaccine (SB277) Bill passes Health Committee
Fri, 19 Jun 2015 15:53
California is going full totalitarian, but is anyone surprised?The state's controversial and tyrannical mandatory vaccine bill has jumped another hurdle on its path to becoming law.
Yesterday, California lawmakers approved the bill, which requires all schoolchildren be vaccinated before being permitted to attend public or PRIVATE schools unless they have a MEDICAL exemption.
That's right: they are not going to allow religious or philosophical/personal belief exemptions to vaccinations any longer if this passes the full Assembly.
From the text of the bill:
(a) As used in this chapter, "governing authority" means the governing board of each school district or the authority of each other private or public institution responsible for the operation and control of the institution or the principal or administrator of each school or institution.
(b) The governing authority shall not unconditionally admit any person as a pupil of any private or public elementary or secondary school, child care center, day nursery, nursery school, family day care home, or development center, unless, prior to his or her first admission to that institution, he or she has been fully immunized.
If you have an unvaccinated school-aged child in California, your only option for education will be homeschooling (which is arguably far better than public indoctrination centers anyway, and likely better than most private schools).If the bill becomes law, California would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states with such authoritarian requirements.
How long until other states follow, though? Some think that this law would encourage lawmakers in other states to limit non-medical exemptions too.
Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, one of the bill's authors, said
"SB277 is about freedom. Freedom from deadly, crippling contagions that are now preventable through the science of vaccination."
I don't know about you, but I think this bill is the antithesis of freedom.The bill was approved after five hours of emotional testimony from hundreds of opponents.
From the Associated Press:
Opponents of the legislation say they should have the freedom to decide what's best for their child and that the bill would unfairly deny students a public education.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, said he was not convinced that there was a health emergency because of insufficient vaccinations.
"I think that really stretches the facts to the point of really almost being sort of a scare tactic," he said before voting against the bill.
Naturally, those who support the bill cite the Disneyland measles "outbreak" as justification for taking away parental (and children's!) rights - even though measles is a relatively benign disease and the majority of those who contract the illness during "outbreaks" in the US are...vaccinated.Santa Monica pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon testified against the bill. He sought to separate the bill from the December measles outbreak, noting that all those cases of measles occurred outside a school environment:
"If SB277 had been in place last year, this outbreak would have proceeded in much the same manner," he said.
No matter what you personally think about vaccinations, laws like these set a dangerous precedent.This is a violation of civil and religious freedoms.
It is not moral nor ethical to force people to submit to medical procedures that carry the risk of serious injury or death.
Who owns your body, or those of your children?
The government, it appears.
About the author
Lily Dane is a staff writer forThe Daily Sheeple, where this articlefirst appeared. Her goal is to help people to "Wake the Flock Up!"
WHO plans emergency meeting as South Korea MERS cases reach 145
Wed, 17 Jun 2015 17:42
(C) Reuters / Kim Hong-Ji
Seven new cases of MERS have been confirmed in South Korea, bringing the total to 145, while thousand's of people have been quarantined. A patient in Slovakia is also being tested, as the WHO has called for an emergency meeting to tackle the outbreak.Four of the new patients in South Korea confirmed on Sunday are believed to have caught the deadly virus after coming into contact with patients at Seoul's Samsung Medical Center, according to the Health and Welfare Ministry.
Another of the victims is believed to have contracted MERS as he drove an infected patient to a hospital. The last two cases have been linked to two separate medical facilities.
Over 4,000 people are currently being kept in quarantine as a precaution, after they were in close contact with potential MERS suffers, since the first case was confirmed on May 20.
So far, 15 people have died in South Korea as a result of the latest MERS outbreak.
This week, experts from a 16-member joint mission from South Korean and World Health Organization (WHO), warned that the outbreak is "large and complex," while more cases should be expected.
The WHO is also urging those people who have possibly been exposed to the virus, not to travel, especially during the incubation period.
Despite the WHO warning, a man in Slovakia has been hospitalized after possibly contracting MERS. Doctors in Bratislava are expecting to receive test results from Prague on Sunday, after testing a 38-year-old South Korean male, a spokeswoman said on Saturday.
Local media claim the patient may have come into contact with the virus, while working as a subcontractor for Kia motors, a Korean car manufacturer, at a factory in the city of Zilina, Slovakia.
Meanwhile, the WHO announced it will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday to address the outbreak. The conference will provide technical updates on epidemiology and offer advice on future preventative actions in response to the South Korean outbreak, the largest outside Saudi Arabia, where the disease first surfaced in 2012.
MERS comes from the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that killed about 800 people worldwide in 2002-2003. There is currently no cure or vaccine for the disease.
VIDEO-White House Public Health and Climate Change Summit - YouTube
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:46
VIDEO-CBS Touts Obama Going after 'Unruly' Heckler at White House LGBT Event | MRCTV
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:40
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News gave President Barack Obama a boost during one of its second-half news briefs by touting his handling of a transgender, illegal immigrant heckler who complained about deportations during a White House event promoting LGBT Pride Month.
In a tease to the brief, anchor Scott Pelley gushed: ''President Obama smacks down an unruly guest at the White House. That's next.'' On the other side of the commercial break, Pelley explained that the President ''hosted a reception to observe LGBT Pride Month, but he was interrupted by a heckler demanding an end to deportations.''
VIDEO-'Is it Chinese Hackers? Lawmaker Asks OPM Head. 'That's Classified Information, Sir' | MRCTV
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:37
Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) asked Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta Wednesday if she knew if it was the Chinese who were responsible for a mass breach affecting millions of former and current government employees, to which she replied, ''That's classified information, sir.''
VIDEO-Eurozone finance ministers consider 'final' Greek debt plan | euronews, world news
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:45
A final proposal by Greece's international creditors is being put to eurozone finance ministers, with time fast running out to reach agreement and avert a debt default.
Earlier talks between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the country's international lenders ended with sources saying that still no agreement had been reached.
Athens missed a mid-morning deadline to propose a workable reform plan.
Speaking on Thursday lunchtime ahead of a summit of EU leaders, the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said he would remain optimistic ''until the last second''.
Greece's lenders set the deadline to unlock new funding and avert a default next Tuesday.
There is said to be exasperation over Athens' refusal to compromise on matters such as pensions, labour markets, wages and tax.
Sources close to the talks said there were big gaps between Greece and the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and the European Commission.
Athens has not managed to get what it wanted: proposals on the restructuring of its debt.
Greece must repay an IMF loan of 1.6 billion euros by next Tuesday, and is trying to secure a last bailout instalment of 7.2 billion euros.
VIDEO-Queen stresses the need for unity in Europe while on four day state visit to Germany | euronews, world news
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 12:39
Queen Elizabeth II was the guest at a state banquet at the official residence of Germany's President Joachim Gauck as part of a four day visit
In his speech the president said a constructive dialogue about the reforms which some UK politicians are aiming for is essential and added Germany will support the dialogue.
It was made in the presence of Prime Minister David Cameron who is leading the campaign for European Union reform and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Queen who as UK head of state stays politically neutral stressed the need for unity.
''In our lives Mr President, we have seen the worst but also the best of our continent. We have witnessed how quickly things can change for the better but we know that we must guard against it in the west as well as in the east of our continent,'' the monarch told guests.
After the speech Buckingham Palace stressed the Queen's comments were not about Mr Cameron's European Union aims. ''This is not about the EU. The Queen is apolitical. She would never make a political point,'' said an aide.
VIDEO-Bill Nye Explains Climate Change with Emoji - YouTube
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 12:38
VIDEO-OPM Director Katherine Archuleta Testimony Data | Video | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 05:48
June 24, 2015Katherine Archuleta and other government officials testified at a hearing on the extent of a data breach of the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) information systems.
*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO-President Obama Remarks Hostage Policy Review | Video | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 05:02
June 24, 2015President Obama spoke about the completion of the Hostage Policy Review and forthcoming changes.
People in this videoHosting OrganizationMore Videos FromWhite House EventsMore VideosRelated VideoClips from This Video
VIDEO-CNN's Don Lemon: Maybe We Will 'Rethink Jefferson' Memorial | MRCTV
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 02:47
[See NewsBusters for more.] CNN's Don Lemon on Tuesday hinted that there will come a day when the United States will have to "rethink" tributes such as the Jefferson Memorial. After a contentious segment with Ben Jones, in which the former Congressman defended the Confederate flag, Legal View host Ashley Banfield brought up the author of the Declaration of Independence. She reminded, "There is a monument of him in the capital city of the United States. No one ever asked for that to come down." At first, Lemon asserted that the comparison was not "equal" and that Jefferson "was a part of the entire United States." He then added, "There may come a day when we may want to rethink Jefferson, I don't if we should do that. But when we get to that point, I'll be happy to partake in that particular discussion."
VIDEO-CONFEDERATE FLAG BAN - Retailers & Government Boycotting the U.S. Confederate Flag - YouTube
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 16:51
VIDEO-Dutch court orders Netherlands to cut carbon emissions faster | euronews, world news
Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:54
A Dutch court has ordered its own government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a faster rate than it's planning to do.
A judge in The Hague said that by 2020, Dutch emissions had to be 25 percent lower than 1990 levels.
The government plans cuts of only 14-17 percent.
There were cheers at the decision from campaigners who had brought the action on behalf of hundreds of Dutch citizens.
The case is said to be the world's first climate liability suit.
The low-lying Netherlands is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.
The ruling said the country had to take a lead and could not hide behind arguments that an international response was needed.
But it is not clear how the decision will be enforced and the government can appeal.
The EU has set a reduction target of 40 percent in carbon emissions by 2030.
A major global conference on climate change is due to take place later this year in Paris.
VIDEO-Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action - YouTube
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 21:26
VIDEO-EPA boss: Climate is 'greatest threat of our time' - CNN.com
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 21:21
Story highlightsCNN columnist John Sutter talks with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyMcCarthy: 'Climate change is the greatest threat of our time'Dig fishing?
Don't want to see your neighbors die in a heat wave?
Then you should care about climate change.
That's a little flip, I know. But it's the message we need to take to heart from a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report, titled "Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action." The report, which will be released on Monday, is essentially a cost-benefit analysis: What will be lost if we don't act swiftly to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, which is the agreed-upon threshold for "dangerous" climate change.
Or, put another way: What we can save by cutting carbon emissions fast.
It's clear benefits of cutting emissions and saving forests now clearly outweigh the costs of inaction. Just take a peek at some of the numbers: If we continue polluting as we are now, heat waves in 49 major U.S. cities are expected to kill 12,000 people per year by 2100.
Those deaths are preventable if we work to slow climate change.
Likewise, we can stop more than a third of Hawaii's coral reefs from disappearing; can avoid up to $11 billion in agricultural losses; can avoid losing a third of the U.S. oyster supply, as well as 37% of scallops by 2100; can stop up to 7.9 million acres burning in wildfires in the United States; and can preserve up to 360,000 acres of cold-water fish habitat.
Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment last week helped make the moral case for climate action. The EPA report makes clear there's a financial and self-interested case, as well.
How very American, right?
I hope both efforts will get Americans to finally listen up.
We're the biggest contributors of carbon dioxide pollution, to date.
And so we must lead the world in taking swift action and proposing solutions.
In advance of the report's release, I chatted with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about the economic case for climate action, why climate skepticism maintains a troubling toehold in the United States and what this country is doing to ensure future generations grow up in a world that hasn't warmed 2 degrees.
"Climate change is the greatest threat of our time," she told me, "and the time for action is now."
The following is a transcript of our conversation, edited for length and clarity.
Have questions of your own? Join McCarthy and me for a Facebook chat at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Go to facebook.com/cnn at that time to chime in, or look for the link to the chat on my Facebook page.
John Sutter: So, you have this new report that's looking at the economic benefits of the world stepping up and doing something about climate change. Why frame it that way?
Gina McCarthy: Well, this is the first time that we're actually doing a report like this that looks at both the physical effects and economic damages of climate change. We get to look at both what happens if we don't take action, and then what happens if we do take global action.
And you look at our ability to actually mitigate all of the impacts that are going to be so damaging to us, and, frankly, the world. It's an important message -- (that) we need to take action and (that there are) costs of inaction.
Sutter: What damages can we avoid? Like what, specifically, are we looking at here?
McCarthy: By 2100 -- (if we take) global action on climate -- we can actually avoid an estimated 12,000 deaths annually that are associated with extreme temperatures. That's a big deal. We're projecting that, if you take action, you could avoid approximately 13,000 deaths in 2050, and 57,000 from poor air quality that's associated with climate change.
Sutter: Just to pause really quick on some of those numbers, because those are striking. Essentially what you're saying is that climate change either already is potentially leading to some deaths in the United States, or will, if action isn't taken? It's a life or death matter?
McCarthy: We're projecting that, if you actually take global action to stay within 2 degrees (Celsius of warming), which is an important goal, as you recognize, then we are going to reduce impacts in the U.S. significantly. It's not just from extreme weather events or public health, but it's other damages, like what does it do to our transportation system, our roads and bridges? What does it do for freshwater fishing? What does it do for our water infrastructure and our ability to maintain clean -- and available water?
If we take action today, and we work globally, (then there is an) incredible opportunity to avoid direct impacts to public health, our economy, our physical infrastructure.
Sutter: Do you have sense of what the cost of warming the climate 2 degrees would be?
McCarthy: We don't have a cost associated with that, no. What we're trying to do is a little bit different. We're not really modeling a particular policy scenario ... What are the dis-benefits of doing nothing? And what are the benefits of taking action? And then we're hoping that this will spark real effort on the part of the global community that will mirror some of the work we're doing domestically.
If you just talk to folks who care about freshwater fishing, we're talking about an estimated 230,000 and 260,000 acres of coldwater fish habitat will be preserved in 2100 (if emissions are cut drastically and worldwide). And that's an annual figure.
Sutter: I'm wondering if there's anything else that you would like to highlight that you think would surprise people about what's at risk if we don't act to slow climate change.
McCarthy: If you look at coral reefs, (this report) shows that, if we take action, we can avoid the loss of approximately 35% of the current Hawaiian coral by 2100. And that's worth a recreational value of $1.1 billion. And that's what we can save. In fact, we would lose most of those (coral reefs) with no action. When you look at wildfires, we can save an estimated 6 to 7.9 million acres of forests -- as opposed to have them burning in wildfires by 2100.
Sutter: Some pretty significant stuff.
McCarthy: In agriculture alone, which I think we all care about, we're talking about an estimated $6.6 to $11 billion in avoided damages to agriculture in the year 2100 alone.
Sutter: So can you tell me what the U.S. is doing right now to try to keep warming below 2 degrees? This country often gets criticized internationally as being a laggard on taking action to address climate change. Meanwhile, we have, to date, been the largest contributor to this problem.
McCarthy: The President, just about almost exactly two years ago, announced a climate action plan. And that is a full-throated response to take action on climate change now using the authority that he has. He posed it as both an issue of morality as well as ... one that involved economic consequences and national security challenges. He outlined a number of different measures that we were going to take to show strong domestic action that he hoped would spark a change in the international discussion to one that was more positive -- and would bear fruit -- in Paris in December.
EPA has been a big part of that effort. We are moving forward with a clean power plan -- that we are finalizing this summer -- to reduce carbon pollution from our power sector. That is a significant opportunity for very substantial reductions (in carbon emissions). We are looking at heavy-duty vehicles, basically trucks, to see how we could do another round of carbon pollution reductions from trucks, taking a look at what new technologies are available and what innovation can be driven into that market effectively. We're looking at also looking at methane reductions from the oil and gas development sector. We're looking at landfill methane recapture. We're looking at aircraft in an international context.
We issued a joint agreement with China in which we both established aggressive standards. China, for the first time, offered a goal that was going to cap their emissions. That is a significant step forward. That change is also changing dynamics in terms of conversations with other countries.
We sure know that there's a lot of states and local communities and individuals who are with us in terms of recognizing that climate change is the greatest threat of our time, and the time for action is now.
Sutter: That's an extensive list. Still, I talk to policy experts who say all of the U.S. pledges on climate -- even the new rules for power plants -- that they're not enough to stop us short of 2 degrees. What else should we be doing that we're not?
McCarthy: You are not wrong. The President has never claimed, nor has EPA claimed, that this is going to get us over the finish line. We know what the finish line is, but you don't start any race at the finish line. You start at the starting gate. And I don't think there is anybody in the international context or domestically that doesn't think that this President and EPA are doing everything within its authority to be aggressive on reducing the kind of pollution that is fueling climate change.
We'll turn this challenge into an economic opportunity. And the numbers you're seeing in this report tell us that the time for that is now, but also that it is not by any means too late to actually have a direct impact on reducing the kind of damages that people are anticipating from a changing climate.
Sutter: I've talked to some economists who say we just flat-out won't get there unless we consider things like a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system for carbon at the national level. Are those options on the table? Or are there other tools we should be using to cut emissions faster?
McCarthy: Well, John, they've always been on the table. They're just not on my table because that is a job for Congress to consider. And so the choice for the President was whether or not we are going to be able to use the authority to take the action that he knows is our moral responsibility to take for our kids. Or are we going to wait and find the ultimate solution from Congress? We're going to use the tools available. But (President Obama) also told Congress that the minute they wanna talk about the options available to them and unleash those that he would be sitting at that table. And I will be right behind him.
Sutter: A lot of climate skepticism remains in the U.S. Why is that the case? And how would you go about convincing a skeptic that we're causing this and should do something about it?
McCarthy: This climate skepticism that you're talking about has been going on for, well, really, decades. Because I've been in this business for a really long time, I will tell you, unequivocally, that the climate skepticism is much less than it has ever been. The science is stronger. One of the reasons why there are fewer skeptics is because we're already seeing the impacts of climate (change). Twenty years ago, we were projecting them. So people could be skeptical. Fewer people can be skeptical today.
I don't doubt that there will continue to be skeptics forever ... But they're not in this administration. And they're not behind the wheel right now, driving this bus.
Sutter: For the people who remain skeptical, what is the best method to convince them? Or is the only way to convince them for them to see their own lives threatened and to see these changes around them? That's pretty depressing. Would some other argument work?
McCarthy: I think one of the good things today and one of the reasons why the President can move forward so aggressively is not just because they see the damage, but because there are solutions today that there never were before. And those are solutions that can actually be turned into economic opportunities, instead of just costs. And so the dynamic has changed considerably now that you have so much wind power, but even more importantly, today, solar energy. You know, that was the fastest-growing job sector last year; 26,000 jobs plus were grown in the solar industry.
I know you've been engaged in (climate change reporting) for a long time. But you've got to change the tone of your questions. Move away from, 'Is this really bad? How do we get to the skeptics?' to, 'What does the future look like?' And, 'How many people would embrace that future?' Give people the independence of a renewable energy system, a clean energy system. You're asking them to embrace a future that they will like, a future they can believe in, where they can have jobs and a growing economy and not give up their lifestyle. We are on the cusp of that right now, John.
Sutter: But I think that there are people who really, in a deep, entrenched way, believe that climate change is bunk.
McCarthy: I do think there are people that actually believe this -- who believe that the climate is not changing, or that humans aren't doing it. I'm convinced of that. I'll give you a little bit of philosophy. It's just mine. So I apologize if it sounds a little wonky. But I actually don't think you challenge those skeptics. I think you win despite (the skeptics) by going to the people who haven't made up their mind, and who are dying for information. I think we can't make them afraid and expect them to act. We need to make them hopeful and point to a future where they have a place.
Sutter: I just got back from the Marshall Islands, which is a country that has a long history and relationship with the U.S. and that likely won't not exist if sea levels rise at the projected rates. I wondered if there was anything you would say to people living there.
McCarthy: I would let them know the President has stood up and has fought this case admirably. He's talked about this as a moral issue and I think the islands are a case in point. He is doing everything within his authority to do this in a way that will allow us to make a big leap forward, but to do it in a way that will keep the momentum moving. I do not know whether there is any global solution that can offer them the kind of future they want. But the U.S. is doing its part, and it's doing its part domestically, and it's doing its part to try to get the international community better aligned to be able to take on this challenge.
VIDEO-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid D-NV | Video | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 21:19
June 23, 2015During Senate leader remarks, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the South Carolina State Capitol.'He praised Governor Nikki Haley for her call for the same.
*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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June 23, 2015Senate Session, Part 2The Senate resumed consideration of trade promotion authority (TPA) legislation passed by the House.'
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VIDEO-Washington Journal Cynthia Roldan Removal | Video | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 21:18
June 23, 2015Post and Courier Statehouse Reporter Cynthia Roldan spoke by phone about South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's (R) call for the'... read more
Post and Courier Statehouse Reporter Cynthia Roldan spoke by phone about South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's (R) call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the State Capitol grounds in the wake of the previous-week church shooting in Charleston. close
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VIDEO-Hayden Mocks Edward Snowden's Effect on NSA Surveillance
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 16:47
Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden on Monday marveled at the puny nature of the surveillance reforms put in place two years after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed a vast expansion of intrusive U.S. government surveillance at home and abroad.
Hayden mocked the loss of the one program that was reined in '-- the NSA's bulk collection of metadata information about domestic phone calls '-- calling it ''that little 215 program.''
And he said if someone had told him two years ago that the only effect of the Snowden revelations would be losing it, his reaction would have been: ''Cool!''
Here is the video and the full text of his remarks:
If somebody would come up to me and say ''Look, Hayden, here's the thing: This Snowden thing is going to be a nightmare for you guys for about two years. And when we get all done with it, what you're going to be required to do is that little 215 program about American telephony metadata '-- and by the way, you can still have access to it, but you got to go to the court and get access to it from the companies, rather than keep it to yourself'' '-- I go: ''And this is it after two years? Cool!''
Hayden was speaking at the annual meeting of the Wall Street Journal CFO Network, an event hosted ''by the Journal's senior editors'' for ''an invitation-only group of more than 100 chief financial officers of the world's largest companies.''Asked if he thought Snowden was a foreign agent, Hayden said: ''I've got my suspicions,'' although he acknowledged, ''I've got no evidence.''
Some opponents of massive government surveillance hailed the passage, earlier this month, of the USA Freedom Act. And it did, in fact, mark the first time that Congress has limited the executive branch's surveillance authority over four decades of explosive growth.
But some observers noted that it was a very small step at best. The program was just one out of the multitude Snowden revealed '-- and was so blatantly out of line that its end was virtually a foregone conclusion as soon as it was exposed.
Seemingly irreconcilable media coverage reflected the reality that the reform bill was both important and, from the NSA's perspective, trivial.
Hayden's remarks were the most blunt yet emphasizing that latter point.
(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)
VIDEO-Nikki Haley Calls For Confederate Flag To Be Removed From South Carolina Capitol
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:47
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the state capitol.
"That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state," Haley said Monday.
Haley argued that many South Carolinians see the Confederate flag as a way to respect their ancestors, but argued Dylann Roof, who was charged with murdering nine people in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, last week, "has a sick and twisted view of the flag."
Haley said there's no need to "declare a winner and a loser" or interpret the flag in any one way, noting South Carolinians are free to fly the Confederate flag on their personal property if they so choose.
"But the statehouse is different, and the events of this past week call on us to look at this in a different way," she said.
Haley spoke at a press conference at 4 p.m. ET Monday. In her remarks, she mentioned both the Charleston church shooting and the killing of Walter Scott, arguing those incidents don't reflect the progress of the state.
"On matters of race, South Carolina has a tough history. We all know that," Haley said.
Haley said she would call a special legislative session if South Carolina lawmakers don't take up the issue of the Confederate flag this session.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and others joined the governor in calling for the flag to come down. Graham previously said the flag "is part of who we are," but that he would be "fine" with taking the symbol down.
"After the tragic, hate-filled shooting in Charleston, it is only appropriate that we deal once and for all with the issue of the flag," Graham said in a statement Monday.
Debate over the flag was reignited after the shooting at the Charleston church last week. When flags were lowered to half-staff in remembrance of those who were killed, the Confederate flag -- which has flown next to the Confederate Soldier's Monument since 2000, when it was removed from atop the South Carolina capitol dome -- didn't budge, because it's held in place by a padlock. By law, the flag couldn't be removed.
Several politicians have weighed in on the flag, with 2012 presidential rivals Mitt Romney (R) and President Barack Obama agreeing that the flag should come down. Some South Carolina politicians had a different take, with Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), who attended Haley's press conference on Monday, saying removing the flag "should not be the immediate solution."
This post has been updated to include Haley's remarks.
VIDEO-'Manspreading': New misdemeanor plaguing NYC subway, first arrests reported '-- RT USA
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 14:54
Published time: May 30, 2015 18:11Edited time: June 01, 2015 08:59Making yourself comfortable on a NY subway train could land you in hot water, especially if you occupy too much space. What appears to be the first ever arrest for so-called manspreading was revealed in a new report.
Two Latino men were allegedly arrested for manspreading, sitting with knees wide open, thus occupying two seats on May 22 at 12:11am, according to a report released by the Police Reform Organizing Project in New York. This is probably the first time manspreading has led to an arrest and court appearance.
READ MORE: Murders up 20 percent in NYC
Although, according to the report, the judge said that at the time of the arrest there could not have been many passengers on the train, she nevertheless slapped the two men with an ACD, which means that charges against them will be dropped if they don't get arrested again for a fixed period of time, the report says.
In January, the Metropolitan Transit Authority rolled out an ad campaign reminding men to ''mind the gap'' and keep knees closer together while seated on public transport.
Entire blogs have been created to document the culprits who don't comply. Even actor Tom Hanks was publicly shamed, being called the ''new face of manspreading.''
Hanks excused himself, saying that the ''train was half empty.''
That excuse didn't work for the two men arrested in May, though.
Robert Gangi, Director of Police Reform Organizing Project (PROP), which compiled the report, says the NYPD is criminalizing a subway etiquette faux pas as an excuse to issue more fines and arrest people, most of whom are poor minorities.
''We think it's driven by a quota system. There is almost no other rational explanation for why the cops would conduct this kind of arrest unless they are under pressure to meet certain numbers, to meet with their productivity goals,'' Gangi told RT's Maria Portnaya.
The case with the two Latino men allegedly arrested for manspreading is in a PROP's PDF file, containing 117 vignettes on ''disrespect and abuse at the hands of NYPD officers'' over a period of several years.
According to reports, the NYPD has allegedly issued more than 1,400 summons for manspreading this year. While police officers are working hard to contain this 'very serious' matter, real crime in the city is on the rise. Reports in March said that the homicide rate in NYC spiked 20 percent in the first two months of 2015.
RT reached out to the NYPD asking for confirmation about the manspreading arrests and questioning how many people have been arrested for manspreading. So far, the NYPD has not responded.
VIDEO-Obama uses the N word during a podcast - YouTube
Mon, 22 Jun 2015 14:44