739: Trolling for Majors

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 54m
July 16th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Luke Nicholas-Sir Epic Beer of the Hop Fields, Sir Dwayne Melancon-Duke of the Pacific NW, Mister Pre Self-Radicalized, Kevin Anderson, Sir Craig Allen Harms

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Blake-Knight of Procrastination, Sir Kevin Dills-Knight of the Queen City

Cover Artist: ivan


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Las Vegas Meet Up | No Agenda CD.com
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:50
We are having a No Agenda meetup in Las Vegas this August during DEFCON 23! We will start things off at 6pm on Saturday, August 8th at The Encore Lobby Bar and Caf(C) located in the Encore Resort Casino. Planning to attend? Let us know by emailing noagendacd@gmail.com or finding us on Twitter: @noagendacd. We are hoping to have No Agenda CDs and T-shirts for everyone (if they are ready in time'...) so let us know your size. Shirt size, not CD size.
Hail Apple!
Click here to see if Adam is coming this year!
Pluto. Photo shop. Mission control desks
new horizons transmitter tech
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 15:41
The RF Telecommunications System for the New Horizons Mission to Pluto1,2 Christopher C. DeBoy, Christopher B. Haskins, Thomas A. Brown, Ronald C. Schulze, Mark A. Bernacik, J. Robert Jensen, Wesley Millard, Dennis Duven, Stuart Hill The Johns Hopkins University ~ Applied Physics Laboratory 11100 Johns Hopkins Road Laurel MD 20723 chris.deboy@jhuapl.edu 1. INTRODUCTION Abstract'--This paper describes the design and development of the RF telecommunications system for the New Horizons mission, NASA's planned mission to Pluto. The system includes an advanced, low-power digital receiver, and a card-based transceiver implemented within an integrated electronics module. An ultrastable oscillator (USO) provides the precision frequency reference necessary for the uplink radio science experiment. The 2.1 meter high gain antenna is the primary communications antenna, with medium gain and low gain antennas used for wider beamwidths during early operations, cruise-phase and sun-pointing mission phases. Mission Description New Horizons is NASA's planned mission to Pluto, with a projected launch date in January of 2006. The fly-by mission seeks to characterize the geology and atmosphere of Pluto and its large moon Charon. At launch, the spacecraft follows a heliocentric trajectory to a Jupiter fly-by for gravity assist in 2007, and then settling into a long 8-year cruise to the outermost planet. The baseline encounter date for the Pluto fly-by is July, 2015. An extended mission for the spacecraft would see fly-by's of one or more Kuiper Belt objects, the set of small planetoids of the outer solar system of which Pluto is considered the largest member. Mission trajectories are shown in Figure 1 below, with the three different arrival dates corresponding to launches at different times in the launch window. The paper will discuss the salient aspects of the system design, including design drivers from mission operations, science, and spacecraft considerations. It will also detail individual subsystems' performance, operational modes (including beacon mode operation), and navigation technology, including the first deep-space flight implementation of regenerative ranging. Pluto EncounterJupiterNeptuneUranusSaturnPlanetary position at Pluto encounterin July 2015Onward to Kuiper Belt Object(s)JupiterNeptuneUranusSaturnPlanetary position at Pluto encounterin July 2015JupiterNeptuneUranusSaturnPlanetary position at Pluto encounterin July 2015Onward to Kuiper Belt Object(s)Jupiter Gravity Assist FlybyFeb -Mar 2007Jupiter Gravity Assist FlybyFeb -Mar 2007LaunchJan 11 ''Feb 2, 2006 LaunchJan 11 ''Feb 2, 2006 July 2015July 2015July 2016July 2016July 2017July 2017 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION.......................................1 2. OVERALL SYSTEM..................................2 3. UPLINK CARD.........................................4 4. DOWNLINK EXCITER CARD....................6 5. ULTRASTABLE OSCILLATOR..................7 6. ANTENNA SUBSYSTEM............................9 Figure 1 Planned Mission Trajectory 7. NAVIGATION SUPPORT.........................11 8. REGENERATIVE RANGING....................12 Pluto is on average 39 AU from the Sun, but due to its highly eccentric orbit will be approximately 32 AU from the Earth at encounter (1 AU = approximately 150 million km.) At that range, the round trip light time to the spacecraft is over 8 hours. Science observations commence in the months 9. SUMMARY.............................................14 REFERENCES.............................................14 BIOGRAPHIES............................................15 1 0-7803-8155-6/04/$17.00(C)2004 IEEE 2 IEEEAC paper #1369, Version 4, Updated December 22, 2003 1
preceding encounter, with the most intense instrument activity during the several hours before and after closest approach. The scope of the scientific effort includes ultraviolet, visible, and infrared imaging and spectroscopy, particle detection, and radio science. The mission is led by Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern at Southwest Research, Inc, and the spacecraft project is led at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Telecommunications Requirements The high level requirements on the RF telecommunications system are to provide uplink and downlink capability throughout the primary and extended mission, to support radiometric range and Doppler tracking for precise navigation, and to incorporate an uplink radio science capability. A minimum post-encounter end-of-playback data rate requirement of 600 bps drives the high gain antenna (HGA) and TWTA designs. The ability to command through the medium gain antenna (MGA) out to 50AU for the extended mission sets the MGA receive gain. 2. OVERALL SYSTEM Overview A block diagram of the New Horizons RF Telecommunications System is shown in Figure 3. Integrated Electronics Module (IEM)'--Two IEMs are used onboard to house many spacecraft functions, including the command and data handling system, the instrument interface circuitry, the telemetry interface function, the solid state recorder, and the receiver and exciter sections of the telecommunications system, along with the DC-DC converters that power them all. This implementation reduces the overall harness requirement and results in mass and cost savings while offering a flexible platform for future development. Figure 2 The New Horizons Spacecraft Sets of Uplink, Downlink, and Radiometrics cards are contained within each of two integrated electronics modules (IEMs). The Uplink Card (described in detail in Section 3) provides the command reception capability, as well as a fixed downconversion mode for the uplink radioscience AftLGARHCSwitch AssemblySP3TLNALNADiplexerLHCRHCFilterMGA0.3m dishS4DiplexerFilter12W TWTAHGA2.1m DishUSO BLHCS3LHCRHCRHCLHC= Coaxial Cable= Waveguide= Waveguide to Cable Transition12W TWTAHybridCouplerSP3TIEM ADownlinkCardREX / Reg. RangingDigitalReceiverCCDUplink SystemIEM BTo Side AFrom Side AUSO ATo Side BFrom Side BDownlinkCardREX / Reg. RangingDigitalReceiverCCDUplink SystemSPDTSPDTAftLGARHCSwitch AssemblySP3TLNALNADiplexerLHCRHCFilterMGA0.3m dishS4DiplexerFilter12W TWTAHGA2.1m DishUSO BLHCS3LHCRHCRHCLHC= Coaxial Cable= Waveguide= Waveguide to Cable Transition12W TWTAHybridCouplerSP3TIEM ADownlinkCardREX / Reg. RangingDigitalReceiverCCDDigitalReceiverCCDUplink SystemIEM BTo Side AFrom Side AUSO ATo Side BFrom Side BDownlinkCardREX / Reg. RangingDigitalReceiverCCDDigitalReceiverCCDUplink SystemSPDTSPDTSPDTFigure 3 RF Telecommunications System Block Diagram 2
experiment (REX). Since at least one Uplink Card must be powered at all times, this digital receiver's very low power consumption (2.5W secondary) has been an enabling technology for the mission. The Downlink Card (Section 4) is the exciter for the Traveling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTAs), and encodes block frame data from the spacecraft Command and Data Handling (C&DH) system into rate 1/6, CCSDS Turbo-coded blocks. It also calculates and inserts navigation counts into the frame data to support the noncoherent Doppler tracking capability, and is used to transmit beacon tones during cruise periods. The Radiometrics Card contains the REX and Regenerative Ranging Functions. Ultrastable Oscillators'--Two USOs (see Section 5) provide the ultimate frequency reference for the Uplink and Downlink Card local oscillators and clocks. The USOs are cross-strapped with a transfer switch and power splitter to retain redundancy in the Uplink and Downlink Cards in the event of a USO failure. Hybrid Coupler'--A hybrid coupler is connected to the Downlink Exciter outputs and TWTA RF inputs. This enables either exciter to work with either TWTA. In addition to the increased reliability, this gives the Mission Operations team flexibility during downlink events, in that the downlink polarization sense (RHC or LHC) can be changed by powering the appropriate TWTA without having to change IEMs to use the other exciter. It also enables the tantalizing prospect of nearly doubling the post-encounter downlink data rate. If both TWTAs can be powered at once (a spacecraft power and thermal margin issue that will be settled during cruise), then, using one exciter, a dual-polarized downlink signal (LHC and RHC) can be transmitted. The Deep Space Network (DSN) has recently tested their single-antenna polarization combining capability and achieved the expected > 2.5 dB processing gain. Should this mode prove operable, it would provide a > 44% reduction in the post-encounter playback duration and significant cost savings. RF Switching and Routing'--The RF switch assembly interconnects the antenna suite with the redundant TWTAs and the rest of the communications system. A waveguide diplexer from Ciao Wireless provides the necessary isolation between receive and transmit paths. A bandpass filter prior to the LNA yields more rejection of the downlink signal in the receive path to keep the wideband LNA far from saturation. A SP3T waveguide switch connected to the antenna port of the diplexer enables the RF signals to flow to or from the HGA, MGA, or LGAs. (For the LGAs, an additional SMA transfer switch is used to select the aft or forward antenna.) All connections to the HGA are waveguide to minimize loss, whereas SMA coaxial cables are used for ease of assembly and routing for the MGA and LGA runs. TWTAs'--Two 12W X-Band TWTAs manufactured by Thales, Inc., provide the high power RF downlink output The selected power level is a compromised between data rate and beamwidth performance and power dissipation in this power-limited spacecraft. Antennas'--Three antennas are mounted to the forward side of the spacecraft and centered on the spin axis. Spin axis mounting was desirable from both mechanical (greater degree of symmetry about the spin axis) and communications perspectives (high spacecraft spin rates after launch could lead to uplink acquisition and tracking issues if the off-spin-axis distance were too great.) See Section 6 for further discussion on the antenna design. Uplink Radioscience'--The RF Telecommunications System incorporates the REX (Radioscience EXperiment) Instrument. REX seeks to characterize the atmosphere of Pluto and (if one exists) of Charon, and to estimate surface temperatures by recording changes in the received uplink signal at various times during encounter. The hardware specific to REX consists of an analog-to-digital converter and the REX Actel FPGA, and is co-located on the Radiometrics Card with the Regenerative Ranging System (Section 8). A wideband IF output from the uplink receiver is fed to the REX circuitry, and the receiver is commanded to a fixed-conversion mode (i.e., carrier tracking is disabled and all LO's are fixed in frequency.) Any RF input at the appropriate receive frequency is directly downconverted and passed to the REX hardware. Two types of measurements are made. As the spacecraft moves into occultation (the time Pluto blocks the uplink signals from the Earth), samples of the REX filter output are stored to determine the changes in phase and amplitude the uplink signal underwent as it moved through different layers of Pluto's atmosphere. During occultation, the full bandwidth of the REX IF input is integrated, sampled, and later compared to calibrations to determine the effective antenna noise temperature, which can be used to map the physical temperature of the planet. The REX effort is led by Stanford University, who is responsible for the design of the Actel FPGA. Its inclusion in the RF system mandated tight control of spurious signals in the receiver IF, attention to minimizing the spacecraft system noise temperature (to approximately 200K) and receiver gain variations, and the careful selection of crystal resonators in the USO to achieve the highest level of frequency stability and thus the best performance for REX. 3
3. UPLINK CARD Overview The New Horizons Uplink Card provides X-band carrier tracking, command detection/demodulation, critical command decoding, ranging tone demodulation, a wideband intermediate frequency (WBIF) channel for use by the Radioscience Experiment (REX) and Regenerative Ranging subsystems, and a fixed downconversion mode for REX. This new uplink card design makes use of digital processing techniques to enhance performance and flexibility, while at the same time achieving considerably lower power consumption than predecessor systems. The Uplink Card (Figure 4) is an assembly consisting of three separate printed circuit boards (PCB) mounted to an aluminum heat sink. On one side, a multilayer, polyimide PCB contains the circuitry required for the RF, IF, analog, and digital portions of the X-band carrier tracking receiver, ranging tone demodulation, and the WBIF channel. Attached to this polyimide PCB is an RF downconverter board, which consists of a temperature stable microwave substrate, various microstrip circuits, and the circuitry required to complete the first RF downconversion stage in the uplink card. On the other side, a second multilayer, polyimide PCB contains the required circuitry for the command detector unit (CDU) and the critical command decoder (CCD). Figure 4- Photographs of Uplink Card a) digital receiver side, b) baseband side (CDU and CCD) Design Approach The primary RF carrier tracking, command detection, and turnaround ranging channel performance requirements of the digital receiver system are similar to those of previous deep space RF systems, including both the small deep space transponder (SDST) and CONTOUR RF transceiver systems. Several new design requirements led to a new design approach. These new requirements included reduced power consumption, flexibility in the choice of reference oscillator frequencies, and added support for uplink radioscience (REX) and regenerative ranging. The core receiver design uses a classic double-conversion, superheterodyne approach (Figure 5). The aforementioned RF downconverter board provides several key functions, including power to an external low noise amplifier (LNA) through a microstrip bias tee, band select/image reject filtering, the first downconversion stage, and amplification, tripling, and harmonic filtering of the RF local oscillator (LO). The RF LO is generated at approximately 2474 MHz by a fractional-N synthesizer and routed to the RF downconverter board. The output of the first downconversion stage is the first intermediate frequency (IF), which is approximately 240 MHz. The first IF is bandpass filtered and split into two channels, one narrowband and one wideband. The narrowband channel is used for carrier tracking, automatic gain control, and command demodulation, while the wideband channel is used for turnaround ranging demodulation and generation of the WBIF channel to be used by the REX and regenerative ranging subsystems. Both channels each contain a single-chip receiver integrated circuit (IC), which provides the second downconversion stage, automatic gain control (AGC) amplification, and wideband channel quadrature demodulation. Downconversion to the second IF of 2.500 MHz makes use of an IF LO, which is generated at approximately 242.5 MHz by an integer-N synthesizer. Upon downconversion to the second IF, separate filtering of the wideband and narrowband channels is achieved via discrete filter circuits external to the aforementioned receiver ICs. The 2.5 MHz narrowband IF (NBIF) channel is processed by a 10-bit, 10 Msps analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The resultant sample data is processed by a field programmable gate array (FPGA), which provides a variety of critical receiver functions. The digital receiver FPGA (DPLL) first demodulates the NBIF to baseband. The baseband data is then processed through the digital portions of the carrier tracking loop, power detection, and AGC system. The DPLL's primary contribution to the carrier tracking loop is in the form of a 20-bit preselect/antialiasing filter and a 64-bit loop filter. The output of the loop filter is used to steer the output frequency and phase of a direct digital synthesizer (DDS), which is in turn used as a carrier tracking reference oscillator in the closed loop carrier tracking system. The DPLL's primary contribution to the AGC system is in the form of a power detection circuit and filtering used to drive a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), which is in turn used to generate a control voltage that sets the gain in the analog portions of the receiver system. The digital baseband data is also filtered to select the subcarrier, 4
Figure 5 Uplink Card Block Diagram which is then forwarded to the CDU for data demodulation and command detection. For the New Horizons mission, this subcarrier is binary phase shift key (BPSK) modulated with commands at data rates of 2000, 500, 125, and 7.8125 bps. The CDU locks to and tracks the 16 KHz subcarrier and demodulates the command data, passing data and clock over to the CCD. In the CCD, designated critical relay commands are decoded, detected, and immediately sent to the power switching system. The CCD also forwards all commands to the C&DH system. The 2.5 MHz WBIF channel is buffered and routed to the Radiometrics Card for further processing. The 2.5 MHz WBIF is also demodulated in the quadrature demodulator built into the receiver IC. The resultant baseband channel (or ranging channel) is filtered through several filters designed to limit the noise power in this channel as well as reduce the level of various demodulation products, while at the same time allowing the desired ranging tones to pass through with minimal phase and amplitude distortion. The output of this ranging channel is buffered and routed to the downlink card for modulation onto the downlink X-band carrier. In addition, the ranging channel has the capability to route either the demodulated ranging tones or the regenerated pseudonoise (PN) ranging code produced by the regenerative ranging subsystem to the downlink card. 5 Carrier acquisition and tracking is provided via a type-II phase locked loop and noncoherent AGC system. Both the RF and IF synthesized LOs are tuned through the use of a common 30.1 MHz carrier tracking reference clock; this clock is generated by mixing the 30 MHz spacecraft frequency reference with a 100 KHz DDS. The DDS phase and frequency is dynamically tuned by the DPLL carrier tracking system to in-turn tune the RF and IF LOs. An open loop, fixed downconversion mode is required for REX; in this mode, the DDS frequency is set at a fixed value that is reprogrammable during the mission. All clocks and frequency sources in the digital receiver system are referenced to the 30 MHz spacecraft reference oscillator. Features Performance highlights include the following: total secondary power consumption of 2.5 W (including the integrated on-board command detector unit (CDU) and critical command decoder (CCD)), built-in support for regenerative ranging and REX, carrier acquisition threshold of -157 dBm, high RF carrier acquisition and tracking rate capability for near-Earth operations (2800 Hz/s down to -100 dBm, 1800 Hz/s down to -120 dBm, 650 Hz/s down to -130 dBm), ability to digitally tune to any X-band RF channel assignment (preprogrammed on Earth for this mission) without the need for analog tuning and tailoring, use of an even 30.0 MHz ultrastable oscillator (USO) as a frequency reference, a noncoherent AGC system, and best lock frequency (BLF) telemetry accuracy to 0.5 Hz at X-band and BLF settability plus stability error < > with zero temperature effects (all relative to USO frequency). These results highlight the major performance parameters of the operational and functional RF uplink system. One of the key benefits of moving to a more-digital system is increased operational flexibility. Once in place, successive design iterations in future missions may include in-flight reconfiguration of RF channel assignments, and carrier tracking loop optimization for near-Earth, deep space, and interstellar operational modes. A secondary benefit is the ability to leverage from increasing gate array densities and processing unit speeds, thus contributing to further mass, size, and power savings. Finally, further reduction in hardware assembly steps due to lower parts count and fewer solder connections increases the reliability of these systems. 4. DOWNLINK EXCITER CARD Downlink Card Overview The New Horizons Downlink Card provides an X-band exciter output to be delivered through a hybrid coupler to the spacecraft TWTA for transmission. This output consists of the carrier (either unmodulated or residual) and phase modulation for the telemetry, ranging, or beacon modes of operation. The Downlink Card (see picture in Figure 6 and block diagram in Figure 7) is an assembly consisting of three separate printed circuit boards (PCB) mounted to an aluminum heat sink. On one side, a multilayer polyimide PCB contains the synthesizer and signal conditioning circuitry, along with a temperature-stable microwave substrate containing S- to X-band multipliers and phase modulators. On the reverse side, a second multilayer polyimide PCB contains the digital circuitry for the PCI interface, modulation control, noncoherent Doppler tracking counters, CRC calculation and Turbo encoding functions. Design Approach'--Analog Side In this transceiver system, the carrier signal is generated by a PLL synthesizer using the on board 30 MHz USO reference. Two output center frequencies are possible, designated primary and auxiliary. The primary or auxiliary frequency is selected by controlling the divisors in the synthesizer's parallel load inputs. This capability permits the downlink carrier to be switched between carrier frequencies depending on the state of the uplink carrier lock indicator (allowing the downlink to provide 1 bit of information on the uplink status.) If this coherent simulation mode is disabled the downlink carrier is always at the primary center frequency. The synthesizer output signal at S-Band is mixed with the 30 MHz USO reference to reduce the potential perturbation of the PLL loop by the desired signal and harmonics as it is multiplied to X-band. The carrier is modulated at 4 GHz, with a pair of phase modulators, one for the ranging signal from the uplink card, the other for the telemetry data. The ranging signal is processed by an AGC amplifier stage, which also provides a means of disabling the ranging signal. HBT amplifiers were initially considered for the 4 GHz and 8 GHz RF amplifier stages, but were ultimately changed to GaAs MMIC due to reliability concerns over the extended operational life required for the mission. Figure 6 - Photographs of Downlink Card Left, Analog side, Right Digital side Design Approach'--Digital The majority of the Downlink Card's digital design is contained within a single Actel FPGA, an RTSX72S. Additional circuitry consists of the 5.3 kHz Doppler tracking signal filter, which is implemented in op-amps, and the PROMs and RAMs and interface circuitry. The FPGA design is implemented in VHDL. Its primary function is to Turbo-encode frame data blocks from the C&DH system. The encoder uses the interleaving tables stored in the external, anti-fuse PROMs to create the coded symbol streams, and calculates and inserts a CRC for each frame. The design also includes a PCI interface that enables frame data transfer and downlink bit rate and mode selection. Also included are the noncoherent Doppler tracking counters, including sub-frame count interface and control, CRC calculation and insertion (for each frame), interleaving and turbo encoding, and a subcarrier modulator. Generally for low data rates, this modulator places NRZ line coded symbols onto a 25 kHz subcarrier. Other functional blocks include PN code generators for BER testing, implementation of test modes, and MET (Mission Elapsed Time) counters to accurately record the 6
start time of a frame transmission. (This result is included in telemetry in the next downlinked frame.) A 16 bit control register is used to provide 65532 possible downlink data rates, from a minimum of 6.3578 bps to a maximum of 104.167 kbps. The relation between control word setting n and the data rate is ()1125+=nMHzBitRate (1) where 3 '‰¤ n '‰¤ 65536. The fine spacing of data rates about the expected post-encounter playback rate of 1 kbps gives the mission operations team a great deal of flexibility to take advantage of late improvements in the space segment and ground segment system performance. To bound the pre-flight test time required, a subset of these data rates will form the baseline for ground test. Since the CRC must be calculated and inserted before the data interleaving and turbo encoding, it is necessary to pipeline data frames, with the next frame being encoded while the current frame is being transmitted. This requires the use of two RAM frame buffers. In addition, to avoid possible underflow when operating at maximum rates (primarily during test), a third null buffer was included and filled with dummy data should a frame be completely transmitted before the next frame has been encoded. The Downlink Card can also be configured to support Beacon Mode operations. In this mode, a single square wave tone is phase-modulated onto the selected carrier. The frequency of the beacon tone is determined by the setting of the 16bit data rate control register: the tone frequency is the symbol rate that corresponds to the commanded data rate (i.e., the tone frequency is 6x the selected data rate.) This gives the software and mission operations teams flexibility in defining tone frequencies and minimizes the impact of this new capability to the existing card design. The hardware in the DSN supports up to 4 separate defined tone frequencies that can be used. By placing tones on either carrier, 8 different beacon settings can be selected to provide various levels of information. 5. ULTRASTABLE OSCILLATOR Overview The New Horizons Ultrastable Oscillator (USO) is a critical component of the RF telecommunications system and the mission itself. It provides a stable, 30 MHz frequency reference for the Uplink and Downlink Cards' frequency synthesizers, and the ultimate frequency reference necessary for the uplink radio science experiment. Figure 8 Ultrastable Oscillator Assembly 7
The USO is a sophisticated precision assembly consisting of over 200 electronic components and many mechanical parts (see photo in Figure 6). Its architecture builds on proven heritage designs developed at APL over the last 30 years, and flown recently on such missions as Mars Observer, Cassini, GRACE, and Gravity Probe B. Fundamentally, it is a pristine version of an ovenized crystal oscillator (OCXO). We use carefully selected, 3rd overtone, SC-cut crystal resonators and maintain them at constant temperature to yield excellent frequency stability (short-term to better than 1 part in 1013) and low noise performance. The significant performance improvement over industry grade OCXOs relies on a cylindrical oven design and very uniform heating which results in very small temperature gradients within the crystal resonator blank. A high-gain thermal control loop keeps the crystal resonator temperature stable to within several thousandths of a degree Celsius over the entire operating temperature range of the USO. Crystal resonators for flight will be carefully selected among twenty units for the best aging and short-term frequency stability. 8 Functional Description The block diagram of the USO is shown in Figure 7. The USO consists of six polyimide printed wiring boards populated with military-grade, high-reliability passive and active components: A1 and A2'-- The A1 board interfaces the electronic circuitry with the resonator, and consists of the oscillator front end, an automatic gain control (AGC) circuit, and a high input impedance buffer amplifier. AGC sets the oscillator start-up loop gain and resonator drive level, which will be carefully tailored for optimum combination of aging performance and short term stability. The A2 board generates the temperature control signal to drive a heater that keeps the oven temperature of the crystal resonator constant. Since both the A1 and A2 boards contain temperature-sensitive circuitry, they are part of the temperature control assembly operating at a fixed temperature. A3 and A4'-- These boards multiply, filter, and amplify the 5 MHz resonator output to the 30 MHz, +10 dBm signal required in the rest of the RF system. High-Q circuits and multiple transmission zeros in the output stage result in harmonics at levels less than -60dBc and subharmonics at levels of less than -80dBc. A5 and A6'-- The A5 board collects and conditions the USO telemetry (voltages and temperatures) for output, while the A6 board cleanly regulates the 22V '' 35V input bus voltage down to 15V. Performance Highlights The resolution of the New Horizons uplink radioscience experiment depends upon the excellent frequency stability of the USO over the duration of the Earth occultation event at Pluto. Short-term frequency stability (Allan deviation) at 1s and 10 s are specified at 3x10-13 and 2x10-13, respectively, with goals of sub-1x10-13 performance. At this writing, with roughly half of the lot of crystal resonators tested, the best Allan deviation (10 s) achieved is better than 1x10-13.Amp.Amp.X212.25V10VReg.Reg.A4X3Amp.Amp.Amp.A3Osc.AGCAmp.A1EMIfilterDC-DCconverterA615V22V to 35VA5Temperature control assemblyHeaterwireT~85C5MHz10MHz30MHz10dBm30MHz10dBm5MHz3rd O.T.SC-cut10V15V15VOven monitor0.7V to 5V out10V15VA2Temperaturecontrol boardThermistor2V to 15VDC converter monitor3.6V out10V regulator monitor3.6V outHeatertransistorHeatHeat1V to 7VFigure 9 Ultrastable Oscillator Block Diagram
9 A summary of other relevant performance measures is tabulated below. Parameter Specification Output Frequency 30 MHz Output Power (into 50'...) +10 dBm +/- 1 dB (dual output) Aging Rate
A 16 bit control register is used to provide 65532 possible downlink data rates, from a minimum of 6.3578 bps to a maximum of 104.167 kbps
The image has been compressed to reduce its file size for transmission to Earth. In high-contrast areas of the image, features as small as 3 miles (5 kilometers) across can be seen. Some lower-contrast detail is obscured by the compression of the image, which may make some areas appear smoother than they really are. The uncompressed version still resides in New Horizons’ computer memory and is scheduled to be transmitted at a later date.
Caitlyn Jenner From Brian the Gay Crusader - "Documentary about living Trans"
Tiffany Uganda Trip
Patricia dinner
MILF, Cougar, Major
Gay Cera
Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''739, 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. § 1739^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.
House Republicans to Investigate Planned Parenthood Over Fetal Tissue - NYTimes.com
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:15
WASHINGTON '-- House Republican leaders on Wednesday announced a congressional investigation of Planned Parenthood, a day after anti-abortion activists released a video of an unsuspecting official from the organization explaining how it provides fetal tissue to researchers.
Echoing the activists' allegation, Speaker John A. Boehner and other top Republicans suggested that Planned Parenthood was selling fetal parts, which is illegal if done for profit. But Planned Parenthood said that while it charges for expenses such as processing and transporting, it makes no money from the fetal tissue donated by women who get abortions. The official shown in the video repeatedly says something similar to two activists posing as biotechnology representatives.
The California-based group responsible for the video, the Center for Medical Progress, appears to have been started relatively recently. Its creator, David Daleiden, once worked with another anti-abortion group, Live Action, and he and Live Action's leader, Lila Rose, who also promoted the video, are familiar to Planned Parenthood affiliates from previous undercover videos. Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Rose did not return calls and emails on Wednesday.
The release of the video and subsequent House investigation opens a new round in the partisan wars over Planned Parenthood that have raged since the Republicans took control of the House four and a half years ago. This time, Republicans running for president eagerly joined in, promising to stoke the furor, as anti-abortion conservatives took to social media to demand action.
Past battles provoked backlashes against congressional Republicans and against Mitt Romney, the party's presidential nominee in 2012. But even before the video began circulating online, Republicans had moved to cut all money for Planned Parenthood and the Title X family-planning program from a spending bill awaiting a House vote.
''When an organization monetizes an unborn child '-- and with the cavalier attitude portrayed in this horrific video '-- we must all act,'' Mr. Boehner said in a statement.
Four senior Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which will conduct the investigation, said in a statement that they would ''get to the bottom of this appalling situation.'' Two Republican governors ordered investigations in their states: Greg Abbott of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who is a presidential candidate.
Other Republican contenders for president condemned Planned Parenthood, including Jeb Bush, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Carly Fiorina and Rick Perry. Another candidate, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, drew the most applause during a campaign stop in South Carolina on Wednesday when he boasted of having defunded Planned Parenthood in his state.
A spokesman for Planned Parenthood, Eric Ferrero, said in a statement that the Republicans' claims were ''flat out'' untrue, ''but that doesn't matter to politicians with a longstanding political agenda to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood.''
''Our medical practices and guidelines in this area are clear,'' he added, ''and we do this important work just like other high-quality health care providers '-- with full, appropriate consent from patients, under the highest ethical and legal standards, and with no financial benefit for the patient or Planned Parenthood.''
But the companies that acquire such tissue from Planned Parenthood can command high prices, depending on the processing required, given the demand among researchers.
''These tissues are very valuable for studying human development and finding out what makes it tick,'' said Dr. Susan Fisher, who directs the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Program at the University of California, San Francisco. ''Can we reprogram cells in the same way to repair disease processes? Can we have a better understanding of the sort of haywire development that accompanies some tumors?''
''A lot of women want to make these donations'' in the hope that useful information can be gained, Dr. Fisher added.
The National Institutes of Health spent $76 million in 2014 on research involving human fetal tissue, and it expects to spend the same amount this year. Researchers at universities with medical centers that perform abortions may obtain fetal tissue there, but private companies also act as middlemen, obtaining tissue from abortion providers and selling it to researchers.
The Planned Parenthood official in the video, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical services, mentions StemExpress, a five-year-old business in Placerville, Calif., that describes itself as ''the largest provider of maternal blood and fetal tissue globally.'' The Sacramento Business Journal reported in November that the company's revenue had grown by more than 1,300 percent in three years, and Inc. magazine in August put its yearly revenue at $2.2 million.
The company, which advertises ''special discounts to the academic community,'' sells tissue from fetuses, afterbirth and cadavers, including fetal livers and liver stem cells '-- Dr. Nucatola says in the video that fetal livers are much in demand '-- as well as placentas, umbilical cords, skin, diseased tissue and tumors. Some of the materials are highly processed, and the prices reflect that: The company's catalog shows that a vial of two million fetal liver cells sells for $2,240.
By contrast, Dr. Nucatola said in the video that Planned Parenthood clinics might charge $30 to $100 for a fetal specimen, to recover the costs of preserving, transporting or shipping.
A brochure on the StemExpress website quotes Dr. Dorothy L. Furgerson of the Planned Parenthood chapter in Mar Monte, Calif., saying, ''Our partnership with StemExpress is beneficial in a number of ways,'' including contributions to ''lifesaving research.''
Prices for companies' fetal materials can reach thousands of dollars, but the sales are not illegal, said Arthur Caplan, the director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center. Still, he said, abortion providers like Planned Parenthood face ethical considerations, as well as the appearance of potential conflicts of interest when they take fees for fetal tissue acquired from patients.
Dr. Caplan said one practice that Dr. Nucatola described in the video was clearly unethical: manipulating the fetus in the womb and using surgical tools in ways meant to preserve certain organs for researchers.
''You cannot, must not, alter how or when you do an abortion simply to obtain tissues you want,'' Dr. Caplan said. ''Basically, the only concern is the health and safety of the mother.''
The allegations against Planned Parenthood should be investigated, he said. But, he added: ''I'd like to see it done by independent experts, not by 15 presidential candidates in Congress. It would turn into a presidential-posturing festival.''
Correction: July 16, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the state affiliation of Senator Ted Cruz. He represents Texas, not Florida.
Jackie Calmes reported from Washington, and Nicholas St. Fleur from New York. Alain Delaqu(C)ri¨re, Donald G. McNeil Jr. and Denise Grady contributed reporting from New York.
Ukraine default email
Hi John, in the morning to you.
My smoking hot Ukrainian fiancée has recently told me that she sees a lot
on the Ukrainian news lately about a possible default after 1 or 2 months.
She is worried, and asked me "what happens if Ukraine defaults, if the
Ukrainian Hryvniya goes to zero?? How will people live?"
I'm an Engineer, a musicisian, a dude named Ben - I don't know anything
about this economics stuff. I really have no idea what to say other than
what I have heard you say on the show before, that it's not necessarily
all that bad, maybe Ukraine will come out stronger than ever after a
If it's not too much to ask, would you mind talking about this on the show
soon? What does it really mean, this default stuff, and what might happen
in the case of Ukraine?
- Sir James of Norway
Six Week Cycle
U.S., 19 other nations crush criminal hacking ring-SCRIPT KIDDIES
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:42
The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the largest international takedown of an online criminal hackers' forum, an illicit Web site for the trafficking of tools and talent.Over a 24-hour period, officials said, authorities in the United States and 19 other countries jointly shut down Darkode, the world's most sophisticated English-language Internet forum for criminal hackers.
In Operation Shrouded Horizon, the FBI infiltrated Darkode at high levels and began gathering evidence and intelligence on members, officials said.
"Through this operation, we have dismantled a cyber hornets' nest of criminal hackers which was believed by many, including the hackers themselves, to be impenetrable," said U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania, whose office handled the joint investigation with the FBI and the department's criminal division.
Darkode is a tightly controlled, invitation-only digital bazaar in which a prospective member can gain admission only after posting what amounts to a professional r(C)sum(C) of illegal hacking capabilities, Hickton said. It began in 2008 and has 250 to 300 members, officials said.
The forum offered the means, including exploit kits, botnets, ransomware programs and tools for mass spamming, to attack and commandeer computers. It also offered "zero day" attack tools, which exploit flaws in software that the software makers did not know existed. Hackers describe it as "the best malware marketplace on the Web," Hickton said. It also sold stolen data - Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, log-in information and passwords.
Darkode members have "compromised millions upon millions of computers, servers, cellphones, bank accounts and social media accounts," he said, adding that losses to victims in terms of dollars and privacy "have been extreme." Citing the ongoing investigation, Hickton could not provide a dollar amount.
Law enforcement authorities in the 20 countries arrested, charged or searched 70 Darkode members and associates. The FBI seized Darkode's domains and servers. In the United States, charges have been filed against 12 people; in all, 28 have been arrested worldwide.
Those charged in the United States include Matjaz Skorjanc, an alleged organizer of the forum who is accused in federal court in the District with racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud and computer fraud. He is also accused of selling malware known as the Butterfly bot.
Also charged was Johan Anders Gudmunds of Sollebrunn, Sweden, who is accused of serving as the administrator of Darkode and of designing and selling malicious software that allowed hackers to create botnets.
He was charged in the Western District of Pennsylvania with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
Also charged was Morgan Culbertson, also known as Android, of Pittsburgh, who is accused of designing Dendroid, a coded malware designed to remotely access, control and steal data from Google Android cellphones. The malware was allegedly offered for sale on Darkode.
For $300, "Android" would sell the means to take over a person's Android cellphone. With it, for instance, one "could take photographs of you remotely, making it look like you took them," Hickton said. Or, for $65,000, he'd sell the malware code so buyers could adapt it to their own needs.
"Today marks a milestone in our efforts to bring to justice some of the most significant cybercriminals in the world," said Scott Smith, special agent in charge of the FBI's Pittsburgh division.
The other countries involved in the takedown were Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Latvia, Macedonia, Nigeria, Romania, Serbia and Sweden. Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, also took part.
FBI '-- Major Computer Hacking Forum Dismantled
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:31
WASHINGTON'--The computer hacking forum known as Darkode was dismantled, and criminal charges have been filed in the Western District of Pennsylvania and elsewhere against 12 individuals associated with the forum, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department's Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton of the Western District of Pennsylvania and Deputy Director Mark F. Giuliano of the FBI.
''Hackers and those who profit from stolen information use underground Internet forums to evade law enforcement and target innocent people around the world,'' said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. ''This operation is a great example of what international law enforcement can accomplish when we work closely together to neutralize a global cybercrime marketplace.''
''Of the roughly 800 criminal Internet forums worldwide, Darkode represented one of the gravest threats to the integrity of data on computers in the United States and around the world and was the most sophisticated English-speaking forum for criminal computer hackers in the world,'' said U.S. Attorney Hickton. ''Through this operation, we have dismantled a cyber hornets' nest of criminal hackers which was believed by many, including the hackers themselves, to be impenetrable.''
''This is a milestone in our efforts to shut down criminals' ability to buy, sell, and trade malware, botnets and personally identifiable information used to steal from U.S. citizens and individuals around the world,'' said Deputy Director Giuliano. ''Cyber criminals should not have a safe haven to shop for the tools of their trade and Operation Shrouded Horizon shows we will do all we can to disrupt their unlawful activities.''
As alleged in the charging documents, Darkode was an online, password-protected forum in which hackers and other cyber-criminals convened to buy, sell, trade and share information, ideas, and tools to facilitate unlawful intrusions on others' computers and electronic devices. Before becoming a member of Darkode, prospective members were allegedly vetted through a process in which an existing member invited a prospective member to the forum for the purpose of presenting the skills or products that he or she could bring to the group. Darkode members allegedly used each other's skills and products to infect computers and electronic devices of victims around the world with malware and, thereby gain access to, and control over, those devices.
The takedown of the forum and the charges announced today are the result of the FBI's infiltration, as part of Operation Shrouded Horizon, of the Darkode's membership. The investigation of the Darkode forum is ongoing, and the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Western District of Pennsylvania is taking a leadership role in conjunction with the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).
The charges announced today are part of a coordinated effort by a coalition of law enforcement authorities from 20 nations to charge, arrest or search 70 Darkode members and associates around the world. The nations comprising the coalition include Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Latvia, Macedonia, Nigeria, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. Today's actions represent the largest coordinated international law enforcement effort ever directed at an online cyber-criminal forum.
The following defendants face charges in the Western District of Pennsylvania:
Johan Anders Gudmunds, aka Mafi aka Crim aka Synthet!c, 27, of Sollebrunn, Sweden, is charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He is accused of serving as the administrator of Darkode, and creating and selling malware that allowed hackers to create botnets. Gudmunds also allegedly operated his own botnet, which at times consisted of more than 50,000 computers, and used his botnet to steal data from the users of those computers on approximately 200,000,000 occasions.Morgan C. Culbertson, aka Android, 20, of Pittsburgh, is charged by criminal information with conspiring to send malicious code. He is accused of designing Dendroid, a coded malware intended to remotely access, control, and steal data from Google Android cellphones. The malware was allegedly offered for sale on Darkode.Eric L. Crocker, aka Phastman, 39, of Binghamton, New York, is charged by criminal information with sending spam. He is accused of being involved in a scheme involving the use of a Facebook Spreader which infected Facebook users' computers, turning them into bots which Crocker controlled through the use of command and control servers. Crocker sold the use of this botnet to others for the purpose of sending out massive amounts of spam.Naveed Ahmed, aka Nav aka semaph0re, 27, of Tampa, Florida; Phillip R. Fleitz, aka Strife, 31, of Indianapolis; and Dewayne Watts, aka m3t4lh34d aka metal, 28, of Hernando, Florida, are each charged by criminal information with conspiring to send spam. They are accused of participating in a sophisticated scheme to maintain a spam botnet that utilized bulletproof servers in China to exploit vulnerable routers in third world countries, and that sent millions of electronic mail messages designed to defeat the spam filters of cellular phone providers.Murtaza Saifuddin, aka rzor, 29, of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, is charged in an indictment with identity theft. Saifuddin is accused of attempting to transfer credit card numbers to others on Darkode.The following defendant faces charges in the Eastern District of Wisconsin:
Daniel Placek, aka Nocen aka Loki aka Juggernaut aka M1rr0r, 27, of Glendale, Wisconsin, is charged by criminal information with conspiracy to commit computer fraud. He is accused of creating the Darkode forum, and selling malware on Darkode designed to surreptitiously intercept and collect e-mail addresses and passwords from network communications.The following defendants face charges in the District of Columbia:
Matjaz Skorjanc, aka iserdo aka serdo, 28, of Maribor, Slovenia; Florencio Carro Ruiz, aka NeTK aka Netkairo, 36, of Vizcaya, Spain; and Mentor Leniqi, aka Iceman, 34, of Gurisnica, Slovenia, are each charged in a criminal complaint with racketeering conspiracy; conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud; conspiracy to commit computer fraud, access device fraud and extortion; and substantive computer fraud. Skorjanc also is accused of conspiring to organize the Darkode forum and of selling malware known as the ButterFly bot.The following defendant faces charges in the Western District of Louisiana:
Rory Stephen Guidry, aka k@exploit.im, of Opelousas, Louisiana, is charged with computer fraud. He is accused of selling botnets on Darkode.The charges and allegations are merely accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
This investigation, Operation Shrouded Horizon, is being conducted by the FBI with assistance from Europol and their European Cyber Crime Center (EC3). This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James T. Kitchen and Charles A. Eberle of the Western District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorneys Gavin A. Corn, Marie-Flore Johnson and Harold Chun of CCIPS, Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica O'Neil of the Eastern District of Wisconsin and Assistant U.S. Attorney Myers Namie of the Western District of Louisiana. The Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs also provided significant assistance.
In a related case, Aleksandr Andreevich Panin, aka Gribodemon, 26, of Tver, Russia; and Hamza Bendelladj, aka Bx1, 27, of Tizi Ouzou, Algeria, pleaded guilty on Jan. 28, 2014, and June 26, 2015, respectively, in the Northern District of Georgia in connection with developing, distributing and controlling SpyEye, a malicious banking trojan designed to steal unsuspecting victims' financial and personally identifiable information. Bendelladj and Panin advertised SpyEye to other members on Darkode. One of the servers used by Bendelladj to control SpyEye contained evidence of malware that was designed to steal information from approximately 253 unique financial institutions around the world. Panin and Bendelladj will be sentenced at a later date.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Steven Grimberg and Kamal Ghali of the Northern District of Georgia. All press inquiries relating to this case should be directed to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia at USAGAN.Pressemails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.
Presidential Memorandum -- Designation of the Republic of Tunisia as a Major Non-NATO Ally
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:28
July 10, 2015
Presidential DeterminationNo. 2015-09
SUBJECT: Designation of the Republic of Tunisia as a Major Non-NATO Ally
Consistent with the authority vested in me as President by section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended (the "Act"), I hereby designate the Republic of Tunisia as a major Non-NATO Ally of the United States for the purposes of the Act and the Arms Export Control Act.
You are authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.
22 CFR 120.32 - Major non-NATO ally. | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:32
§ 120.32Major non-NATO ally.Major non-NATO ally, as defined in section 644(q) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2403(q)), means a country that is designated in accordance with section 517 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2321(k)) as a major non-NATO ally for purposes of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2151et seq. and 22 U.S.C. 2751et seq.). The following countries are designated as major non-NATO allies: Afghanistan (see§ 126.1(g) of this subchapter), Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Republic of Korea. Taiwan shall be treated as though it were designated a major non-NATO ally.Title 22 published on 2014-04-01.
The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 22.
For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.
2014-10-10; vol. 79 # 197 - Friday, October 10, 201479 FR 61226 - Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Corrections, Clarifications, and Movement of DefinitionsGPO FDSys XML | TextAdditional DocumentsDEPARTMENT OF STATEFinal rule.This rule is effective October 10, 2014.22 CFR Parts 120, 121, 123, 126, and 130SummaryIn an effort to streamline, simplify and clarify the recent revisions to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) made pursuant to the President's Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative, the Department of State is amending the ITAR as part of the Department of State's retrospective plan under Executive Order 13563 completed on August 17, 2011.
2014-05-13; vol. 79 # 92 - Tuesday, May 13, 201479 FR 27180 - Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Revision of U.S. Munitions List Category XVGPO FDSys XML | TextAdditional DocumentsDEPARTMENT OF STATEInterim final rule.This rule is effective November 10, 2014, except for § 121.1, Category XV(d), which is effective June 27, 2014. Interested parties may submit comments on paragraphs (a)(7) and (e)(11) of USML Category XV and ITAR § 124.15 by June 27, 2014.22 CFR Parts 120, 121, and 124SummaryAs part of the President's Export Control Reform (ECR) effort, the Department of State is amending the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to revise Category XV (Spacecraft and Related Articles) of the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to describe more precisely the articles warranting control in that category. The revisions contained in this rule are part of the Department of State's retrospective plan under Executive Order 13563 completed on August 17, 2011. This rule is published as an interim final rule because the Department believes that substantial national security benefits will flow from the changes to the controls on spacecraft and related items, but acknowledges that additional analysis of and public comment on the control thresholds for remote sensing satellites are warranted.
This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.
This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].
It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.
United States CodeU.S. Code: Title 22 - FOREIGN RELATIONS AND INTERCOURSEStatutes at LargePublic LawsPresidential DocumentsExecutive Order ... 13637
Title 22 published on 2014-04-01
The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 22 CFR Part 120after this date.
2015-06-03; vol. 80 # 106 - Wednesday, June 3, 201580 FR 31525 - International Traffic in Arms: Revisions to Definitions of Defense Services, Technical Data, and Public Domain; Definition of Product of Fundamental Research; Electronic Transmission and Storage of Technical Data; and Related DefinitionsGPO FDSys XML | TextAdditional DocumentsDEPARTMENT OF STATEProposed rule.The Department of State will accept comments on this proposed rule until August 3, 2015.22 CFR Parts 120, 123, 125, and 127SummaryAs part of the President's Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative, the Department of State proposes to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to update the definitions of ''defense article,'' ''defense services,'' ''technical data,'' ''public domain,'' ''export,'' and ''reexport or retransfer'' in order to clarify the scope of activities and information that are covered within these definitions and harmonize the definitions with the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), to the extent appropriate. Additionally, the Department proposes to create definitions of ''required,'' ''technical data that arises during, or results from, fundamental research,'' ''release,'' ''retransfer,'' and ''activities that are not exports, reexports, or retransfers'' in order to clarify and support the interpretation of the revised definitions that are proposed in this rulemaking. The Department proposes to create new sections detailing the scope of licenses, unauthorized releases of information, and the ''release'' of secured information, and revises the sections on ''exports'' of ''technical data'' to U.S. persons abroad. Finally, the Department proposes to address the electronic transmission and storage of unclassified ''technical data'' via foreign communications infrastructure. This rulemaking proposes that the electronic transmission of unclassified ''technical data'' abroad is not an ''export,'' provided that the data is sufficiently secured to prevent access by foreign persons. Additionally, this proposed rule would allow for the electronic storage of unclassified ''technical data'' abroad, provided that the data is secured to prevent access by parties unauthorized to access such data. The revisions contained in this proposed rule are part of the Department of State's retrospective plan under Executive Order 13563 first submitted on August 17, 2011.
2015-05-26; vol. 80 # 100 - Tuesday, May 26, 201580 FR 30001 - Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Registration and Licensing of U.S. Persons Employed by Foreign Persons, and Other ChangesGPO FDSys XML | TextAdditional DocumentsDEPARTMENT OF STATEProposed rule.The Department of State will accept comments on this proposed rule until July 27, 2015.22 CFR Parts 120, 122, 124, 125, and 126SummaryThe Department of State proposes to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to clarify requirements for the licensing and registration of U.S. persons providing defense services while in the employ of foreign persons. This amendment is pursuant to the President's Export Control Reform effort, as part of the Department of State's retrospective plan under Executive Order 13563 completed on August 17, 2011. The Department of State's full plan can be accessed at http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/181028.pdf .
2015-05-22; vol. 80 # 99 - Friday, May 22, 201580 FR 29565 - Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Exports and Temporary Imports Made to or on Behalf of a Department or Agency of the U.S. Government; Procedures for Obtaining State Department Authorization To Export Items Subject to the Export Administration Regulations; Revision to the Destination Control Statement; and Other ChangesGPO FDSys XML | TextAdditional DocumentsDEPARTMENT OF STATEProposed rule.The Department of State will accept comments on this proposed rule until July 6, 2015.22 CFR Parts 120, 123, 124, 125, and 126SummaryAs part of the President's Export Control Reform (ECR) effort, the Department of State is proposing to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to: clarify regulations pertaining to the export of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR); revise the licensing exemption for exports made to or on behalf of an agency of the U.S. government; revise the destination control statement in ITAR § 123.9 to harmonize the language with the EAR; and make several minor edits for clarity. The proposed revisions contained in this rule are part of the Department of State's retrospective plan under E.O. 13563.
2014-10-10; vol. 79 # 197 - Friday, October 10, 201479 FR 61226 - Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Corrections, Clarifications, and Movement of DefinitionsGPO FDSys XML | TextAdditional DocumentsDEPARTMENT OF STATEFinal rule.This rule is effective October 10, 2014.22 CFR Parts 120, 121, 123, 126, and 130SummaryIn an effort to streamline, simplify and clarify the recent revisions to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) made pursuant to the President's Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative, the Department of State is amending the ITAR as part of the Department of State's retrospective plan under Executive Order 13563 completed on August 17, 2011.
2014-05-13; vol. 79 # 92 - Tuesday, May 13, 201479 FR 27180 - Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations: Revision of U.S. Munitions List Category XVGPO FDSys XML | TextAdditional DocumentsDEPARTMENT OF STATEInterim final rule.This rule is effective November 10, 2014, except for § 121.1, Category XV(d), which is effective June 27, 2014. Interested parties may submit comments on paragraphs (a)(7) and (e)(11) of USML Category XV and ITAR § 124.15 by June 27, 2014.22 CFR Parts 120, 121, and 124SummaryAs part of the President's Export Control Reform (ECR) effort, the Department of State is amending the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to revise Category XV (Spacecraft and Related Articles) of the U.S. Munitions List (USML) to describe more precisely the articles warranting control in that category. The revisions contained in this rule are part of the Department of State's retrospective plan under Executive Order 13563 completed on August 17, 2011. This rule is published as an interim final rule because the Department believes that substantial national security benefits will flow from the changes to the controls on spacecraft and related items, but acknowledges that additional analysis of and public comment on the control thresholds for remote sensing satellites are warranted.
Legislation on Foreign Relations through 2004, V. 1B: Current Legislation ... - USA. Congress. House of Representatives. Committee on Foreign Affairs, USA. Congress. Senate. Committee on Foreign Relations - Google Books
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:31
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McCain on defense bill
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:47
News in Brief
McCain on defense bill, NGA on Hootenanny, Army on battlefield techBy FCW StaffJul 15, 2015Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., spoke at the Heritage Foundation on July 15. (Photo: Sean Lyngaas, FCW)
McCain defends acquisition provision, frets about vetoArizona Republican John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said a conversation with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter left him "very concerned" that President Barack Obama will veto the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill.
Carter told the Arizona Republican he is recommending the president veto the measure as it stands, McCain said in a July 15 appearance at the Heritage Foundation. The more than $600 billion bill passed the Senate last month. The Obama administration has objected to the bill's use of overseas contingency operations funding rather than base budgeting to meet policy priorities.
When asked about his disagreement with Frank Kendall, the Pentagon's top acquisition official, over the extent to which acquisition reform should empower the service chiefs, McCain said that "Mr. Kendall chose ... to attack me in the media without ever talking to me, which is his privilege." Kendall, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told Breaking Defense recently that the bill's acquisition provision "destroys my ability to lead" because it devolves power from his office to the services.
McCain said he also spoke at length with Carter about the acquisition dispute with Kendall. "There's a weird interpretation now that [the bill] takes away the authority of the secretary of Defense," McCain said. "The service chiefs work for the secretary of Defense; he doesn't work for them. So we're making them responsible for many of these programs that have gone amok, including over the five years of Mr. Kendall's time" at AT&L. The cost of weapons systems has spiraled out of control, McCain added, and "to do business as usual would be insanity."
Hootenanny crowdsources geospatial data analysisThe National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has publicly released Hootenanny, a software toolkit designed to harness the power of crowdsourced mapping for geospatial big data analytics, GCN reports.
Posted on GitHub, the open source project provides a scalable processing engine and interactive editing interface to help users rapidly conflate, or reconcile, map features generated from satellite imagery, unmanned aerial vehicles and mobile devices.
Army's new war game to focus on tech, innovationsThe Army is shifting the way it develops new technologies for the battlefield, Defense Systems reports. The service is replacing one of the two annual Network Integration Evaluations with the broader Army Warfighting Assessment, which will focus on innovation and developing partnerships with industry and academia.
The Army recently issued a sources sought notice looking for potential candidates to take part in the next AWA, scheduled to begin Oct. 17, 2016. Responses are due by July 31.
About the Author
Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.
You won't know this, but a very important TTIP vote happened in Europe this week - Comment - Voices - The Independent
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:26
The European Parliament voted by a majority of 436 to 241 to pass a resolution on the secret EU-US trade deal, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). By voting yes MEPs effectively gave their stamp of approval for the deal to go ahead, in spite of repeated and widespread protest from their own constituents. Protests which have repeatedly been ignored.
A European Citizens' Initiative against TTIP currently stands at over 2,300,000 signatures, a number which should have triggered a response from the European Commission, the unelected body negotiating the deal. Instead the EC dismissed it out of hand as illegitimate. The EC's own public consultation on one of the most controversial parts of TTIP received a resounding no from a staggering 97 per cent of respondents '' again, ignored.
READ MOREWhat is TTIP? And six reasons why the answer should scare youTTIP controversy: EU drops pesticide laws because US says it shouldPeople are right to be concerned. TTIP isn't about reducing tariffs on imports between the EU and US, it is about reducing and removing regulations that hamper trade. The trouble is many of those regulations are in place to protect the public and the environment. GM foods, growth hormones in beef linked to cancer, banned chemicals in cosmetics and endocrine disruptors in pesticides '' these are just some of the dangers that TTIP could usher into Europe.
And whatever proponents of the deal say '' and they say it often '' there is nothing in writing stopping public services, including national health services coming under threat from increasing privatisation. The most controversial part of the deal is the Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS). These provisions essentially allow private corporations to sue national governments in secret courts over policies that cause loss of profits, even when those policies are for the public good. Such cases include banning fracking, phasing out nuclear power and limiting cigarette advertising '' all real cases in which companies have used ISDS to sue national governments
In part the vote was MEP's response to so much public concern and was an attempt to introduce some amendments to the negotiating process. But it was lame to start with and further hampered by some pretty dodgy political manoeuvrings. The vote was originally scheduled for early June but it was delayed at the last moment by parliamentary president, Martin Schulz, citing the high number of amendments involved.
But most critics believe the real reason was a stalling tactic because of the very real possibility of a no vote. Instead it was held on Wednesday, during a week in which Greece was always going to dominate the news. If you were of a conspiratorial frame of mind, you would be looking at the timing with a very keen, if twitchy, eye. Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session as they hold signs against TTIP
And the vote itself was controversial. An amendment rejecting ISDS entirely, which the European public has repeatedly called for, wasn't even voted upon thanks to some creative procedural changes from President Schulz. Instead a watered-down version of ISDS was passed which doesn't tackle the fundamental issues and which has been described as ''ISDS lite''.
What yesterday's vote shows above all is that the corrupt heart of Europe '' where there are roughly 40 lobbyists to every MEP - will always put big business over citizens' rights, profits over democracy and corporate freedom over the public good. This vote was a rare chance for the democratic voice of Europe to make itself heard. Instead it was stalled, disrupted and ultimately drowned out.
The TTIP negotiations will roll on. It's back to business as usual in Europe.
You know why its called TTIP?
Just the TIP Europe, we're only going to put the TIP in ok baby?
Greece Asset sales KfW Bank
After all the raised expectations of recent weeks, the Hellenic flag appears to have been lowered...and replaced with the white flag of surrender. Nothing is ever entirely as it seems, but ranging across all the issues brought into focus by this cynical exercise in Might-is-Right diplomacy, the best one can do at this stage is offer some mind-concentrating conclusions about what the outcome has really been.
1. Effectively, the eurogroupies (and we must include Draghi in their number, however rarely he appears onstage) have demanded nothing less than the surrender of Greek sovereignty in return for more bailout monies which will not, of course, bail them out. The medium by which the EU will ensure value for money is the straightforward introduction of a secured loan process: the setting up of an asset-filled bank account. The bank involved, KfW, is owned entirely by the German government; it operates out of Luxembourg - a blatant tax-evasion regime controlled by EC boss Jean-Claude Juncker. Thus both factions in the egroupe v EC squabble have obtained equal pounds of Hellenic flesh.
2. Like Luxembourg itself, the KfW bank has a somewhat cloudy horizon of financial history. On October 22nd 2008, the bank transferred €319m of funds to US bank Lehman Brothers in what many have since characterised as a Washington plea to help help save Lehman, and thus avoid the meltdown that swiftly followed. Like the dutiful American vassal it is, the Bundesgovernment sent the cash...but it was too little too late. Police raided the KfW bank at the time, but charges
were never brought.
3. The KfW lack-of-trust fund was set up jointly by the Troika and BoG boss Yannis Stournaras during his disastrously spineless spell as Finance Minister under the ND/PASOK coalition of collaboration. Thus Syriza's freedom of movement has been curtailed by the Greek Central Bank, in the same way that the European Parliament has been usurped by Draghi's
all-powerfully unelected ECB.
4. Like every peacetime politician in history, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras overpromised and paid the price. He thought a bluff would work with Troika2, and it didn't. My view has never differed: from the moment he was ambushed last February by the Draghischauble mafia, the polite retreat of Varoufakis - under orders, it seems, from Tsipras - was all the data the Troikanauts needed to conclude that Syriza was piss and wind. Had Yanis Varoufakis arrived at the meeting with a mandate to play the "f**k you, I'm walking out" card, the bullies would've been found out.
5. Do we therefore blame Syriza's failure on a lack of guts by Tsipras? Perhaps, but the realities of Greek society were in his mind at all times: Tsipras never had a mandate to quit the eurozone - and he knew it.
6. Somebody - or bodies - on the EU side were shrewd enough to see that the smug professional classes in Greece had done well out of the euro, and thus (as usual) wanted jam and cream on the bread and butter: "yes, by all means resistance, but keep us in the eurozone". Two years ago, The Slog berated Tsipras for dropping his commitment to euro-exit; but his own
polls told him he would never gain power without doing just that. In the end, it has come back to first haunt and then destroy him. The Syriza leader simply didn't have the voter support he needed to walk away. The second you don't walk away from the unacceptable, you are sleepwalking into control by the merciless.
7. The very well-heeled smuggies who wouldn't give Syriza the silver bullets will of course now have a field day giving all of us who had faith in Tsipras what-for on the grounds of believing in the 'gutless Left'. I've been trolled by these insufferably cheerful Charlies for the last six days. But as a veteran observer of Greek haut-bourgeois double standards (and having once been on the emotional receiving end of its ruthless materialism) I know well enough who to blame for the
failure to face out Brussels-am-Berlin. And that's the same bunch of whores who - come Ottomans, Nazis and Draghis - take the brown envelopes while looking the other way....to ensure nobody is watching their treason.
At the start of this marathon circular journey, Varoufakis boasted that his Party was "going to take down and destroy the privileged élites who really hold Greece back". Troika2 ensured that, from Day 1, Syriza would be far too busy with its homework ever to achieve that goal. Corrupt to the end, the EU prefers to do business with the corrupt.
We can only hope that enough neutrals will take that conclusion away from this mess, and remember the truth when their turn comes.
UPDATES from Greece: Vote Day, Tahrir Moment in Syntagma Square and the IMF Pledge that Isn't
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:16
by Scott Creighton
A man racked by shame begs for money as Greeks line up to make their small daily withdrawals from a bank
Alexis Tsipras took his case to the press last night in an hour-long interview on state TV. During that time he defended his 180 degree turn and urged the country to get behind the ''irrational'' Troika coup because, as he put it, ''it's the best deal Greece can get'' Gone was all the pretense he displayed back when he and the rock-star pretended to want Greeks to vote ''NO'' on the austerity referendum. Now he demands a ''YES'' from Parliament on the neoliberal economic brick being dropped on the heads of the people he represents. He promised to keep the banks closed until the deal is ratified. More economic terrorism from the ''hero'' of Greece and the left. Like Obama siding with the republicans to get several of his previous ''successes'' done in congress, Tsipras looks to the neoliberal opposition parties for support getting the deal finalized.
The terms of the actual deal they are voting on today are far worse than they led us to believe. Not only is this just a measure to kick the can down the road for another 3 years, after which, if the two other bailout deals are any indication, Greece will be right back in the same place they are today just with a higher debt to GDP ratio looming over their heads.
The 85 billion Euro deal will basically do nothing more than pay money to the same banks and institutions that put them in this horrendous place to start with while crippling the economic structure of the country (and thus the tax revenues) to such a point where they are bound to default at a later date.
For that ''favor'' granted by the Troika, Tsipras has agreed to, among other things, hand over the pink slips to 50 billion euros worth of Greek state property to be held in Athens under the supervision of ''relevant European institutions'' for future sale to the masters of the universe for pennies on the dollar. This garage sale of Greece will include not only things like state energy companies and infrastructure but also little tidbits like the Greek islands, nature preserves and even historical ruins. Germany insisted on this provision even after a little modification. Bring back any memories?
The idea of locking up Greek assets in a special fund emerged on Saturday from Germany, the biggest and one of the least forgiving of the creditor-nations involved in the talks. In order to guarantee repayment on loans to Greece, the German Finance Ministry even suggested moving the titles to Greek assets to an ''external fund'' in Luxembourg so that Athens could not renege on their sale. TIME
Under pressure from the French and the Greeks, the German side apparently recognized, eventually, that locating the privatization fund outside Greece would be one humiliation too far. They did, however, still insist on setting one up; the statement released on Monday said that the fund will be based in Athens and ''managed by the Greek authorities under the supervision of the relevant European Institutions.'' New Yorker
Tsipras is running around trying to tell his few remaining followers that at least they got a debt restructuring deal out of all of this but that is an outright lie just like Tsipras himself has been since day one.
What about restructuring Greece's vast debts, which Tsipras had also said would be part of the deal? The statement says that the Eurogroup (the eurozone's finance ministers, essentially) agreed to consider debt sustainability, but only after Greece implements the terms of the new bailout to the satisfaction of the ''Institutions'' that will oversee it'--i.e., the dreaded ''troika,'' consisting of the European Central Bank, the European Commission, and the I.M.F.
''The Eurogroup stands ready to consider, if necessary, possible additional measures (possible longer grace and payment periods) aiming at ensuring that [Greece's] financing needs remain at a sustainable level,'' the statement says. ''These measures will be conditional upon full implementation of the measures to be agreed in a possible new programme and will be considered after the first positive completion of a review.'' Even then, the actions to be considered would be modest ones. ''The Euro Summit stresses that nominal haircuts on the debt cannot be undertaken,'' the statement continues. The New Yorker
The leaders of the Independent party has stated they will certainly vote ''NO'' due to the fact that within the deal lies various changes to the Greek law, one of which includes giving creditors the ability to seize property of Greek citizens, presumably due to foreclosures. Sounds kind of like how the banksters stole so many homes here in the U.S. doesn't it?
Over at the Economist, they are trying to portray the capitulation forces within Syriza as ''moderates''. There is absolutely nothing ''moderate'' about this deal which many are saying is the most brutal since Germany was punished for trying to impose fascism on Europe back in WWII. ''Moderate''? Is that a joke?
So today the Greek parliament will meet with the intention of debating and eventually voting on the deal cut by Alexis Tsipras which betrayed the ''NO more austerity'' will of the people of the country expressed through the referendum they held nearly two weeks ago. With opposition growing from within his own party, Tsipras will have to count on support from the very parties his was brought in to counteract. The very parties who have signed one deal after another with the Troika in the past. It will certainly be a contentious vote due to that as well as the extremist nature of the particulars of the deal itself.
Unions of civil servants and government employees are calling for general strikes and demonstrations nationwide starting off in Syntagma Square right outside Parliament. It's the first time the ''left leaning'' Syriza party has been protested like this since they came to power in January with the mandate to stop the brutal austerity.This could be the beginning of that Tahrir moment in Greece many of us have been waiting for. It's unclear how the ''leftist'' Tsipras will deal with it if it is.
Meanwhile, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde has apparently approved the release of a ''secret IMF report'' that supposedly states the Greek debt is unsustainable and would need a 30 year grace period or ''deep upfront haircuts'' for any deal to work with the nation. This ''secret'' memo is certainly not binding in any way and was clearly release prior to the vote in order to provide political cover for those Greek politicians who intend to vote for the deal. In fact, the memo was shared with European leaders days before they struck the final, brutal austerity deal with Greece this past Monday so as an implied promise of ''CHANGE'' it is hollow at best.
So today is the day. Will we see videos of fist-fights in the Greek parliament once again? Will it be a Tahrir Sq. moment taking shape outside? Will Tsipras finally expose his true face to the people of Greece when he deploys the military to regain control of the nation he so bitterly deceived all this time? Today's the day we find out.
EIGHT YEARS AND COUNTINGPlease help keep us up and running if you can.Speaking truth ABOUT power since June 26, 2007(For my mailing address, please email me at RSCdesigns@tampabay.rr.com)
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Filed under: Alexis Tsipras, Banking Heist, class warfare, disaster capitalism, Economic Crisis ie. Disaster Capitalism, economic terrorism, Fascism, Global Free Market Wars, Globalization, Greek Elections 2015, Greek referendum, Neoliberalizing Greece, Scott Creighton
IMF only to distract from the money from countries
Griechenland: Kanzlerin Merkel, lesen Sie bitte die Wut-Briefe der BILD-Leser! - Politik Ausland - Bild.de
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:24
Das Griechen-Parlament hat dem Reformprogramm zugestimmt. Vor dem Geb¤ude kam es zu Krawallen, Chaoten warfen Brands¤tze mehr...
Hillary 2016
Trump a shill for Hillary/Dems?
Iran deal announced, gets over $100 billion in sanctioned assets Hot Air
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:44
posted at 8:01 am on July 14, 2015 by Ed Morrissey
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani declared that his nation's ''prayers have come true.'' The rest of us have to wonder if our worst nightmares may soon be fulfilled. The P5+1 group and Iran announced that they have reached a deal in which Iran will have all sanctions lifted in exchange for a 10-year pause in their pursuit of nuclear weapons, an agreement that will give them almost immediate access to over $100 billion in frozen assets abroad:
Iran reached a landmark nuclear agreement with the U.S. and five other world powers, a long-sought foreign policy goal of the Obama administration that sets the White House on course for months of political strife with dissenters in Congress and in allied Middle Eastern nations.
The accord, which comes after a decade of diplomatic efforts that frequently appeared on the verge of collapse, aims to prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.
Not only will Iran get access to its frozen assets, it can now start selling its oil openly on the market. That will ramp up its economy '-- but also put a lot of fresh cash into the hands of the same government that funds terrorism around the region. Is the deal so airtight that its prevention of nuclear proliferation is worth that tradeoff? Even that equation depends on what Iran has to do to have its prayers answered, and how well those moves can be verified:
Iran must take an array of specific steps. It must disable two-thirds of its centrifuge machines used to enrich uranium, which can be used as fuel for nuclear energy or nuclear weapons. It must slash its stockpile of enriched uranium and redesign its nuclear reactor in the city of Arak so that it produces less plutonium, which can also be used in a weapon.
Oil-rich Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is for entirely peaceful purposes, such as producing electricity and medical isotopes.
After years of stalling, Iran also must disclose information on its past nuclear activities, which many Western officials believe was aimed at gaining nuclear weapons know-how. Iran must provisionally implement an agreement giving United Nations inspectors much broader access to sites inside the country and eventually get parliamentary approval for that agreement.
Provisionally implement? And what kind of inspections will Iran allow? Unless inspectors are allowed to go anywhere at any time, including military facilities, the inspection regime will be worthless. Let's not forget that Iran has a long history of hiding its activities from IAEA inspectors, and throwing them out when they got too close to the actual work being done on nuclear weapons.
Omri Ceren, who has been watching these negotiations closely, e-mails that the US retreated from their inspection regime demands:
[P]olitically the coverage will be dominated by the concessions made over the last two weeks '' and those were more or less already known as of last night. Reuters confirmed that the administration has collapsed on anytime-anywhere inspections in the broad sense, and more specifically the deal will allow Iran to have a voice in which Iranian sites get inspected. Lawmakers understand the importance of anytime-anywhere inspections: it was the administration, after all, that for many months told Congress that anytime-anywhere inspections were an achievable goal that would make up for concessions elsewhere on centrifuges, facilities, and so on. Meanwhile voters, for understandable reasons, overwhelmingly believe Congress should reject any deal where Iran has a role in overseeing itself.
The Free Beacon's Adam Kredo reports that the US caved on a number of points, but especially on inspections:
Sanctions also will be lifted on Iran, including those on the country's banks and financial sectors, which have long supported Iran's nuclear program as well as its sponsorship of international terror groups.
In one of the more controversial concessions made by the Obama administration, a United Nations' embargo on arms also will be lifted within around five years as part of the deal, according to multiple reports. A similar embargo on the construction of ballistic missiles, which could carry a nuclear payload, also will expire in around eight years under the deal.
Initial readings of the deal also indicate that Iran will be given the right to veto so-called ''anywhere, anytime'' inspections of Iranian nuclear sites. This concession has caused concern that Tehran will be able to continue obfuscating its nuclear work and potentially continue in secret along the pathway to a bomb.
Iran also will be permitted for a time to keep its military sites off limits to inspectors, who have long been unable to confirm the past dimensions and scope of Iran's nuclear weapons work.
With these concessions, Iran may well be able to keep plugging away on nuclear weapons right under the noses of the P5+1. Estimates put Iran around a year away from manufacturing a workable weapon. If IAEA inspectors can't access military sites even for a brief time, then it won't take too much effort to complete the process and end up with a nuclear device. The first time we'll find out about it will be when the Iranians test the device '... either in Iran, or in Tel Aviv. Of course, they may wait until Year Eight to put it on a ballistic missile, but that assumes (a) they need a ballistic missile to hit Tel Aviv, and (b) they wait eight years to build a missile. What's to stop them, without military-site inspections?
The anytime-anywhere inspections were supposed to be non-negotiable. Even the Obama administration knew that; they had told Congress at the beginning of the process that this would be a deal-breaker for the US. Instead, Barack Obama and John Kerry tossed it aside to get their piece of paper. The only possible way to view this is the beginning of a long retreat by the US from the region, and don't think for a moment that our allies don't recognize it.
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FACT SHEET: Administration Cybersecurity Efforts 2015 | whitehouse.gov
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:38
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 09, 2015
From the beginning of his Administration, the President has made it clear that cybersecurity is one of the most important challenges we face as a Nation. In response, the U.S. Government has implemented a wide range of policies, both domestic and international, to improve our cyber defenses, enhance our response capabilities, and upgrade our incident management tools.
As the cyber threat continues to increase in severity and sophistication, so does the pace of the Administration's efforts. Included in this fact sheet are some of the achievements of this Administration in just the last six months. Since cybersecurity is about managing risk throughout the entire enterprise over the long-term, not through isolated, one-off actions, the Administration will continue to build on these efforts in the future.
Supported private sector efforts to improve cybersecurity
Gained commitments to address the challenge - The Administration hosted the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University on February 13, which brought together leaders from businesses throughout the economy, consumer and privacy groups, educators, students, law enforcement, and other government agencies. At the Summit, over two dozen companies made commitments. They have all started to act upon their commitments to share best practices, adhere to stronger security standards, use the Cybersecurity Framework of Standards and Best Practices to manage their cyber risk, share cyber-threat information, and adopt more secure payment technologies.Spurred information sharing '' At the Summit, the President issued an Executive Order to encourage the development of Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) to serve as the hubs for sharing critical cybersecurity information and promoting collaboration for analyzing this information both within and across industry sectors. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) solicited public comments and is holding public workshops to inform the development of standards by a Standards Organization, which will be selected in the fall. At the same time, the private sector has been busy organizing its communities and forming ISAOs. DHS is developing a system for the automated sharing of cyber threat indicators with the private sector and government. The design of this system incorporates privacy and civil liberties protections. DHS is already using the system to send out indicators, and this fall it will begin to receive information. Interested companies can work with the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to prepare their networks for the automated sharing of cyber threat indicators.Through the Cyber Information Sharing and Collaboration Program (CISCP), DHS has built a trusted environment for sharing cyber threat information with the private sector through formalized Cooperative Research and Development Agreements. As of July 2015, there are 125 of these agreements in place and DHS has already shared over 28,000 indicators with these partners since the program's inception. An additional 156 Agreements are currently in negotiation which will further expand DHS' communications reach.The National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF), along with other federal cyber centers and sector specific agencies, are leveraging FBI's Cyber Guardian system to improve the process of managing cyber threat reports and notifying companies that have been the target of malicious cyber activity. Through this effort, directed by E.O. 13636, the cyber centers have logged over 10,000 cyber threat reports to date and facilitated over 2,000 notifications so far this year.Proposed new cybersecurity legislation '' In January, the President sent Congress a new cybersecurity legislative proposal that included information sharing and data breach notification provisions. In April, the House of Representatives passed two bi-partisan bills similar to the President's information sharing proposal. The Administration looks forward to working with both parties in the Senate as it moves a bill to the floor.Enhanced public/private collaboration '' Even as we continue to promote the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-developed Cybersecurity Framework as a key method for managing cyber risk, Federal departments have expanded collaborative engagements with the private sector to build mutual understanding and improve cybersecurity.The Treasury Department, working closely with the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council, has led a series of public-private tabletop exercises designed to simulate cyber-incidents and identify key challenges for effective public-private response.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a series of cybersecurity workshops for drinking water and wastewater treatment and distribution facilities. These workshops, hosted across the country in partnership with DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have focused on cybersecurity threats, vulnerabilities, incident response procedures, and best practices.The Department of Defense (DoD) and DHS will soon open offices in Silicon Valley to focus on technology, innovation, and cybersecurity. These offices will partner with technology companies and utilize emerging technologies to improve national security. DoD, DHS, Department of Commerce's NIST, and General Services Administration (GSA), have jointly conducted quarterly meetings of the Software and Supply Chain Assurance Forum (SSCA). This ongoing public-private partnership brings together technical and business leaders from the public and private sectors to share best practices and emerging opportunities related to the disciplines of software and hardware assurance and supply chain risk management.Established partnerships to secure technology '' The Department of Commerce has launched two initiatives to strengthen cybersecurity in the hardware and software used in computers and on the Internet.Building off earlier initiatives, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is expanding their domestic multi-stakeholder model to promote Stakeholder Engagement on Cybersecurity in the Digital Ecosystem. Since good security starts with addressing vulnerabilities, NTIA has initiated a multi-stakeholder process on vulnerability research disclosure. Bringing together technology companies, security researchers, and other stakeholders will create an open, consensus-based forum to address needs of both vendors and researchers in improving security. Potential outcomes could include a set of high level principles that could guide future private sector policies, or a more focused and applied set of best practices for a particular set of circumstances.NIST has created the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence to partner with the private sector, academia, and other government agencies in order to find solutions to security problems inherent in technology. The center will produce generally available standards-based reference designs, templates, and example ''builds,'' in order to reduce costs and complexities and enable companies in all sectors to use more secure technology.Protected consumers '' Since 2011, the Administration has worked to make online transactions more secure for business and consumers alike. In implementing the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC), the Department of Commerce has worked with thousands of stakeholders to jump-start an identity ecosystem, providing consumers with more secure, convenient, and privacy-enhancing experiences on the Internet.Fifteen NSTIC pilots have demonstrated the capability for a vibrant new market; and the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group will be releasing an Identity Ecosystem Framework this year to deliver a baseline set of standards and policies to ensure interoperability of these credentials throughout the internet. Last October, the President announced the BuySecure initiative, directing the Federal Government to begin using the latest chip and PIN technology for its retail payments. As of June 2015, GSA has worked with the payment industry to issue over 463,000 EMV equipped charge cards to Federal employees. In a phased approach, 4 million debit cards used by recipients of Federal benefits through the Direct Express® program are transitioning to this technology. In addition, nineteen Federal agencies are currently transitioning to new payment terminals while others will make the transition later in the year.Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission launched a website, identitytheft.gov, as a new one-stop resource for identity theft victims, in order to streamline the reporting and remediation process with credit bureaus. Enhanced Federal cybersecurity
Accelerated efforts to increase security on Federal networks ''Last month, the Federal Chief Information Officer launched a 30-day Cybersecurity Sprint to accelerate progress made on enhancing the Federal Government's cybersecurity. The Sprint's preliminary reporting shows great progress in Federal agency efforts to further protect information and assets, and improve the resilience of Federal networks, including: patching critical vulnerabilities, leveraging tools to block high-risk indicators, tightening access for privileged users, and increasing the use of multi-factor authentication. Specifically,Federal civilian agencies have increased multi factor authentication use for privileged users by 20 percent within the first 10 days of the Sprint. Several agencies have increased multi factor authentication use for privileged users to 100 percent.DHS has scanned over 40,000 systems for critical vulnerabilities and it is increasing those numbers every day. Federal agencies are patching vulnerabilities as they are identified. In addition to these immediate actions, OMB is leading several Interagency Cyber Sprint teams focused on improving Federal cybersecurity in the following areas:Prioritized Identification and Protection of high-value and sensitive information and assets;Rapid Identification of cyber threats and Timely Detection of and Response to cyber risks; and,Recovery from incidents when they occur and Accelerated Adoption of lessons learned from these events.OMB will continue working with agencies to identify challenges, accelerate implementation of tools and capabilities to detect and thwart cyber threats, and work with partners in Congress and across private industry to ensure we have the latest resources and tools availability to strengthen the Federal Government's overall cybersecurity infrastructure.Increased Cyber Emphasis Government-wide under the Federal Chief Information Officer '' The Federal CIO has established a dedicated cyber team, E-Gov Cyber, to enhance oversight of agency and government-wide cybersecurity programs; and work with key Federal cybersecurity stakeholders to ensure federal cybersecurity receive the heightened level of attention, oversight, and management deserving of a national security priority. As of June 2015, E-Gov Cyber has led government-wide incident response actions to rapidly mitigate new vulnerabilities, such as Heartbleed; accelerated assessments of agency's cybersecurity program and defenses, by over 200 percent from the previous year; and established a new, on-going critical vulnerability scanning program for public facing web sites across the government. Adopted more secure technologies '' Later this summer, the Administration will release new strategies and policies to help agencies secure their networks. These policies will include a Federal Cybersecurity Civilian Strategy and guidance to improve cybersecurity protections in Federal acquisitions. From the development of additional shared services to the faster acquisition of the most current cybersecurity technologies, this guidance will further empower Federal agencies to modernize their IT systems and utilize the latest cybersecurity tools.Deployed new capabilities '' In order to provide Federal agencies with better capabilities to monitor their systems and combat cyber-threats, DHS is accelerating the deployment of two initiatives.Pending Congressional approval, DHS will accelerate Phase 2 of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program to better secure the users of government computers. This phase of CDM will provide Federal agencies the tools to monitor the activity of their users, identify whether users have appropriate privileges, and detect unauthorized access to sensitive information in near-real-time. The first phase of CDM covered over 50 percent of Federal civilian executive branch personnel. Agreements are now in place to cover over 97 percent of Federal civilian executive branch personnel. By the end of fiscal year 2016, over 60 Federal civilian agencies will be covered by CDM.DHS is accelerating deployment of the EINSTEIN 3A intrusion prevention system across the Federal Civilian Government. EINSTEIN 3A detects and blocks cybersecurity threats before they can impact Federal agencies. The system now covers 15 federal civilian executive branch departments and agencies, a 20 percent increase over the past 9 months. DHS will award a contract to provide EINSTEIN 3A for all federal civilian agencies by the end of 2015. Initiated a cross-agency effort to examine how the government conducts background investigations '' Beginning in 2004, the Federal government has engaged in a variety of reform efforts to improve background investigation and adjudication timeliness and the quality of information used to make security clearance, suitability, fitness and credentialing decisions. In light of recent events, we will re-examine these efforts and determine if further fundamental reforms to the security clearance process or actions to accelerate progress on existing initiatives should be considered. Over the next 90 days, the Suitability and Security Performance Accountability Council - an interagency group chaired by OMB and comprised of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), in their respective roles as Security and Suitability Executive Agents and representatives of DoD, DHS, DoJ, FBI, DoE and others - will conduct a review of key questions related to information security, governance, policy, and other aspects of the security and suitability determination process, to ensure that it is conducted in the most efficient, effective and secure manner possible.Improved safeguards for unclassified information '' While classified information obviously warrants stringent protections, certain unclassified data also requires heightened protections due to its sensitive nature, even when held outside the government. In June 2015, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released Special Publication 800-171, which provided Federal agencies with recommended requirements for protecting the confidentiality of this kind of information. Going forward, Federal agencies will use these requirements in contracts or other agreements established between those agencies and non-Federal organizations.Encouraged Development of the workforce '' The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) has focused on education, training, and workforce development to support the workforce required to meet our growing cybersecurity needs. NICE has worked with government and private sector organizations to develop the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework to provide a standard lexicon for careers in this space, making it simpler for cybersecurity professionals to join the Federal workforce.OMB is leading a Federal cyber workforce effort to define the current gaps of cybersecurity talent throughout the government and outline current Special Hiring Authorities that can be used to bring in additional cybersecurity professionals; develop guidance related to these authorities; and promulgate tools and best practices to improve cybersecurity hiring.On May 29, 2015, the President signed the HERO Act into law. This Act provides veterans access to DHS' online cybersecurity workforce training program and an opportunity to continue serving the nation in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigation's fight against cybercrime. DHS has also expanded access to this training program for employees of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments.Developed new policies and capabilities to identify, defend against, and counter malicious cyber actors
Increased situational awareness within the government '' In February, the President directed the formation of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC). The CTIIC will serve as the national cyber threat intelligence center to ''connect the dots'' within government regarding malicious foreign cyber threats to the nation so that relevant departments and agencies are aware of these threats in as close to real time as possible.Strengthened our national defense - In April, the Secretary of Defense released the new Department of Defense Cyber Strategy to guide the development of the U.S. military's cyber forces and strengthen the United States' cyber deterrence posture. The Strategy, which is now being implemented, focuses on building the capabilities necessary to defend the nation from cyber-attacks of significant consequence, defend DoD networks, data, and systems; and provide cyber support to military operations and plans.Developed a new tool for responding to cyber threats '' In April, the President issued Executive Order 13694, which authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose financial sanctions on individuals and entities whose malicious cyber-enabled activities have contributed to a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States. In establishing this new policy, the Administration is creating a means of imposing economic costs against not just those that conduct cyber attacks, but those responsible for supporting, enabling, or ordering such attacks. Enforced the law - Over the last year, the Department of Justice and authorities around the world have collaborated on precedent-setting operations to take down criminal marketplaces on the dark web, to free hundreds of thousands of computers from criminals' control in the takedown of the Gameover Zeus botnet, and to bring a dozen high-level cybercriminals to the United States to face justice here. The Department is sharing best practices from its experience battling cybercrime with the private sector, available at cybercrime.gov.Propose new cybercrime enforcement legislation '' In January, the President sent to Congress a new cybersecurity legislative proposal that included modernization of law enforcement tools to fight cybercrime. The Administration's proposal contains provisions that would increase the consequences for breaking the law and committing crimes online, including by reaffirming important components of 2011 proposals to update the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) so that it applies to cybercrimes.Engaged Internationally
Increased cooperation with our international partners - The President has also taken steps to strengthen America's global leadership on cyber issues. As part of visits from the leaders of Brazil, the Gulf Cooperation Council states, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom, the President deepened our partnerships with those countries on strategic cybersecurity matters:Brazil agreed to: expand bilateral cooperation on cyber issues by convening this fall the second meeting of the U.S.-Brazil working group on Internet and Information and communications Technology in Brasilia; affirm support for the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance; work collaboratively in the lead-up to key events this fall, including the tenth Internet Governance Forum and the Ten-Year Review of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states agreed to: consult on cybersecurity initiatives, share expertise and best practices on cyber policy, strategy, and incident response. The United States will provide GCC member states with additional security assistance, set up military cybersecurity exercises and national policy workshops, and improve information-sharing.India agreed to: strengthen cooperation on cybercrime and cooperate on enhancing operational sharing of cyber threat information, examining how international law applies in cyberspace, and working together to build agreement on norms of responsible state behavior.Japan agreed to: expand bilateral cooperation on cyber issues by convening in August the 3rd annual Japan-US Cyber Dialogue; affirm voluntary norms of state behavior in cyberspace during peacetime; increase information sharing about cyber incidents and threats; cooperate to protect critical infrastructure; and, engage within international fora.UK agreed to: improve critical infrastructure cybersecurity, including through a joint-exercise; strengthen cooperation on cyber defense, including through CERT, intelligence community, and law enforcement cooperation; and, support academic excellence through a new Fulbright award and university-to-university exchanges.Bolstered participation in regional and multilateral venues '' the Administration has secured regional and international commitments intended to strengthen international cyber stability:As part of the G7 Leaders Summit, G7 countries agreed to launch a new cooperative effort on enhancing cybersecurity of the energy sector.As part of its consensus report on recommendations for the international community on international security issues in cyberspace, the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts affirmed three U.S.-drafted norms of state behavior in cyberspace during peacetime.Strengthened NATO's cyber defense capability '' DoD will increase its participation in cyber exercises and help prepare NATO and our Allies to meet emerging cybersecurity challenges through a new initiative to assist with developing cyber defense strategies, planning for critical infrastructure protection, and conducting cyber defense posture self-assessments.Fostered international law enforcement cooperation '' In this fiscal year, the FBI Cyber Division has established three new permanent Cyber Assistant Legal Attach(C) (ALAT) positions in London, Ottawa, and Canberra, and added five new temporary positions. Cyber ALATs are embedded with foreign host nation law enforcement or intelligence agencies to facilitate information sharing, increase cooperation on investigations, and improve relationships with foreign partners. This collaboration and these partnerships will be further expanded in coming years. In fiscal year 2016, FBI will establish four additional positions.Expanded cyber capacity building initiatives '' All countries can combat malicious cyber activity by effectively preventing and mitigating incidents within their jurisdictions. To develop international capacity, the Department of State is funding an expanded set of cyber capacity building initiatives, including Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) development projects, an upcoming cybersecurity and cybercrime training for Central African nations, and other projects as part of its role as a founding member of the Global Forum for Cyber Expertise.
Google Exec Turned Obama Official Won't Describe Magic Solution to Encryption Debate
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:40
According to Alan Davidson, former Google executive turned Commerce Department official, strong encryption and law enforcement interests are not ''irreconcilable.''
But he won't speculate as to how that's possible.
At a conference devoted to the history and complexity of encryption on Wednesday, Davidson was asked by Politico reporter David Perrera to choose between the strongest encryption, end-to-end encryption, or weaker encryption that law enforcement can access when it needs to.
Davidson, despite his role as an Internet and industry advocate, refused to give a straight answer.
''We believe that encryption is an essential tool,'' Davidson told guests on Wednesday morning at the Cryptosummit hosted by privacy group Access. ''But we don't think that's incompatible with public safety.''
That's the new mantra of Obama administration officials, who continue to insist '-- despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary from encryption experts and other technologists '-- that they can have it both ways.
FBI director James Comey, for instance, proposed an imaginary solution to the problem last week, suggesting that the ''smart people'' in Silicon Valley should work a little harder to come up with it.
Davidson was hired just months ago to the new role of ''director of digital economy,'' making him the Commerce Department's leading voice on the surveillance debate, which was ignited two years ago when NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the expansive monitoring and collection programs the NSA utilizes every day.
In an interview shortly after he started his job, Davidson said his mission was to provide ''a greater voice to the Internet community on issues in this administration.''
Internet companies continue to develop stronger encryption, despite coming under fire from the administration for not retaining access to their consumers' communications so they can hand them over to law enforcement.
Google is currently developing default end-to-end encryption for Gmail and other Google applications that it hopes to roll out in full in the near future, according to Aaron Stein, a Google spokesperson who spoke with The Intercept. He said Google will keep developing stronger encryption in line with customer demands, despite law enforcement pressure.
Photo: Getty Images
Feds hire Alan Davidson, Google veteran, for internet role - POLITICO
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:39
The Commerce Department has recruited former Google executive Alan Davidson for the newly created position of ''director of digital economy,'' the latest example of the Obama administration tapping tech industry veterans to fill key roles.
Davidson is a well-known presence in Washington. In 2005, he left his post as associate director at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a public advocacy group, to open up Google's Washington office, becoming one of the first Internet company representatives taking part in day-to-day debates in the capital. He stayed at Google until 2011, and later went on to head the think tank New America's Open Technology Institute.
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In an interview, Davidson described his role at Commerce as giving ''a greater voice to the Internet community on issues in this administration.''
''The Commerce Department is going to be playing a central role on some of the biggest issues that we're going to be facing, from Internet governance to surveillance to privacy to patent reform,'' he said, ''There's a whole set of issues where the department has a lot of work to do, and the idea here is to bolster that effort.''
A sprawling agency, Commerce has its fingers in nearly every Internet policy debate taking place today. Its National Institute of Standards and Technology is deeply involved in cybersecurity, its National Telecommunications and Information Administration is the leading a shift on Internet governance, and its Patent and Trademark Office is wrestling with software patents fueling litigation in the tech industry.
But the agency has lacked a unified voice on those issues, and it's taken a back seat in key administration debates over issues like surveillance '-- where the National Security Agency and Justice Department have a strong influence '-- and net neutrality. Davidson is charged with being the department's leader in those debates.
''We are so pleased that Alan is joining our team at the Department of Commerce,'' said Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in a statement. ''His experience, expertise, and leadership will be essential as we continue providing American businesses with the tools they need to compete and succeed in the 21st century digital economy.''
Davidson will also be a senior advisor to Pritzker and lead an existing agency team known as the Digital Economy Leadership Team, or DELT.
The Obama administration has hired a number of Google veterans for administration posts, including U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and the administrator of the U.S. Digital Service, Mikey Dickerson. It's also been staffing up its ranks with tech experts like Ashkan Soltani, the chief technologist at the Federal Trade Commission, and Princeton's Ed Felten, who just became the newest deputy U.S. chief technology officer.
Davidson is both a lawyer and a computer scientist, making his appointment a wise choice on the part of the Obama administration, said Ed Black, the president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association and himself a former Commerce Department official.
''What has to happen is that people are in positions where they know what they're talking about, and not just based on a one-page fact sheet put in front of them,'' he said. ''Alan has a tremendous depth of knowledge, and that can make these debates less adversarial and more consensus-building.''
The administration's digital hiring spree in some ways represents Obama's reclaiming of the technology president mantle from his early days.
''The digital economy is a major driver of our country's future and it's a bright, shining success story,'' Davidson said. ''It's not surprising that this administration would want to do more on this area before it departs.''
Agenda 21
Why Airplane Flights Are Taking Slightly Longer Every Year
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:52
In the future, hopping on a plane from LA to Honolulu might take a minute longer than it does today. You probably won't miss that lost moment, but the airline industry will: The tiny additional flight time could amount to thousands of extra hours and millions of dollars of additional jet fuel each year.
That, at least, is one takeaway from a new research paper published this week in Nature Climate Change, which examined U.S. Department of Transportation data on 250,000 commercial flights between Honolulu to the West Coast. The study found that climate variability, rather than day-to-day weather, determines average flight times, and that stronger jet stream winds across the Pacific over the 21st century will, on average, make roundtrip flights slightly longer.
''Upper level wind circulation patterns are the major factor in influencing flight times,'' said lead study author Kris Karnauskas of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in a statement. ''Longer flight times mean increased fuel consumption by airliners. The consequent additional input of CO2 into the atmosphere can feed back and amplify emerging changes in atmospheric circulation.''
As temperatures in the equatorial Pacific rise and fall, atmospheric waves are sent off toward higher latitudes of both the Northern and Southern hemisphere. A major factor influencing these air circulation patterns is the El Ni±o Southern Oscillation, a band of warm ocean water that develops ever 3 to 5 years off the west coast of South America and spreads across the tropical Pacific. The ENSO, Karnauskas found, is a strong predictor of high-altitude wind speed'--and therefore flight times'--across the Pacific as well.
Monthly flight time difference (shown in blue) for United flights between HNL'' LAX and average wind speed index (shown in black) are almost perfectly correlated. Image via of Karnauskas et al 2015
As we continue pumping heat-trapping CO2 into the air, the ENSO and air circulation patterns are changing. Analyzing 30 different global climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Karnauskas and his team found that a warming world may reposition the jet stream such that airplanes face stronger winds traveling from California to Hawaii, adding a little bit of time and fuel to the trip. By the same token, shorter flights going easbound could burn less fuel. But Karnauskas finds that the fuel savings going east didn't cancel out the additional fuel on flights headed west.
You might wonder why an extra few minutes in the air really matters. Well, Karnauskas did some fast math and showed that if an additional one minute were tacked onto each of 30,000 round trip US flights every day, it would amount to 300,000 additional air hours per year and a billion additional gallons of jet fuel. This, in turn, would cost the airline industry $3 billion dollars annually, while adding an additional 10 billion kilos CO2 to our atmosphere.
Those numbers may sound staggering, but they shouldn't be taken as predictions: Karnauskas is merely showing us that small changes in flight times can amount to big economic and environmental costs. But even if a fiercer jet stream means longer trans-Pacific flights, it's not at all clear how climate change will impact flight times, jet fuel use, and airplane carbon emissions globally over the 21st century, because wind patterns are changing differently in different regions.
As Penn state geoscience professor told Scientific American, ''This study is focused primarily on one part of the total picture, as you know, and so points the way to larger studies assessing something more like the whole (airline industry) route structure as currently flown and what might be flown in a changing world.''
Which is to say, air travel is just another aspect of our world that Earth's changing climate is going to impact'--and in ways we're just beginning to understand.
Read the full scientific paper at Nature Climate Change.
Contact the author at maddie.stone@gizmodo.com or follow her on Twitter.
Top image via Shutterstock
News about an imminent 'mini ice age' is trending '-- but it's not true - The Washington Post
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 23:01
''Scientists warn the sun will 'go to sleep' in 2030 and could cause temperatures to plummet,'' blared one headline from this weekend.
''Earth heading for 'mini ice age' within 15 years,'' warned another.
By Sunday evening, news that the Earth could be headed for period of bitter cold was trending on Facebook and whizzing across Twitter. The story '-- which has been reported everywhere from conservative blogs to the British press to the Weather Channel to the Huffington Post '-- was based on a recent presentation at the Royal Astronomical Society's national meeting. Researchers studying sunspots found that solar activity is due to decline dramatically in the next few decades, reaching levels not seen since the 17th century, during a period known as the Maunder minimum. Back then, the decline coincided with what's called the ''Little Ice Age,'' when Europe's winters turned brutally cold, crops failed and rivers froze over. Could another one be on its way?
Not quite.
Though University of Northumbria mathematics professor Valentina Zharkova, who led the sunspot research, did find that the magnetic waves that produce sunspots (which are associated with high levels of solar activity) are expected to counteract one another in an unusual way in the coming years, the press release about her research mentions nothing about how that will affect the Earth's climate. Zharkova never even used the phrase ''mini ice age.'' Meanwhile, several other recent studies of a possible solar minimum have concluded that whatever climate effects the phenomenon may have will be dwarfed by the warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
Besides, that ''Little Ice Age'' that occurred during the Maunder minimum, it wasn't so much a global ice age as a cold spell in Europe, and it may have been caused more by clouds of ash from volcanic eruptions than by fluctuations in solar activity.
(It's also worth mentioning that Zharkova's findings have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, so her conclusions haven't been vetted and refined.)
But those nuances were totally lost as stories about Zharkova's research made the rounds on social media and in the press. Instead, we got 300-year-old engravings of Londoners cavorting on the frozen River Thames accompanied by predictions of food shortages and brutal cold '-- plus snarky tweets about not worrying about global warming anymore.
This isn't the first time that a story about sunspots has turned into a story about climate change skepticism. John Casey, president of the Orlando-based Space and Science Research Corporation, which denies that global temperatures are rising, has written two books on the threat of impending ''solar hibernation.'' In 2011, when a series of studies concluded that the sun was heading into a cycle of unusually low activity, one headline cheered ''Global Warming Be Damned, We Might Be Headed for a Mini Ice Age.''
For decades, scientists have known that solar activity fluctuates according to a roughly 11-year cycle. Sunspots '-- (relatively) cool, dark blotches on the sun's surface '-- indicate areas of intense magnetic activity. But recently sunspots have been weakening, as has the sun's magnetic field, leading scientists to conclude that the sun is heading into an especially quiet cycle termed the ''grand solar minimum''
The new research from Zharkova argues that the solar cycles are regulated by not one but two magnetic waves fluctuating at slightly different frequencies, and that the unusually low activity can be explained by the waves getting far enough out of sync that they effectively cancel one another out.
Even if the upcoming decline in solar activity turns out to be as Zharkova's suggests, scientists who study the sun say we can't be sure how it will affect Earth's climate.
''We have some interesting hints that solar activity is associated with climate, but we don't understand the association,'' Dean Pesnell, a NASA scientist who worked on one of the 2011 studies about the grand minimum, told National Geographic at the time.
Those studies that have found a correlation between solar activity and global temperatures predict that the drop in temperatures associated with a grand minimum will be much smaller than the warming that's predicted to occur due to greenhouse gas emissions: A 2010 study in the journal Geophysical Letters predicted it could cause a global temperature decrease of about 0.3 degrees Celsius by 2100 '-- not nearly enough to offset the 1 to 5 degree increase anticipated from human-caused global warming.
As for that image of Londoners frolicking at ''frost fairs'' on the frozen-over Thames? Those had less to do with the activity of the sun than the activities of humans. Historical climatologist George Adamson told the BBC last year that the river used to freeze because of the architecture of the old London Bridge, whose arches prevented salty sea water from passing upriver and lowering its freezing point. The construction of a new bridge in the 19th century, and other landscape changes that made the river flow faster, brought an end to those festivals '-- less so than the end of the Maunder minimum.
''I'd be surprised if it froze again to the extent where we'd be able to allow large numbers of people on the Thames,'' he said.
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The Earthquake That Will Devastate Seattle - The New Yorker
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 22:54
The next full-margin rupture of the Cascadia subduction zone will spell the worst natural disaster in the history of the continent.Credit Illustration by Christoph Niemann; Map by Ziggymaj / GettyWhen the 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck Tohoku, Japan, Chris Goldfinger was two hundred miles away, in the city of Kashiwa, at an international meeting on seismology. As the shaking started, everyone in the room began to laugh. Earthquakes are common in Japan'--that one was the third of the week'--and the participants were, after all, at a seismology conference. Then everyone in the room checked the time.
Seismologists know that how long an earthquake lasts is a decent proxy for its magnitude. The 1989 earthquake in Loma Prieta, California, which killed sixty-three people and caused six billion dollars' worth of damage, lasted about fifteen seconds and had a magnitude of 6.9. A thirty-second earthquake generally has a magnitude in the mid-sevens. A minute-long quake is in the high sevens, a two-minute quake has entered the eights, and a three-minute quake is in the high eights. By four minutes, an earthquake has hit magnitude 9.0.
When Goldfinger looked at his watch, it was quarter to three. The conference was wrapping up for the day. He was thinking about sushi. The speaker at the lectern was wondering if he should carry on with his talk. The earthquake was not particularly strong. Then it ticked past the sixty-second mark, making it longer than the others that week. The shaking intensified. The seats in the conference room were small plastic desks with wheels. Goldfinger, who is tall and solidly built, thought, No way am I crouching under one of those for cover. At a minute and a half, everyone in the room got up and went outside.
It was March. There was a chill in the air, and snow flurries, but no snow on the ground. Nor, from the feel of it, was there ground on the ground. The earth snapped and popped and rippled. It was, Goldfinger thought, like driving through rocky terrain in a vehicle with no shocks, if both the vehicle and the terrain were also on a raft in high seas. The quake passed the two-minute mark. The trees, still hung with the previous autumn's dead leaves, were making a strange rattling sound. The flagpole atop the building he and his colleagues had just vacated was whipping through an arc of forty degrees. The building itself was base-isolated, a seismic-safety technology in which the body of a structure rests on movable bearings rather than directly on its foundation. Goldfinger lurched over to take a look. The base was lurching, too, back and forth a foot at a time, digging a trench in the yard. He thought better of it, and lurched away. His watch swept past the three-minute mark and kept going.
Oh, shit, Goldfinger thought, although not in dread, at first: in amazement. For decades, seismologists had believed that Japan could not experience an earthquake stronger than magnitude 8.4. In 2005, however, at a conference in Hokudan, a Japanese geologist named Yasutaka Ikeda had argued that the nation should expect a magnitude 9.0 in the near future'--with catastrophic consequences, because Japan's famous earthquake-and-tsunami preparedness, including the height of its sea walls, was based on incorrect science. The presentation was met with polite applause and thereafter largely ignored. Now, Goldfinger realized as the shaking hit the four-minute mark, the planet was proving the Japanese Cassandra right.
For a moment, that was pretty cool: a real-time revolution in earthquake science. Almost immediately, though, it became extremely uncool, because Goldfinger and every other seismologist standing outside in Kashiwa knew what was coming. One of them pulled out a cell phone and started streaming videos from the Japanese broadcasting station NHK, shot by helicopters that had flown out to sea soon after the shaking started. Thirty minutes after Goldfinger first stepped outside, he watched the tsunami roll in, in real time, on a two-inch screen.
In the end, the magnitude-9.0 Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami killed more than eighteen thousand people, devastated northeast Japan, triggered the meltdown at the Fukushima power plant, and cost an estimated two hundred and twenty billion dollars. The shaking earlier in the week turned out to be the foreshocks of the largest earthquake in the nation's recorded history. But for Chris Goldfinger, a paleoseismologist at Oregon State University and one of the world's leading experts on a little-known fault line, the main quake was itself a kind of foreshock: a preview of another earthquake still to come.
Most people in the United States know just one fault line by name: the San Andreas, which runs nearly the length of California and is perpetually rumored to be on the verge of unleashing ''the big one.'' That rumor is misleading, no matter what the San Andreas ever does. Every fault line has an upper limit to its potency, determined by its length and width, and by how far it can slip. For the San Andreas, one of the most extensively studied and best understood fault lines in the world, that upper limit is roughly an 8.2'--a powerful earthquake, but, because the Richter scale is logarithmic, only six per cent as strong as the 2011 event in Japan.
''Perhaps I've said too much.''Buy the print >>Just north of the San Andreas, however, lies another fault line. Known as the Cascadia subduction zone, it runs for seven hundred miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, beginning near Cape Mendocino, California, continuing along Oregon and Washington, and terminating around Vancouver Island, Canada. The ''Cascadia'' part of its name comes from the Cascade Range, a chain of volcanic mountains that follow the same course a hundred or so miles inland. The ''subduction zone'' part refers to a region of the planet where one tectonic plate is sliding underneath (subducting) another. Tectonic plates are those slabs of mantle and crust that, in their epochs-long drift, rearrange the earth's continents and oceans. Most of the time, their movement is slow, harmless, and all but undetectable. Occasionally, at the borders where they meet, it is not.
Take your hands and hold them palms down, middle fingertips touching. Your right hand represents the North American tectonic plate, which bears on its back, among other things, our entire continent, from One World Trade Center to the Space Needle, in Seattle. Your left hand represents an oceanic plate called Juan de Fuca, ninety thousand square miles in size. The place where they meet is the Cascadia subduction zone. Now slide your left hand under your right one. That is what the Juan de Fuca plate is doing: slipping steadily beneath North America. When you try it, your right hand will slide up your left arm, as if you were pushing up your sleeve. That is what North America is not doing. It is stuck, wedged tight against the surface of the other plate.
Without moving your hands, curl your right knuckles up, so that they point toward the ceiling. Under pressure from Juan de Fuca, the stuck edge of North America is bulging upward and compressing eastward, at the rate of, respectively, three to four millimetres and thirty to forty millimetres a year. It can do so for quite some time, because, as continent stuff goes, it is young, made of rock that is still relatively elastic. (Rocks, like us, get stiffer as they age.) But it cannot do so indefinitely. There is a backstop'--the craton, that ancient unbudgeable mass at the center of the continent'--and, sooner or later, North America will rebound like a spring. If, on that occasion, only the southern part of the Cascadia subduction zone gives way'--your first two fingers, say'--the magnitude of the resulting quake will be somewhere between 8.0 and 8.6. That's the big one. If the entire zone gives way at once, an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the magnitude will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2. That's the very big one.
Flick your right fingers outward, forcefully, so that your hand flattens back down again. When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west'--losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries. Some of that shift will take place beneath the ocean, displacing a colossal quantity of seawater. (Watch what your fingertips do when you flatten your hand.) The water will surge upward into a huge hill, then promptly collapse. One side will rush west, toward Japan. The other side will rush east, in a seven-hundred-mile liquid wall that will reach the Northwest coast, on average, fifteen minutes after the earthquake begins. By the time the shaking has ceased and the tsunami has receded, the region will be unrecognizable. Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA's Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska, says, ''Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.''
In the Pacific Northwest, everything west of Interstate 5 covers some hundred and forty thousand square miles, including Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Eugene, Salem (the capital city of Oregon), Olympia (the capital of Washington), and some seven million people. When the next full-margin rupture happens, that region will suffer the worst natural disaster in the history of North America. Roughly three thousand people died in San Francisco's 1906 earthquake. Almost two thousand died in Hurricane Katrina. Almost three hundred died in Hurricane Sandy. FEMA projects that nearly thirteen thousand people will die in the Cascadia earthquake and tsunami. Another twenty-seven thousand will be injured, and the agency expects that it will need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million. ''This is one time that I'm hoping all the science is wrong, and it won't happen for another thousand years,'' Murphy says.
In fact, the science is robust, and one of the chief scientists behind it is Chris Goldfinger. Thanks to work done by him and his colleagues, we now know that the odds of the big Cascadia earthquake happening in the next fifty years are roughly one in three. The odds of the very big one are roughly one in ten. Even those numbers do not fully reflect the danger'--or, more to the point, how unprepared the Pacific Northwest is to face it. The truly worrisome figures in this story are these: Thirty years ago, no one knew that the Cascadia subduction zone had ever produced a major earthquake. Forty-five years ago, no one even knew it existed.
''I'll do what everybody does'--sell this startup just before we have to hire a female employee.''Buy the print >>In May of 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, together with their Corps of Discovery, set off from St. Louis on America's first official cross-country expedition. Eighteen months later, they reached the Pacific Ocean and made camp near the present-day town of Astoria, Oregon. The United States was, at the time, twenty-nine years old. Canada was not yet a country. The continent's far expanses were so unknown to its white explorers that Thomas Jefferson, who commissioned the journey, thought that the men would come across woolly mammoths. Native Americans had lived in the Northwest for millennia, but they had no written language, and the many things to which the arriving Europeans subjected them did not include seismological inquiries. The newcomers took the land they encountered at face value, and at face value it was a find: vast, cheap, temperate, fertile, and, to all appearances, remarkably benign.
A century and a half elapsed before anyone had any inkling that the Pacific Northwest was not a quiet place but a place in a long period of quiet. It took another fifty years to uncover and interpret the region's seismic history. Geology, as even geologists will tell you, is not normally the sexiest of disciplines; it hunkers down with earthly stuff while the glory accrues to the human and the cosmic'--to genetics, neuroscience, physics. But, sooner or later, every field has its field day, and the discovery of the Cascadia subduction zone stands as one of the greatest scientific detective stories of our time.
The first clue came from geography. Almost all of the world's most powerful earthquakes occur in the Ring of Fire, the volcanically and seismically volatile swath of the Pacific that runs from New Zealand up through Indonesia and Japan, across the ocean to Alaska, and down the west coast of the Americas to Chile. Japan, 2011, magnitude 9.0; Indonesia, 2004, magnitude 9.1; Alaska, 1964, magnitude 9.2; Chile, 1960, magnitude 9.5'--not until the late nineteen-sixties, with the rise of the theory of plate tectonics, could geologists explain this pattern. The Ring of Fire, it turns out, is really a ring of subduction zones. Nearly all the earthquakes in the region are caused by continental plates getting stuck on oceanic plates'--as North America is stuck on Juan de Fuca'--and then getting abruptly unstuck. And nearly all the volcanoes are caused by the oceanic plates sliding deep beneath the continental ones, eventually reaching temperatures and pressures so extreme that they melt the rock above them.
The Pacific Northwest sits squarely within the Ring of Fire. Off its coast, an oceanic plate is slipping beneath a continental one. Inland, the Cascade volcanoes mark the line where, far below, the Juan de Fuca plate is heating up and melting everything above it. In other words, the Cascadia subduction zone has, as Goldfinger put it, ''all the right anatomical parts.'' Yet not once in recorded history has it caused a major earthquake'--or, for that matter, any quake to speak of. By contrast, other subduction zones produce major earthquakes occasionally and minor ones all the time: magnitude 5.0, magnitude 4.0, magnitude why are the neighbors moving their sofa at midnight. You can scarcely spend a week in Japan without feeling this sort of earthquake. You can spend a lifetime in many parts of the Northwest'--several, in fact, if you had them to spend'--and not feel so much as a quiver. The question facing geologists in the nineteen-seventies was whether the Cascadia subduction zone had ever broken its eerie silence.
In the late nineteen-eighties, Brian Atwater, a geologist with the United States Geological Survey, and a graduate student named David Yamaguchi found the answer, and another major clue in the Cascadia puzzle. Their discovery is best illustrated in a place called the ghost forest, a grove of western red cedars on the banks of the Copalis River, near the Washington coast. When I paddled out to it last summer, with Atwater and Yamaguchi, it was easy to see how it got its name. The cedars are spread out across a low salt marsh on a wide northern bend in the river, long dead but still standing. Leafless, branchless, barkless, they are reduced to their trunks and worn to a smooth silver-gray, as if they had always carried their own tombstones inside them.
What killed the trees in the ghost forest was saltwater. It had long been assumed that they died slowly, as the sea level around them gradually rose and submerged their roots. But, by 1987, Atwater, who had found in soil layers evidence of sudden land subsidence along the Washington coast, suspected that that was backward'--that the trees had died quickly when the ground beneath them plummeted. To find out, he teamed up with Yamaguchi, a specialist in dendrochronology, the study of growth-ring patterns in trees. Yamaguchi took samples of the cedars and found that they had died simultaneously: in tree after tree, the final rings dated to the summer of 1699. Since trees do not grow in the winter, he and Atwater concluded that sometime between August of 1699 and May of 1700 an earthquake had caused the land to drop and killed the cedars. That time frame predated by more than a hundred years the written history of the Pacific Northwest'--and so, by rights, the detective story should have ended there.
Buy the print >>But it did not. If you travel five thousand miles due west from the ghost forest, you reach the northeast coast of Japan. As the events of 2011 made clear, that coast is vulnerable to tsunamis, and the Japanese have kept track of them since at least 599 A.D. In that fourteen-hundred-year history, one incident has long stood out for its strangeness. On the eighth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of the Genroku era, a six-hundred-mile-long wave struck the coast, levelling homes, breaching a castle moat, and causing an accident at sea. The Japanese understood that tsunamis were the result of earthquakes, yet no one felt the ground shake before the Genroku event. The wave had no discernible origin. When scientists began studying it, they called it an orphan tsunami.
Finally, in a 1996 article in Nature, a seismologist named Kenji Satake and three colleagues, drawing on the work of Atwater and Yamaguchi, matched that orphan to its parent'--and thereby filled in the blanks in the Cascadia story with uncanny specificity. At approximately nine o' clock at night on January 26, 1700, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck the Pacific Northwest, causing sudden land subsidence, drowning coastal forests, and, out in the ocean, lifting up a wave half the length of a continent. It took roughly fifteen minutes for the Eastern half of that wave to strike the Northwest coast. It took ten hours for the other half to cross the ocean. It reached Japan on January 27, 1700: by the local calendar, the eighth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of Genroku.
Once scientists had reconstructed the 1700 earthquake, certain previously overlooked accounts also came to seem like clues. In 1964, Chief Louis Nookmis, of the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, in British Columbia, told a story, passed down through seven generations, about the eradication of Vancouver Island's Pachena Bay people. ''I think it was at nighttime that the land shook,'' Nookmis recalled. According to another tribal history, ''They sank at once, were all drowned; not one survived.'' A hundred years earlier, Billy Balch, a leader of the Makah tribe, recounted a similar story. Before his own time, he said, all the water had receded from Washington State's Neah Bay, then suddenly poured back in, inundating the entire region. Those who survived later found canoes hanging from the trees. In a 2005 study, Ruth Ludwin, then a seismologist at the University of Washington, together with nine colleagues, collected and analyzed Native American reports of earthquakes and saltwater floods. Some of those reports contained enough information to estimate a date range for the events they described. On average, the midpoint of that range was 1701.
It does not speak well of European-Americans that such stories counted as evidence for a proposition only after that proposition had been proved. Still, the reconstruction of the Cascadia earthquake of 1700 is one of those rare natural puzzles whose pieces fit together as tectonic plates do not: perfectly. It is wonderful science. It was wonderful for science. And it was terrible news for the millions of inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest. As Goldfinger put it, ''In the late eighties and early nineties, the paradigm shifted to 'uh-oh.' ''
Goldfinger told me this in his lab at Oregon State, a low prefab building that a passing English major might reasonably mistake for the maintenance department. Inside the lab is a walk-in freezer. Inside the freezer are floor-to-ceiling racks filled with cryptically labelled tubes, four inches in diameter and five feet long. Each tube contains a core sample of the seafloor. Each sample contains the history, written in seafloorese, of the past ten thousand years. During subduction-zone earthquakes, torrents of land rush off the continental slope, leaving a permanent deposit on the bottom of the ocean. By counting the number and the size of deposits in each sample, then comparing their extent and consistency along the length of the Cascadia subduction zone, Goldfinger and his colleagues were able to determine how much of the zone has ruptured, how often, and how drastically.
Thanks to that work, we now know that the Pacific Northwest has experienced forty-one subduction-zone earthquakes in the past ten thousand years. If you divide ten thousand by forty-one, you get two hundred and forty-three, which is Cascadia's recurrence interval: the average amount of time that elapses between earthquakes. That timespan is dangerous both because it is too long'--long enough for us to unwittingly build an entire civilization on top of our continent's worst fault line'--and because it is not long enough. Counting from the earthquake of 1700, we are now three hundred and fifteen years into a two-hundred-and-forty-three-year cycle.
It is possible to quibble with that number. Recurrence intervals are averages, and averages are tricky: ten is the average of nine and eleven, but also of eighteen and two. It is not possible, however, to dispute the scale of the problem. The devastation in Japan in 2011 was the result of a discrepancy between what the best science predicted and what the region was prepared to withstand. The same will hold true in the Pacific Northwest'--but here the discrepancy is enormous. ''The science part is fun,'' Goldfinger says. ''And I love doing it. But the gap between what we know and what we should do about it is getting bigger and bigger, and the action really needs to turn to responding. Otherwise, we're going to be hammered. I've been through one of these massive earthquakes in the most seismically prepared nation on earth. If that was Portland'''--Goldfinger finished the sentence with a shake of his head before he finished it with words. ''Let's just say I would rather not be here.''
''This heat is killing me. Let's get a drink in Little Antarctica.''July 20, 2009Buy the print >>The first sign that the Cascadia earthquake has begun will be a compressional wave, radiating outward from the fault line. Compressional waves are fast-moving, high-frequency waves, audible to dogs and certain other animals but experienced by humans only as a sudden jolt. They are not very harmful, but they are potentially very useful, since they travel fast enough to be detected by sensors thirty to ninety seconds ahead of other seismic waves. That is enough time for earthquake early-warning systems, such as those in use throughout Japan, to automatically perform a variety of lifesaving functions: shutting down railways and power plants, opening elevators and firehouse doors, alerting hospitals to halt surgeries, and triggering alarms so that the general public can take cover. The Pacific Northwest has no early-warning system. When the Cascadia earthquake begins, there will be, instead, a cacophony of barking dogs and a long, suspended, what-was-that moment before the surface waves arrive. Surface waves are slower, lower-frequency waves that move the ground both up and down and side to side: the shaking, starting in earnest.
Soon after that shaking begins, the electrical grid will fail, likely everywhere west of the Cascades and possibly well beyond. If it happens at night, the ensuing catastrophe will unfold in darkness. In theory, those who are at home when it hits should be safest; it is easy and relatively inexpensive to seismically safeguard a private dwelling. But, lulled into nonchalance by their seemingly benign environment, most people in the Pacific Northwest have not done so. That nonchalance will shatter instantly. So will everything made of glass. Anything indoors and unsecured will lurch across the floor or come crashing down: bookshelves, lamps, computers, cannisters of flour in the pantry. Refrigerators will walk out of kitchens, unplugging themselves and toppling over. Water heaters will fall and smash interior gas lines. Houses that are not bolted to their foundations will slide off'--or, rather, they will stay put, obeying inertia, while the foundations, together with the rest of the Northwest, jolt westward. Unmoored on the undulating ground, the homes will begin to collapse.
Across the region, other, larger structures will also start to fail. Until 1974, the state of Oregon had no seismic code, and few places in the Pacific Northwest had one appropriate to a magnitude-9.0 earthquake until 1994. The vast majority of buildings in the region were constructed before then. Ian Madin, who directs the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), estimates that seventy-five per cent of all structures in the state are not designed to withstand a major Cascadia quake. FEMA calculates that, across the region, something on the order of a million buildings'--more than three thousand of them schools'--will collapse or be compromised in the earthquake. So will half of all highway bridges, fifteen of the seventeen bridges spanning Portland's two rivers, and two-thirds of railways and airports; also, one-third of all fire stations, half of all police stations, and two-thirds of all hospitals.
Certain disasters stem from many small problems conspiring to cause one very large problem. For want of a nail, the war was lost; for fifteen independently insignificant errors, the jetliner was lost. Subduction-zone earthquakes operate on the opposite principle: one enormous problem causes many other enormous problems. The shaking from the Cascadia quake will set off landslides throughout the region'--up to thirty thousand of them in Seattle alone, the city's emergency-management office estimates. It will also induce a process called liquefaction, whereby seemingly solid ground starts behaving like a liquid, to the detriment of anything on top of it. Fifteen per cent of Seattle is built on liquefiable land, including seventeen day-care centers and the homes of some thirty-four thousand five hundred people. So is Oregon's critical energy-infrastructure hub, a six-mile stretch of Portland through which flows ninety per cent of the state's liquid fuel and which houses everything from electrical substations to natural-gas terminals. Together, the sloshing, sliding, and shaking will trigger fires, flooding, pipe failures, dam breaches, and hazardous-material spills. Any one of these second-order disasters could swamp the original earthquake in terms of cost, damage, or casualties'--and one of them definitely will. Four to six minutes after the dogs start barking, the shaking will subside. For another few minutes, the region, upended, will continue to fall apart on its own. Then the wave will arrive, and the real destruction will begin.
Among natural disasters, tsunamis may be the closest to being completely unsurvivable. The only likely way to outlive one is not to be there when it happens: to steer clear of the vulnerable area in the first place, or get yourself to high ground as fast as possible. For the seventy-one thousand people who live in Cascadia's inundation zone, that will mean evacuating in the narrow window after one disaster ends and before another begins. They will be notified to do so only by the earthquake itself'--''a vibrate-alert system,'' Kevin Cupples, the city planner for the town of Seaside, Oregon, jokes'--and they are urged to leave on foot, since the earthquake will render roads impassable. Depending on location, they will have between ten and thirty minutes to get out. That time line does not allow for finding a flashlight, tending to an earthquake injury, hesitating amid the ruins of a home, searching for loved ones, or being a Good Samaritan. ''When that tsunami is coming, you run,'' Jay Wilson, the chair of the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC), says. ''You protect yourself, you don't turn around, you don't go back to save anybody. You run for your life.''
The time to save people from a tsunami is before it happens, but the region has not yet taken serious steps toward doing so. Hotels and businesses are not required to post evacuation routes or to provide employees with evacuation training. In Oregon, it has been illegal since 1995 to build hospitals, schools, firehouses, and police stations in the inundation zone, but those which are already in it can stay, and any other new construction is permissible: energy facilities, hotels, retirement homes. In those cases, builders are required only to consult with DOGAMI about evacuation plans. ''So you come in and sit down,'' Ian Madin says. ''And I say, 'That's a stupid idea.' And you say, 'Thanks. Now we've consulted.' ''
These lax safety policies guarantee that many people inside the inundation zone will not get out. Twenty-two per cent of Oregon's coastal population is sixty-five or older. Twenty-nine per cent of the state's population is disabled, and that figure rises in many coastal counties. ''We can't save them,'' Kevin Cupples says. ''I'm not going to sugarcoat it and say, 'Oh, yeah, we'll go around and check on the elderly.' No. We won't.'' Nor will anyone save the tourists. Washington State Park properties within the inundation zone see an average of seventeen thousand and twenty-nine guests a day. Madin estimates that up to a hundred and fifty thousand people visit Oregon's beaches on summer weekends. ''Most of them won't have a clue as to how to evacuate,'' he says. ''And the beaches are the hardest place to evacuate from.''
Those who cannot get out of the inundation zone under their own power will quickly be overtaken by a greater one. A grown man is knocked over by ankle-deep water moving at 6.7 miles an hour. The tsunami will be moving more than twice that fast when it arrives. Its height will vary with the contours of the coast, from twenty feet to more than a hundred feet. It will not look like a Hokusai-style wave, rising up from the surface of the sea and breaking from above. It will look like the whole ocean, elevated, overtaking land. Nor will it be made only of water'--not once it reaches the shore. It will be a five-story deluge of pickup trucks and doorframes and cinder blocks and fishing boats and utility poles and everything else that once constituted the coastal towns of the Pacific Northwest.
To see the full scale of the devastation when that tsunami recedes, you would need to be in the international space station. The inundation zone will be scoured of structures from California to Canada. The earthquake will have wrought its worst havoc west of the Cascades but caused damage as far away as Sacramento, California'--as distant from the worst-hit areas as Fort Wayne, Indiana, is from New York. FEMA expects to co¶rdinate search-and-rescue operations across a hundred thousand square miles and in the waters off four hundred and fifty-three miles of coastline. As for casualties: the figures I cited earlier'--twenty-seven thousand injured, almost thirteen thousand dead'--are based on the agency's official planning scenario, which has the earthquake striking at 9:41 A.M. on February 6th. If, instead, it strikes in the summer, when the beaches are full, those numbers could be off by a horrifying margin.
Wineglasses, antique vases, Humpty Dumpty, hip bones, hearts: what breaks quickly generally mends slowly, if at all. OSSPAC estimates that in the I-5 corridor it will take between one and three months after the earthquake to restore electricity, a month to a year to restore drinking water and sewer service, six months to a year to restore major highways, and eighteen months to restore health-care facilities. On the coast, those numbers go up. Whoever chooses or has no choice but to stay there will spend three to six months without electricity, one to three years without drinking water and sewage systems, and three or more years without hospitals. Those estimates do not apply to the tsunami-inundation zone, which will remain all but uninhabitable for years.
How much all this will cost is anyone's guess; FEMA puts every number on its relief-and-recovery plan except a price. But whatever the ultimate figure'--and even though U.S. taxpayers will cover seventy-five to a hundred per cent of the damage, as happens in declared disasters'--the economy of the Pacific Northwest will collapse. Crippled by a lack of basic services, businesses will fail or move away. Many residents will flee as well. OSSPAC predicts a mass-displacement event and a long-term population downturn. Chris Goldfinger didn't want to be there when it happened. But, by many metrics, it will be as bad or worse to be there afterward.
On the face of it, earthquakes seem to present us with problems of space: the way we live along fault lines, in brick buildings, in homes made valuable by their proximity to the sea. But, covertly, they also present us with problems of time. The earth is 4.5 billion years old, but we are a young species, relatively speaking, with an average individual allotment of three score years and ten. The brevity of our lives breeds a kind of temporal parochialism'--an ignorance of or an indifference to those planetary gears which turn more slowly than our own.
This problem is bidirectional. The Cascadia subduction zone remained hidden from us for so long because we could not see deep enough into the past. It poses a danger to us today because we have not thought deeply enough about the future. That is no longer a problem of information; we now understand very well what the Cascadia fault line will someday do. Nor is it a problem of imagination. If you are so inclined, you can watch an earthquake destroy much of the West Coast this summer in Brad Peyton's ''San Andreas,'' while, in neighboring theatres, the world threatens to succumb to Armageddon by other means: viruses, robots, resource scarcity, zombies, aliens, plague. As those movies attest, we excel at imagining future scenarios, including awful ones. But such apocalyptic visions are a form of escapism, not a moral summons, and still less a plan of action. Where we stumble is in conjuring up grim futures in a way that helps to avert them.
That problem is not specific to earthquakes, of course. The Cascadia situation, a calamity in its own right, is also a parable for this age of ecological reckoning, and the questions it raises are ones that we all now face. How should a society respond to a looming crisis of uncertain timing but of catastrophic proportions? How can it begin to right itself when its entire infrastructure and culture developed in a way that leaves it profoundly vulnerable to natural disaster?
The last person I met with in the Pacific Northwest was Doug Dougherty, the superintendent of schools for Seaside, which lies almost entirely within the tsunami-inundation zone. Of the four schools that Dougherty oversees, with a total student population of sixteen hundred, one is relatively safe. The others sit five to fifteen feet above sea level. When the tsunami comes, they will be as much as forty-five feet below it.
In 2009, Dougherty told me, he found some land for sale outside the inundation zone, and proposed building a new K-12 campus there. Four years later, to foot the hundred-and-twenty-eight-million-dollar bill, the district put up a bond measure. The tax increase for residents amounted to two dollars and sixteen cents per thousand dollars of property value. The measure failed by sixty-two per cent. Dougherty tried seeking help from Oregon's congressional delegation but came up empty. The state makes money available for seismic upgrades, but buildings within the inundation zone cannot apply. At present, all Dougherty can do is make sure that his students know how to evacuate.
Some of them, however, will not be able to do so. At an elementary school in the community of Gearhart, the children will be trapped. ''They can't make it out from that school,'' Dougherty said. ''They have no place to go.'' On one side lies the ocean; on the other, a wide, roadless bog. When the tsunami comes, the only place to go in Gearhart is a small ridge just behind the school. At its tallest, it is forty-five feet high'--lower than the expected wave in a full-margin earthquake. For now, the route to the ridge is marked by signs that say ''Temporary Tsunami Assembly Area.'' I asked Dougherty about the state's long-range plan. ''There is no long-range plan,'' he said.
Dougherty's office is deep inside the inundation zone, a few blocks from the beach. All day long, just out of sight, the ocean rises up and collapses, spilling foamy overlapping ovals onto the shore. Eighty miles farther out, ten thousand feet below the surface of the sea, the hand of a geological clock is somewhere in its slow sweep. All across the region, seismologists are looking at their watches, wondering how long we have, and what we will do, before geological time catches up to our own. '...
Watch: A radioactive site in Queens that may become New York City's next Superfund site.
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Shut Up Slave!
New Zealand criminalizes Internet trolling - Washington Times
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 15:54
New Zealand has passed a controversial new law that bans trolling, or ''harmful digital communications,'' with offenders facing up to two years in jail.
Under the Harmful Digital Communications Act in effect this week, anyone convicted of ''causing harm by posting digital communication'' faces two years in prison and a $50,000 (NZ) ($33,650 U.S.) fine.
Harmful communications can include truthful or false statements, and ''intimate visual recordings'' such as nude photos or video shared without permission, The Telegraph reported.
The bill passed the New Zealand parliament by a 116-5 vote. And under a parallel amendment to New Zealand's Crimes Act, a person who tells another to kill themselves faces up to three years in prison, The Telegraph reported.
Proponents argue the law will deter cyberbullies and protect victims. Critics, however, say the law harms free speech.
Greens MP Gareth Hughes argued that while the law's intent is ''noble,'' its definition of ''harm'' is ''irresponsibly broad'' and could damage journalism in New Zealand.
Big Pharma
The 'ADHD Drug' That Gives Boys Breasts - The Daily Beast
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:19
Busted06.12.155:25 AM ET
Risperdal was pushed as an off-label ADHD treatment by Johnson & Johnson, according to a former FDA commissioner. But for years it came without a warning that it could develop breasts in prepubescent boys and girls.
Risperdal, Johnson & Johnson's big money antipsychotic pill, was their No. 1 product for over a decade, and it's one they have settled over 1,300 lawsuits to protect. The latest came just days ago from a young man growing female breasts of sizes up to a 46DD without warning. The drug maker settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
The drug itself, which is prescribed to treat schizophrenia but has been used off-label for sufferers of ADD and ADHD, has a long and sordid history. Its maker backed Harvard child psychologist Joseph Biederman's research institute for child psychotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital, in exchange ''to move forward the commercial goals of J&J,'' according to internal emails and internal documents obtained by the New York Times. Biederman was disciplined by his employer, Massachusetts General Hospital, in 2011 for failing to reveal that many of his studies were funded by drug companies, who gave him and coworkers as much as $4.2 million.
Second, biochemist Ivo Caers, a vice president of J&J subsidiary Janseen Research & Development, who has worked for the company for 36 years and on Risperdal for 18 years, testified in court that the FDA was never given information on an internal study that showed direct links between breast growth in boys and Risperdal'--despite the study having existed for years.
In 2012, a Texas judge finalized Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit's settlement of $158 million for improperly marketing Risperdal in the state, after a whistleblower outed them for pushing the drug for unapproved uses to both children and the elderly.
Risperdal was certainly profitable, accounting for 97 percent of J&J's sales, $28.9 billion, from 1994-2010.
Then, in 2013, J&J was ordered to fork over more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil investigation surrounding the drug, one of the largest healthcare fraud penalties ever.
And Risperdal was certainly profitable, accounting for 97 percent of J&J's sales, $28.9 billion, from 1994-2010. It wasn't approved for any use in minors until as late as 2006, after which it was issued a new label warning'--noting the possibility of gynemecostia, or breast development.
Even former FDA commissioner David Kessler took the stand this year in Philadelphia, testifying that the company pushed for doctors through marketing to prescribe the drug of ''off-label'''--or for uses it wasn't formally tested and approved'--claiming that J&J "knew by 2001 that Risperdal could cause abnormal breast development in boys."
This is exactly what it did for 20-year-old autistic man Austin Pledger, who grew size 44DD breasts as a result of taking the drug since age eight'--and who won $2.5 million this past January, the first of 1,200 pending Risperdal cases filed in Philadelphia alone to see a jury. Just last week, the drug maker settled yet another case mere hours before opening arguments were slated to begin, in which Christopher Walker found himself also facing abnormal breast growth.
Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson have claimed, such as they did with Pledger, that the so-called ''man-boobs'' were the result of obesity and puberty.
Another case is slated in Philly for June 22.
Is Internet Addiction a Health Threat for Teenagers? - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 14:46
It's no surprise that as nearly three-quarters of U.S. teens have access to a smartphone, many say they are online ''almost constantly.'' Some worry that this could be negatively affecting their physical and mental health.
Though Internet addiction is not yet a clinical diagnosis in the U.S., the American Psychiatric Association included ''Internet Gaming Disorder'' in the appendix of a 2013 update to their diagnostic manual to prompt further research. Other countries, including China and South Korea, already treat excessive Internet use among teenagers through counseling and boot-camp-style treatment centers.
Is screen addiction, or screen obsession, a concern for teenagers?
Read the Discussion >>
H.R.1847 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act of 2015 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 22:36
Shown Here:Introduced in House (04/16/2015)Swap Data Repository and Clearinghouse Indemnification Correction Act of 2015
Amends the Commodity Exchange Act, with respect to derivatives clearing organizations and swap data repositories, to repeal the prerequisite that, before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) may share information with specified regulatory agencies, such agencies must agree to indemnify the CFTC for expenses arising from litigation relating to information so provided.
Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to repeal similarly the prerequisite that, before a security-based swap data repository may share information with specified regulatory entities, such entities must agree to indemnify both such repository and the Securities and Exchange Commission for expenses arising from litigation relating to information so provided.
Oscar-Winner Laura Poitras Sues After U.S Ignores FOIA Request
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 07:59
Over six years, filmmaker Laura Poitras was searched, interrogated and detained more than 50 times at U.S. and foreign airports.
When she asked why, U.S. agencies wouldn't say.
Now, after receiving no response to her Freedom of Information Act requests for documents pertaining to her systemic targeting, Poitras is suing the U.S. government.
In a complaint filed on Monday afternoon, Poitras demanded that the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Security release any and all documentation pertaining to her tracking, targeting and questioning while traveling between 2006 and 2012.
''I'm filing this lawsuit because the government uses the U.S. border to bypass the rule of law,'' Poitras said in a statement. Poitras co-founded The Intercept with Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill.
She said she hopes to draw attention to how other people, who aren't as well known, ''are also subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment at the borders.''
Poitras has been the subject of government monitoring since 2006, when she was working on a documentary film, My Country, My Country, that told the story of the Iraq War from the perspective of an Iraqi doctor.
Airport security informed her that the Department of Homeland Security assigned her the highest ''threat rating'' possible, despite the fact that she has never been charged with a crime. She described the government's inspection and forceful seizure of her notebooks, laptop, cell phone and other personal items as ''shameful'' in an interview with Democracy Now in 2012. On one occasion, security officers at the airport refused to allow her to take notes on her interrogation, arguing that her pen could be used as a weapon.
Poitras was only freed from the constant harassment after Glenn Greenwald published an article about her plight in 2012, and a group of filmmakers united to write a petition against the government's monitoring.
Based on her earlier work, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden picked Poitras, along with Greenwald, to receive his archive of documents, which revealed massive worldwide surveillance by the U.S. and the U.K. Poitras won an Academy Award in 2014 for her documentary about Snowden, called CITIZENFOUR, and shared the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for public service.
In 2013, Poitras filed a Freedom of Information Act request to access any information about herself that the government used to determine that she was a danger to national security and worthy of intense scrutiny.
There is an immense backlog of unanswered FOIA requests across the government. Just this year, the number of unanswered FOIA requests swelled to over 200,000 '-- over 50 percent more than last year.
Poitras is being represented by lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights advocacy group. ''The well-documented difficulties Ms. Poitras experienced while traveling strongly suggest that she was improperly targeted by federal agencies as a result of her journalistic activities,'' EFF senior counsel David Sobel told the Intercept. ''Those agencies are now attempting to conceal information that would shed light on tactics that appear to have been illegal. We are confident that the court will not condone the government's attempt to hide its misconduct under a veil of 'national security.'''
(This post is from our blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images
Range Rover Recall is Due to a Software Glitch - IEEE Spectrum
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 22:53
Range Rover is recalling 65,000 cars, a number that would normally be too small to merit mention in these days of mega-recalls. But this one has to do with a door that might come unlatched because of buggy software'--a complaint that will become more common as software takes over more of the driving experience.
The British-based manufacturer reported the problem to U.S. National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) in mid-June, noting that some customers had had a door fly open while the car was in motion. Ranger Rover notified those affected, namely the owners of the Range Rover of the 2013-2016 model years and of the Range Rover Sport of the 2014-2016 model years.
Meanwhile, Subaru today recalled 34,000 Impreza '‹cars for reasons that certainly involve electronics and therefore may also involve software. The control unit that is supposed to deploy the front-passenger-seat airbag during a crash may fail to do so because it can't detect that a person is sitting in that seat. According to NHTSA, the problem can arise when the passenger ''operates a device that is plugged into the power outlet, such as a music player or cell phone, or touches a metal part of the vehicle such as the forward/rearward seat adjuster lever.''
Last year Range Rover had what the company says was an unrelated software vulnerability that allowed hackers to use ''black box'' tools to steal vehicles equipped with keyless ignition systems. BMW had a similar problem. Both companies have since remedied the problem.
You might think it would be hard to make such a black box, but last year a 14-year-old boy attending a carmaker-sponsored summer camp put one together with spare parts bought overnight for US $15 and used it to hack into a car made by an undisclosed major manufacturer. We here at IEEE Spectrum tried to track down the kid, but the organizers wouldn't allow it'--not even for the purpose of granting him a year's free subscription to our magazine. Just a year'--after all, it isn't rocket science.
Gender Neutral Kids Clothing Startups - Bloomberg Business
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:15
Ever since Jaya Iyer's daughter was a toddler, she had been fascinated by Saturn and its icy rings. When Swaha turned three, she had a space-themed birthday party. But when her mom went to find clothes with space images for Swaha, she couldn't find any. They were all in the boys section.
So the 41-year-old mother of two, who has a doctorate in fashion merchandising, started her own business called Svaha (which is how her daughter's name is pronounced) to sell clothes that upend gender stereotypes. One shirt features a grinning green stegosaurus, the plates on its back adorned with polka dots. A second comes in a blazing pink hue, with an astronaut planting an American flag on the moon. That one should satisfy her daughter. "She was very upset with me for not ever buying her anything with astronauts on it," Iyer says. "Then she started telling me: 'I want a ninja on my shirt.'"
Svaha is one of several startups that have emerged in recent years with the goal of changing the standards that govern what kids wear. These upstarts aren't looking to replace current kid's apparel entirely. Instead, their founders say they want to provide children with more options. Handsome in Pink says it's all right for boys to wear pink and purple. BuddingSTEM offers science-themed garb for girls. Perhaps the buzziest label is Princess Awesome, which raised more than $200,000 in a successful Kickstarter campaign, showing demand for pirate-themed dresses and girl's apparel covered in the symbol for pi. Most of the ventures remain in early stages as online-only entities using crowdfunded or bootstrapped cash to sell small numbers of shirts or dresses.
Kids Learn Early What They 'Should' and 'Shouldn't' Wear
Several of the startups share a common origin: They were borne out of parental frustration with major retailers. Simply shopping in the opposite gender's section isn't the answer, these parents say. Cultural norms mean that as kids get older, designating certain items as male or female can confuse and frustrate them. A girl may not want to wear something designated for boys, and vice-versa.
"Most kids and parents are going to the big retailers and seeing all these messages of what its means to be a boy or a girl," says Sharon Choksi, co-founder of clothing line Girls Will Be. Choksi's daughter Maya, now 10, never liked sparkles or "feminine" colors, so the Choksis would shop for Maya in the boys' section. As Maya got older, Choksi worried that "boy" and "girl" labels would unnecessarily upset her daughter.
Choksi, from Austin, started selling girl's shirts in 2013 before expanding into hoodies and shorts. In an effort to encourage girls to move around freely, the fit of Girls Will Be tops fall somewhere between a traditional, fitted girl's shirt and the boxy, looser fit typically marketed to boys. One design reads, ''bold, daring, fearless, adventurous, so many things,'' while another features a silhouette of a girl doing a flying sidekick. Choksi wants her clothes to fill a gap left open by big companies. "When are the big retailers going to wake up and realize that not all girls are the same and not all boys are the same?" she asks.
In Seattle, Martine Zoer had similar experiences with her sons. She grew tired of her boys, now four and seven, being pushed merchandise featuring designs of dinosaurs and trucks. In 2014, she founded Quirkie Kids, a label devoted to gender-neutral clothes. "There's nothing wrong with pink or girls liking pink," Zoer says. "But if we only offer them that choice, there's something wrong with that."
Svaha clothing line.
Source: Svaha Inc. via Bloomberg
''There's nothing hardwired in our brains that says pink is for girls and blue is for boys,'' says Lise Eliot, a neuroscientist at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Frank University and author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps'--and What We Can Do About It. It's purely a cultural phenomenon. By the time children are toddlers, Eliot says, boys start rejecting pink because they realize it may diverge from what's expected.
These apparel choices can have enduring repercussions by affecting kids' interests and long-term goals. For instance, since most female clothes are more fitted, they often double as restraints, Eliot says, pushing girls away from physical activities. Kids' play habits matter, because they affect development and ultimately, even what career they end up embracing. If a girl is tugged away from liking outer space by societal pressures, she probably won't veer toward an aerospace profession later in life. If a boy is discouraged from playing with dolls and wearing bold clothes, they may not want to get into fashion design one day. "They see it's the boys with the rocket ships and the girls with the pretty flowers," adds Eliot.
At major retail outlets such as Children's Place and Gymboree, there are few, if any, options for the girl who loves dinosaurs or football. Same goes for the boy who loves unicorns and hearts. Much of the merchandise is as stereotyped as can be: a T-Rex playing football in the boys section; a shirt that reads "I ''¤ My B.F.F. More Than Shoes" in the girls section. A representative for Children's Place declined to comment on how it decides what designs and colors to sell boys and girls, and representatives for Gymboree did not respond to a request for comment.
Quirkie Kids
Source: Quirkie Kids via Bloomberg
Big retailers are typically focused on quantity, so until enough shoppers demand clothes that don't fall along traditional lines, not much will change, says Patty Leto, senior vice president of childrens' wear at the Doneger Group, a trend intelligence firm. "Pink is always going to sell for girls and blue is always going to sell for boys, no matter what is going on out there with small labels," she says. In the end, it's up to the parents. "The consumer is the ultimate voter here," she says.
Take Lands' End, which in 2014 found itself under attack by angry shoppers when New Jersey mom Lisa Ryder wrote a letter decrying stereotypes in its clothing selection. Flipping through a catalog, Ryder's daughter loved shirts with planets and dinosaurs, though they were clearly marked for boys. When it was suggested to Ryder by a Facebook commenter that she simply purchase a boy's shirt, she responded with vigor. "The problem is that your recent catalog copy and product offerings strongly promote the gender stereotypes that young boys are smart and mighty and young girls are adorable," she wrote. "Simply buying my daughter one of your 'boy shirts' is not the answer because it perpetuates the idea that science is a boy thing that she happens to be participating in." Lands' End decided to release new science-themed shirts for girls.
For the giants of the clothing world, it's an exercise in figuring out what will sell. For the budding brands, it's less a race for revenue than a mission to make a difference. "Everybody's really supportive of each other, rather than being competitive," Zoer, the Quirkie Kids founder, says of the community of new brands. "We're all sort of in this together."
Rennee Richards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:19
Ren(C)e RichardsCountryUnited StatesBorn(1934-08-19) August 19, 1934 (age 80)New York City, USAHeight6 ft, 2 in[1]Turned pro1977Retired1981PlaysLeft-handedSinglesCareer titles0 WTAHighest rankingNo. 20 (February 1979)Grand Slam Singles resultsUS Open3R (1979)DoublesCareer titles0 WTAHighest ranking''Grand Slam Doubles resultsUS OpenF (1977)Mixed doublesCareer titles0Grand Slam Mixed Doubles resultsAustralian Open''French Open''Wimbledon''US OpenSF (1979)Last updated on: June 5, 2009.Ren(C)e Richards (born August 19, 1934) is an American ophthalmologist, author and former professional tennis player. In 1975, Richards underwent sex reassignment surgery. She was denied entry into the 1976 US Open by the United States Tennis Association, citing an unprecedented women-born-women policy. She disputed the ban, and the New York Supreme Court ruled in her favor in 1977. This was a landmark decision in favor of transsexual rights.[2] Through her fight to play tennis as a woman, she challenged gender roles and became a role model and spokesperson for the transgender community.[3][4][5]
Early lifeRichards was born Richard Raskind on August 19, 1934 in New York City, and was raised, as she put it, as "a nice Jewish boy".[3][6][7][8][9] She attended Horace Mann School and excelled as the wide receiver for the football team, the pitcher for the baseball team, and on the tennis and swim teams.[3][10] Her baseball skills even got her scouted by the New York Yankees, but she decided to focus on tennis.[3] After high school she attended Yale University where she was captain of the Men's Tennis team.[3][10] She was considered by some to be one of the best college tennis players in the country.[3] After graduating from Yale she then went to the University of Rochester Medical Center where she specialized in ophthalmology.[3] She graduated from Rochester in 1959 and then served a two-year internship at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.[3][10] After her internship she served two years of residency at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York.[10] She played competitive tennis for a while and during the time in which she was moonlighting she was ranked sixth out of the top 20 males over 35.[3][10] After her internship and residency, she joined the United States Navy to continue her medical training and played tennis for the Navy during her time there.[3] While playing for the navy she won both the singles and doubles at the All Navy Championship.[3] During this time she was ranked as high as fourth in the region.[3] She had a very lethal and recognizable left hand serve that followed her everywhere and later led to the discovery of Ren(C)e.[3]
Transitioning sexBeginning sometime during college Raskind began cross-dressing, which at the time was considered to be a perversion and transsexualism was classified as a form of insanity.[3] Raskind named the female alter ego Ren(C)e, which is French for reborn.[3] Raskind's struggle with sexuality created sexual confusion, depression, and suicidal tendencies.[10] Raskind began seeing Dr. Charles Ihlenfeld who specialized in endocrinology, transsexualism, and sexual reassignment.[3] Upon seeing Dr. Ihlenfeld Raskind began getting hormone injections with the long-term hope for a life change.[3] In the mid-1960s Raskind traveled in Europe dressed as a woman, intending to go to North Africa to see Georges Burou, a famous gynecological surgeon at Clinique Parc in Casablanca, Morocco, regarding sex reassignment surgery; however, Raskind ultimately decided against it and returned to New York.[3] There, Raskind married a woman, Barbara, whom she divorced after five years of marriage and together they had one son.[3][11][12] In the early 1970s, Raskind again decided to undergo sex reassignment and was referred to surgeon Roberto C. Granato, Sr., by Harry Benjamin, successfully transitioning in 1975.[3][13][14] After hormone treatment, extensive psychological counseling, and sex reassignment surgery, Ren(C)e finally became a reality.[10] After surgery, Ren(C)e went to Newport Beach, California and started working as an ophthalmologist with another doctor.[3][10]
Court caseRichards applied to play in the US Open and was denied the right to play in 1976.[10] The United States Tennis Association (USTA), the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), and the United States Open Committee (USOC) required all women competitors to verify gender with a Barr body test of their chromosomes.[3][10][15] Richards refused to take the test, and so was barred from USTA tournaments.[3][15] She wasn't allowed to play in the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, or the Italian Open in the summer of 1976.[3]
Richards then sued the USTA in New York state court, alleging discrimination by gender in violation of the New York Human Rights Law. Judge Alfred M. Ascione heard the case.[3][10][15]
Richards asserted that participating in the tournament would constitute "an acceptance of her right to be a woman."[10] Some USTA members felt that others would undergo sex change to enter women's tennis.[3][10]Sports Illustrated called Richards an "extraordinary spectacle", and characterized reactions to her as "varying from astonishment to suspicion, sympathy, resentment, and more often than not, utter confusion."[10] The USOC stated "there is competitive advantage for a male who has undergone a sex change surgery as a result of physical training and development as a male."[10][16] Richards finally agreed to take the Barr body test. The test results were ambiguous. She refused to take it again and therefore was barred from play.[10]
On August 16, 1977, Judge Ascione found in Richards' favor. He ruled: "This person is now a female" and that requiring Richards to pass the Barr body test was "grossly unfair, discriminatory and inequitable, and a violation of her rights."[4][17] He further ruled that the USTA intentionally discriminated against Richards, and granted Richards an injunction against the USTA and the USOC allowing to play in the US Open.[4][10] Richards lost to Virginia Wade in the first round of the singles competition, but made it to the finals in doubles.[3][10][15]
Tennis career after transitioningAfter moving to California, Richards played in regional competitions for her local club, the John Wayne Tennis Club, under the name Ren(C)e Clark.[3][10] In the summer of 1976 she entered the La Jolla Tennis Tournament Championships, where she crushed the competition and her unique and lethal left hand serve was recognized.[3] Her long-time friend Gene Scott then invited her to play in his professional tennis tournament, the Tennis Week Open in South Orange, New Jersey. The USTA and the WTA then withdrew their sanction for the Tennis Week Open, and organized another tournament; 25 of the 32 participants withdrew from the Tennis Week Open.[3][4][10] This was just the beginning of the issues Richards would encounter in trying to play professional women's tennis, which eventually led to her suing the USTA and winning. Richards played professionally from 1977 to 1981 when she retired at age 47.[3][4][15] She was ranked as high as 20th overall (in February 1979), and her highest ranking at the end of a year was 22nd (in 1977). Her first professional event as a female was the 1977 US Open. Her greatest successes on court were reaching the doubles final at her first U.S. Open in 1977, with Betty Ann Stuart '-- the pair lost a close match to Martina Navratilova and Betty St¶ve '-- and winning the 35-and-over women's singles. Richards was twice a semifinalist in mixed doubles (with Ilie Năstase) at the U.S. Open. In 1979, she defeated Nancy Richey for the 35 and over singles title at the U.S. Open. Richards posted wins over Hana Mandl­kov, Sylvia Hanika, Virginia Ruzici, and Pam Shriver. She later coached Navratilova to two Wimbledon wins and was inducted into the USTA Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame in 2000.[18] On August 2, 2013, Richards was among the first class of inductees into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.[19]
Richards has since expressed ambivalence about her legacy, and came to believe her past as a man provided her with advantages over her competitors, saying ''Having lived for the past 30 years, I know if I'd had surgery at the age of 22, and then at 24 went on the tour, no genetic woman in the world would have been able to come close to me. And so I've reconsidered my opinion.''[20][21]
RetirementAfter four years of playing tennis, she decided to return to her medical practice, which she moved to Park Avenue in New York.[3][10] She then became the surgeon director of ophthalmology and head of the eye-muscle clinic at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.[10] In addition she served on the editorial board of the Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.[3][10] Ren(C)e now lives in a small town north of New York City with her companion Arleen Larzelere.[3] Ren(C)e still goes and watches the sport she enjoyed all her life, tennis, at the US Open.[3] In 2014 a wooden racket used by her was donated to the National Museum of American History, which is part of the Smithsonian.[22]
Movies and booksIn 1983, Richards published an autobiography, Second Serve.[23] In 2007, Richards published a second autobiography, No Way Ren(C)e: The Second Half of My Notorious Life, in which she expresses regret over the type of fame that came with her transsexuality'--she said in 2007 that she did not regret undergoing the sex reassignment process in itself.[1] Richards's first autobiography served as the basis for the film Second Serve.[4]Ren(C)e is a 2011 documentary film about Richards. The film was one of the anchor films of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and the documentary premiered on ESPN on October 4, 2011.[24]
FamilyRichard grew up in an all-American home in Forest Hills Queens in New York City.[3][10] Richards' father, David Raskind, was an orthopedic surgeon, and her mother was one of the first female psychiatrists in the United States in addition to being a professor at Columbia University.[3][10] Because of her parents' career choices, it was expected that she would go to medical school as well.[3] Her sister, Josephine, was a tomboy when they were young and was never very accepting of the choices that Ren(C)e made for herself; she still continues to refer to Ren(C)e as "he" and "my brother".[3] Richard married model Barbara Mole in June 1970. They were divorced in 1975.[3] Richards' son, Nicholas Raskind, was born in 1972 and has never really forgiven Ren(C)e for leaving when he was a child.[3] Nicholas has developed addiction problems and has struggled to hold down a job, and Ren(C)e feels as though it is her fault.[3]
Grand Slam singles tournament timelineMen's singles(As Richard Raskind)
Tournament19531954195519561957195819591960Career SRAustraliaAAAAAAAA-FranceAAAAAAAA-WimbledonAAAAAAAA-United States1RA2R1R2RAA1R0/5SR0 / 10 / 00 / 10 / 10 / 10 / 00 / 00 / 10 / 5Women's singles(As Ren(C)e Richards)
A = did not participate in the tournament.
SR = the ratio of the number of singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.
Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.
Grand Slam doubles tournament timelineA = did not participate in the tournament.
SR = the ratio of the number of singles tournaments won to the number of those tournaments played.
Note: The Australian Open was held twice in 1977, in January and December.
Grand Slam mixed doubles tournament timelineSee alsoReferences^ abGoldsmith, Belinda (February 18, 2007). Transsexual pioneer Renee Richards regrets fame. Reuters. Retrieved February 21, 2011.^"Ren(C)e Richards Documentary Debuts at Tribeca Film Festival". April 22, 2011.^ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzaaabacadaeafagahaiajakalamanaoapRen(C)e. Film. Directed by Eric Drath. New York: ESPN Films, 2011.^ abcdefBirrell, Susan, and Cheryl L. Cole. Women, sport, and culture. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1994.^"21 Transgender People Who Influenced American Culture". Time Magazine. ^Renee Richards (February 9, 2007). No Way Renee: The Second Half of My of My Notorious Life. Retrieved March 19, 2011. ^Bob Wechsler. Day by day in Jewish sports history. Retrieved March 19, 2011. ^Jonny Geller. Yes, but is it good for the Jews?: a beginner's guide. Retrieved March 19, 2011. ^Noach Dzmura. Balancing on the Mechitza: Transgender in Jewish Community. Retrieved March 19, 2011. ^ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyAbrams, Roger I. Sports justice: the law and the business of sports Boston, Mass.: Northeastern University Press, 2010.^"Ex-Wife of Renee Weds". Milwaukee Sentinel. July 13, 1978. p. 9. Retrieved November 27, 2012. ^Richards, Renee, Second Serve (1983) New York : Stein and Day.^"The Second Half of My Life"Talk of the Nation, February 8, 2007^Jewish Women in America: A-L. Retrieved March 19, 2011. ^ abcdeCreedon, Pamela J. Women, media and sport: challenging gender values Thousand Oaks u.a.: Sage, 1994^Richards V. USTA, 1977 p. 269^Richards V. USTA, 1977 p. 272^Prange, Peter. "Simon & Schuster: Renee Richards '' Biography". Simonsays.com. Retrieved March 19, 2011. ^"National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame's Inaugural Class Announced | Out Magazine". Out.com. 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-12-05. ^Bazelon, Emily. "Cross-Court Winner". slate.com. The Slate Group. Retrieved 8 February 2015. ^Foer, Franklin; Tracy, Marc (Oct 30, 2012). Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 1455516112. Retrieved 8 February 2015. ^http://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2014/08/20/original-transgender-pride-flag-will-grace-artifacts-smithsonian^Richards, Ren(C)e with John Ames. Second Serve: the Ren(C)e Richards Story. New York City, New York, USA: Stein and Day, March 1983, ISBN 0812828976^"Ren(C)e". Tribecafilm.com. Retrieved March 19, 2011. External links
Obama Nation
The President Speaks at the White House Conference on Aging - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:02
President Obama Grants Commutations | whitehouse.gov
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:22
WASHINGTON, D.C. '' Today, President Barack Obama granted commutations of sentence to 46 individuals.
' Jerry Allen Bailey '' Charlotte, NCOffense: Conspiracy to violate narcotics laws (crack) (Western District of North Carolina)Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Apr. 2, 1996)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Shauna Barry-Scott '' Youngstown, OHOffense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Northern District of Ohio)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Oct. 18, 2005)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Larry Darnell Belcher '' Martinsville, VAOffense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute marijuana (Western District of Virginia)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Dec. 15, 1997)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' John L. Houston Brower '' Carthage, NCOffense: Distributed cocaine base (''crack'') (Middle District of North Carolina)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (June 22, 2002)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Nathaniel Brown '' Orange Park, FL Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine (more than five kilograms) and cocaine base (more than 50 grams); distribution of cocaine base (two counts) (Middle District of Florida)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Aug. 1, 2002)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Norman O'Neal Brown '' Hyattsville, MDOffense: Distribute quantity of mixture or substance containing a detectable amount cocaine base (crack), aiding and abetting (five counts); possess with intent distribute quantity of mixture or substance containing detectable amount of cocaine base (crack), aiding and abetting (District of Maryland)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Jan. 15, 1993)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Joseph Burgos '' Chicago, ILOffense: Distribution of cocaine; use of a communication facility in the commission of a felony (Northern District of Illinois)Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release; $200,000 fine (Sept. 2, 1993)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Clarance Callies '' San Antonio, TXOffense: Conspiracy to distribute in excess of 50 grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base (''crack cocaine''); possession with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base (''crack cocaine'') (Western District of Texas)Sentence: 240 months imprisonment; 8 years' supervised release (Mar. 25, 2002)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Anthony Leon Carroll '' Tampa, FLOffense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Middle District of Florida)Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; 5 years' supervised release (Sept. 3, 1999)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Juan Diego Castro '' Laredo, TXOffense: Possession with intent to distribute a quantity in excess of five kilograms of cocaine (Southern District of Texas)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Feb. 1, 2002)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Joe Louis Champion '' Houston, TXOffense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 376.9 grams of cocaine base (crack); aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute 376.9 grams of cocaine base (crack) (Southern District of Texas)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release; $4,000 fine (June 19, 1997)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015, and the remaining balance of the fine remitted.
' Cedric Culpepper '' Orlando, FLOffense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base (Middle District of Florida)Sentence: 188 months' imprisonment; 4 years' supervised release (Nov. 15, 2004)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Walter R. Dennie '' Gary, INOffense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine (two counts) (Middle District of Florida)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Apr. 25, 2002)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Steven D. Donovan '' Oak Creek, WIOffense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; interstate travel to promote distribution of cocaine; possession with intent to distribute cocaine (Eastern District of Wisconsin)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Oct. 16, 1992)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Romain Dukes '' Chicago, ILOffense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, ''crack''; distribution of cocaine base, ''crack'' (two counts) (Southern District of Iowa)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Oct. 1, 1997)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Tony Lynn Hollis '' Knoxville, TNOffense: Possession with intent to distribute 26.5 grams of cocaine base (Eastern District of Tennessee)Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (June 8, 2001)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Alex William Jackson '' Mineral, VA Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base (Western District of Virginia)Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; 60 months' supervised release (Dec. 22, 1999); amended to 240 months' imprisonment (June 25, 2008)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Jackie Johnson '' Townsend, DEOffense: Possession with the intent to distribute more than 50 grams of a cocaine base (District of Delaware)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Jan. 30, 2007)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Jerome Wayne Johnson '' Fort White, FLOffense: 1. Cultivation of marijuana plants (Middle District of Florida)2. Conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 marijuana plants (Northern District of Florida) Sentence: 1. 60 months' imprisonment, 5 years' supervised release (June 25, 2003)2. 20 years' imprisonment, concurrent to sentence imposed above, 10 years' supervised release (May 27, 2004) Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Willie C. Johnson '' Steele, MOOffense: The defendant did knowingly conspire to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine base; the defendant did knowingly distribute cocaine base; the defendant did knowingly possess with the intent to distribute cocaine base (Eastern District of Missouri)Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (Feb. 18, 2005); amended to 168 months' imprisonment (Feb. 12, 2015)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Mark Anthony Jones '' Boynton Beach, FL Offense: Distribution of cocaine base (Northern District of Florida)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (July 28, 1999)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Roy Larry Lee '' St. Petersburg, FLOffense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (enhanced penalty); distribution of 50 grams or more of cocaine base (two counts) (Middle District of Florida)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (May 3, 1990)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Kenneth Lorenzo Lewis '' Charlottesville, VAOffense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base (Western District of Virginia)Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (Nov. 17, 2000)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Douglas M. Lindsay, II '' Newberry, SCOffense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine and cocaine base (District of South Carolina)Sentence: Life imprisonment; five years' supervised release (Dec. 20, 1996); amended to 293 months' imprisonment (Mar. 4, 2015)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Kevin Matthews '' James Island, SCOffense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (District of South Carolina)Sentence: 232 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Feb. 11, 2004)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Marlon McNealy '' St. Petersburg, FL Offense: Conspiracy to commit racketeering (two counts); conspiracy to distribute cocaine base; knowingly and intentionally distributing 50 grams or more of cocaine base (three counts) (Middle District of Florida) Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Aug. 18, 1993)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Brian Nickles '' New Orleans, LAOffense: Distribution of more than 50 grams of cocaine base (two counts) (Eastern District of Louisiana)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Apr. 28, 2004)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Jermaine Lee Osborne '' Roanoke, VAOffense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of cocaine base (Western District of Virginia)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (May 2, 2006)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Marcus H. Richards '' Miami, FLOffense: Conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 50 grams of cocaine base (Northern District of Florida)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (June 13, 2005)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Patrick Roberts '' Detroit, MIOffense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances (Eastern District of Michigan)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (July 8, 1999)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Bryant Keith Shelton '' Kissimmee, FLOffense: Distribution of cocaine base (Middle District of Florida)Sentence: 188 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (Apr. 1, 2003)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Ezekiel Simpson '' St. Louis, MOOffense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Eastern District of Missouri)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Feb. 3, 2005)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Katrina Stuckey Smith '' Montrose, GA Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (Middle District of Georgia)Sentence: 292 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (July 20, 2000); amended to 240 months' imprisonment (Apr. 2, 2008). Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' James Marion Stockton '' Martinsville, VAOffense: Possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base; possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Western District of Virginia)Sentence: 420 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (May 27, 2003)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire November 10, 2015.
' Bart Stover '' Ashland, OHOffense: Conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and cocaine; use of a communication facility to facilitate the commission of drug trafficking offense, aiding and abetting (Northern District of Ohio)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Apr. 12, 2005)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Robert Earl Thomas, Jr. '' Houston, TXOffense: Possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (Eastern District of Texas)Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (June 29, 1999)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Bruce Todd '' Atlanta, GAOffense: Distribution of at least 50 grams of crack cocaine (Northern District of Georgia)Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (Mar. 3, 2003)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Jeffery Jerome Toler '' Pensacola, FLOffense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (Northern District of Florida)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (June 13, 1996)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Donald Vanderhorst '' Charleston, SCOffense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of five kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of cocaine base (District of SouthCarolina)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Mar. 15, 2006) Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' James Nathan Walton '' Thibodeaux, LA Offense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Western District of Louisiana)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Sept. 16, 2004)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Telisha Rachette Watkins '' Charlotte, NCOffense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (Western District of North Carolina)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (Oct. 25, 2007)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Dunning Wells '' Fort Myers, FL Offense: Unlawful possession of a firearm; distribution of a quantity of cocaine; possession of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime (Middle District of Florida)Sentence: 502 months' imprisonment; six years' supervised release (Feb. 20, 1992)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Kimberly A. Westmoreland '' Columbus, OHOffense: Conspiracy to distribute in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base; carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime (Southern District of Ohio)Sentence: 180 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (Jan. 21, 2004)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' James Rufus Woods '' Leasburg, NCOffense: Possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (''crack'') (Middle District of North Carolina)Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Nov. 23, 1998) Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' John M. Wyatt '' Las Cruces, NMOffense: Possession with intent to distribute marijuana (Southern District of Illinois)Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release; $500 fine (Aug. 30, 2004)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
' Robert Joe Young '' Joppa, ALOffense: Conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine; possession with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine; use of a firearm during and in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; possession with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing cocaine; carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; endeavoring to influence and impede the administration of justice (Northern District of Alabama)Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 5 years' supervised release (Dec. 16, 2002)Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on November 10, 2015.
Kenneth Ehrlich - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:46
Kenneth James "Ken" Ehrlich (born 1943) is an American television producer and director.[1][2]
Early life and education[edit]Ehrlich was born and raised in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where he graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1960.[3] and from Ohio University in 1964 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.[4][5] After he graduated from college, he moved to Chicago with his wife Harriet.[6]
Ehrlich has produced network television programs since 1974, when he created the PBS music series, Soundstage for Chicago public television. He moved to Los Angeles two years later and began his career, which has included more than three decades of telecasting Grammy and Emmy Award ceremonies. Beginning in 1980, he began producing the Grammy Award telecasts for CBS, and is responsible for creating the concept of ''Grammy moments'', which have included such memorable performances by Prince and Beyonc(C), Aretha Franklin's operatic debut, the famous Eminem-Elton Johnduet, as well as the Melissa Etheridge-Joss Stone duet, and historic reunions between Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, and the musical group, The Police.[7] In 2010, he was presented with the Recording Academy's President's Award for his long-time service to the Grammy Awards event.[citation needed]
Ehrlich has produced such specials as "The Sports Illustrated 20th Century Sports Awards" (2000), "In Performance at the White House; Music of the Civil Rights Movement" (2009), "The NFL Kickoff Spectacular in Times Square" (2002), "Mandela Freedomfest" (1988), "Live 8 the Philadelphia LIVE 8 event" (2006) as well as numerous other prime time specials for both broadcast and cable networks. In 2012, he produced the Rolling Stones' highly successful 50th Anniversary pay per view special.[8] He also directed Celine Dion's New Las Vegas Show, which has just completed the first three year leg of an extended run at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. He has worked with Dion and husband Rene Angelil on Dion's television specials since 1995.[9][10]
In 2006, Anschutz Entertainment Group, AEG, purchased an unspecified piece of Ken Ehrlich Productions, and in 2012,that joint venture was extended for a second five year term.[11]
Since 2010, Ehrlich has produced annual PBS shows produced (in cooperation with WETA and the Grammy Museum) in the East Room of the White House, with a broad spectrum of artists ranging from Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Justin Timberlake to Mavis Staples, Ariana Grande, Gary Clark Jr. and Cyndi Lauper.[12]
In 2006, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) purchased Ehrlich's Ken Ehrlich Productions.[13][14]
In 2012, the Grammys, which Ehrlich executive produces, received a 39.9 rating, its highest rating since 1984, beating the Academy Awards for the first time since that date. Observers credited some of the rise to the show's response to the death of Whitney Houston, while producers said that an extremely strong show that ranged from performances by Katy Perry, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and tributes to the Beach Boys and Glen Campbell were heavily responsible for the ratings bump. The show also featured the return of Chris Brown after a three year absence. (Brown's last appearance on the show was cancelled due to his attack on his then-girlfriend Rihanna the night before the Grammy Show in 2009.)[15][16]
In 2014, on two successive nights, Ehrlich executive produced the 56th Grammy Awards, his 34th Grammy show, and then The Beatles; The Night that Changed America, an all star celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.
Ehrlich did it again in 2015 Executive Producing the 57th Grammy Awards followed up by Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life A Grammy Salute special two days later.[17]
Ehrlich also directed Mariah Carey's residency show, #1 to Infinity, at The Colosseum at Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas in 2015.[18]
Honors and awards[edit]Ehrlich has been nominated for five Emmy Awards, is the recipient of one Golden Globe Award, and was presented with the Producer's Guild of America Visionary Award in 2007.[citation needed]
Ehrlich was invited to the February 11, 2014 White HouseState Dinner.[19]
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce honored television producer Ken Ehrlich with the 2,541st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 28, 2015. The star in the category of Television was dedicated in front of the historic Capitol Records Building at 1750 N. Vine Street.
It is time we honor the man who successfully elevated and transformed the artists and their music we love into memorable moments on live Television. Ken Ehrlich's magical productions have touched millions of people watching these shows around the world and we are pleased to welcome him to our family of stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame. - Leron Gubler, President of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce[20]
Helping him to unveil the star were his friends John Legend, Stevie Wonder, LL Cool J and Smokey Robinson.[20]
Personal life[edit]Ehrlich lives in Westlake Village, California with his wife Harriet.[21]
References[edit]^ abProfile, nytimes.com, February 9, 2013; accessed January 28, 2015.^Profile, latimes.com, December 5, 2007; accessed January 28, 2015.^Cleveland's top 100 celebrities, cleveland.com; accessed January 28, 2015.^Ehrlich reference, ohio.edu; accessed January 28, 2015.^Ken Ehrlich profile, chicagotribune.com; accessed January 28, 2015.^Biodata, books.google.com; accessed January 28, 2015.^Profile, wbur.org; accessed January 28, 2015.^Ehrlich to produce Rolling Stones pay-per-view special, rollingstones.com, December 3, 2012; accessed January 28, 2015.^Ken Ehrlich to produce 65th Primetime Emmy teklecast, emmys.com; accessed January 28, 2015.^Celine Dion run to be extended at Colosseum at Caesar's Palace, lasvegassun.com, March 18, 2011; accessed January 28, 2015.^Profile, billboard.com;l accessed January 28, 2015.^PBS infosite, pbs.org; accessed January 28, 2015.^http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/1348197/aeg-acquires-ken-ehrlich-productions^ehrlich profile, latimes.com; accessed January 28, 2015.^Grammy producer says it's time Chris Brown returned, abcnews.go.com; accessed January 28, 2015.^Documentary shows how Whitney Houston's death changed 2012 Grammy Awards telecast, losangeles.cbslocal.com; accessed January 28, 2015.^([1]^([2])^February 2014 State Dinner guest list, politico.com, February 2014; accessed January 28, 2015.^ abhttp://www.walkoffame.com/ken-ehrlick^http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/state-dinner-guest-list-white-house-103397.htmlExternal links[edit]
VIDEO-THe Devil Makes Three "All Hail" - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:59
VIDEO-The Bill Nye Film by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg '-- Kickstarter
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:56
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Bill Nye is on a quest to change the world, and we want you to be part of it!
Once the host of a popular kid's show, Bill is about to take off his ''Science Guy'' lab coat and battle the naysayers to create a more scientifically literate and engaged universe.
We're going to make a film about it. A film for science. A film for the cosmos. The full access, exclusive film about Bill Nye.
We're documentary filmmakers, but we're also hardcore Bill Nye fans who spent our middle school years learning about the ecosystem and the color spectrum from his trusty VHS tapes. Bill's passion and enthusiasm stayed with us, and when we got older, we started making films about science and technology. When we learned that Bill Nye was doing something new, working outside of the classroom to champion science and space exploration and the fight against climate change, we knew we had to make this documentary.
So we did our homework and learned everything we could about Bill. We gathered a great team, including Academy Award-winning producer Seth Gordon, and we created a plan for a documentary that will offer an all access backstage pass to Bill's epic quest to change the world. Then, we shared our vision with Bill, who not only said yes but opened up his life to us. We're still a little giddy. It's awesome!
With Bill on board, we're ready to start following Bill as he tours the globe, advocates for space policy in Washington DC, launches a satellite, hangs out with Neil deGrasse Tyson, debates climate change deniers, and attempts to fill the big shoes of his former mentor and friend Carl Sagan -- all at a time when science is under attack.
The pieces are all falling in to place, but we need one last boost to make this film happen. We need your support. We need to raise the funds to travel with Bill, buy plane tickets and crash in cheap hotels. We need to find and license the best moments from Bill's storied career in television -- including ''Bill Nye The Science Guy,'' as well as the lesser known classics like ''Bill's Basement'' and ''Almost Live!'' Then, we need to hire an amazing team for post-production, including an editor, sound designer, animator, composer and colorist. Finally, we need to send it to film festivals and get it out into the world.
So we are turning to you, people of the internet'.... People who grew up on Bill Nye... People who care about science and knowledge and bow ties. If you get on board with this crazy mission, we will make the ultimate documentary about Bill Nye, and science will finally rule (again)!
Carl Sagan once said, ''Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.'' We know that right here in front of us, there is a great story waiting to be known. If you jump on board and support this film, we promise to give it everything we've got. Our hearts, blood, sweat and tears. We will not rest until we've made something incredible -- the ultimate film about Bill Nye.
As Bill says, ''Let's change the world!''
Science rules,
Jason & David
Below is a Kickstarter exclusive scene from the soon-to-be-film about the launching of LightSail-A, a solar sailing spacecraft. We filmed the test mission, but the actual mission is happening next year. Help fund this project so we can film with Bill as he launches LightSail-B, which will send a low cost solar sail into the cosmos.
Our backers will get exclusive updates from the road, be invited to an awesome party with Bill Nye in New York, and, of course, be part of this dream. And if that's not enough, we've got some pretty sweet rewards.
After some preliminary shooting, strategy sessions and talks with Bill, we have now identified our story threads and we're starting production in earnest. We'll be shooting the film from now until fall of 2016. Editing will begin this December and hopefully we'll have the film finished and ready to apply to festivals in 2017.
Join us! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to spread the word. It makes a HUGE difference to this campaign.
VIDEO-President Obama News Conference Iran Nuclear Deal | Video | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:39
July 15, 2015President Obama held a news conference on the Iran nuclear agreement.'‚The deal limits the country's nuclear ability for more'... read more
President Obama held a news conference on the Iran nuclear agreement.'‚The deal limits the country's nuclear ability for more than a decade in return for the lifting of international sanctions and an eventual lifting of the arms embargo.'‚The president talked about why the deal is in the national security interest of the United States and addressed some of the criticisms of the agreement, including why the release of U.S. hostages being held in Iran was not part of the deal.'‚He also answered several questions on topics not related to Iran, including criminal justice reform, his upcoming trip to Africa, and whether he should revoke the Medal of Freedom from Bill Cosby. close
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*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
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VIDEO-Cokie Roberts: Hillary Will Use 'Grandmother Theme' to Deal With Age Issue | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:56
Video cross-posted here at NewsBusters. On Sunday's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, political commentator Cokie Roberts argued that Hillary Clinton will actively use her role has grandmother to sell herself to voters heading into the 2016 election.
VIDEO-Journalist: Reporters Are 'Baffled' by Blowhard Trump and His Issues | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:53
[See NewsBusters for more.] One reason that journalists can't seem to understand the seriousness of the immigration issue raised by Donald Trump is because they are "baffled" by him, according to a reporter who has worked for the Daily Beast and Slate. Betsy Woodruff appeared on Fox News's MediaBuzz, Sunday, and said this of political reporters: "They see him as a fraudulent, petulant goofball blowhard who is only running for office so reporters will write about him and that makes reporters not want to write about him." She added, "We have resisted as long as possible, but he's polling like crazy." Anchor Howard Kurtz wondered if "your colleagues" are "wrong and he's touching a nerve." Woodruff conceded, "For most national politics reporters, the love of Trump is baffling and that is, itself, a bubble."
VIDEO-Buddy Guy & Ensemble: "Sweet Home Chicago" - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:38
VIDEO-Sheryl Crow - The Motown Sound - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:31
VIDEO-Jerry Seinfeld - Gershwin Prize for Paul McCartney - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:25
VIDEO-Paul McCartney: "Michelle" - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:16
VIDEO-Weekly Address: Making Our Communities Stronger Through Fair Housing - YouTube
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:07
VIDEO-Carly Fiorina: Hillary Clinton 'Has Blood on Her Hands' | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:56
Video cross-posted here at NewsBusters. During an appearance on Fox News' The Kelly File on Monday, Carly Fiorina blasted Hillary Clinton over her dishonesty surrounding her use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as Secretary of State.
VIDEO-Former Cyber Command Director: 'How Many Hackers Are Already in Places That We Really Care About?' | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:48
Retired Maj. Gen. Brett Williams, former director of operations for the U.S. Cyber Command, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he wonders how many more hackers "are already in places that we really care about" just "waiting for the right time" to conduct another attack "as serious as" the recent cyber attack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
VIDEO-Even 'View' Crew Mocks Obama's Nuke Deal: 'Tipping Off' Iran? | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:40
[See NewsBusters for more.] If you're a liberal president and you've lost the women of The View, that's a bad sign. Co-hosts Rosie Perez, Nicolle Wallace and Michelle Collins alternatively mocked and questioned Barack Obama's deal with Iran over a nuclear program. Regarding inspections of nuclear sites, Perez derided, "...They say that we have 24/7 access to Iran and inspections. But they have to tip them off first. Okay? Tipping them off is like 'oh, the police are coming, hide the drugs!'" Making her own comparison, Wallace dismissed Obama's deal: "Now, if you have been to summer camp, the only way to keep the boys out of the girls bunk bed is if there is random inspections of the bunk. Not, 'I'm coming in at night!' And that's what we've got."
VIDEO-CNN's Cuomo Rips Santorum on 'Tolerance:' 'Why Aren't You More Like Your Pope?' | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:36
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
CNN's Chris Cuomo tried to shame Rick Santorum on the 14 July 2015 edition of New Day over his opposition to same-sex "marriage." Cuomo indicated that Santorum wasn't in line with Pope Francis on LGBT issues: "Your Pope says tolerance is the message of Catholicism, when asked about gay marriage and LGBT existence within humanity. He says, 'Who am I to judge?' That doesn't work for you. You say you want an amendment that keeps marriage between a man and a woman. Why aren't you more like your pope?"
VIDEO-Morning Joe: Even 'Liberals In California Saying Trump Has a Point' on Immigration | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:34
Today on Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough and regular panelist Nicolle Wallace suggested that liberals are beginning to recognize that Donald Trump ''has a point'' on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities. Wallace, a former Bush staffer, noted she is ''a huge Trump denier. You know, I think he's a bozo. I'm from San Francisco. Right now people in San Francisco, the most liberal city in America, think Trump has a point when it comes to illegal immigration.''
VIDEO-Zbigniew Brzezinski Dismisses Bibi's Criticism of Iran Deal: 'Not a Serious Person' | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:33
Zbigniew Brzezinki is the man who infamously recommended shooting down Israeli warplanes should they attempt to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities. So when David Ignatius asked him on today's Morning Joe what he thought of Bibi Netanyahu's condemnation of the Iran deal, Zbigniew knew he was being teed up to unload on the Israeli PM.
By Zbig's vituperative standards, his response was in fact relatively measured. Still, the utter disdain with which he regards Netanyahu was evident, calling him "not a very serious person" who can entertain Congress but is not good for Israel.
VIDEO-NBC to Sen. Graham: GOP Criticism of Iran Deal Just 'Fantasy'? | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:24
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Citing Obama administration talking points word for word on Wednesday's Today, co-hosts Willie Geist and Savannah Guthrie grilled Republican Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham on GOP opposition to the Iran nuclear deal. Geist, filling in for Matt Lauer, began: ''Secretary Kerry...said yesterday opponents of this deal have proposed no viable alternative....What makes you think that a President Lindsey Graham would have any more luck than President Obama with Iran?''
Graham replied: ''I would tell the Iranians, 'You're not going to get a penny as long as you are you're the largest state sponsor of terrorism'....I would make sure that you would never leave inspections '' take inspections away as long as they were the largest state sponsor of terrorism.''
VIDEO-Obama on Revoking Bill Cosby's Medal of Freedom: 'No Precedent for Revoking a Medal' | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:18
President Barack Obama in a press conference at the White House on Wednesday said there is "no precedent for revoking a medal" when asked whether comedian Bill Cosby - who has been accused of allegedly drugging and raping dozens of women - should have his Presidential Medal of Freedom revoked.
VIDEO-Major Garrett Challenges Obama, Demands Answers on U.S. Prisoners | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:15
[See NewsBusters for more.] CBS journalist Major Garrett on Wednesday grilled Barack Obama, demanding answers to why a deal with Iran didn't include the freeing of four U.S. prisoners in the country. While Garrett and ABC's Jon Karl pressed the President on his negotiations with Iran, there were still plenty of softballs. Garrett solemnly lectured, "...There are four Americans held in Iran, three held on trumped up charges, according to your administration." The reporter demanded, "Can you tell the country, sir, why you are content, with all the fanfare around this deal, to leave the conscience of in this nation, the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?" How much of Garrett's tough query will actually air on the CBS Evening News?
VIDEO-As Kerry Recalled His War Experience at End of Iran Talks 'Everyone Had Tears in Their Eyes' | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:10
Undersecretary of state for political affairs Wendy Sherman on Wednesday recalled ''a moving moment'' in the closing minutes of the Iran nuclear negotiations in Vienna, when Secretary of State John Kerry made a comment about having gone to war as a young man and not wanting to do so again, leaving everyone in the room, including the Iranians, with ''tears in their eyes.''
VIDEO-Shock: ABC, CBS Cover Planned Parenthood Baby Parts Scandal; Video by 'Anti-Abortion Activists' | MRCTV
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 11:04
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Following a censorship on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning of video showing Planned Parenthood senior director of medical services Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussing the selling of body parts from aborted babies, ABC and CBS ended their blackouts on Wednesday night with coverage on their evening newscasts, but made sure to hype the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) as ''anti-abortion activists.''
On the Spanish-language networks, however, the story remained much the same on Wednesday night as MundoFox, Telemundo, and Univision all continued their refusal to even acknowledge the horrifying video.
VIDEO-Remarks by the President at White House Conference on Aging | whitehouse.gov
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:23
East Room
11:12 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) Everybody, please have a seat. Welcome to the White House Conference on Aging, everybody. And please give Vicki a big round of applause for the outstanding work she's doing to help women and families prepare for retirement. (Applause.)
I want to thank the members of Congress who are here, those in my administration who've been working on this issue. I want to especially point out one of my favorite former members of Congress, a legend who's here today -- John Dingell. (Applause.) John, thank you.
John was elected to Congress when he was just 29 -- an over-achiever. Ten years later, he presided over the House chamber for the vote to pass Medicare into law -- an achievement for which he and his father can take some credit. Last week, John turned 89 -- so we want to wish John a happy birthday. He's been a retiree for six months, but he's keeping busy -- just check out his Twitter feed if you don't believe me. (Laughter.) So he's still got some pretty strong opinions.
It is wonderful to be here with all of you. Many of you have devoted your careers to advocating for older Americans. You understand the whole terrain -- not just the challenges, but also the opportunities; not only the questions we're asking today but the questions that we have to start thinking about for tomorrow. And because this conference takes place just once a decade, we've got to make it count.
So one of the best measures of a country is how it treats its older citizens. And by that measure, the United States has a lot to be proud of. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security are some of our greatest triumphs as a nation. When Social Security was signed into law, far too many seniors were living in poverty. When Medicare was created, only a little more than half of all seniors had some form of insurance. Before Medicaid came along, families often had no help paying for nursing home costs. Today, the number of seniors in poverty has fallen dramatically. Every American over 65 has access to affordable health care. And, by the way, since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the uninsured rate for all Americans has fallen by about one-third. (Applause.) Just thought I'd mention that. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: That was pretty good. (Laughter.)
Together we declared that every citizen of this country deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. That choice saved millions upon millions of our people from poverty, allowed them to live longer and better lives. So we got to be proud of that. These American endeavors didn't just make our country better, it reaffirmed our greatness as a country. And it's hard to find a single American whose life hasn't been enriched by these covenants in some fashion.
My grandmother was a fiercely independent woman. She helped to raise me. She didn't have a college degree. She worked her way up, working on bomber assembly lines -- Rosie the Riveter -- during the war, and then went on, got a job as a secretary and then kept on working her way up until she was vice president of a local bank. And after my grandfather died, she chose to live independently. And Medicare and Social Security allowed her to make that choice.
She had the confidence that, having worked hard, played by the rules, she was rewarded with a safe foundation for retirement and she could not fall through those cracks. That was a promise this country made to her and all its citizens. And as a grateful grandson -- who happens to be President -- that is a promise I'm going to make sure we're going to keep for future generations. We've got to make sure that it's there for people who are working today. (Applause.)
But we're going to have work for it. We have to work to do more to ensure that every older American has the resources and the support that they need to thrive. That challenge -- protecting our seniors, dealing with the rising costs of an aging generation, ensuring we have enough home care workers looking out for our family members -- (applause) -- maximizing the contributions that older Americans can make to our country -- these challenges are just becoming more urgent.
And here's why. When we won World War II, everyone came home and had babies. I mean, not literally, everyone, but a lot of people had babies. (Laughter.) And now, each and every day, almost 10,000 of those babies turn 65 years old. So more than 250,000 Americans turn 65 every month. They're living longer and they're living healthier. We're seeing people break athletic records in their 60s.
Diana Nyad is here today, by the way. You do not want to race her in anything. (Laughter and applause.) Arguably the toughest justice on the Supreme Court is the oldest -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- (applause) -- also known as the Notorious R.B.G. (Laughter.) She's tough.
In just about every field, Americans who once might have been dismissed as out of touch or past their primes are making vital contributions in every field. And all of us, as a consequence, are able to raise our own ambitions about what we hope to achieve in our golden years. And since I'm living out dog years here in the presidency -- (laughter) -- this is something I'm paying a lot of attention to. (Laughter.) Look at this hair. (Laughter.) Although I do have hair. (Laughter.) Crowley was laughing a little bit too much over here. (Laughter.)
So since these golden years are coming pretty fast, I want to make sure that we briefly focus on what we've done to strengthen already Medicare, and take a longer look at what we have to do to strengthen retirement even more.
Now, we're often told that Medicare and Social Security are in crisis. We hear that all the time. And usually, that's used as an excuse to try to cut spending on those bedrock programs. But here's the truth. Medicare and Social Security are not in crisis, nor have they kept us from cutting our deficits by two-thirds since I took office. Both programs are facing challenges because of the demographic trends I just talked about. And for Medicare, that means we've got to keep slowing the growth of health care costs, and keep building on the progress we've already made in the past few years.
Since I signed the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- (applause) -- since we signed the ACA into law, we've extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by 13 years. We're moving Medicare towards payment models that require quality of care instead of quantity of care as the measure of what you get paid, creating a different set of incentives. And that's something that will keep older Americans healthy and Medicare healthy as well. What's more, this law has saved over 9 million people on Medicare currently more than $15 billion on their prescriptions. (Applause.)
Now, that doesn't get a lot of notice, but I want everybody to understand. Built into the Affordable Care Act, 9 million seniors have gotten significant discounts on their prescription drugs. They don't always know that it's because of Obamacare, but that's why they've been paying cheaper drug prices. It's also given nearly 40 million people on Medicare free preventive health services. And we've expanded the options for home- and community-based services offered by Medicaid, which means that more older Americans are able to make the same choice that my grandmother did and live independently. (Applause.)
So those are some areas we've made progress. And Sylvia Burwell, who's here, our Secretary of Health and Human Services, I'm sure at some point during this conference will be talking about additional steps that we need to be taking to further improve a delivery system.
And understand, the goal here is not to cut back on services. The goal is to make sure that you're getting more of the services that you need, less of the services you don't, so you've got more money left over to do even more stuff that you need to keep you healthy and active and thriving. Because we have too much waste in the system that's not benefitting patients, but oftentimes just has to do with a really inefficient system or, in some cases, works really well for providers but doesn't work well for the consumer.
Now, even as we're dealing with the health care side, we also know that too many older Americans leave the workforce without having saved enough for a dignified retirement. And it's not as if they haven't tried -- Vicki touched on this issue. There are a lot of folks out here who work really, really hard, but at the end of the day just still don't have enough of a nest egg. In today's economy, preparing for retirement has gotten tougher.
First of all, most workers don't have a traditional pension -- what we used to understand as a defined benefit pension where you were guaranteed a certain amount every year once you retired. A Social Security check on its own oftentimes is not enough. And even though, as a consequence of some of the steps that we took, we pulled ourselves out of a terrible financial crisis and the stock market has now doubled since I took office -- which means that it's replenished the 401(k)s for millions of families -- (applause) -- so that's been important for millions of families across the country, but a lot of people don't have any kind of retirement account at all.
So we're going to have to work hard to deal with these issues. Number one, we have to keep Social Security strong, protecting its future solvency. (Applause.) And I think there are ways, creative ways that people are talking about to protect its future solvency, but also strengthen retirement security for our most vulnerable neighbors. So that's step number one.
Step number two -- for Americans who are doing the hard work of saving for retirement, let's make sure that they get a fair deal. Earlier this year, I announced new steps we're taking to protect Americans by cracking down on conflicts of interest in retirement advice. The goal here is to put an end to Wall Street brokers who benefit from backdoor payments or hidden fees at the expense of their clients. If they are advising you on how to save your money, they should be looking out for you -- not for somebody who's selling a product that may not be best for you. And for the many brokers out there who are doing the right thing, this rule levels the playing field for them and their customers. The notion here is, is we want to make sure responsibility is rewarded and not exploited. So there's a consumer protection element to this whole thing.
Number three -- we've got to make it easier for people to save for retirement. And today, I'm pleased to announce an important step that we're taking to do just that. Right now, about one-third of American workers do not have access to a retirement plan at work -- one-third. That's why every budget request I've submitted since taking office has included a common-sense proposal to automatically enroll workers without access to a workplace retirement plan in an IRA, which would provide an additional 30 million Americans with access to a retirement plan at work.
Now, unfortunately, Congress has repeatedly failed to act on this idea. The good news is states are stepping up -'' just like they're stepping up in other areas where Congress is not doing its work, like raising the minimum wage or making paid sick leave available for working families. (Applause.) So far, a handful of states have passed laws to create new ways for people without a workplace plan to save for retirement. And more than 20 states are thinking about doing the same.
We want to do everything we can to encourage more states to take this step. So I've called on the Department of Labor and Tom Perez to propose a set of rules by the end of the year to provide a clear path forward for states to create retirement savings programs. And if every state did this, tens of millions more Americans could save for retirement at work. (Applause.)
I want to emphasize this point. It is perverse that in this country it is just easier to save if you've already got money. (Laughter.) And I'm talking about not just the fact that you've got money to save; I'm talking about just the mechanics, the mechanisms of being able to save, and then take advantage of the tax benefits of saving. So if we can just make sure that everybody, even if your employer doesn't provide those mechanisms, you still have a way of accessing it, every dollar you put in, that's going to be a dollar that also then benefits from the same kinds of tax advantages that somebody with a million dollars is able to take advantage of all the time.
And that's just fair. That's only fair. And that's all we're trying to do here, is make sure that if you're working hard out there, even if you're not making goo-gobs of money and don't have fancy financial advisors and all that, that you can still put away a little nest egg so that you're protected when you get older.
So this is just one of a number of steps that we're going to be taking to improve the lives of older Americans. As many of you know, over the past year, we've held regional forums with AARP across the country, heard lots of ideas from people, including folks in this room, about how we can make things better -- especially for families and caregivers. So we're going to be moving ahead with several of the ideas that you've given us.
For example, we're going to make it easier for folks who are homebound to get nutritional assistance. We're going to update quality and safety requirements for thousands of nursing homes -- the first major overhaul in nearly 25 years. (Applause.) We're going to train more prosecutors in how to combat elder abuse. (Applause.) We're going to work with Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act -- (applause) -- because we know it will provide critical support to families and communities.
We're going to help federal workers and their supervisors better understand how our policies on workplace flexibility can support employees who are also caregivers to aging parents. That's important. (Applause.) And I'm going to keep fighting to make family leave and workplace flexibility available to every American, no matter where they work. It's the right thing to do. (Applause.)
Every study shows that the kind of workplace flexibility we're talking about isn't just good for the employees; ultimately, it ends up being good for the employers, because you get more loyal, more productive employees with less turnover. And it's the right thing to do. And with the technologies that we have today, there's no reason why we can't make this happen.
So this year, we mark the 80th anniversary of Social Security. We mark the 50th anniversary of Medicare. We've grown so accustomed to these programs being a part of American life -- these bedrock, foundation stones of our society -- sometimes it's easy to forget how revolutionary they were at the time. They were hard to get done. When FDR tried to pass Social Security, critics called it ''socialism.'' When President Kennedy and President Johnson -- and the Dingells -- worked to create Medicare, cynics raised the alarm about government takeover of health care. And now we've got signs saying, ''Get your government hands off of my Medicare.'' (Laughter.)
The point is change has always been hard. Detractors always are trying to maximize people's fear of the unknown. But ultimately, hope triumphs over fear. We choose to do big things here in America. Like I said a couple weeks back -- three generations ago, we chose to end the era where seniors were left to languish in poverty. Two generations ago, we chose to end an age when Americans in their golden years didn't have the guarantee of health care. This generation, we chose to go even further, and now health care in America is more affordable and available than ever before.
In this anniversary of those incredible achievements, we need to recommit ourselves to finishing the work that earlier generations began-- make sure this is a country that remains one where no matter who you are or where you started off, you're treated with dignity, your hard work is rewarded, your contributions are valued, you have a shot to achieve your dreams whatever your age.
That's the America we're all working for. And I'm proud to work alongside you. Thank you so much. Congratulations. Have a wonderful conference. Thank you. (Applause.)
END 11:39 A.M. EDT
VIDEO-Welcome Remarks for U.S.-Ukraine Open Skies Signing Ceremony
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 10:20
Catherine A. NovelliUnder Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment
I wish to welcome Minister Pyvovarsky and our Ukrainian friends to this happy and important occasion. We are gathered here today to sign the U.S.-Ukraine Open Skies Agreement in the historic Treaty Room where the United States has formalized many important international agreements with friends and allies from around the world.
This agreement is a tangible example of the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between the United States and Ukraine. It strengthens our bilateral economic ties and facilitates the growth of civil aviation between our two countries.
And fostering closer ties and economic growth is exactly what Open Skies agreements are meant to do. Since 1992, the United States has entered into almost 120 bilateral Open Skies agreements.
Over two decades, these agreements have vastly expanded passenger and cargo flights to and from the United States, promoted increased travel and trade, enhanced productivity, and spurred high-quality job opportunities and economic growth for both the United States and our foreign partners.
A study released by the Brookings Institution this March estimated that U.S. Open Skies agreements have generated at least $4 billion in annual gains to both American and foreign travelers. These agreements also produce countless new cultural links worldwide.
Open Skies agreements work because they eliminate government interference in the commercial decisions of air carriers about routes, capacity, and pricing: this allows carriers to provide more affordable, convenient, and efficient air service.
By allowing air carriers unlimited access to partner countries, Open Skies agreements also provide flexibility for alliance partners while supporting high standards for aviation safety and security.
Finally, Open Skies agreements facilitate code-sharing and other cooperative relationships between carriers. For example, any Ukrainian carrier can now establish code-sharing alliances with any U.S. or third-country carrier to any point in the United States.
I am honored to represent my government today in building closer ties and economic partnership with the Ukrainian government and people through the U.S.-Ukraine Open Skies Agreement.
Minister Pyvovarsky, would you care to make a few remarks?
VIDEO-Obama praised the Koch Brothers in his remarks on criminal justice reform | Rare
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:54
Down seems to be the new up for the Obama administration this week. After years of merciless raids of legal marijuana dispensaries in the states, the President commuted the sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders on Monday. Then on Tuesday, the president put criminal justice reform on the radar in a speech at the NAACP convention.
However, these two developments aren't even the most shocking part. In the same NAACP speech, the President praised none other than the Koch Brothers:
This is a cause that's bringing people in both houses of Congress together. It's created some unlikely bedfellows. You've got Van Jones and Newt Gingrich. (Laughter.) You've got Americans for Tax Reform and the ACLU. You've got the NAACP and the Koch brothers. (Laughter.) No, you've got to give them credit. You've got to call it like you see it. (Laughter.)
Your eyes are not deceiving you. After years of demonizing Charles and David Koch for the ''crime'' of using their free speech to advocate for policy change, the President has changed his tune on the billionaires '-- at least on the issue of criminal justice reform.
And why shouldn't he? The Kochs have poured millions of dollars into groups like the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to fight for reforms over the past ten years. Even more encouraging, the Kochs just launched a bipartisan criminal justice campaign called the Coalition for Public Safety with groups spanning the political spectrum '-- the ACLU, Americans For Tax Reform, Center for American Progress, and FreedomWorks, to name just a few.
Hopefully the left will follow the Obama administration's lead in seeing the humanity behind their favorite villains.
Criminal justice reform is achievable if both sides put their biases behind them and continue to work together on what's right.
Like Rare Politics on FacebookCasey Given is Director of Communication at Students For Liberty and Director of Young Voices. Casey is Rare columnist whose work has also appeared in Forbes, The Hill, Houston Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel and RealClearPolicy. Follow him on Twitter @CaseyJGiven
[VIDEO] Watch Obama SNAP When Reporter Asks Him This Question About Iran Deal - Allen B. West - AllenBWest.com
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 08:15
After nearly two days of hoopla over the so-called ''deal'' we struck with Iran, the unthinkable happened. Finally.
Someone '-- a journalist, no less! '-- asked President Obama about the four American hostages who remain held by Iran. You know, the four American citizens whose freedom was left off the negotiating table in they ''historic'' deal?
Well, it was about time someone brought that up. But President Obama sure didn't like it.
Watch his face closely as Obama scolds CBS's Major Garrett, the one who dared ask:
Kudos to CBS's Major Garrett for not giving President Obama a pass on this important question. Seeing how our flatlining president struggled to maintain his cool '-- and restrain his visible anger '-- you clearly struck a nerve. Which is good to see, given how much our government's apparent dismissal of these four Americans has been getting on our nerves.
VIDEO-What We Learned About Waco This Weekend | The Aging Rebel
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 08:49
The Twin Peaks Massacre has always, clearly, been an ATF or FBI operation gone terribly wrong. The Waco police and most of official Waco have been lying about it since May 17. A couple of pieces of evidence became generally available this weekend that shine a little light into this black hole of deceit.
First, it is now absolutely inarguable that at least 182 people were arrested on May 17 and that five of them were ''unarrested'' by 5:28 a.m. the next morning. In an early morning fax from Waco Detective Sam Key to lay Justice of the Peace ''Pete'' Peterson, Key says, ''These are the five guys we 'unarrested.' Thanks for all your help.''
The five men set free were Rodney Nash, Terry Gott, Robert Douglas, Keith Rodgers and Gerald Lowery. Generally, in ATF biker roundups, confidential informants are arrested with other suspects and then turned loose when nobody is looking.
Confidential InformantsConfidential informants in numerous cases are paid around $3000 a month and they are allowed to keep everything they can steal. In multiple cases, for example Mesa Mike Kramer, the CIs are alowed to get away with assaults and murder. Their primary job is to act as agents provocateur and solicit drug and gun buys and instigate other crimes. Some confidential informants are men who have been caught at some crime and are offered the choice of betraying their friends or going to prison. Some CIs are pros '' like the semi-famous snitches James ''Pops'' Blankenship, Alex Caine, Ashley Charles Wyatt (who is now calling himself Charles Falco and who has been cited as a biker authority in news accounts of the Twin Peaks massacre), George Rowe, the late ''Coconut Dan'' Horrigan, ''Mesa Mike'' Kramer, James ''Pagan Ronnie'' Howerton and Steve Veltus. They are all loathsome men. They are all career criminals who have avoided punishment by entrapping other men who loved them like brothers. They are all men who ruin lives for a living
Since they were actually arrested, the men released in secret at dawn on May 18, were clearly not undercover agents. The Aging Rebel has been told and has reported that two members of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club took off their club insignia and put on police windbreakers and balaclavas shortly after the shooting stopped on May 17. They were probably undercover FBI or ATF agents. The Aging Rebel believes the men released on May 17 were part of an ongoing federal investigation that exploded into violence. Based on interview with numerous sources, The Aging Rebel believes the violence was instigated by federal agents, that it was unnecessary and that the blatant Waco coverup that has ensued is intended to protect federal, state and local policeman from civil and criminal liability and embarrassment.
Murder And TamperingSurveillance footage from one of the sixteen cameras at the Don Carlos restaurant, which sits across a parking lot from the Twin Peaks, also emerged this weekend. Numerous viewers of the video have complained that it doesn't show much. This morning Breitbart News headlined its account of the video ''Leaked Don Carlos Video Reveals Little About Waco Twin Peaks Shooting.''
The video does have its moments though, and limited though it is it appears to document two crimes committed by police '' falsifying evidence and a possible murder. The video shows that during one second, between 12:41:17 p.m. and 12:41:18 p.m., a person who is running away from the fight and who is well behind what seems to be the police line appears to get shot in the back and falls forward to the left front of a white hatchback car. He never rises during the next 85 minutes of the video.
The most chilling sequence in the video begins at 1:20:50 p.m. Two plain clothes operators stand under the Don Carlos porch and point toward what seems to be the dead body. Six seconds later one of the operators, a gray haired man wearing a light orange shirt and a machine gun, walks toward the apparent body. He disappears briefly as he talks to a uniformed cop at about 1:21:07 p.m. Then at 1:21:35 he clearly and unmistakably places something on the ground of this crime scene. Then he quickly walks away.
At 1:59:31 p.m. a uniformed officer walks over to the evidence planted by the plain clothes cop and marks it as evidence. Presumably, it is now part of the official case against the 177 men and women who were arrested but not ''unarrested.''
Clearly, the Waco police investigation is corrupt. Clearly, justice in Waco is corrupt. And clearly it is not enough for the Department of Justice to intervene in this case because there is probable cause to believe that multiple employees of the Department of Justice are the engineers of this mockery of the American way.
VIDEO-See how 'El Chapo' escaped prison through a tunnel - YouTube
Wed, 15 Jul 2015 08:09
VIDEO-Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts - YouTube
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:53
VIDEO-Son of Boston Police Captain Arrested as Possible Terrorist - ABC News
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:19
The estranged son of a respected Boston police captain was arrested July 4 by FBI agents as part of a counter-terrorism operation against alleged ISIS-inspired domestic terrorists, federal officials told ABC News today.
Alexander Ciccolo, 23, of Adams, Mass., was taken into custody on gun charges after buying two pistols and two rifles from an undercover FBI confidential informant, federal officials said. In a search of his apartment, officials reported they found it loaded with possible bomb-making equipment including a pressure cooker, a variety of chemicals, an alarm clock, along with ''attack planning papers'' and ''jihad'' paperwork. FBI agents said he used the name Abu Ali al-Amriki and neighbors said he was a recent convert to Islam.
''This is a very bad person arrested before he could do very bad things,'' one senior federal official briefed on the arrest told ABC News.According to the FBI, Ciccolo attempted to stab a nurse in the head with a pen during a routine screening, ''leaving a hole in the nurse's skin.''
Department of Justice
PHOTO: A photo of weapons allegedly purchased by Alexander Ciccolo was entered into evidence.
An FBI affidavit said Ciccolo initially planned to travel to ''another state'' and use a pressure cooker bomb ''to conduct terrorist attacks on civilians, members of the U.S. military and law enforcement personnel.'' The FBI said the attack location was later changed to a town with a state university and would be concentrated on ''college dorms and cafeteria, to include executions of students, which would be broadcast live via the internet.''
Ciccolo's father is Boston police Captain Robert Ciccolo, a veteran commander assigned to Operations at Boston Police headquarters who was one of those to respond to the deadly Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013. According to the FBI, the younger Ciccolo said he was ''inspired'' by the Marathon bombing and the use of pressure cooker bombs, and told the FBI undercover operative, ''Allahu Akbar!!! I got the pressure cooker today.''
Law enforcement officials said Capt. Ciccolo alerted counter-terrorism authorities about a year ago that his son, with whom he had had minimal contact for several years, ''was going off the deep end'' and ''spouting extremist jihadist sympathies.''
According to the affidavit of an FBI agent, the younger Ciccolo recently stated that he is, ''not afraid to die for the cause," and that he characterized America as ''Satan'' and ''disgusting.''
Capt. Ciccolo did not respond to a request for comment but late Monday the Ciccolo family posted a statement on the Boston Police Department's website.
"While we were saddened and disappointed to learn of our son's intentions, we are grateful that authorities were able to prevent any loss of life or harm to others," the statement reads. "At this time, we would ask that the public and the media recognize our grief and respect our desire for privacy."
George Rizer/Getty Images
PHOTO: Boston cab drivers rallied before attending a hearing, chaired by Capt. Robert Ciccolo, with Boston Police Hackney Division at Roxbury Community College regarding a proposed fare increase on June 24, 2015 in Boston.
According to the FBI affidavit, Ciccolo posted a photo of a dead American soldier and wrote, ''Thank you Islamic State. Now we won't have to deal with these kafir back in America.'' Kafir is a reference to non-believers of Islam. In a meeting with an FBI cooperating witness, Ciccolo praised the recent terror attack on a beach resort in Tunisia that killed 39 people, according to the FBI affidavit. ''Awesome. Awesome, you that ah, that brother in Tunisia was impressive,'' Ciccolo allegedly said.
The younger Ciccolo is scheduled to be in court in Springfield, Massachusetts Tuesday morning for a detention hearing. He was quietly arraigned last Monday on the gun charges, according to documents filed in federal court today. Ciccolo has been held at the Wyatt federal lockup in Rhode Island since his arrest.
Obtained by ABC News
PHOTO: Federal agents search a home in Adams, Mass. on July 4.
Last week FBI Director James Comey said agents had arrested more than 10 people with suspected ties to ISIS and that the busts foiled planned Fourth of July attacks.
''I do believe that our work disrupted efforts to kill people, likely in connection with July 4th,'' Comey said.
Ciccolo's arrest was among the ones that interrupted a planned attack, the officials said.
Prior to allegedly becoming an ISIS sympathizer, Ciccolo was photographed attending an anti-nuclear "peace walk" in 2012.
Jun Yasuda, a Buddhist who walked with Ciccolo in July 2012, told ABC News Ciccolo appeared to be ''concerned about peace'... and understood about non-violent protest.''
''We walked together after Fukushima, and he realized that he had an open mind and that people were wonderful,'' Yasuda said.
Michele McPhee is a Boston-based freelance journalist and frequent contributor to ABC News. ABC News' Alexander Hosenball contributed to this report.
Northumberland News
Alexander Ciccolo participates in a "peace walk" in 2012.
VIDEO-McDonald's Minion Toys Cursing? - Happy Meal Minion Toys Talking WTF - YouTube
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 08:48
VIDEO-Study: Sun's irregular heartbeat may bring freeze - CNN.com
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 08:45
Story highlightsNorthumbria University researchers say models show a freeze for the Northern Hemisphere in 15 yearsExperts caution that the data should be scrutinized furtherThe sun has a "solar heartbeat," or cycle of activity, that produces energy that causes sunspots and solar flares. Scientists at Northumbria University in northeast England developed a model that illustrates the history of these heartbeats and that predicts there will be irregularities in them. The model suggests that solar activity will fall by 60% during the 2030s.
According to the Royal Astronomical Society, the researchers studied the sun's magnetic field activity between 1976 and 2008. They compared their predictions with average sunspot numbers, another strong marker of solar activity, the society reported.
The researchers' model showed a 97% level of accuracy, said Valentina Zharkova, a Northumbria University mathematics professor.
So how cold could it get?
The scientists say their findings could mean a deep freeze like the one Great Britain experienced around 1900, when the Thames River froze over.
CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller says the study looks intriguing, but it has not been peer reviewed, or subjected to the scrutiny of the larger scientific community.
"This isn't published research yet," he said. "Our ability to forecast the specifics of a solar cycle is incredibly poor. It's worse than forecasting in a hurricane season."
Doug Biesecker, who works at the Space Weather Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado, agrees with Miller.
He said the research shouldn't give anyone the idea that because the weather may cool, climate change is not something to be worried about.
"It's a very complicated issue," Biesecker, an expert in solar physics, told CNN. "Does the sun have a role in our variable climate? Yes. Is the dominant role? No. Even the concept of the sun being responsible for Europe's mini ice age -- it's not hard-and-fast true."
Bottom line: The research needs a closer look.
AUDIO-Exclusive: Yanis Varoufakis opens up about his five month battle to save Greece
Mon, 13 Jul 2015 16:17
Yanis Varoufakis says this deal "will be worse". Photo: Getty
Read the full Q&A transcript of our interview with Varoufakis here.
Greece has finally reached an agreement with its creditors. The specifics have not yet been published, but it is clear that the deal signed is more punitive and demanding than the one that its government has spent the past five months desperately trying to resist.
The accord follows 48 hours in which Germany demanded control of Greece's finances or its withdrawal from the euro. Many observers across Europe were stunned by the move. Yanis Varoufakis was not. When I spoke with Greece's former finance minister last week, I asked him whether any deal struck in the days ahead would be good for his country.
''If anything it will be worse,'' he said. ''I trust and hope that our government will insist on debt restructuring, but I can't see how the German finance minister [Wolfgang Sch¤uble] is ever going to sign up to this. If he does, it will be a miracle.''
It's a miracle the Greek people are likely to be waiting for a long time for. On Friday night, when Greece's parliament agreed to an austerity programme that voters had overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum five days earlier, a deal seemed imminent. A partial write-off of its debt owed to the so-called "Troika" '' the IMF, the European Central bank and the European Commission '' was unlikely but possible. Now, despite its government's capitulation, Greece has no debt relief and may yet be thrown out of the Eurozone.
Varoufakis, who resigned a week ago, has been criticised for not signing an agreement sooner, but he said the deal that Greece was offered was not made in good faith '' or even one that the Troika wanted completed. In an hour-long telephone interview with the New Statesman, he called the creditors' proposals '' those agreed to by the Athens government on Friday night, which now seem somehow generous '' ''absolutely impossible, totally non-viable and toxic '...[they were] the kind of proposals you present to another side when you don't want an agreement.''
Varoufakis added: ''This country must stop extending and pretending, we must stop taking on new loans pretending that we've solved the problem, when we haven't; when we have made our debt even less sustainable on condition of further austerity that even further shrinks the economy; and shifts the burden further onto the have-nots, creating a humanitarian crisis.''
In Varoufakis's account, the Troika never genuinely negotiated during his five months as finance minister. He argued that Alexis Tsipras's Syriza government was elected to renegotiate an austerity programme that had clearly failed; over the past five years it has put a quarter of Greeks out of work, and created the worst depression anywhere in the developed world since the 1930s. But he thinks that Greece's creditors simply led him on.
A short-term deal could, Varoufakis said, have been struck soon after Syriza came to power in late January. ''Three or four reforms'' could have been agreed, and restrictions on liquidity eased by the ECB in return.
Instead, ''The other side insisted on a 'comprehensive agreement', which meant they wanted to talk about everything. My interpretation is that when you want to talk about everything, you don't want to talk about anything.'' But a comprehensive agreement was impossible. ''There were absolutely no [new] positions put forward on anything by them.''
Varoufakis said that Sch¤uble, Germany's finance minister and the architect of the deals Greece signed in 2010 and 2012, was ''consistent throughout''. ''His view was 'I'm not discussing the programme '' this was accepted by the previous [Greek] government and we can't possibly allow an election to change anything.
''So at that point I said 'Well perhaps we should simply not hold elections anymore for indebted countries', and there was no answer. The only interpretation I can give [of their view] is, 'Yes, that would be a good idea, but it would be difficult. So you either sign on the dotted line or you are out.'''
It is well known that Varoufakis was taken off Greece's negotiating team shortly after Syriza took office; he was still in charge of the country's finances but no longer in the room. It's long been unclear why. In April, he said vaguely that it was because ''I try and talk economics in the Eurogroup'' '' the club of 19 finance ministers whose countries use the Euro '' ''which nobody does.'' I asked him what happened when he did.
''It's not that it didn't go down well '' there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. You put forward an argument that you've really worked on, to make sure it's logically coherent, and you're just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven't spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem '' you'd have got the same reply.''
This weekend divisions surfaced within the Eurogroup, with countries split between those who seemed to want a ''Grexit'' and those demanding a deal. But Varoufakis said they were always been united in one respect: their refusal to renegotiate.
''There were people who were sympathetic at a personal level, behind closed doors, especially from the IMF.'' He confirmed that he was referring to Christine Lagarde, the IMF director. ''But then inside the Eurogroup [there were] a few kind words and that was it: back behind the parapet of the official version. '... Very powerful figures look at you in the eye and say 'You're right in what you're saying, but we're going to crunch you anyway'.''
Varoufakis was reluctant to name individuals, but added that the governments that might have been expected to be the most sympathetic towards Greece were actually their ''most energetic enemies''. He said that the ''greatest nightmare'' of those with large debts '' the governments of countries like Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland '' ''was our success''. ''Were we to succeed in negotiating a better deal, that would obliterate them politically: they would have to answer to their own people why they didn't negotiate like we were doing.''
He suggested that Greece's creditors had a strategy to keep his government busy and hopeful of a compromise, but in reality they were slowly suffering and eventually desperate.
''They would say we need all your data on the fiscal path on which Greek finds itself, all the data on state-owned enterprises. So we spent a lot of time trying to provide them with it and answering questionnaires and having countless meetings.
''So that would be the first phase. The second phase was they'd ask us what we intended to do on VAT. They would then reject our proposal but wouldn't come up with a proposal of their own. And then, before we would get a chance to agree on VAT, they would shift to another issue, like privatisation. They would ask what we want to do about privatisation: we put something forward, they would reject it. Then they'd move onto another topic, like pensions, from there to product markets, from there to labour relations. '... It was like a cat chasing its own tail.''
His conclusion was succinct. ''We were set up.''
And he was adamant about who is responsible. I asked whether German attitudes control the outlook of the Eurogroup. Varoufakis went further. ''Oh completely and utterly. Not attitudes '' the finance minister of Germany. It is all like a very well-tuned orchestra and he is the director.
''Only the French minister [Michel Sapin] made noises that were different from the German line, and those noises were very subtle. You could sense he had to use very judicious language, to be seen not to oppose. And in the final analysis, when Dr Sch¤uble responded and effectively determined the official line, the French minister would always fold.''
If Sch¤uble was the unrelenting enforcer, the German chancellor Angela Merkel presented a different face. While Varoufakis never dealt with her, he said, ''From my understanding, she was very different. She tried to placate the Prime Minister [Tsipras] '' she said 'We'll find a solution, don't worry about it, I won't let anything awful happen, just do your homework and work with the institutions, work with the Troika; there can be no dead end here.'''
The divide seems to have been brief, and perhaps even deliberate. Varoufakis thinks that Merkel and Sch¤uble's control over the Eurogroup is absolute, and that the group itself is beyond the law.
Days before Varoufakis's resignation on 6 July, when Tsipras called the referendum on the Eurogroup's belated and effectively unchanged offer, the Eurogroup issued a communiqu(C) without Greek consent. This was against Eurozone convention. The move was quietly criticised by some in the press before being overshadowed by the build-up to the referendum, but Varoufakis considered it pivotal.
WhenJeroen Dijsselbloem, the European Council President, tried to issue the communiqu(C) without him, Varoufakis consulted Eurogroup clerks '' could Dijsselbloem exclude a member state? The meeting was briefly halted. After a handful of calls, a lawyer turned to him and said, ''Well, the Eurogroup does not exist in law, there is no treaty which has convened this group.''
''So,'' Varoufakis said, ''What we have is a non-existent group that has the greatest power to determine the lives of Europeans. It's not answerable to anyone, given it doesn't exist in law; no minutes are kept; and it's confidential. No citizen ever knows what is said within . . . These are decisions of almost life and death, and no member has to answer to anybody.''
Events this weekend seem to support Varoufakis' account. On Saturday evening, a memo leaked that showed Germany was suggesting Greece should take a ''timeout'' from the Eurozone. By the end of the day, Sch¤uble's recommendation was the conclusion of the Eurogroup's statement. It's unclear how that happened; the body operates in secret. While Greeks hung on reports of their fate this weekend, no minutes were released from any meetings.
The referendum of 5 July has also been rapidly forgotten. It was preemptively dismissed by the Eurozone, and many people saw it as a farce '' a sideshow that offered a false choice and created false hope, and was only going to ruin Tsipras when he later signed the deal he was campaigning against. As Sch¤uble supposedly said, elections cannot be allowed to change anything. But Varoufakis believes that it could have changed everything. On the night of the referendum he had a plan, Tsipras just never quite agreed to it.
The Eurozone can dictate terms to Greece because it is no longer fearful of a Grexit. It is convinced that its banks are now protected if Greek banks default. But Varoufakis thought that he still had some leverage: once the ECB forced Greece's banks to close, he could act unilaterally.
He said he spent the past month warning the Greek cabinet that the ECB would close Greece's banks to force a deal. When they did, he was prepared to do three things: issue euro-denominated IOUs; apply a ''haircut'' to the bonds Greek issued to the ECB in 2012, reducing Greece's debt; and seize control of the Bank of Greece from the ECB.
None of the moves would constitute a Grexit but they would have threatened it. Varoufakis was confident that Greece could not be expelled by the Eurogroup; there is no legal provision for such a move. But only by making Grexit possible could Greece win a better deal. And Varoufakis thought the referendum offered Syriza the mandate they needed to strike with such bold moves '' or at least to announce them.
He hinted at this plan on the eve of the referendum, and reports later suggested this was what cost him his job. He offered a clearer explanation.
As the crowds were celebrating on Sunday night in Syntagma Square, Syriza's six-strong inner cabinet held a critical vote. By four votes to two, Varoufakis failed to win support for his plan, and couldn't convince Tsipras. He had wanted to enact his ''triptych'' of measures earlier in the week, when the ECB first forced Greek banks to shut. Sunday night was his final attempt. When he lost his departure was inevitable.
''That very night the government decided that the will of the people, this resounding 'No', should not be what energised the energetic approach [his plan]. Instead it should lead to major concessions to the other side: the meeting of the council of political leaders, with our Prime Minister accepting the premise that whatever happens, whatever the other side does, we will never respond in any way that challenges them. And essentially that means folding. '... You cease to negotiate.''
Varoufakis's resignation brought an end to a four-and-a-half year partnership with Tsipras, a man he met for the first time in late 2010. An aide to Tsipras had sought him out after his criticisms of George Papandreou's government, which accepted the first Troika bailout in 2010.
''He [Tsipras] wasn't clear back then what his views were, on the drachma versus the euro, on the causes of the crises, and I had very, well shall I say, 'set views' on what was going on. A dialogue begun '... I believe that I helped shape his views of what should be done.''
And yet Tsipras diverged from him at the last. He understands why. Varoufakis could not guarantee that a Grexit would work. After Syriza took power in January, a small team had, ''in theory, on paper,'' been thinking through how it might. But he said that, ''I'm not sure we would manage it, because managing the collapse of a monetary union takes a great deal of expertise, and I'm not sure we have it here in Greece without the help of outsiders.'' More years of austerity lie ahead, but he knows Tsipras has an obligation to ''not let this country become a failed state''.
Their relationship remains ''extremely amicable'', he said, although when we spoke on Thursday, they hadn't talked all week.
Despite failing to strike a new deal, Varoufakis does not seem disappointed. He told me he is ''on top of the world.''
''I no longer have to live through this hectic timetable,'' he said, ''which was absolutely inhuman, just unbelievable. I was on two hours sleep every day for five months. '... I'm also relieved I don't have to sustain any longer this incredible pressure to negotiate for a position I find difficult to defend.''
His relief is unsurprising. Varoufakis was appointed to negotiate with a Europe that didn't want to talk, no longer feared a ''Grexit'' and effectively controlled the Greek treasury's bank accounts. Many commentators think he was foolish, and the local and foreign journalists I met last week in Athens spoke of him as if he was a criminal. Some people will never forgive him for strangling a nascent recovery by reopening negotiations. And others will blame him for whichever harsh fate awaits Greece this week.
But Varoufakis seemed unconcerned. Throughout our conversation he never raised his voice. He came across as imperturbably calm, and often chuckled. His conservation wasn't tinged with regret; he appears to be treating the loss of power as ambivalently as he treated its acquisition.
Now he will remain an MP and continue to play a role in Syriza. He will also return to a half-finished book on the crisis, mull the new offers publishers have already begun to send him, and may return to the University of Athens in some capacity after two years teaching in Texas.
By resigning and not signing a deal he abhorred, he has kept both his conscience free and his reputation intact. His country remains locked in a trap he spent years opposing and months fighting, but he has escaped.
Harry Lambert (@harrylambert1) ran the New Statesman's UK election site, May2015.com.
This article was corrected at 14.18 on 13/7/15 to say it was Jeroen Dijsselbloem, not Tusk, who issued the communique, and was also changed to reflect the fact that Varoufakis wishes to continue being in politics.
VIDEO: Schlussel & Taxin on Malia Obama's Porn Show Job
Mon, 13 Jul 2015 08:48
By Debbie Schlussel
The Obamas like to present themselves as a wholesome family and as parents who shelter their children from crap. But it's the exact opposite. In fact, their teen daughter is working on a disgusting porn show for the summer. Adam Taxin and I discussed this last week, and I forgot to mention on the video that Malia Obama's new boss isn't just a child molester and proud of it. She's also an open Jew-hater and proud of that, too. Blame Adam for the ipecac-esque pic of Malia Obama's boss, for whom she's fetching coffee (and, maybe, condoms).
Watch the video . . .
Here is my review of ''Tiny Furniture,'' in which Lena Dunham got her start. She produced, directed, and starred in this dreck of a movie.
Here is my article on Lauren Bush Lauren ''dating'' (euphemism) a prominent member of Al-Qaeda's top financial family in the U.S.
Here is my article in 2006 breaking the news about Barack Obama being a Muslim (for which I was roundly attacked by both the left AND the right).
As referenced in the video discussion, here is my article on Obama and his attendance at an Indonesian madrassa (where he studied the koran).


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Agenda 21

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Big Pharma

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Hillary 2016

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JCD Clips

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Out There

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War on Religion

CNN's Cuomo Rips Santorum on 'Tolerance-' 'Why Aren't You More Like Your Pope?'.mp3
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