Cover for No Agenda Show 742: A.Q. in the Maghrim
July 26th, 2015 • 3h 1m

742: A.Q. in the Maghrim


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

UT Students are overrunning my building
It's So Funny!
Tic are urges, like sneezing
From Jeremy:
I've acknowledged the sniffing thing for months and have refrained from mentioning anything. I even noticed you trying to duck it under the noise gate. I knew it was a tick and figured you'd eventually switch it to another one that listeners wouldn't have to bare. I know you've been through a lot and I'm glad you're working with your therapist. Although it's completely annoying, I hope folks can listen past it and appreciate the actual content of the show that we all value. I believe that now you've addressed it with your audience, it will soon disappear. It does have to stop though as NA can't possibly be called the "Best Podcast in the Universe" with one of the hosts incessantly sniffing. Your a professional dammit, get ahold of yourself!
Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''742, 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. § 1742^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". January 16, 2003.
Sounds of No Agenda Dub:
Sounds of No Agenda on the App Store on iTunes
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:59
Open iTunes to buy and download apps.
DescriptionIn the morning! Introducing a brand new app for No Agenda fans that does only one thing, let's you enjoy your favorite NA sounds and jingles on your iOS device. The rest of the No Agenda experience has been sufficiently covered by other apps, so we decided to create an app that focuses on making one of the most entertaining parts of the show even more fun. Inside, you'll find a comprehensive library of sounds from past to present, over 110 and growing. Overlay sounds in sequence to create all new combinations and mark any sounds as favorites to have quick access via a dedicated ''Favorites'' section. Take your creativity to the next level by creating Dubsmash style videos, sending hilarious photo-grams by combining sounds with photos, and even combine any number of hits and export as an M4R, ready for import to iTunes as a ringtone.
Purchase now and start enjoying:
* 110+ No Agenda sounds from past to present ** Organize by favorite sounds ** Make ringtones from any sound combos ** Create Dubsmash style video dubs *'* Send sound-grams by combining any sound with a photo *
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View In iTunesThis app is designed for both iPhone and iPad
Category:EntertainmentReleased:Jul 22, 2015Version:1.0.0Size: 31.4 MBLanguage: EnglishSeller:Atlantia Software LLC(C) 2015 Atlantia Software LLCCompatibility:Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.
Self Esteem Movement
Email from millennial-Barney TV show
I was born in 1980, not quite millennial but too late for X, and I saw the entire swing of "self-esteem". In primary and middle school we'd get participation ribbons for being part of an event, but if you played in a little league, you didn't get anything for losing. You got a verbal "You all put a out a lot of effort out there, but here's where we need more work to win. Let's practice and get better." By the time I was 13, the self-esteem movement was in full swing, apparent in the children's programming known as Barney and Friends (watched religiously by my 2&3 year old siblings). One regular song went "You are special, you're the only one/You're the only one like you/There isn’t another in the whole wide world/Who can do the things you do." Even at 13 I knew that was bullshit designed to artificially inflate self-esteem. I also observed that kids that watched Barney were little shits and kids that didn't were well-behaved. It became apparent that real self-esteem is not from being told that you're great and a winner all the time; it's from actually putting in the effort to accomplish a goal. All that movement accomplished was creating people who can't deal with criticism or even being told they are not performing the best, and this moved into the US Air Force, where, until the rating system changed this year, everyone received the highest performance rating unless they messed up and giving a subordinate an honest lower rating hurt their chances for promotion, awards, and special duty assignments at best, and sent them crying to counselling at worst. We'll see how people take a forced distribution of ratings in the coming year. The actual top performers will probably be called "boot-lickers" and have implications of favors performed by others who really just show up to work. 4 years to retirement can't come any sooner.
Rob C
Millennial is afraid of Red Scare [email]
Hello Mr. Curry,
I've been meaning to send you guys an email for a while and had originally hoped
to send it with a donation but those efforts were delayed and all this millenial
talk on last Sunday's episode made me want to respond.
Being a millenial myself I disagree with the notion that we've changed. Most
people I meet my age are so tied into social media brainwashing that I'd be
suprised if we bring about any sort of revolution. The only difference I see is
we've replaced celebrity news with twitter and instagram. I was also suprised
that anyone who was disturbed by Obama's unfulfilled promises still has any
faith in the political system. At this point, if I'm voting at all, it's going
to be entirely based on entertainment value.
The second point is much more important to the show and it's one of anonymity.
My main concern about contacting or supporting the show is having ties to you
guys during next decade's Red Scare. My fear is anyone who's on your books is
going to be on trial for supporting hate speech and/or terrorist propoganda.
Using email (forget about twitter) for your main communication is just asking to
persecuted in the event something like this happens. Even with gpg encryption
the sender and reciever are still in cleartext, ignoring the possibility of your
servers being compromised. Also, outside of snailmailing you guys cash, I can't
see a way for me to donate without getting wrapped up in all this.
Though I'm sure there are producers much more skilled than me, I could help you
guys set up a hidden tor service running an email anonymizer or something to
handle communication if you guys are interested. That would be much easier for
all the privacy conscious out here. Also, I'm going to get laughed at, but if
you guys could implement bitcoin donations it'd be greatly appreciated. There
are even services out there (Coinbase being the first that comes to mind) that
will accept bitcoins, exchange them for USD automatically, and deposit the money
into your account. That way you guys don't have to have ANY faith in the
currency. It'll only be another avenue for people to support.
All of this makes you guys saying, "Thank you for your courage" resonate
strongly with me. I sincerely thank you guys for putting on such a great show
and hope none of my concerns are realized. I'll check this email over the next
few weeks for a response if you'd rather keep it off the air. After that this
will likely be a dead email address. If you want sources or further explination
for any of this I'll happily oblige.
A dude named Ben
Isn't a new phenomenon [email]
Self-Esteem Movement isn't new. When I was about 5 years old my parents enrolled me in a T-Ball league, T-Ball already being a special version of baseball designed for kids who can't play real baseball. Anyway, we all got trophies and pizza no matter if we won or lost the games. This was in 1995.
As someone who went through this, I consider it extremely detrimental. It had a huge effect on me. I spent years getting angry when things didn't work out in the real world, taking things personally and feeling like a persecuted victim who was being singled out. I didn't properly understand the concept of hard work until I got a blue collar job as a tree-planter getting yelled at by Opiod addicts when I fucked up.
"I Think" is part of this. As a Millenial and former Public Relations student, I actively choose to preface my opinions with "I Personally Believe" or "In My Opinion" when I talk to people my age. Many Millenials can't discern between fact and opinion at all without you actively using some cue that "this is my opinion" at the beginning of your statement. I was taught in writing school not to do this, was told "You're the one talking, and it's not a fact, people know it's your opinion." But I actively ignore that advice when dealing with other millenials. They become combative and assume you are being arrogant and claiming your opinions are fact unless you very clearly degrade the value of what you're saying.
That said, I agree with John, calling out Christina Warren IS scurrilous. You're welcome to your opinion, but as someone who still keeps up with some TWiT shows (less and less of them, TN2N is basically a silicon valley infomercial most nights now) she's one of the better female contributors. I'd much rather put up with her choice of phrasing, than I would deal with Serenity Caldwell's constant iShilling and off-topic roller derby nonsense. John's right here, he's dealt with Leo's skirtchase brigade for years, Christina Warren isn't one of them.
Ash Mad Hack - emails
Unlocking Secrets, if Not Its Own Value - The New York Times
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:12
PhotoAlex Karp, chief of Palantir Technologies, has resisted calls for it go public. Despite a growing number of private clients, he says an I.P.O.'s emphasis on stock price would be ''corrosive to our culture.''Credit Peter DaSilva for The New York TimesPalantir Technologies will not help you share, message, pin, post or chat. It does not exist to make you more social or connected, or even to help advertisers get to you. Its technology is deeply geeky, its work secretive. Nonetheless, it's one of the most valuable private tech companies in Silicon Valley.
Founded in 2004, in part with $2 million from the Central Intelligence Agency's venture capital arm, Palantir makes software that has illuminated terror networks and figured out safe driving routes through a war-torn Baghdad. It has also tracked car thieves, helped in disaster recovery and traced salmonella outbreaks. United States attorneys deployed its technology against the hedge fund SAC Capital, which was also an early investor in the company. (SAC, which changed its name to Point72 Asset Management after it pleaded guilty to insider trading charges, declined to comment on its investment.)
Palantir's software has been used at JPMorgan Chase to spot cyberfraud and to sell foreclosed homes; at Bridgewater Associates to help figure out investments for its $157 billion under management, and at Hershey to increase chocolate profits. The technology is complex, but the premise is simple: The software consumes huge amounts of data '-- from local rainfall totals to bank transactions '-- mashes it together and makes conclusions based on those unlikely combinations. Where is a terrorist attack likely to occur? What is a bad financial bet?
PhotoPalantir Technologies, which has 1,500 employees, has government and private clients worldwide.Credit Peter DaSilva for The New York TimesThis year, Palantir, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., is expected to bring in about $1 billion in revenue, mostly from private companies interested in adaptations of its intelligence software. Though it is not yet profitable, investors have given Palantir almost $900 million in total. The most recent round, last December, sold shares in the company to investors at an implied valuation for the company of $9 billion.
All of this has its investors, including some of the world's most successful hedge funds, salivating for a big payday from an initial public offering. ''The company has been incredibly successful, and every investor likes when companies go public,'' Justin Fishner-Wolfson, a managing partner at 137 Ventures, which is one of those investors, said in an email.
You would think this would be exciting for Alex Karp, 46, Palantir's co-founder and chief executive. But Mr. Karp, who has a doctorate in philosophy and an idealistic vision for the company, says he is resisting the big wealth and publicity of an I.P.O. He fears that the money '-- and the emphasis on stock price '-- will destroy Palantir's mission: to use its software to improve the world.
An I.P.O. ''is corrosive to our culture, corrosive to our outcomes,'' he said. A lean man with distinctive sprouts of graying hair, Mr. Karp holds about 10 percent of Palantir. That makes him nearly a billionaire on paper, but he rents a townhouse, his only permanent residence, near the company's headquarters. He doesn't know how to drive, either. His backers and Palantir's clients, he added, ''do not see us as supernormal.''
''When you are saving the world, fighting fraud and slave labor, you can do great things,'' Mr. Karp said. Palantir does not charge for most humanitarian work, which is a source of internal pride. ''What concerns me,'' he said, ''is working with commercial entities, and non-U.S. governments.''
There is the rub. Mr. Karp is eloquent on the subject of Palantir saving lives, but it is in business to make money '-- as are its eager investors. It actively seeks corporate contracts worth tens of millions, and is getting bigger by the day. People familiar with the company say it has big deals with insurers, health care companies and media corporations, among others. Its advisers include James Carville, the Democratic strategist; Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state; George J. Tenet, the former C.I.A. director; and Michael Ovitz, the former head of Disney Studios and Hollywood superagent.
Palantir is growing by selling software to private companies. Whether those companies will properly use its privacy safeguards, which were designed for the government, is entirely up to those customers. Palantir has worked to recover from its own ethical lapses, but Mr. Karp acknowledges that it cannot control the ethics of its customers.
Still, Palantir stands out in the tech industry. Near Mr. Karp's office are books that employees are encouraged to read on subjects like database structures, critical histories of the C.I.A. and improvisational theater. The company caps salaries at $137,000 a year and bonuses at $15,000; it allows internal stock sales, but only up $300,000 a year. Given the current Valley gold rush, where mundane work can make people millionaires before 30, a place where engineers settle for a ''mere'' total of $450,000 seems extraordinary.
PhotoIts software consumes vast amounts of data for projects as diverse as detecting cyberfraud, tracing salmonella outbreaks and aiding in disaster relief.Credit Peter DaSilva for The New York TimesInstead of selling stock to the public, Mr. Karp and other executives are toying with the idea of creating new kinds of financial instruments, like a bond that pays off on future earnings, to unlock a bit of Palantir's value.
''You may not get rich'' working at Palantir, Mr. Karp said, but ''you live like the prince of a small municipality.'' That means not just the usual free food, drinks and foosball that are expected in Palo Alto companies, but also ''interesting work that matters.''
Ideals vs. Commerce
Palantir is not the first company dealing with big data that has been conflicted between ideals and commerce. As graduate students at Stanford, Sergey Brin and Larry Page wrote that ''advertising-funded search engines will be inherently biased toward the advertisers.'' Then they started Google, which makes money from advertising. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook used to talk about a society of complete openness, while mining people's lives to sell ads.
The issues at Palantir go beyond advertising. Critics are skeptical of the company's self-aggrandizing promises of privacy protection. But executives worry more about what compromise might do to the company '-- and to society.
Courtney Bowman, a former Google employee, works at a Palantir as a ''civil liberties engineer,'' examining Palantir's obligations and making recommendations about how lawmakers should think about the power of modern technology. Palantir also sponsors conferences on privacy in the age of big data.
''I was a quantitative analyst at Google, doing ad auction design and targeting,'' he says. ''I had access to ways of deriving personal identity information without breaking any laws. It was a constant anxiety to me.''
A feature of Palantir software is a series of safeguards limiting who can see particular data, along with ''audit trails'' that enable investigators to check that the rules were followed. While audit-trail technology is built inside private-sector versions of Palantir, its use is not mandated.
PhotoPalantir's offices in Palo Alto, Calif., house computer monitors galore, not to mention more unusual desk d(C)cor, a cot and games.Credit Peter DaSilva for The New York Times''What keeps me up at night is that we have to keep thinking about this as we grow into new markets and new regions,'' Mr. Bowman continued. ''As you move into higher levels of computing complexity, you can't retreat into the argument that this,'' the technology of finding hidden things, ''is neutral.''
To Palantir's critics, such introspection is a collective delusion at best. ''They are a key force in the surveillance-industrial complex, but they are in denial about it,'' said Christopher Soghoian, a technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union. ''Their product is used by state and local law enforcement. It's problematic for them to spread money to their critics at conferences.''
In 2011, the world got a taste of what could go wrong with Palantir's confluence of commerce and surveillance. Along with two Beltway intelligence firms, a Palantir employee had pitched a Washington law firm on ways that it could expose the workings of WikiLeaks, the group that publishes secret government and private-sector information. The pitch included the idea of using disinformation and cyberattacks.
The idea fizzled, but Anonymous, the loosely associated network of cyberactivists, posted both the pitch and emails indicating that Palantir also proposed creating misinformation about journalists, including Glenn Greenwald, who wrote in support of WikiLeaks and who recently shared a Pulitzer Prize for his articles on Edward J. Snowden's leaking of National Security Agency spying documents.
Mr. Karp publicly apologized to Mr. Greenwald. On the recommendation of an outside law firm, the employee was suspended for a while, but still works at Palantir.
Inside Palantir, people were equally troubled by published emails in which the employee compared the law-firm work to ''money falling from the sky for those of us used to working for the government sector.''
If Palantir had carried out the proposed action on WikiLeaks, ''we would have collapsed,'' said Ari Gesher, who serves as a recruiter and public face of Palantir. ''We really learned that we do work in areas where we come into contact with bad actors. We have to be vigilant.''
Back then, Palantir had a few hundred employees, and a culture of internal discussion on any number of issues. There are still such talks, but the company is now much larger '-- making a consensus harder to establish. Should Palantir keep working with the British government, despite its harsh press laws? The contracts continue. Some employees do not want Palantir aiding Israel, because they disagree with its policies toward Palestinians. There are still contracts with the Israeli government. Palantir has decided not to work with China. After an internal debate, the company decided not to do business with tobacco companies.
PhotoA Palantir engineer surrounded by multiple monitors and interesting desk d(C)cor.Credit Peter DaSilva for The New York TimesPalantir's products do help the United States military kill people, Mr. Karp agrees, but only those with whom the nation is at war. Palantir is ''building something for the betterment of the world,'' he says, ''but not in absence of realities about the world.''
As Palantir expands into offering services to the private sector '-- now perhaps 70 percent of its business '-- Mr. Karp's worry is losing control of what happens with its software. The privacy controls are, after all, optional. And, ultimately, it can't control who gets the software. If, for example, a tobacco company wanted Palantir technology, it could acquire an existing Palantir client.
''The thing Alex worries about the most is they have a culture that's hard to sustain as it grows,'' said Mr. Carville, the Democratic consultant. ''I take walks around Stanford with him, and he talks about it: 'If we become something besides Palantir, what are we?' ''
PayPal and the Hobbits
Palantir began in the mind of Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley investor and PayPal founder. He began thinking about it in 2003, a year after he sold PayPal to eBay. It was two years after the terrorist attacks on the United States, and Mr. Thiel, a fierce libertarian, wondered if the world could be made safer without losing freedoms.
''I felt we were drifting to a place in the U.S. we'd have a lot fewer civil liberties and no real effective protection,'' Mr. Thiel said. He enlisted Mr. Karp, a college friend, as well as veterans of PayPal and his investment fund.
A big fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, he named Palantir after a set of magic stones in ''The Lord of the Rings'' that grant powerful people the ability to see the truth from afar. The company headquarters are called the Shire, after the home of the Hobbits.
Palantir's founders started with an idea from PayPal. At one point, PayPal was losing the equivalent of 150 percent of its revenue to stolen credit card numbers. It figured out how computers could spot activity '-- like a flurry of payments to a brand new account '-- at a global scale. The flagged actions would then be put before a PayPal employee to investigate.
PhotoAri Gesher, who serves as a recruiter and public face of the company.Credit Peter DaSilva for The New York TimesPalantir's founders thought the same approach would work for national security. Almost no one in the venture capital world agreed except In-Q-Tel, the C.I.A.'s venture fund, which gave Palantir $2 million; Mr. Thiel eventually put in about $30 million of his own money. In-Q-Tel gave the founders introductions to the C.I.A. and other spy outfits.
Palantir's first full-fledged C.I.A. job was in 2008. Mr. Karp got more work from word of mouth, and donated Palantir's technology to cyberactivists, who mapped Russian hackers attacking the nation of Georgia in 2008. (The spyware was rumored to have found Osama bin Laden, but Palantir would not confirm or deny such jobs.)
To drum up private-sector business, Mr. Thiel called on Mr. Ovitz, whom he knew through Marc Andreessen, the former Netscape whiz kid turned venture capitalist. At first, Mr. Ovitz thought Palantir could be used in selling online ads, but the housing crisis changed his thinking. Banks had thousands of homes in foreclosure across the country, and no idea how to efficiently clear the backlog in a collapsing market.
''The idea was to pick one bank, and the rest would follow,'' Mr. Ovitz said. JPMorgan was the first. Much as Palantir figured out navigating Baghdad by analyzing recent roadside attacks, satellite images and moon phases, it derived home-sale prices by looking at school enrollments, employment trends and retail sales. Data that JPMorgan thought would take two years to integrate was put into action in eight days.
JPMorgan still uses Palantir for cybersecurity, fraud detection and other work, loading half a terabyte of data onto a Palantir system each day, according to a Palantir video. A spokesman for JPMorgan said the bank uses Palantir, but would not comment on specific projects.
Morgan Stanley is another customer.
''No human can look at all the data sources at one time,'' said Jim Rosenthal, Morgan Stanley's chief operating officer. The company uses Palantir to spot money laundering and employee theft, as well as for cybersecurity.
Government clients also struggle with a data explosion. ''Everything becomes more difficult, the more crime becomes global, the more state actors are involved, the more trades there are around the globe,'' said Preet Bharara, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. ''It's malpractice to have records and not search them.'' He has used Palantir for several cases, including the SAC investigation.
Investors are growing restless. Mr. Karp says he hears from them nearly every day. Joe Lonsdale, a co-founder who left to form his own investment firm, still has shares in the company and has stated in online forums that Palantir will go public. But while an I.P.O. may be hard to resist forever, Mr. Thiel said in an email that Palantir ''has no plans to I.P.O. in the next few years.''
Palantir is now Palo Alto's biggest tenant after Stanford, occupying about 250,000 square feet in downtown buildings, which hold many of Palantir's 1,500 employees. Contracts around the world have surged as everyone's data increases in size and diversity. Mr. Karp thinks the firm can grow to 5,000 employees for its maximum effectiveness, without, he says, the possibly corrupting influence of going public.
In Tolkien's tale, the world was saved from darkness. The Shire, though, became an industrial wasteland. Mr. Karp hopes that Palantir can save itself, along with the world.
A version of this article appears in print on June 1, 2014, on page BU1 of the New York edition with the headline: Unlocking Secrets, if Not Its Own Value.
Bridgewater's Comey Turns Down FBI Job | FINalternatives
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:09
Bridgewater Associates' top lawyer doesn't want the top job at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
President Barack Obama last week asked Congress to grant FBI Director Robert Mueller a two-year extension. Mueller, appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2001, is set to leave the job in September; under law, FBI directors are limited to a 10-year term.
Until recently, Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder have been looking for a successor. But two top candidates, James Comey and U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland, turned them down. For Comey, taking the FBI job would have meant giving up the fat paycheck he receives from Bridgewater, where he is general counsel.
In any event, administration officials have said that they were essentially seeking a clone of Mueller; they've now settled on the genuine article, pending Congressional approval.
''In his 10 years at the F.B.I., Bob Mueller has set the gold standard for leading the bureau,'' Mr. Obama said. ''Given the ongoing threats facing the United States, as well as the leadership transitions at other agencies like the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, I believe continuity and stability at the F.B.I. is critical at this time.''
Palantir is raising $500 million in funding - Fortune
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:07
July 23, 2015, 7:09 PM EDTE-mailTweetFacebookGoogle PlusLinkedinShare iconsData analytics specialist Palantir has so far raised $450 million out of a $500 million funding round, according to a regulatory filing Thursday, in a funding round that is said to have valued the company at $20 billion, the Wall Street Journal said.
The Palo Alto, Calif. company is known for providing data crunching technology to the federal government including the Defense and Homeland Security Departments. It also counts the Hershey Company HSY and JPMorgan JPM among its stable of non-government customers.
According to the company filings, Morgan Stanley & Co and SF Sentry Securities brokered the deal. It's unclear who were the parties leading the new funding round.
Palantir raised $500 million in funding last year at a valuation of $15 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Earlier this month, Palantir and Hershey launched a group for companies in the consumer-packaged goods industry to exchange data and learn about possible trends in the industry that could impact their business.
Subscribe to Data Sheet, Fortune's daily newsletter on the business of technology.
For more on data technology, check out the following Fortune video:
Johnson, Carper move to authorize DHS Einstein program
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 13:19
Johnson, Carper move to authorize DHS Einstein programBy Adam MazmanianJul 23, 2015The Einstein authorization measure by Sens. Ron Johnson, left, and Tom Carper will be considered next week.
The network cyber protection program Einstein covers almost all of the federal government to varying degrees. But the Department of Homeland Security wants to make Einstein coverage ubiquitous, and wants statutory backing to do so. In a July 8 speech, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson called on Congress to act to expressly authorize the program.
The leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are looking to do just that, with a bill to codify the Einstein program that is set to drop next week. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) are collaborating on a bill that will be brought up in a business meeting scheduled for July 29.
The bill would mandate that Einstein coverage extend across all civilian government agencies, and incorporates strong privacy protections, per a Carper aide speaking on background. The legislation builds on the Federal Information Security Modernization Act signed into law in late 2014.
The Einstein bill comes as a bipartisan group of senators led by Susan Collins (R-Me.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) announced they would introduce a bill to expand DHS powers over federal networks. That bill would provide for the Einstein program, but also authorize DHS to shut down federal civilian networks and databases that are under attack or are at risk. The authority is analogous to that which the NSA wields over networks in the dot-mil domain and in the intelligence community.
Carper and Johnson were absent from the sponsor list of the Collins-Warner bill.
"I'm glad to see my colleagues engaged on such an important issue," Carper said in an emailed statement. "I look forward to reviewing the bill and working with all the sponsors on improving security of our federal networks, including overseeing the implementation of my FISMA legislation that became law in December."
The House passed a cybersecurity bill that includes Einstein authorization in April 2015.
About the Author
Adam Mazmanian is FCW's senior staff writer, and covers Congress, health IT and governmentwide IT policy. Connect with him on Twitter: @thisismaz.
Exclusive: U.S. Treasury's intelligence network vulnerable to hack - audit
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 04:38
A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in a photo illustration in Paris April 15, 2014.
Reuters/Mal Langsdon
WASHINGTON Lax security left the U.S. Treasury's computer system for tracking overseas threats to America's financial system vulnerable to hackers, according to a government audit prepared in late 2014 and obtained by Reuters.
The Treasury Foreign Intelligence Network is used by U.S. spy agencies to share top-secret information and to keep tabs on the impact of sanctions against countries such as Iran and Russia, as well as militant groups like Hezbollah.
The report, prepared in September 2014, gave no indication the foreign intelligence network had been hacked. But auditors found up to 29 percent of Treasury's devices connected to the intelligence network did not meet federal cybersecurity standards. (
"As a result ... devices may not be protected with the most secure recommended configurations, increasing the risk of being compromised," the Treasury's Office of Inspector General, or OIG, said.
A copy of the audit was obtained on Thursday through a U.S. Freedom of Information Act request. A Treasury official said the OIG had identified a "minor issue on a very secure system."
"Since the release of the audit, Treasury has remedied this matter," the official said.
The report comes to light following the revelation of the theft by hackers of millions of U.S. government personnel files. America's intelligence chief has said that hack was linked to China, although U.S. officials say the government does not plan to publicly blame Beijing.
Intelligence analysts use the Treasury's system to identify overseas threats to America's economy and finances. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said last year the prospect of a cyber attack on the U.S. financial system was a "real threat" to national security.
The Treasury's intelligence system is also used to assess the economic disruption caused by U.S. sanctions on targeted countries, groups and individuals.
In a controversial deal that faces fierce opposition in Congress, the Obama administration has agreed to ease sanctions on Iran if Tehran scales back its nuclear program.
Treasury originally designed its foreign intelligence network in 2004 to be used by about 30 officials but built up the system to accommodate more users as America stepped up its global campaign against al Qaeda and other militant groups.
Between March and May of 2014, OIG auditors conducting an annual review of the Treasury's cybersecurity found some computers using Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O) Windows had not been properly configured.
That meant network engineers would have trouble updating security software for the sensitive network's computers, servers and printers, the audit said.This was not the first time auditors had found the top secret Treasury system lacking. In a 2008 audit, the OIG found the Treasury Foreign Intelligence Network was slow in upgrading a system that had relied on "antiquated hardware and software."
In a letter attached to the 2014 report, the Treasury's top intelligence officer, S. Leslie Ireland, said she agreed with the OIG's findings. Treasury officials were already working to close the security gap and planned to finish that job by April 2015, about six months after the audit, Ireland said.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Additional reporting Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Kevin Krolicki and Lisa Shumaker)
FOIA tech, OPM scam and more
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 04:37
News in Brief
FOIA tech, OPM scam and moreBy FCW StaffJul 24, 2015Tech boosts agency FOIA workMany federal agencies are showing marked improvements in proactive information publication and using technology more effectively, according to the Justice Department Office of Information Policy's annual summary and assessment of agency Freedom of Information Act reports.
The report also noted, however, that FOIA request backlogs still plague many agencies.
"[T]he level of success achieved by agencies in these efforts varies and there is still work to be done," Justice's OIP noted in a blog post.
More than two-thirds of high-FOIA-volume agencies enabled requesters to track requests online in fiscal 2014, and many agencies launched initiatives to make more information preemptively available to the public and to make that information searchable, the assessment noted.
Last year, 60 percent of major agencies posted quarterly FOIA reports to, while another 17 percent posted reports to their own websites.
"As the public increasingly seeks to communicate with agencies electronically, it is vital that agencies ensure that they utilize technology to facilitate that communication," OIP's assessment said.
FTC paying OPM breach victims? Nope, it's a scamThe Federal Trade Commission is not offering payouts to feds whose personal information was exposed in the Office of Personnel Management breaches.
Don't trust any phone calls or emails that claim otherwise.
The FTC put out a blog post warning of the scam, advising federal employees not to give out personal information or money to mystery callers, even if the caller ID seems to show the call is coming from a government agency.
"The FTC won't be calling to ask for your personal information," the agency noted. "We won't be giving money to OPM data breach victims either."
The agency advised reporting any suspicious calls to the FTC here, and reporting phishing emails to
S&T signs up mobile security contractorThe Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate awarded a Northern Virginia small business a $2.9 million development contract to identify mobile app security vulnerabilities.
The 30-month contract with Kryptowire, was awarded through S&T's Long Range Broad Agency Announcement.
S&T said its project looks to establish continuous automated assurance of mobile apps for the federal government. The Cyber Security Division and First Responders Group is leading the effort, with partnerships from the DHS' Office of CIO, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Customs and Border Protection, Computer Emergency Readiness Team, as well as the Justice Department, General Services Administration and other federal agencies.
Audit finds Foreign Intelligence Network needed tighter securityReuters reports that the Treasury Department's Foreign Intelligence Network may have been left vulnerable to hackers, according to a Treasury Office of Inspector General's audit prepared in late 2014.
While the audit did not find evidence of hacking, up to 29 percent of the Treasury's devices connected to the intelligence network in March 2014 and up to 26 percent in April and May 2014 did not comply with baseline configuration requirements.
Changes in configuration baseline requirements to meet federal cybersecurity standards were still being implemented on some devices.
"As a result, TFIN devices may not be protected with the most secure recommended configurations, increasing the risk of being compromised or misused," Treasury's OIG said in the audit.
Reuters said U.S. spy agencies use the Treasury's Foreign Intelligence Network to identify international threats to the U.S.'s economy and finances, and to measure the impact of economic sanctions on countries such as Iran and Russia.
According to the audit, the Treasury planned to fix the issue by April 30, 2015.
A Treasury official told Reuters the OIG had identified a "minor issue on a very secure system" and "since the release of the audit, Treasury has remedied this matter."
IGs want criminal probe of Clinton emailsInspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence community have asked the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email system, suggesting she might have mishandled classified documents while serving as secretary of State, the New York Times reported.
Citing a joint memorandum dated June 29 sent to Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, the Times reported that a review of emails sent outside the State Department system included "hundreds of potentially classified emails."
Clinton has repeatedly said that she neither sent nor received classified material via the personal account.
About the Author
Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.
Lone Woofs
Dead Men Die Twice: Soldier Killed In Chattanooga Also Died In 2009? A Chattanooga Hoax (Video) | Alternative
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:22
(Before It's News)
(N.Morgan) The Power elite are playing all of their cards and in this latest development in regards to the Chattanooga military base shooting, one of the soldiers allegedly killed during that mass shooting had already died in Iraq in 2009!
This incredible information could blow the lid off yet another false flag op perpetrated against the American people.
I've included the links below so you can verify the information yourself.
Watch the FOX news video all the way through, this is how they are getting laws passed, by tricking us all.
Faking deaths, etc. In my opinion, neither ''Larry'' nor ''Skip'' ever died, he is a CIA agent working towards an agenda by tricking us all'...
After reviewing this information and verifying it for yourself, ask yourself how much more are you willing to tolerate for the Elite?
What game will they play next?
References and information links:'...'...'...'...'...'... The picture on this website is not a picture of Thomas, it is 2 pictures of the founder of the page (Bill) careful not to get that confused
See all stories by N. Morgan
Liam Lyburd 'stockpiled arsenal to carry out mass murder at Newcastle college' | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 13:55
Liam Lyburd used bitcoins to buy weapons online, court is toldHe wrote online about his desire to kill people and was reported to police by a Facebook friendLyburd, 19, allegedly told officers he would 'shoot a bunch of people'Teenager denies planning an attack on Newcastle College in November By Mario Ledwith for the Daily Mail and Hugo Gye for MailOnline
Published: 11:25 EST, 23 July 2015 | Updated: 21:00 EST, 23 July 2015
Trial: Liam Lyburd is accused of plotting to carry out a massacre at his former college
A teenager dressed in combat gear posed online brandishing a gun at his computer screen hours before he planned to carry out a Columbine-style attack on his former school, a court heard.
The planned massacre was only foiled when police raided Liam Lyburd's house and found an arsenal of weapons after being contacted by a concerned friend, it was alleged.
Officers found a 'kill bag' stocked with an array of homemade bombs and a Glock handgun, which the school dropout said he was going to use to carry out a savage revenge attack, the jury was told.
The 'embittered' computer hacker laughed as he told officers he had planned to carry out the attack at his former college later that day.
In a note he wrote how he would 'teach you people a little lesson on respect' with his bullets, the court also heard.
Lyburd, 19, is accused of spending months building up his haul, which also included dozens of expanding 'dum dum' bullets, CS gas and a collection of knives.
He is said to have used the digital currency Bitcoin to buy a 9mm Luger Calibre Glock gun on the 'dark web' '' a secret part of the internet that cannot be accessed by mainstream search engines.
Police were alerted by an online friend of the teenager who grew concerned about his Facebook posts and were led to his bedroom by his mother after visiting their home in Newcastle.
Under the words 'b**** kill', scrawled on his bedroom wall, they found a bag containing a balaclava, safety glasses, elbow and knee pads and a boiler suit.
The teenager then confessed to officers he had planned to attack Newcastle College and told them they had 'saved lives', Newcastle Crown Court heard.
The jury was told that Lyburd had developed a hatred for the college, which has more than 20,000 students, when he was thrown out in 2012 for 'shocking' behaviour after being enrolled for just five weeks.
Plans: Officers discovered this picture of the teenager pointing a gun while wearing a balaclava
Weapons: Lyburd used bitcoins to buy his haul of arms online, the court was told
'Highly skilled' Liam Lyburd arrives at court in Newcastle
A handwritten note found by police described how he blamed his targets for 'ruining my whole life'. It said: 'I'll teach you people a little lesson on respect with my 9mm jacketed hollow points. Fantasy will become reality today for sure... and yes people will die there's no question about that.'
The court heard how Lyburd had extensively researched guns online, watching videos on how to load and use Glock pistols.
Using pseudonyms including 'The Joker' and 'I Love My Anger', he expressed his admiration for Anders Breivik, who murdered 77 people in Norway. In Skype talks with a girl in Iceland he described how he had been inspired by the Jaylen Fryberg college attack last year in the US in which four students were killed.
Investigators found images taken by Lyburd showing him dressed for combat. One, posted online under the name Felix Burns hours before his arrest, showed Lyburd in a balaclava, pointing a gun at the screen.
In his online ramblings, he also expressed his plans to kill his mother and described how he would take Valium before carrying out the attack.
Lyburd pleaded guilty to nine charges relating to making five pipe bombs, two homemade explosive devices, possessing a gun, bullets and CS gas. But he denied eight charges of possessing those items with intent to endanger life at the school.
Scene: Police outside Lyburd's house at the time of his arrest in November last year
Evidence: Forensic officers carrying away items which they gathered at the ex-student's home
Prosecutor Nick Dry said Lyburd had started amassing his weapons as early as January last year before his eventual arrest in November. Speaking of his arrest, he said: 'He stated... that the officers had saved lives, preventing what would have otherwise been a massacre at the college.
The jury heard that after being arrested, Lyburd told detectives it had been a fantasy he had no intention of carrying out.
But Mr Dry said the prosecution did not accept this, believing he fully intended to carry out the attack. 'It is for those reasons, says the prosecution, that this was no improbable fantasy of a naive daydreamer divorced from reality,' he said.
He described the plot as a 'carefully planned revenge attack, constructed and resourced by an embittered yet highly skilled and savvy computer hacker'.
The case continues.
Target: The alleged bomb plot targeted Newcastle College where Lyburd studied, the court heard
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KILLBAG-'Don't expect me to show mercy': College reject planned killing spree, court hears '-- RT UK
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 13:54
A police tipoff from a concerned Facebook friend stopped a college reject from carrying out a mass killing at a Newcastle college and on the city metro with a dark web-sourced firearm, knives, bombs and poison gas, a court has heard.
The man said he planned to carry out a massacre at Newcastle College using a pistol and bombs, and carry out an attack on the city's underground tube system with knives and lethal gas.
Liam Lyburd, 19, told police he would have committed the crimes within hours, but he was stopped when his home was raided by officers after a tipoff from a concerned Facebook friend.
Lyburd, who posted on social media under the names ''The Joker'' and ''I Love my Anger,'' told the court: ''I wanted to kill them people '... there's no question.''
The court also heard the student had stockpiled a 9mm Glock pistol, ammunition, and other explosive devices in his bedroom.He also told one friend he intended to go ''down in style.'' His social media posts referenced far-right terrorist Anders Breivik, whose 2011 Oslo bombing and mass shooting on the island of Ut¸ya left 77 dead.
The detectives who searched his room also found a ''kill bag'' containing gloves, boots, overalls and a gasmask.
The defendant admitted to the court that he was in possession of pipe bombs, the pistol, two CS gas canisters, and other explosive devices, but denies he intended to endanger lives. He further claimed he planned to kill his mother.
Prosecuting lawyer Nick Fry told the court that police intervened just hours before the attack.
''He stated he intended to carry out a mass murder at Newcastle College that very day and that the officers had saved lives, preventing what would have otherwise have been a massacre at the college.''
Fry added that investigators found images of the defendant wearing combat gear and posing with weapons, as well as Skype conversation records about the acquisition of his deadly goods.
''Those were items the defendant accepted in interview he had bought using bitcoins, the decentralized internet currency, from the dark or deep web, the black market where illegal commodities are known to be traded.
''He discussed shooting commuters on the Newcastle Metro system, stating that he would be on Valium at the time. He said he had 95 rounds of ammunition and also planned to use poison gas on a train, resorting to his machete and knives in the event that his gun jammed.''Lyburd was expelled from college in 2012 due to poor behavior and attendance.
A document found on his computer showed his intention to take vengeance against the college.
''You people ruined my whole life, don't expect me to show mercy today. No one disrespects me and gets away with it,'' he wrote.
The trial continues.
Editorial: Trump should pull the plug on his bloviating side show
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 13:16
The Register's editorial10:55 a.m. CDT July 21, 2015
Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking at the May 16 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines.(Photo: Register file photo)
It's time for Donald Trump to drop out of the race for president of the United States.
People who run for public office typically perform a great public service, regardless of whether they win on Election Day. That's particularly true of presidential candidates, most of whom must devote two years of their lives to hard-fought campaigns that involve staggering personal and financial sacrifices, all in an effort to serve their country.
And then there's Trump.
Donald Trump criticizes the Register for editorial
In the five weeks since he announced his campaign to seek the GOP nomination for president, Trump has been more focused on promoting himself, and his brand, than in addressing the problems facing the nation. If he were merely a self-absorbed, B-list celebrity, his unchecked ego could be tolerated as a source of mild amusement. But he now wants to become president, which means that he aspires to be the leader of the free world and the keeper of our nuclear launch codes.
That is problematic, because Trump, by every indication, seems wholly unqualified to sit in the White House. If he had not already disqualified himself through his attempts to demonize immigrants as rapists and drug dealers, he certainly did so by questioning the war record of John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona.
McCain: Trump should apologize to POWs
Trump: Politicians like McCain 'have totally failed'
McCain is an American hero. During the Vietnam War, he spent more than five years being tortured as a prisoner of war, and he refused early release unless every man captured before him was released as well. Trump, on the other hand, didn't serve in the military, partly because, as he puts it, he was "not a big fan of the Vietnam War." But that didn't stop him from trashing McCain at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames on Saturday.
Trump: I don't need to be lectured
"He's not a war hero," Trump sniffed. Amid scattered booing, Trump decided to double-down: "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured."
Then, perhaps sensing the ground was opening up underneath him, Trump tried to back-pedal while continuing to bloviate. "I believe perhaps he is a war hero," he said, "but right now '-- he said some very bad things about a lot of people."
If Trump, our would-be commander in chief, doesn't like POWs, how does he feel about men and women killed in action?
His comments were not merely offensive, they were disgraceful. So much so, in fact, that they threaten to derail not just his campaign, but the manner in which we choose our nominees for president. By using his considerable wealth, his celebrity status, and his mouth to draw attention to himself, rather than to raise awareness of the issues facing America, he has coarsened our political dialogue and cheapened the electoral process.
Donald Trump's criticism of John McCain sets off a GOP firestorm
He has become "the distraction with traction" '-- a feckless blowhard who can generate headlines, name recognition and polling numbers not by provoking thought, but by provoking outrage.
In just five weeks, he has polluted the political waters to such an extent that serious candidates who actually have the credentials to serve as president can't get their message across to voters. In fact, some of them can't even win a spot in one of the upcoming debates, since those slots are reserved for candidates leading in the polls.
Last week, just before he decided to go after McCain, Trump was at the top of at least one national poll. But being electable is not the same as being qualified, and Trump has proven himself not only unfit to hold office, but unfit to stand on the same stage as his Republican opponents.
The best way Donald Trump can serve his country is by apologizing to McCain and terminating this ill-conceived campaign.
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Trains Good Planes Bad
Call to action: Help push medical reform through Congress - AOPA
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:48
July 16, 2015
ByAlyssa J. Miller
AOPA is calling on all members to band together and help push third class medical reform through Congress before the end of July.
''There are only a few weeks remaining before Congress takes a month-long recess beginning in August, so now is the time for all AOPA members to act and urge members of Congress to co-sponsor the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 and get this done in July,'' said Jim Coon, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs.
The House and Senate will be in recess in August, and AOPA is working to garner as many co-sponsors for the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 as possible before that date to show support for moving legislation in July. Members can visit AOPA's third class medical action page to write to their elected officials. Members can write their own letter or use a sample letter that AOPA has created. From the action page, simply fill in your basic contact information and hit ''Go.'' You will then be prompted to select which officials you want to contact, based on your address, and the way in which you prefer to contact them (via email, fax, phone, letter, or Twitter) before selecting ''Go'' again. Once the letters are submitted, you will have the option to share the call to action with your friends to get them involved as well. AOPA has made the process as easy as possible for members, and the entire process takes only a few minutes to complete.
As of July 16, the bill, introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) in February, had 26 senators signed on as co-sponsors; an identical bill introduced in the House by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and several others had 117 members of Congress signed on as co-sponsors. AOPA previously issued a call to action to gain support for the bill in March, and members responded overwhelmingly by contacting their elected officials; the association encourages members to step up again to help get this important bill through Congress.
''It is very important that members of Congress hear directly from their constituents,'' AOPA President Mark Baker said in the call to action issued July 16. ''If you have already contacted them, please do so again! They need to hear from you and your friends!''
Third class medical reform is a key aviation issue included in the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2. Under this bill, pilots flying recreationally would no longer be required to get a third class medical certificate in order to make noncommercial VFR and IFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with up to six seats. They could carry up to five passengers and fly at altitudes below 14,000 feet msl; speed would be restricted to 250 knots or less. A key provision in the bill would ensure that pilots can fly under the new rules even if the FAA fails to comply with the bill's provisions 180 days after enactment.
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
FAA administrator appears at OshkoshFAA Administrator Michael Huerta delivered an hour-long address at EAA AirVenture on July 23 that said little about the subjects general aviation pilots care most about: third class medical reform, avgas, and streamlining certification rules for aircraft manufacturers.
FAA announces rulemaking on third-class medical - AOPA
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:47
As part of the announcement, the FAA said it will consider whether it can safely provide any relief to the medical requirement before the rulemaking process is complete. The agency also said it is still considering the AOPA-EAA petition, which received 16,000 overwhelmingly positive comments.
Wednesday's rulemaking announcement comes as the FAA has been under increasing pressure to allow more pilots to fly a wider range of aircraft without a third class medical, a privilege already enjoyed by sport pilots.
AOPA President Mark Baker made pursuing the medical exemption a top priority when he took the reins at AOPA last September, and the association has pushed the FAA for a response to its petition and sought assistance from Congress.
''This rulemaking announcement is the next important step along a path that we sincerely hope will allow more pilots to fly without the expense and frustration of the medical certification process,'' said Baker. ''For a decade, sport pilots have flown safely without third class medical certificates, and we're confident private pilots can do the same. This issue is a top priority for our members and we appreciate the FAA's decision to move forward with rulemaking. We will continue to work with FAA, Congress, and our members to complete this process as quickly as possible.''
Legislation to expand the medical exemption has been gaining momentum in both the House and Senate. That legislation, known as the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act, would go a step further than the AOPA-EAA petition. Under the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act, pilots who make noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats would be exempt from the third class medical certification process. Pilots would be allowed to carry up to five passengers, fly at altitudes below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots. The FAA would be required to report on the safety consequences of the new rule after five years.
AOPA members Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), a member of the House General Aviation Caucus, and GA Caucus Co-Chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.) introduced the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act in December, and the bill now has 86 bipartisan cosponsors. Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), all members of the General Aviation Caucus, on March 11 introduced an identical measure in the Senate which now has eight cosponsors.
''We are grateful to Reps. Rokita and Graves and Sens. Boozman, Roberts, and Moran, as well as all of the cosponsors of this legislation, for their leadership on medical certification reform. They understand the value of general aviation to the economy, the national transportation system, and the American way of life. And they recognize that expanding the third class medical exemption will make it easier to keep experienced pilots safely in the air,'' said Baker.
He also noted that, while the FAA's rulemaking announcement is an important step, the process itself can be complex and continued involvement is critical.
''AOPA, and I'm sure the bipartisan efforts in Congress, will continue to push ahead to ensure that this rulemaking process is finalized as quickly as possible,'' Baker said. ''And, at the appropriate time, we'll call on AOPA members to continue their engagement in this effort as well.''
For their part, congressional leaders expressed hope that the FAA's rulemaking would deliver relief for pilots and promised to continue to focus on the issue.
''Since several of us introduced the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act to expand the successful light sport standard to general aviation, support from all political stripes has been overwhelming,'' said Rokita. ''While I am encouraged by the announcement by the FAA today and look forward to studying the rule they propose, we will continue to push for the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act to spur growth in the general aviation industry and eliminate red tape.''
Graves concurred, saying, ''I am encouraged by today's announcement by the FAA that it is going to take a harder look at the third class medical requirement for certain private pilots. While the FAA conducts its review, I will continue pushing the legislation I introduced with Rep. Todd Rokita, the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act of 2013, to exempt private pilots from the third class medical hurdle. While every pilot should have a strong commitment to safety, this sort of bureaucratic hoop is arbitrary and unnecessary. I will be monitoring FAA's actions and look forward to continuing to work with AOPA and the general aviation community on this issue.''
Boozman also expressed appreciation for the FAA's action.
''When we introduced our legislation last month, I urged the FAA to respond to the reasonable petitions that our pilots have submitted and to provide additional flexibility,'' Boozman said. ''I am glad to see that FAA has finally taken this initial step, and I look forward to hearing from pilots in Arkansas as they review this proposal.''
Shortly after the legislation was introduced in the Senate, AOPA contacted its members, encouraging them to ask their elected officials to support the twin bills in the House and Senate. Thousands of AOPA members responded by calling their senators and representatives.
Director of Government Affairs and Executive Communications Elizabeth Tennyson joined AOPA in 1998, the same year she earned her private pilot certificate. She also holds an instrument rating and enjoys jumping out of planes almost as much as flying them.
New bill would expand driver's license medicalThe General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver's license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry five or fewer passengers, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
PATH: Corporate engagement
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 13:59
PATH works with corporate partners across a range of sectors. Our lifesaving solutions address child survival, maternal and reproductive health, and infectious diseases. Photo: PATH/Deborah Atherly.
PATH is the leading innovator in global health and a pioneer in leveraging the expertise and resources of corporate partners to drive transformative innovation to scale. Find out more from our fast facts.
We partner with some of the world's leading companies to drive innovation to scale.
We are proud to partner with some of the world's leading companies to develop and deliver new vaccines and drug treatments, breakthrough health technologies, and powerful tools and strategies to improve health and save lives, especially among women and children in Africa and Asia.
PATH works with more than 60 corporate partners across a range of sectors, including companies working in technology, life sciences, financial services, and consumer goods. Our partners include:
Partnership profilesFind out more about our collaborations with:
Corporate partners are central to our workPATH and our partners reached more than 160 million people in 2014 with lifesaving solutions that address child survival, maternal and reproductive health, and infectious diseases. Nearly every project we undertake involves strategic partnerships with the private sector.
Working together, we are solving some of the world's most urgent health challenges.
A historic drop in meningitis cases: With Serum Institute of India Ltd. and the World Health Organization, we developed a vaccine against deadly meningitis A.Impact: Not a single case of meningitis A among the more than 217 million Africans vaccinated since 2010.
A new source of malaria treatment: We convened a global partnership that included Sanofi and Amyris, Inc., to develop a semisynthetic form of the key ingredient in the top malaria treatment.Impact: Up to 125 million malaria treatments per year.
A game changer for vaccinations: The first commercially available autodisable syringe was developed by PATH and licensed to BD.Impact: More than 6.7 billion vaccinations delivered using SoloShot' syringes in developing countries since 1990.
Partner with usOur Corporate Engagement team works with companies to create market-based solutions through tailored partnership opportunities that deliver measurable impact. We match each company's resources and expertise with our unique strengths to accelerate the next generation of lifesaving innovations, creating better health and opportunity for all.
Partnering with PATH is a smart investment that yields significant social impact. Companies choose to work with PATH because of:
Our focus on high-impact, large-scale, sustainable approaches'--and measurable results.Our proven technical and market expertise.Our history of successful partnership with the private sector that dates from our founding in 1977.Our extensive in-country networks in more than 70 countries around the world.Our international reputation as a trusted and influential convener and translator and our ability to mobilize partners across borders, sectors, and disciplines.Each partnership is unique, from philanthropic contributions and employee and consumer engagement initiatives to comprehensive, market-based partnerships that create both public health impact and business value.
We work with business units on product assessments and go-to-market strategies, with foundations on community health initiatives, and with corporate affairs on cause marketing and advocacy.
Together, we can drive transformative innovation to scaleTogether with our partners, PATH is harnessing the power of innovation in pursuit of a bold ambition: to disrupt the cycle of poor health and poverty and bring health within reach for everyone.
SoloShot is a trademark of BD.
First malaria vaccine given green light by European regulators | Society | The Guardian
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 13:57
Scanning electron micrograph of a female Anopheles mosquito, a known malaria carrier. Photograph: Alamy
The world's first malaria vaccine has been given the green light by European regulators and could protect millions of children in sub-Saharan Africa from the life-threatening disease.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended that RTS,S, or Mosquirix, should be licensed for use in young children in Africa who are at risk of the mosquito-borne disease. The shot has been developed by Britain's biggest drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and part-funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has taken 30 years to develop vaccine, at a cost of more than $565m (£364m) to date.
It will now be assessed by the World Health Organisation, which has promised to give its guidance on how and where it should be used before the end of the year. GSK will then apply to the WHO for a scientific review of the vaccine, which will be used by the UN and other agencies to help make purchasing decisions. The rollout of the vaccine, which also has to be approved by national health authorities in sub-Saharan Africa, is likely to be funded by Gavi, the vaccine alliance founded by the Gates Foundation.
According to the WHO, 627,000 deaths from malaria were reported globally in 2013, of which the vast majority (562,000) occurred in Africa, mostly among children under the age of five (82%).
The EMA said its committee of experts ''considered that the benefits of vaccination may be particularly important among children in high-transmission areas in which mortality is very high''.
The decision had been widely expected, even though the shot offers only partial protection against malaria in young children, and later booster shots are needed.
Justin Forsyth, chief executive of charity Save the Children, welcomed the news: ''Malaria is one of the biggest killers of children in the world, killing one child every minute. Any new treatment should be made affordable and a part of continued efforts to ensure that comprehensive strategies are in place to prevent and treat malaria, including strengthening the health systems that will help deliver such treatments.''
Both the EMA and GSK stressed that the vaccine would need to be used alongside other tools such as bed nets and insecticides.
Sir Andrew Witty, GSK's chief executive, hailed the EMA decision as a further important step towards making the world's first malaria vaccine available for young children.
He added: ''While RTS,S on its own is not the complete answer to malaria, its use alongside those interventions currently available such as bed nets and insecticides, would provide a very meaningful contribution to controlling the impact of malaria on children in those African communities that need it the most.''
GSK will not make a profit from the vaccine, planning to set a price that would cover the cost of manufacturing it together with a small return of about 5% that would be reinvested in research into malaria and vaccines for neglected tropical diseases. The drugmaker is reportedly looking at pricing the shot at $5 (about £3.20) '' the same as an insecticide-treated bed net.
The vaccine has been developed at GSK's labs in Belgium in collaboration with the international non-profit organisation Path.
Ana Nicholls, healthcare analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: ''It is tremendous news that GSK's long-awaited malaria vaccine has gained approval in Europe. Despite huge progress in combating malaria, it remains one of the world's deadliest diseases.''
She added that GSK's vaccine was a ''scientific breakthrough that others can build on''. Researchers at Brown University in the US, for example, are working on an experimental vaccine based on natural antibodies found in some children in Tanzania.
The Obama/Soros Plan To Destroy America | Real Jew News
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:39
George Soros Articles, America In Decline Articles, ObamaNation Articles
THE OBAMA/SOROS PLANTO DESTROY AMERICABy Brother Nathanael Kapner, Copyright 2009-2010
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OBAMA'S MAIN 'PUPPETEER' IS THE HUNGARIAN BORN JEW - GEORGE SOROS.With his financial ability in the billions of dollars to back whatever cause he chooses and his powerful control of the media, Soros has the means to engineer the political and economic destinies of entire nations. Indeed, Soros has already implemented his global agenda in both Georgia and Kosovo.
The latest ''cause'' backed by Soros is the Obama presidency. Known as Obama's ''money man,'' Soros's involvement with Obama's national political career began in 2005 with Soros fundraising for Obama's campaign for US Senate and continued through the 2007 Presidential campaign launch with huge fundraising operations managed by Soros.
Soros, a proponent of the ''hard left,'' has also been funneling money into the Democratic Party and to its candidates with the intent on building a slate of Senators and Representatives with socialist leanings. ''George Soros has purchased the Democratic Party,'' said Republican National Committee spokeswoman, Christine Iverson, ''and he who pays the piper calls the tune.''
Through his Open Society Institute, Soros has contributed to left wing socialist groups such as, Human Rights Watch, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, The New American Foundation, ACORN, MoveOn, and his own, Center For American Progress, of which, Obama recently appointed its senior fellow, Todd Stern, as his 'Climate Czar.' Stern, a Zionist Jew, is the chief architect of the socialist-inspired Climate Change Bill, just passed by Congress.
George Soros now has a superhighway to Change '' 'Socialist Change.' We are already beginning to see the largest growth in government in the history of America. Hell-bent on destroying the American dollar and installing a global currency, Soros has got his bought-and-paid-for White House stooge now installing his socialist agenda.
FOR IN HIS FIRST 100 DAYS as president, Obama has passed a flurry of deficit-deepening legislations such as the Stimulus Bill, the Equal Pay Bill, the Global Poverty Bill, the Tobacco Bill, the Climate Change Bill, and his upcoming Health Reform Bill. These will bring an already bankrupt America into a deficit of $2 trillion dollars including interest on the debt, paid to the Zionist Jews who own the Federal Reserve Bank. Obama's next plan is to pass a UN sponsored Bill which will force Americans to pay a global tax. View Entire StoryHere & Here.
And who will be the ruling elite of the socialist American state now in the making? Wealthy and powerful Jews - like George Soros - who have eliminated all capitalist power blocs that would oppose them. And with Obama's creeping socialism becoming more and more apparent, George Soros emerges as the chief mogul behind Obama's Marxist policies.
OBAMA'S CHILDHOOD MENTOR WAS THE MARXIST,Frank Marshall Davis, a black communist writer.
In his book, Dreams From My Father, Obama admits developing a close relationship, ''almost like a son,'' with Davis in 1977, whom he repeatedly refers to as ''Frank.'' Writing about attending ''socialist conferences'' and coming into contact with Marxist literature, Obama reminisces of listening to Frank's ''poetry'' and getting advice on his career path.
One particular piece of Marxist literature, Rules for Radicals, penned by the Chicago Marxist Jew, Saul Alinsky, had oft been quoted by Obama in campaign speeches during his run for a State Senate seat in Illinois in 1996.
Obama's embrace of the ideology of Saul Alinsky began when he was 24 years old, unmarried, very accustomed to a vagabond existence, and according to his memoirs, Dreams From My Father, was searching for a genuine African-American community.
White leftists of the Developing Communities Project of Chicago were looking for someone who could recruit in a black neighborhood in the south side of Chicago. Obama answered their Help-Wanted ad and soon took up a paid position as a community organizer. The Developing Communities Project was built on the Alinsky model of community agitation, wherein paid organizers learned how to ''rub raw the sores of discontent.''
''The agitator's job,'' according to Alinsky, ''is first to bring folks to the realization that they are indeed miserable, that their misery is the fault of unresponsive governments and greedy corporations, then help them to bond together to demand what they think they deserve.''
As a confirmed atheist, Alinsky saw an opportunity to cynically spread his socialist ideology in already-formed church communities as being the perfect springboards for agitation and creating bonds for their demands.
WHEN OBAMA FIRST UNDERTOOK HIS AGITATION WORK, he was un-churched. But to fulfill the Alinsky manifesto, Obama joined a huge black nationalist church, whose pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, (whom Obama called his spiritual mentor), preached a ''black'' gospel. Denouncing white supremacy and decrying black inferiority, Wright would intone from the pulpit: ''GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS S**T!'' View Entire StoryHere & Here.
In 1996, Obama received the endorsement of the Chicago branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) for an Illinois State Senate seat. Later, the Chicago DSA newsletter reported that Obama, as a State Senator, showed up to eulogize the Jew, Saul Mendelson, one of the ''champions'' of ''Chicago's democratic left.''
The Democratic Socialists of America is the principal US affiliate of the Socialist International, which enjoys a ''consultative status'' with the United Nations. This international connection is significant because two of Obama's recent legislations, The Global Poverty Act, and The Climate Change Bill, are both pieces of the UN's socialist agenda to siphon the wealth of Western nations to Third World Muslim countries and ultimately, to implement its plan for a socialist World Government.
SOROS WAS BORN OF JEWISH PARENTS IN BUDAPEST IN 1930 as Gyorgy Schwartz. When young Gyorgy Schwartz enrolled at the Fabian socialist London School of Economics in 1949 he changed his surname to Soros. At the London School of Economics he became friends with Marxist philosopher Sir Karl Popper, founder of the Association of Socialist School Students and author of the 1945 book, The Open Society And Its Enemies.
In 1956, in an ''open society'' of America, of which Soros now wishes to expand into a ''borderless society,'' young George Soros arrived on Wall Street with $5,000 and quickly demonstrated a Jewish ''knack'' for investing other people's money.
Soros soon came to be called ''the greatest money manager in the world'' by satisfied clients of his multi-billionaire international hedge fund called the Quantum Fund. Today, Forbes Magazine ranks him the 28th richest person in the United States, with an estimated fortune worth $7 billion.
In 1993, Soros established the US branch of his Open Society Institute as a ''tax-free'' foundation to support his socialist foundations in Central and Eastern Europe. The President of the Open Society Institute is the Jew, Aryeh Neier, who as Director of the Socialist League For Industrial Democracy, personally created the radical group Students For A Democratic Society in 1959.
Though he likes to be considered a ''stateless statesman,'' Soros, in fact, is more accurately described as the ''Godfather of World Socialism.'' For through his Open Society Institute, Soros funds an army of socialist organizations that advocate abortion, open borders, amnesty for illegal aliens, a global currency, prevention of global warming, and a world poverty tax. View Entire StoryHere.
Again, two of Obama's recent legislations, The Global Poverty Act, and The Climate Change Bill, are both pieces which are consonant with the George Soros agenda.
OBAMA'S SOCIALIST CONNECTIONS EXPLAINS WHY he has libertine views on sexual matters such as abortion and homosexuality.
One of Obama's first actions in office was to issue an executive order authorizing federal funds for pro-abortion groups that operate globally. Obama supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which would make abortion an entitlement that the government could not limit.
This falls in line with the socialist agenda of George Soros, the ''puppeteer'' pulling the strings of his ''puppet,'' Barack Obama. Among Soros's demands are to make abortions freely available and to legalize gay marriages. Soros also demands full rights for illegal aliens and felons, as well as the legalization of euthanasia for the ''infirm.'' And, oh yes, Soros demands the end of US global supremacy through a borderless society.
Unless we wake up soon, our ''infirm'' nation will soon be put to an eternal sleep by Barack Obama & George Soros, SOCIALISTS, who now run a Marxist White House'...
For More See:George Soros: An Evil Rothschild AgentClick HereAnd:George Soros & The Georgian ConflictClick Here
And:Obama's 'Jewish Inspired' Stimulus Plan Will Not WorkClick Here
And:Who Owns Obama?Click Here
And:How Obama Will Ruin AmericaClick Here
And:3 Goals Of The New World Order JewsClick Here
And:Full List Of ''ObamaNation'' ArticlesClick Here
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The Three Women Behind The Black Lives Matter Movement | MadameNoire
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:32
Source: Black Lives Matter
Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi co-founded the Black Lives Matter Movement when George Zimmerman was acquitted in 2013 for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin. They created the hashtag, which spread like wildfire.
''This isn't the beginning of a movement, this is the continuation of a struggle that's been happening for at least 400 years,'' said Garza, 34, who works as the special projects director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.
Cullors, 31, director of Dignity and Power Now, an organization focused on helping incarcerated people and their families ''went off'' when she found out about Zimmerman's acquittal.
''I was hopeful '-- and probably na¯ve '-- that Zimmerman was going to be convicted and when he wasn't convicted I sort of went ballistic,'' said Cullors. ''And this generation goes ballistic in public, on social media.''
Garza wrote the words Black Lives Matter on social media, and Cullors followed with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Later that day, they decided to start a movement, on the streets and online.
Tometi, 30, executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, an organization focused on Black and Latino immigrant rights, joined them. She built the movement's social media presence, helping to engage and connect people.
Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi (center) and Alicia Garza (right) hold up their fists in unison. All three ladies created this project to reach black folks. The Black Lives Matter movement is ''one that could really find ways to nurture us and connect us in a world that doesn't do that and dehumanizes us,'' Garza said. Source: Black Alliance
Tometi was at a screening of Fruitvale Station in 2013, a film based on the events leading up to the shooting of Oscar Grant, when she found out that Zimmerman was acquitted.
Tometi said her community was hoping for a guilty verdict. ''At the same time knowing that a guilty verdict wasn't going to mean justice. It wasn't going to bring Trayvon Martin back.''
Garza said she, Patrisse, and Opal wanted to connect Black people because their lives depended on it. They wanted to reach Black people in a society that doesn't try to do that.
''We each deeply believe that Twitter is not going to save us,'' Garza said. ''Twitter can be a vehicle that connects us and helps bring us together to strategize around how we're going to build the kind of power that we need to transform the world that we live in.''
Mark-Anthony Johnson, 31, director of health and wellness at Dignity and Power Now, worked closely with Cullors for more than 15 years and has known Garza for about a decade. Johnson has organized for the movement since it started as ''Justice for Trayvon Martin, Los Angeles.'' He became the California coordinator for the freedom ride to Ferguson after Darren Wilson shot unarmed Black teenager, Michael Brown.
According to Johnson, protesters from 16 different states and Canada witnessed how Garza, Cullors, and Tometi brought 600 different people together in Ferguson.
''I think they're central,'' he said. ''The character of the folks that we were bringing out I think was really important in terms of having a group that was significantly women, significantly queer, having Black transgender people in the space. And that's possible because of them and the national team that they built up around them.''
''Today's #VisionsOfABlackFuture poster celebrates Black leadership and was created by Damon Davis,'' the photo on BLM's Tumblr said on Tuesday, Feb. 17 about Tometi, who is Nigerian, and Cullors and Garza who are both queer women. ''No matter how many people try to deny it or set out to denigrate their work, these are some of the faces of today's Black leadership.'' Source: Black Lives Matter
Cullors said that organizing the movement hasn't been easy, as women in leadership are still looked at skeptically. Garza said women aren't often seen as leaders and dealing with patriarchy is a challenge.
''I believe if Black Lives Matter was created by three Black men, Opal, Alicia and myself wouldn't have to fight so hard to remind people we are the co-founders,'' Cullors said.
Tia Oso, 33, national coordinator of the Black Immigration Network and organizer of BAJI Arizona, copyedited content for Tometi and Black Lives Matter's social platforms in 2013. She said prominent figures and media would talk about the movement, but not the people behind it. She and others used social media to remind people of Garza, Cullors, and Tometi's work.
''Twitter and other social media outlets are where we purposefully lifted the three of them up,'' said Oso. ''It was like, 'Hey, if you're going to have a conversation about Black Lives Matter and what it means as an idea, as a rally and cry'... at least acknowledge who the creators are.'''
Tometi said despite such road blocks, leaders like herself, Cullors and Garza are needed.
''Our people and our movement largely are ready for the type of leadership that we embody, and we are who we are as the two of them being queer Black women unapologetically, and me being Nigerian,'' said Tometi.
According to Cullors, Black women have always led Black movements. Ella Baker, Diane Nash, and Fannie Lou Hamer are Black women leaders who were critical in developing movements, and their names aren't heard often. Cullors said women are on the front lines, strategizing, organizing and developing policy in Ferguson and around the country. ''We're leading the movement; we're the architects of the movement.''
Follow BLK Social Journalist (#BLKSocialJ) on Twitter, @DeronDalton.
ABOUT | Dignity and Power Now
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:25
Dignity and Power Now (DPN) is a grassroots organization based in Los Angeles that fights for the dignity and power of incarcerated people, their families, and communities. In doing so DPN wages a fight for all lives because the prison industrial complex forms an imaginative limit on everyone's capacity to envision freedom and liberation.
Dignity and Power Now has several projects including an activist coalition, an artist collective, a zine, a research and reporting group, a leadership institute, and even a reentry program inside a state prison. Immediate campaign focuses include establishing comprehensive and effective civilian oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and allocating the money from the two billion dollar jail plan into mental health diversion programs and community health centers.
HISTORYIn 2011, the ACLU launched a class action lawsuit against the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department for abuses in the jail system. Having read the the 86 page report, Patrisse Cullors decided to create a performance art piece that highlighted her brother's story of being abused in the county jails while dissolving the disconnect between the conditions inside custody and the community outside. That piece became STAINED: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence. After a year of touring the piece around Los Angeles County it became clear that audiences wanted to do more than watch the piece '' they wanted to change the county jail system. The Coalition to End Sheriff Violence project was born.
The coalition immediately began organizing formerly incarcerated people, survivors of sheriff violence, and their loved ones throughout the county to give their testimony to the Citizens Commission on Jail Violence and the County Board of Supervisors, demanding civilian oversight of the Sheriff's Department. When it first began the coalition was the only community voice calling for civilian oversight. Within a year's time they had secured two votes amongst the county supervisors in support of civilian oversight. Momentum was building.
It became clear that taking on mass incarceration meant building a multifaceted movement, a movement that understood that incarceration is traumatic and sheriff violence doesn't just harm our loved ones in custody, it harms families and communities that become containers for that trauma once loved ones are released. Expanding the organizational, psychological, and motivational capacity to end state violence meant developing five other projects that used art, research, resilience practices, and leadership development as center pieces in the work. Dignity and Power Now was created to be the principle organization for a multifaceted, trauma informed, healing, motivated movement to end state violence and mass incarceration.
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:23
Basic Organization InformationNATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS ALLIANCE INC Organization Name provided in the GuideStar Exchange* as of 02/02/2015: NATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS ALLIANCE INCOrganization Name as listed in the IRS Business Master File as of 03/10/2015: NATIONAL DOMESTIC WORKERS ALLIANCE INC
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Physical Address:New York, NY 10014 EIN:35-2420942Web NTEE Category:R Civil Rights, Social Action, AdvocacyR01 Alliance/Advocacy OrganizationsA Arts, Culture, and HumanitiesA01 Alliance/Advocacy OrganizationsYear Founded:2007 Ruling Year:2012 Sign in or create an account to see this organization's full address, contact information, and more!
Mission StatementThe National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is the nation's leading voice for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women. Founded in 2007, NDWA works for the respect, recognition, and inclusion in labor protections for domestic workers. The national alliance is powered by 42 affiliate organizations'--plus our first local chapter in Atlanta'--of over 10,000 nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers for the elderly in 26 cities and 18 states.
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About Us | Black Lives Matter
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:18
#BlackLivesMatter was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin's murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder. Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our de-humanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society.Black Lives Matter is a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.
It goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within Black communities, which merely call on Black people to love Black, live Black and buy Black, keeping straight cis Black men in the front of the movement while our sisters, queer and trans and disabled folk take up roles in the background or not at all. Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement.
When we say Black Lives Matter, we are broadening the conversation around state violence to include all of the ways in which Black people are intentionally left powerless at the hands of the state. We are talking about the ways in which Black lives are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. How Black poverty and genocide is state violence. How 2.8 million Black people are locked in cages in this country is state violence. How Black women bearing the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families is state violence. How Black queer and trans folks bear a unique burden from a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us, and that is state violence. How 500,000 Black people in the US are undocumented immigrants and relegated to the shadows. How Black girls are used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war. How Black folks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by white supremacy, and that is state violence.
#BlackLivesMatter is working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. We affirm our contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression. We have put our sweat equity and love for Black people into creating a political project''taking the hashtag off of social media and into the streets. The call for Black lives to matter is a rallying cry for ALL Black lives striving for liberation.
Supreme Court To Hear Soccer Mom Case - ABC News
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:19
Gail Atwater couldn't have guessed how much trouble her 4-year-old son's lost toy could cause her '-- let alone that she'd be arguing about the consequences three years later before the U.S. Supreme Court.
It began in 1997, when the boy's suction-operated plastic toy bat apparently lost its grip and fell from the window of Atwater's car as she was driving her children home from soccer practice.
She turned around to retrace their route and slowed to about 15 mph. Then she told her son and daughter they could take off their seat belts to look out the windows for the toy.
And so began three years of legal battles for Atwater and the small town of Lago Vista, Texas.
Ironic Implications
The Supreme Court will consider whether Atwater, who was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail for not wearing a seat belt, was subjected to unreasonable arrest.
The decision not only has implications for Atwater and her family (she and her husband have sold their house, moved out of Lago Vista and spent more than $100,000 on the case), many believe it could lead to important groundwork for protecting anyone, particularly minorities, from unreasonable arrests and searches.
''The bitter irony of this story is that Ms. Atwater, as a white woman, is not the typical victim of police abuse,'' says William Harrell of the Texas American Civil Liberties Union. ''Our concern is what will happen for African-Americans and Latinos if police are allowed to arrest people for infractions that don't even provide for jail time.''
At least two groups, the ACLU and Americans for Effective Law Enforcement have submitted arguments saying the Supreme Court should use this case to spell out national guidelines for when an arrest is warranted. The ACLU has further argued that no violation that incurs only a fine should be grounds for arrest.
Police Are Concerned
In briefs to the high court, federal and state lawyers counter that police have broad discretion to arrest people when they have probable cause they have violated the law. And law enforcement organizations are concerned a ruling in favor of Atwater could make it difficult for police to do their job.
''Our organization did not take an official stance on the case, but we are concerned about any blanket rule that says you can't arrest someone for a traffic offense,'' says Stephen McSpadden, general counsel for the National Association of Police Organizations. ''There may be situations where you may need to arrest somebody. To hold police accountable after making an arrest is a concern.''
'You Are Going to Jail'
When police officer Bart Turek rounded the corner that day and saw Atwater and her children not wearing seat belts, he immediately pulled near and told her to stop the car. Atwater says Turek then jabbed his finger at her window and yelled, ''You are going to jail!''
Turek had stopped Atwater previously, thinking her son had not been wearing a seat belt, but he had been mistaken and Turek had let her go.
''The first experience was uneventful '-- I didn't challenge him at all,'' says Atwater. ''The biggest crime I've had in my life was a couple overdue books at the library. I'm a model citizen and this guy was nuts.''
Boston bomber lawyer takes Charleston massacre case -
Thu, 23 Jul 2015 20:08
Accused shooter Dylann Roof.
The lawyer who represented the Boston Marathon bomber has been assigned to the case of the suspected church shooter now facing dozens of new charges, including hate crimes.
Court records show David Bruck has been provisionally appointed to defend 21-year-old Dylann Roof on federal charges.
Bruck has defended high-profile defendants including Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death, and Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother sentenced to life for drowning her two sons.
Roof faces 33 federal charges and is charged with numerous state crimes. Prosecutors haven't said if they'll seek the death penalty.
The shootings happened June 17 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
(C) AP 2015
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Lafayette shooter John Russell Houser praised 'power of the lone wolf,' group reports |
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 17:31
John Russell Houser, who gunned down three people in a Lafayette movie theater Thursday, was a frequent commenter on ultra-right wing web pages, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported.
John Russell Houser was a frequent commenter on websites run by hate groups and extreme right-wing websites, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a press release Friday.
The civil rights group, which tracks the activities of groups like the Ku Klux Klan, compiled a long list of examples of the 59-year-old Houser-- frequently under the name "Rusty Houser"-- praising the likes of Adolph Hitler and the Westboro Baptist Church and calling the U.S. a "financially failing filth farm."
None of the post make overt calls for violence, but in one 2014 post on a web forum for the New York chapter of a the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, he did talk about the "power of the lone wolf."
"I do not want to discourage the last hope for the best, but you must realize the power of the lone wolf, is the power that can come forth in ALL situations," Houser wrote, according to Southern Poverty Law Center. "Look within yourselves."
Read the full Southern Poverty Law Center article here.
Lord Sewell resigns and faces police inquiry after 'snorting cocaine with prostitutes' - Telegraph
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:16
The Lord Speaker issued a strongly-worded statement in which she said Scotland Yard would be asked to investigate.
Baroness D'Souza said: "Today's revelations about the behaviour of Lord Sewel are both shocking and unacceptable.
"Lord Sewel has this morning resigned as Chairman of Committees.
"The House of Lords will continue to uphold standards in public life and will not tolerate departure from these standards.
''These serious allegations will be referred to the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards and the Metropolitan Police for investigation as a matter of urgency."
In footage published by The Sun on Sunday, the 69-year-old peer is said to have stripped naked in front of the pair in his flat near Westminster last week.
Hunched over a table, the former Labour minister for agriculture, environment and fisheries is pictured with a rolled-up bank note in his hand as he appears to snort white powder.
The peer's third marriage, to Lady Jennifer, 54, took place in 2005.
He is seen in the video footage with his wedding ring on show.
One of the escorts is said to have told Lord Sewel: "You're such a party animal!", before he allegedly replied: "I know. Disgusting, isn't it?"
He is alleged to have snorted three lines of cocaine during the 45-minute session.
Lord Sewel speaking in the House of Lords
Lord Sewel, a former senior vice principal of Aberdeen University, received £84,525 as chairman of the Lords' Privileges and Conduct Committee - the body that upholds standards of behaviour among peers.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We are aware of allegations in the Sun and any allegations that are made will be investigated.
"We are aware that Baroness D'Souza has indicated she will be making an approach to the Metropolitan Police and we will get on the case in due course."
A House of Lords spokesman said: "Lord Sewel has this morning resigned as chairman of committee, a salaried role.
"This means he is no longer in an official role.
"I do not yet know whether he intends to retire from the House, which is now possible under the rules."
Earlier this month, he wrote a blog for the Huffington Post website in which he spoke about the House of Lords' new powers to banish peers who breach the code of conduct.
"The actions of a few damage our reputation," wrote Lord Sewel.
"Scandals make good headlines.
"All members now sign a declaration to obey the code and the seven principles of public life.
"The requirement that members must always act on their personal honour has been reinforced.
"No system of regulation can be perfect, but the House of Lords has come a long way since 2010 in improving its regulation of its members and punishing the small number who misbehave.
"Today's new sanctions strengthen the regime further."
Lord Sewel declined to comment to The Sun on Sunday about the footage said to have been filmed at his flat in Dolphin Square.
He was a Labour peer until resigning his party membership to take up the House of Lords role, and is formally known as a "non-affiliated member".
A Labour spokeswoman said: "He is not a Labour peer so we are not commenting."
As a junior lecturer at Aberdeen University in 1975 Lord Sewel published the book Colliery Closure and Social Change and lists his recreations in Who's Who as hill-walking, skiing and watching cricket.
His first marriage to Rosemary Langeland took place in Malvern, Worcs, in 1968 and they had a son, now 38, and a daughter, now 36, who were both born in Aberdeen.
Lord Sewel's second marriage was in 1988 to Leonora Harding, in Aberdeen, with the third to Lady Jennifer 10 years ago also taking place in the city.
The Fed accidentally released a confidential analysis of where interest rates are going - The Washington Post
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 13:36
Update: Late Friday, the Fed revealed that some of the data in the confidential staff forecast was, in fact, not part of the confidential staff forecast. Here's the corrected information. Here's an updated story on what went wrong.
The Federal Reserve acknowledged Friday morning that it inadvertently published a confidential staff forecast prepared for a key meeting of its policy-setting committee in June. The documents include estimates for inflation, unemployment, economic growth '... and the influential federal funds rate.
Currently, the fed funds rate is between 0 and 0.25 percent, the same level it has been since the financial crisis hit in 2008. Top Fed officials, including Chair Janet Yellen, have telegraphed for months that they expect to finally raise it by the end of the year. In the confidential forecast, staff estimated the fed funds rate would be 0.35 percent during the fourth quarter.
That tells us a few things. First, it virtually confirms that the Fed has no plans to raise interest rates when its policymakers meet in Washington next week. Of course, no one had really expected them to, despite Yellen's testimony last week before Congress that ''we could make decisions at any meeting.''
Second, the forecast bolsters the argument that the Fed's first rate hike will occur in September. The staff prediction is that the prevailing fed funds rate during the fourth quarter will be 0.35 percent. Though there is no reference to exactly when or how that could happen, analysts say the most likely way is for the central bank to raise its target rate in September. Some economists -- and even some Fed officials -- have argued for liftoff in December or later.
The Fed could raise its target rate in September and leave it unchanged for the rest of the year. Michael Purcell, a trader at Citi, argued the Fed could raise rates a second time in December and still average a 0.35 percent fed funds rate for the quarter. (The Fed is also slated to meet in October, but few expect it to raise its target rate at that meeting because there is no press conference scheduled afterward.)
Officially, the central bank has stated it believes the increase in the fed funds rate to more normal levels will be ''gradual,'' but there is plenty of room for discussion about what exactly that means. And the Fed's policymakers are split over how high the target rate should go this year.
Officials' public forecasts from June show that five believe the Fed should hike rates once this year, five think there should be two increases and five believe the central bank should be even more aggressive. The staff forecast is lower than officials' median estimate of the fed funds rate.
Fourth, the confidential document is more optimistic about economic growth than official projections. The staff forecast the economy would expand by 2.31 percent this year, compared to an estimate of 1.8 to 2.0 percent by Fed officials. But staff predicted unemployment would level off at 5.3 percent, on the high side of officials' expectations. Inflation is not expected to hit the Fed's target of 2 percent until 2020, according to staff.
It's important to point out some critical difference between forecasts from Fed officials and the confidential one from staff. When Fed officials publish their forecasts, it is a reflection of their own economic world view and incorporates how they believe monetary policy should respond. Those who believe the economy is nearing full employment might predict a higher fed funds rate to guard against inflation, for example. Those who think the recovery still needs support might predict a lower level for the fed funds rate.
In other words, forecasts from Fed officials are based on what they believe should happen. The confidential staff forecast, however, tries to anticipate the likely course of action. It's not a recommendation for how policymakers should act, and staff forecasts have certainly been wrong. But the confidential document clues us in to the starting point for the discussion around the mahogany table at Fed policy meetings.
In a statement, the Fed said it has referred the breach to the central bank's inspector general. The Fed is currently under investigation by the inspector general and the Justice Department over allegations that it leaked confidential information to Medley Global Advisors, a financial consulting firm.
The confidential data was posted online June 29 as part of a package of computer code for the Fed's model of the U.S. economy that it makes publicly available. The central bank became aware of the breach earlier this week when the data was spotted by a staff economist. A Fed spokesperson said it is considering new procedures to better safeguard confidential information.
This story has been updated to more precisely characterize the nature of the Fed's staff forecasts.
Ylan Q. Mui is a financial reporter at The Washington Post covering the Federal Reserve and the economy.
War on Crazy
NRA-ILA | Obama's Social Security Administration to Strip Millions of Americans of their Right to Keep and Bear Arms
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:32
As the L.A. Times reported on July 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently developing a program to strip the Second Amendment Rights of over four million Americans currently receiving SSA benefits through a ''representative payee.'' Not only would this amount to the largest gun grab in American history, but according to the published report, would take place without any due process protections for recipients, amounting to a nullification of Second Amendment rights for millions of Americans who don't pose a threat to themselves or anyone else.
This new program appears to have been instigated by the SSA in response to a memorandum issued by Obama in January of 2013 which directed all federal agency executives to ''improve the availability of records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).'' This memorandum required all agency heads to submit to the Department of Justice (DOJ) a plan for ''sharing all relevant Federal records'' for submission to the NICS.
Are you a prohibited person? A new, unconstitutional Social Security Administration program will add over 4 million Americans to the prohibited persons list without due process. Contact your lawmakers today. Ask if you're one of the 4 million.
Evidently, Obama's SSA bureaucrats read ''all relevant Federal records'' to mean all Social Security recipients who have a ''representative payee'' assigned to their accounts to help them manage their payments and receipts. Obviously, many individuals swept up in this egregious case of bureaucratic over-reach would not otherwise be prohibited from owning, possessing, or acquiring firearms under federal law.
The federal prohibitions against acquiring or possessing firearms apply to those ''adjudicated as a mental defective,'' among others. The term ''adjudication,'' however, refers to a determination made after a judicial-type process that includes various due process protections. In no case does the federal law describe or contemplate the type of prohibition by bureaucratic fiat exercised by the SSA in developing its guidelines for those with ''representative payees'' assigned to their accounts.
But SSA is not alone in this directive. The memorandum names several agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Transportation, and ''such other agencies or offices as the Chair may designate.'' Potentially, bureaucrats in all these agencies could be working hard to identify and forward ''all relevant Federal records,'' to the NICS pursuant to the Obama mandate.
In total, this program could easily grow to include many more millions of Americans who have any connection to the Federal government through the various agencies named in the memorandum.
Unfortunately, this fits a pattern of abuse within the Obama Administration which is clearly hell-bent on destroying the Second Amendment in any way possible. As we reported previously (here and here), the Veterans Administration (VA) has already implemented a similar program to designate veterans as ''prohibited persons'' when they have a fiduciary assigned to administer their VA benefits. Like the SSA program described above, the VA procedures are also devoid of significant due process protections or any requirement that the beneficiary be found a danger to self or others. According to the L.A Times article, 177,000 vets have been swept into NICS with the bureaucratic short-cut.
The implications of this policy are too far reaching to fathom at present. Social Security is one of the more prolific and relied upon Federal programs in American history. That Obama's directive could so easily be implemented within the SSA suggests that bureaucrats could effectively cloak such a program in any agency within the growing leviathan that is the federal government.
Please call or write your members of congress and demand that Obama's attempts to implement the largest gun grab in American history be stopped in its tracks. You can contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives at 202-225-3121. You can write your lawmakers by using our "Write Your Lawmakers" tool below.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Support for allowing military personnel to carry firearms for self-protection following the terrorist attack upon military personnel in Chattanooga ...
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) lauded Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways ...
Legal & Legislation
Saturday, July 18, 2015
As the L.A. Times reported on July 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently developing a program to ...
Gun Laws
Thursday, January 01, 2015
CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...
Lucky Gunner
Friday, July 24, 2015
It doesn't get much easier than this. By going to, then scrolling down to click on "National ...
Legal & Legislation
Thursday, July 23, 2015
The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled a second meeting to discuss recreational shooting in the Snoqualmie Ranger District ...
Legal & Legislation
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
The Bureau of Land Management is intending to amend its management plan for Eastern Lake Mountains to address ...
Legal & Legislation
Friday, July 17, 2015
Demonstrating why he's rated an "F" by the NRA, anti-gun Representative James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Tuesday introduced a ...
Legal & Legislation
Friday, June 05, 2015
It's happening again'-- President Obama is using his imperial pen and telephone to curb your rights and bypass Congress ...
Gun Laws
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
A man who a day earlier had been caught stealing from Magnet Package Store in Rockdale County, Ga. returned to the store with a gun and began firing. The attacker shot and killed the store ...
Obama plan could ban 4.2 million Social Security recipients from owning guns |
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:31
The Obama administration is taking steps to keep some Social Security recipients from owning guns, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
Let's talk about that:
What's the plan?
According to the report, the White House wants to expand prohibitions from owning guns to those whose Social Security payments are handled by others.
Specifically, the plan would require the Social Security Administration to report those recipients to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, the same process used to prevent guns from being sold to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.
How can that happen?
In 2013, President Obama issued an order directing all federal agencies to improve their reporting to NICS. Under that directive, the prohibitions were expanded to include the Social Security Administration.
Federal gun laws already in place prohibit certain people from owning guns, including those with "marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease." Under the terms of the proposal, Social Security beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own affairs would be included in that prohibited group.
Already going on in the VA
That same background check process is already used by the Department of Veteran Affairs to prohibit some veterans from owning firearms. According to a 2013 Senate report, the VA is responsible for reporting more than 143,000 beneficiaries, including about 83,000 veterans, to the "mental defective" category of NICS. According to the Times, more than half of the names on the VA list are of people 80 or older, and are often suffering from dementia.
How many people could be affected?
As many as 4.2 million adults receive monthly Social Security benefits that are managed by someone else, known as "representative payees."
But wait...
So that means someone who has trouble balancing their checkbook could be prohibited from owning a gun? Maybe, and some think that's not fair.
"Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe," Dr. Marc Rosend told the LA Times. "They are very different determinations."
And that brings us to the opposition...
The NRA said it will fight the plan.
"Unfortunately, this fits a pattern of abuse within the Obama Administration which is clearly hell-bent on destroying the Second Amendment in any way possible," NRA said on its website.
NRA-ILA | Obama plan could ban 4.2 million Social Security recipients from owning guns
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:31
According to the report, the White House wants to expand prohibitions from owning guns to those whose Social Security payments are handled by others.Specifically, the plan would require the Social Security Administration to report those recipients to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, the same process used to prevent guns from being sold to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.
Read the complete article:
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Support for allowing military personnel to carry firearms for self-protection following the terrorist attack upon military personnel in Chattanooga ...
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
The National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) lauded Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways ...
Legal & Legislation
Saturday, July 18, 2015
As the L.A. Times reported on July 18, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently developing a program to ...
Gun Laws
Thursday, January 01, 2015
CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered ...
Lucky Gunner
Friday, July 24, 2015
It doesn't get much easier than this. By going to, then scrolling down to click on "National ...
Legal & Legislation
Thursday, July 23, 2015
The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled a second meeting to discuss recreational shooting in the Snoqualmie Ranger District ...
Legal & Legislation
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
The Bureau of Land Management is intending to amend its management plan for Eastern Lake Mountains to address ...
Legal & Legislation
Friday, July 17, 2015
Demonstrating why he's rated an "F" by the NRA, anti-gun Representative James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Tuesday introduced a ...
Legal & Legislation
Friday, June 05, 2015
It's happening again'-- President Obama is using his imperial pen and telephone to curb your rights and bypass Congress ...
Gun Laws
Tuesday, June 02, 2015
A man who a day earlier had been caught stealing from Magnet Package Store in Rockdale County, Ga. returned to the store with a gun and began firing. The attacker shot and killed the store ...
No Guns for Pensioners? :
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:29
NEWS: President Obama is reportedly pushing to extend gun background checks to Social Security disability recipients.
Claim: President Obama is planning to ban all Social Security recipients from owning guns.
WHAT'S TRUE: The Obama administration is seeking to use Social Security Administration data about disability recipients to enforce existing gun purchase restrictions.
WHAT'S FALSE: President Obama is planning to bar all Social Security recipients from owning guns.
Origins: In a case reminiscent of a January 2009 piece of satire, July 2015 news reports indicated that the Obama administration was seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases by pushing to bar Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs.
The move is being tagged as part of an effort by the Obama administration to strengthen gun control after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, a plan that includes trying to plug holes in the firearms purchase background check system. The intent of the Social Security check is to bring the Social Security Administration in line with other laws that regulate who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a database used to prevent gun sales to excluded classes such as felons, drug addicts, dishonorably discharged service members, fugitives, and illegal immigrants. (That is, the Obama administration isn't seeking to create new classes of persons excluded from gun ownership '-- those exclusions already exist, and the administration is only positing the use of Social Security Administration reporting as a method of enforcing them.)
Such a move could potentially affect millions of Social Security disability recipients whose payments are handled by others due to ''marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.'' Those persons would likely be identified through the reporting of anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage their own pension or disability payments and has been assigned a fiduciary as a result.
Opponents of the plan maintain that the implementation of such a background check system could unfairly exclude large numbers of people who pose no real danger to others from gun ownership:
Critics '-- including gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disabled '-- say that expanding the list of prohibited gun owners based on financial competence is wrongheaded.
Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.
''Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe,'' said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. ''They are very different determinations.''
Rosen said some [people] may avoid seeking help for mental health problems out of fear that they would be required to give up their guns.
Ari Ne'eman, a member of the National Council on Disability, said the independent federal agency would oppose any policy that used assignment of a representative payee as a basis to take any fundamental right from people with disabilities.
''The rep payee is an extraordinarily broad brush,'' he said.
The federal background check system was created in 1993 through the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (named after White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was severely wounded during the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan) and requires gun stores to check the names of prospective buyers through the system before every sale. The database holds over 13 million records, entered at the local, state, and federal level, but it has not always served its intended purpose due to inconsistencies in reporting and use '-- for example, when Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people after the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, it was later found that he had been declared mentally ill by a court and ordered to undergo treatment, but the law in effect at the time did not require that he be added to the database.
A similar system already in use by the VA for beneficiaries has drawn similar criticisms:
The VA reports names under a category in gun control regulations known as ''adjudicated as a mental defective,'' terminology that derives from decades-old laws. Its only criterion is whether somebody has been appointed a fiduciary.
More than half of the names on the VA list are of people 80 or older, often suffering from dementia, a reasonable criterion for prohibiting gun ownership.
But the category also includes anybody found by a ''court, board, commission or other lawful authority'' to be lacking ''the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs'' for a wide variety of reasons.
The agency's efforts have been criticized by a variety of groups.
Social Security would generally report names under the same ''mental defective'' category. The agency is still figuring out how that definition should be applied.
About 2.7 million people are now receiving disability payments from Social Security for mental health problems, a potentially higher risk category for gun ownership. An addition 1.5 million have their finances handled by others for a variety of reasons.
Since 2008, VA beneficiaries have been able to get off the list by filing an appeal and demonstrating that they pose no danger to themselves or others.
But as of April [2015], just nine of 298 appeals have been granted, according to data provided by the VA. Thirteen others were pending, and 44 were withdrawn after the VA overturned its determination of financial incompetence.
Although this news was reported in some quarters as an attempt to bar all Social Security recipients from gun ownership, what is apparently under discussion would pertain exclusively to the subset of Social Security disability recipients who have been deemed incompetent to handle their own financial affairs.
NA-Tech News
In Apple Watch Debut, Signs of a Familiar Path to Success -
Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:20
Farhad Manjoo
Asking if the Apple Watch will become a hit or a flop is a bit like asking if my 2-year-old daughter is destined to go to Yale or to jail. Interested parties can speculate on the basis of thin evidence '-- she learned to walk pretty early, though on the other hand, she still thinks cats say ''bow wow'' '-- but youth is inherently unpredictable, and anyone venturing a long-term forecast based on short-term performance runs the risk of looking quite silly.
Technology pundits tend to be a rash bunch, though, so there has been no shortage of prognostication about the Apple Watch, a device that went on sale three months ago. Because reviews (including mine) were mixed and the device hasn't proved to be culturally revolutionary, some are declaring the watch dead on arrival.
Apple has declined to provide sales figures for the watch, its newest product. In its earnings report for the fiscal third quarter, released on Tuesday '-- the first to include sales of the Apple Watch '-- the company was cagey about sales, with Timothy D. Cook, the chief executive, saying the device had ''a great start.''
Analysts' estimates vary wildly, with manyoriginally predicting that Apple sold three million to five million watches from April to the end of June. After studying Apple's opaque earnings report, several analysts revised their estimates down to about 1.5 million to three million watches. Even at the lower end, that's the opposite of instant death: Luca Maestri, Apple's chief financial officer, pointedly said the watch sold more in its first nine weeks on the market than either the iPhone or the iPad did in that same period.
Yet the future of the Apple Watch will not be determined by first-quarter sales. Apple's product debuts tend to follow a well-worn script: A first-generation device is always criticized as overpriced and a bit lacking in utility and is often vulnerable to the charge that it is a solution in search of a problem. Then, over a few years, Apple and its customers figure out the best uses for the gadget, and the company methodically improves design and functionality to meet those needs. It also tends to lower its prices. Correspondingly, sales explode.
Given this history, the question to ask about the Apple Watch isn't how well it has sold so far, but how well Apple is following that script. Is it moving quickly to address the early criticism of the watch and to expand access to and functionality of the device?
The answer here is far more definitive than the murky sales figures: So far, Apple is following exactly the same playbook for the watch that it did for the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. If it sticks to that pattern '-- trying to add new capabilities to the device while perhaps lowering prices and expanding distribution '-- the future of the Apple Watch could be bright. The only catch is that determining success will take months, if not years. Waiting may be too much to ask of itchy tech observers, especially because Mr. Cook's legacy is riding on his ability to introduce a new product category to the world's tech-obsessed masses. But waiting may be the only option.
Of the data we have on the watch so far, much of it leans positive. Owners of Apple Watches, for one, seem to like them. Creative Strategies and Wristly, two research firms, recently conducted a study of more than 800 Apple Watch owners. About 97 percent reported being either very or somewhat satisfied with the device. That level is better than corresponding levels of satisfaction for the original iPhone and iPad, both of which scored in the low 90s in early customer-sentiment studies.
Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, said the study also revealed a point of perhaps deeper importance. There is a split, the research found, between people who describe themselves as tech-obsessed '-- people who work in the industry or build apps for a living '-- and those outside the tech world, also known as normal people. Early adopters were pickier about the watch's shortcomings, the study found. Only 43 percent of app developers described themselves as ''very satisfied'' with the watch, compared with 73 percent of nontech users who were delighted by the device.
Fortunately for Apple, according to the study, a slim majority of Apple Watch owners did not describe themselves as techies '-- a finding that surprised Mr. Bajarin.
''My assumption was that a high proportion of people who bought the Apple Watch early were probably going to be people who are investors or they're super into gadgets,'' he said. ''We certainly have those people in the survey, but we also have people from Milwaukee who are insurance agents and are not early adopters.''
He added that the appeal for those outside tech bodes well for the watch. ''There are clearly way more mainstream users in Apple's ecosystem than there are early adopters, so it's good that the watch is already not confusing for people who aren't your bleeding-edge techies,'' he said.
The split between the tech elite and mainstream users echoes a story that has been repeated throughout Apple's history. The iPod, the iPhone and the iPad all confounded tech insiders, who loudly criticized faults with the devices that they claimed would be fatal '-- and that, it turned out, didn't much matter to ordinary people, or to Apple's long-term success. The first iPod, which sold for $399, was called too expensive, and it worked only with Macs. The iPhone didn't have a copy-and-paste function, it ran only the slow Edge network and it didn't have a removable battery. Also, it couldn't run third-party apps. The iPad didn't load websites with Flash animation, and it didn't have a camera.
A few of these were genuine shortcomings, and Apple eventually addressed them. The company created a Windows version of the iPod, added an app store to the iPhone and put a camera on the iPad. But in many instances it ignored the techies: Apple never added Flash to iOS, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in tech these days who thinks that was a bad idea.
The point here isn't that the tech critics are always wrong. Instead, the pattern suggests the early criticism isn't necessarily the best long-term guide. It takes time to figure out which shortcomings in a new product are significant and which are merely symptoms of an outmoded way of looking at technology.
With the Apple Watch, the company is clearly studying these patterns now, and it has already shown off some coming changes. There have been two main criticisms of the watch thus far: It's too slow, and it's not necessary '-- it doesn't do all that much you can't do on your phone. A more pernicious problem is that developers have not yet hit on killer ideas for the watch, and some of the world's largest tech companies are moving cautiously to create apps for it.
Apple is fixing these problems faster than it addressed major shortcomings with other first-generation products. At its developer conference in June, the company unveiled an update to the watch's operating system that Apple said would greatly improve its speed. The new operating system, appearing later this year, will also let developers use more of the sensors and other technologies on the watch, allowing for more powerful apps.
These advances might sound small, but in tech, incremental improvements can drive big changes. Jan Dawson, an independent tech analyst, told me the new operating system would ''be a big part of generating more compelling-use cases for the watch for mainstream users, because that's when we'll really start to see a flood of third-party apps that make sense.''
What's more, bit-by-bit improvements are part of Apple's modus operandi. We saw it with the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. After creating something new, the company continually adds small new features over time. Over a few years, this turns an initial burst of interest about Apple's newest thing into a long-term tech institution that just about everyone can use and enjoy. That's happening with the watch, and the strategy just might work.
Email:; Twitter: @fmanjoo
Why the Hell Is Windows 10 Sharing My Wifi Passwords? | Gizmodo UK
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 13:30
Look, Microsoft. Just because I am Facebook friends with someone, doesn't mean I want to share my wifi passwords with them.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what happens by default in Windows 10. Anyone who I'm contacts with (spammers), Skype friends with (webcam strippers), or Facebook friends with (high school buddies turned webcam strippers) can connect to wifi networks that I have the password for.
It's part of a system called Wi-Fi Sense, which has been lurking in Windows Phone for a while now. It sends wifi passwords (encrypted; they never see the plaintext password) to your contacts, who can therefore connect to any wifi network that you have the password to. It's turned on by default, and I had to dig around in a few levels of settings to disable it.
(There's also a checkbox when you first connect to a wifi network, giving you the option not to share the network. But since Windows 10 helpfully keeps your saved passwords when you upgrade, all the networks you've previously connected to are shared by default.)
I'm not really complaining about the existence of the feature in the first place '-- I can see how it could be helpful, if you're a non-data-plan-having tween hopping between various wifi-enabled basements. It's the fact that Wi-Fi Sense is enabled by default, and most people will never know that it's there.
It's also a huge security fuckup waiting to happen. Users might not see the password, but it's stored on the machine somewhere, and you can bet that an intrepid hacker will get at it.
To disable Wi-Fi sense, head into Wi-Fi'-->Network settings'-->Manage Wi-Fi settings, and uncheck basically all the boxes you can see.
This post is part of a week-long experiment with Windows 10 ahead of the official launch on July 29th.
This article originally appeared on Gizmodo's Reviews Blog
The Verge's web sucks -
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 13:38
>> 2015 >> July >> 22 >>TL;DR: Did you know that The Verge delivers you to around 20 companies for advertising & tracking purposes? I didn't. That might foul up your web experience a little bit. Maybe we should try something different.
I love The Verge, but man...So, I've been a big fan of The Verge, almost since day one. It's a gorgeous site and the content is great.
They've done some amazing things with longform articles like "What's the deal with translating Seinfeld" and "Max Headroom: the definitive history of the 1980s digital icon", and the daily news output is high quality.
But, I have to say, reading Nilay Patel's "The Mobile Web Sucks" felt like getting pelted by rocks thrown from a bright, shiny glass house.
Calling out browser makers for the performance of sites like his? That's a bit much.
Here's my thing: I've never had an iPhone. I've had Palm webOS phones, a parade of Android devices, and now an experimental Boot2Gecko phone on really nice hardware. Some sites have long been a delight on whatever gadget I fetch from my pocket. Others, I've watched decay over the years as their mobile web experiences are neglected in favor of those frantically promoted apps.
The Verge isn't quite either of those. And, for me as a fan, it's frustrating.
A page view on The Verge is a heavy load. I've known this for awhile, but it wasn't until now that I decided to take a peek at what might be wriggling under this log.
So, I opened up the Dev Tools in Firefox and gave the page a reload on a cleared cache.
That's fine - 75kb of HTML for the article. But, I also expect there'll be a font or two and a raft of images.
We're up to 20 requests and 1.4MB over ~7 seconds. That's on the upper end of what I'd advise, but it's not terrible. I said that The Verge is a gorgeous site - that takes some resources. Hell, this very blog post is going to be bigger than I'd like thanks to the Twitters & Googles & Disqus, and it's no visual delight either.
Oh, but wait, it's not done loading yet. I'm starting to read & scroll, but my browser's still spinning. I wonder what the final stats will be?
Ow, my data plan!
Holy crap. It took over 30 seconds. In the end, it fetched over 9.5MB across 263 HTTP requests. That's almost an order of magnitude more data & time than needed for the article itself.
What the hell is all this stuff?
Wow. Devtools performed a second reload of the page to get an overall performance analysis. This time it downloaded 12MB - a little over 7MB in that is JavaScript!
Just to put this in some rough perspective: Assuming I had a 1GB / month data plan, I could visit sites like The Verge about 3 times per day before I hit my cap. If I'm lucky, some or most of this will get cached between requests so it won't be quite that bad. In fact, another report tells me that a primed cache yields 8MB transferred - so maybe 4 visits per day.
That's assuming caches on mobile are comparable to my laptop, which is not a safe assumption.
Still, this isn't one of the cool longform articles on The Verge with interactive features and whatnot. This is just a straightforward 1600 word rant with a few quotes & images. Oh, and one video. Not entirely different than this blog post.
What in the world is all this code doing?
Shining a Lightbeam under the logHmm, I think I Nilay Patel tweeted a hint:
Man, I'd hazard a guess that most of what you just delivered was advertising. That, and spyware.
In one of the public Monday update calls at Mozilla I heard about this project called Lightbeam:
Lightbeam is a Firefox add-on that uses interactive visualizations to show you the first and third party sites you interact with on the Web.
So, I figured I'd let it take a look at The Verge. This is what it showed:
Imagine this is an iceberg as viewed from above. The Verge is the tip above water, the big circle in the middle. The triangles dancing around it are third-party sites lurking under the surface. Lightbeam has a list view, so I switched to get a closer look:
Sweet Jeebus. "You have visited 1 SITE. You have connected with 47 THIRD PARTY SITES."
22 flavors of spywareNow, to be fair, scrolling through the report I could see that some of these distinct "sites" are clearly alternate domains owned by the same organization. That said, I still found over 20 different companies before I got tired of digging:
GoogleAmazon - "Reach millions of customers who find, discover, and buy at Amazon" - "When links in publishers' content lead their users to click through and buy from an online retailer, we make sure they're rewarded!" - "Sonobi's suite of buy and sell-side tools allow our customers to identify, deliver, and manage advertising opportunities through performance filters once absent from programmatic channels" - "Umbel helps you securely collect first-party customer data and combine all of your existing data from multiple sources to give you a complete view of your customers." - "Krux helps businesses drive revenue by delivering smarter content, commerce and marketing experiences to people." - "MediaMath's TerminalOne' platform activates data, automates execution, and optimizes advertising interactions across addressable media'--delivering greater performance, transparency, and control to marketers and a better experience to consumers." - "Adnxs' is a portal for Publishers to the AppNexus® online auction exchange used to sell advertising space." - "BidSwitch provides immediate and seamless real-time access for Supply and Demand Partners across all media types (display, mobile, video, native, etc.)." - "ScorecardResearch, a service of Full Circle Studies, Inc., is part of the comScore, Inc. market research community, a leading global market research effort that studies and reports on Internet trends and behavior." - "Kargo weaves our content and ad technology into our premium publishers' mobile and tablet properties, offering advertisers the best brand experiences." - "Understand your audience. Find your next customer." - "Moat's proprietary ad search engine has become a ubiquitous tool for the display ad industry. Moat makes it easy to find what and where ads are running for the top brands and sites." - "Flashtalking is an independent ad serving, measuring and technology company, providing best-in-class digital advertising products, service and support for online advertisers, key media buying and creative agencies." - "Lotame is a data management platform (DMP) that lets marketers, agencies and publishers harness audience data to make smarter marketing, product and business decisions." - "IXI Services enables its clients to differentiate and target consumer households and target markets based on proprietary measures of wealth, income, spending capacity, credit, share-of-wallet, and share-of-market." - "We partner with editorial teams to identify their highest quality content -- the pieces that pique and keep reader attention. We partner with advertising teams to plan campaigns around this high-quality content so these ads are seen more often and for longer." - "We are the largest aggregator of B2B intent driven data." - "Taboola recommends editorial and sponsored content across many of the world's most highly-trafficked sites." - "BlueKai is the industry's leading cloud-based big data platform that enables companies to personalize online, offline and mobile marketing campaigns with richer and more actionable information about targeted audiences." - "Marketo has developed the industry's leading engagement marketing platform, the broadest ecosystem of partners, and the deepest expertise to make this all possible." - "ReTargeter optimizes your ad spend with highly targeted, real time digital advertising solutions and the best account management in the industry."Make time to visit the vendor hall!I feel like someone just set up the entire vendor hall from an awful tech conference in my living room. Seriously, could you folks just not pick one or two or ten? Did you hit every booth and say "Yeah, cool, sign us up!" I feel thoroughly spindled & folded & researched, here.
As a webdev at Mozilla, I've been in hour-long meetings where we've agonized over whether it's copacetic to include just one little Google Analytics snippet without notifying users and updating the privacy policy. But, I know we're crazy in our own very special ways.
In former lives, I've worked at ad agencies and digital marketing companies. I'm no stranger to conversations that revolve around partners & bizdev & analytics & media buys. I can only imagine things have intensified & evolved since I've been out of those trenches.
Still - and maybe this is the Mozilla brain-damage talking - I can't imagine a sane conversation that resulted in The Verge extending an invitation to over 20 companies to set up shop on my computer with every page visit. I can only imagine this as a steady drip-drop of bizdev decisions and emails to internal webdevs:
"Hey, can you add this tracking pixel? These guys do realtime attention heatmapping and it's brilliant!"
"Paste this snippet into the global template, please? This fourth programmatic ad platform is really going to fill in the gaps for the other three."
"One more script thing here. We need to capture the affiliate credit for all these links going out to e-commerce sites."
"Oh hey, we're going to need this new script to manage the dozen ad platforms we use now."
I'm guessing no one along the way had the power or motivation to say no. I mean, really, what's the cost in tossing one more straw onto that camel's back? I know I never looked or complained until now, and I doubt the majority of readers will ever bother.
We all just kind of get this growing sense of malaise about "the web" as a gestalt of our favorite sites as they get suckier.
How to make the web suckSo, I haven't taken the time to dig into the source code of those companies' specific contributions to the article. There are only so many hours in the day, and I have a ranty blog post to finish.
But, if you want to talk about browser performance - mobile or desktop - don't you think that maybe, just maybe, some of that 7 megabytes of JavaScript code might have an impact?
First, even assuming this code comes from a local cache, parsing it into something executable has a cost. Of course, someday, we'll have WebAssembly to shift this first stage upstream into webdev build tools. But we don't have that, yet.
Then, there's what that code's actually doing once it runs. There's the usual reporting on every scrap of browser fingerprint data. There's deciding whether and what ads to fetch & inject. I've seen scripts that record every pixel of mouse movement and phone home every few seconds.
Some spawn lots of hidden iframes, each doing something fun. Others run code 10 times per second that trigger little invisible page re-renderings that chew up CPU and make scrolling & orientation changes chug. Some scripts get run multiple times and perform duplicate work. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.
Wait, where was I?
Everybody's (not) doing it!I've seen the argument that this is how the web gets funded. Everybody's doing it. This is the current state of the art. Browsers just need to suck it up & make it happen.
Some sites are (much) better than others, though, and it doesn't seem to be directly related to the content. Here's what I saw when I did a quick check of some daily reads:
If you've bought into my thesis that this stuff should take a lot of the blame for poor mobile performance - it's no surprise that I'll claim these sites are progressively better experiences as I step down the list.
I also didn't dig deeply into each of these. But, it's pretty clear The Verge blows other sites out of the water in terms of what it demands from a browser. Forbes is a very close second, though, and it sometimes seems to do annoying things like phone home every second or so while I'm on the page.
Oh, and admittedly I don't visit the Mozilla home page as a "daily read", though I do use MDN regularly. I've also worked on both, so I have some notion of what they're (not) doing - and how much we beat ourselves up internally about reaching sub-second page loads. (Man, do we look good now, or what?)
What are browsers for, anyway?Nilay Patel says "what we really need is a more powerful, more robust web." Personally, I think the web we have right now can be pretty damn powerful & robust. Stop trying to make a sedan tow a house.
But, is it ultimately a good idea to optimize for these icebergs that consist of the tiny bit we came for, perched atop a great big submerged intelligence gathering apparatus assembled on-demand from a consortium of marketing & analytics firms?
Just what are we building these browsers for? Is this what we want as users? Because, browsers are user agents. I know the web needs to get funded, somehow. But should the agents operating on our behalf just blindly accept whatever publishers want to send gurgling down the pipes? Maybe our agents should be asserting themselves to get us a better deal & better performance. This is dangerous talk, I know, and it implies some slippery slopes.
Apropos of that, it could be worse: Consider things like Flipboard, Facebook's Instant Articles, and Apple's News app. These are highly assertive agents that offer great reading experiences.
In a nutshell, they do it by making publishers less free to crap it all up and users less free to encounter crap. That is, "curation". As gatekeepers, they force publishers to strip it all down and make their deals with just one middle man. Win-win - except it's a solution for a self-made problem that introduces new gatekeepers and leaves us with far less choice & control over our agents.
Maybe paying for the web can be better?Browsers have typically tried to stay neutral, because asserting an opinion can start some nasty fights. But, if the choice is to watch the web head off into the sunset, what do we have to lose? Maybe browsers should impose a few of the constraints these news apps introduce. We keep things like Adblock Plus at arm's length for plausible deniability - but everyone I know uses it.
Meanwhile, there are people pondering how to improve funding for the web. Believe it or not, the Content Services team at Mozilla is thinking about way more than just "plunking ads into Firefox". Like, what if we actually accepted the fact that ads are a way of funding the web at large, and browsers themselves offered built-in mechanisms to support advertising that respect privacy & performance? Yeah, that's a bit of a change from browsers' traditional neutrality. But, it could be a better deal for publishers and users together.
Here's another idea: Almost a year ago, I heard the notion of "Subscribe 2 Web" at Mozilla. The gist is that you're worth about $6.20 per month across publishers via advertising revenues. What if you paid that much into an account yourself every month and used a mechanism built into your browser to distribute that money? Yeah, it's micropayments, but I find it interesting that these folks came up with a specific dollar amount that doesn't sound terrible.
But, if you don't like that, we have other options. I'm a listener of Tom Merritt's Daily Tech News Show - and I support him via Patreon. We've also got things like Flattr. We've got a pile of other ideas out there - but, none of them are as convenient as web spyware when users don't complain or impose a cost. If browsers started getting tough on web spyware, necessity might force some of these options to grow.
Wrapping upSo, I'm out of steam. Sorry (not sorry) for the wall of text, and the complete lack of pictures toward the end.
Anyway, yeah, there are many things that can make the mobile web suck. Bad CSS layout, heavy UI frameworks, you name it. And, yeah, browsers can get better. They are getting better. There are interesting capabilities on the horizon.
But, I can't help thinking if everyone shrank those tracking & advertising icebergs down to some sane magnitude relative to the actual content, that this web might be a better place overall.
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Agenda 21
Three scientists investigating melting Arctic ice may have been assassinated, professor claims - Telegraph
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 13:32
' The Victorians would have built a tidal lagoon at Swansea
Prof Wadhams said that in the weeks after Prof Laxon's death he believed he was targeted by a lorry which tried to force him off the road. He reported the incident to the police.
Asked if he thought hitmen might have been behind the deaths, Prof Wadhams, who is Professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, told The Telegraph: ''Yes. I do believe assassins possibly murdered them but I can see that I would be thought of as a looney for believing this.
"But it's just very odd coincidence that something like that should happen in such a brief period of time.''
He added: ''They [the deaths] were accidents as far as anybody was able to tell but the fact they were clustered like that looked so weird.''
Asked who might have wanted them out the way, he replied: ''I can only think of the oil lobby but I don't think the oil lobby goes around killing people.''
' Mussels 'to become poisonous' through climate change
He admitted it would have been "stupid" to go to the police with his concerns over the three deaths, not least because he was "suspicious" of the authorities - he cited the example of the death of the government's weapons expert Dr David Kelly.
David Kelly (Reuters)
Prof Wadhams added: ''I thought if it was somebody assassinating them could it be one of our people doing it and that would be even more frightening. I thought it would be better not to touch this with a barge pole.''
His suspicions drew outrage on Saturday from Prof Laxon's partner, who was also a close friend of Dr Giles. When told what Prof Wadhams had said, Fiona Strawbridge, head of e-Learning at UCL, replied: ''Good god. All of this is completely outrageous and very distressing.''
' Pacific islander loses bid to be world's first 'climate change refugee'
The couple had been staying in a friends' converted mill in the Essex countryside when her partner fell down the stairs in the early hours of New Year's Day. He died the next day from head injuries.
''It was very steep stairs and I heard Seymour fall,'' said Ms Strawbridge, ''It is just completely bonkers [to suggest murder].
"I am sure there are some climate scientists who do get trolled and pursued but Seymour wasn't one of them. I would have known if anybody had been pursuing him.
''Sometimes there are tragic coincidences and you have to accept that.''
Out There
Alien 5 plot changed to avoid interference with Prometheus 2
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 05:02
In the latest issue of Empire Magazine, director Neill Blomkamp, once again discusses new details on his upcoming Alien project! However, unlike previous reports of recycled hints, this new interview actually offers some new information about Alien 5's plot and its relationship to Prometheus 2.
We already had confirmed that Blomkamp's Alien film would not link to Ridley Scott's Prometheus 2, but this interview wih Neill conforms this information. Interestingly enough however, Blomkamp reveals that he did have to change an element of the film's plot to not tread on the toes of Prometheus 2. Ridley Scott, who is also producing Alien 5, apparently is thrilled with what Neill has come up with for the film's direction - only having a few things altered so they don't interfere with his plans for Prometheus 2 - which is still in development.
"I changed the one thing [Ridley Scott] felt was bumping Prometheus a little bit" said Blomkamp, before he mentioned that Alien 5 will actually not be titled "Alien 5" at all. "It's kinda quite bold, but it gives away too much if I say the title".
When asked about the film's timeline, he confirms his Alien movie will take place after James Cameron's Aliens once more: "Where it went after Aliens to me, as a fan, was wrong". The new film will be "the triplet of the first two. There's a shitload missing as a fan that I would want to see".
You'll be able to catch the full interview in Empire's latest issue when it goes on sale later this week! Thanks to Den Of Geek for the news!
Neill Blomkamp will be directing a new Alien movie for 20th Century Fox which will act as a sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien and James Cameron's Aliens. Sigourney Weaver will reprise her role as Ellen Ripley and face the dreaded Xenomorph once again. Michael Biehn is also expected to reprise his role as Cpl. Dwayne Hicks.
Currently, no release date is set for Blomkamp's Alien 5 however the plot for the film will take place well after the events of Ridley Scott's Prometheus and its sequel and closer to the timeline between Aliens and Alien 3.
Alien and Prometheus director Ridley Scott will executive produce.
Directed by Neill Blomkamp, written by Neill Blomkamp and starring Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Alien 5 releases 2017.
For the latest news and updates on Alien 5 and its cast, characters and plot synopsis, be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!
Keywords: Alien 5, Alien, Movie, News, Neill Blomkamp, Director, Ridley Scott, Producer, Xenomorph, Sigourney Weaver, Facehugger, Chestburster, Trailers, Images, Posters, Cast, Plot, 20th Century Fox, 2017, Film, Sci-Fi, Science Fiction, Horror, Space
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Jeffrey Alan Lash was 'a human-alien hybrid secret agent' fiancee Catherine Nebron claims | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 12:38
Man identified as 60-year-old Jeffrey Alan Lash, of LA County, died July 4 but wasn't found until July 17 Body was discovered badly decomposed inside a car in Pacific PalisadesLash's fiancee Catherine Nebron and her employee Dawn VadBunker dumped the body Police linked the car to Lash's fiancee's house nearby and found 1,200 guns and 6.5 tons of ammunition Fiancee's attorney said Nebron and VadBunker believed Lash was half-alien saviorVadBunker and Nebron fled for Oregon without telling police about Lash's death because they thought CIA would come to collect his bodyVadBunker's mother reported her missing last week after failing to reach her By Darren Boyle and Snejana Farberov For
Published: 10:34 EST, 23 July 2015 | Updated: 00:19 EST, 24 July 2015
An investigation into the death of a California weapons hoarder whose decomposing body was found in a car last week has taken a bizarre turn as it emerged that the man's fiancee believed he was a part-human, part-alien creature who was sent to earth to save humanity while working as a secret agent.
The remains of 60-year-old Jeffrey Alan Lash were discovered last Friday in a parked vehicle on Palisades Drive in the Pacific Palisades.
When Los Angeles police searched the home of Lash's fiancee, Catherine Nebron, they came upon more than 1,200 firearms valued at nearly $5million and more than 6.5 tons of ammunition.
Scroll down for video
Major haul: The decomposed body of 60-year-old Jeffrey Alan Lash was found in a parked vehicle in the Pacific Palisades, and police say there is no evidence to suggest he was an arms dealer
Otherworldly twist: Dawn VadBunker (left and right), 39, who works for Lash's fiancee, believed the man was a part-human, part-alien secret agent. Both VadBunker and her boss, Catherine Nebron, were there when he died July 4
Initially, Lash was described by a family friend simply as a weird 'loner,' but on Wednesday, the already bizarre tale had a new, otherworldly twist to it.
It appears the 60-year-old gun collector had convinced his fiancee and her employee, Dawn VadBunker, that he was a human-alien hybrid working undercover on behalf of secret US government agencies.
VadBunker's worried mother, Laura VadBunker, told KTLA that the family had become increasingly worried for her state of mind, especially after having spoken to her.
'It's worse than a Twilight Zone movie and we've lived through hell,' Laura VadBunker told KTLA over the phone in reference to the odd case.
Lash collapsed July 4 in a Santa Monica parking lot in front his fiancee and 39-year-old Dawn VadBunker.
The man had trouble breathing but refused to be taken to a hospital. The two women attempted to help Lash, but the 60-year-old died.
Instead of alerting the police, Nebron and her personal assistant loaded his body into an SUV parked in the 17000 block of Palisades Drive and left for Oregon.
Delusional: VadBunker and Nebron believed the CIA would come to collect Lash's body, so they did not bother contacting police before they left town and traveled to Oregon
Missing: VadBunker, a mother of two teenage daughter, was reported missing by her mother July 10, a week after she took off with her boss to Oregon. She later sent her family a letter of apology
It was not until two weeks later that an attorney representing Nebron called police and told them about the decaying corpse.
Defense attorney Harlan Braun said both Nebron and VadBunker believed Lash was a secret agent of extra-terrestrial origin who had been tasked with saving the human race.
Nebron told her lawyer she did not contact police about Lash's death because she thought his handlers in the CIA or another intelligence agency would come and pick up his remains.
On July 10, a week after she was last seen heading to work in Santa Monica, Dawn VadBunker's mother reported her missing because the 39-year-old mother of two took off without telling anyone.
As of Thursday morning, Dawn VadBrunker has not returned from Oregon, but she did send her mother a letter apologizing for making her family worry for her.
Mrs VadBunkers believes her daughter may be in the throes of a mental breakdown and wants her to come home to her teenage daughters and seek treatment.
LAPD Deputy Chief Kirk Albanese told The Los Angeles Times Jeffrey Lash's cache appeared to be a private collection and that there was no evidence that he was selling the weapons or was a licensed firearms dealer.
A man who was found dead and later tied to a home where police found a cache of firearms was a 60-year-old longtime Los Angeles County resident who mostly kept to himself, it has been reported
Massive: Officers said that they needed two trucks to remove all the guns to a safe location
Among the haul was two tons of ammunition, but investigators believe it was a private collection
Scene: The man was linked to a home in Pacific Palisades, where his fiancee lives
Many of the guns had never been fired and some still had their price tags attached.
'There are a lot of expensive guns here,' Chief Albanese told The LA Times.
Harlan Braun, Nebron's attorney, said police also seized a number of SUVs modified for use on different types of terrains, including an amphibious vehicle, and $230,000 in cash.
Shirley Anderson, the longtime partner of the Lash's late father, said she hadn't heard from Lash in five years.
She was called by the L.A. County coroner's office last week and told that a body had been found and it was believed to be Lash.
Anderson said that Lash, the son of a microbiologist, was set to follow in his father's footsteps and enrolled at UCLA in the 1980s to study to be a scientist.
However, he dropped out, and not much is known of his life after that, Anderson said.
'He was just a loner, as far as we were concerned,' the 93-year-old said.
'He just became weird because he changed all of a sudden.'
The massive arsenal was recovered from the home in Palisades Drive in Los Angeles, pictured
Anderson said she did not know Lash had a fiancee.
She also didn't know he collected guns, but said he would often go to gun shops.
'He was not very forthcoming about what he was doing,' Anderson told the newspaper.
'He had to be doing something to collect all those guns.'
Officers said that they needed two trucks to remove all the guns to a safe location.
Commander Andrew Smith confirmed the arsenal included rifles, pistols and shotguns.
He told the LA Times: 'Our truck couldn't carry it all. We had to go back and make another trip.'
The cause of his death has not yet been determined but it is not being treated as homicide.
1,200 guns found in LA home after discovery of man's body
Detectives want to find out why he had so many guns and are examining the weapons to determine if they have been linked to any crime.
Cdr Smith continued: 'We have a lot of work to do. Running the background, history and legality of these weapons is going to require a tremendous amount of time.
'It's not a crime to have a large number of weapons so long as they were legal to own and legally obtained. We want to make sure that's the case.'
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VIDEO-Joe Arpaio Renews Obama Birther Claims, Repeatedly Snaps at Tapper in Bizarre CNN Interview - YouTube
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:34
VIDEO-Chattanooga shooting victim Skip Wells' last words to girlfriend: "ACTIVE SHOOTER" - CBS News
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 14:25
Last Updated Jul 18, 2015 9:21 AM EDT
The Marine Corps identified on Friday four of the men killed in an attack on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee. On Saturday, the Navy said that a sailor wounded in the attack also died.
Chattanooga shooting victimsA gunman opened fire on two U.S. military facilities in Chattanooga, killing four Marines at the scene and a sailor, who died later from his woun...
The Marines were identified as Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan of Hampden, Massachusetts; Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt of Burke, North Carolina; Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist of Polk, Wisconsin; and Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells of Cobb County, Georgia, who a family spokesman says went by Skip.
Darlene Proxmire confirmed to CBS Radio News that her step-grandson, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith, had died.
Sullivan was deployed twice during the Iraq war and received two Purple Hearts. Wyatt was deployed during both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, while Holmquist was deployed to Afghanistan.
Chattanooga shootingSix people are dead, including the gunman, in two shootings at military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee
They were people charged with the safety of others, gunned down in a place where the nation's defense is the paramount mission for those who pass through its doors. They are being deemed heroes by some, and the cruel irony of protectors becoming targets was not lost, with President Obama calling it "a heartbreaking circumstance" to lose four men who served "with great valor."
Here is a look at the Marines killed in the attack:
Skip WellsLance Cpl. Squire Wells was swapping text messages Thursday with his girlfriend of 2 1/2 years, excited that she had booked a flight to visit him in Chattanooga after months apart.
"Can't wait anymore," Wells texted. "Yes you can honey," his girlfriend, Caroline Dove, replied.
His next two words would be the last she'd ever hear from him.
"ACTIVE SHOOTER," he wrote.
She thought he was kidding: "You are so weird," she replied.
Hours of silence. "I love you," she tried. Hours more passed, the news out of Chattanooga becoming clearer. "Hon, I need you to answer me please," she wrote.
It would not be until Friday that she learned his fate.
The two met at Georgia Southern University, but he soon followed in his family footsteps and enlisted. His grandfather had been in the Air Force, and his grandmother and mother served in the Navy, Dove said. Dove, too, plans to enlist in the Marines, a process she began in November. She said she is not dissuaded by what happened.
Through tears, Dove remembered her boyfriend's love of flag football and Nerf guns, his passion for U.S. history, his ability to handle her when she was grouchy and how good he was at listening. He dreamed of being a drill sergeant, and when they last saw each other around Valentine's Day, he gave her a gold-and-silver ring. When the time came to propose, she said, he knew to ask her parents first.
Wells' mother was watching television coverage of the shooting when Marines appeared at her door. She knew what the visit meant.
"Every service parent, especially moms, dreads opening the front door and seeing people in uniform," said Andy Kingery, a friend who is acting as a family spokesman.
Thomas SullivanRipples of grief were apparent as a stream of visitors brought flowers, food and gifts Friday to the Hampden, Massachusetts, home of Jerry and Betty Sullivan, the parents of Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan. A police officer was stationed outside to keep reporters and onlookers away. said Sullivan, 40, grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The Pentagon said he had been enlisted nearly 18 years, serving two tours of duty in Iraq and earning two Purple Hearts.
His hometown mayor, Dominic Sarno, called Sullivan a man who "dedicated his life in brave service." Gov. Charlie Baker ordered flags to half-staff as he proclaimed "Terror comes home to Massachusetts." Sullivan's unit - India Battery, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines - called him "one of our own" on its Facebook page. A giant U.S. flag and another representing the Marine Corps hung outside a Springfield restaurant owned by Sullivan's brother Joseph.
"He was our hero," read a post on the Facebook page of Nathan Bill's Bar and Restaurant, "and he will never be forgotten."
Outside the home of Sullivan's parents, Hampden Police Chief Jeff Fansworth told reporters the family was in shock and disbelief.
"How hard would it be for anybody to lose a child?" he asked. "It doesn't get much harder than that."
Carson HolmquistSo proud a Marine was Sgt. Carson Holmquist that when he finished boot camp, he returned to his hometown of Grantsburg, Wisconsin, and paid a visit to his high school dressed in his formal blues. Grantsburg High School Principal Josh Watt, who was one of Holmquist's football coaches, remembers the day his former cornerback showed up, the pride in his accomplishment apparent.
"When he became a Marine he was very proud of that," Watt said Friday.
The principal remembered Holmquist as a strong player, an avid sportsman who loved to hunt and fish, a young man committed to succeeding. He graduated in 2008; the Pentagon said he enlisted in January 2009 and was serving as an automotive maintenance technician. He had completed two deployments as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Reached by phone, the slain Marine's father said he wasn't ready to talk yet, and his grandmother declined to comment as well. Sadness over the loss was permeating his small hometown.
"It's a very tough day in Grantsburg," Watt said.
David WyattTony Ward remembered Staff Sgt. David Wyatt as the young Boy Scout who would run up mountains, just for fun, seeking to best the time of others.
Ward, who now lives in Helena, Montana, was Wyatt's scoutmaster when he was in high school in Russellville, Arkansas. Wyatt and Ward's son were good friends and worked together at a Boy Scout camp. He said Wyatt attained the Eagle Scout rank and graduated from high school in 1991. He was married with young children, Ward said.
Wyatt enlisted in 2004, the Pentagon said, and had been living in Burke County, North Carolina. He was deployed three times, including twice in Iraq.
Ward called the fallen Marine a man who enjoyed life, a "hard charger," someone who cared about his job and those who served with him.
"He's the kind of man that this country needs more of," he said.
(C) 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:56
VIDEO-Law and Order: How will the Lynch Justice Department Confront the Terror Threat? - YouTube
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:26
VIDEO-Edible insects: Is this the future of food? -
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 12:19
North America's first edible insect farm has taken up the challenge and a booming production line is reaching new markets across the continent and Europe.
In January 2014, Jarrod Goldin along with his brothers Ryan and Darren, launched Next Millennium Farms (NMF), inspired by a landmark U.N. report which recommended insects for human consumption, and the success of cricket flour entrepreneur Pat Crowley on U.S. TV show Shark Tank.
NMF began 2014 with 5,000 square feet for mealworms and finished with $65,000 in sales. Goldin says another 60,000 square feet has since been added to farm crickets, with sales of both exceeding $100,000 a month in 2015.
Most revenue comes from wholesaling insect flour to established brands and emerging start-ups in the United States.
NMF also ships to private consumers across North America, Australia and Europe and actively engages with its customers online through social media and community forums.
"It's a massive range," says Goldin. "Grandmothers, culinary groups, teenagers, hippies, people into health and the environment, people who want to play tricks on their friends."
Betting on ethical consumersThe brothers' marketing strategy stresses the superior nutritional value of insects over livestock; Cricket protein is as concentrated as that of beef but with less fat and fewer calories, and is rich in calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.
Protein levels in insects.
"The sugar in soft drinks is killing us. The hormones and antibiotics fed to (livestock) animals. There is great hypocrisy...Americans drink coke, eat Big Macs and say our food is gross", says Goldin.
The South African is betting on the "LOHAS" (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) market, among the fastest growing consumer groups in the United States and estimated to be worth almost $300 billion, according to the Natural Marketing Institute.
Traditional livestock farming has been deemed a major environmental threat with a larger carbon footprint than the global transport industry. By contrast, insects can be fed on compost and require little space.
The Goldin brothers work closely with competitors on improving public perception of the industry and collaborate with research institutions to develop best practices in engineering, processing and nutrition to grow the industry and facilitate regulations to guide it.
Institutional wheels turn slowlyIn the United States, there are laws governing the maximum volume of insect parts in food, but not for governing insects as food. Currently, insects are sold as novelty food with general hygiene standards, while the handful of European businesses operate on an ad hoc basis. The EU is set to issue a ruling on insects as food later this year.
The uncertainty surrounding standards and guidelines also affects business in one of the global hubs of the insect trade. Thailand has over 20,000 registered insect farms producing around 7,000 tons of food each year, according to the FAO, with crickets and grasshoppers among the most popular varieties.
Unique Thailand is a leading exporter, with a menu ranging from bamboo worm vodka to honey roasted hornet larvae, but has struggled to access European markets.
"A majority of packages I have sent to Germany and Italy have been refused entry by customs," says founder Graham Lee.
Elsewhere in Europe, France and the United Kingdom allow imports of insects but the procedures can be lengthy and expensive. Belgium has approved 10 species for human consumption, including crickets and mealworms, while Switzerland and the Netherlands are pursuing more liberal policies.
In an effort to reassure customers, Lee sets his own standards through a transparent supply chain and guide to the process. "We oversee everything from what they are fed through to materials used in the construction of the farms", says Lee.
Gaining a footholdFarming insects as livestock feed presents a commercial opportunity as existing practices are expensive and environmentally damaging but there is a high bar to prove that insects are free of antibiotics and other pathogens.
"Most businesses are fully aware of it," says Paul Vantomme co-author of the 2013 U.N. report. "But also of the legal barriers, which are blocking big scale investment."
Vantomme is confident that progress is also being made with insects for human consumption, and hopes that a broad advocacy campaign including industry lobbyists and sustainability activists can make further gains by influencing policy makers and improving public awareness.
This would also allow the industry to scale up and bring down costs. In its current niche, cricket flour costs more than $20 a pound -- five times the price of traditional competitors.
Finnish marketing firm Ivenire is conducting a global study of the industry and has classified three key parts of the consumer base.
"People looking for an experience ...Trendsetters who want to be leaders, and sustainability supporters who want to change their consumption habits", says Ivenire analyst Johanna Tanhuanpaa.
She also noted the growth in consumption for nutrition and fitness. "These consumers are more interested in the effect than the insect", says Tanhuanpaa.
"For commercial success you should put the insect message in the background and the great product in the foreground", she says
Momentum is growing as the United States and EU scale up funding and research to bring bugs into the food chain.
As pressure grows on traditional meat sources and the global population is set to surpass 9 billion by 2050, could the current choice to eat insects be replaced by necessity?
VIDEO-On CNN, Dershowitz Blames 'Racist Society' For Police Misconduct | MRCTV
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:13
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
On the 22 July 2015 edition of CNN Tonight, Alan Dershowitz blamed police misconduct on societal racism. Dershowitz noted that he tells his students "particularly the African-American students: you have rights...Do not exercise them when you're arrested by a police officer." When Don Lemon asked him why he gives such advice, the Harvard Law professor replied, "Because they get into so much trouble if they don't do it. We live in a racist society, in which police officers often engage in this kind of conduct when you're contemptuous. And when you're a black person and you're contemptuous, it's even worse."
VIDEO-Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd on Hillary's Bad Poll Numbers: 'Something is Amiss Here' | MRCTV
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:10
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
During a discussion on her MSNBC show on Thursday, host Andrea Mitchell and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd were puzzled by a new poll showing bad numbers for Hillary Clinton. Mitchell immediately tried to downplay the results: ''I mean, it's one poll, it's a Quinnipiac poll....But it does show her behind in the swing states, with Virginia, I guess, as within the margin of error....It's pretty early.''
Todd replied: ''Well, no, it's like her standing in national polls looks fairly strong. These swing states, Virginia, usually goes where the national polls are. So something is amiss here. Either the state polls are an outlier or the state polls have found something first, before the national polls, which is also possible.''
VIDEO-Networks Fail to Note Kerry Misstatements in Iran Deal Hearing; FNC Covers | MRCTV
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:05
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
While English-networks ABC and NBC combined with Spanish-language networks MundoFox, Telemundo, and Univision on Thursday night to skip testimony from Secretary of State John Kerry in a Senate hearing on the Iran deal, CBS covered it in a news brief, but only summarized it and ignored false statements by Kerry as he faced criticism from both sides of the aisle.
In contrast, the Fox News Channel (FNC) program Special Report not only had a full segment on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing from chief Washington correspondent James Rosen but a takedown of three claims from Kerry.
VIDEO-CNN Rushes to Invoke Gun Control in Lafayette Shooting Coverage, Issue Is Obama's 'Biggest Defeat' | MRCTV
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 04:02
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
It took only 12 minutes into their live coverage on Thursday night of the deadly movie theater shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, but CNN Tonight quickly invoked gun control and President Obama with panelists lamenting the lack of ''sufficient common sense'' on guns, the need for a ''more realistic in a interpretation of the Second Amendment'' and that the issue will go down in history as President Obama's ''biggest defeat.''
When host Don Lemon asked legal analyst Sunny Hostin for her thoughts on the tragedy, Hostin brought up previous shooting before turning to President Obama's interview hours earlier with the BBC and how ''one of the things that frustrates him the most is the fact the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not seem to have sufficient common sense to have gun safety laws even in the face of these repeated mass killings.''
VIDEO-ABC Hypes Shooter's Campaign As A 'Ultra-Conservative, Anti-Tax Crusader' | MRCTV
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:43
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
On the 24 July 2015 edition of ABC's World News Tonight, Rusty Owens played up how Lafayette, Louisiana mass shooter John "Rusty" Houser was "politically active '' even running for office as an ultra-conservative, anti-tax crusader in Georgia." Owens also spotlighted how "investigators are scouring Houser's postings on known anti-government websites '' hoping, perhaps, to find some answers there."
VIDEO-'Black Lives Matter': 'Any Opportunity We Have to Shut Down Republican Convention, We Will' | MRCTV
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 03:17
That really ought to promote a constructive dialogue . . . Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, has announced that "any opportunity we have to shut down a Republican convention, we will."
Appearing on today's Melissa Harris-Perry, Cullors also blithely spoke of "the murder of Mike Brown" in Ferguson, MO. Neither of the co-guest hosts sitting in for Harris-Perry, Richard Liu and Janet Mock, challenged Cullors' characterization. This despite the fact that even Eric Holder's Justice Department found no wrongdoing on the part of the police officer who shot Brown.
VIDEO: 'Co-operation with US is important'
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 15:04
Turkey is carrying more air strikes on bases in Iraq of the Kurdish separatist organisation, the PKK.
The attacks which began overnight are the first since a ceasefire agreement in 2013.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said areas of northern Syria cleared of IS fighters would become natural "safe zones".
Turkey has also said it will let the US use a key airbase to attack IS targets.
VIDEO-Obama in Kenya
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 15:03
US President Barack Obama has kicked off the first full day of his visit to Kenya by praising the entrepreneurial spirit of Africa's Silicon Savannah.
Speaking at a summit in Nairobi he told entrepreneurs their work offered an alternative to ideologies of violence and could help push back corruption.
''I wanted to be here because Africa is on the move. Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world. People are being lifted out of poverty, incomes are up, the middle class is growing, and young people like you are harnessing technology to change the way Africa is doing businesses, President Kenyatta alluded, alluded to. And that creates incredible opportunities for Africans and for the world.''
In the first visit to his father's homeland since becoming president, Obama is keen to focus on business ties with Africa after China overtook the US as the continent's biggest trade partner five years ago.
However, the American leader is also expected to address security issues. Kenya has been hit by a wave of attacks by Islamist extremists al Shabaab.
Later on Obama will attend a memorial to the 1998 al-Qaeda bombing of the US embassy in Nairobi.
VIDEO-Weekly Address: Wall Street Reform is Working | The White House
Sat, 25 Jul 2015 14:28
July 25, 2015 | 4:09 | Public Domain
In this week's address, the President speaks to the progress we have made in making our financial system stronger, safer, and more fair in the years since financial crisis.
Download mp4 (154MB) | mp3 (10MB)
VIDEO-Voters Cheer As Donald Trump Decimates Far Left Reporter (VIDEO) -
Fri, 24 Jul 2015 18:56
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VIDEO-Dead LA man who had 1,200 guns identified, is 'part alien' - NY Daily News
Thu, 23 Jul 2015 21:46
LINNARD LANE / PALISADIAN POST HANDOUT/EPAPolice inspect some of the 1,200 guns found in the condo of a man who was decomposing in a car down the street for about two weeks.PALISADIAN POST / HANDOUT/EPAA cache of weapons was found during a death investigation in the upscale west Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacific Palisades, California, last week.The mystery behind a Los Angeles gun fanatic found decomposing in a car last week has deepened as his fianc(C)e's family said he was an alien-hybrid secretly working for the government.
The bizarre statement came Wednesday as the betrothed woman's lawyer identified the dead man as Jeffrey Alan Lash '-- almost one week after he was discovered rotting in his car parked on the street in the tony Pacific Palisades neighborhood.
Los Angeles police found more than 1,200 guns, nearly 7 tons of ammunition, bows and arrows, knives, machetes and $230,000 in cash inside Lash's home last Friday.
They also discovered a Toyota SUV designed to drive underwater among the 14 vehicles registered in his name.
The collection was as odd as Lash's confessions to his soon-to-be-wife Catherine Nebron that he was working as an undercover operative for multiple unnamed government agencies, according to her defense attorney Harland Braun.
"The story itself sounds totally crazy, but then how do you explain all this?" Braun said. "There's no evidence he was a drug dealer or he stole these weapons, or had any criminal source of income, no stolen property, all the stuff you'd look for."
Lash was also believed to be an alien "sent to Earth to protect us," according to Laura VadBunker, the mother of 39-year-old Dawn VadBunker, who used to work for Nebron.
"I can't believe this," Laura VadBunker told KTLA. "It's worse than a Twilight Zone movie. He was part alien and part human and was out to save the world."
Authorities are still working to confirm the man's identity and figure out why he possessed so many cars and firearms, many of which were still in boxes or had price tags.
LAPD Deputy Chief of Detectives Kirk Albanese said he does not believe he was doing anything illegal with the weapons.
He had been decomposing inside his car for nearly two weeks before police found him on July 17.
Police do not suspect any foul play involved in his death, but there is an investigation into the cause.
Braun said Nebron parked him in a car down the street from the condo they shared after he died. He had trouble breathing but refused to go to the hospital or call 911, the attorney said.
The longtime girlfriend of 17 years then left for Oregon, believing government agencies would come for his body and the items in his house.
With News Wire Services

Clips & Documents

ABC Hypes Lafayette Shooter's Campaign As A 'Ultra-Conservative, Anti-Tax Crusader'.mp3
BlackLivesMatter on MSNBC-GOP Convention.mp3
Chatanooga marine Skip Wells was already killed in Iraq.mp3
National Domestic Workers Alliance-990.pdf
CNN Bugs for dinner report.mp3
FNC-Kerry Misstatements in Iran Deal Hearing.mp3
Josh Earnest on Iran side IAEA side deals.mp3
Kerry talking points to Senate-the world thinks we have a deal.mp3
Kerry Warns Israel To Leave Iran Alone.mp3
JCD Clips
al gore sex molester.mp3
Bullcrap NASA report about twin of earth.mp3
clinton emails with arrogance.mp3
lousianna shooting.mp3
martin omalley all lives matter.mp3
Obama comment in Africa anomaly complain.mp3
Obama in Africa France 24.mp3
Obama in Africa local report.mp3
STEW OBAMA first no no.mp3
STEW OBAMA hope posters.mp3
STEW OBAMA volunteer cyber army.mp3
trump at la raza.mp3
Lone Woofs
Aspen Inst-Andrea Michell-Loretta Lynch HOMELAND THREAT!.mp3
Out There
Dead LA man who had 1,200 guns identified, is 'part alien'.mp3
Real News
Jenner caused death crash.mp3
Shut Up Slave!
CNN, Dershowitz-1-Contempt of Cop.mp3
CNN, Dershowitz-2-Soccer Mom Supreme Court.mp3
Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd on Hillary’s Bad Poll Numbers- ‘Something is Amiss Here’.mp3
Tapper v Serrif Joe Arpaio - on trump and GLITCHES.mp3
War on Crazy
BBC-Obama, ‘Most Stymied’ Over Gun Control, Vows Not to Give Up in Final 18 Months.mp3
CNN Rushes to Invoke Gun Control in Lafayette Shooting Coverage, Issue Is Obama’s ‘Biggest Defeat’.mp3
CNN's Costello- 'Ridiculous' That CDC Afraid to Do Obama Gun Study Idea.mp3
Rep Sam Johnson R Texas Obama gun grab through social security.mp3
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