750: Gas Jackers

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 52m
August 23rd, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir Rhoag Black Knight of the Okanogan Plains, Chris Eisbach, Sir Otaku, Lynton Harry

Associate Executive Producers: Justin Lee, Sir Craig Covell, Baz Sutton, Paolo Tosiani

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat

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Chicago
Tripping over suitcase. Death toll?
Tina, Lisa, Angie Toni, Rob Tim, Carla Theresa, Jonathan
The family meeting in Chicago no MTV questions. All about NA show!
new begging format-embarassed, lost home & family, job. head bowed down - Chicago
Rick Perry on flight
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The Zen TV Experiment [adam.nz]
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:49
Written by Adbusters in May 2002 and pinched from adbusters.org.How Many of You Know How to Watch Television?''How many of you know how to watch television?'' I asked my class one day. After a few bewildered and silent moments, slowly, one by one, everyone haltingly raised their hands. We soon acknowledged that we were all ''experts,'' as Harold Garfinkel would say, in the practice of ''watching television.''
The purpose of our un-TV experiment was to provoke us into seeing television as opposed to merely looking, and to stop the world as the first step to seeing. Here we engage in stopping the world by stopping the television.
For the experiment, students were asked to watch TV consciously. Insofar as this is sort of ''Zen and the art of TV watching,'' I said to them, ''I want you to watch TV with acute awareness, mindfulness and precision. This experiment is about observing television scientifically, with Beginner's Mind, rather than watching television passively with programmed mind. Ordinarily, if you are watching TV you can't also observe and experience the experience of watching TV. When we watch TV we rarely pay attention to the details of the event. In fact, we rarely pay attention.''
Count the Technical EventsIn this particular experimental odyssey, we are going to be exploring how we subject ourselves on a daily basis to the overwhelming sirens' song of TV entertainment (the great electronic cyclops) and, like Homer's Odysseus, we will need to strap ourselves to the mast''in this case, the mast of counting technical events. For 10 minutes simply count the technical events that occur while you are watching any show. This is a TET or Technical Events Test as Jerry Mander discusses it in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. What is a technical event? We've all seen TV cameras in banks and jewelry stores. A stationary video camera simply recording what's in front of it is what I will call ''pure TV.'' Anything other than pure TV is a technical event: the camera zooms up, that's a technical event; you are watching someone's profile talking and suddenly you are switched to another person responding, that's a technical event; a car is driving down the road and you also hear music playing, that's a technical event. Simply count the number of times there is a cut, zoom, superimposition, voice-over, appearance of words on the screen, fade in/out, etc.
Now proceed with these experiments:
Watch any TV show for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
Watch any news program for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
Watch television for one half hour without turning it on.
The time requirements in these experiments are extremely important. I would urge you, the reader, to undertake the experiment personally rather than merely going on to read the results.
Anger and Resistance: What's the Meaning of This?!In examining the results of this experiment, one of the first things that consistently comes up is students' anger and resentment at being made to do such a thing''an anger and resentment very different from what comes up, say, in regard to the reading load or the writing requirements of the course. This anger, I think, is quite good and useful''not per se, but insofar as students notice their anger and then inquire into and examine the sources of that anger. For, in studying society, we often unconsciously assume we are studying ''them''''but we are not. We are studying ourselves and we resist that, we dislike that. It makes us uncomfortable and it makes us angry. Socrates wasn't given a medal and a tickertape parade after all. As the Russian existentialist philosopher Shestov said, ''It is not man who pursues truth, but truth man.''
One expression of this anger that comes up repeatedly is ''I wasted 30 minutes of my time.'' Is it possible that this is a very valuable waste of time? Is it possible that ''wasting time'' is a very valuable thing to do in studying society? Pursuing this experience puts us smack in the middle of the infamous Protestant Ethic in a very direct and personal way. We are almost re-creating through verstehen Max Weber's deep intellectual perplexity and fascination with what he saw as Benjamin Franklin's codification of the Protestant Ethic: ''Remember that time is money.'' After some discussion it invariably turns out that all the students admit to having wasted a lot more than a half hour in front of the TV set. So why this anger about watching TV for 30 minutes without turning it on?
Labor in the Mode of RelaxationWhen you turn the TV on, in effect, you turn the world off. The TV is only two feet high or so, yet we are fooled into thinking we are watching life-sized things. How is it that everything on it appears real and life-like?
Technical events produce the illusion of being natural and realistic. They produce the feeling of being non-produced (a good cut is one you don't notice, as the editors say). In the same way, we are unaware that the practice of watching TV is a practice because we have never experienced it as a phenomenon in its own right. Doing the Technical Events Test forces us to notice that watching TV is a practice, an active, ongoing achievement that we accomplish ''for another first time through'' each time. We see what the texture of the experience of watching TV consists of. We are shocked into seeing what it is we've been doing all these years.
Counting the technical events brings about what Thomas Kuhn would call a ''paradigm shift.'' When you focus on the technical events you can't focus on the plot or storyline. You learn very quickly how difficult it is to divide your attention. Either you watch the program or you count the technical events. You are unable to do both at the same time. In terms of the phenomenology of perception, this is a little like the famous demonstration of either seeing-the-vase or seeing-two-profiles, but not seeing both simultaneously in any sustained manner.
In doing the TET, we notice the discrete segments of independent footage that are presented with a rapid-fire quality. As we watch, we, the ''passive'' viewers, apparently put together, synthesize and integrate the scenes: we link, we knit, we chain, we retain the past and anticipate the future. We methodically weave them all together into a coherent narrative. A high-speed filling-in-the-blanks and connecting-the-dots occurs. Our actively synthesizing mind, our labor, goes on while we sit back, relax and absorb. This high-speed integration of often wildly disconnected phenomena (angles, scenes, persons, music) is experienced in the mode of blank and passive absorption. It would seem that our minds are in high gear without our knowing. Mander addresses this pointedly:
This difference between internally generated and imposed imagery is at the heart of whether it is accurate to say that television relaxes the mind.
Relaxation implies renewal. One runs hard, then rests. While resting the muscles first experience calm and then, as new oxygen enters them, renewal.
When you are a watching, absorbing techno-guru, your mind may be in alpha, but it is certainly not ''empty mind.'' Images are pouring into it. Your mind is not quiet or calm or empty. It may be nearer to dead, or zombie-ized. It is occupied. No renewal can come from this condition. For renewal, the mind would have to be at rest, or once rested, it would have to be seeking new kinds of stimulation, new exercise. Television offers neither rest nor stimulation.
Television inhibits your ability to think, but it does not lead to freedom of mind, relaxation or renewal. It leads to a more exhausted mind. You may have time out from prior obsessive thought patterns, but that's as far as television goes. The mind is never empty, the mind is filled. What's worse, it is filled with someone else's obsessive thoughts and images.
TV and the Social Construction of RealityThe Technical Events Test dramatically reveals the functions of the political institution of television in (a) training us to shorten our attention span, (b) making ordinary life appear dull, (C) injecting a hypnotic quality into our ordinary awareness and (d) coercing us into its reality.
Television is the quintessential short-term medium. Like jugglers, television lives for the split second. Its relationship to viewers is measured in tiny fractions. Solemn hierarchies of men and women react to overnight program ratings with something approaching nervous breakdowns, because one percentage point can mean $30 million a year. The result of this manic concern is to design programming that will serve attention-getting rather than the humanistic substance that will stay with the viewer. The ratings race serves the advertisers, not the audience.
It is easier to shorten attention spans and increase distraction than to lengthen attention spans, increase concentration, and calm, quiet and still the mind. There is an old Zen analogy that the way to calm, clear and quiet the mind is similar to the way to clear a muddy pool''not by action, by doing, by stirring it up, but by stillness, by letting it be, by letting it settle itself. The function of TV is to create, maintain and constantly reinforce what''in the Zen tradition''is often called ''monkey-mind.'' The question to ask is: What is the good of a jumpy, volatile, scattered and hyper monkey-mind?
Hypnosis UnlimitedSince the emergence of long-term space flight in orbit above the earth, a new physiological phenomenon has arisen among our astronauts. They found that as a result of long-term weightlessness, some rather drastic physical changes began to occur in their bodies. They experienced a marked and dramatic reduction of muscle size. Even their hearts became markedly smaller. The astronauts also experienced a loss of co-ordination abilities '' such as the ability to focus on and follow moving objects with their eyes. All of this seems to be due to taking the human organism outside the experience of gravity. In order to preserve their earthbound physiology in conditions of weightlessness, astronauts need to do two to three hours of custom-designed exercises per day. Perhaps watching TV produces the equivalent mental condition of weightlessness for the human mind, together with the attending shrinkages and deteriorations. The normal, invisible, all-pervasive pressure of mental gravity, of our ordinary, active, inncessntly thinking mind is suspended when we turn on the television.
Coercing Us Into RealityOur culture and education conspire to condition us, to create a reliance on media to reinforce our actions, feelings and self-perceptions. When we seek media confirmation we acknowledge and assume that our personal experiences are not qualified as reality any longer. We lose the drive to pursue direct experience as well as the drive to participate in co-creating reality. We no longer do, we watch, and reality is someone else's creation. As Todd Gitlin has said, it's not until an event (institution, thought, principle, movement, etc.) crosses the media threshold that it takes on a solid reality for us. Stretched out across our world is the media membrane, over the threshold of which''and only over the threshold''lies legitimate, confirmed reality, and though we don't have to believe what the media tell us, we can't know what they don't tell us.
TV Without SoundJust as Charles Tart talks about us being caught up in a consensus trance, we can talk about a narrative trance, a narrative-consciousness. We have been programmed to become narrative subjects, subjected to the developmental narrative mode, intertwined with the storyline. In the TET we're suspending our narrative consciousness and hence de-stabilizing the narrative subject. We identify not with a character, nor with the omniscient author, but with the camera. During usual viewing, however, our eyes do not see what is actually there because our narrative-trained mind overrides our eyes. We don't see with our eyes, we see with our programming, and we are programmed to see stories. TV programs are made so that we don't notice the ''technical events,'' the details '' so that we don't pay attention. We are programmed to be unaware of the programming, the non-narrative structure and possibilities of that structure. To watch TV programs is to be lifeless and unresisting. This is the state that allows the commercials to take full effect and operate our minds for us.
The Nature of the NewsAs a usual daily routine, only the unusually tragic or triumphant is shown''not the ordinary routines and day-to-day reality of our lives. It is true that the news show has fewer technical events. There is a good reason for this. With fewer technical events the news show appears realistic relative to other shows in the TV environment. Further, it appears super-realistic relative to the commercial shows in this environment. As earlier, we witnessed the joining of technical events in a coherent narrative. Here, we witness the reduction of worldly events into a narrative.
The problem is not that TV presents us with entertaining subject matter, but that TV presents all subject matter as entertaining. This transcends TV and spills over into our post-TV life experiences. TV trains us to orient toward and tune in to the entertainment quality of any experience, event, person. We look for that which is entertaining about any phenomenon rather than qualities of depth, social significance, spiritual resonance, beauty, etc. In this sense TV doesn't imitate life, but social life now aspires to imitate TV.
Further, we become greedy. Not greedy in the traditional sense in reference to material wealth, rather, we experience a greed to be entertained. It's not just a need for entertainment, but a downright greed for entertainment, and it becomes a 24-hour obsession. In the absence of entertainment, we usually entertain ourselves with plans for future entertainment.
As one formula puts it, Media Power = Political Power Squared The TV has shown us that politicians can't be trusted but TV can. That is, according to Joshua Meyrowitz in No Sense of Place, implicit in showing us this about politicians is the message, ''We who are showing you this, the TV, can be trusted.'' We can trust TV, and the institution of TV, to reveal how politicians and the institution of politics can't be trusted.
Discoveries About SelfTV has become such a mechanical friend, such a substitute for social interaction, that one's solitude becomes acutely magnified, doubly experienced and doubly reinforced if one is deprived of its glowing, life-like presence (as if one wouldn't still be alone if it were on). If one is alone in one's room and turns on the TV, one actually doesn't feel alone anymore. It's as if companionship is experienced, as if communication is two-way. We have achieved a new level of isolation, solipsism and withdrawal. ''It's just an object when it's turned off,'' hundreds of students have bemoaned. When it is turned off it more clearly reveals itself as an object, as an appliance''rather than as a friend, a companion. It is shocking after all these years to discover this. Mander captures the phenomenology of the situation well:
Television is watched in darkened rooms '... it is a requirement of television viewing that the set be the brightest image in the environment or it cannot be seen well. To increase the effect, background sounds are dimmed out just as the light is. An effort is made to eliminate household noises. The point, of course, is to further the focus on the television set. Awareness of the outer environment gets in the way'... . Dimming out your own body is another part of the process. People choose a position for viewing that allows the maximum comfort and least motion '... thinking processes also dim. Overall, while we are watching television, our bodies are in a quieter condition over a longer period of time than in any other of life's nonsleeping experiences. This is true even for the eyes '... the eyes move less while watching television than in any other experience of daily life.
Almost every household's living room is arranged around the television set. As a weight room is arranged for weight training, our living rooms are arranged for TV training. The furniture is purposely arranged for the transcendent practice of ''watching TV,'' rather than for the immanent, human practice of communication or interaction. The interior design of the average American living room with its lines of attention, hierarchy, and transcendent TV is very similar to the interior design of the average American church with its transcendent altar, lines of homage and gestures of genuflection.
TV and the Illusion of KnowingMarshall McLuhan says TV opens out onto an electronic global village. It would seem, rather, that it gives us only the illusion of being. It reinforces security by presenting danger, ignorance by presenting news, lethargy by presenting excitement, isolation by promising participation. The media confines reality to itself. And it limits knowledge by giving the illusion of knowledge. In the same way that the most effective way to deflect, diffuse and terminate a social movement is to announce that it has been achieved (the feminist movement must contend with this on an almost daily basis), the most effective way to deflect inquiry is to present it as fulfilled. TV acts in this guise as a thinking presentation device which offers non-experience as experience and not-knowingness as knowing.
In the words of Mat Maxwell, ''Television becomes the world for people'... . The world becomes television.'' The overall and cumulative effect of the media is to heighten our insensitivity to reality. Rather than breaking the chains of ignorance, political domination and illusion in our Platonic cave, something insidiously similar yet different is going on. Instead of actually turning away from the shadows to see the realities, instead of actually leaving the darkness of the cave and going up into the sunlight, we merely watch an image of ourselves doing this, we fantasize about doing it and think it's the same.
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Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''750, 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. § 1750^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
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Science = Religion
Chicago Pastor email
Hey Adam,
Hope you’re enjoying your time in the windy city. At least you’ve come up for some decent weather.
As an ordained pastor, someone who has a Ph.D. in theology, and who’s doctoral work covered the idea of what a god is, here’s another angle on the science as a religion conversation—hint, you’re right:
In 1529, the German reformer Martin Luther published his Large Catechism. As he was unpacking the line from the ten commandments, “You shall have no other gods before me,” he reflected on what a god is. A god, wrote Luther, is anything on which your heart relies, anything in which you put your trust. Therefore, it is very possible for science to be a god and for religion to form around it. This connects with the “original sin” phrase the people of power keep tossing about—a phrase which is a very complicated metaphor I wish they would actually explain. The original sin of Adam and Eve according to Genesis 3 is that they trusted the serpent and their own desires more than they trusted what God said regarding the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The original sin is not trusting God above all others, which is still—the theological argument goes—our sin today.
If the response is that trust is not religion, they are technically right in that there is no formal hierarchy or structure. But trust is the essence of faith, and faith does lead to religion, especially among those who blindly or uncritically follow a way of thinking that is designed to build trust in a way of thinking or acting. As a reminder, I am a pastor, so I know this problem from both personal experience and academic work. In today’s media, science is a kind of religion. Whenever people talk about science, replace the word with god, or purple fairies, or magic, and the effect will normally be the same. “Science" is being used on the media consuming public like religion was being used on the public in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries.
I’d host you for a meal during your time here, but my wife hates the show. Ah well. Keep up the media deconstruction.
Hitting people in the mouth (for Jesus),
Sir Eric of ChiTown (formerly of Minnesotnuts)
Caliphate!
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Beheaded Syrian scholar refused to lead Isis to hidden Palmyra antiquities | World news | The Guardian
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:18
A 2002 picture of Khaled al-Asaad in front of a rare sarcophagus from Palmyra depicting two priests dating from the first century. Photograph: Marc Deville/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Islamic State militants beheaded a renowned antiquities scholar in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and hung his mutilated body on a column in a main square of the historic site because he apparently refused to reveal where valuable artefacts had been moved for safekeeping.
Related:Khaled al-Asaad's enthusiasm for Palmyra was inextinguishable
The brutal murder of Khaled al-Asaad, 82, is the latest atrocity perpetrated by the jihadi group, which has captured a third of Syria and neighbouring Iraq and declared a ''caliphate'' on the territory it controls. It has also highlighted Isis's habit of looting and selling antiquities to fund its activities '' as well as destroying them.
Syrian state antiquities chief Maamoun Abdulkarim said Asaad's family had informed him that the scholar, who worked for more than 50 years as head of antiquities in Palmyra, was killed by Isis on Tuesday.
Asaad had been held for more than a month before being murdered. Chris Doyle, director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, said he had learned from a Syrian source that the archaeologist had been interrogated by Isis about the location of treasures from Palmyra and had been executed when he refused to cooperate.
Related:Khaled al-Asaad profile: the Howard Carter of Palmyra
Isis captured the city from government forces in May but is not known to have damaged its monumental Roman-era ruins despite a reputation for destroying artefacts it views as idolatrous.
''Just imagine that such a scholar who gave such memorable services to the place and to history would be beheaded '... and his corpse still hanging from one of the ancient columns in the centre of a square in Palmyra,'' Abdulkarim said. ''The continued presence of these criminals in this city is a curse and bad omen on [Palmyra] and every column and every archaeological piece in it.''
Palmyra-based activists circulated an unverified, gruesome image on social media of Asaad's beheaded body, tied to a pole on a street in the city.
How Isis reshaped the Middle East in a year '' video explainerA board in front of the body set out the charges against him, which accused him of loyalty to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, maintaining contact with senior regime intelligence and security officials and managing Palmyra's collection of ''idols''.
Isis, which follows a puritanical interpretation of Islam, considers maintaining such ancient statues to be apostasy.
According to Syrian state news agency Sana and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Asaad was beheaded in front of dozens of people on Tuesday in a square outside the town's museum. His body was then taken to Palmyra's archaeological site and hung from one of the Roman columns.
Related:A sledgehammer to civilisation: Islamic State's war on culture
Amr al-Azm, a former Syrian antiquities official who ran the country's science and conservation labs and knew Asaad personally, said the ''irreplaceable'' scholar was involved in early excavations of Palmyra and the restoration of parts of the city.
''He was a fixture, you can't write about Palmyra's history or anything to do with Palmyrian work without mentioning Khaled Asaad,'' he said. ''It's like you can't talk about Egyptology without talking about Howard Carter.
''He had a huge repository of knowledge on the site, and that's going to be missed. He knew every nook and cranny. That kind of knowledge is irreplaceable, you can't just buy a book and read it and then have that.
''There's a certain personal dimension to that knowledge that comes from only having lived that and been so closely involved in it and that's lost to us forever. We don't have that any more.''
Before the city's capture by Isis, Syrian officials said they moved hundreds of ancient statues to safe locations out of concern they would be destroyed by the militants. Isis was likely to be looking for portable, easily saleable items that are not registered.
Azm said Asaad had played a role in evacuating the contents of the museum before Isis took control, which meant he faced certain arrest. ''He'd been there for so long and been part of that city for so long, maybe he figured he lived there all his life and he would die there too, and that's unfortunately what happened,'' he said. ''It's terrible.''
Palmyra before it was captured by militant groupHistorian Tom Holland said the news was distressing. ''For anyone interested in the study of the ancient world, it comes as '' to put it mildly '' a shock to realise that ideologues exist who regard the curating of antiquities and the attendance of international conferences on archaeology as capital offences.''
Palmyra flourished in antiquity as an important trading hub along the Silk Road. Asaad had worked over the past few decades with US, French, German and Swiss archaeological missions on excavations and research in Palmyra's famed 2,000-year-old ruins, a Unesco world heritage site that includes Roman tombs and the Temple of Bel.
The Sana news agency said he had discovered several ancient cemeteries, caves and a Byzantine graveyard in the garden of the Palmyra museum. He was also a scholar of Aramaic, the lingua franca of the area before the rise of Islam in the seventh century.
Related:Looted in Syria '' and sold in London: the British antiques shops dealing in artefacts smuggled by Isis
''Al-Asaad was a treasure for Syria and the world,'' his son-in-law, Khalil Hariri, told the Associated Press. ''Why did they kill him? Their systematic campaign seeks to take us back into pre-history. But they will not succeed.''
In June, Isis blew up two ancient shrines in Palmyra that were not part of its Roman-era structures but which the militants regarded as pagan and sacrilegious. In early July, it released a video showing the killing of 25 captured government soldiers in the Roman amphitheatre.
Unesco warned last month that looting had been taking place on an ''industrial scale''. Isis advertises its destruction of sites such as Nimrud in Iraq but says little about the way plundered antiquities help finance its activities. Stolen artefacts make up a significant stream of the group's estimated multi-million dollar revenues, along with oil sales and straightforward taxation and extortion.
Archaeological experts say Isis took over the already existing practice of illegal excavation and looting, which until 2014 was carried out by various armed groups, or individuals, or the Syrian regime.
Isis initially levied 20% taxes on those it ''licensed'' to excavate but later began to hire its own own archaeologists, digging teams and machinery. The group invested more when the US-led coalition began to bomb oil fields and other targets and enforced punishments for looting without a licence.
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French official: 2 Americans subdued train gunman
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 22:24
2 photos
A Thalys train of French national railway operator, SNCF, stands at the main train station in Arras, northern France, after a gunman opened fire injuring three people, Friday, Aug. 21, 2015. A spokesman for France\'s interior ministry says three people were wounded in a shooting on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris Friday. Speaking on French television BFM, Pierre-Henri Brandet says a suspect is in custody and the train has been evacuated in Arras, 115 miles (185 kilometers) north of Paris, where the train stopped after the attack. (AP Photo)
PARIS (AP) '-- A gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon on a high-speed train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris Friday, wounding three people before being subdued by two American passengers, officials said.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, speaking in Arras in northern France where the suspected was detained, said one of the Americans was hospitalized with serious wounds. Their names were not immediately released.
Investigators from France's special anti-terror police are leading the investigation, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor's office said.
The suspect is a 26-year-old Moroccan, said Sliman Hamzi, an official with police union Alliance, said on French television i-Tele.
The suspect was armed with an automatic rifle and a knife, said Christophe Piednoel, spokesman for national railway operator SNCF.
Cazeneuve said the American passengers "were particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances" and that "without their sangfroid we could have been confronted with a terrible drama."
A second person was also seriously wounded in the attack, while a third is being treated for minor injuries.
The attack took place at 1545 GMT while the Thalys train was passing through Belgium, according to a statement from the office President Francois Hollande. Hollande said he's spoken with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and the two leaders pledged to cooperate closely on the investigation.
Thalys is owned by the French and Belgian railways and operates high-speed trains serving Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne, Germany.
French authorities have been on heightened alert since Islamic extremist attacks in January left 20 people dead, including the three attackers.
Comments
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Earon
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Saffron-Iran
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 01:17
Iran accounts for 130-160 tons of the 200 tons of saffron produced worldwide every year and ranks first and far ahead of Spain, Italy, the US, China, Afghanistan, Austria, Switzerland and Argentina where the rest is grown.
Saffron is an expensive spice known as red gold. Despite the price that rivals that of precious metals, growing saffron is very simple and accessible to anyone.
Soil plays the most important part in saffron cultivation. Other than that, it needs little water to grow and can be easily stored for a long time and transported at low cost.The spice is well adapted to semi-arid climate with strong resistance against cold. The crop is not cultivable in the north and the south of Iran as rainfall and humidity are detrimental to its growth in summer when the crop prepares to bloom in the next season.
Khorasan Razavi Province is best suited for saffron production followed by Fars, Hamedan, Kerman, Yazd and Qom provinces. In fact, in recent years, when many crops suffered the adverse impacts of shrinking water resources in the country, saffron farmers gained the most.
Despite the eye-catching production figures, profitability in this sector has remained insignificant mainly as a result of low productivity and lack of branding and proper packaging. Regrettably, Iran is not recognized as the largest saffron exporter as other countries, namely Spain and France, reprocess and package the Iranian saffron and reexport it under their own brands.
According to official statistics released by Agriculture Organization of Khorasan Razavi Province, from 1974 to 2002, saffron production in Iran progressively increased. Unofficial data suggest that the trend is still ongoing, which could serve as a strong motivation for investors to engage in the sector.
In 1973, 17 tons of saffron were produced from 2,950 hectares that were under cultivation at the time. In 2002, the cultivated land grew to 45,000 hectares and the production figure rose to 180 tons. On average, around 20 tons of the produced saffron are consumed domestically and the rest is exported overseas.
Although the increase in cultivated land matters, productivity plays a more important role. Some farmers produce 7 kilograms of saffron per hectare while others have managed to harvest 8 kilograms by optimizing energy consumption and human resources.
Therefore, potential investors should enter the field with sufficient knowledge and be equipped with effective tools to boost productivity.
By Financial Tribune
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Big Pharma
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little pink pill for those already on meds!!! [email]
Hi Adam,
Let me relate a personal story. As I've mentioned previously, I'm currently on medication for a major recurrent depression for a year and a half now.
Ever since I've been taking my current medication, I've had pretty much zero sexual desire. It's not that things don't function, but the thoughts don't even enter my mind and I get no satisfaction on release.
Now that I'm slowly building off my dependence on my medication (which does work great) my desire slowly returns, so it's no coincidence.
With much of America drugged up on something or another, I wouldn't be surprised if the "need" for HSDD medication is caused by this.
--
Best regards,
Daniël
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A majority of the Reno County whooping cough outbreak cases have been vaccinated.
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 02:42
Published On: Jul 27 2015 02:37:41 PM CDT Updated On: Jul 30 2015 11:38:16 AM CDT
Reno County health officials are taking steps to help stall the spread of a whooping cough outbreak before school starts.
The county has more than 70 suspected whooping cough cases.
The Hutchinson News reports that as of Friday, Reno County had 41 confirmed or probable cases of whooping cough, which accounts for 20 percent of all cases in the state. That was up from 18 on June 29.
Reno County Health Department Director Nick Baldetti says the continued outbreak has health officials concerned about the possibility of a potential "micro-outbreak" once school starts again.
He says the county health department is working with school districts to prepare and hopes to have vaccination clinics set up for Buhler, Haven and Nickerson districts.
Eyewitness News spoke with an official with Hutchinson Schools' spokesman, Ray Hemman, He says the district is working hand-in-hand with the health department to address the concerns.
Hemman says the cases the district has heard about were people who've been vaccinated.
The Reno County Health Department tells us a majority of the total cases have been vaccinated.
___
Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com
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Little Pink Pill Tour
Signage offer
My brother and I just started listening a few months ago and I just heard about your airstream decal and would like to see if we could donate that. We have a chain of laundromats lovelaundry.com and have our dedicated sign makers since we love perfect signage and advertising all over so if you'd like maybe some dimensions on the artwork and graphics files and we could have it made and sent out...I think a decal sticker vinyl might work best I'm just guessing how hard install might be unless it's a cling type plastic. If you're not sure on the artwork my graphic designer friend might be able to whip something up as well but yeah he's not "aware" of the NA way so yes he would need suggestions.
Thanks
Alex
BAustin
FBI Evidence Proves Innocence of Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev | American Everyman
Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:41
Posted on August 18, 2015 by willyloman
by Paul Craig Roberts
I have been contacted by attorney John Remington Graham, a member in good standing of the bar of the Minnesota Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. He informs me that acting in behalf of Maret Tsanaeva, the aunt of the accused Tsamaev brothers and a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic where she is qualified to practice law, he has assisted her in filing with the US District Court in Boston a pro se motion, including an argument of amicus curiae, and an affidavit of Maret Tsarnaeva. The presiding judge has ordered that these documents be included in the formal record of the case so they will be publicly accessible. The documents are reproduced below.
The documents argue that on the basis of the evidence provided by the FBI, there is no basis for the indictment of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The FBI's evidence clearly concludes that the bomb was in a black knapsack, but the photographs used to establish Dzhokhar's presence at the marathon show him with a white knapsack. Moreover, the knapsack lacks the heavy bulging appearance that a knapsack containing a bomb would have.
backpack containing bomb supposedly planed by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
As readers know, I have been suspicious of the Boston Marathon Bombing from the beginning. It seems obvious that both Tsamaev brothers were intended to be killed in the alleged firefight with police, like the alleged perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo affair in Paris. Convenient deaths in firefights are accepted as indications of guilt and solve the problem of trying innocent patsies.
In Dzhokhar's case, his guilt was established not by evidence but by accusations, by the betrayal of his government-appointed public defender Judy Clarke who declared Dzhokhar's guilt in her opening statement of her ''defense,'' by an alleged confession, evidence of which was never provided, written by Dzhokhar on a boat under which the badly wounded youth lay dying until discovered by the boat owner and hospitalized in critical condition. Following his conviction by his defense attorney, Dzhokhar allegedly confessed again in jihadist terms. As legal scholars have known for centuries, confessions are worthless as indicators of guilt.
Dzhokhar was not convicted on the basis of evidence.
[read more here]
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Filed under: American Gladio, Boston Bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Paul Craig Roberts Tagged: | Boston Bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Hillary 2016
How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election - Robert Epstein - POLITICO Magazine
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 02:45
America's next president could be eased into office not just by TV ads or speeches, but by Google's secret decisions, and no one'--except for me and perhaps a few other obscure researchers'--would know how this was accomplished.
Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections'--indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs'--than any company in history has ever had. Google's search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more'--up to 80 percent in some demographic groups'--with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated, according to experiments I conducted recently with Ronald E. Robertson.
Given that many elections are won by small margins, this gives Google the power, right now, to flip upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide. In the United States, half of our presidential elections have been won by margins under 7.6 percent, and the 2012 election was won by a margin of only 3.9 percent'--well within Google's control.
There are at least three very real scenarios whereby Google'--perhaps even without its leaders' knowledge'--could shape or even decide the election next year. Whether or not Google executives see it this way, the employees who constantly adjust the search giant's algorithms are manipulating people every minute of every day. The adjustments they make increasingly influence our thinking'--including, it turns out, our voting preferences.
What we call in our research the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) turns out to be one of the largest behavioral effects ever discovered. Our comprehensive new study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), includes the results of five experiments we conducted with more than 4,500 participants in two countries. Because SEME is virtually invisible as a form of social influence, because the effect is so large and because there are currently no specific regulations anywhere in the world that would prevent Google from using and abusing this technique, we believe SEME is a serious threat to the democratic system of government.
According to Google Trends, at this writing Donald Trump is currently trouncing all other candidates in search activity in 47 of 50 states. Could this activity push him higher in search rankings, and could higher rankings in turn bring him more support? Most definitely'--depending, that is, on how Google employees choose to adjust numeric weightings in the search algorithm. Google acknowledges adjusting the algorithm 600 times a year, but the process is secret, so what effect Mr. Trump's success will have on how he shows up in Google searches is presumably out of his hands.
***
Our new research leaves little doubt about whether Google has the ability to control voters. In laboratory and online experiments conducted in the United States, we were able to boost the proportion of people who favored any candidate by between 37 and 63 percent after just one search session. The impact of viewing biased rankings repeatedly over a period of weeks or months would undoubtedly be larger.
In our basic experiment, participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups in which search rankings favored either Candidate A, Candidate B or neither candidate. Participants were given brief descriptions of each candidate and then asked how much they liked and trusted each candidate and whom they would vote for. Then they were allowed up to 15 minutes to conduct online research on the candidates using a Google-like search engine we created called Kadoodle.
Each group had access to the same 30 search results'--all real search results linking to real web pages from a past election. Only the ordering of the results differed in the three groups. People could click freely on any result or shift between any of five different results pages, just as one can on Google's search engine.
When our participants were done searching, we asked them those questions again, and, voil : On all measures, opinions shifted in the direction of the candidate who was favored in the rankings. Trust, liking and voting preferences all shifted predictably.
More alarmingly, we also demonstrated this shift with real voters during an actual electoral campaign'--in an experiment conducted with more than 2,000 eligible, undecided voters throughout India during the 2014 Lok Sabha election there'--the largest democratic election in history, with more than 800 million eligible voters and 480 million votes ultimately cast. Even here, with real voters who were highly familiar with the candidates and who were being bombarded with campaign rhetoric every day, we showed that search rankings could boost the proportion of people favoring any candidate by more than 20 percent'--more than 60 percent in some demographic groups.
Given how powerful this effect is, it's possible that Google decided the winner of the Indian election. Google's own daily data on election-related search activity (subsequently removed from the Internet, but not before my colleagues and I downloaded the pages) showed that Narendra Modi, the ultimate winner, outscored his rivals in search activity by more than 25 percent for sixty-one consecutive days before the final votes were cast. That high volume of search activity could easily have been generated by higher search rankings for Modi.
Google's official comment on SEME research is always the same: ''Providing relevant answers has been the cornerstone of Google's approach to search from the very beginning. It would undermine the people's trust in our results and company if we were to change course.''
Could any comment be more meaningless? How does providing ''relevant answers'' to election-related questions rule out the possibility of favoring one candidate over another in search rankings? Google's statement seems far short of a blanket denial that it ever puts its finger on the scales.
There are three credible scenarios under which Google could easily be flipping elections worldwide as you read this:
First, there is the Western Union Scenario: Google's executives decide which candidate is best for us'--and for the company, of course'--and they fiddle with search rankings accordingly. There is precedent in the United States for this kind of backroom king-making. Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, was put into office in part because of strong support by Western Union. In the late 1800s, Western Union had a monopoly on communications in America, and just before the election of 1876, the company did its best to assure that only positive news stories about Hayes appeared in newspapers nationwide. It also shared all the telegrams sent by his opponent's campaign staff with Hayes's staff. Perhaps the most effective way to wield political influence in today's high-tech world is to donate money to a candidate and then to use technology to make sure he or she wins. The technology guarantees the win, and the donation guarantees allegiance, which Google has certainly tapped in recent years with the Obama administration.
Robert Epstein is senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology and the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today. Follow him on Twitter @DrREpstein.
BlackLivesMatter
Exclusive: Man Accused Of Shooting At Police In #Ferguson Previously Bailed Out By Soros-Funded Organization'...For Prior Gun Crime'... | Weasel Zippers
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 14:31
We're reported on the shooting on Sunday involving Tyrone Harris, who, the police say, shot at them and who was in turn shot by them.
We previously noted that 1) Tyrone Harris was a protester 2) Tyrone, in street language, said he made his money by robbing people 3) Tyrone had been arrested on felony charges in November 2014, for stealing a car, stealing a gun and resisting.
In looking at the prior charge, something quite interesting shows up.
The person who bailed Harris out for the November charges is Molly Gott.
Who is Molly Gott? Why, she's a community organizer with MORE (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment), a Soros-funded group we've talked about before, who has paid protesters. MORE was previously ACORN.
So here's a question. Why was this organization putting up money to bail this man out for theft of a car, stealing a gun and resisting? Was that part of a protester operation?
In doing so, they enabled him to be free to shoot at police last Sunday.
Shut Up Slave!
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Pentagon Manual Calls Some Reporters Spies
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 01:16
Exclusive: The Pentagon's new ''Law of War'' manual puts some journalists in the category of ''unprivileged belligerents,'' meaning they can be tried by military tribunals as spies, a further sign of U.S. government hostility toward reporting that undercuts Washington's goals, writes veteran war correspondent Don North.
By Don North
Honest war correspondents and photographers who try to cover wars effectively are about to become suspect spies if a new Pentagon manual, ''Law of War,'' is accepted by U.S. military commanders. I can confirm from personal experience that reporting on wars is hard enough without being considered a suspicious character secretly working for the other side.
The 1,176-page manual, published on June 24, is the first comprehensive revision made to the Defense Department's law of war policy since 1956. One change in terminology directly targets journalists, saying ''in general, journalists are civilians,'' but under some circumstances, journalists may be regarded as ''unprivileged belligerents.'' [p. 173] That places reporters in the same ranks as Al Qaeda, since the term ''unprivileged belligerents'' replaces the Bush-era phrase ''unlawful combatants.''
An ABC News cameraman in the Persian Gulf War films the arrival of Syrian troops. (Photo credit: Don North)
''Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying,'' the manual says, calling on journalists to ''act openly and with the permission of relevant authorities.'' The manual notes that governments ''may need to censor journalists' work or take other security measures so that journalists do not reveal sensitive information to the enemy.''
The manual's new language reflects a long-term growing hostility within the U.S. military toward unencumbered reporting about battlefield operations as well as a deepening interest in ''information warfare,'' the idea that control over what the public gets to hear and see is an important way of ensuring continued popular support for a conflict at home and undermining the enemy abroad.
But allowing this manual to stand as guidance for commanders, government lawyers and leaders of foreign nations would severely damage press freedoms, not only for Americans but internationally. It would drastically inhibit the news media ability to cover future wars honestly and keep the public informed, which is after all what both U.S. government officials and journalists say they want.
Bitter Vietnam Memories
The new manual also reflects an historical trend. During the Vietnam War, a majority of U.S. military officers believed the press should have been under more restraint. By the early years of the Reagan administration, it had become an article of faith among many conservatives that the press had helped lose that war by behaving more as disloyal fifth columnists than a respectable Fourth Estate.
So, the Pentagon began to strike back. During the short-lived Grenada invasion of 1983, press coverage was banned in the early phases of the conflict. Soon, the Pentagon began a more formal process of both constraining and co-opting journalists. In the first Gulf War, journalists were forced to work in restrictive ''pools.'' In the Iraq War, reporters were ''embedded'' with military units while facing multiple limitations on what they could say and write.
Now, the Pentagon appears to be engaging in an attempt at intimidation or ''prior restraint,'' essentially warning journalists that if they are deemed to have reported something that undermines the war effort, they could be deemed ''unprivileged belligerents,'' presumably opening them to trial by military tribunals or to indefinite detention.
And, while that might seem to be an extreme interpretation, the manual's ominous wording comes at a time when the U.S. government has escalated its denunciations of what it regards as ''propaganda'' from journalists at RT, a Russian network, and earlier of Al-Jazeera, an Arab-based network, both of which broadcast internationally, including inside the United States offering alternative perspectives and contrasting information from what is often reported in the mainstream U.S. media.
Growing Dangers
This rhetoric labeling unwelcome journalism as ''propaganda'' hostile to U.S. national security goals also comes at a time of global political turmoil that has seen a shocking number of journalists jailed, intimidated and murdered with impunity simply for doing their jobs.
Reporters Without Borders reported 61 journalists killed last year, with 59 percent dying while covering wars. The same study found media freedom in retreat across the globe, including in the United States, which ranked 49th among the 180 nations examined regarding the environment for press activities, the lowest standing since President Barack Obama took office.
The Reporters Without Borders report suggests that the Pentagon's new manual may be part of a worldwide trend in which governments see shaping the presentation of information as an important national security goal and skeptical journalism as an impediment.
''Many governments used control and manipulation of media coverage as a weapon of war in 2014, ranging from over-coverage to complete news blackout,'' the report stated. ''It creates a hostile climate for journalists and has disastrous consequences for media pluralism.''
In the United States, the hostility toward unwanted or unapproved reporting '' whether from RT, Al-Jazeera or WikiLeaks '' has merged with more classification of information and greater delays in releasing material sought through Freedom of Information channels.
Despite President Obama's pledge to make his administration one of the most transparent in history, press freedom watchdogs have continually slammed his administration as one of the least transparent and criticized its aggressive prosecution of leakers, including Army Pvt. Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning for releasing evidence of apparent war crimes in the Iraq and Afghan wars. Manning received a 35-year prison sentence and is currently facing possible solitary confinement for alleged prison infractions.
The Obama administration's obsession with secrecy even extended to the status of the new manual's views about war reporting. A spokesman for the National Security Council has declined to say whether the White House contributed to or signed off on the manual.
The manual does contain a disclaimer about its possible limits: ''The views in this manual do not necessarily reflect the views of '... the US government.''
The manual was issued by the office of Stephen W. Preston, general counsel for the Pentagon and former chief attorney for the CIA. After six years overseeing the Obama administration's legal policy with respect to lethal drone attacks as well as the raid that killed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the current war against the Islamic State, Preston resigned from the Pentagon in June following publication of the manual and has not been available for comment.
Media Pushback
The manual has even drawn some criticism from the mainstream U.S. media. On Aug. 10, a New York Times editorial declared: ''Allowing this document to stand as guidance for commanders, government lawyers and officials of other nations would do severe damage to press freedoms.''
The Times also dismissed the value of the manual's disclaimer about not necessarily reflecting the views of the U.S. government: ''That inane disclaimer won't stop commanders pointing to the manual when they find it convenient to silence the press. The White House should call on Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to revise this section, which so clearly runs contrary to American law and principles.''
Reporters Without Borders published an open letter to Secretary Carter calling on him to revise ''dangerous language'' of the Pentagon manual that suggests journalists can become ''unprivileged belligerents,'' akin to spies or saboteurs.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists in a critique of the manual writes, ''By giving approval for the military to detain journalists on vague national security grounds, the manual is sending a disturbing message to dictatorships and democracies alike. The same accusations and threats to national security are routinely used to put journalists behind bars in nations like China, Ethiopia, Vietnam and Russia to name just a few.''
Public attention to the new Pentagon manual came at an awkward time for U.S. government officials. Secretary of State John Kerry was recently in Hanoi lecturing the Vietnamese to let up on oppressed journalists and release bloggers from jail.
In Iran, the U.S. government has protested the trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian on spying charges and has marshaled international support behind demands for his release. United Nations human rights advocates called on Tehran to release Rezaian, declaring: ''Journalists must be protected, not harassed, detained or prosecuted.''
So, the new ''law of war'' manual suggests that we are seeing another case of American double standards, lecturing the world about principles that the U.S. government chooses to ignore when its own perceived interests are seen as endangered.
The reality is that the U.S. military has often taken questionable action against journalists, particularly Arab journalists working for U.S. or third country agencies. AP photographer, Bilal Hussein, whose photo of insurgents firing on Marines in Fallujah in 2004 earned him a Pulitzer Prize, was detained by the U.S. Marines and held two years without charges, evidence or explanation.
Al-Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Haj was detained in 2001 while covering a U.S. offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan. U.S. military forces accused the Sudanese cameraman of being a financial courier for armed groups but never produced evidence to support the claims. Al-Haj was held for six years at the Guantanamo Bay prison.
Prior to releasing him, according to his lawyer, U.S. military officials tried to compel al-Haj to spy on Al-Jazeera as a condition of his release.
In its 6,000-plus footnotes, the manual ignores these two cases. Instead it suggests its own perspective on how journalists covering conflicts should operate: ''To avoid being mistaken for spies, journalists should act openly and with the permission of relevant authorities'' '' advice that is both impractical and problematic.
For instance, how would the U.S. military respond if ''the permission of relevant authorities'' came from a battlefield adversary? Would that be taken as prime facie evidence that the reporter was collaborating with the enemy?
Plus, in any war that I've covered from Vietnam to Iraq, I have never gone looking for ''relevant authorities'' in the fog of battle, as finding one would be as unlikely as it would be risky. Indeed, the more likely result if such a person was found would be for the reporter to be detained and prevented from doing his or her job rather than receiving some permission slip.
Such na¯ve advice suggests the editors of this manual have had little experience in combat situations.
Don North as a young war correspondent in Vietnam.
A False Comparison
When asked to give an example of when a reporter would be an ''unprivileged belligerent,'' a senior Pentagon official pointed to the assassination of the Afghan rebel military commander Ahmad Shah Massoud in September 2001, but the two assassins were not real journalists; they were simply using that as a cover.
I was at Massoud's headquarters at the time and can confirm that the two assassins were Al Qaeda agents from Algeria posing as television journalists with explosives hidden in their camera. They could just as easily have posed as United Nations envoys or as mail couriers. They were not journalists.
Significantly, the manual does not list any current or former American war correspondents as consultants. Military legal experts from Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia are listed as having an input, as well as unspecified ''distinguished scholars.''
Whatever their vast knowledge, the manual's author '' as well as those scholars and other military legal experts '' apparently had little familiarity with, or regard for, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which is supposed to guarantee freedom of the press.
Andrew Pearson, who was one of my colleagues at ABC News in Vietnam, observed: ''When the Pentagon gets squeezed between stupid presidents and truth-telling journalists, the answer isn't jail for the journalist,'' though that seems to be the answer that the new manual favors.
''The Pentagon types don't learn that much out on the firing range about the Constitution, so somewhere along the way in our complicated 'democratic system,' there has to be protection for journalists against a Pentagon that thinks they're a dictatorship,'' Pearson added.
In an interview on NPR last Friday, a senior editor of the manual, Charles A. Allen, deputy general counsel for international affairs, could not respond to the question: ''Can you give any examples of any cases of operations being jeopardized by journalists in say the last five wars?'' Allen said he could not provide examples without referring to Pentagon files.
In fact, in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, I can remember only a very few infractions of the media rules by the thousands of journalists covering military operations.
A History of Distrust
Yet, it may be true that the tension between the military and the press will never cease, because both need each other but cannot grant the other what it really wants. The reporters want absolute freedom to print or film everything on the battlefield, while the military's mission is to fight and to win.
The generals would prefer the journalists to perform as organs of state propaganda to ensure popular support for the war or to undermine the enemy. But the journalist's purpose is to find and report the truth to the public, a mission not always compatible with successful warfare, which also relies on secrecy and deception.
As one World War II military censor in Washington described his view of appropriate media relations, ''I wouldn't tell the press anything until the war is over, and then I'd tell them who won.''
The U.S. military's mistrust of the press goes back even further. As General William Tecumseh Sherman '' one of the Civil War's most aggressive and outspoken commanders '' declared: ''I hate newspaper men. I regard them as spies, which in truth they are. If I killed them all, there would be news from hell before breakfast.''
So, war correspondents struggle with the constant conflict between the public's right to know and the military zeal to keep things secret. One side fights for information and the other fights to deny or control it. The U.S. military's legacy of suspicion and even hostility toward the media has been passed down through generations within military institutions like a family heirloom.
It is unlikely we will ever again find ourselves with the unfettered access to war that we had in Vietnam, my first experience as a war correspondent. At that time, the U.S. government recognized the importance of journalists being allowed to do our jobs at our own risk. We were considered a necessary evil that had to be tolerated.
ABC News cameraman Jim Dysilva filming during the Marine advance in the 1968 battle for Hue in the Vietnam War. (Photo credit: Don North)
However, the Vietnam lesson for the U.S. military was that images and the written word can inform the public with devastating effect and can lead to demands for accountability for war crimes as well as an erosion of popular support for the war. In other words, a well-informed public in a democracy might decide that the war was a bad idea and that it should be brought to an end short of victory.
War correspondents have short working lives and there is no tradition or means for passing on their knowledge and experience. However, the American news media must learn to represent themselves collectively with one voice on matters of access to information and censorship as represented in the Pentagon's ''Law of War.''
The news media should establish a working council of news representatives to meet with government and military officials to negotiate acceptable ground rules for the future. Number one on the agenda should be a rewrite of the Pentagon's ''Law of War.''
Don North is a veteran war correspondent who covered the Vietnam War and many other conflicts around the world. He is the author of a new book, Inappropriate Conduct, the story of a World War II correspondent whose career was crushed by the intrigue he uncovered.
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The Zen TV Experiment [adam.nz]
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:49
Written by Adbusters in May 2002 and pinched from adbusters.org.How Many of You Know How to Watch Television?''How many of you know how to watch television?'' I asked my class one day. After a few bewildered and silent moments, slowly, one by one, everyone haltingly raised their hands. We soon acknowledged that we were all ''experts,'' as Harold Garfinkel would say, in the practice of ''watching television.''
The purpose of our un-TV experiment was to provoke us into seeing television as opposed to merely looking, and to stop the world as the first step to seeing. Here we engage in stopping the world by stopping the television.
For the experiment, students were asked to watch TV consciously. Insofar as this is sort of ''Zen and the art of TV watching,'' I said to them, ''I want you to watch TV with acute awareness, mindfulness and precision. This experiment is about observing television scientifically, with Beginner's Mind, rather than watching television passively with programmed mind. Ordinarily, if you are watching TV you can't also observe and experience the experience of watching TV. When we watch TV we rarely pay attention to the details of the event. In fact, we rarely pay attention.''
Count the Technical EventsIn this particular experimental odyssey, we are going to be exploring how we subject ourselves on a daily basis to the overwhelming sirens' song of TV entertainment (the great electronic cyclops) and, like Homer's Odysseus, we will need to strap ourselves to the mast''in this case, the mast of counting technical events. For 10 minutes simply count the technical events that occur while you are watching any show. This is a TET or Technical Events Test as Jerry Mander discusses it in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. What is a technical event? We've all seen TV cameras in banks and jewelry stores. A stationary video camera simply recording what's in front of it is what I will call ''pure TV.'' Anything other than pure TV is a technical event: the camera zooms up, that's a technical event; you are watching someone's profile talking and suddenly you are switched to another person responding, that's a technical event; a car is driving down the road and you also hear music playing, that's a technical event. Simply count the number of times there is a cut, zoom, superimposition, voice-over, appearance of words on the screen, fade in/out, etc.
Now proceed with these experiments:
Watch any TV show for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
Watch any news program for 15 minutes without turning on the sound.
Watch television for one half hour without turning it on.
The time requirements in these experiments are extremely important. I would urge you, the reader, to undertake the experiment personally rather than merely going on to read the results.
Anger and Resistance: What's the Meaning of This?!In examining the results of this experiment, one of the first things that consistently comes up is students' anger and resentment at being made to do such a thing''an anger and resentment very different from what comes up, say, in regard to the reading load or the writing requirements of the course. This anger, I think, is quite good and useful''not per se, but insofar as students notice their anger and then inquire into and examine the sources of that anger. For, in studying society, we often unconsciously assume we are studying ''them''''but we are not. We are studying ourselves and we resist that, we dislike that. It makes us uncomfortable and it makes us angry. Socrates wasn't given a medal and a tickertape parade after all. As the Russian existentialist philosopher Shestov said, ''It is not man who pursues truth, but truth man.''
One expression of this anger that comes up repeatedly is ''I wasted 30 minutes of my time.'' Is it possible that this is a very valuable waste of time? Is it possible that ''wasting time'' is a very valuable thing to do in studying society? Pursuing this experience puts us smack in the middle of the infamous Protestant Ethic in a very direct and personal way. We are almost re-creating through verstehen Max Weber's deep intellectual perplexity and fascination with what he saw as Benjamin Franklin's codification of the Protestant Ethic: ''Remember that time is money.'' After some discussion it invariably turns out that all the students admit to having wasted a lot more than a half hour in front of the TV set. So why this anger about watching TV for 30 minutes without turning it on?
Labor in the Mode of RelaxationWhen you turn the TV on, in effect, you turn the world off. The TV is only two feet high or so, yet we are fooled into thinking we are watching life-sized things. How is it that everything on it appears real and life-like?
Technical events produce the illusion of being natural and realistic. They produce the feeling of being non-produced (a good cut is one you don't notice, as the editors say). In the same way, we are unaware that the practice of watching TV is a practice because we have never experienced it as a phenomenon in its own right. Doing the Technical Events Test forces us to notice that watching TV is a practice, an active, ongoing achievement that we accomplish ''for another first time through'' each time. We see what the texture of the experience of watching TV consists of. We are shocked into seeing what it is we've been doing all these years.
Counting the technical events brings about what Thomas Kuhn would call a ''paradigm shift.'' When you focus on the technical events you can't focus on the plot or storyline. You learn very quickly how difficult it is to divide your attention. Either you watch the program or you count the technical events. You are unable to do both at the same time. In terms of the phenomenology of perception, this is a little like the famous demonstration of either seeing-the-vase or seeing-two-profiles, but not seeing both simultaneously in any sustained manner.
In doing the TET, we notice the discrete segments of independent footage that are presented with a rapid-fire quality. As we watch, we, the ''passive'' viewers, apparently put together, synthesize and integrate the scenes: we link, we knit, we chain, we retain the past and anticipate the future. We methodically weave them all together into a coherent narrative. A high-speed filling-in-the-blanks and connecting-the-dots occurs. Our actively synthesizing mind, our labor, goes on while we sit back, relax and absorb. This high-speed integration of often wildly disconnected phenomena (angles, scenes, persons, music) is experienced in the mode of blank and passive absorption. It would seem that our minds are in high gear without our knowing. Mander addresses this pointedly:
This difference between internally generated and imposed imagery is at the heart of whether it is accurate to say that television relaxes the mind.
Relaxation implies renewal. One runs hard, then rests. While resting the muscles first experience calm and then, as new oxygen enters them, renewal.
When you are a watching, absorbing techno-guru, your mind may be in alpha, but it is certainly not ''empty mind.'' Images are pouring into it. Your mind is not quiet or calm or empty. It may be nearer to dead, or zombie-ized. It is occupied. No renewal can come from this condition. For renewal, the mind would have to be at rest, or once rested, it would have to be seeking new kinds of stimulation, new exercise. Television offers neither rest nor stimulation.
Television inhibits your ability to think, but it does not lead to freedom of mind, relaxation or renewal. It leads to a more exhausted mind. You may have time out from prior obsessive thought patterns, but that's as far as television goes. The mind is never empty, the mind is filled. What's worse, it is filled with someone else's obsessive thoughts and images.
TV and the Social Construction of RealityThe Technical Events Test dramatically reveals the functions of the political institution of television in (a) training us to shorten our attention span, (b) making ordinary life appear dull, (C) injecting a hypnotic quality into our ordinary awareness and (d) coercing us into its reality.
Television is the quintessential short-term medium. Like jugglers, television lives for the split second. Its relationship to viewers is measured in tiny fractions. Solemn hierarchies of men and women react to overnight program ratings with something approaching nervous breakdowns, because one percentage point can mean $30 million a year. The result of this manic concern is to design programming that will serve attention-getting rather than the humanistic substance that will stay with the viewer. The ratings race serves the advertisers, not the audience.
It is easier to shorten attention spans and increase distraction than to lengthen attention spans, increase concentration, and calm, quiet and still the mind. There is an old Zen analogy that the way to calm, clear and quiet the mind is similar to the way to clear a muddy pool''not by action, by doing, by stirring it up, but by stillness, by letting it be, by letting it settle itself. The function of TV is to create, maintain and constantly reinforce what''in the Zen tradition''is often called ''monkey-mind.'' The question to ask is: What is the good of a jumpy, volatile, scattered and hyper monkey-mind?
Hypnosis UnlimitedSince the emergence of long-term space flight in orbit above the earth, a new physiological phenomenon has arisen among our astronauts. They found that as a result of long-term weightlessness, some rather drastic physical changes began to occur in their bodies. They experienced a marked and dramatic reduction of muscle size. Even their hearts became markedly smaller. The astronauts also experienced a loss of co-ordination abilities '' such as the ability to focus on and follow moving objects with their eyes. All of this seems to be due to taking the human organism outside the experience of gravity. In order to preserve their earthbound physiology in conditions of weightlessness, astronauts need to do two to three hours of custom-designed exercises per day. Perhaps watching TV produces the equivalent mental condition of weightlessness for the human mind, together with the attending shrinkages and deteriorations. The normal, invisible, all-pervasive pressure of mental gravity, of our ordinary, active, inncessntly thinking mind is suspended when we turn on the television.
Coercing Us Into RealityOur culture and education conspire to condition us, to create a reliance on media to reinforce our actions, feelings and self-perceptions. When we seek media confirmation we acknowledge and assume that our personal experiences are not qualified as reality any longer. We lose the drive to pursue direct experience as well as the drive to participate in co-creating reality. We no longer do, we watch, and reality is someone else's creation. As Todd Gitlin has said, it's not until an event (institution, thought, principle, movement, etc.) crosses the media threshold that it takes on a solid reality for us. Stretched out across our world is the media membrane, over the threshold of which''and only over the threshold''lies legitimate, confirmed reality, and though we don't have to believe what the media tell us, we can't know what they don't tell us.
TV Without SoundJust as Charles Tart talks about us being caught up in a consensus trance, we can talk about a narrative trance, a narrative-consciousness. We have been programmed to become narrative subjects, subjected to the developmental narrative mode, intertwined with the storyline. In the TET we're suspending our narrative consciousness and hence de-stabilizing the narrative subject. We identify not with a character, nor with the omniscient author, but with the camera. During usual viewing, however, our eyes do not see what is actually there because our narrative-trained mind overrides our eyes. We don't see with our eyes, we see with our programming, and we are programmed to see stories. TV programs are made so that we don't notice the ''technical events,'' the details '' so that we don't pay attention. We are programmed to be unaware of the programming, the non-narrative structure and possibilities of that structure. To watch TV programs is to be lifeless and unresisting. This is the state that allows the commercials to take full effect and operate our minds for us.
The Nature of the NewsAs a usual daily routine, only the unusually tragic or triumphant is shown''not the ordinary routines and day-to-day reality of our lives. It is true that the news show has fewer technical events. There is a good reason for this. With fewer technical events the news show appears realistic relative to other shows in the TV environment. Further, it appears super-realistic relative to the commercial shows in this environment. As earlier, we witnessed the joining of technical events in a coherent narrative. Here, we witness the reduction of worldly events into a narrative.
The problem is not that TV presents us with entertaining subject matter, but that TV presents all subject matter as entertaining. This transcends TV and spills over into our post-TV life experiences. TV trains us to orient toward and tune in to the entertainment quality of any experience, event, person. We look for that which is entertaining about any phenomenon rather than qualities of depth, social significance, spiritual resonance, beauty, etc. In this sense TV doesn't imitate life, but social life now aspires to imitate TV.
Further, we become greedy. Not greedy in the traditional sense in reference to material wealth, rather, we experience a greed to be entertained. It's not just a need for entertainment, but a downright greed for entertainment, and it becomes a 24-hour obsession. In the absence of entertainment, we usually entertain ourselves with plans for future entertainment.
As one formula puts it, Media Power = Political Power Squared The TV has shown us that politicians can't be trusted but TV can. That is, according to Joshua Meyrowitz in No Sense of Place, implicit in showing us this about politicians is the message, ''We who are showing you this, the TV, can be trusted.'' We can trust TV, and the institution of TV, to reveal how politicians and the institution of politics can't be trusted.
Discoveries About SelfTV has become such a mechanical friend, such a substitute for social interaction, that one's solitude becomes acutely magnified, doubly experienced and doubly reinforced if one is deprived of its glowing, life-like presence (as if one wouldn't still be alone if it were on). If one is alone in one's room and turns on the TV, one actually doesn't feel alone anymore. It's as if companionship is experienced, as if communication is two-way. We have achieved a new level of isolation, solipsism and withdrawal. ''It's just an object when it's turned off,'' hundreds of students have bemoaned. When it is turned off it more clearly reveals itself as an object, as an appliance''rather than as a friend, a companion. It is shocking after all these years to discover this. Mander captures the phenomenology of the situation well:
Television is watched in darkened rooms '... it is a requirement of television viewing that the set be the brightest image in the environment or it cannot be seen well. To increase the effect, background sounds are dimmed out just as the light is. An effort is made to eliminate household noises. The point, of course, is to further the focus on the television set. Awareness of the outer environment gets in the way'... . Dimming out your own body is another part of the process. People choose a position for viewing that allows the maximum comfort and least motion '... thinking processes also dim. Overall, while we are watching television, our bodies are in a quieter condition over a longer period of time than in any other of life's nonsleeping experiences. This is true even for the eyes '... the eyes move less while watching television than in any other experience of daily life.
Almost every household's living room is arranged around the television set. As a weight room is arranged for weight training, our living rooms are arranged for TV training. The furniture is purposely arranged for the transcendent practice of ''watching TV,'' rather than for the immanent, human practice of communication or interaction. The interior design of the average American living room with its lines of attention, hierarchy, and transcendent TV is very similar to the interior design of the average American church with its transcendent altar, lines of homage and gestures of genuflection.
TV and the Illusion of KnowingMarshall McLuhan says TV opens out onto an electronic global village. It would seem, rather, that it gives us only the illusion of being. It reinforces security by presenting danger, ignorance by presenting news, lethargy by presenting excitement, isolation by promising participation. The media confines reality to itself. And it limits knowledge by giving the illusion of knowledge. In the same way that the most effective way to deflect, diffuse and terminate a social movement is to announce that it has been achieved (the feminist movement must contend with this on an almost daily basis), the most effective way to deflect inquiry is to present it as fulfilled. TV acts in this guise as a thinking presentation device which offers non-experience as experience and not-knowingness as knowing.
In the words of Mat Maxwell, ''Television becomes the world for people'... . The world becomes television.'' The overall and cumulative effect of the media is to heighten our insensitivity to reality. Rather than breaking the chains of ignorance, political domination and illusion in our Platonic cave, something insidiously similar yet different is going on. Instead of actually turning away from the shadows to see the realities, instead of actually leaving the darkness of the cave and going up into the sunlight, we merely watch an image of ourselves doing this, we fantasize about doing it and think it's the same.
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Kris Jenner Wants To Marry Caitlyn Jenner Again On TV
Wed, 19 Aug 2015 20:40
Kris Jenner allegedly wants to marry Caitlyn Jenner again, and do it on reality television. The Keeping Up With The Kardashians ''momager'' has allegedly concocted a plan to get a huge payday and give ratings a huge boost at the same time.
Hollywood Life reports that Kris Jenner is the mastermind behind her family's reality TV success, and now has a brand new plan to revitalize her reality television show and ratings by using her ex-husband Caitlyn Jenner's transition, formerly named Bruce Jenner, to her advantage.
''Kris is talking to Caitlyn about getting remarried'' on TV, according to a new report by In Touch Weekly, and the idea of actually doing as Kris ''deliriously happy.''
''Kris is desperate for attention and validation and wants to feel she's still a viable producer and reality star. She's not only ready to burry the hatchet with Caitlyn, but she wants Caitlyn to help her pull off one of the most outrageous stunts of her career: Kris is talking to Caitlyn about getting remarried.''
Kris Jenner allegedly believes that if she and Caitlyn Jenner get remarried on TV, and fans see them standing next to each other in their fabulous wedding dresses, that that she'll somehow gain some serious ground in her reality TV career.
''Kris thinks it's one of her finest ideas ever and that people will go nuts to see her and Caitlyn standing side by side in glamorous designer wedding attire. She's giddy over the idea. The image of her and Caitlyn '-- whom Kris privately still refers to as Bruce, by the way '-- reunited for a fabulous TV wedding makes her deliriously happy.''
Media expert David Johnson says that if Kris and Caitlyn were to marry on TV, it would be amazing for their ratings and the E! Network.
''Kris marrying Caitlyn would be ratings gold for the network airing the ceremony. A special like this could bring in as much as $15 million, and brands would want to be highlighted for donating their wares.''
However, if the Jenners were to reunite in that way, it would be interesting to see how their children reacted to the news. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Kylie Jenner has displayed some serious diva-like behavior as of late, and another big change in her life could send her over the edge, especially now that she's 18.
What are your thoughts on the reports of Kris Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner possibly getting remarried on TV?
[Photo By: Kevin Winter / Getty Images]
Caitlyn Jenner May Face Manslaughter Charge in Fatal Crash - NYTimes.com
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 02:36
LOS ANGELES '-- Sheriff's investigators are to offer evidence to prosecutors that could lead to a manslaughter charge against Caitlyn Jenner for her role in a fatal car crash on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Calif., in February.
A Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman, Nicole Nishida, said Thursday that investigators had found that Ms. Jenner was driving in a manner ''unsafe for the prevailing road conditions'' when her sport utility vehicle rear-ended a Lexus, pushing it into traffic.
Ms. Nishida said the case would be presented for review next week. The district attorney will determine what charges, if any, Ms. Jenner will ultimately face.
Ms. Jenner was hauling an off-road vehicle on a trailer behind her Cadillac Escalade on Feb. 7 when she steered to avoid cars slowing for a traffic light in front of her on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Caitlyn Jenner at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles last month.
Chris Pizzello / Invision, via Associated Press
The Lexus driver, Kim Howe, 69, was killed when her car was struck head-on by a Hummer.
Ms. Jenner's lawyer, Blair Berk, declined to comment.
The crash occurred months before Ms. Jenner's gender transition. She was formerly known as Bruce Jenner, and was the 1976 Olympic decathlon champion and Kim Kardashian's stepfather. Photographs from the scene of the crash, posted online, showed her wearing dark glasses and a baseball cap, surveying the wreckage and speaking with emergency responders.
As Bruce Jenner, she was on the cover of Playgirl and was an author, an actor and, most recently, a part of the Kardashian family's reality television empire.
In April, she spoke about her gender transition in a television special that drew nearly 17 million viewers.
In early June, Ms. Jenner revealed her new identity on the cover of Vanity Fair and became a sensation on social media when the magazine posted the article online.
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EuroLand
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Greek prime minister calls elections after party rebellion
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 14:25
ATHENS, Greece (AP) '-- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned Thursday and called early elections, hoping for a new, stronger mandate to implement a three-year bailout program that sparked a rebellion within his radical left party.
In a televised address to the nation, Tsipras said his government had got the best deal possible for the country when it agreed to an 86 billion euro ($95 billion) bailout from other eurozone countries.
The rescue was all that kept Greece from a disastrous exit from the euro but came with strict terms to cut spending and raise taxes '-- the very measures Tsipras had pledged to fight when he won elections in January.
His U-turn in accepting the demands by the country's creditors led to outrage among hardliners in his Syriza party, with dozens voting against him during the bailout's ratification in parliament last week, which was approved thanks to support from opposition parties.
Tsipras has insisted that although he disagrees with the conditions of the bailout terms, he had no choice but to accept and implement them to keep Greece in the euro, which the vast majority of Greeks want.
With the country's finances now secured, Tsipras said he felt obliged to let the Greek people evaluate his work.
"Now that this difficult cycle has ended ... I feel the deep moral and political obligation to set before your judgment everything I have done, both right and wrong, the achievements and the omissions," he said in the address. "The popular mandate I received on January 25 has exhausted its limits."
Greece's European creditors did not appear dismayed by Tsipras' move, which comes less than seven months into his four-year mandate.
But Moody's credit rating agency warned in a statement that the snap elections "could elevate (bailout) program implementation concerns and, potentially, puts future (rescue loan) disbursements at risk."
Tsipras formally submitted his resignation to the country's president, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, to begin the election process. This will involve letting the two main opposition parties '-- the conservative New Democracy and the Nazi-inspired Golden Dawn '-- try to form a government.
Each party can spend up to three days trying to do so, and New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis said he will use his available time. Neither party, however, is expected to have the support in parliament to be able to form a government.
Tsipras did not mention a date for the election, although it will have to be held within the next month, with government officials saying Sept. 20 is the likeliest date.
The European Union's executive Commission said it "takes note" of the election announcement. "Broad support for (bailout deal) and sticking to commitments will be key for success," spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said in a tweet.
Tsipras had delayed a decision on whether to call new elections until after Greece received the first installment from the bailout and made a debt repayment to the European Central Bank, both of which it did Thursday.
Despite his policy reversal, Tsipras continues to enjoy popular support and was far ahead of his opposition rivals in opinion polls, although none have been published since the bailout agreement was finalized.
Tsipras will also be calculating that he might get a better election result if polls are held before voters feel the impact of the steep tax hikes and spending cuts demanded by the bailout program.
In his Thursday night address, he acknowledged the bailout deal was not what his anti-austerity government had wanted.
"I wish to be fully frank with you. We did not achieve the agreement that we were hoping for before the January elections," he said. "But ... (the agreement we have) was the best anyone could have achieved. We are obliged to observe this agreement, but at the same time we will do our utmost to minimize its negative consequences. Our target will be to regain our sovereignty from our creditors as soon as possible."
Quoting Turkish left-wing poet Nazim Hikmet, he added, "Our best days have yet to be lived."
If Tsipras wins the elections, a new mandate will allow him to move away from the hardliners in his party, some of whom have openly advocated leaving the euro and returning to the drachma. The hardliners, including prominent members such as former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and possibly the flamboyant former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, are likely to split from Syriza.
Some analysts took the reports of early elections as an indication that Greece will struggle to implement the terms of its bailout.
"Given its anti-austerity roots, the remaining Syriza party will still struggle to implement the demanding bailout conditions, especially in the likely event that Greece sinks further into recession," said Jennifer McKeown, senior European economist at Capital Economics. "And major reforms seem unlikely to be passed in the period running up to the election."
Teneo Intelligence analyst Wolfango Piccoli said that while Tsipras' gamble to consolidate his power is expected to pay off, it probably will delay the first review of the new bailout program, "especially considering that the caretaker government will not be able to implement any meaningful policy measures."
Greeks were initially taken aback by the prospect of a second national election in well under a year.
"I believe that it is too soon to have elections in such a short time," said Georgia Kiritsa. "The people decided eight months ago ... this government should have continued and the elections should have been postponed."
Another Athenian, Alexandros Brilis, said, "These are not good moves for our country. Every now and then we have elections, that has a cost."
However, initial reaction from European authorities appeared cautiously optimistic. Martin Selmayr, head of the cabinet of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, tweeted that quick elections "can be a way to broaden support for (the bailout) stability support program."
The political uncertainty took its toll on the market, with the Athens Stock Exchange closing 3.5 percent down on election speculation.
"For the stock markets it is a factor of uncertainty," said analyst Evangelos Sioutis, head of equities at Guardian Trust Securities.
Greek banking is still restricted under capital controls imposed in late June to stem a bank run sparked after Tsipras called a referendum on creditor proposals for reforms following a breakdown in bailout negotiations. There are weekly limits on cash withdrawals and Greeks can only transfer up to 500 euros abroad per month. Companies have faced problems paying suppliers abroad, with all international payments requiring a laborious process of approval by a special finance ministry committee.
"Greece has capital controls, the economy is choking, and we will now have uncertainty from elections, so you understand that it has been a difficult month," Sioutis said.
____
Lorne Cook in Brussels, Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki, Greece, Raphael Kominis and Pietro de Cristofaro in Athens contributed to this report.
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Germans to run Greek regional airports in first wave of bailout privatisations | World news | The Guardian
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 15:25
Thessaloniki airport, one of 14 in Greece to be run by a German company as a condition of bailout funding. Photograph: Sakis Mitrolidis/AFP/Getty
Related:Greece is up for sale to big European corporations | Letters
Greece has agreed to sell to a German company the rights to operate 14 regional airports. The deal is the first in a wave of privatisations the government had until recently opposed but must make to qualify for bailout loans.
The decision, published in the government gazette on Monday night would hand over the airports including several on popular tourist island destinations to Fraport AG, which runs Frankfurt Airport, among others across the world.
The deal, worth '‚¬1.23bn euros (£0.9bn/$1.37bn), is the first privatisation decision taken by the government of Alexis Tsipras, who was elected prime minister in January on promises to repeal the conditions of Greece's previous two bailouts.
The government initially vowed to cancel the country's privatisation programme but Tsipras caved in to win a deal on a third international bailout for Greece, worth '‚¬86bn. Without the rescue loans Greece would default on its debts and risk being forced out of the euro.
Mytilene airport Odysseus Elyitis on Lesvos (top left), Rhodes airport Diagoras (top right), Chania airport Daskalogiannis, Kavala airport Megas Alexandros, Thessaloniki airport Macedonia and Aktion aiport are part of the deal with German company Fraport, the operator of Frankfurt airport. Photograph: Orestis Panagiotou/EPASeparately the government slightly relaxed its restrictions on banking transactions, allowing small amounts to be sent abroad for the first time in about two months.
Related:German politicians return to Berlin for key Greek bailout vote
The finance ministry's amendments, also published in the government gazette, include allowing Greeks to send up to '‚¬500 abroad per person per month, and allowing up to '‚¬8,000 per quarter to be sent to students studying abroad to cover accommodation costs.
Greeks can now also open new bank accounts that will have no withdrawal rights, in order to repay loans, social security contributions or tax debts.
The government restricted banking transactions in late June to prevent a bank run after Tsipras announced a referendum on creditors' terms for a new bailout.
The bailout deal is getting its final approvals in parliaments in several European states. Lawmakers in Spain and Estonia approved it on Tuesday while those of Germany and the Netherlands are expected to do so on Wednesday.
Related:The great Greece fire sale
Tsipras is widely expected to call a confidence vote in his government this week, after dozens of Syriza lawmakers voted against him during the ratification of the new bailout deal in Parliament last Friday.
Greece to Receive First ESM Tranche Worth 13Bln Euros on Thursday
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 01:26
Europe02:21 20.08.2015Get short URL
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) '-- Earlier on Wednesday, European Commission Vice President for Euro and Social Dialogue Valdis Dombrovskis signed the Memorandum of Understanding for a three-year ESM stability support for Greece.
"The first payment, which will be made tomorrow morning, amounts to 13 billion euros, of which about 12 billion euros will be directed to a special account to settle arrears," the ministry announced.
The Eurogroup approved the 86-billion-euro bailout package aimed at supporting Greece's ailing economy on August 14. In the course of this week, the parliaments of a number of EU member states have been voting on the ratification of the agreement with Athens.
Greece owes more than $270 billion to its main international creditors, including the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and some Eurozone nations.
Duits bedrijf mag veertien Griekse vliegvelden van overheid kopen | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op NU.nl
Tue, 18 Aug 2015 13:57
Het Duitse Fraport, exploitant van onder meer de luchthaven van Frankfurt, krijgt toestemming voor de overname van veertien regionale luchthavens in Griekenland.Het akkoord komt na lang gesteggel met de Grieken.
Fraport betaalt voor de veertien vliegvelden 1,2 miljard euro. Het is een van de grootste private investeringen sinds het uitbreken van de financile crisis in Griekenland.
De Griekse regering moet vaart maken met de privatiseringen. De verkoop van staatseigendommen is een onderdeel van het akkoord met de geldschieters voor een derde noodpakket van 86 miljard euro.
FondsDe vorige regering was in november al bijna rond met Fraport, maar de huidige regering legde daags na de verkiezingsoverwinning in januari het proces stil.
de overheid mocht alleen nog maar bedrijven van de hand doen als dat zou leiden tot meer werkgelegenheid en als het de economische groei zou stimuleren, zo zei het ministerie van Financin destijds. Een onafhankelijk privatiseringsfonds met een verbeterd bestuur moet nu alsnog geld opleveren; 50 miljard euro in totaal.
Onder de vliegvelden die Fraport overneemt, zijn onder meer de luchthavens van de toeristeneilanden Kos en Rhodos. De exploitant neemt ook het vliegveld over van Thessaloniki, de tweede stad van Griekenland.
Door: ANP/NU.nl
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FIRE SALE
ITM Adam,
GRAND SALE! GRAND SALE! GRAND SALE!
Ran into this Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund document and figured it worth marking down some dates on the calendar.
These dates involve the conclusion of biding submissions to be made on available assets.
http://www.hradf.com/sites/default/files/attachments/20150813-hradf-bod-announcement-en_0.pdf
- OLP - Piraeus Port Authority
- TRAIN OSE S.A. - operates all passenger and freight trains on OSE lines
- ROSCOE S.A - rolling stock maintenance and availability services to train operating companies
- OLTh - Thessaloniki Port Authority
I cant remember if this site http://www.hradf.com/
has been previously discussed on the show but... HOLY MOLY
What a dynamite catalog!
Land Development! Infrastructure! Corporate!
Grand Sale! Grand Sale! Grand Sale!
This along with the Greek Governments decision this week to overturn the blocking of sale of operation involving 14 regional Greek airports.
A winning bid of 1.23 billion euros last year to German airport operator, Fraport AG, is for the moment back underway, as required through the current bail out 'agreements'.
Will the Syriza government hold power through the rest of month let alone year, to be able to even see these through...????
Thankyou for show
Max Dam'aje.
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Anchor Babies
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Born In The U.S.A.? Some Chinese Plan It That Way : NPR
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 07:31
A pregnant Chinese woman walks out of a hospital in Shanghai. In a growing trend, affluent Chinese women are coming to the U.S. to give birth so that their offspring will be American citizens. For about $15,000, middlemen can arrange the hospital, the doctor and the house and car rental, as well as other extras. Qi Yunfeng/Imaginechina via APhide caption
itoggle caption Qi Yunfeng/Imaginechina via APLike any responsible pregnant woman, Chen Lei (not her real name) wants the best for her unborn child. She and her husband live in Shanghai; both work for a foreign IT company, and they have more choices than their parents' generation could even dream of.
So Chen, 30, is one of an increasing number of mainland Chinese women who are taking advantage of a loophole in American law to travel to the United States to give birth.
"Most Chinese women who go to the U.S. to give birth do so for their child's future, for the education, and for the work possibilities. And that's true for me, too," says Chen, who is cautious and does not to want to reveal her identity.
"We just want to give him more choices in life," Chen adds.
Her unborn child '-- a boy '-- will have more choices than most Chinese babies. In a few weeks' time, she will board a plane for Los Angeles, where she plans to give birth in an American hospital.
A Chinese woman in Shanghai browses the website of a specialty tourism agency that helps Chinese expectant mothers travel to the United States to give birth. Zhou Junxiang/Imaginechina via APhide caption
itoggle caption Zhou Junxiang/Imaginechina via APAn Affordable American Dream
According to the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, anyone born on U.S. soil has the right to U.S. citizenship.
Originally ratified in 1868 to guarantee citizenship rights to freed black slaves, the amendment has been controversial more recently in the American public political debate because of poor, illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America coming to the U.S. and giving birth. An estimated 340,000 of the 4.3 million babies born in the United States in 2008 were the children of undocumented immigrants, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Pew Hispanic Center.
There is another group of people arriving in the United States to have children. But this group comes legally, often in first-class airline seats: mainland China's upper class.
A whole host of middlemen have sprung up in China to facilitate the booming trade, foremost of whom is Robert Zhou, a Taiwanese businessman.
For roughly $15,000, his company can arrange the hospital in Los Angeles, the doctor, the house and car rental, and any number of other extras for wealthy Chinese parents-to-be.
For lots of Chinese people now, $15,000 is very affordable. And it's still at least four times more expensive for a foreign student to study at an American university than it is for an American student. With a U.S. passport, there are no barriers for study or for work.
Robert Zhou, a Taiwanese middleman who helps wealthy Chinese women go to the U.S. to give birth
"What I'm trying to do is to help Chinese mothers to realize their American dream, at a fair and reasonable price. We're not encouraging pregnant women to go and get a U.S. visa. We say that if you already have a U.S. visa, and you're pregnant, you can take the opportunity to give birth in the U.S. So yes, it is a gray area in U.S. law," Zhou says.
Anti-immigration activists in the U.S. say the 14th Amendment was never meant to be applied this way. The Department of Homeland Security and the State Department have no specific regulations regarding pregnant foreign visitors like Chen.
Zhou insists his clients obtain U.S. visas themselves before they even approach him. He says they are paying for everything themselves, and not being a burden on U.S. taxpayers.
Even though there are many opportunities in China, Zhou says, there's no doubt access to a free U.S. public school education, and reduced college costs that come with being an American citizen, are worth the investment. Children who go back to China with their parents can later return to live with relatives already in America, establishing residency and taking advantage of state-supported schools.
"For lots of Chinese people now, $15,000 is very affordable. And it's still at least four times more expensive for a foreign student to study at an American university than it is for an American student. With a U.S. passport, there are no barriers for study or for work," Zhou says.
America's Allure Different For Parents
Zhou has helped as many as 600 mothers give birth in the U.S. in the past five years. Some are doing so to skirt China's strict one-child law, which doesn't apply if a child is born to Chinese parents outside China.
When they've gotten a taste of American life, Zhou says some people do want to emigrate. But the majority of parents, like Chen, don't want to move to America themselves at all.
"We work in IT, and for people like us, it's better to stay here in China. We have a great quality of life here, so there's no reason for us to move," she says.
There is one other advantage of giving birth in the U.S., Chen says.
Last Christmas, she went to a conference in Las Vegas and bought eight pairs of designer shoes, for about $200 each, half the price they cost in China. She is going to Vegas again, she says, to do some serious shopping, before she gives birth in the new year.
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The myth of the 'anchor baby' deportation defense - The Washington Post
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 15:36
Donald Trump said it; Jeb Bush said it, too.
Frankly, a whole range of people have used the term "anchor baby" this week in public discussions about Trump's immigration-related policy ideas -- ideas that include an end to the nearly 150-year-old practice of granting citizenship to anyone born in the United States.
It's the former, known as "birthright citizenship," which is delineated in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. And as all sorts of public figures have discussed the future of the 14th Amendment this week, the more colloquial -- many say pejorative -- term "anchor baby" has come up over and over again.
But the anchor baby, while potent politically, is a largely mythical idea.
Here's the basic concept: People, namely women, come to the United States illegally and give birth to children, generally for the specific purpose of bolstering legal attempts of the child's parents remain in the United States or even become citizens themselves.
Looser definitions suggest "anchor babies" can simply be intended to help illegal-immigrant parents access taxpayer-financed public education and/or social services through their citizen children -- another political hot button, to be sure. (Even here, the law limits those benefits to the children themselves.)
But usually the debate has been about the residency of the parents, who after all are supposed to be using the child as their "anchor."
This is the definition that has little legal underpinning. For illegal immigrant parents, being the parent of a U.S. citizen child almost never forms the core of a successful defense in an immigration court. In short, if the undocumented parent of a U.S.-born child is caught in the United States, he or she legally faces the very same risk of deportation as any other immigrant.
The only thing that a so-called anchor baby can do to assist either of their undocumented parents involves such a long game that it's not a practical immigration strategy, said Greg Chen, an immigration law expert and director of The American Immigration Lawyers Association, a trade group that also advocates for immigrant-friendly reforms. That long game is this: If and when a U.S. citizen reaches the age of 21, he or she can then apply for a parent to obtain a visa and green card and eventually enter the United States legally.
In order to apply for such an option, the parent of a so-called anchor baby would need to do all of the following.
Wait for his or her child to reach the age of 21.Leave the United States.Return to their home country.Have their child begin the lengthy process of applying for a family reunification immigration request.Clear consular interviews and a U.S. State Department background check. (One or both would very likely provide evidence that said parent, at some point, lived in the United States illegally -- long enough for that "anchor baby" to be conceived or born. And despite widespread belief to the contrary, there is indeed a penalty for that.)If a person has lived in the United States unlawfully for a period of more than 180 days but less than one year, there is an automatic three-year bar on that person ever reentering the United States -- and that's before any wait time for a visa. So that's a minimum of 21 years for the child to mature, plus the three-year wait.
And, for the vast majority of these parents, a longer wait also applies. If a person has lived in the United States illegally for a year or more, there is a 10-year ban on that person reentering the United States. So, in that case, there would be the 21-year wait for the child to mature to adulthood, plus the 10-year wait.
All told, the parents of the so-called anchor baby face a 24-to-31-year wait to even enter the United States, much less obtain a visa and green card or become a citizen.
Want proof? See Sections 212(a)(9)(i) and 212 (a)(9)(ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) -- or spend an afternoon in your nearest, severely backlogged immigration court.
[Immigration Court backlog grows to more than 450,000 cases]
Immigration courts routinely reject claims that an undocumented parent must remain in the United States to care for a U.S. citizen child. The main but rare legal exceptions are for children who are so seriously ill or profoundly disabled that one parent must care for them full-time, or for a child in need of medical care unavailable in their parents' home country.
These parents are given something called "humanitarian parole," Chen explained. And this is very rarely applied to people already living in the United States illegally. It is more often given to the parents of, say, an Afghan war burn victim who want to accompany their child to the United States for medical care. And, even then, humanitarian parole is generally granted for limited period of time.
Alternatively, these parents can apply for something even more rare: an extreme hardship exception, according to Deborah Anker, a clinical professor of law and director of the Harvard University Law School's immigration and refugee clinical program. Very rarely they can apply for a waiver that may allow them to reenter the United States sooner, Anker said. But if that request is denied, there is no form of appeal available. Decisions are final.
Yes, it is true that some undocumented immigrants come to the United States and have children with or perhaps even because of the mistaken belief that this will strengthen a legal bid to remain in the United States. Mistaken beliefs have spurred previous surges in illegal immigration -- including last year's.
And it is true that some people -- such as breast-feeding mothers, children brought to the United States illegally as children and others -- have benefited from the immigration system equivalent of proprietorial discretion, known as "deferred action."
But with the exception of an Obama administration program known as DACA (limited to an estimated 1.2 million young adults brought to the United States illegally as children) and a second program currently blocked by a federal court that would have granted deferred action to another 300,000 people (mostly the parents of those eligible for DACA), deferred actions typically come with a short and limited timeline. They also do not include a pathway to a visa or legal work in the United States. And these programs did not exist when the concept of an "anchor baby" was politically popularized, so it becomes harder to accept the idea that having an "anchor baby" was the express goal of many people immigrating illegally.
[Obama administration stops work on second immigration program]
It's also important to note that, as of August 2014, only about 550,000 DACA applications had been approved, according to a Pew research Center analysis of federal data. And even these applicants must wait until their 21st birthday to begin the lengthy process described above to attempt to help an undocumented parent. And "attempt" is the key word here.
And if you're still skeptical, here's the real proof that having a baby in the United States does little to help an undocumented parent remain in the United States, there's this:
In 2011, there were at least 5,000 children in state custody or foster care because an undocumented parent or parents has been deported, according to a study released by the Applied Research Center, a New York-based think tank that focuses on racial and social justice issues. Some estimates put that figure even higher today. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent mandatory reports to the Senate that among other things revealed that during 2013, the agency deported 72,410 people who told federal authorities they have one or more U.S. citizen children.
Each of these children and their parents certainly know the "anchor baby" is not real.
Janell Ross is a reporter for The Fix who writes about race, gender, immigration and inequality.
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Native Ads
Subway ad email
ITM,
That's hilarious that you brought up that Subway was packed the day that the Jared allegations came out. I almost emailed you to tell you a similar anecdote.
I work in a small office with 8 people, myself included. I bring lunch to work, as does two other coworkers. Of the 5 guys that always go out to lunch, 4 of them independently of each other decided to get Subway for lunch that day!
Subliminal messaging works!
-Sam
SnowJob
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Germans are so scared of surveillance they microwave their ID cards - The Washington Post
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 13:20
When it comes to privacy, Germans can't take a joke. After it was revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency had intercepted calls in Germany, sales of old-school typewriters were reported to have skyrocketed, as some Germans assumed that sending letters might make communications surveillance harder for U.S. officials.
It's not only American surveillance that Germans are concerned about, however. On Tuesday, a 29-year old man was arrested at Frankfurt Airport after authorities noticed that he had microwaved his German identification card, reported German news agency dpa.
According to a police statement, the man was concerned that his privacy might be violated by the microchip that has been embedded in all German IDs since 2010. The man now faces either a fine or time in jail for the offense of illegally modifying official documents. According to German law, identification documents are state property.
Microwaving one's I.D. is in fact not as uncommon as one would expect. Here's a video of a literally exploding German identification document.
Another video tutorial on how to properly boil identification papers, which was uploaded to YouTube in 2011, has so far been viewed by over 200,000 people.
Although the video's creators note in the introduction that they do not want to encourage viewers to commit crimes, their detailed description suggests otherwise. Many commentators appeared to agree that it is necessary to microwave German ID cards in order to prevent being spied on.
A user named "Mister Vegan" asked about the specifics of the boiling and was swiftly advised to heat the documents up for about three seconds. Another commentator suggested to not only microwave the chip but also get rid of the complete I.D. card as it seemed ''useless'' to him.
German officials were aware of the strong public backlash against the microchip IDs even before they were first issued. In 2010, a governmental survey came to the conclusion that it would ''take ten years for the document to establish itself.'' Although several studies have refuted concerns that the microchip could be used to spy on individuals, many Germans remain cautious. Not everyone is willing to use the microchip, which would enable them to fill out online formulas much faster.
Skepticism of state authorities is deeply entrenched in German society: In June, activists inaugurated an Edward Snowden Square in the eastern German city of Dresden. Snowden had for instance revealed that the NSA had spied on German telecommunications data two years ago, and many Germans suspect their own intelligence services to have collaborated with their American counterparts.
"Much of this can be explained historically," Edward Snowden Square creator Markwart Faussner told WorldViews in June. "Germans have experienced observation throughout the 20th century. After the Nazi era, the Stasi intelligence service in the former East Germany monitored most of the country's citizens. When the Berlin Wall fell, East Germans suddenly found out from official government files that their friends or even family members had spied on them for years or decades. Hence, there is still a deeply rooted suspicion of state authorities in Germany,'' Faussner explained.
In a 2014 survey, nearly 40 percent of Germans said they considered increasing digitalization and the role of intelligence services to be a threat.
Not everyone who tampers with their ID card is arrested, however. A 2010 news segment on public TV network WDR, for instance, showed students destroying ID microchips with a similar method as part of a physics course '' without being arrested.
More on WorldViews:
The global cult of Edward Snowden keeps growing
Germans don't think America stands for freedom anymore
Rick Noack writes about foreign affairs and is based in Europe.
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US Officials: Edward Snowden Has Almost Lost Chance for Plea Deal
Wed, 19 Aug 2015 22:29
US22:14 19.08.2015(updated 00:41 20.08.2015) Get short URL
Last month, former US Attorney General Eric Holder hinted at the possibility of reaching a plea deal with Edward Snowden, wanted for his role in unveiling the massive scale of the NSA's domestic spying apparatus.
"I certainly think there could be a basis for a resolution that everybody could ultimately be satisfied with," Holder said in an interview with Yahoo News. "I think the possibility exists."
In theory, an appeal would have lessened Snowden's jail time in exchange for his cooperation in helping assess the leak's damage to the intelligence community.
But according to senior officials speaking to Bloomberg, American interest in offering such a deal is shrinking fast, to the point that it's extremely unlikely.
Those officials cite three major reasons for the change of heart. For one, the government feels more confident in its knowledge of what information, exactly, Snowden revealed. US intelligence agencies, quite simply, feel more certain that they already know the answers to key questions they would have asked Snowden.
Another reason deals with the security of Snowden's information. Previously operating under the assumption that it needed Snowden's help to prevent intel from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries, the government now assumes that intel has already been stolen by hackers.
"Many people in government believe that the journalists who received Snowden's material are not capable of protecting it from a competent and committed state level adversary service," Ben Wittes, of the Brookings Institution, told Bloomberg.
"Even if Snowden did not give the material to others, they argue it would have been ripe for the picking."
Of course, using digital security as justification for refusing Snowden a plea bargain is an odd argument given the government's own inability to secure its data. Recent high-profile hacks into the Office of Personnel Management and the Internal Revenue Service have shown just how inept the United States' cybersecurity really is.
Lastly, officials feel emboldened by new suggestions that Snowden's leaks have aided US adversaries in dodging US surveillance.
"Do I think we have lost capabilities we had prior to the revelations? Yes," NSA director Mike Rogers said in February.
Of course, neither Rogers nor any other US official has offered any evidence for the claim that Snowden's actions harmed national security.
The about-face shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Even when Holder initially floated the idea of plea agreement, his comments received fierce backlash from more hawkish members in Washington, who have always considered Snowden's whistleblowing an act of treason.
"I'm quite stunned that we would be considering any return of Snowden to this country other than to meet a jury of his peers, period," former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden told Yahoo News.
Current Attorney General Loretta Lynch has also dismissed Holder's suggestion.
"[Snowden's] status is what it has always been: He's a federal fugitive. And if he chooses to come back, or if he is brought back, he will be accorded all the due process of every defendant in our criminal justice system," she told Bloomberg.
Even Snowden's attorney, Ben Wizner, indicated that his client would refuse any plea deal which result in jail time on felony charges.
"Our position is he should not be reporting to prison as a felon and losing his civil rights as a result of his act of conscience," Wizner told Yahoo.
Especially given the fact that Snowden currently enjoys life in Moscow, where he is free to continue exposing the abuses of the NSA. On Saturday, he released new documents to the New York Times which showed undeniable proof of collusion between the National Security Agency and tech giant AT&T.
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Ottomania
REGIME CHANGE-Turkey In Political Crisis As Violence Spirals
Wed, 19 Aug 2015 20:58
ISTANBUL/DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Gunmen opened fire on Turkish police outside an Istanbul palace and eight soldiers were killed in a bomb attack in the southeast on Wednesday, heightening a sense of crisis as the country's political leaders struggle to form a new government.
The Istanbul governor's office said two members of a "terrorist group" armed with hand grenades and an automatic rifle were caught after attacking the Dolmabahce palace, popular with tourists and home to the prime minister's Istanbul offices.
There were no reports of casualties.
Militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) meanwhile killed eight soldiers with a roadside bomb in the southeastern province of Siirt, the military said, intensifying a conflict there after the breakdown of a two-year ceasefire last month.
The unrest in the NATO member state comes weeks after it declared a "war on terror," opening up its air bases to the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, launching air strikes on Kurdish militants, and detaining more than 2,500 suspected members of radical Kurdish, far-leftist and Islamist groups.
The latest attacks also come a day after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave up on efforts to form a new government after weeks of coalition talks with the opposition failed, paving the way for a new election potentially within months.
"Because of the failure to form a government, we have to seek a solution with the will of the people ... so we are heading rapidly towards an election again," President Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech.
The lira slid to a new low against the dollar as investors took fright at what some have dubbed a "perfect storm" of political uncertainty, slowing growth and deepening violence. The currency has seen its steepest five-day decline this week since May 2010, making it one of the world's worst-performing emerging markets currencies.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack at Dolmabahce palace, where the assailants opened fire on police guarding the entrance. The building has been targeted before by leftist militants.
Davutoglu was in the capital Ankara as reports of the shooting emerged and did not interrupt a speech he was giving live on television.
Turkey has been on heightened state alert since launching what Davutoglu described a "synchronized war on terror" in July, exposing it to reprisals from Islamic State sympathizers, Kurdish militants and leftist radicals alike.
A fighter proclaiming allegiance to Islamic State appeared in a video this week urging Turks to rebel against "infidel" Erdogan and help conquer Istanbul.
The leftist Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C) meanwhile claimed responsibility earlier this month for an attack on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, in which two women shot at the building. One of the attackers was hurt in an exchange of fire but there were no other casualties.
GOVERNMENT PARALYSIS
The ruling AK Party, which Erdogan founded, in June suffered its biggest election setback since coming to power in 2002, failing to win a single-party majority for the first time, plunging Turkey into uncertainty not seen since the fragile coalition governments of the 1990s.
The failure of Davutoglu's efforts to find a junior coalition partner led him to hand the mandate to form the next government back to Erdogan late on Tuesday. Presidential sources said Erdogan would consult with the speaker of parliament later on Wednesday on how to agree the next cabinet.
He could now give the mandate to the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), although he has appeared reluctant to do so, and the CHP would in any case be unlikely to be able to form a working coalition by an Aug. 23 deadline.
Erdogan told academics at a meeting on Wednesday that he favored forming an interim "election cabinet" before new polls in the autumn, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.
Such an arrangement would see power temporarily shared between four political parties with deep ideological divides, potentially paralyzing policy-making and further unraveling investor confidence.
The CHP said on Wednesday it was "unthinkable" that it would take part in such a government.
Parliament could in theory also vote to allow the current cabinet to continue working until a new election, but at least one of the opposition parties, the nationalist MHP, has already said it would vote against such a move.
Erdogan, who won Turkey's first popular presidential election in August 2014 and has since stretched the powers of a largely ceremonial post to their limits, has said the system of power has changed in Turkey.
He has championed a full presidential system akin to the United States or France, a constitutional change that would be virtually impossible without a single-party AKP government, but has also insisted that even without that step, his election by the people has bestowed him with extra authority.
"There is now a president in the country not with symbolic power, but with literal power," he said last week.
Also on HuffPost:
NA-Tech News
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Comcast Admits Broadband Usage Caps Are A Cash Grab, Not An Engineering Necessity | Techdirt
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 00:45
For years the broadband industry tried to claim that they were imposing usage caps because of network congestion. In reality they've long lusted after usage caps for two simple reasons: they allow ISPs to charge more money for the same product, and they help cushion traditional TV revenues from the ongoing assault from Internet video. Instead of admitting that, big ISPs have tried to argue that caps are about "fairness," or that they're essential lest the Internet collapse from uncontrolled congestion (remember the debunked Exaflood?).Over the years, data has shown that caps aren't really an effective way to target network congestion anyway, can hinder innovation, hurt competitors, and usually only wind up confusing consumers, many of whom aren't even sure what a gigabyte is. Eventually, even cable lobbyists had to admit broadband caps weren't really about congestion, even though they still cling to the false narrative that layering steep rate hikes and overage fees on top of already-expensive flat-rate pricing is somehow about "fairness."
Comcast is of course slowly but surely expanding usage caps into its least competitive markets. More recently the company has tried to deny it even has caps, instead insisting these limits are "data thresholds" or "flexible data consumption plans." But when asked last week why Comcast's caps in these markets remain so low in proportion to rising Comcast speeds (and prices), Comcast engineer and vice president of Internet services Jason Livingood candidly admitted on Twitter that the decision to impose caps was a business one, not one dictated by network engineering:
Jason's not the first engineer to admit that caps aren't an engineering issue and therefore don't have anything to do with congestion. In fact if you followed the broadband industry's bunk Exaflood claims over the last decade, you probably noticed that ISP lobbyists say one thing (largely to scare legislators or the press into supporting bad policy), while actual engineers say something starkly different.Repeatedly we've been told by ISP lobbyists and lawyers that if ISPs don't get "X" (no net neutrality rules, deregulation, more subsidies, the right to impose arbitrary new tolls, whatever), the Internet will choke on itself and grind to a halt. In contrast, the actual people building and maintaining these networks have stated time and time again that nearly all congestion issues can be resolved with modest upgrades and intelligent engineering. The congestion bogeyman is a useful idiot, but he's constructed largely of bullshit and brainless ballast.
Livingood will likely receive a scolding for wandering off script. Comcast, unsurprisingly, doesn't much want to talk about the comment further:
"We've asked Comcast officials if there are any technology benefits from imposing the caps or technology reasons for the specific limits chosen but haven't heard back yet. Livingood's statement probably won't come as any surprise to critics of data caps who argue that the limits raise prices and prevent people from making full use of the Internet without actually preventing congestion."
That's worth remembering the next time Comcast tries to insist that its attempt to charge more for the same service is based on engineering necessity. The problem? Our shiny new net neutrality rules don't really cover or restrict usage caps, even in instances when they're clearly being used to simply take advantage of less competitive markets. While Tom Wheeler did give Verizon a wrist slap last year for using the congestion bogeyman and throttling to simply make an extra buck, the FCC has generally been quiet on the implementation (and abuse) of usage caps specifically and high broadband prices in general.There are some indications that the FCC is watching usage caps carefully, and says it will tackle complaints about them on a "case by case basis." But what that means from an agency that has traditionally treated caps as "creative" pricing isn't clear. It's another example of how our net neutrality rules were good, but serious competition in the U.S. broadband sector would have been better.
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Bitcoin Battered After "Governance Coup"
Wed, 19 Aug 2015 22:38
Naysyers are warning that the recent plunge in Bitcoin prices - from almost $318 at its peak during the Greek crisis, to $221 yesterday - is due to growing power struggle over the future of the cryptocurrency that is dividing its lead developers. On Saturday, a rival version of the current software was released by two bitcoin big guns. As Reuters reports, Bitcoin XT would increase the block size to 8 megabytes enabling more transactions to be processed every second. Those who oppose Bitcoin XT say the bigger block size jeopardizes the vision of a decentralized payments system that bitcoin is built on with some believing the split could spell the end of bitcoin. However, the turmoil in the price also coincides with some rather notable global macro eventsfrom Asia (where Bitcoin is extremely popular).
So while the price action is serious - we have roundtripped from the beginning of the peak of the Greek crisis. However, as Reuters reports, the split in cryptocurrency developers could spell the end of Bitcoin...
On Saturday, a rival version of the current software was released by two bitcoin big guns:Gavin Andresen, who was chosen by the currency's elusive creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, as his successor when he stepped aside in 2011, and Mike Hearn, who along with Andresen is one of five senior developers.
For months Andresen and Hearn have been locked in an argument with the other three lead programmers over whether the "blocks" in which bitcoin transactions are processed should be enlarged from their current 1 megabyte, so as to enable more than three payments to be processed per second.
The new version, which calls itself Bitcoin XT, would increase the block size to 8 megabytes, which would allow up to 24 transactions to be processed every second. That is still a fraction of the 20,000 or so that VISA can process, but would increase every year, so that bitcoin could continue to grow.
Those who oppose Bitcoin XT say the bigger block size jeopardizes the vision of a decentralized payments system that bitcoin is built on, as the extra computer memory needed would shut out many of the thousands of individual "nodes" that currently power the network.
Some reckon the split could spell the end of bitcoin. But Hearn, speaking to Reuters on Tuesday, said that whether or not Bitcoin XT was adopted, the crypocurrency would live on.
Andresen and Hearn argue that it was Nakamoto's intention for bitcoin to be scaled up as technology developed so that it could widen its reach. But opponents argue that bitcoin was never intended as a rival to traditional payments systems.
"I have followed this from the beginning & I agree that it is an attempted governance coup,"tweeted Jon Matonis, founding director of the Washington, D.C.-based Bitcoin Foundation, of which Andresen himself is chief scientist.
"Bitcoin was designed to be protected from the influence of charismatic leaders, even if their name is Gavin Andresen, Barack Obama, or Satoshi Nakamoto," the user wrote.
We leave it to the reader to decide which is more responsible for the recent crash as one lead developer noted,
"If we thought it might be the end of bitcoin, we wouldn't do it,"
* * *
Finally, we note that add that the biggest winner from this is gold
The flight to central bank loss of control safety "pet rock" will never have governance problems.>>>>
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ICANN handoff officially delayed
Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:43
Internet Governance
ICANN handoff officially delayedBy Mark RockwellAug 18, 2015The U.S. will retain oversight of Internet domain naming and addressing functions for at least another year, through September 2016, because more time is needed to plan and execute the handoff to an international body.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a Commerce Department component, had been working to relinquish its long-held oversight responsibilities of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to a global, multi-stakeholder body. The current contract with U.S.-based non-profit ICANN, which has historically contracted with NTIA to manage the master database of top-level domain names like .com and .net., is set to expire Sept. 30.
Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary of Commerce for communications and information, said in an Aug. 17 blog post on the NTIA website that although the worldwide Internet community had made "tremendous progress" in developing proposals to transition the stewardship of ICANN and its handling of the Internet domain name system, he said more planning is needed before the functions are handed over.
Strickling had indicated only a few weeks ago that NTIA might need to extend the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority contract only until July 2016.
Additionally, although Strickling doesn't mention it in his blog post, some lawmakers have questioned the plan to transition oversight of ICANN to an international body, which they fear could include representatives of authoritarian regimes looking to tighten controls on the Internet for their own purposes.
A joint statement released Aug. 17 by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-Ill.) called the renewal "an important step."
"A key component of the bipartisan DOTCOM Act, which was overwhelmingly approved by the House, is to ensure Congressional oversight and provide concrete accountability and transparency measures for the transition" the GOP trio said. "By extending the United States' role in these functions, we are creating an environment for ongoing dialogue and decision making instead of a rush to meet artificial deadlines."
Strickling wrote that "it has become increasingly apparent over the last few months that the community needs time to complete its work, have the plan reviewed by the U.S. government and then implement it if it is approved."
In May, NTIA asked groups developing transition plans how long it would take to complete their proposals. After getting responses and factoring in the U.S. government's evaluation and implementation times for those plans, "the community estimated it could take until at least September 2016 to complete this process," he wrote.
In response to feedback from the planning groups, Strickling told Congress in an Aug. 14 letter that NTIA intended to extend the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) contract for another year, with options for up to three additional years. NTIA also filed a notice in the Federal Register on Aug. 10 referring to its plans for a new deadline.
The Federal Register notice said comments on the IANA Stewardship Transition Plan are due by Sept. 8, 2015; comments on the Enhancements to ICANN Accountability are due by Sept. 12, 2015.
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
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Rejoice: Google Just Created a Stupidly Simple Wi-Fi Router | WIRED
Wed, 19 Aug 2015 11:10
It's actually pretty easy to deal with your wireless router. All you need to do is plug in an Ethernet cable, go to a very particular IP address, remember a username and password (it's probably ''admin'' for both), find your settings in a dial-up-slow interface that wasn't even impressive in the 80s (when it was presumably last updated), and then hope against hope you don't cause thirty more problems every time you fix one.
OK, fine. Dealing with your wireless router is horrible. That's what Google found out over the last year or so, as it started dropping into people's homes to talk about Wi-Fi.
''We spent a lot of time with people who were having all kinds of trouble with their Wi-Fi,'' says Trond Wuellner, a Google product manager. Wuellner's been at the company for eight years, most of it spent working on wireless connectivity for Chromebooks. He knows your Wi-Fi sucks, and he thinks Google can help.
OnHub supports the latest in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, plus Google's new Weave language, which is designed to help appliances and connected-home devices talk to each other.
Today, the company is launching a new device called the OnHub, in partnership with router-maker TP-Link. There's another, Asus-made device in the works. For $199, it promises to make your Wi-Fi faster and more reliable, and to give you the ability to update and fix your connection. (You know, for the rare times unplugging it and plugging it back in just won't do.) Presales start today, and devices will ship in the coming weeks.The most striking thing about the OnHub is the way it looks. It's not your average router, with wires and antennas poking out from every side; it's a large cylindrical device with a blinking light on the top, shades of the Amazon Echo or Apple's Airport Extreme router. Its outer shell is removable, and comes in either blue or black (more colors are coming, Wuellner says, to better suit your room). It's pretty, in its way.
This is intentional: Google doesn't want you to crawl behind your desk every time you need to get at your router. It wants the OnHub right in the center of everything. This itself is a boon to your connection; hiding your router behind closed doors or underneath your TV is horrible for your signal. (Yes, people do that.)
''We discovered that when you put a router on the floor,'' Wuellner says, ''versus on the shelf, the one on the shelf performs twice as well as the one on the floor.'' Wuellner's team also discovered that making it a tall cylinder made users less likely to stack things on top of it, which also destroys signal.
If step one was to build a router people want on their shelf, not in the closet, then step two was to make it work really well. The OnHub has 13 antennas inside, 12 for casting signal and one for measuring congestion on your network. The device's software is constantly monitoring channels and frequencies, making sure you're connecting in the most efficient way. Wuellner says Google didn't just want to blow your mind with antenna power, but figure out how to use it properly. ''Imagine yourself in a battle with your neighbor about who can listen to their stereo,'' he says. Most routers just keep cranking the volume to try and drown out the other; the OnHub wants to help everybody share.
Google has intentionally left itself room to expand on the OnHub's capabilities, and expand it will.
There's a lot of Chromecast DNA in the OnHub, in that most of your interaction with the device happens through an app on your phone. It's called Google On, and it's available for iOS and Android. You set up your network through the app, which uses sound to find the router in your home. Once you've picked a username and password, there's an easy way to text or email the password to people who need it. Through the app, you can spot-check a network, prioritize a device to make sure you're getting enough juice for your Netflix stream, and even troubleshoot a connection. (By the way: If Google's finally figured out how to make a troubleshooter that isn't both complicated and unhelpful, well, that might be way bigger than the router.) As long as the light on top is glowing green, everything's hunky-dory. Orange is like your car's Check Engine light, prompting you to open the app to see what's gone wrong.OnHub supports the latest in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, plus Google's new Weave language, which is designed to help appliances and connected-home devices talk to each other. The OnHub is a trojan horse similar to Amazon's Echo, offering a single great feature'--really, really, ridiculously easy Wi-Fi setup'--as a gateway into the many other things this box could one day do. The device is the OnHub, not a router; the app's called On, not Router Connector App. Google has intentionally left itself room to expand on the OnHub's capabilities, and expand it will.
That's part of why you might get a slight case of the heebie-jeebies at the notion of a Google router. The company that already knows your location, your email, your search history, now sniffing around everything you connect to the internet? Yikes. Not to mention, there's the fact that it would be all too easy for Google to make the OnHub better for Google services than others, in the hopes that maybe you find yourself going to YouTube and not Netflix.
Wuellner promises, proudly, that none of this is happening. ''We're actually really proud of the work we've done around making sure OnHub is a trustworthy and secure member of your family,'' he says. ''We've drawn a very strong, hard and fast line around inspecting any information or websites about the content you're looking at in your home.'' There are settings in the app, too, that users can toggle on and off to determine what data is being shared.
OnHub is only the latest move in Google's relentless attempt to make it easier to get online. See, when you go online Google tends to make money. So it's making balloons that fly around the world beaming connectivity to Earth, and it's digging trenches for Fiber in cities around America. Now, with OnHub, it's trying to solve that impenetrable jungle of cables, blinking lights, and error messages that we're forced to live with. And once it's placed proudly on our shelves in our living rooms, who knows what OnHub could do?
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Chemtrails
Covert Chemical Geoengineering Programs '' A Real Threat to Public Health
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 14:21
by Sayer Ji, FounderGreenMedInfo.com
While any discussion of the ''chemtrail'' phenomenon today is immediately labeled conspiracy theory, a new study provides evidence that a global covert program is underway, made possible through political, commercial, and government interests working in collusion to release extremely toxic material into the atmosphere ostensibly to ''combat global warming.''
Admittedly, when the topic of ''chemtrails'' comes up, I get a bit uneasy. Like connecting vaccines with autism, certain topics have been so loaded with misinformation for so long that writing about them automatically invokes the specter of controversy, and not open discussion, as would be expected if discovering the truth were a priority.
One highly marginalized but vocal sector of the population believes chemtrails are being sprayed on us like Raid on cockroaches by our invisible overlords to facilitate a depopulation agenda. On the other extreme are academics unashamedly publishing papers suggesting we should play God by using various geoengineering techniques with avowedly planet wide impacts to ''combat global warming.'' Rarely, however, do we see anyone convincingly tying together the first-hand observational data with objective data, to prove that there is something in these persistent contrails other than frozen water vapor.
Thankfully, a groundbreaking study was recently published that did exactly this, bringing us closer to the truth than we have ever been before. The implications are simply profound and I believe may foment greatly expanded awareness and activism on the topic.
The new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health titled, ''Evidence of Coal-Fly-Ash Toxic Chemical Geoengineering in the Troposphere: Consequences for Public Health,'' offers a convincing explanation for what is behind the so-called ''chemtrail'' phenomenon, revealing that the source material used to create artificial weather visible throughout the world is the extremely toxic waste material from the electric industry known as coal fly ash.
If you are not already aware, ''chemtrail'' is a colloquial term used to describe the persistent contrails, presumably laden with ''chemicals,'' observed issuing from aircraft that result in the formation of artificial cloud patterns and weather. Their existence has been almost universally written off as ''conspiracy theory'' by the media and government despite global evidence '' as clear as day '' that the weather is being manipulated with aerosols, presumably for geoengineering purposes intended to offset global warming.
The new study, authored by San Diego resident J. Marvin Herndon, was initiated after he witnessed his region being sprayed daily by an, as of then, unidentified aerosol:
''In the spring of 2014, the author began to notice tanker-jets quite often producing white trails across the cloudless blue sky over San Diego, California. The aerosol spraying that was happening with increasing frequency was a relatively new phenomenon there. The dry warm air above San Diego is not conducive to the formation of jet contrails, which are ice condensate. By November 2014 the tanker-jets were busy every day crisscrossing the sky spraying their aerial graffiti. In a matter of minutes, the aerosol trails exiting the tanker-jets would start to diffuse, eventually forming cirrus-like clouds that further diffuse to form a white haze that scattered sunlight, often occluding or dimming the sun. Aerosol spraying was occasionally so intense as to make the otherwise cloudless blue sky overcast, some areas of sky turning brownish (Figure 1). Sometimes the navigation lights of the tanker-jets were visible as they worked at night, their trails obscuring the stars overhead; by dawn the normally clear-blue morning sky already had a milky white haze. Regardless, aerosol spraying often continued throughout the day. The necessity for daily aerosol emplacement stems from the relatively low spraying-altitudes in the troposphere where mixing with air readily occurs bringing down the aerosolized particulates and exposing humanity and Earth's biota to the fine-grained substance. The author's concern about the daily exposure to ultra-fine airborne particulate matter of undisclosed composition and its concomitant effect on the health of his family and public health in general prompted the research reported here.''
For those who have not witnessed the ''chemtrail'' phenomenon directly, it would be easy to write off this author's testimony as dubious or merely anecdotal. But the author rightly points out that there is already extensive evidence in the historical record of covert geoengineering programs, and which he summarizes thusly:
''Geoengineering, also called weather-modification, has been carried out for decades at much lower altitudes in the troposphere. The recent calls for open discussion of climate control or geoengineering tend to obscure the fact that the world's military and civilian sectors have modified atmospheric conditions for many decades as has been described by science historian, James R. Fleming [4]. Some of the early weather-modification research resulted in programs like Project Skywater (1961''1988), the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's effort to engineer ''the rivers of the sky''; the U.S. Army's Operation Ranch Hand (1961''1971), in which the herbicide Agent Orange was an infamous part; and its Project Popeye (1967''1971), used to ''make mud, not war'' over the Ho Chi Minh Trail. These few examples of weather-modification, all of them secret at the time they were engaged, show that the weather is in the words of the military, ''a force multiplier'' [5].''
The fact is that we don't need to speculate about whether these covert programs are still happening, because the evidence is ''hidden out in plain sight'' for millions to see on a daily basis. [Note: I highly suggest you watch ''Artificial Clouds,'' to get a primer on the difference between naturally occurring contrails and ''chemtrails.'']
The real questions here are: What is being sprayed? Who is behind the program? Why is there no public discussion of the program and its implications to human and environmental health?
While it is clear that weather modification programs focused on enhanced precipitation are being conducted across the country using silver iodide, as recently exposed by our contributor Dave Dahl's documentary ''Artificial Clouds,'' and that the result is global changes in weather patterns, exemplified by the temperature changes observed after the post-9/11 airplane grounding, the global geoengineering program appears to be a far greater threat to planetary health.
What Herndon's research uncovered is that, ''[T]oxic coal combustion fly ash is the most likely aerosolized particulate sprayed by tanker-jets for geoengineering, weather-modification and climate-modification purposes and describes some of the multifold consequences on public health.''
He arrived at this conclusion through the following methods:
''Two methods are employed: (1) Comparison of 8 elements analyzed in rainwater, leached from aerosolized particulates, with corresponding elements leached into water from coal fly ash in published laboratory experiments, and (2) Comparison of 14 elements analyzed in dust collected outdoors on a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter with corresponding elements analyzed in un-leached coal fly ash material. The results show: (1) the assemblage of elements in rainwater and in the corresponding experimental leachate are essentially identical. At a 99% confidence interval, they have identical means (T-test) and identical variances (F-test); and (2) the assemblage of elements in the HEPA dust and in the corresponding average un-leached coal fly ash are likewise essentially identical.''
Coal fly ash is a fine particle residue generated by coal combustion and is an extremely toxic material for the primary 3 reasons:
1) Because of its nanoparticle range sizing not only can it enter more easily into human tissue through skin, oral, or pulmonary contact, but it may also have greater toxicity due to its ability to mimic hormones and/or pass through cell membranes and altering nuclear programs to adversely alter cell phenotype.
2) It contains a wide range of heavy metals, including inorganic forms of aluminum and arsenic which are highly toxic to biological systems. It's mercury content can range as high as 1 part per million.1
3) It contains low-dose radioisotopes which can have profound, severe chronic adverse health effects several orders of magnitude higher than present toxicological risk assessments account for. Herndon states, ''Coal fly ash has been described as being more radioactive than nuclear waste [24].''
As Herndon states, ''The consequences [of coal fly ash exposure] on public health are profound, including exposure to a variety of toxic heavy metals, radioactive elements, and neurologically-implicated chemically mobile aluminum released by body moisture in situ after inhalation or through transdermal induction.''
Disturbingly, the EPA recently ruled that coal fly ash is not to be considered a ''hazardous waste,''2 despite overwhelming evidence that contains dozens of compounds that individually present a serious enough environmental and human health risk to be classified and regulated as hazardous to health.
When you consider that the EPA requires coal firing electrical plants to sequester the coal fly ash due to its known toxicity as a pollutant, the hypocrisy here is astounding. Of course, this ruling would protect those orchestrating the behind-the-scenes geoengineering agenda of using the electrical power industry's toxic byproduct: millions of tons of coal fly ash, as a ''beneficial'' substance used to ''combat global warming,'' even though the end result is the same: releasing a highly toxic material directly into the troposphere.
We already have examples of how this works. The private sector, like the aluminum industry, colludes with the government to take a highly toxic waste product like fluoride, and then lobby to have it legally mandated to be put into the environment and our bodies via fluoridation programs. Suddenly the industry responsible for concentrating and unleashing a substance that is not legal to dump into the environment due to safety concerns gets paid to have it dumped directly into our water supply which ends up in our environment and bodies. A highly toxic substance is simply re-purposed and rebranded as ''therapeutic'' when the profit motive is compelling enough to trump ethical and legal boundaries.
As of 2005, U.S. coal-fired plants reported producing 71.1 million tons of fly ash, of which 29.1 million tons was reported reused for industrial applications.3 Were it not for this ''recycling'' the industry would be left with a billion dollar problem, not unlike the nuclear industry's problem with nuclear waste. Therein alone lies a plausible motive for its use as a ''geoengineering'' ingredient, turning a liability into a profit center.
Herndon offers additional insight into why he thinks coal fly ash was chosen as the preferred geoengineering ingredient:
While academicians debate geoengineering as an activity that might potentially be needed in the future [2,3], evidence suggests that Western governments/militaries moved ahead with a full scale operational geoengineering program. But instead of mining and milling rock to produce artificial volcanic ash in sufficient volumes to cool the planet, they adopted a low-cost, pragmatic alternative, but one with consequences far more dire to life on Earth than global warming might ever be, and used coal combustion fly ash. To make matters worse, instead of placing the material high into the stratosphere, where there is minimal mixing and the substance might remain suspended for a year or more, they opted to spray coal fly ash into the lower atmosphere, the troposphere, which mixes with the air people breathe and gets rained down to ground.
Another very important point made by Herndon is that this interventionist approach to ''combat global warming'' appears to have been poorly thought out, perhaps resulting in exactly the opposite of the stated intention:
''There is yet another consequence of tropospheric coal ash spraying that is contrary to cooling the Earth and has potentially far-reaching adverse ecological and public health implications: weather modification and concomitant disruption of habitats and food sources. As reported by NASA, ''Normal rainfall droplet creation involves water vapor condensing on particles in clouds. The droplets eventually coalesce together to form drops large enough to fall to Earth. However, as more and more pollution particles (aerosols) enter a rain cloud, the same amount of water becomes spread out. These smaller water droplets float with the air and are prevented from coalescing and growing large enough for a raindrop. Thus, the cloud yields less rainfall over the course of its lifetime compared to a clean (non-polluted) cloud of the same size'' [42]. In addition to preventing water droplets from coalescing and growing large enough to fall to Earth, coal fly ash, which formed under anhydrous conditions, will hydrate, trapping additional moisture thus further acting to prevent rainfall. That may cause drought in some areas, floods in others, crop failure, forest die-offs, and adverse ecological impacts, especially in conjunction with the chemically-mobile-aluminum contamination from coal fly ash. The consequences ultimately may have devastating effects on habitats and reduce human food production.''
Herndon leaves us with closing remarks difficult to ignore, including a call to action that I hope our readers take to heart:
More than a half century ago Rachel Carson called the world's attention to the unintended consequences of herbicides and pesticides widely employed by agriculture. Instead of turning a blind eye, people everywhere became motivated to stop the worst of this environmental onslaught. Today we are fully aware of the vast interconnected web of dependencies and symbioses that comprise life on our planet. Earth exists in a state of dynamic biological, chemical, and physical equilibrium whose complexity far exceeds the understanding of contemporary science. The pervasive tropospheric spraying of coal fly ash threatens this equilibrium, whose delicacy or whose resilience we cannot quantify. Human health is at risk as is Earth's biota. Are we to remain silent? Or will we exercise our primal right to speak in our own defense as a species and question the sanity of emplacing coal fly ash in Earth's perpetually moving atmosphere?
Read the full article at GreenMedInfo.com.
References
1 ''Fly Ash in Concrete'' (PDF). perkinswill.com. 2011-11-17. Retrieved 2013-11-19. Fly ash contains approximately one part per million of mercury.
2 EPA 2014, Final rule: disposal of coal combustion residuals from electric utilities, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington D.C.
3 American Coal Ash Association. ''CCP Production and Use Survey'' (PDF).
Published on August 18, 2015
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-Zoo CBS Trailer #2 - YouTube
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 14:57
VIDEO-What is life on Lesbos like for newly-arriving refugees? | euronews, world news
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 13:16
Jubilant upon arrival, migrants reached the Greek island of Lesbos and, more importantly for many, the European Union.
Traffickers sent the group, mainly made up of Syrians, to the island from towns in Turkey.
Accustomed to receiving daily boat loads of people, volunteers were on hand to welcome the arrivals as they took the first steps in their new lives.
One Syrian refugee told euronews: ''Î'Î work, no life'...war. We need a life, that's what we need. We need a life, there is no life in Syria.''
But their arrival in Lesbos was not an end to their travails '' they faced an eight-kilometre walk to a nearby village.
The intense heat proved too much for many and some ended up sleeping on the side of the road.
We spoke to a woman who made it to the village, but was facing the prospect of another journey to reach one of the island's migrant camps.
She told euronews: ''We walked for four hours to get here. We sleep outside. Now we are here, with good people that help us. We want to go to another place, a good place. We need some help.''
There are two camps in Lesbos '' one for Syrians and one for Afghans, Pakistanis and Iraqis.
But there is not enough space. With around 1,000 new arrivals every day, Lesbos is currently home to some 10,000 migrants.
Not everybody has a tent to sleep in and there is not enough food and water.
Elli Vlassi, a volunteer with the Red Cross, said: ''They keep telling us they want to leave for Germany, Sweden, anywhere in Europe! They don't want to stay in Greece and especially not in Lesbos.
''They feel isolated because it's an island. They are really afraid. They know nothing about the island, they know nothing about Athens.''
Some fifty kilometres away from the beaches where the migrants first arrive is the port town of Mytilene. Many travelled the entire way there on foot.
Some 600 migrants and refugees are there currently, waiting to be issued with papers, before continuing north to Athens, and often onwards to FYR Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary.
It's a gruelling trek from their home countries to Greece and with the colder seasons approaching questions are being raised about how much longer the situation can continue.
VIDEO-Joe Biden meets with Elizabeth Warren in Washington - CNNPolitics.com
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 12:42
Story highlightsWarren and Biden discuss economic policyBiden is the leading figure Democrats believe they could turn to if they needed to find an alternative to Hillary ClintonWarren and Biden discussed economic policy during a meeting that lasted about two hours, a person familiar with the discussion told CNN, adding that the presidential campaign or Biden's future was not a particular focus of the discussion.
The meeting, confirmed by two people familiar with the session, is the biggest indication yet that Biden is feeling out influential Democrats before announcing his intentions.
Beloved by liberal Democrats, Warren decided to sit out a campaign of her own, but she has yet to formally endorse a candidate. In an interview on Friday, she told WBZ in Boston: "I don't think anyone has been anointed."
The vice president arrived in Washington shortly before lunchtime, even though his official schedule said he was planning to spend the weekend at his home in Delaware.
Kendra Barkoff, a Biden spokeswoman, declined to comment on the meeting. But an aide to Biden confirmed a meeting, telling CNN: "The vice president traveled last minute to Washington, D.C. for a private meeting and will be returning to Delaware."
Another source familiar with the meeting told CNN that Warren went to the meeting at Biden's request.
Biden is increasingly weighing whether to challenge Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates for the party's presidential nomination. A small team of advisers has spent weeks quietly putting together a campaign strategy and fundraising plan in case Biden decides to run. He had at least one meeting with them this week in Wilmington, one person familiar with the session told CNN.
He has told his associates he intends to make his decision in the next month, an announcement that could upend the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination.
With the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary six months away, Biden is the leading figure Democrats believe they could turn to if they needed to find an alternative to Clinton, whose favorability ratings have taken a deep hit as her email use while secretary of state is drawing deeper controversy.
Biden, 72, has a large and loyal collection of friends and advisers from more than four decades in Washington. Yet even inside his sprawling constellation, affectionately known as "Biden World," deep divisions exist over the wisdom of him making another bid for the presidency.
Mapping out the stepsEarlier this week, Biden met with top advisers at his home in Delaware to further map out the steps to mounting a third presidential bid, though people familiar with the confab say the vice president is no closer to deciding on a run.
Biden met with his political team in Wilmington, where he spent the last week out of sight following a vacation in South Carolina. Longtime political allies Mike Donilon and former Sen. Ted Kaufman were among the operatives advising Biden on a run, a person familiar with the meeting said.
The factors Biden continues to mull include a timeline for getting in the race, and a fundraising plan that could help him launch a come-from-behind campaign against Clinton.
Like many Democrats, Biden and his team are carefully eyeing the continued questions about Clinton's email use at the State Department. Developments this week, including allegations that classified information may have passed through her private account, have led to new anxiety within the Democratic Party about the frontrunner's viability.
Those jitters haven't necessarily led to widespread calls for Biden to join the race; at the White House, there is some concern a Biden candidacy could end poorly and damage the vice president's reputation.
But with polls showing Clinton's trustworthiness slipping, some top Democrats are looking elsewhere.
"Frankly when it became clear that he was giving the race serious consideration, I just raised my hand," Steve Schale, who ran President Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns in Florida, told CNN on Wednesday. Last week Schale joined "Draft Biden," the independent group encouraging the vice president to run.
Draft Biden, which began earlier this year as a bare-bones effort to rally support behind Biden, has recently morphed into a full-fledged organizing campaign, including robust fundraising efforts, that could provide a framework for Biden should he jump into the race.
Costs of runningBiden's advisers have told the vice president he must decide by Oct. 1 -- roughly a week after his self-proclaimed "end-of-summer" deadline. A top Biden adviser told CNN this week the vice president is expected to wait at least until mid-September to announce a decision.
If Biden does mount a run for president, the cost of flying him from event to event on Air Force Two would come under scrutiny, as political travel for sitting presidents running for re-election has for decades.
Current regulations enacted during the last presidential election stipulate a candidate must reimburse the government for a pro-rated share of an equivalent-sized charter plane.
Biden often flies in a C-32, the military analogue to a Boeing 757. The cost to charter a 757 is between $12,000 and $15,000 per hour, according to charter companies.
That's far less than the actual costs to fly Air Force Two, which comes retrofitted with secure communication and navigation equipment, and costs north of $100,000 to operate per hour.
Travelers who must reimburse the government for political trips include the candidate and any staff traveling on behalf of his campaign. Other passengers, including security personnel, aren't required to reimburse the government for their portion of the trip.
The goal of the regulations: to ensure the costs of an office-holder's travel requirements neither hinder nor help a candidacy.
If he runs, Biden could combine campaign trips with official travel to mitigate the costs, which presidents have done for decades. The formula breaking down campaign and official costs, however, has been kept secret by White Houses going back to the 1970s.
The distinction between official and political travel has also been blurry in the past. Official travel requires the president or vice president to be advancing or explaining the work of the administration -- and as vice president, much of Biden's campaign pitch would entail doing just that.
Clinton has traveled using a mix of commercial and private air, none of which is nearly as large as a Boeing 757. The Gulfstream G500 she flew to Martha's Vineyard in on Saturday costs between $7,000-$8,000 to charter per hour.
But she or her campaign must foot the bill for the entire flight, not only a pro-rated portion of it, or a percentage split with official travel. Unlike Air Force Two, the government assumes none of the costs.
In her first quarterly FEC filing from July, Clinton's campaign reported spending almost $134,000 on a single private jet service, Executive Fliteways.
As a former first lady, Clinton travels with a Secret Service detail, though its footprint appears far smaller than Biden's. The Secret Service is not reimbursed for any costs associated with political travel.
CNN's Gloria Borger contibuted to this report.
VIDEO-CBS Hits Hillary Hard With Latest on E-Mail Scandal | MRCTV
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 05:44
[See NewsBusters for more.] ABC on Thursday again skipped the latest details on the widening Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal. Yet, CBS This Morning offered full coverage on the "trouble" the Democrat's campaign is facing. NBC's Today skimped on the "political problem" and the evolving FBI investigation. CBS This Morning's Jan Crawford reminded, "On Monday, the State Department said it had reviewed 20 percent of those and flagged 305 as 'potentially containing classified information.'" She added, "The concern in the intelligence community is that classified e-mails on a private server could be more easily hacked order compromised."
VIDEO-Blitzer Goes Soft on Activist Claiming 'All Lives Matter' Is a 'Violent Statement' | MRCTV
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 05:35
Video cross-posted here at NewsBusters. CNN host Wolf Blitzer interviewed #BlackLivesMatter founder Daunasia Yancey and activist Julius Jones on Tuesday about the recent backlash the movement has been receiving with the tactics used to protest, that it's not polite. Blitzer went easy on them '' especially when it came to some of the ridiculous comments made taking offense to the concept that "all lives matter." Jones called that a "violent statement."
VIDEO-University of Alabama's Earth System Science Center Dir. on Global Warming | MRCTV
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 05:28
If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.
Climatologist: We Have a 'Moral Imperative' to Burn Fossil Fuels See More at: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/barbara-hollingsworth/climatologist-we-have-moral-imperative-burn-fossil-fuels
VIDEO-NYT Reporter: 'You Want Me to Indict and Damn Hillary. I'm Not Going to Do That' | MRCTV
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 05:07
Finally! Something from a New York Times reporter that you can absolutely, positively believe: that no matter the mounting evidence, he will not condemn Hillary Clinton for her email malfeasance.
On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough repeatedly tried to get Jeremy Peters to state whether he agreed with the federal judge who yesterday declared that in handling her email, Hillary had not "followed government policy." After desperately trying to do anything but answer the question, an exasperated Peters finally sputtered: "you're trying to get me to indict and damn Hillary. I'm not going to do that."
VIDEO-Obsessed: ABC's Tom Llamas Still Yelling at Trump Over 'Anchor Babies' | MRCTV
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 04:47
[See NewsBusters for more.] Activist ABC journalist Tom Llamas on Friday took to his third straight program to rail against using the term "anchor baby." Llamas's confrontation with Donald Trump aired on Thursday's Good Morning America and World News. The reporter replayed it yet again on Friday. Llamas yelled, "Are you aware the term anchor baby, that an offensive term? People find that hurtful!" As though he were some sort of neutral third party observer, the correspondent covered the furor he helped create: "Now, both Trump and Bush are facing tough questions about the term anchor babies used to try American-born children of undocumented immigrants, implying parents have children to anchor themselves in the U.S. so they're not deported."
VIDEO-Sheriff Clarke Slams 'Liberal Mainstream Media' for Backing 'Black Lies Matter' Movement | MRCTV
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 02:01
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Joining fill-in host Shannon Bream on Thursday's Kelly File to comment on the latest shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke demanded that ''the liberal mainstream media'' stop their charade as ''the propaganda wing'' of the Black Lives Matter movement that Clarke has dubbed the ''Black Lies Matter'' movement.
Clarke first commented on the ''very unfortunate'' shooting of a nine-year-old girl in Ferguson and how little outrage has seemed to have surfaced regarding this event before arguing that ''this is exhibit A'' of why he has ''renamed this movement from Black Lives Matter to Black Lies Matter because this movement tries to make it seem like the police are the problem.''
VIDEO-NBC and CBS Hype Push to Have Jon Stewart Moderate 2016 Debate | MRCTV
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 01:59
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Just two weeks after the broadcast networks mourned ''cultural icon'' Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show, Friday's NBC Today and CBS This Morning touted an online petition on the liberal Change.org website urging the Commission on Presidential Debates to select the left-wing comedian as a 2016 debate moderator.
On Today, co-host Matt Lauer wondered: ''Could the presidential race be in Jon Stewart's future?'' Fill-in weatherperson Dylan Dryer followed: ''Well, that's the hope of a lot of people....A Change.org petition requesting Stewart moderate one of the 2016 presidential debates has been signed almost 140,000 times and that number is growing by the second.''
VIDEO-Mika Blasts HuffPost for Putting Trump in Entertainment Section | MRCTV
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 01:58
Video cross-posted here at NewsBusters. On Friday's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski confronted Danny Shea, Huffington Post Editorial Director, over his website's decision to cover Donald Trump's presidential campaign in the entertainment section rather than politics.
VIDEO-About That 14th Amendment: Trump Is Right, It Does NOT Grant "Born Here Citizenship" - UlstermanBooks.com
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 01:44
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VIDEO-Gas Jackers: Thieves outsmart gas stations | abc7chicago.com
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 00:48
Gas stations have always been popular targets for armed robbers. Now savvy crooks don't need guns to make off with full tanks. "Gas Jackers" are armed with inside information.Thieves are outsmarting gas stations and security specialists are concerns. The I-Team has learned of a glitch that could expose those underground storage tanks to potential cyber attacks.
At a gas station in Kankakee, surveillance video captured the unusual hacking theft in action.
Last month, on a busy weekday evening, cars lined up for gas. But from inside the station, owners said their monitor showed no activity. No pre-pay, no credit card activated, no gas being pumped. Or so it seemed.
"I noticed gas was being pumped but nothing was indicating on the register. Right away, my instincts kicked in that something was going on," said Fadi Mohammad, a gas station co-owner.
Kankakee police told the I-Team that this is an unusual heist. The thief, shown on video, was apparently from the Chicago area.
Investigators suspect he picked the lock on this terminal and entered a default security code allowing him to put the pump into "test mode" --- essentially pumping gas for free.
Police said his goal was cash and that he told customers he would fill up their tank for just $20.
"We believe he hit more than one gas station in the Kankakee area," said Detective Steven Hunter, of the Kankakee Police Department.A Chicago area pump service company that did not want to be identified told the I-Team these thefts have increased for months -- with stations hit from suburban Naperville to Michigan City, Ind.
Inspector John Lucki is a fraud expert at St. Xavier University.
"You find the manufacturers initial set password on the processor punch in the manufacturers password and you have a 50/50 chance you are going to override the electronic control system on the pump," Lucki said.
Security experts say station owners may be oblivious that their old, ineffective computer passwords put their pumps and underground storage tanks at risk.
"The petroleum industry needs to basically do a review of their controls and change default passwords. Without that, any attacker who has rudimentary information on their systems can gain access to them," said David Bryan, a security consultant at Trustwave.
Recent reports from industry insiders reveal cyber hackers have messed with gas tank gauges, which are used to monitor the massive amounts of fuel stored underground.
Worst-case senerio is that a hacker or terrorist could cause catastrophic problems by shutting down the flow of fuel in a wide area or allow tanks to overflow.
So far there are no reports of tanks being hacked this way.
Jack Chadowitz, of Boston-based Kachoolie, is in the fuel logistics business.
He points to documents that show the recent internet hacking of a U.S. gas station. The product name was changed to "power to the people" and levels set to zero.
"If one wanted to disrupt the economy be it for a short period it would be an easy way of doing it," Chadowitz said.
Back in Kankakee, above ground, security codes at the gas station hit last month have been changed.
Kankakee police tracked down those who took the gas deal and most paid up for what was pumped.
Other stations have been less fortunate.
Kankakee police are still looking for the mastermind behind the gas jacking.
The Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing told the I-Team that internet and systems security is still an issue and that they are currently trying to raise awareness among gas station owners.
An association spokesman stresses there are human back-ups to help keep overfills and related environmental disasters from happening.
(Copyright (C)2015 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
VIDEO-Russia's Sanctions War Against the West Explained - NBC News
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 00:47
Russian workers throw peaches off a truck outside the city of Novozybkov. - / AFP - Getty Images
But why the Western sanctions?The sanctions were a response to Russia's decision to annex Ukraine's Crimea peninsula at gunpoint in 2014, as well as
Moscow's support of pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.The West has blacklisted dozens of President Vladimir Putin's affiliates and limited Russia's access to foreign capital and state-of-the-art technologies.
What countries were blacklisted by Russia?The United States, all 28 EU members, Australia, Albania, Canada, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Montenegro, Norway and Ukraine '-- though the ban for Ukraine was suspended until 2016.
Related:
Russia's Putin: U.S. Is Acting Like Soviet Union After WWIIWhat has Russia banned?Meat (except mutton), fish, shrimp, oysters, dairy products, fruits and vegetables.
Caviar, chocolate, coffee, pastry, spaghetti and alcohol are exempt; you can still get your Snickers and Jack Daniels in Moscow.
Has it worked?EU farmers have lost an estimated 5.5 billion euro ($6 billion) due to Russia's embargo, but that pales in comparison to Russia's losses from the Western sanctions '-- a staggering $50 billion and counting, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told CNBC earlier this year.
Russia has no food shortages, but food selection has dwindled and prices have gone up almost 30 percent since early 2014.
Is it the first time Russia has lashed out like this?Far from it. The country spent most of 2000s in puny trade wars with its post-Soviet neighbors, banning things like Moldovan wine, Georgian mineral water and Estonian fish.
But it is the first time Russia has taken on most of the developed world.
Why destroy sanctioned food?Many Russians are asking the same question and have lobbied to give contraband food to the poor, which number 23 million in Russia.But Russian officials say smuggled foodstuffs have no health certificates and can be dangerous. Besides, officials would likely to steal food during redistribution, Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachyov admitted.
Is Russia the only country to burn food?Nope. Smuggled food is routinely destroyed throughout the world '-- the U.S., Britain and Australia also do it. But only Moscow makes a publicity stunt out of it.
Geese vs. bulldozerMore than 600 tons of food have been destroyed so far, from apples and cheeses to kiwi and pig hearts. Most are destroyed in bulk, but in Tatarstan, 10 officials took a whole day to destroy three grilled geese from Hungary with a bulldozer.
Even the Kremlin acknowledged it was not the most efficient use of civil servants' time, so the officials were reprimanded.
Food huntsPro-Kremlin activists embraced sanctions with the enthusiasm and began combing supermarkets for banned food.
It didn't work out well: the West-bashing activists touted Western smartphones and could not distinguish between sanctioned and friendly countries. And it may get worse: Russian Cossacks, a pro-Kremlin quasi-militant group with a culture of violence, pledged to join the raids.
Bootlegged cheeseThe sanctions have created a thriving smuggling economy '-- Western food is simply re-labeled as coming from friendly countries and sent to supermarkets.
Officials in Moscow tried to crack down on the smugglers and busted six men who made $30 million from bootlegged cheese.
About 470 tons of cheese was seized and is pending a bulldozer.Tomato breakSome smugglers resort to desperate measures. Consider a man in Pskov region, whose vehicle carrying a truckload of tomatoes from Belarus was stopped at the Russian border. The smuggler, who was not detained, later stole the truck under the cover of darkness and made a heroic break back to the border, saving 1.5 tons of veggies from imminent doom.
Related:
Average Russian Bribe Doubles Amid Currency Crisis50 dead ducklingsNot everyone was as lucky as Belarussian tomatoes. In the southern Belgorod region in June, officials stopped a man who bought 50 live ducklings in Ukraine '-- a common across-the-border trade in those parts.
The ducklings were seized and incinerated. Officials said they were at least put to sleep beforehand.
Tulips-for-childrenLast week, Russia has also banned flower imports from the Netherlands, which lost 193 people when
Flight MH17 was shot down, and has lobbied for an international tribunal on the jet's destruction.The Kremlin denied the ban was punishment for the move, but few inside the country believe it.
Related:
No McDonald's, No Plastic: Crimea Isolated One Year LaterGluten galoreBans have also hit people with special dietary requirements. Autistic children, those intolerant to gluten and even athletes are struggling to maintain their respective diets, deviations from which can be harmful.
The hidden feastsStrangely, officials haven't been affected by the scandals: state agencies, including police and the Defense Ministry, keep on posting tenders for official events with menus that specifically require forbidden foodstuffs, such as shrimp and Parmesan cheese.
Somehow, it has gone below the radar of contraband-hunting Cossacks.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in June. Sasha Mordovets / Getty Images
Space hungerEven in space, you are not safe from sanctions. In January, Russian customs seized America-made food intended for those aboard the International Space Station.
Interestingly, Russian space officials said it was the Russian cosmonauts, not the Americans, who had asked for it.
MoonshineThe Kremlin may be tough, but Russia's people are finding ways around the measures. As bulldozers rumble and officials rejoice, ordinary Russians are reportedly carrying home sacks of food snatched from under bulldozer tracks.
Sanctioned peaches produce the best moonshine, a Smolensk region resident told local media '-- and now they are free.
A worker uses a bulldozer to crush crates of peaches outside Novozybkov. - / AFP - Getty Images
VIDEO-Why you'll be paying a 'Netflix tax' soon - Yahoo Finance
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 00:26
'Œ‚HomeMailSearchNewsSportsFinanceWeatherGamesAnswersScreenFlickrMobileMore'‹PoliticsCelebrityMoviesMusicTVGroupsHealthStyleBeautyFoodParentingMakersTechShoppingTravelAutosHomesTry Yahoo Finance on Firefox >>Skip to NavigationSkip to Main contentSkip to Right rail👤Sign In''‰Mail'šHelpAccount InfoHelpSuggestions
VIDEO-Zuckerberg group fires back at Trump immigration plan August 21
Sun, 23 Aug 2015 00:01
The statement posted by FWD.us. President Todd Schulte doesn't identify Trump by name. But it refers to "anti-immigrant voices yelling for mass deportation." Trump unveiled an immigration plan early this week that promised much tougher enforcement and deportation policies.
"What's absurd is not just these 'plans,' but that those who would seek to represent Americans as president are falling all over themselves to support backward policies that would rip apart American families and collapse our economy," said the group's statement.
Zuckerberg was a key force behind the creation of FWD.us in 2013, which aims to increase legal immigration and a path to citizenship for many current undocumented workers. Zuckerberg's support for more immigration led Trump to criticize him by name when he released his own immigration plan this week.
Related: Donald Trump calls out Mark Zuckerberg on immigration
FWD.us says the mass deportation of an estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants would cost the economy $1.7 trillion, citing a 2013 study by a Harvard economist. It said it would devastate the construction, agricultural and hospitality industries.
"Try imagining California or Florida without agriculture," said Schulte's post.
It also said mass deportations would cut payroll tax collections used to support Social Security and Medicare by $100 million.
Related: Would Trump deport undocumented worker at his hotel
Schulte said more H-1B visas are needed to bring in skilled foreign workers, who he said would create jobs rather than hurt American workers. Tech companies have long been pressing for an increase in H-1B visas.
Trump has argued that these visas are preventing Americans from getting jobs and depressing U.S. wages.
"Mark Zuckerberg's personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities," Trump said in his immigration plan. Rubio is also seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
CNNMoney (New York)August 21, 2015: 1:34 PM ET
VIDEO-Donald Trump holds rally in Alabama - YouTube
Sat, 22 Aug 2015 02:45
VIDEO-SunPort '' Demand Solar. Anywhere. Instantly. by Paul Droege '-- Kickstarter
Fri, 21 Aug 2015 13:46
SunPort' is about crowdsourcing demand for solar energy and accelerating America's shift to solar power. What better place to do that than Kickstarter?
On average, if you spend five hours on your computer with it plugged into a wall socket, less than two minutes is solar powered. What if you could make it all five hours? 100%? What if you could do that every single day, for just pennies a day?
90% of Americans say they want more solar, but most have done nothing about it.
As a result, despite falling costs and increased development, solar barely shows up as a US electricity source.
In the US today, 85% of the energy used to view this Kickstarter page comes from coal, natural gas, and nuclear'--all non-renewables'--and only about half a percent comes from solar.
We forget the nastiness of non-renewables because they don't spew their emissions in our faces, but tall, not-so-distant smokestacks still constantly spew.
Our politicians and power companies have spent billions on solar. Even so, panels on the roof are still out of reach for most people.
Solar on your roof can make sense if you have plenty of cash or a good FICO score, plus a sunny roof on a house you own and plan to stay in for years. If you can do it, please do it! But in truth, solar today is mainly for well-off people in the suburbs.
We need solar beyond the suburbs, solar for everyone, solar without barriers. How do we make solar easy and affordable for all?
By consuming solar energy rather than producing it.
You don't need to own a power plant to use power, and you don't need to own an airplane to travel by air. Why should you need to own solar panels to use solar energy?
You don't need to own it, you just need to use it. And solar energy is affordable, even if solar panels aren't.
If we all will pay an extra penny or two per day for solar energy, we can create massive consumer demand for more of it. Most importantly, demand for solar energy can only be met by building more solar.
More solar use = more solar demand -----> more solar built
Demand for solar energy is the best way to attract much more investment for solar projects. And more solar crowds out non-renewable power sources. SunPort is a great way to use and demand solar energy.
SunPort is not your typical solar product. It doesn't have solar panels and it won't save you money. But it could help you save the planet (or at least take better care of it for future generations).
SunPort is the world's first smart grid solar demand device. It gives you a way to plug in and instantly demand 100% solar energy from the power grid, and using SunPort doesn't just demand solar energy. It also helps directly fund new solar panels for nonprofits, but more on that later.
Instead of making solar energy, SunPort lets you demand solar energy by using it. SunPort consumes the output of grid connected solar systems: grid energy + solar credits. It does this by matching the energy you take from the wall against solar credits you consume at the same time.
SunPort automatically demands solar for you, wherever you plug in, so you can just consume solar without any hassles, or panels. Choosing to use solar with SunPort is kind of like buying organic food or fair trade coffee. You pay just a little more because you care about where it comes from.
So how can you consume real solar without panels? You can't. Real solar only comes from panels, but you don't need to own them. SunPort ''asks'' the people with the panels for their solar by buying and consuming the solar credits their panels supply.
For just $20 per year in solar credits, you can solar power anything you can plug into a SunPort, and each SunPort received through this campaign includes one year of unlimited solar to get you started.
We didn't invent these solar credits, but we figured out how to get consumers using them. Lots of them. Easily and affordably.
Officially called Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (S-RECs), a new one is created every time one megawatt-hour of real solar produced from real panels goes into the electric power grid. Using them is the only way to actually use solar without going off the grid. That's why S-RECs were invented'--to let anyone access solar power and help grow the solar energy market.
Here's a helpful video from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explaining how Renewable Energy Certificates work:
The big companies in the EPA's Green Power Partner Program (you know their names) all upgrade their energy use like this, and we've come up with a way to let you do it, too.
Certified S-RECs are big chunks of solar, each one larger than a typical home's entire monthly energy use. Our hack is simply breaking S-RECs down into much smaller increments called SunJoule' microcredits.
SunJoules are the right size for the small slices of power individuals use day-to-day, like powering a laptop or a gaming console. When a SunPort measures one kilojoule of grid electricity being used, it retires one SunJoule from the system and credits the SunPort's owner with that amount of real solar use.
SunPort works with a nonprofit called ReChoice to acquire S-RECs and break them up into SunJoules. ReChoice is dedicated to giving all consumers choice over their source of electricity.
For every dollar ReChoice spends acquiring the S-RECs to make SunJoules, they spend a matching dollar to put new solar panels on the roofs of other nonprofits.
The cost of that new solar is built into the SunJoules, so when you use each SunJoule, you're helping build new solar.
Nonprofits getting free solar panels from ReChoice benefit by reducing their operating budgets. They receive free electricity from the panels, permanently lowering their electric bill.
Those tiny little SunJoules really pack a punch. Real solar, new solar, and free electricity for nonprofits. A triple win.
A little more solar installed by ReChoice is a great start, but that only happens when lots of people use SunPort to demand solar energy. And once that happens, consumer demand for solar from SunPort can trigger even more solar development, beyond what ReChoice builds.
We just need to get started. But where do we begin?
The sun is waiting to supply an endless amount of solar energy. Since SunPort lets you start using 100% solar immediately, the next move is up to you. And since you're reading this online, you probably own a computer. So what if you just plugged your computer into a SunPort?
Using SunPort to power just a laptop, you can easily demand 10 or 20 times more solar than today's average power consumer. That's a great start (and a desktop computer will demand even more).
Imagine if everyone in America ran their computers on solar. The Kickstarter community by itself, all charging laptops using SunPort for an hour, would use more than enough solar to shut down a whole coal power plant for an hour.
SunPort empowers us to have an impact collectively, even if we each just do a little bit.
If enough of us start using SunPort to demand solar energy, we could create a solar movement.
It took a few iterations to get it right, but SunPort's design has been proven with the help of hundreds of testers using Beta SunPorts produced by our factory in China. We're ready to go, so you can start demanding solar as soon as yours arrives.
Just back this campaign and you'll be ready to go. There are no long-term contracts or commitments.
During this Kickstarter campaign, we're offering one free year of unlimited solar included with each SunPort to encourage as much solar use as possible starting the day it arrives. Use it to power anything you can plug in, all the way up to 1200 watts or 10A at 120 volts.
After the first year, unlimited solar for your SunPort will cost just $20 for another whole year, but based on backer feedback and solar usage patterns, we hope to make your solar even more affordable. We're also exploring brand partnerships that might even get you solar for free.
SunPort is designed so you can use solar where you want, when you want, how you want. We even used SunPort Betas to solar power the production of everything you see on this page, including our entire campaign video, making this the first solar-powered Kickstarter campaign.
And, in collaboration with indie hip-hop label Rhymesayers, we used a bunch of SunPort Betas to completely solar-power a music video for Atmosphere's most popular song, aptly titled ''Sunshine."
If you hurry, you could receive an Atmosphere-signed (and used) SunPort Beta for free!
Slug from Atmosphere actually autographed all of the SunPort Betas used in the making of the ''Sunshine'' video, and now we're giving them away to a limited number of backers who help us spread the word about our campaign.
Here's a look at those SunPort Betas in action behind the scenes of this historic solar-powered video...
During the Kickstarter campaign, SunPort comes in your choice of four bright colors (yellow, pink, blue, and green). Perfect for highlighting your solar use everywhere you plug in.
When you're using solar from your SunPort, it lights up green to tell you (and others around you) that you have solar. It's a great way to visibly show your commitment to solar and start some conversations.
The SunPort app (for iOS and Android) shows how much electricity you've upgraded to solar over time, like a fitness tracking app, and you can add several SunPorts to your account to measure more impact. You'll also be able to chart the collective impact of all SunPort users and those in your network.
The app can even measure the electricity used to charge the phone or tablet it's on and upgrade that to solar, too, so you can use your SunPort(s) to solar power other devices.
And if you select the SUNPORT DEV CLUB reward, you'll be invited to test our app during development and help shape the final version.
SunPort easily plugs into any standard three-pronged outlet (NEMA 5-15), so you can take it with you and use solar everywhere you go in the U.S., including'...
SunPort is also the world's first smart grid solar delivery plug-in device, which means it's part of a growing effort to allow modern communication between energy producers (solar farms) and consumers (you). This communication improves renewable power distribution while giving us more choice over the kinds of energy we consume than ever before.
But it's important to understand that SunPort is not affiliated with your power company, nor will it affect your home energy bill. It simply measures the grid electricity you take from any wall outlet (at home or away) and upgrades it to solar using a ready supply of solar credits managed through the cloud.
So don't wait for panels, politicians or power companies. Please back us now, and begin demanding solar with SunPort.
We all know the world is going solar. The question is not if, but when. And how fast we'll get there. And how much damage we do to the planet in the meantime.
SunPort is all about accelerating the world's transition to solar by letting everyone participate. So what makes a tiny startup think it can do something as big and audacious as paving a pathway to solar for everyone?
It can only be described as a sense of calling, and a firm belief that if people are shown a way to make a difference, people will make the difference.
SunPort began at a solar conference Paul and Don attended in southern California several years back. As electric power industry veterans, they were responding to market signals and expanding a traditional power equipment business into solar. They hoped to make connections in the solar industry and gain insight into the industry's needs. They weren't seeking a new mission or way to change the world when their light bulb moment came...
''Who has solar?," a speaker asked for a show of hands. In an auditorium full of thousands at a solar conference, only a couple dozen hands went up. These were solar industry insiders'--the true believers'--and even they were struggling to go solar. Don and Paul realized the world needed a ''Solar 2.0.'' There was no way solar could become the planet's primary power source unless something changed radically to make it much more accessible for everyone.
Don and Paul were soon joined by Matt in brainstorming ideas and mining insights. Things clicked when they realized the business potential of solar consumed as a service. Patents were filed and plans were made, but they needed to build a team. At Startup Weekend Santa Fe in the spring of 2013, Paul met Tim and Nick, who joined on to add much-needed technical capabilities. Further development and numerous pivots quickly led to a crude but recognizable version of what is now SunPort.
Before long, after living in Asia for years, Jonathan Droege returned to the U.S. to assist with operations and logistics. Next, an unlikely encounter with Hank at CES 2014 followed by a trip to China yielded a partnership with a world-class manufacturer, and product development began in earnest. Before long, Aaron joined to work on the platform, and Julia came in to run social media as SunPort came more clearly into focus.
Then ABQid, a new Albuquerque-based startup accelerator, invited the SunPort team to join the first cohort. There, Webb and Kat challenged the team in business model and customer development. At CES in January of 2015, Paul met Marty and learned about Fallon's StarterKit pitch competition coming up in March at SXSW. The SunPort team won that competition, resulting in Fallon's collaboration on this Kickstarter campaign.
Finally, SunPort's semi-finalist showing at the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open in May 2015 connected Mateo with the team. He brought design and branding sharply into focus, just in time for our Kickstarter launch.
The path has been long and winding, but it's now paved and ready for you to join in. SunPort's vision is solar as a service, broadly used by everyone who cares about where their energy comes from. SunPort technology can be embedded in virtually any product running on electricity. A whole-house version is next on the list for development, then an enhanced version of SunPort with on/off control and USB charging. SunPort technology licensing comes after that, so appliance and electronics companies can sell 100% solar-powered versions of their products. SunPort believes consuming solar should be easy and affordable for everyone, regardless of whether they can afford panels or own a roof.
But right now it's your turn. The solar is real and waiting for you to use it. SunPort lets anyone use solar, easily and affordably, with no contracts or commitments. This idea works for people who genuinely value solar power. And if enough people join in, it could cause a solar breakthrough. So what about you? Are you ready to join the team and help power a brighter future with solar? Let's go!
In addition to covering the costs of fulfilling campaign rewards, funds raised through this Kickstarter campaign will be used to pay for SunPort app development as well as final device testing and safety certification.
Video music ("Fish Delay" and "Massive") provided by INKY MUSIC
VIDEO- Hillary Clinton Laughs While Discussing Defense of Child Rapist Fox News Insider Torch2 - YouTube
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 20:06

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