758: Blue Waffles

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 47m
September 20th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir David of Ross

Associate Executive Producers: Joshua Willis, James Carlson

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
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TODAY
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Lubbock
Richard
Heather + Ike
Indian pole dancers
Oil and cotton largest in the world
Blue waffle, raider rash- highest level of stds in the country
Las Vegas nm-Rialto
Fort Sumner – Home of Billy the Kid
Driving past and on his stork route 66
Serious XM progress channel 127
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Migrants
The European Agenda on Migration kills more lives than it saves | FutureLab Europe
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 15:03
On 13 May the European Commission (EC) released its anticipated European Agenda on Migration that was meant to solve the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean and address the meagre integration policies implemented by EU member states, which have resulted in an increase of racism and social exclusion across Europe. Like many others, I hoped that the Agenda would offer concrete solutions, also given that at the 2015 FutureLab Europe Spring Conference Matthias Ruete, Director General of the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission, profoundly assured that the future of the European Union (EU) depends on our ability to develop more effective migration policies. Nevertheless, upon reading it, it became clear that the Agenda cannot be the piece of paper that Ruete had in mind: it fails to address the existing shortcomings and, more importantly, lacks the ingredients to promote an inclusive and peaceful society that comprehensively respects human rights.
We all are too aware of the hundreds of migrants who have drowned in the Mediterranean in the last few months and indeed the Agenda recognises the urgent need to save lives at sea. At the same time though, it puts a disproportional importance on preventing migrants from coming to Europe, targeting criminal smuggling networks and working in partnership with third countries to tackle migration flows. By doing so, it undermines the fundamental rights enshrined in the 1951 Refugee Convention as the Commission actively pursues to stop migrants from applying for asylum in the European Union although the Agenda hypocritically claims that ''the EU must continue to offer protection to those in need''.
The Agenda also fails to introduce legal tools that allow migrants to come to Europe safely and legally. In fact, have you ever wondered why thousands of refugees escaping war, oppression and persecution take the dangerous journey on the boats that could cost their lives rather than just buy a cheap airplane ticket and comfortably fly to Europe? Professor Hans Rosling from the Karolinska Institute eloquently explains how the European Union has escaped its responsibility of offering asylum to those in need with the EU Directive 2001/51/EC. It requires that national carriers make sure that all passengers have valid documents to enter the European Union, but also has a provision that this does not apply to refugees who want to come to Europe on the basis of the Geneva Convention. Therefore the EU has transferred the duty of determining who is a refugee to the staff at the check-in counters of transport companies in third countries. Carriers are obliged to cover all the costs of returning an irregular migrant and due to this financial threat, all passengers' travel documents are thoroughly checked by carriers' staff. For these reasons, perspective migrants cannot fly to Europe to apply for asylum and their only choice is to embark on life-threatening journeys across the Mediterranean. I must admit, it is a brilliant scheme: carriers do not wish to take any risks, so obviously no passenger without a valid visa is allowed to board. And the EU raises its hands: ''hey, we do allow refugees to fly in. It is not our fault that airlines deny refugees from boarding''.
The European Agenda on Migration doesn't promote a chance of parameters, but instead it proposes the opening of pilot shelters in Niger by the end of the year to provide information to the migrants before it is too late to deter them from embarking on a journey to Europe. In reality, Brussels is more concerned with keeping illegal migrants out of Europe rather than with saving their lives. Another clear indication of this is the launch of a military mission to tackle the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean. The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini stated that: ''As summer comes, more people are travelling so we want to have the operation in place as soon as possible, if it is to deter the traffickers' and smugglers' organisations.'' The Guardian revealed that the strategy paper for the mission focuses on an air and naval campaign, but the strikes could also include ground forces. The military operations inevitably will cause ''collateral'' damage as innocent people boarding or on the vessels will be killed during the attack. The Libyan government expressed its concerns of mistakenly targeting fishermen's boats and rejects the EU's proposal to authorise use of force. Refugee rights groups are alarmed as the plan will simply lead to more deaths. Michael Diedring, the secretary-general of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), stressed: ''An unintended consequence of this mission is that it may even lead to more deaths. If there is a shortage of vessels, even more people will be packed into them. There is even a possibility, given the desperate situation these people face, that they might try to construct their own boats.''
Is this really the Europe that was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize?
At the same time, several NGOs have welcomed the positive outcomes of the Agenda, including the quota system inviting states to share the burden of 40,000 migrants over the next two years. Unsurprisingly though, many member states, including the UK, Hungary and France have stated they oppose the plan as it might worsen the migration crisis and in fact intensify anti-immigration sentiments. However we must question the ambitions of Brussels as Natasha Bertaud, a European Commission spokeswoman, told the Telegraph:'' [the quota system] is not binding. It is only a recommendation.''
In Europe migration is such a toxic issue that no decision-maker is willing to address it in a rightful manner, because using an effective human rights based-approach to solve the crisis might cost your political career. Heads of member states are outraged because of 20,000 migrants, which ultimately is just a drop in the ocean. There are almost one million refugees in Turkey, 750 000 in Jordan and the Dabaab refugee camp in Kenya alone hosts 335,000 refugees. In fact there are more refugees in the world than ever before. And still the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, in opposing the 2820 refugees France should receive, has the audacity to affirm that his country has already done a lot.
The European Agenda on Migration was an excellent opportunity to show that we are no longer willing to have the blood of thousands of migrants on our hands. But instead of focusing on saving lives, we care more about preventative measures. The Agenda should have robustly demanded member states to use legal avenues to assist refugees, such as humanitarian visas, but it just asks member states to make a full use ofthe other legal avenues available to persons in need of protection'', and lacks concrete proposals and demands. But I guess we have a fine proposal to set up pilot shelters in Niger to help the migrants.
Matthias Ruete said the future of the EU depends on our ability to develop more effective migration policies. Let me say that after reading the EU Agenda on Migration, that the future does not look very bright.
REFUGEE CRISIS EXPLAINED
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:00
Brabantian comments:
EU Migrant 'refugee' crisis - facts that EU leaders are hiding:
(1) Most of the 'Syrians' (etc) now invading Europe had been living quite comfortably among fellow Muslims in Turkey for several years
(2) Recently, Erdogan's Turkey and US-Nato decided to 'Release the Kraken!'.
They told hundreds of thousands of Syrian (etc) campers their support will be cut, and they should / must 'go to the EU'.
Erdogan's Turkey/US/NATO & assisted them with directions and transit to the EU; and not to Arab-Muslim countries with the same religion, language, culture as most migrants
(3) Merkel and EU leaders know all this but are hiding it.
They are promoting the 'Syrian refugee crisis' in order to:
(a) Overwhelm the EU border countries - in order to assist the oligarchs of Germany, France and the UK to dominate and exploit the people.
(b) Begin destroying the EU's middle classes by overwhelming and crashing the EU's social benefit systems, thus impoverishing the EU to allow for better oligarch exploitation and control.
(c) Begin destabilising EU societies via cultural conflict, and, the insertion of many jihadis groomed by US-Nato-Israel - fostering ethnic hatred and 'terror' to detract from oligarch exploitation.
(d) Give a pretext to Nato-USA-Israel to bomb-attack-destroy Syria, because:
(i) Syria supplies and supports Lebanon's Hezbollah which defeated Israel in battle.
(ii) Syria's secular tolerant multi-religious polity is the target for destruction by chaos-seeking Nato-USA-Israel.
(iii) Syria gives an important Mediterranean naval base to Russia.
(iv) Syria is in path of the Qatar-Saudi-Nato pipeline dreams to shunt aside Iran and Russia.
...
Syrian refugee tripped by journalist to be a soccer coach in Madrid - The Globe and Mail
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 10:20
A Syrian refugee who was tripped by a camerawoman as he fled police in Hungary with his young son said on Thursday he was hoping to resettle his family in Spain, after a soccer school offered to help find him work.
Videos of the man and child falling after the journalist stuck out her leg as he ran past went viral on media last week, sparking outrage internationally.
Osama Abdul Mohsen and two of his sons, including seven-year-old Zaid, who was in his arms as he fell, arrived in Madrid early Wednesday after a local soccer coaching academy tracked him down and sought to help his family.
''This is a dream come true,'' Mr. Mohsen told Reuters television on the train from Barcelona to Madrid, the final leg of a rail journey across Europe that took him via Munich and Paris.
Mr. Mohsen, who had previously coached Syrian first division team Al-Fotuwa, will be housed in Getafe, a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Madrid, where the Cenafe soccer school is based. The academy is helping to pay for his lodging and along with local authorities is working to try and get his wife and the rest of his family, currently in Turkey, to join him.
''Before working or anything, I want to gather my family, because now we are all spread out and I just want to see us all together again and try to live happily here,'' Mr. Mohsen said, speaking in Arabic, as he travelled with Zaid and 18-year-old son Mohammed.
Tens of thousands of people have been caught up in Europe's worst migration crisis for decades.
In Hungary on Wednesday, riot police fired water cannon and tear gas at migrants demanding access through its newly-shut EU frontier. Hundreds of Syrians and other migrants in Turkey are also still trying to reach Europe via Greece before poor winter weather makes the journey even more dangerous.
''I hope they [refugees in our situation] find a solution,'' Mr. Mohsen said. ''I have been there and I hope they can find a way out soon. I know what they are going through and it is very, very hard.''
Another drowned child refugee? Reports of 4yo Syrian girl found dead on Turkey beach '-- RT News
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 06:07
A couple of weeks after the image of a Syrian boy, tossed by seashore waves, revealed the gross scale of the current refugee crisis, a new victim '' this time, a four-year-old girl '' was found lifeless on a beach, according to Turkish media.
A Syrian girl's body was washed up on a beach in western Turkey on Friday, Anadolu news agency reported. The four-year-old girl, who was found in Izmir province's Cesme district, hasn't been identified yet, according to local authorities.
Turkish coastal officials managed to save lives of other 14 Syrians, including eight children, who were travelling on the same boat, trying to reach the Greek island of Chios, located some seven kilometers off the Anatolian coast in the Aegean Sea.
Over 53,000 migrants had been rescued by the national coast guard since the beginning of the year, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Friday. He added that over 270 migrants had died in Turkish waters so far, trying to get to Greece.
Kurtulmus said that the country has spent almost $7 billion ('‚¬6 billion) on Syrian refugees, as the country has received over 2.2 million people since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011.
READ MORE: 'I blame myself': Father of drowned kids lays family to rest at home in Kobani (VIDEO)
On September 2, Aylan Kurdi, a 3-year-old refugee from Syria's Kobani, was found on a beach in Bodrum, Turkey after she drowned. He died in a boat accident alongside with his mother and elder brother, and other nine people.
The toddler's image shook the world, unearthing the intimate side of the fate of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from conflict zones in the Middle East and Africa. Heading for Europe, they chose to turn to human smugglers and risk their lives in overcrowded boats.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimated the number of people, who had attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, at over 300,000 people, and some 2,500 refugees and asylum seekers have died in an attempt to escape wars and economic woes.
dumpert.nl - Selectieve berichtgeving vluchtelingencrisis door de media
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 05:55
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We weten ook niet hoe het hier terecht is gekomen, vermoedelijk heeft iemand zijn auto­radio­hand­leid­ing hier laten slingeren. Excuses voor het ongemak, maar scroll vooral even door.
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Hieronder staat het, nog even doorscrollen.
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Shut Up Slave!
The FBI Says Retweets Are Endorsements
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 05:23
Remember when people put that ''RTs '‰ endorsements'' disclaimer in their Twitter bios, like that would offer some form of protection from the being associated with what they retweeted? Well, a retweet can be seen as an endorsement. It can also apparently be used as evidence that you're trying to join ISIS.
22-year-old Queens resident Ali Saleh was arrested this week following an FBI investigation into his attempts to join ISIS. According to the complaint against him, Saleh began tweeting his plans in 2013. Saleh's retweets came up repeatedly in the complaint as cause for arrest. Many of the specific examples given are time Saleh retweeted others from his various Twitter accounts:
On August 25, 2014, a few days before the reservation was made, Twitter Account A re-posted (or ''retweeted'') the following message originally posted by another user: ''I'm ready to die for the Caliphate, prison is nothing.''
On June 17, 2015, Twitter Account B retweeted the following message: ''IS is winning battle of hearts and minds. People have started to realize that war is a necessity.
On August 5, 2015 Twitter Account D retweeted an audio message entitled ''Come and join the Caliphate.''
The FBI has been using retweets as evidence against Twitter-happy ISIS wannabes in other cases, as well. This summer a 17-year-old Virginia resident was arrested after regularly retweeting fawning statements about ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. So this is a tactic.
Plenty of people retweet pro-ISIS tweets for other reasons; to draw attention to how prevalent they are, for instance, or to ridicule them. People retweet horrible shit all the time and it's not cause for arrests: Lots of people started retweeting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after they found his Twitter account after the Boston bombing, but these were more ''Look! I found this guy!'' gestures than a sudden surge of simpatico intentions.
The police can't arrest someone for retweeting ISIS unless they have evidence that the intent behind the tweets signified someone acting with criminal intent. But if that's the case, they seem to have no trouble making the assumption that a retweet is an unambiguous endorsement.
In other words, maybe cool it on ironic retweets of state enemies.
[NYDailyNews]
Vocal or Active Opposition-Counter-extremism bill could play into terrorists' hands, says watchdog | UK news | The Guardian
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:10
Theresa May has said she will formally respond to the criticism at a later stage. Photograph: Wiktor Dabkowski/dpa/Corbis
David Cameron's counter-extremism bill, which will ban non-violent extremists, risks provoking a backlash in Britain's Muslim communities and playing into the hands of terrorist recruiters, a government watchdog has warned.
David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism laws, said the legislation to counter extremist ideology also risks legitimising state scrutiny of '' and citizens informing on '' the political activities of large numbers of law-abiding people.
His warning on Thursday comes as the prime minister's counter-extremism taskforce meets in Downing Street and the House of Lords prepares to vote on rules banning extremist speakers from university campuses.
The counter-extremism bill, which is due to be published later this year, is aimed at ''suppressing extremist activity''. It will include proposals for banning orders to outlaw extremist organisations, extremist disruption orders to restrict the activities of individuals, and closure orders to shut down premises used by extremists.
Cameron and the home secretary, Theresa May, have defined extremism as as ''vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values''. It covers a range of activity not caught by the current law as terrorism, incitement to violence, stirring up hatred or abuse.
Anderson, in his annual report on the terror laws, said the restrictions to free speech in the proposals were likely to prove controversial.
''These issues matter because they concern the scope of UK discrimination, hate speech and public order laws, the limit that the state may place on some of our most basic freedoms, the proper limits of surveillance, and the acceptability of imposing suppressive measures without the protections of the criminal law,'' wrote Anderson.
''If the wrong decisions are taken, the new law risks provoking a backlash in affected communities, hardening perceptions of an illiberal or Islamophobic approach, alienating those whose integration into British society is already fragile, and playing into the hands of those who, by peddling a grievance agenda, seek to drive people further towards extremism and terrorism.''
Anderson said the potential of the new law to affect those who are not its target is particularly important. He said that while ministers will justify the measures by saying they are only targeted at a handful of individuals and organisations, this does not address the dangers inherent in such an ''overbroad law''.
He said: ''If it becomes a function of the state to identify which individuals are engaged in, or exposed to, a broad range of 'extremist activity', it will become legitimate for the state to scrutinise [and the citizen to inform upon] the exercise of core democratic freedoms by large numbers of law-abiding people.
''The benefits claimed for the new law '' assuming that they can be clearly identified '' will have to be weighed with the utmost care against the potential consequences, in terms of both inhibiting those freedoms and alienating those people.''
The home secretary replied to the criticism by saying that she would respond to it formally in due course.
UC goes back to the drawing board on controversial revamp of free-speech policy - LA Times
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 09:49
It's been a half-century since the Free Speech Movement was born on the steps of Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley, inspiring nationwide protests and creating the principle of unfettered expression on campus.
On Thursday, UC regents debated a modern-day sequel: how to allow for free speech while protecting students against prejudice.
A proposed new policy against intolerance was criticized by some regents and Jewish groups as too weak in dealing with what they contend are rising numbers of anti-Semitic incidents on campuses. Others complained that it went too far and would stifle dissent.
The UC regents on Thursday withdrew the controversial policy statement and launched a new effort to rewrite it over the next few months.
The task ahead for UC will be closely watched nationally, experts said. Increasingly multicultural universities want to be seen as a welcoming place for all students '-- even as the Internet and social media make it easier for students to disseminate offensive and racist views.
In addition, the movement by some student groups to push for the divestment of universities' financial holdings from companies that do business with the Israeli military has heightened tensions on some campuses.
Some Jewish groups urged the regents on Thursday to adopt the U.S. State Department definition of anti-Semitism that includes demonization of Israel and denial of that nation's right to exist. Those groups later said they were pleased the regents are returning to the drawing board, even if the university ultimately does not use that definition in revising the statement.
First Amendment experts said they worried that the regents might wind up repressing political debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other hot issues.
Many universities, particularly those that are public, want to encourage ''uninhibited and robust debate on issues students care about'' but also feel pressure from students, faculty, alumni and politicians to ''focus on the impact of unregulated, unfiltered expressions of free speech on fellow students,'' said Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, which is devoted to free speech.
Trying to do both, he said ''is a very tough job'' and probably impossible if the university goes beyond recommendations of proper behavior and speech into sanctions and punishments, even mild ones.
At a meeting at UC Irvine on Thursday, regents chairwoman Monica Lozano announced that she would create an eight-person committee '-- of regents, the student regent, a faculty leader and others '-- to craft stronger and more specific policies that would protect academic freedom and yet condemn intolerance against any group.
Regent Eddie Island, who often has been an advocate for minority and low-income students, will head that panel. No time frame was set for the completion of its work and officials said it could take many months.
''This is just the beginning,'' Lozano said. ''More work needs to be done.''
The withdrawn policy statement condemned ethnic, religious and gender bias and sought to ''reflect the university's core values of respect, inclusion, academic freedom and a free and open exchange of ideas.'' The goal was to allow for a prompt and effective response to reports of intolerant behavior.
The statement included a ''non-exhaustive list'' of actions it said ''do not reflect the university's values of inclusion and tolerance.'' Among those: vandalism and graffiti with symbols of hate, includingswastikas and nooses; questioning a student's fitness for a leadership role based on race, religion, ethnicity, gender and other factors; and depicting ethnic or racial groups as less ambitious, less talented or more threatening than others.
The current debate arose in part as a result of several troubling incidents this year at UC schools, including the defacing of a Jewish fraternity house at UC Davis with Nazi swastikas in January. In February, several student government leaders at UCLA questioned a student's eligibility for a campus judicial panel because she is Jewish; those leaders later apologized and the student was unanimously approved for the position.
Regent Norman Pattiz described the statement as ''insulting'' to the Jewish community for not directly tackling problems of anti-Semitism. Reports of anti-Jewish incidents led to the search for such principles in the first place, he noted.
UC needs ''something real'' in its policies against all sorts of intolerant behavior and should develop policies and educational programs with the same vigor as it has recently shown in discouraging and investigating sexual assaults, he said.
UC student regent Abraham ''Avi'' Oved, who is from an Israeli American family, delivered a passionate and personal statement. He recounted how his mother had read about an assault on a Jewish woman in Europe who had prominently worn a Star of David on a necklace and that she had warned him to be careful about wearing his.
Holding up that chain and star at the regents' conference table, Oved said he did the opposite and began to wear it more openly to show his pride of being ''a Jewish Israeli American.''
He urged the regents to adopt policies so that no students feel they have to hide their ethnic, racial, religious or sexual identity.
Regent Richard Blum said he and his wife, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), believe that students who behave in racist, anti-Semitic or other biased ways should face penalties such as suspension or expulsion. If the university does not adopt strong enough rules, he said, Feinstein would publicly criticize UC.
Palestinian students have faced discrimination and harassment when they speak out about Israel's treatment of Palestinians, according to a statement released by Liz Jackson, an attorney for the Palestine Legal organization. She said she hoped the UC policy would not be used ''to silence one side of an important discussion.''
Earlier in the meeting Thursday, students, alumni and representatives of Jewish and political groups expressed often emotional opinions.
By adding the State Department definition, the university would take a step toward addressing ''ugly and threatening'' incidents of anti-Semitism on campuses, said Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a UC Santa Cruz lecturer and director of the AMCHA Initiative, an organization that seeks to combat anti-Semitism at colleges and universities. Adopting that definition ''would not violate anyone's 1st Amendment rights or shut down free speech,'' she said.
Later, she said, ''I'm pleased we have a reprieve and they are not going to adopt this milquetoast, meaningless statement.''
In contrast, UC Irvine graduate student Kurt Horner urged the regents not to add that extra definition, saying that he feared it would squelch open debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.
NEWSLETTER: Get the day's top headlines from Times Editor Davan Maharaj >>
''If that is not a political situation you can talk about, then you cannot talk about any political situation anywhere or about any government in the world,'' he said.
The State Department incorrectly blurs the distinction between ''criticizing a government and condemning a religious group,'' he said. He later said he would support stronger language about racism and anti-Semitism in any revised policies as long as the State Department wording is not added.
Last year, UC Berkeley commemorated the 50th anniversary of the start of the Free Speech Movement on the campus, pioneering protests against restrictions on student activism that attracted worldwide attention.
For more education news, follow @larrygordonlat.
ALSO:
The other big debate: What is the Common Core, anyway?
$50-million effort launched to reinvent the American high school
L.A. archbishop reaches out to Catholic students in digital age
Copyright (C) 2015, Los Angeles Times12:35 p.m.: This article was updated with information that the policy statement is being withdrawn for more consideration and quotes from regents Chairwoman Monica Lozano.
This article was originally posted at 11:41 a.m.
TSA Ends Precheck Free Rides With Shut Down of Managed Inclusion Program '' Skift
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 17:49
The days of confused passengers in the Precheck line are finally coming to a close.
'-- Grant Martin
Those enrolled in the TSA's Precheck (or TSA Pre'''®) program are about to encounter a lower volume of traffic in airport security lines.
As of this week, the agency is finally drawing its managed inclusion program to a close, effectively constraining the program to only those who have officially signed up for its expedited services.
Reserving the program solely for those who signed up for it may seem obvious, but it's not the way that Precheck has recently been running. For the past several months, the agency has been using a program called Managed Inclusion to funnel ''low risk'' passengers through Precheck lines, cutting down traffic in standard security lines and balancing the load across checkpoints.
In the process, Managed Inclusion also successfully antagonized a large swath of Precheck members who paid for expedient service but instead got snarled behind inexperienced travelers at the security checkpoint.
Perhaps because of these slowdowns or because of the occasional miscreant that slipped through Precheck via Managed Inclusion, lawmakers announced plans to ratchet back on the program earlier this year. Separately, the TSA announced its own plans.
According to Travel Market Report, the summation of those efforts is finally bearing fruit this week. As a result, fewer random passengers not directly enrolled in Precheck or Global Entry will find their way into the security line.
Whether that translates to shorter trips for passengers through the Precheck line is still up in the air. Despite the lower volume of Managed Inclusion passengers now going through the lines, the Precheck program has a massive user base that can easily overwhelm security on a heavy traffic day. Individual airports can also rebalance their security checkpoint teams to pull staff away from Precheck lines and allocate them to the general public '-- effectively reducing the flow of expedited service.
Either way, as of this week there should be fewer inexperienced passengers in the security line. And for that, Precheck members can breathe a sigh of relief.
TSA Doesn't Care That Its Luggage Locks Have Been Hacked
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 15:24
In a spectacular failure of a ''back door'' designed to give law enforcement exclusive access to private places, hackers have made the ''master keys'' for Transportation Security Administration-recognized luggage locks available to anyone with a 3D printer.
The TSA-recognized luggage locks were a much-vaunted solution to a post-9/11 conundrum: how to let people lock their luggage, on the one hand, but let the TSA inspect it without resorting to bolt cutters, on the other.
When the locks were first introduced in 2003, TSA official Ken Lauterstein described them as part of the agency's efforts to develop ''practical solutions that contribute toward our goal of providing world-class security and world-class customer service.''
Now that they've been hacked, however, TSA says it doesn't really care one way or another.
''The reported ability to create keys for TSA-approved suitcase locks from a digital image does not create a threat to aviation security,'' wrote TSA spokesperson Mike England in an email to The Intercept.
''These consumer products are 'peace of mind' devices, not part of TSA's aviation security regime,'' England wrote.
''Carried and checked bags are subject to the TSA's electronic screening and manual inspection. In addition, the reported availability of keys to unauthorized persons causes no loss of physical security to bags while they are under TSA control. In fact, the vast majority of bags are not locked when checked in prior to flight.''
In other words: not our problem.
How the Keys Were Hacked
Last month, security enthusiasts and members of a lockpicking forum on Reddit began circulating a nearly year-old Washington Poststory about ''the secret life of baggage,'' and how the TSA handles and inspects airport luggage.
What no one had previously noticed was that the article included close-up photos of the ''master keys'' to TSA-approved luggage locks '-- which it turns out, are really easy to copy, as long as you can see the pattern of the teeth and have access to a 3D printer.
The photos were removed from the Post's website, but not before privacy devotees spread the images far and wide.
Then, according to his self-published timeline, Shahab Shawn Sheikhzadeh, a system administrator and lockpicker, obtained an official-looking document with even more detailed imagery. Sheikhzadeh told The Intercept that anonymous hackers inspired by the Washington Post photos found a 2008 ''Guide to Travel Sentry Passkeys'' posted on Travel Sentry's website.
Travel Sentry is the organization responsible for generating and enforcing security guidelines for TSA-approved locks, working with both the government and private manufacturers to guarantee its standards are being met. It does not sell or manufacture locks itself.
Steven Knuchel, a hacker/security researcher who goes by Xylitol or Xyl2k, used the detailed images obtained from the Travel Sentry website to create the kind of files that 3D printers use to produce models.
Since the files were first published, several people have demonstrated that they work, using inexpensive 3D printing plastic called PLA.
TSA's Response
TSA's nonchalant response to the proliferation of master keys is at odds with how the agency has historically advertised the approved locks.
''There's a difference in how TSA talks about the locks to travelers and the statement they made,'' said Chris Soghoian, chief technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union, after hearing the TSA's statement to The Intercept.
Over the years, TSA has published various blog posts trumpeting the power of the locks to prevent all theft, writing, for instance, that the locks ''will prevent anyone from removing items out of your '... bags.''
Soghoian described that post as an example of TSA ''lying to consumers'' in a tweet. ''There's nothing in that blog post about 'peace of mind''' being the reason for the locks, Soghoian told The Intercept.
Security experts, by comparison, have long recognized that TSA locks do not fully protect your belongings. University of Pennsylvania computer science professor Matt Blaze told Wired that he sometimes picks his own TSA-recognized lock to save time looking for the actual key, because it's faster.
Chris McGoey, a security consultant specializing in travel safety, told the Intercept that ''there are several ways of opening TSA locks short of having a 3D printer.'' He explained that ''TSA locks on luggage is only one step above having no lock at all especially on soft-sided luggage with zippers.''
The Problem With Backdoors
Although the actual impact remains unclear, the hacking of the master keys is a powerful example of the problem with creating government backdoors to bypass security, physically or digitally.
Most security experts and computer scientists believe backdoors for law enforcement inevitably make systems less secure, and easier for bad actors to break into.
Nicholas Weaver, a computer security researcher at Berkeley, wrote on the Lawfare blog about the TSA locks and how they are ''similar in spirit to what [FBI] Director [James] Comey desires for encrypted phones.''
Comey has recently been trying to convince technology companies to design some sort of special way for his agents to access encrypted communications on digital devices. But companies including Apple and Google have resisted this pressure, insisting that developing backdoors will only weaken security that they have worked hard to improve for the sake of average customers around the world.
''In theory, only the Transportation Security Agency or other screeners should be able to open a TSA lock using one of their master keys,'' Weaver wrote. ''All others, notably baggage handlers and hotel staff, should be unable to surreptitiously open these locks. '... Unfortunately for everyone, a TSA agent and the Washington Post revealed the secret. '... The TSA backdoor has failed.''
Xylitol, the GitHub user who published the blueprint of the keys, said that was his point. ''This is actually the perfect example for why we shouldn't trust a government with secret backdoor keys (or any kind of other backdoors),'' he wrote in an email to The Intercept. ''Security with backdoor[s] is not security and inevitably exposes everyone.''
Soghoian tweeted a congratulations to the Post and TSA ''for proving the stupidity of key escrow,'' the arrangement in which keys needed to decrypt communications are held in escrow to be accessed by a third party if necessary. End-to-end encryption, which the FBI and the Justice Department have continually urged against, only allows for the sender and the recipient of a message to hold onto keys to decrypt the message.
Clarification: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that hackers had broken into Travel Sentry's internal website.
Caption: Master TSA keys for various TSA-approved locks.
Moral Self Licensing
Doritos unveils rainbow chips to support LGBT community | KRON4.com
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 10:19
Related CoverageDoritos are now available in every color of the rainbow.
The chip brand announced a new campaign, in partnership with the It Gets Better Project, that will feature rainbow-colored chips in celebration and support of the LGBT community.
The ''Doritos Rainbows'' packages will only be available online for a limited time. In order to get a bag, customers must pledge $10 to the It Gets Better Project.
The project, founded by author Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller in 2010, was created in response to several LGBT teens who committed suicide. The organization's message is that ''life indeed gets better,'' and the group aims to provide support and hope to LGBT youth worldwide.
The chips are inspired by the Pride flag and the bags will feature inspiring quotes.
Doritos said in a statement that the brightly-colored chips are the company's way of showing its support in the ''boldest, most colorful way possible.''
After making a purchase, customers can further demonstrate support by sharing messages over social media using the hashtag ''#BoldandBetter.''
''Time and again, our consumers have shown us, there really is nothing bolder than being true to yourself and living life to the fullest,'' a Doritos spokesperson said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the It Gets Better Project said it was honored to partner with Doritos and celebrate the progress the LGBT community has made in America.
''By utilizing the incredible reach that Doritos has throughout the world, we can give hope to the LGBT young people who need it the most,'' a spokesperson for the It Gets Better Project said in a statement. ''There is so much more work to be done, and together, we will inspire the LGBT community and its allies to continue the fight and embrace who they are by living a #BoldandBetter life.''
Brett Peters, the project's director of communications, also told CNNMoney that the chips are selling quickly and would only be available until October 11, which is National Coming Out Day.Peters said Doritos initiated the campaign and noted that 100% of the proceeds will go toward the It Gets Better Project.
The chips will also be available on September 20 during Dallas Pride, which Doritos is sponsoring this year.
Armageddon!
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Agenda 2030
Scientists Ask Obama To Prosecute Global Warming Skeptics | The Daily Caller
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 12:12
But these riled up academics aren't the first to suggest using RICO to go after global warming skeptics. The idea was first put forward by Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who argued using RICO was effective at taking down the tobacco industry.
''In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies'... alleging that the companies 'engaged in and executed '-- and continue to engage in and execute '-- a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO,''' Whitehouse wrote in the Washington Post in May.
''We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse's call for a RICO investigation,'' the scientists wrote to Obama. ''The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking.''
''If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth's climate, before even more lasting damage is done,'' the scientists added.
This year has been a trying one for global warming skeptics. Earlier this year, Democratic lawmakers began an investigation into scientists who disagreed with the White House's stance on global warming. Many of these skeptical scientists were often cited by those critical of regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva went after universities employing these researchers, which resulted in one expert being forced to get out of the field of climate research altogether.
''I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject,'' Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado wrote on his blog.
''Congressman Grijalva doesn't have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none,'' Pielke wrote. ''He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony '' which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren's incorrect views).''
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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
But these riled up academics aren't the first to suggest using RICO to go after global warming skeptics. The idea was first put forward by Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who argued using RICO was effective at taking down the tobacco industry.
''In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies'... alleging that the companies 'engaged in and executed '-- and continue to engage in and execute '-- a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO,''' Whitehouse wrote in the Washington Post in May.
''We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse's call for a RICO investigation,'' the scientists wrote to Obama. ''The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking.''
''If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth's climate, before even more lasting damage is done,'' the scientists added.
This year has been a trying one for global warming skeptics. Earlier this year, Democratic lawmakers began an investigation into scientists who disagreed with the White House's stance on global warming. Many of these skeptical scientists were often cited by those critical of regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva went after universities employing these researchers, which resulted in one expert being forced to get out of the field of climate research altogether.
''I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject,'' Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado wrote on his blog.
''Congressman Grijalva doesn't have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none,'' Pielke wrote. ''He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony '' which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren's incorrect views).''
Follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
UN and Oxfam caught bribing journalists to write climate change scare stories
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:56
By Ian Wishart[disclosure: Ian Wishart is the author of climate change books Air Con and Totalitaria, but has not sought or accepted payment from lobbyists]
News journalists are being bribed by the United Nations and the Oxfam charity to write scare stories about climate change ahead of the global climate treaty negotiations in Paris later this year.
Details of the bribes '' which take the form of ego-boosting ''awards'', global travel in CO2 generating airliners and financial payments '' are contained in a news release just published by the UNDP today, an organisation headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Journalists' codes of ethics prohibit being induced to give favourable coverage, but those rules have increasingly been ignored in recent years by the use of backdoor mechanisms like funding journalism ''awards'' as a means of generating content and rewarding propaganda-writers.
New Zealand's major media, like the TV3 network, have frequently covered climate stories in the Pacific with the financial ''assistance'' of lobby groups like Oxfam and Greenpeace.
The full text of the news release follows:
15 September 2015 '' Oxfam will support the Voice2Paris global storytelling contest launched in August by the United National Development Programme (UNDP) by providing three additional fellowships for participating journalists to cover the UN Conference on Climate Change, COP21, in Paris in December. Oxfam's contribution to the contest aims at encouraging journalists' participation in climate change reporting and raising public awareness of climate actions.
''The contest is a fantastic opportunity to create awareness of the harmful impacts of climate change on communities, and of potential opportunities in climate-vulnerable developing countries. This is also a great opportunity for young journalists to strengthen their perception of climate change and to frame it not merely as an environmental issue but also as an issue of social justice and poverty alleviation'' said Wang Binbin, Manager of the Climate Change and Poverty Team, Oxfam Hong Kong.
The storytelling contest targets writers 35 years and under from developing countries who want to contribute ­'' locally and internationally '' towards greater public awareness of climate change.
The authors of the top five prize-winning stories will be invited to attend and cover the COP21 UN climate summit in Paris. UNDP will support the top two winners and Oxfam, as a special partner in the contest, will cover travel costs and per diem for writers of the next three best stories worldwide.
''We welcome the partnership with Oxfam, as it gives UNDP concrete support to expand the voices of vulnerable countries, helps depict the reality of climate change globally, and gives a new generation of journalists a chance to get heard during COP21'' said Jo Scheuer, Director, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction at UNDP's Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.
Stories can be submitted in English, and in Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish with an English translation, on a rolling basis until October 11th, 2015. Guidelines for participating are available on the UNDP Geneva website.
The stories, once screened and scored, will be published on UNDP's website and disseminated through partners' channels to ensure maximum outreach and to support the call for an ambitious agenda for climate action to be endorsed at COP21.
APO (The African Press Organization), Deutsche Welle and Oxfam Hong Kong are special partners of the contest.
Participating organizations: African Network of Environmental Journalists, Care International, China Dialogue, Global Call for Climate Action, International Center for Journalists, Global Village of Beijing, Innovative Green Development Program, InterNews, Pacific Islands News Association, RNTC, RTCC/Climate Home, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and University of the South Pacific.
We also thank the global network of climate vulnerable countries active in the Climate Vulnerable Forum currently chaired by Philippines for its support.
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The science on global warming is settled, so settled that 20 climate scientists are asking President Barack Obama to prosecute people who disagree...
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:55
But these riled up academics aren't the first to suggest using RICO to go after global warming skeptics. The idea was first put forward by Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who argued using RICO was effective at taking down the tobacco industry.
''In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies'... alleging that the companies 'engaged in and executed '-- and continue to engage in and execute '-- a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO,''' Whitehouse wrote in the Washington Post in May.
''We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse's call for a RICO investigation,'' the scientists wrote to Obama. ''The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking.''
''If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth's climate, before even more lasting damage is done,'' the scientists added.
This year has been a trying one for global warming skeptics. Earlier this year, Democratic lawmakers began an investigation into scientists who disagreed with the White House's stance on global warming. Many of these skeptical scientists were often cited by those critical of regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva went after universities employing these researchers, which resulted in one expert being forced to get out of the field of climate research altogether.
''I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject,'' Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado wrote on his blog.
''Congressman Grijalva doesn't have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none,'' Pielke wrote. ''He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony '' which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren's incorrect views).''
Follow Michael on Facebook and Twitter
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].
But these riled up academics aren't the first to suggest using RICO to go after global warming skeptics. The idea was first put forward by Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, who argued using RICO was effective at taking down the tobacco industry.
''In 1999, the Justice Department filed a civil RICO lawsuit against the major tobacco companies'... alleging that the companies 'engaged in and executed '-- and continue to engage in and execute '-- a massive 50-year scheme to defraud the public, including consumers of cigarettes, in violation of RICO,''' Whitehouse wrote in the Washington Post in May.
''We strongly endorse Senator Whitehouse's call for a RICO investigation,'' the scientists wrote to Obama. ''The methods of these organizations are quite similar to those used earlier by the tobacco industry. A RICO investigation (1999 to 2006) played an important role in stopping the tobacco industry from continuing to deceive the American people about the dangers of smoking.''
''If corporations in the fossil fuel industry and their supporters are guilty of the misdeeds that have been documented in books and journal articles, it is imperative that these misdeeds be stopped as soon as possible so that America and the world can get on with the critically important business of finding effective ways to restabilize the Earth's climate, before even more lasting damage is done,'' the scientists added.
This year has been a trying one for global warming skeptics. Earlier this year, Democratic lawmakers began an investigation into scientists who disagreed with the White House's stance on global warming. Many of these skeptical scientists were often cited by those critical of regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva went after universities employing these researchers, which resulted in one expert being forced to get out of the field of climate research altogether.
''I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject,'' Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado wrote on his blog.
''Congressman Grijalva doesn't have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none,'' Pielke wrote. ''He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony '' which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the US taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC (despite Holdren's incorrect views).''
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september niet zo warm
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 14:29
zaterdag 19 september 2015, 7:40(C) Peter van ZettenSeptember kende tot nu toe weinig warme dagen. Op 12 september liep het kwik in De Bilt op naar 20,2 graden. Dat was volgens MeteoGroup tot nu toe de warmste dag van deze maand. Deze temperatuur werd in 1986 voor het laatst als warmste septemberdag genoteerd.
In 1950 was het met 19,9 graden nog ietsje kouder op de warmste dag. Daarmee nestelt september 2015 zich in de top van het lijstje van septembermaanden met weinig warme dagen. Voor 1950 leverde alleen september 1912, 1925 nog minder warmte op.
September is juist vaak nog goed voor mooi nazomerweer. In 2006 telde de maand zelfs 26 warme dagen.
Meer artikelen in Binnenland
RWE secures German consent for commissioning 1.6GW Dutch coal-fired Eemshaven power plant - Power Technology
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 05:22
German energy major RWE has gained environmental consent for developing a 1.6GW coal-fired power plant at Eemshaven in the Netherlands.
The approval, issued by a Dutch court, clears the way for commissioning the power plant, which involves an investment of '‚¬3bn ($3.36bn), reports Reuters.
Once operational, the thermal power facility is expected to generate enough electricity for two million German and Dutch homes.
"Once operational, the thermal power facility is expected to generate enough electricity for two million German and Dutch homes."
Delivering an efficiency of more than 46%, the facility is claimed to be one of the world's most modern power stations. Construction of the facility, which was scheduled to be operational in 2014, was started in 2008.
Commissioning of the facility was delayed over environmental concerns about its development near nature reserves, including mud flats and islands off the Dutch and German North Sea coast.
Greenpeace and other environmental groups filed objections over the issues in a Dutch court for the development across a 50ha at the Eemshaven port.
Carbon dioxide emissions from the coal-fired facility was also an issue Greenpeace opposed.
Both German and Dutch governments are in support of the thermal power project, since Germany intends to end nuclear power production by 2020, and the Netherlands will struggle owing to a decline in natural gas resources.
According to RWE's Dutch subsidiary Essent, coal is a relatively cheaper fuel for power generation and can be derived in large quantities from politically stable countries.
Election 2016
Bernie Sanders Endorsed by 128 'Artists and Cultural Leaders'
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 05:35
Actors Will Ferrell, Jeremy Piven, John C. Reilly, Danny DeVito, and Sarah Silverman are among the 128 ''artists and cultural leaders'' that have put their names to an open letter calling for Sanders to be the Democrat presidential nominee.
Notable musicians who have signed the letter include David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt, Alejandro Escovedo, members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and composer Hans Zimmer.
''We '' the undersigned artists, musicians and cultural leaders of America '' are excited to endorse a new vision for our country,'' the open letter reads. ''It's a vision that pushes for a progressive economic agenda. It's a vision that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment, and gets big money out of politics.''
''We endorse Bernie Sanders to become the 2016 Democratic Nominee for President of the United States of America.''
In addition to the many actors and musicians who signed the letter, director and frequent Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and venture capitalist Guy Saperstein also lent their support.
''As artists and citizens, we believe it is time for government to once again represent the people and not just big money,'' McKay said in a statement released by the Sanders campaign. ''Bernie Sanders is the only candidate speaking against the wide spread legalized corruption that has handed our government to billionaires, large corporations and banks.''
Presidential campaigns face a September 30 deadline for finance reporting, and Varietyspeculates the move to release the list Friday represents an attempt by the Sanders campaign to prove its upward momentum. The Vermont senator has show strong support in several polls in key early primary states while support for frontrunner Hillary Clinton has foundered.
Recent reports suggest support for Clinton among Hollywood's major Democrat bundlers is not uniform, and that Sanders or a possible run from Vice President Joe Biden could draw significant support away from her.
Nevertheless, Clinton has raised millions from Hollywood supporters including billionaire Haim Saban and Dreamworks head Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Check out the complete list of Artists for Bernie here.
Will The Lone Star State Secede? Super Tuesday May Allow Voters To "Reassert Texas As Independent Nation" | Zero Hedge
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 09:46
Submitted by Mac Slavo via SHTFPlan.com,
The question of secession on a ballot it is a one. Secession might make a powerful statement to voice defiance government tyranny, but it could also set off sparks.
Now, it appears that the biggest and most independent-minded state in the union might test that question. What happens after that is anyone's guess.
Regardless, the possibility shows the pulse of the nation:
Texans May Have Secession Question on Republican Primary Ballot
by Joshua Krause at the Daily Sheeple
Aside from voting for whatever politician happens to be the flavor of the month, the Republican voters of Texas may have an additional question to answer for when Super Tuesday arrives next year. If the Texas Nationalist Movement has its way, then the Republican primary ballot may have to ask voters to decide whether or not they think ''the state of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation'' and secede from the United States
Much to the chagrin of the Republican party, the Texas independence group is currently gathering signatures for a petition that would place their non-binding question on the ballot. According to the Texas Secretary of State, they will need at least 66,894 signatures, though the organization is shooting for 75,000.
Historically, the Republican Party would have the final say on what goes on their ballot, and they've tried to distance themselves from the Texas Nationalist Movement in the past. If the petition succeeds, it would be the first time that an outside group has their referendum placed on the Republican ballot. The group's president hopes that the vote will get state legislators to take the issue seriously. ''Texas and Washington, D.C. are on very different paths, and the people of Texas obviously recognize that'...The Texas Nationalist Movement message has been one not of reaction to grievance but one of a future we can build as an independent nation.''
Read more at the Daily Sheeple
Secession, a formal declaration of independence, is by tradition the right of every Texan and American, and the Fed has doubtlessly crossed the line too many times to count. Fed up Americans are looking for ways to voice their anger, and Texans have a notoriously short fuse, a history of independence and tendencies to secede. But the powers that be may have also fueled a trap on sovereignty. What is shirked at the federal level may be accepted at the international level.
The bankers and social engineers are practiced at ruling by divide and conquer to avoid personally confronting pitchforks and angry townspeople. There is a plan underway, which has already been exposed, known as the North American Union. Sponsored by Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations, the agenda is creating a globalized world that will use immigration to upend politics, shift demographics, supply corporate labor and fracture society.
Like NAFTA before it, the plan will destroy jobs and displace millions of workers, creating new waves of migration across the border. Further integration will restructure shipping, energy and transportation, all while building a scapegoat for the engineered economic collapse that will rile up the masses.
Like a doctor setting a fracture, the underwriters of the North American plan to actually break up regions of America to 'enhance' the management and control of society at many levels. According to author Jerome Corsi:
Understanding the plan to merge the U.S., Mexico and Canada, says Corsi, is ''the only context in which the current immigration travesty makes sense '' and it must be stopped.'' This aim to create a North American Union between the United States, Mexico and Canada is the real reason behind ''comprehensive immigration reform.''
''A North American Union would not just be the end of America as we know it,'' claims Corsi, ''but the beginning of an EU-like nightmare '' a bureaucratic coup d'etat foisted upon millions of Americans without their knowledge or consent.''
Thus, the big banks and power brokers are interested in Texas secession, or at least could exploit it easily:
How might secession transition from a fringe idea to a country-ender? In my conversations with economists, political scientists, and futurists, three broad themes came up that I found the most persuasive: economic collapse, the rise of localism, and North American reshuffling.
['...]
Let's say there's an American revolution'--who leaves first? Once the feds ''start imposing just huge taxes,'' [Peter] Schiff says, the states that have to pay more in than they're getting back out will pull their stars off the flag. Schiff lists Texas and California as potential pull-out candidates, whereas ''Florida probably wants to stay because of all the Social Security money.'' ['...]
North America's borders have remained pretty much static for the last century'... But this stability shouldn't imply that our dividing lines make sense. In 1981's Nine Nations of North America, Joel Garreau argued that the continent's borders don't reflect how we live. Garreau's nine nations map'--which highlighted regions where people share common values, culture, and natural resources'--wasn't intended to be predictive of a future breakup [Ed. Note: yet could be spot on].
Take away the artificial borders and we're all just North Americans'... If America ends, so will Canada and Mexico. And if Canada or Mexico goes down the tubes, we won't be long for this continent either. (Source)
Taken the wrong way by the media, secession and 'fightin' talk' about immigration allow the system to play off the sentiment of the locales and provide friction to open up action. This strategy creates new problems, and give new agency powers to those who could offer to provide solutions. These are new realms for experts to manage, and corporations to service. Remember that calls to secession have been led by bought out ''yee haw'' politicians like Rick Perry. The gun toting standoff rhetoric has been largely manufactured by scripted suits funded by lobbyists.
Nonetheless, a breaking point is bound to come somewhere, at sometime. As one commenter put it:
''Most Texans do not want to break away from the United States. Most Texans consider themselves Americans. But if ever being American means sacrificing our liberties, we will just prefer to be Texans.''
* * *
Texans May Have Secession Question on Republican Primary Ballot was written by Joshua Krause originally published at the Daily Sheeple.
Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 5(20 votes)
F-Russia
TIME MAG-How come the US edition is different, I wonder
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:07
As'ad AbuKhalil, born March 16, 1960. From Tyre, Lebanon, grew up in Beirut. Received his BA and MA from American University of Beirut in pol sc. Came to US in 1983 and received his PhD in comparative government from Georgetown University. Taught at Tufts University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Colorado College, and Randolph-Macon Woman's College. Served as a Scholar-in-Residence at Middle East Institute in Washington DC. He served as free-lance Middle East consultant for NBC News and ABC News, an experience that only served to increase his disdain for maintream US media. He is now professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. His favorite food is fried eggplants.
Email the Angry Arab at:aabukhalil[at]csustan [dot][edu]
Kerry Finally Drops Absurd Demand for Immediate Ouster of Syrian President Assad, as Europe Demands Urgent Policy Shift; Kerry Says US Rejects ''Long-Term Presence of Assad,'' Meaning That Short to Medium-Term Presence Would Be Acceptable; Russian Defen
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:58
Saturday Evening's World Crisis Radio Includes Reports from Michael Chiotinis in Athens and from Yakov Alioshkin Of Russia's Open Alliance Of MonitorsTARPLEY.net '' World Crisis Radio
Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.
[download audio]
Here is the face-saving formula used by US Secretary of State Kerry in London today to signal that the United States is finally jettisoning the absurd and utopian demand that Syrian President Assad's immediate removal from power be a precondition for negotiating a political settlement for Syria. Kerry stated: ''Our focus remains on destroying ISIL and also on a political settlement with respect to Syria, which we believe cannot be achieved with the long-term presence of Assad,'' Mr. Kerry said. ''But we're looking for ways in which to try to find a common ground. Clearly, if you're going to have a political settlement, which we've always argued is the best and only way to resolve Syria, you need to have conversations with people, and you need to find a common ground.'' which we've always argued is the best and only way to resolve Syria, you need to have conversations with people, and you need to find a common ground.''[i]
If Assad must depart in the long term, this implies that his short-term and medium-term presence is feasible. This opens the space needed for serious diplomacy and negotiations, which Europe is demanding to stop the Syrian civil war, the driving force behind the refugee crisis. It is expected that a number of European nations will soon end economic sanctions against Syria, re-open their shuttered embassies, and begin cooperating with the legal Assad government.
One key background element for this evident Russian-US convergence comes from veteran reporter Robert Parry, who says a source told him of some preconcert between Putin and Obama:
''Privately, I'm told, Obama agreed to '-- and may have even encouraged '-- Putin's increased support for the Assad regime, realizing it's the only real hope of averting a Sunni-extremist victory. But publicly Obama senses that he can't endorse this rational move. Thus, Obama, who has become practiced at speaking out of multiple sides of his mouth, joined in bashing Russia '' sharing that stage with the usual suspects, including The New York Times' editorial page.''[ii]
This suggests that Obama's public posturing in regard to Putin may represent a charade or dog-and-pony show. The same may apply to Obama's repeated refusals to meet with Putin on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in just over a week's time. Obama may be using this issue as a way to dupe the warmonger Republican opposition.
Watch This Space for News of the Demonstration Welcoming Putin to UN Headquarters in New York City Around September 27, Which Is Now in the Planning Stage
Deconflicting the battle against ISIS: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu
Not leaving for some time: Syrian President Assad, protector of his nation's many minorities
Slimiest slogan in US election history is Democratic mantra of #FeelTheBern '-- this putrid slogan is new low in election inanity and moral insanity- Because Yemeni victims of genocidal Saudi bombing backed by Bernie Sanders want to live and don't agree with the Vermont F-35 Senator that Saudi Arabia should police the entire Middle East.
Yakov Alioshkin of Russia's Open Alliance of Monitors: September 13 Russian regional vote ''mainly fair''
Kerry: Assad has to go, but timing can be negotiated | The Times of Israel
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 17:36
Syrian President Bashar Assad must leave office although the timing of such a move can be negotiated, US Secretary of State John Kerry said in London on Saturday, following talks with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.
Kerry urged Russia and Iran, two key allies, to persuade Assad to negotiate his departure, Reuters said. The top US diplomat also expressed the urgency in finding a political solution to the four-year civil war in Syria, which has left hundreds of thousands dead and millions more displaced.
''We need to get to the negotiation. That is what we're looking for and we hope Russia and Iran, and any other countries with influence, will help to bring about that, because that's what is preventing this crisis from ending,'' Kerry said. ''We're prepared to negotiate. Is Assad prepared to negotiate, really negotiate? Is Russia prepared to bring him to the table?''
Kerry on Friday also stressed the urgency with which he views finding a resolution to the conflict, saying ahead of a meeting with the United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in London that, ''this (Syria) crisis has got to be solved.''
US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, talks with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, right, as they meet with foreign ministers from China, Germany and France at an hotel in Vienna, Austria Monday, July 6, 2015. (Carlos Barria/Pool Photo via AP)
American and Russian defense chiefs held their first talks in more than a year on Friday, in a 50-minute conversation that was the first step in direct military talks proposed by Russia about Moscow's military buildup to support the Syrian government against the Islamic State group.
Meanwhile, after his third phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov since Labor Day weekend, Kerry said Friday that Russia proposed talks among the countries' military leaders ''to discuss the issue of precisely what will be done to de-conflict with respect to any potential risks that might be run, and have a complete and clear understanding as to the road ahead and what the intentions are.''
''It is vital to avoid misunderstandings, miscalculations (and) not to put ourselves in a predicament where we are supposing something and the supposition is wrong,'' Kerry said.
Syrian President Bashar Assad speaking to Russian media outlets RT, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Channel 1, Russia 24, RIA Novosti and NTV channel, September 15, 2015. (Screenshot: RT)
He said Lavrov had told him Russia was interested only in confronting the threat posed by the Islamic State group in Syria but ''I am not taking that at face value.''
Kerry also expressed concern about Russia's movement of tactical aircraft to Syria '-- jets that could pose a threat to American and allied forces.
US officials say Russia moved a small number of fighter jets to a base in Syria on Friday, hours after Defense Secretary Ash Carter and his Russian opposite Sergey Shoygu spoke.
AP contributed to this report
Clock Maker
CAIR and other Gulf regime tools in DC
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 15:28
CAIR and other Islamist organizations in DC want the US to bomb Syria. And in response to the Israeli aggression against Palestinians, and in line with Gulf regime benefactors, Islamist organizations in DC called on the US government to drop flowers on Israel.
TOP 7 INGENIOUS CLOCKS FROM MUSLIM CIVILISATION THAT DEFIED THE MIDDLE AGES
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 15:28
What's the Story with Ahmed Mohamed and his Ridiculous Briefcase ''Clock''? The Answer Lies with his Father
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 15:17
by Scott Creighton (H/T Jack)
UPDATE: What's the Story with Ahmed Mohamed and his Ridiculous Briefcase ''Clock''? (my YouTube video)
UPDATE: Ahmed Mohamed's Hoax Bomb Updates (No. He didn't ''invent'' it)
UPDATE (H/T Jason Smith): See update at end of article
'--'--'--'--
What's the lesson we are supposed to learn? Not all Muslim looking people are terrorists. A great lesson as we enter into the refugee ''crisis'', right?[This is a ''teachable moment'' said White House press secretary Josh Earnest]
What a coincidence. ಠ_ಠTo start off with, the story goes something like this:
A cute 14-year-old Muslim kid, Ahmed Mohamed, goes to school with no other intention than to impress his teacher with his homemade ''clock'' and for that he is persecuted by all the Islamaphobic teachers and racial profiling cops. He is then hailed as a hero when the story (for some reason) goes national and now everyone from Barack Obama to CIA asset Mark Zuckerberg are praising this kid as if he were the next Steve Jobs.
Great story, right? Muslim kid gets abused after innocently trying to show off his homemade devise.
Unfortunately, that story is neither complete, nor an accurate representation of what happened. More on that later.
Now Facebook wants him (CIA) and MIT wants him (also CIA) and of course he's been invited to the White House (front office of Capitalism's Invisible Army) and told to bring his ''clock''
Twitter has a huge support campaign going for this kid of course (#BringBackOurGirls ring any bells?) and I'm sure Stephen Colbert will fit Ahmed into his show later this week somewhere between a Ayn Randian billionaire captain of industry and a neocon war-monger trying to rebrand himself before he is arrested for war crimes.
Finally a Muslim gets some love here in 'Merica! Don't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?
Well, sorry to rain on your parade, but there is something fishy about Ahmed's briefcase ''clock'' story and it starts with the ''clock'' itself, moves to purely coincidental timing of the refugee ''crisis'' and ends with his desperate for attention daddy.
Oh wait, before we go any further, here's the 'clock''
Let's start off by explaining that the story they are telling us is not accurate.
This kid was not doing an assignment. He did this on his own and brought the ''clock'' in to show a teacher, who, by the way, did not immediately call the cops, as the story is being presented. That's the first major problem with the narrative.
In fact, the engineering teacher Ahmed was supposedly trying to impress, actually told him it was good work'... but'... he shouldn't shouldn't carry it from class to class showing other teachers. The inference is that the engineering teacher figured, rightly, the devise looked more than a little suspect.
(That teacher never called the cops. In fact, no teacher ever called the cops until Ahmed's little briefcase ''clock'' drew some attention to itself in a room full of 9th grade kids.)
What does Ahmed do? He takes it to English class and sits there with his busted up briefcase ''clock'' with little wires sticking off the top (yes, look at the wires deliberately tied to the clasp) until'....
'... IT STARTS TO GO OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF CLASS.
Yeah, that's right.
The thing in question was the product of Ahmed's love of invention. He made the clock out of a metal briefcase-style box, a digital display, wires and a circuit board. It was bigger and bulkier than a typical bedside clock, with cords, screws and electrical components.
He said he took it to school on Monday to show an engineering teacher, who said it was nice but then told him he should not show the invention to other teachers. Later, Ahmed's clock beeped during an English class, and after he revealed the device to the teacher, school officials notified the police, and Ahmed was interrogated by officers. New York Times
In an interview later, Ahmed actually LIED when he recounted what happened:
''I built the clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. It was really sad that she took the wrong impression from it,'' Ahmed said in an interview this week. Huffington Post
Ahmed claims to be a budding engineering student. When he showed the engineering teacher, he was praised for his work. It wasn't until the highly suspect looking briefcase ''clock'' started going off in the middle of English class that the teacher took notice of it and of course she was right to be a little concerned when the beat-up looking metal briefcase with WIRES STICKING OFF IT starts beeping in a classroom surrounded by other people's 14-year-old children.
Now, let me ask you a question. What good is a ''clock'' in a closed briefcase? What good is a ''clock'' in a closed metal briefcase with a countdown timer or an alarm on it? What purpose can that serve?
Anyone wish to answer that? No?
Moving on.
It was only after the briefcase ''clock'' started going off in the middle of class that the English teacher took notice of the Muslim looking kid and his ''invention'' and it was only after that and inspecting the very suspect looking ''clock'' that the teacher, doing what she is compelled by law to do, contacted the school administration and they contacted law enforcement.
Ahmed was then detained by law enforcement for making a hoax bomb. Which is exactly what he did.
Now, the question is, why did he do that?
Not hard to figure out.
We are currently in a situation where everyone is on edge over the manufactured refugee ''crisis'' and the general consensus in the Islamaphobic world of the Pam Gellers and the Paul Joseph Watsons of the interwebs is that every single Muslim looking individual who comes into this country will be an ''ISIS'' terrorist sleeper cell.
Now, all of a sudden, we have a Muslim kid walking into school with a busted-up briefcase with wires sticking off the top of it and a ''clock'' in it which goes off in the middle of English class'... and everyone ''overreacts''
Lesson learned, right?
White House press secretary Josh Earnest called the episode involving Ahmed Mohamed a ''teachable moment.'' US News and World Report
It's clear the ''clock'' was purposefully made to look like every cliched improvised explosive devise you've seen on every bad TV drama of the ''24'' variety.
It's also clear Ahmed was told not to be taking it around to other classes because it looked like every cliched improvised explosive devise you've seen on every bad TV drama of the ''24'' variety.
The first teacher did not freak out when he showed it to him. He praised the kid for his effort and the work. But Ahmad did carry it around with him until it ''went off'' didn't he? In fact the English teacher in question certainly saw the thing in his possession when he sat down in class. Did she/he do anything at that point? No.
Why would Ahmed make something like this? He had to have known what it looked like especially after he tied those stupid little wires to the clasp. And why would he set the alarm to go off in the middle of class? Why would he continue to carry it around after he had ALREADY shown it to the teacher he wished to impress and that teacher told him he had better keep it under wraps?
He did these things because his father told him to. That's why.
Malala anyone?
Ahmed's father is an attention loving man named Mohamed ElHassan Mohamed with political ambitions and what appears to be CIA connections.
He's an immigrant, of course, who came from Sudan 3 decades ago and has since run for the office of the presidency of the country twice. He never ended up being put on any ballot, but he collect campaign contributions.
In 2010, he ran for president in Sudan for the National Reform Party and created a campaign website,'...
Neither he nor his party actually appeared on the ballot. But Mohamed ran again in 2015, promising to negotiate lifting the sanctions on Sudan, ratify human rights treaties, and repeal laws against converting from Islam. (The Sudan Tribune, based in Paris, ran a story on his platform.) Vox
On his campaign website, Mohamed promised ''CHANGE'' to his fellow countrymen and even had a brand new constitution ready to impose on them.
What does that sound like?
Maybe this will make it a little clearer:
Mohamed Elhassen has even tried exporting his peaceful, pro-Western philosophy overseas: He's run for president of Sudan twice. ''[I] hope for my country to become great, and to reestablish good connections with America,'' he said in February. Gawker
Sudan is universally hated by the Business Party here in the states. They need to be neoliberalized and that is the ONLY way to get those sanctions lifted.
And suddenly we have a businessman from Texas of all places, ready to go lead the Sudanese people down the crimson path of free market austerity, huh? I suppose it's no wonder he never ended up on the ballot over there.
But I wonder if Mohamed ElHassan Mohamed isn't being groomed for a leadership role when President Peace Prize brings a regime change to Sudan.
A little while ago, Mohamed got himself involved in yet another high profile ''Muslim interests'' story. What a coincidence it's his son that ''innocently'' brought a time-bomb looking ''clock'' to school.
In 2012, Florida pastor Terry Jones said he was putting the Quran on trial. Jones had threatened to burn the Quran before, around the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, before eventually being talked out of it by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
This time, he wanted to stage a trial at his Florida church, and he needed a defense attorney. Mohamed volunteered: ''[The church] put an ad on their channel: 'Whoever feels in himself he has the power to defend Quran is welcome,''' he told the Dallas Observer.
The trial ended with Jones declaring the Quran guilty of ''crimes against humanity'' and setting it on fire. Protests and riots in Afghanistan in response to the burning leftseven people dead. Vox
Mohamed found the time to take leave from his several business in order to go take part in the ridiculous psyop staged by Terry Jones in which he ended up finding the Quran ''guilty'' and then set it on fire. More fake Muslim outrage ensued and riots were staged.
At the heart of it was Ahmed's father.
Having now taken part in two very public psyops, Mohamed ElHassan Mohamed is clearly being groomed for something. From his kid wearing a NASA shirt when he was busted (he wore the NASA shirt costume for his MSNBC interview as well), to his ''rags to riches'' ''moderate Muslim'' story, this guy has ''the company's'' fingerprints all over him.
You think I'm reaching here? Take notice that Mohamed ElHassan Mohamed is a Sufi Muslim. A rather moderate, liberal sect of the Muslim faith which is supposedly a potential bulwark against the more radical, far-right Salafists and Wahhabists of Saudi Arabia. But all that aside, the man certainly intends to saddle up with the colonialist Western factions as soon as he comes to power. But note this:
Some analysts think that historical legacy can still be exploited. A 2007 report by the Rand Corp., a U.S. think tank, advised Western governments to ''harness'' Sufism, saying its adherents were ''natural allies of the West.'' Along similar lines, the Algerian government announced in July that it would promote the nation's Sufi heritage on radio and television in a bid to check the powerful influence of Salafism, a more extreme strain of Islam that is followed by al-Qaeda-backed militants waging a war against the country's autocratic state. Ishaan Tharoor wrote for Time in 2009.
The Rand Corp suggested we ''harness'' Sufi Muslims because they were ''natural allies'' of the West. The article was written in 2009 and, of course, Mohamed ElHassan ran for office in Sudan in 2010.
Starting to make sense?
Let me leave you with this from Gawker;
If a Hollywood producer was tasked with creating a Muslim family designed to ease the anxieties of parochial Americans, that family would probably look a lot like Mohameds, from the father's boot-strap immigrant striving to the son's inspired desire to create and tinker. Gawker
'--'--'--
UPDATE: According to Ahmed in an interview he gave, he put the wire on the clasp so it would look LESS suspicious.
ಠ_à²
What?!?
Less suspicious? Wires sticking off the side of his beeping briefcase ''clock'' would make it look less suspicious? Is that like saying you threw water on something because you wanted more fire?
Jason linked us to an article that brings up another fine point and that is, what is the point of having the display inside the case. I mentioned that myself, but when you think about it, as the article explains, if the thing is open and you are using it for an alarm clock, you have the power conductor sitting right there exposed when you reach over to hit the snooze bar. It will electrocute you. Also, seems like Ahmed simply busted up a Walmart clock radio and screwed it's insides to the box. Clearly this was all about causing panic. So yes, Ahmed did make a hoax bomb on purpose and set it to go off in class.
Thanks Jason
I refer back again to this YouTube video interview with Ahmed. He explains that he closed up the box with a piece of cord because he didn't want it to look suspicious. I'm curious, why would ''looking suspicious'' have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock? It's awful hard to see the clock with the case closed. On the other hand, with the case open, it's awful dangerous to have an exposed power transformer sitting near the snooze button (unless, perhaps his invention was to stop serial-snooze-button pressers by giving them a dangerous electrical shock!) Art Voice
'--'--'--
CLEARLY WE NEED INDEPENDENT MEDIANOW MORE THAT EVERPlease help keep us up and running if you can.Speaking truth ABOUT power since June 26, 2007(For my mailing address, please email me at RSCdesigns@tampabay.rr.com)
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Filed under: Ahmed Mohamed, Refugee "crisis", Scott Creighton
Reverse Engineering Ahmed Mohamed's Clock'... and Ourselves. | Tech Voice
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 05:19
I have something in common with Ahmed Mohamed: as a youngster, I was also an electronics enthusiast. At his age and even earlier, I frequently took apart electronic devices '' anything from my own toys, to broken things around the house, and even that dirty garbage-picked black and white TV my parents dragged home that they knew I'd have a blast playing with (I did.) I'd try and troubleshoot, repair, or sometimes just disassemble things and salvage components for future projects. I'd try and imagine how all those bits and pieces, lengths of wires, mazes of conductive circuit board traces all came together to produce an image, or a sound, or some other useful function. I wanted to know how it all worked.
Without dating myself '' fast forward a bunch of years, and I'm the same way. I've even picked up an engineering degree over the course of those years. I don't have to only imagine how things work anymore, I have a pretty good understanding now. When shopping for electronic devices, my first instinct is to see if there's a way to build one myself (and, I frequently do!) When something of mine breaks, I don't send it back, I take it as a personal challenge to get it working again. If I fail, I still salvage useful parts '' they might come in handy to fix something else later. This aspect of myself '' being both methodical, and curious '' hasn't changed a bit over the years.
High resolution police photo of Ahmed's clock. Click to enlarge.
So, this story about a 14 year old boy in Texas that was arrested on suspicion of creating a bomb hoax (who, apparently just wanted to show off his latest electronics project to his teachers) that has blown up (no pun intended) all over the news and social media, caught my attention immediately. Not because of his race, or his religion, the seeming absurdity of the situation, the emotionally charged photo of a young boy in a NASA t-shirt being led off in hand cuffs, the hash tags, the presidential response'... no, none of that. I'm an electronics geek. I was interested in the clock! I wanted to figure out what he had come up with.
I found the highest resolution photograph of the clock I could. Instantly, I was disappointed. Somewhere in all of this '' there has indeed been a hoax. Ahmed Mohamed didn't invent his own alarm clock. He didn't even build a clock. Now, before I go on and get accused of attacking a 14 year old kid who's already been through enough, let me explain my purpose. I don't want to just dissect the clock. I want to dissect our reaction as a society to the situation. Part of that is the knee-jerk responses we're all so quick to make without facts. So, before you scroll down and leave me angry comments, please continue to the end (or not '' prove my point, and miss the point, entirely!)
For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics. Surely you've seen a modern circuit board, with metallic traces leading all over to the various components like an electronic spider's web. You'll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns. That's because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines. Take a look at the board in Ahmed's clock. It almost looks hand-drawn, right? That's because it probably was. Computer aided design was in its infancy in the 70s. This is how simple, low cost items (like an alarm clock) were designed. Today, even a budding beginner is going to get some computer aided assistance '' in fact they'll probably start there, learning by simulating designs before building them. You can even simulate or lay out a board with free apps on your phone or tablet. A modern hobbyist usually wouldn't be bothered with the outdated design techniques. There's also silk screening on the board. An ''M'' logo, ''C-94'' (probably, a part number '' C might even stand for ''clock''), and what looks like an American flag. More about that in a minute. Point for now being, a hobbyist wouldn't silk screen logos and part numbers on their home made creation. It's pretty safe to say already we're looking at '70s tech, mass produced in a factory.
So I turned to eBay, searching for vintage alarm clocks. It only took a minute to locate Ahmed's clock. See this eBay listing, up at the time of this writing. Amhed's clock was invented, and built, by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidary. Catalog number 63 756.
Image property of eBay seller curiosities_curios
The shape and design is a dead give away. The large screen. The buttons on the front laid out horizontally would have been on a separate board '' a large snooze button, four control buttons, and two switches to turn the alarm on and off, and choose two brightness levels. A second board inside would have contained the actual ''brains'' of the unit. The clock features a 9v battery back-up, and a switch on the rear allows the owner to choose between 12 and 24 hour time. (Features like a battery back-up, and a 24 hour time selection seems awful superfluous for a hobby project, don't you think?) Oh, and about that ''M'' logo on the circuit board mentioned above? Micronta.
For one last bit of confirmation, I located the pencil box Ahmed used for his project. During this video interview he again claims it was his ''invention'' and that he ''made'' the device '' but the important thing at the moment, at 1:13, we see him showing the pencil box on his computer screen. Here it is on Amazon, where it's clearly labeled as being 8.25 inches wide. Our eBay seller also conveniently took a photo of the clock next to a ruler to show it's scale '' about 8 inches wide. The dimensions all line up perfectly.
So there you have it folks, Ahmed Mohamad did not invent, nor build a clock. He took apart an existing clock, and transplanted the guts into a pencil box, and claimed it was his own creation. It all seems really fishy to me.
If we accept the story about ''inventing'' an alarm clock is made up, as I think I've made a pretty good case for, it's fair to wonder what other parts of the story might be made up, not reported factually by the media, or at least, exaggerated.
I refer back again to this YouTube video interview with Ahmed. He explains that he closed up the box with a piece of cord because he didn't want it to look suspicious. I'm curious, why would ''looking suspicious'' have even crossed his mind before this whole event unfolded, if he was truly showing off a hobby project, something so innocuous as an alarm clock. Why did he choose a pencil box, one that looks like a miniature briefcase no less, as an enclosure for a clock? It's awful hard to see the clock with the case closed. On the other hand, with the case open, it's awful dangerous to have an exposed power transformer sitting near the snooze button (unless, perhaps his invention was to stop serial-snooze-button pressers by giving them a dangerous electrical shock!)
So again, I'm pointing all this out '' about the specifics of the clock '' not to pick on the poor kid. I'm picking on us, our culture, and our media. I don't even care about the clock itself at this point.
If we stop and think '' was it really such a ridiculous reaction from the teacher and the police in the first place? How many school shootings and incidents of violence have we had, where we hear afterwards ''this could have been prevented, if only we paid more attention to the signs!'' Teachers are taught to be suspicious and vigilant. Ahmed wasn't accused of making a bomb '' he was accused of making a look-alike, a hoax. And be honest with yourself, a big red digital display with a bunch of loose wires in a brief-case looking box is awful like a Hollywood-style representation of a bomb. Everyone jumped to play the race and religion cards and try and paint the teachers and police as idiots and bigots, but in my mind, they were probably acting responsibly and erring on the side of caution to protect the rest of their students, just in case. ''This wouldn't have happened if Ahmed were white,'' they say. We're supposed to be sensitive to school violence, but apparently religious and racial sensitivity trumps that. At least we have another clue about how the sensitivity and moral outrage pecking order lies.
Because, is it possible, that maybe, just maybe, this was actually a hoax bomb? A silly prank that was taken the wrong way? That the media then ran with, and everyone else got carried away? Maybe there wasn't even any racial or religious bias on the parts of the teachers and police.
I don't know any of these things. But I'm intellectually mature enough to admit I don't know, and to also be OK with that. I don't feel a need to take the first exist to conclusionville. But I do like to find facts where I can, and prefer to let them lead me to conclusions, rather than a knee jerk judgement based on a headline or sound bite.
I think the whole event '' and our collective response, with everybody up to the President chiming in, says a whole lot about us. We don't care that none of us were there and knows what happened, we jump to conclusions and assume we're experts. We care about the story, but we don't care about the actual facts. Headlines and click-bait are far more interesting than thinking for ourselves. We like to point out other any bit of perceived injustice or discrimination we can find '' it's practically a new national past-time. We like playing victim, and we like talking about victims '' so much so we sometimes find victims where none really existed. We also like to find somebody to blame, even when there's nobody at fault. We like to play social justice warrior on our Facebooks and Twitters, posting memes and headlines without digging in behind the sensationalism, winning bonus sensitivity points in the forms of likes and re-tweets. Once group-think kicks in, we rally around hash tags and start shouting moral outrage in a deafeningly loud national chorus. The media plays us like a fiddle, and we don't even notice we've all been had.
As for me, I'm glad to apply the lessons I've learned as an electronics enthusiast to other aspects of life. There's no emotion in troubleshooting a circuit, electricity doesn't have morals. There's just physics, and logic, and methodology. I think we could all benefit from applying a little more of that sort of thinking to these situations.
* Correction: A reader and commenter, Joe Donaldson, tracked down the clock in a Radio Shack catalog dated 1986. It's likely that my guess of mid-to-late 70s was off by a bit, and it's now obvious it was a model that was for sale in the mid 80s. Though it doesn't really change the point, I want to post this correction here for accuracy sake and thank Joe for the heads up. (See the comment here, with link to the catalog page.)
CYBER!
Government Argues: If Your Mobile Phone Provider Knows Where You Are, Why Shouldn't We?
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:50
In one of the stronger defenses of Fourth Amendment rights in the digital age, a federal appellate court panel in August ruled 2 to 1 that law enforcement officials can't request cell phone location records without a warrant.
The government is now asking the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule the panel's earlier decision, arguing that by choosing to connect to a mobile network, users lose any reasonable expectation that their location is private.
Quoting the dissenting judge, the government wrote that the panel's decision ''flies in the face of the Supreme Court's well-established third-party doctrine.''
The third-party doctrine is a legal theory that asserts that users voluntarily give up information like location data by subscribing to public services like communications providers, and thus have ''no reasonable expectation of privacy'' when it comes to that information.
The Fourth Circuit panel had ruled that the third-party doctrine was never intended to allow the government to track people's entire digital lives over the course of lengthy periods of time, and sided with lawyers for Aaron Graham, a Baltimore man convicted of armed robbery based on details found in seven months of his call records obtained from Sprint without a warrant.
''People cannot be deemed to have volunteered to forfeit expectations of privacy by simply seeking active participation in society through use of their cell phones,'' the panel wrote in August.
But the government argued that the Fourth Circuit decision flouted two previous 1970s Supreme Court decisions that had reaffirmed the third-party doctrine.
In United States v. Miller, the court ruled that the contents of original checks and deposit slips were ''not confidential communications'' and were freely given to a third party '-- the bank.
In Smith v. Maryland, the court ruled that installation of a pen register, a device that records the numbers of outgoing phone calls, does not constitute a search in violation of the Fourth Amendment because the numbers dialed were shared with the phone company.
What was different about the cell phone case, the Fourth Circuit panel ruled, was that people do not generally know which cell phone tower their phone is connecting to, and do not intentionally offer details about their whereabouts at all times to the cell phone company.
And while subscribers are aware that the provider needs to know which tower to use in order to connect the call, combining seven months of data paints a detailed picture of someone's everyday life.
Nate Wessler, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the government ''is struggling mightily against the tide.'' He explained: ''Courts are moving towards recognizing that in the digital age, we need to protect sensitive information. '... As of now, in five states, they have to get warrants. '... They're trying to go back to when it was easier. But it will be hard to prevent it from happening.''
Chaffetz demands mysteriously deleted OPM breach data
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:49
OPM
Chaffetz demands mysteriously deleted OPM breach dataBy Zach NobleSep 18, 2015Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz wants OPM to explain its handling of a CyTech Services incident response tool.
CyTech Services, the service-disabled veteran-owned small business that may have helped detect the Office of Personnel Management breach, is back on the congressional radar.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has given OPM a Sept. 23 deadline to explain why it abruptly returned, and deleted information from, a CyTech appliance it had held onto for months.
In a letter to OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert, Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said that CyTech, while demonstrating its high-speed incident response tool CyFIR on April 21, had turned up evidence of ''malicious code'' on OPM's networks.
OPM has denied that CyTech's tool was responsible for discovering the breach.
CyTech has publicly affirmed that CyFIR turned up malicious code, but CyTech's president noted that he could not say whether OPM already knew of the threat before CyFIR's revelation.
OPM never provided FCW with an exact date of breach discovery to contradict reports that CyTech had discovered the breach, but in a timeline obtained by FCW last month, federal investigators reported that OPM officials learned of their problem on April 15 '' six days prior to CyTech's demo '' when the agency discovered "anomalous SSL traffic with [a] decryption tool" that had been implemented in December 2014.
CyTech representatives said the company supported OPM's breach response until May 1, but OPM held onto the CyFIR appliance for months afterward.
On Aug. 20, one day after committee staff asked where the CyFIR appliance was, OPM returned it to CyTech, Chaffetz's letter said. CyTech reported that it appeared the device's data storage drive had been deleted on Aug. 17.
''The deletion or loss of that data '' intentional or otherwise '' would damage the Committee's effort to determine how and why OPM's networks were infiltrated,'' Chaffetz wrote.
Sources familiar with the situation said CyFIR's storage capacity was 16TB.
Chaffetz demanded that OPM provide his committee with all the data that was on the CyFIR appliance by the close of business on Sept. 23.
''OPM has received the committee's letter and is working to respond in a timely manner,'' said OPM spokesman Sam Schumach.
CyTech leadership declined to speak about the issue on the record.
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering cloud, big data and workforce issues. Connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
EuroLand
MOODY'S SOVEREIGN DOWNGRADE OF FRANCE: WHY WARREN BUFFET'S MOODY HOLDING REPRESENTS A MASSIVE CONFLICT OF INTEREST | The Slog.
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 14:39
Warren Buffett
If you've often wondered who regulates those who give credit ratings '' and who owns them '' then read on. The Slog investigates the Moody's downgrading of France's rating'....and concludes that both Berkshire Hathaway and the Unites States have everything to gain from it.
Yesterday evening CET, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the sovereign credit rating of France by one rung. Chief among Moody's concerns was somewhat vague '' 'the nation's medium-term growth outlook' '' although it's a view I share. Moody's changed its outlook for France to stable from negative, and the cut was one rung from Aa1 to Aa2. That still leaves French debt, given the Moody's terminology, as 'prime, low-risk investment'. But it will, of course, make it more expensive for the French government to borrow money. Hold that thought.
These are the biggest shareholders in Moody's:
Berkshire Hathaway's CEO is the celebrity investor of all time, Warren Buffett. In turn, these are Berkshire Hathaway's income sources by sector:
BH's biggest source of income and profits is insurance. Insurance sector commentators AM Best rank BH sixth among global reinsurers as measured by gross premiums written '' behind Munich Re, Swiss Re, Hannover Re, Lloyd's of London and Scor.
In recent months, Warren Buffet has been steadily withdrawing from French positions. Hold that thought too.
Buffet has been in the (re)insurance sector for a long time; talk to those who are knowledgeable about it, and they will tell you without exception that the bloke is a genius whose grasp of risk is without equal. But with the wacky world of financialised capitalism about to go sky-facing mammories, it's going to be a bumpy ride for everyone: and Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is no exception. BH crosses thresholds that should ensure its designation '' with more than $50bn in assets and more than $3.5bn of derivatives liabilities '' too big to fail.
But spookily, that hasn't happened. Indeed '' as the FT noted earlier this year '' 'British regulators have challenged their US peers over their apparent reluctance to subject Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway to tougher scrutiny as part of a worldwide push to make the financial system safer'....The Bank of England has written to the US Treasury asking why Berkshire's reinsurance operation '-- among the world's most powerful '-- was left off a provisional list of ''too big to fail'' institutions drawn up by the Financial Stability Board'...'
Being an All-American Boy, our Warren is clearly patriotic and on-message enough to get all the protection he needs from US regulators. That's one more thought to hold onto.
And talking of his patriotism, take a quick peek at where the solid basis of Mr Buffett's longer-term investments lies '' those incredibly far-sighted and patient long-holds that deliver massive payback to BH:
Hold it up to the light, not a foreign company in sight. Whichever way you cut it, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Holdings is a 24-carat loyalty investor in American global business imperialism.
He is a stalwart for Walmart. A copious Coca Cola drinker. A gem for IBM. The man who backs Goldman Sachs. And of course '' for the last fifteen years '' doing his duty for Messrs Moody.
Put simply, Buffett has everything and more to gain from yet more foreign nations joining the list of those poor suckers who cannot fart without American permission. Don't worry too much about your holdings in myriad thoughts: I'll be repeating them anon.
Moving on: we saw how Wolfgang Sch¤uble went beyond tumescence once Syriza caved in and let his eurogroupie agents complete an illegal takeover bid for Greece, while helping themselves to vast profits from the privatisation rush now unfolding there. But Wolfie doesn't care much for money: he's a geopolitical sort of chap who wants his (ie, Germany's) armlock control over Fiskalunion eurozone members to be total and unyielding. And he has on several occasions made it clear in private that Greece was merely a dry run for his lifetime target: the punishment of France for its wayward fiscal economics. In the Elys(C)e Palace, nobody in the Hollande administration has the slightest doubt that this is Wolfstrangelove's goal.
Former Fed Treasurer Tim Geithner admitted to intimates that the Obama Administration and the US State Department has ''bet the farm on Germany when it comes to sorting Europe out''. In that context, Brussels-am-Berlin has been an obedient servant of the United States in terms of giving aid to Ukraine, pressuring Poland to accept the euro, and demonising Hungary's Viktor Orban. George Soros (who has much to gain from a neoliberally run Eastern Europe) has been up to his eyes in this strategy. But in terms of his commitment to US multinational domination of the planet through megabrands, nobody has been a more loyal agent of State, the CIA, and Wall Street than Warren Buffett. That's the final thought to hold'...now for some of the dot-joining thing.
Mr Buffett is a patriot, US brands investor and major player in the insurance business. He is also the biggest institutional investor in Moody's. Lest we forget, I am far from being the first commentator to doubt the squeaky-clean image ratings agencies like to garner for themselves: the US Justice Department sued Standard & Poor's and its parent McGraw Hill in February 2013, charging that the largest credit rater, S&P, bent its criteria to win business from banks. Although Moody's has not been charged by the U.S. government, Greenlight Capital boss David Einhorn called credit rating brands ''ruined'' in 2011 for their role in ''helping precipitate the worst recession since the 1930s with faulty credit ratings''. And in using the word 'faulty', Einhorn was being both kind and careful.
Now let me enumerate my doubts. They may not be factual in any single case: but they cast doubt on the wisdom of allowing those with commercial and geopolitical agendas to have any control whatsoever over what conclusions ratings agencies do or don't publish.
Berkshire Holdings earlier this year pulled out of its one major lingerie investment in France. It holds very few insurance positions for French companies. Buffett is a patriot who would rather see Germany in control of the EU, and France converted to a more American model of society. So when it comes to the French sovereign credit rating, he has two conflicts of interest: lost confidence in France would damage his insurance sector competitors, and provide support for German hegemony in Europe.Making it more expensive for France to borrow money is an ideal catalyst towards the achievement of that goal.Buffett's obvious self-protection power within US regulatory circles raises the possibility that he enjoys a quid pro quo with Washington: they go easy on his TBTF risk, while he uses his contacts to ensure that EU nations are weakened in the run-up to US commercial colonialism.Last but by no means least, so total is his Berkshire Holdings' dependence on US global brand revenue for existence, Warren Buffett's entire fortune would be at risk if he didn't follow a general policy of ensuring, to the maximum degree possible, the continuation of US brand domination of consumer choice.None of this makes Buffett 'guilty'. But in any system claiming to offer a level playing field, his large stake in Moody's ought to be completely unacceptable, and forbidden by law.
I am not postulating a conspiracy; rather, I am saying that we cannot have the complete objectivity of regulators being in any doubt whatsoever.
Yesterday at The Slog: Yellen is in a corner created for her by the greed of corporate America
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BLM
Ferguson, Mo., on Path to Insolvency, Gets Downgrade to Junk | The Bond Buyer
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 12:44
CHICAGO - Ferguson, Mo. lost its investment-grade rating Thursday when Moody's Investors Service dropped its rating four notches in a sign of the financial fallout from the fatal 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown.
Moody's dropped the city's general obligation rating to the highest junk level of Ba1 from Aa3 and its lease revenue ratings to Ba2 and Ba3, from A1 and A2, respectively.
The downgrade "reflects severe and rapid deterioration of the city's financial position, possible depletion of fund balances in the near term, and limited options for restoring fiscal stability," Moody's wrote.
The action impacts $6.7 million of outstanding GO bonds, $8.4 million of certificates of participation from a 2013 issue, and $1.5 million of 2012 certificates. The COPs are payable from available revenue and subject to appropriation. The credits remain under review for further downgrade or withdrawal due to a lack of information.
The once plentiful reserves of the city northwest of St. Louis are dwindling and the city could be headed toward insolvency as soon as 2017, Moody's said.
"Key drivers of this precipitous drop are declining key revenues, unbudgeted expenditures, and escalating expenses related to ongoing litigation and the Department of Justice consent decree currently under negotiation," Moody's wrote.
"We believe fiscal ramifications from these items could be significant and could result in insolvency," Moody's wrote. "We expect additional detail within the next few months as to the city's final audited fiscal 2015 results as well as options and financial strategies for addressing these looming costs."
A March report from Justice's Civil Rights Division found the Ferguson police department engaged in unlawful and discriminatory practices partially driven by the city's reliance on court fine revenue to support its budget. Advocacy groups have filed a series of lawsuits challenging municipal ticketing operations.
Between draws in fiscal 2015 which ended June 30, and fiscal 2016 projections, city reserves are expected to fall by 70% compared to audited fiscal 2014 levels.
The declines mark what Moody's called a severe departure from the city's prior financial profile which was bolstered by positive operating results through 2013. The city expects to post a $2.6 million shortfall for the previous fiscal year.
The city's options are limited due to constrained revenue raising ability and its stagnant economy. Missouri local governments may file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection by an action of the local governing body without sign off or approval from any other agency, although the city has not indicated plans to file.
The rating also factors in the city's moderately sized tax base with a trend of declining assessed valuation, below average socioeconomic profile, and average debt burden.
Moody's said it continues to seek information on the city's near- and medium-term cash flow projections, legal costs, and the terms of any insurance coverage that could reimburse the city for settlements and related expenses. The city has yet to provide the requested information, voicing a reluctance to discuss information that may impact ongoing litigation and negotiations, Moody's said.
The Justice Department conducted the review after the shooting of Brown, who was unarmed, by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, in August 2014. It prompted massive protests and riots that drew national attention and damaged dozens of city properties.
The killing of Brown focused attention on aggressive policing tactics and the heavy reliance on court fines to prop up local government budgets. Critics say stiff court fines imposed by local governments like Ferguson's result in aggressive policing tactics that disproportionally target low-income and minority residents.
Along with taxes and other revenue streams in 2010, the city collected over $1.3 million in fines and fees collected by its court. For fiscal year 2015, Ferguson's city budget anticipates fine revenues to exceed $3 million - more than double the total from just five years earlier, according to the report. The increase was not tied to crime figures.
The city has said it's taken action to with new laws to limit the use of revenue generated by court fines and fees to 15% of its budget. The city has also revised various policies on collections.
The Missouri State Auditor's office launched probes into 10 local governments' use of court fines to ensure they comply with the law and plans more.
Most Missouri local governments face new restrictions on the use of municipal court fines under legislation signed in July by Gov. Jay Nixon. A Nixon-appointed commission recently issued a report that suggested a sweeping overhaul of police tactics and court fine practices.
The city said it expected to issue a statement on the downgrade later Thursday or Friday.
Inter-Agency Wars
US spy chief's 'highly unusual' reported contact with military official raises concerns | US news | The Guardian
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 20:32
James Clapper testifies about 'worldwide cyber threats' during a hearing on Thursday in Washington. Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Barack Obama's intelligence chief is said to be in frequent and unusual contact with a military intelligence officer at the center of a growing scandal over rosy portrayals of the war against the Islamic State, the Guardian has learned.
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, is said to talk nearly every day with the head of US Central Command's intelligence wing, Army Major General Steven Grove '' ''which is highly, highly unusual'', according to a former intelligence official.
Grove is said to be implicated in a Pentagon inquiry into manipulated war intelligence.
In communications, Clapper, who is far more senior than Grove, is said to tell Grove how the war looks from his vantage point, and question Grove about Central Command's assessments. Such a situation could place inherent pressure on a subordinate, sources said.
Knowledgeable former officials are doubtful that Clapper directly intends to manipulate intelligence. And they do not say that the director of national intelligence '' who apologized to his Senate overseers in 2013 for publicly misleading Congress on the scope of domestic surveillance '' ordered Grove or anyone else to change the command's assessment of the war.
But one former intelligence official said Clapper ''has to be careful of the Cheney effect, going over to the CIA and how does that affect people'' '' a reference to pressure felt by CIA analysts before the 2003 Iraq invasion to portray Saddam Hussein as posing a more dire threat than he actually did, following then Vice-President Dick Cheney's direct interaction with far more junior analysts and officials.
''He can be manipulative,'' a former senior defense official said of Clapper. For Clapper as a senior US intelligence officer with access to assessments across the 16 US intelligence agencies to query Grove, the Central Command intelligence chief, the ex-official said, ''something's wrong''.
Clapper's calls, knowledgeable sources speaking on condition of anonymity said, placed Grove in a difficult bureaucratic position: between the nominal leader of the entire US intelligence apparatus and his lower-level analysts, several of whom consider the year-long war against Isis to be in dire straits.
Grove and his civilian deputy, Greg Ryckman, are said to be the sources of dissatisfaction among analysts within Central Command, where an internal controversy about integrity in intelligence has now sparked an official inquiry by the Pentagon inspector general.
More than 50 intelligence analysts, both those within Central Command and their seconded Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) colleagues, have registered complaints about manipulated or skewed data, the Daily Beast reported on Wednesday. Analysts object to internal portrayals, said to come ultimately from Grove and Ryckman, of a war proceeding better than Isis's persistent hold over large swaths of Iraq and Syria suggests. The existence of the Pentagon inquiry was first reported last month by the New York Times.
Some of those skewed and upbeat assessments have reportedly been delivered to Barack Obama. The White House has frequently defended its ''Iraq first'' strategy; one source interviewed by the Guardian said Obama aides were not receptive to hearing ''the narrative that Isis is winning''.
A senior intelligence official who requested anonymity said that Clapper only spoke with Grove by videoconference in the presence of representatives of the Pentagon's joint staff responsible for intelligence. The official said that Central Command played no role in the briefing process for the president, though its input was routed through the Defense Intelligence Agency.
''All updates provided by the Command are strictly limited to tactical developments such as what happened on the ground overnight regarding issues affecting US personnel and allied forces. They are not broad or strategic assessments,'' the official said.
''The intelligence community has a well-earned reputation for analytic objectivity and our assessments are not always in full agreement with Centcom and other commands around the world. These competing views are valuable to senior policymakers and are indeed expected.''
Ryckman is said to have been responsible for revising assessments of the war's progress he considers pessimistic. Sources said the analysts are not shown data to contradict their understanding of the war, resulting in the frustration that led some to seek the Pentagon inquiry.
''The command environment within Central Command is toxic,'' said one former US intelligence official.
The role of General Lloyd Austin, the Central Command chief, in the alleged intelligence manipulation is unclear. But the former defense official said: ''At the end of the day, he's responsible for his staff.''
Austin has made questionable public assertions about the war. In March, he told a congressional panel that Shia militia groups supported by Iran had left the battlefield of Tikrit, even as those Shia militiamen escorted a Guardian reporter into the city.
To the consternation of Senate hawks, Austin has thus far declined to permit US troops in Iraq to spot for airstrikes, a factor inhibiting their accuracy. Last year, Austin defended the wisdom of the US focusing on ''Iraq first'' in the anti-Isis fight and portrayed a looming battle to reclaim Iraq's second city, Mosul, as potentially decisive. A map distributed by the Pentagon in April purported to show Isis losing ground in Iraq.
Since then, Isis has overrun Iraqi forces in Ramadi, increasing its hold over the country's Sunni heartland, and moved into Palmyra in Syria, destroyed the 2,000-year-old Temple of Bel. A flood of refugees from Syria fleeing both Isis and dictator Bashar Assad has thrown Europe into crisis.
Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for US Central Command, confirmed that Grove and Ryckman remained in their jobs.
Without providing information on an ongoing inquiry, Ryder said that Central Command welcomed the inspector-general investigation and defended the integrity of the command's war analysis. ''The multi-source nature of the assessment process purposely guards against any single report or opinion unduly influencing leaders and decision-makers,'' Ryder said.
Congress created the job of the director of national intelligence, held by Clapper since 2010, in part to bolster and protect the integrity of US intelligence after the failures to prevent the 9/11 attacks and the misassessment of Saddam Hussein's nonexistent stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.
Clapper's reputation suffered a blow after a March 2013 Senate hearing in which he testified that the NSA was ''not wittingly'' collecting records on millions of Americans, a claim he had to apologize for making after whistleblower Edward Snowden disproved it. Republican senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul called for Clapper and Snowden to share a jail cell.
Peter Cook, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters on Thursday that the defense secretary, Ashton Carter, expected ''unvarnished, transparent intelligence'', while defending the war strategy.
Marine General Vincent Stewart, the director of the defense intelligence agency, said on Thursday that the inspector general's investigation ''will play itself out'' to determine if his agency ''did anything wrong''.
' This story was corrected on 12 September 2015. It previously referred to Major General Steve Grove as a brigadier general.
Inequality!
Mac and Word
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:01
So now you can write in Arabic on Word no iPad and iPhone but not on Mac? What gives?
2TTH
Update. Flash. EXCLUSIVE. Dubai Ruler is lying: his son didn't die from a heart attack (at 33): he was killed in Yemen from a rocket
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:00
Dubai ruler's son, Rashid bin Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktun, was in Yemen with his country's troops when a rocket hit the base. Rashid was immediately hit and was taken to a hospital after they vacated all hospitals in the area (including those we were getting urgent cancer treatment) in order to hide the identity of the injured.PS: Dubai ruler skipped Rashid in succession and favored his other son, Hamdan, due to personal problems. And now another source tells me that he died from an overdose. I will check my sources again and report back to you.
Chiner$
Freedom of navigation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 04:18
Freedom of navigation (FON), is a principle of customary international law that, apart from the exceptions provided for in international law, ships flying the flag of any sovereign state shall not suffer interference from other states.[1] This right is now also codified as article 87(1)a of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, not all UN member states have ratified the convention; notably, the United States has signed, but not ratified the convention.
History[edit]Up to the early modern age, international maritime law was governed by customs that were sometimes codified as for example in the 14th-century Catalan Consulate of the Sea. Such customs governed as a practical matter the adjudication of cases about the capture of goods on the high seas by privateers in Prize courts. The rule that can be distilled from the Consolato (and other contemporary codes) is: "enemy goods can be captured on neutral ships and neutral goods are free on board enemy's ships" The first part of this rule implies that neutral shipping is not inviolable in time of war (though the second part implies that goods of neutral owners are), and hence contradicts what we now call "freedom of navigation." This doctrine (which we will refer to as the consolato-rule for short) was long observed by England (later Great Britain), France and Spain among the major naval powers.[2]
However, beginning in the 17th century the Dutch Republic, then the dominant European carrier, championed a different rule, known as "free ship (makes) free goods." This doctrine stated that even enemy goods (always excepting contraband) are inviolate in neutral bottoms,[3] though sometimes (not always) the corollary of the rule was that neutral goods carried by enemy ships could be confiscated. The first part of this rule, however, makes neutral ships inviolable and is hence the core of the freedom-of-navigation doctrine. As this doctrine went against international custom, it had to be embodied in bilateral treaties to become part of international law. The earliest example of such a treaty is actually one concluded between king Henry IV of France and the Ottoman Porte in 1609, though that was followed in 1612 by one between the Porte and the Dutch Republic. Once the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic had ended (during which Spain defended their claim of sovereignty over the oceans against the Dutch claim of "freedom of the high seas," as developed in Hugo Grotius' Mare Liberum) the two concluded a treaty of commerce in which "free ship, free goods" was enshrined. The Dutch Republic subsequently concluded bilateral treaties with most other European countries, containing the "free ship, free goods" principle, though it sometimes had to use force to obtain this concession, as against England in the Treaty of Breda (1667) and again in the Treaty of Westminster (1674). England, however, also held fast to the Consolato-rule in relations with other countries, as did France, until this country in 1744 relented and extended the privilege to the by then resolutely-neutral Dutch.[4]
The Dutch had in this way, by using treaty-law, built up a web of bilateral treaties that, on a reciprocal basis, extended the privilege of "freedom of navigation" to their ships in the many 18th-century European wars in which they remained neutral (serving all belligerents with their shipping services). Great Britain in particular chafed under this arrangement, as she was the dominant naval power in the 18th century and the Dutch privilege undermined the effectiveness of her naval blockades. Matters came to a head during the War of the American Revolution when the Dutch, shielded by the 1674 Anglo-Dutch treaty, supplied both the Americans and the French. The British made extensive use of their "right of search" of Dutch ships and this led to the Affair of Fielding and Bylandt in which a British naval squadron in peace time arrested a Dutch convoy, despite the objections of its Dutch naval escort.
Soon thereafter the British abrogated the 1674 treaty and that might have meant the death of the "free ship, free goods" doctrine if not empress Catherine II of Russia had taken up the torch around the same time. In March, 1780 she published a manifesto in which (among other things) she claimed the "free ship, free goods" principle as a fundamental right of neutral states. To defend that principle, she formed the First League of Armed Neutrality to which the Dutch adhered at the end of the year (which sparked the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War). The principles from her manifesto were soon adhered to, not only by the members of the League, but by France, Spain and the new American Republic also (though, as belligerents, they could not become members of the League).[5]
Nevertheless, as a principle of international law (apart from treaty law) "free ship, free goods" was soon again overturned by the practice of both sides in the French Revolutionary Wars of the turn of the 19th century. For instance, in the jurisprudence of the American courts of the early 19th-century, the Consolato-principle was universally applied in cases not covered by treaties. On the other hand, the U.S. government made it a steadfast practice to enshrine the "free ship, free goods" principle in the treaties of amity and commerce it concluded with other countries (starting with the 1778 one with France and the 1782 one with the Dutch Republic). In other words, the American view (following the British practice) was that at that time Consolato was customary international law, which however, could be superseded by treaty law on a bilateral basis. The U.S., however, earnestly strove for the substitution of Consolato by "free ship" in customary law also.[6]
This happy state of affairs came about when Great Britain finally gave up its resistance to the principles, first formulated by empress Catherine in 1780, and acquiesced in the 1856 Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law, which enshrined "free ship makes free goods," while rejecting "enemy ship makes enemy goods." The Declaration was signed by the major powers (except the U.S.A., ironically) and soon adhered to by most other powers. The new rule (a combination of the "best" parts of Consolato and "free ship") became:"A neutral flag covers enemy's goods (except contraband); neutral goods are not liable to seizure under the enemy's flag."[7]
In the 20th century this new principle became part of the broader body of laws of the sea currently embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as President Woodrow Wilson advocated in point 2 of his Fourteen Points (see Freedom of the seas). The United States has not ratified the 1982 treaty, though it is a party to the preceding 1958 Convention on the High Seas. As the reason for non-ratification is not related to the principle of freedom of navigation, which the U.S. now considers to be part of customary international law, this does not imply that the U.S. does not consider itself bound by the principle.
United States "Freedom of Navigation" program[edit]The United States' Freedom of Navigation program challenges territorial claims on the world's oceans and airspace that are considered excessive by the United States, using diplomatic protests and/or by challenge. The United States position is to insist that all nations must obey the international law of the sea as stated by the UN Law of the Sea Convention, although the United States has not formally ratified the treaty.[8] Some coastal states make claims that the United States see as inconsistent with international law, which, if unchallenged, would limit navigational freedoms of the vessels and aircraft of the U.S. and other countries.[citation needed]
On several occasions, U.S. armed forces have conducted operations in areas claimed by other countries, such as naval operations in the Gulf of Sidra in the 1980s. Throughout the years U.S. forces have been performing "Freedom of Navigation" operations in the Straits of Gibraltar, Strait of Hormuz, Straits of Malacca, and the Indonesian Archipelago, the Black Sea under the name 'Silver Fox',.[9]
One of the notable operations conducted as part of Freedom of Navigation program[10] was performed by USS Yorktown, during which, on February 12, 1988 she was "nudged" by Soviet frigate Bezzavetny in an attempt to divert the vessel out of Soviet-claimed territorial waters; some observers[who?] have called the event "the last incident of the Cold War."[citation needed]
In 2014, China Youth Daily called the American program an infringement of China's "rights" to "reclaim" the South China Sea and East China Sea.[11]
See also[edit]References[edit]^Dupuy and Vignes, p. 836^Atherley-Jones, pp. 284''285^The exception of contraband implies that the inviolability of neutral ships was never absolute, as the principle still admitted the right of Visit and Search by belligerents.^Atherley-Jones, pp. 286''287^Atherley-Jones, pp. 288''289^Atherley-Jones, pp. 283''284^Atherley-Jones, p. 298^President's Statement on Advancing U.S. Interests in the World's Oceans^http://download.cabledrum.net/wikileaks_archive/oc/2474/557.pdf^Campbell, "USS Caron's Black Sea Scrape Furthered International Law, National Interest", THE VIRGINIAS-PILOT AND THE LEDGER STAR", June 12, 1988, at C3, col. 1.^"US program challenges Beijing's South China Sea claims". www.wantchinatimes.com. WantChinaTimes.com. 11 February 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014. Sources[edit]Atherley-Jones, L.A., Bellot, H.H.L. (1907) Commerce in War. Methuen & co.[1]Dupuy, R.J., Vignes, D. (1991) A handbook on the new law of the sea. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, ISBN 0-7923-1063-2External links[edit]
Japan just fundamentally changed the way it's using its military - Business Insider
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 05:34
REUTERS/Yuya ShinoMen dressed as Japanese imperial army soldiers march in front of the gate of the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo August 15, 2014, to mark the 69th anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War Two.
TOKYO (AP) '-- Japan's parliament early Saturday approved contentious legislation that enhances the role of the country's military by loosening post-World War II constraints, after the ruling bloc defeated opposition parties' last-ditch effort to block a vote.
The upper house's approval makes the legislation into law, reinterpreting Japan's constitution and fundamentally changing the way it uses its military. Opponents say it violates Japan's constitution and puts the country at risk of becoming embroiled in U.S.-led wars.
The legislation has sparked sizeable protests and debate about whether Japan should shift away from its pacifist ways to face growing security challenges. Rallies have spread across the nation especially after the ruling parties approved the bills in July in the more powerful lower house.
Japan's military can now defend its allies even when the country isn't under attack '-- for the first time since the end of the World War II '-- and work more closely with the U.S. and other nations. Japan will also be able to participate more fully in international peacekeeping, compared to its previous, mostly humanitarian, missions.
"The legislation is necessary in order to protect the people's lives and their peaceful livelihood, and it is to prevent a war," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after the passage of a total of 11 bills '-- one related to international peacekeeping and a package of 10 others designed to allow Japan's military to defend its allies in an action called "collective self-defense."
Dozens of constitutional scholars, lawyers and other legal experts have joined protests, saying the legislation allowing Japan to use force to settle international disputes violates its U.S.-drafted postwar constitution that renounces a right to wage war.
China said it and other Asian neighbors are closely watching the vote because of Japan's wartime aggression.
"We demand that Japan genuinely listen to just appeals from both at home and abroad, learning from historical lessons and adhering to the path of peaceful development," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
Previous postwar governments had all made the notion of collective self-defense unconstitutional. But Abe's Cabinet last year decided to allow it by unilaterally adopting a new interpretation of the constitution, instead of formally revising the charter, saying it must be adapted to today's increasingly challenging security environment. The constitutional reinterpretation triggered public criticism that Abe's government undermined democracy. Opponents also say the change would cause Japan to do more in the bilateral alliance with the U.S.
In Washington, leaders of Senate committees overseeing U.S. defense and foreign policy welcomed the legislation's passage, saying it would contribute to international peace and security and strengthen the U.S.-Japan alliance.
"We welcome a larger role for Japan in regional and global security affairs and look forward to our country working with Japan to implement these new measures," the Republican and Democratic committee leaders said in a joint statement Friday.
Even though many Japanese acknowledge growing security risks and have grown accustomed to sending peacekeepers overseas, many remain wary of a greater military role. Media surveys have consistently shown a majority of respondents oppose the legislation.
"This legislation betrays the constitutionalism, pacifism and democracy that Japan has built over the past 70 years since the end of World War II," said Tetsuro Fukuyama, a senior lawmaker representing the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan.
Opposition lawmakers chanted "Unconstitutional!" and "Invalid!" while casting a ballot during a vote on the bills at the upper house, which came at the end of the session.
Since Thursday, opposition parties had pulled out all the stops to delay the vote. They introduced a series of no-confidence measures against government ministers and parliamentary leaders, and made filibuster speeches.
One opposition lawmaker, Taro Yamamoto, used a snail-paced "cow walk" to shuffle to the podium to vote, while others made drawn-out speeches, a variation that has become known as the "cow tongue."
Yamamoto wore a black suit and tie with Buddhist prayer beads around his wrist, as if attending a funeral. He kept using "cow walk" tactic, ignoring repeated scolding by the house president to stop it and heckling from the ruling lawmakers criticizing him.
The maneuvers were destined to fail, but ate up hours of time requiring debate and votes on each measure.
As the drama played out in Parliament, protesters rallied outside for a fifth night in a row.
The legislation that lacks public support would face resistance in the future, said Jeff Kingston, director of Asian Studies at Temple University Japan.
"In a way you can say that this legislation lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the people," he said. "It's going to be very controversial to actually invoke this legislation to justify dispatch of troops that obviously most people don't want. That probably has electoral consequences."
___
Associated Press news assistant Liu Zheng in Beijing contributed to this story.
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO: Donald Trump MASTERFULLY Handles 'Climate Change' Question at Town Hall
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:13
Watch and Learn, Fellow Republicans'' A Master Is at Work''
The political fallout from the man asking the 'Muslim' question at Donald Trump's town hall meeting in Rochester, New Hampshire Thursday night has dominated liberal media coverage of the campaign event.
But, another questioner elicited a response from Trump that other politicians running for president wouldn't dare attempt.
A woman who identified herself as being with the League of Conservation Voters asked Trump about 'climate change,' the left's current euphemism for 'man-made global warmimg' in their campaign against free-market capitalism.
Questioner: ''Hi, Mr. Trump. I'm Megan. I'm a volunteer with the League of Conservation Voters and I'm here to ask you what your plan is to reduce pollution that is driving climate change and endangering public health?''
Rather than debate the liberal on the liberal's terms, Trump turned it over to the audience, repeatedly asking them to raise their hands if they believed in (man-made) global warming.
Only a few hands are raised by people behind Trump. Trump says he doesn't see many hands, perhaps one, raised by people in front of him.
The liberal then tried to debate Trump and he just blew her off after that and went on to other questioners.
ArchivesArchives
VIDEO-Note to the U.S. Congress: No gladhanding the Pope | Reuters.com
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:07
In Washington, where pressing the flesh is just part of doing business, lawmakers have been given strict guidelines regarding the Pope's upcoming visit -- to keep their hands to themselves. Party leaders sent lawmakers the protocol advisory on Friday ---- no handshakes or long conversations with the pontiff -before his speech to congress. While no specific mention was made prohibiting them from kissing the pope's ring, they've been reminded that Pope Francis is on a very tight schedule. On Thursday, Pope Francis will enter the House chamber through the same door the president Barack Obama uses for his State of the Union address, wading through a sea of lawmakers to reach the podium. This visit is the Pope's first to the U.S. since become head of the Roman Catholic Church.
VIDEO-Clinton chastises Trump at Democratic Convention | Reuters.com
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:06
Speaking at New Hampshire's Democratic Convention in Manchester Saturday... Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wasted no time taking aim at Republican rival Donald Trump. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, HILLARY CLINTON, SAYING: "Don't be distracted by the flamboyant front-runner trying to bully and buy his way into the presidency." Clinton then chastised Trump over an incident earlier this week. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP LISTENING AS AUDIENCE MEMBER SAYS: AUDIENCE MEMBER: We have a problem in this country, it's called Muslims. We know our current president is one, we know he isn't even an American." TRUMP: "We need this." [laughs] Clinton says the fact that Trump didn't correct the man was "shocking" but not "surprising". (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, HILLARY CLINTON, SAYING: "He's been trafficking in prejudice and paranoia throughout this campaign." But the billionaire TV personality took to Twitter to defend himself... ...saying it wasn't his responsibility to defend President Obama...and that it was a no win situation. But Clinton wasn't his only critic. Trump has also taken heat from members of his own party for not speaking up...and yet he continues to lead the pack of GOP candidates in the polls.
VIDEO-U.S. says Assad must go, timing down to negotiation | Reuters.com
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:03
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday (September 19) Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has to go but the timing of his departure should be decided through negotiation. Speaking after talks with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in London, Kerry called on Russia and Iran to use their influence over Assad to convince him to negotiate a political transition. Kerry said the United States welcomed Russia's involvement in tackling the Islamic State in Syria but a worsening refugee crisis underscored the need to find a compromise that could also lead to political change in the country. "We need to get to the negotiation. That is what we're looking for and we hope Russia and Iran, and any other countries with influence, will help to bring about that, because that's what is preventing this crisis from ending," said Kerry. "We're prepared to negotiate. Is Assad prepared to negotiate, really negotiate? Is Russia prepared to bring him to the table?" Russia's buildup at Syria's Latakia airbase has raised the possibility of air combat missions in Syrian airspace. Heavy Russian equipment, including tanks, helicopters and naval infantry forces, have been moved to Latakia, U.S. officials say. Kerry said of Assad's removal: "For the last year and a half we have said Assad has to go, but how long and what the modality is ...that's a decision that has to be made in the context of the Geneva process and negotiation." Kerry said he did not have a specific time frame in mind for Assad to stay. "I just know that the people of Syria have already spoken with their feet. They're leaving Syria."
VIDEO-Scuffles as migrants test Greek border | Reuters.com
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:57
Thousands of migrants make yet another bid to march across the border from Turkey into Greece. It's a stalemate that's been going on for most of the past week. Scuffles broke out as Turkish police blocked their way. The local governor says they won't be allowed to pass unless they're invited by another country. Later the migrants were taken to an open air sports arena to spend the night. Some spoke of their dreams of a better life in Europe. (SOUNDBITE)(English) ZEHRA, SYRIAN REFUGEE FROM ALEPPO, SAYING: "They are all looking and seeking, all looking for a better life and comfortable life for their children and themselves and their families." Hundreds of migrants who've made it to Greece were celebrating their arrival on the mainland from the island of Lesbos. From the port of Piraeus they were taken by bus to a railway station, from where many will join the tens of thousands trekking across the Balkan peninsula to northern and western Europe. Some say they've lost all hope of peace in their homelands. (SOUNDBITE)(English) UNIDENTIFIED SYRIAN REFUGEE, AN ENGINEERING TEACHER FROM HOMS, SAYING: "Every country in the world will make decision to back war, and war, and war in that country. No-one want to solve this problem. We, with my friend, come looking for hope, for future." (SOUNDBITE)(English) ABDUL MAZIM, SYRIAN REFUGEE FROM HASAKA, SAYING: "In my country there is terrorist and we are simple people in Hasaka. There is very problem there." The European Union is due to hold an emergency summit next week to push for a united response. In the meantime the United Nations is warning migrant numbers will grow in the coming days and their flow may fragment further into more new routes.
VIDEO-Dem donors to Biden: Run Joe, run! | Reuters.com
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:53
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VIDEO-Cryotherapy the new cool trend in New York | Reuters.com
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:53
Customers at KryoLife spa in New York City are feeling the chill with a procedure called cryotherapy, where sub-Arctic temperatures are applied to the body to increase energy. Jillian Kitchener reports.
TRANSCRIPT +
Lena Roth is subjecting her body to temperatures below -266 degrees Fahrenheit... because she says, it feels great. It's a procedure known as cryotherapy. And customers are undergoing this short-term freezing inside Manhattan's KryoLife spa, which claims it's a way to boost metabolism and increase energy. Lena Roth agrees: (SOUNDBITE) (English) LENA ROTH, CRYOTHERAPY PATIENT, SAYING: "I cycle, so I can go and I can have 45 minutes of an amazing workout session that I didn't have before. I'm amazed with myself. I'm like a superwoman now." KryoLife CEO Joanna Fryben says the treatment solves a variety of issues, like stiffness and insomnia. She says it works by making the brain believe the body is freezing which triggers an increase of blood, enriched with oxygen, enzymes and nutrients, to flow to the body's core. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOANNA FRYBEN, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER OF KRYOLIFE, SAYING: "Whenever anybody hears the temperatures ranging from minus 284 to minus 264, they ask, 'Are you freezing people?' No. We don't freeze people. It's actually safer than a hot sauna." But not all doctors are on board -- some say cryotherapy puts the body under stress and despite the socks, gloves and bathing suit, they say frostbite IS a risk. Cryotherapy is not FDA-approved. But KryoLife spa says the treatment -- first developed in Japan -- is a trend that is bound to evolve in the U.S....as word spreads and the public warms to the idea.
VIDEO-Croatia says no more migrants | Reuters.com
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:48
In the Croatian border town of Beli Manastir, a scramble to board buses and trains taking migrants to the Hungarian border....even though Hungary doesnt want them. Croatia says it doesn't want them either. Faced with an influx of 13,000 migrants in just over two days, Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic says his country won't register the migrants, won't accommodate them, and won't be turned into what he calls, a migrant 'hotspot'. (SOUNDBITE) (Croatian) CROATIAN PRIME MINISTER, ZORAN MILANOVIC, SAYING: "People will obviously no longer be able to stay in Croatia except for us giving them water, food and medical care if they need it. Then they'll move on." Overnight, Hungary began building a fence to seal its border with Croatia, having already blocked access from neighboring Serbia. Hundreds of Hungarian police and soldiers have been deployed to the area - many hundreds more, the government says, will arrive over the weekend. In Beli Manastir, a local Croat says "This is terrible. We used to be refugees as well." For those fleeing desperate conditions in their own countries, it's become an ever more complicated struggle to reach western Europe. As one barrier falls, it seems another bars their way.....but they say they've come too far to give up now.
VIDEO: FPI Fellow James Kirchick Discusses Russia's Activities in Syria on Fox News Channel | Foreign Policy Initiative
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 06:45
The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America's global economic competitiveness.Read More
VIDEO-Japan's Diet enacts security laws - News - NHK WORLD - English
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 06:15
JapanSep. 18, 2015 - Updated 17:33 UTC
Japan's Diet has enacted a package of laws on national security. This marks historic changes to the security policy the country had maintained for decades.
Upper House lawmakers passed a set of bills to expand the role of the Self-Defense Forces, allowing the country to exercise its right to collective self-defense.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's coalition holds a majority in the upper chamber. Three minor opposition parties supported the proposals. The lower chamber had already approved the bills.
Opposition lawmakers fiercely debated the legislation and said more debate was needed. Some of them said the bills are unconstitutional and that the legislation could lead the nation into foreign wars.They tried several tactics to delay the vote such as filibustering and submitting no-confidence and censure motions against the prime minister and his senior aides. Some even walked at a snail's pace when casting their ballot.
But the opposition's efforts failed to prevent the bills from becoming law.
VIDEO-Mika Wild About Carly: 'My God, I Have Never Seen Anyone Like Her. Ever' | MRCTV
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 04:37
It's one thing for there to be a consensus among conservatives that Carly Fiorina was outstanding at last night's debate. But to hear a string of superlatives about Carly coming from committed liberal Mika Brzezinski was breathtaking.
Over the course of today's Morning Joe, there was a stream of praise for Fiorina from Mika, capped by this: "my God, I have never seen anyone like her. Ever."
VIDEO-Carly Fiorina Nails Stephanopoulos on Planned Parenthood: Watch the Tapes | MRCTV
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 04:33
[See NewsBusters for more.] Former Democratic activist turned journalist George Stephanopoulos on Thursday went after Carly Fiorina for attacking Planned Parenthood during Wednesday's presidential debate. The Good Morning America co-host grilled, ''Another powerful moment last night was when you talked about those Planned Parenthood tapes. But analysts who've watched all 12-plus hours say the scene you're described, that harrowing scene you described, actually isn't in those tapes.'' He wondered, ''did you misspeak?'' Fiorina shot back at the man who secretly donated $75,000 to the Clintons: ''I don't know whether you've watched the tapes, George....Certainly none of the Democrats who are still defending Planned Parenthood have watched those tapes.''
VIDEO-Whoopi Goldberg Uses GOP Debate as an Excuse to Trash Reagan | MRCTV
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 04:29
[See NewsBusters for more.] View co-host Whoopi Goldberg on Thursday used the Republican presidendial debate as an excuse to trash Ronald Reagan, assuring people that ''he wasn't all that.'' Reading from note cards, Goldberg began, ''I just want to point out that, you know, he did some things that were not particularly good for the country.'' Assailing Reagan's 1981 firing of 11,000 striking air traffic control employees, Goldberg attacked, ''The air traffic controllers were on strike. You know, I feel like if the air traffic controllers are pissed, you want to hear what they have to say. You listen to them.'' She sneered, ''Instead of saying, 'what's going on?' He said, 'you have two days to come back to work or we're firing you.'''
VIDEO-Robert Redford: Global Warming Skeptics Are Simply 'Afraid of Change' | MRCTV
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 04:23
[See NewsBusters for more.] Liberal actor Robert Redford slammed global warming skeptics as simply ''afraid of change'' and hit Barack Obama from the left, Tuesday, in an interview with Larry King. King set up the movie star by wondering, ''Why are there still deniers?...Look at the weather.'' Redford derided, ''If you belong to a certain group of people that are afraid of change, which I think some people are. And so, I think they're going to deny change when it happens.'' Psychoanalyzing those he disagrees with, the actor suggested, ''But they don't want to admit it because it means they're going to have to accept change or they're going to have to give up something. I don't know what the deal is.''
VIDEO-McCain to Pentagon: Assert Freedom of Navigation by Sending Warships to Waters Near China-Claimed Islands | MRCTV
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 04:17
The United States should make clear to China that it does not recognize its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea by sailing warships within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands Beijing has constructed, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday.
VIDEO-MSNBC's Maddow Gushes to Sanders: 'You've Been Preparing for This Your Whole Life' | MRCTV
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 04:15
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Appearing exclusively on Thursday night's edition of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, Democratic presidential candidate and socialist Bernie Sanders was lobbed one softball question after another that included Maddow gushing that ''[y]ou've been preparing for this whole life'' and wondering if the success he's had thus far was ''energizing'' or ''tiring and overwhelming.''
The questioning was nice and easy from the start with Maddow reminiscing that the pair had spoke both ''before you got into the race'' and ''right after you jumped in the race'' so she wanted to know: ''How do you feel now compared to then?''
VIDEO-CBS's O'Donnell Smacks Bernie Sanders from the Right on Health Care, Taxes | MRCTV
Sun, 20 Sep 2015 04:11
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
In a near 180-degree reversal to his interview the previous evening with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Democratic presidential candidate and socialist Bernie Sanders found himself on Friday's CBS This Morning being repeatedly slammed from the right by co-host Norah O'Donnell on his far-left tax plans and hope for a universal health care system.
The interview started off rather calm, with co-host Charlie Rose gushing over Sanders' appearance on the new cover of Time magazine and asking him to elaborate on ''how you define yourself'' and ''what does it mean'' to be a socialist.
VIDEO-Uh Oh! THIS is What Happened When Ahmed's 'Clock Invention' was Reverse Engineered'... | Top Right News
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 17:54
by Gina Cassini | Top Right News
One of the most controversial stories of the week was the insane levels of hype and outrage over a Muslim boy who made a digital clock and then was arrested because his teacher thought it might be a bomb.
Within hours of the story, until liberals turned it into their latest pet cause, '-- accusing the school administrators, and anyone who agreed with their cautious actions, as ''Islamophobes.''
Obama, as he did with the Trayon Martin case, immediately made the story explode by inviting Ahmed to the White House in a Tweet that the media hyped worldwide. Invitations and internship offers for the ''boy genius inventor'' soon came in from places such as Facebook, Twitter and MIT.
But to skeptics, something about the story stunk from the start '-- and the evidence is now mounting that the entire incident may have been a setup or hoax after all.
First there is the fact that the place it occurred, Irving, TX, was recently in the news as the first city in America to bar Muslim Sharia Law (among all international law structures) from use, after Muslim ''scholars'' announced a ''Sharia Tribunal'' in January '-- sparking outrage among Americans.
The Irving, TX anti-Sharia vote infuriated Muslims worldwide, making it perhaps a target for a setup.
Then Breitbart revealed that Ahmed's father Mohamed ElHassan Mohamed, is a well-known Muslim activist and rabble-rouser, taking on Koran-burner Terry Jones, and debating radical Islam-critic Robert Spencer '-- neither of which has been reported by the media.
This would tend to support the contention that the Ahmed clock incident was a ''setup'' or ''lawsuit bait'' '-- one backed up by this Tweet put out by Mohammed:
Then there was the bizarre behavior of Ahmed himself when he brought his ''invention'' to school. After he showed it to his engineering teacher'...the teacher said it resembled a bomb, and asked him not to show it to any other teachers. But Ahmed then brought it into his English class, plugged it in, set an alarm to go off, and did not mention to the teacher who felt ''threatened'' by it that he already showed it to the engineering teacher, and to ask him about it'...which could have easily resolved the security concerns.
Police described Ahmed as being ''passive aggressive'' in his answers to their questions, and didn't have a ''reasonable answer'' as to what he was doing with the case. Was his behavior consistent with wanting to provoke a response by Irving authorities?
Now an engineer's blog post on Artvoice may have exposed the entire incident as a setup or hoax once and for all.
The engineer asserts that the ''boy genius'' Ahmed didn't ''invent'' anything at all. He merely took apart an existing clock from the 1970s, and inexplicably transplanted its guts into the large pencil case he picked up off Amazon.
This individual has an engineering degree and a love for all things electronics and thought it would be cool to reverse engineer the clock built by Ahmed, because well, he's the kind of guy who gets a kick out of doing such things.
According to him and his research, that's when he made the discovery about Ahmed's ''invention.''
From Artvoice:
I found the highest resolution photograph of the clock I could. Instantly, I was disappointed. Somewhere in all of this '' there has indeed been a hoax. Ahmed Mohamed didn't invent his own alarm clock. He didn't even build a clock. Now, before I go on and get accused of attacking a 14 year old kid who's already been through enough, let me explain my purpose. I don't want to just dissect the clock. I want to dissect our reaction as a society to the situation. Part of that is the knee-jerk responses we're all so quick to make without facts. So, before you scroll down and leave me angry comments, please continue to the end (or not '' prove my point, and miss the point, entirely!)
For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics. Surely you've seen a modern circuit board, with metallic traces leading all over to the various components like an electronic spider's web. You'll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns. That's because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines. Take a look at the board in Ahmed's clock. It almost looks hand-drawn, right? That's because it probably was. Computer aided design was in its infancy in the 70s. This is how simple, low cost items (like an alarm clock) were designed. Today, even a budding beginner is going to get some computer aided assistance '' in fact they'll probably start there, learning by simulating designs before building them. You can even simulate or lay out a board with free apps on your phone or tablet. A modern hobbyist usually wouldn't be bothered with the outdated design techniques. There's also silk screening on the board. An ''M'' logo, ''C-94'' (probably, a part number '' C might even stand for ''clock''), and what looks like an American flag. More about that in a minute. Point for now being, a hobbyist wouldn't silk screen logos and part numbers on their home made creation. It's pretty safe to say already we're looking at '70s tech, mass produced in a factory.
So I turned to eBay, searching for vintage alarm clocks. It only took a minute to locate Ahmed's clock. See this eBay listing, up at the time of this writing. Amhed's clock was invented, and built, by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidary. Catalog number 63 756.
The shape and design is a dead give away. The large screen. The buttons on the front laid out horizontally would have been on a separate board '' a large snooze button, four control buttons, and two switches to turn the alarm on and off, and choose two brightness levels. A second board inside would have contained the actual ''brains'' of the unit. The clock features a 9v battery back-up, and a switch on the rear allows the owner to choose between 12 and 24 hour time. (Features like a battery back-up, and a 24 hour time selection seems awful superfluous for a hobby project, don't you think?) Oh, and about that ''M'' logo on the circuit board mentioned above? Micronta.
For one last bit of confirmation, I located the pencil box Ahmed used for his project. During this video interview he again claims it was his ''invention'' and that he ''made'' the device '' but the important thing at the moment, at 1:13, we see him showing the pencil box on his computer screen. Here it is on Amazon, where it's clearly labeled as being 8.25 inches wide. Our eBay seller also conveniently took a photo of the clock next to a ruler to show it's scale '' about 8 inches wide. The dimensions all line up perfectly.
So there you have it folks, Ahmed Mohamad did not invent, nor build a clock. He took apart an existing clock, and transplanted the guts into a pencil box, and claimed it was his own creation. It all seems really fishy to me.
If we accept the story about ''inventing'' an alarm clock is made up, as I think I've made a pretty good case for, it's fair to wonder what other parts of the story might be made up, not reported factually by the media, or at least, exaggerated.
The engineer goes on to ask a few good questions that aren't aimed at picking on Ahmed, but are focused on how we as a society seem to be itching for some new cause to take up, how we're ready to turn any and every perceived slight into an opportunity to spout off about some major social cause, taking to Facebook and Twitter to blast the web will all sorts of memes and other over emotional blubbering.
Another great point brought up by this guy centers on why Ahmed was worried about the clock ''looking suspicious'' which is a claim he makes in an interview with the media. He specifically says he chose to close up the box with cord so it wouldn't ''look suspicious.''If this was truly just about showing off his love for electronics '-- a perfectly acceptable and healthy hobby '-- why this specific concern?
Another good question posed by the engineer is why in the world he would choose a pencil case as the housing for his clock, seeing as how it had to be closed up, making it super difficult to actually see the number display. Also, the open case poses a safety risk as there's a transformer near the snooze button, which could produce an electric shock.
He goes on to suggest the possibility that maybe, just maybe, this whole thing really was a hoax bomb after all.
This afternoon, some Redditors also claimed that Ahmed's claimed USB hub ''invention'' pictured in the video still above is simply a Best Buy USB hub with its plastic cover removed, with no modifications made to it. NOT an ''invention'' of any kind.
Regardless of Ahmed's intentions, the truth of the matter is that the fury and rage over the incident says far more about us as a culture than it does about the boy who is now the center of attention, the new spokesman for equality being used by CAIR to push forward their agenda.
Instead of just immediately blabbing about this ''poor, poor child,'' and emoting online, perhaps we as a society should've applied some sound logic and research to the whole situation before immediately jumping to conclusions, assuming this was all about race or religion.
Definitely something to ponder.
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VIDEO-The President Meets with the Three Paris Train Heroes | The White House
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 15:30
September 17, 2015 | 3:30 | Public Domain
President Obama delivers remarks after meeting with Spencer Stone, Alex Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler '' the three Americans who helped subdue a gunman on a packed train heading to Paris last month. September 17, 2015.
Download mp4 (127MB) | mp3 (9MB)
VIDEO-UN Live United Nations Web TV - The Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Quality Education
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 15:30
The Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Quality Education
UNICEF's Associate Director of Education Jo Bourne talks to us about what progress has been achieved in the past 15 years on access to education, whythis goal is important not just for children and young people, and how quality education benefits societies as a whole.Produced by the Department of Public Information
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VIDEO-Gone from the 'glades: Federal rules to put Florida's legendary airboats in dry dock | Fox News
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 13:34
Amid the sweeping sawgrass of Everglades National Park are sights and sounds that draw a million visitors every year: alligators and airboats.
Florida's Native Americans paddled dugout canoes through the shallow waters of the ''river of grass'' past the gators, snakes, blue herons and egrets. In the last century, Florida's "gladesmen" invented the airboat, making traversing the swamps far more efficient. South of the Tamiami Trail, gladesmen would hydroplane the propeller-powered airboats through the mangroves and sawgrass, hunting alligator and frogs or just enjoying the natural beauty of the swamp.
''You're taking away something I've done for 60 years ..."
- Jesse Kennon, 'gladesman'
After Everglades National Park was established in 1934, hunting was banned along with motorized vehicles, except in one small sliver of the park known as the Eastern Extension. Even though it became part of the 1.5 million-acre park in 1989, air boating has continued. But that 1989 act of Congress also mandated the U.S. Park Service come up with a comprehensive management plan which included the government buying up 9,000 parcels of land and holding nearly 50 public meetings over the years. Now, that plan is ready to be implemented, and that means the end of private air boating in Everglades National Park.
''It's heartbreaking for me," said Keith Price, president of the Airboat Association of Florida. "I've spent my lifetime sharing the everglades.''
Fortunately for Price, the phasing out of the airboats will grandfather in those who can prove they were at least 16 years old and active air boaters as of 1989. Those gladesmen -- and it is still unclear how many qualify -- will still be able to do what they've always done. For everyone else, they only have a few months left.
''They're robbing our children and grandchildren of the culture and the heritage that is going on here,'' lamented Price.
The Park Service says don't blame Florida's premier national park, the largest east of the Rockies, blame Washington.
Aside from the grandfathered gladesmen, the only air boating that will continue to be allowed in the eastern section of the Park will be four commercial air boat tour operators. They'll no longer be independent, but will instead work as contractors for the park. Park officials will regulate their concessions and the number of runs they do.
At Coopertown Air Boat Tours'--the oldest in the business, operating since 1945'--73-year-old Jesse Kennon is lukewarm on the whole thing.
''You're taking away something I've done for 60 years and now saying, 'Okay, you're going to do what I want you to do,'" he said. "I don't mind working with the park, but I don't like to work FOR the park.
"There's a difference.''
The official phase out of the private airboats goes into effect next year. The gladesmen fear this is a step towards the eventual demise of what's left of what they consider a critical piece of Florida's culture.
Unless a future Congress reverses the rules, the gladesmen can either airboat elsewhere, on state lands or those controlled by the Bureau of Land Management. Or, they can become what several defiantly have predicted: Everglades airboat outlaws, speeding through the Everglades, always on the lookout for Park Rangers on their own airboats.
Phil Keating joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in March 2004 and currently serves as FNC's Miami-based correspondent.
VIDEO-Ahmed Mohamed Lied, Engineer Says, And Here's The 'Proof'
Sat, 19 Sep 2015 06:46
Ahmed Mohamed won the hearts of many Americans through his love of clockmaking and what many believed to be wrongful treatment at the hands of school officials and police this week.
The 14-year-old claimed that he brought his homemade project to show off for his teacher, hoping that she would be impressed with his ingenuity.
The teacher, frightened by the look of the boy's creation, alerted school officials, who in turn reported Ahmed to police.
For a brief time, Ahmed Mohamed was arrested until cooler heads could prevail and authorities finally realized it was just a clock '-- not a bomb or a ''bomb hoax.''
Many media reports noted Ahmed's Muslim background and speculated that the teacher and police acted out of prejudice. President Obama even invited Ahmed to the White House!
But now one blogger '-- who also happens to be an engineer with an investigative eye '-- is calling the boy out on what he sees to be a clear case of deception.
Blogger ''Anthony'' of ArtVoicefound a very similar-looking clock being sold on eBay. He explained further in the following passage.
''I found the highest resolution photograph of the clock I could [pictured above]. Instantly, I was disappointed. Somewhere in all of this '-- there has indeed been a hoax. Ahmed Mohamed didn't invent his own alarm clock. He didn't even build a clock'.... For starters, one glance at the printed circuit board in the photo, and I knew we were looking at mid-to-late 1970s vintage electronics. Surely you've seen a modern circuit board, with metallic traces leading all over to the various components like an electronic spider's web. You'll notice right away the highly accurate spacing, straightness of the lines, consistency of the patterns. That's because we design things on computers nowadays, and computers assist in routing these lines. Take a look at the board in Ahmed's clock. It almost looks hand-drawn, right? That's because it probably was. Computer aided design was in its infancy in the 70s. This is how simple, low cost items (like an alarm clock) were designed. Today, even a budding beginner is going to get some computer aided assistance '' in fact they'll probably start there, learning by simulating designs before building them. You can even simulate or lay out a board with free apps on your phone or tablet. A modern hobbyist usually wouldn't be bothered with the outdated design techniques. There's also silk screening on the board. An 'M' logo, 'C-94' (probably, a part number '-- C might even stand for 'clock'), and what looks like an American flag'.... a hobbyist wouldn't silk screen logos and part numbers on their home made creation. It's pretty safe to say already we're looking at '70s tech, mass produced in a factory.''
Also, as if that wasn't ''proof'' enough that Ahmed Mohamed lied, the engineering blogger notes, this eBay listing shows that ''Amhed's clock was invented, and built, by Micronta, a Radio Shack subsidary. Catalog number 63 756.''
The engineer-blogger believes that what ''might'' have happened is Ahmed Mohamed, wanting to play a ''silly prank'' on his teacher, knew exactly how the clock would be perceived.
But what started as a silly prank became a rallying cry for agenda-driven media and self-righteous social media users looking for the latest thing to be outraged about.
''If we stop and think,'' Anthony writes, ''was it really such a ridiculous reaction from the teacher and the police in the first place? How many school shootings and incidents of violence have we had, where we hear afterwards 'this could have been prevented, if only we paid more attention to the signs!'''
The writer continued.
''Teachers are taught to be suspicious and vigilant. Ahmed wasn't accused of making a bomb '-- he was accused of making a look-alike, a hoax. And be honest with yourself, a big red digital display with a bunch of loose wires in a brief-case looking box is awful like a Hollywood-style representation of a bomb. Everyone jumped to play the race and religion cards and try and paint the teachers and police as idiots and bigots, but in my mind, they were probably acting responsibly and erring on the side of caution to protect the rest of their students, just in case.''
What do you think about this blogger's take, readers? Did Ahmed Mohamed know exactly what he was doing? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image of the Ahmed Mohamed clock via Irving Police]
VIDEO-Rejecting Sex and Relationships in Japan - YouTube
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VIDEO-ISIS fighters buying fake passports to sneak into Europe among refugees - PzFeed
Fri, 18 Sep 2015 09:47
ISIS fighters and economic migrants are able to buy Syrian identity documents that allow them to hide among refugees travelling to Europe with frightening ease, an investigation by MailOnline can reveal.
Our reporter was able to buy a Syrian passport, identity card and driving licence from a fraudster in a Turkish border town this week.The genuine documents were stolen from Syria when they were blank. The forger added our reporter's picture and gave him the identity of a Syrian man from Aleppo killed last year.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3235320/PASSPORT-TERROR-MailOnline-reporter-buys-Syrian-papers-sold-ISIS-fighters-sneaking-Europe-hidden-refugees.html

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