784: Hot Rhetoric

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 49m
December 24th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir Brian Lawson, Sir Fudgefountain Baron of Ann Arbor, Simon Toens, Sir Alan Hawes Knight of the Elongated G-string, Sir David of Ross, Trevor Murkin, Sir Ted Hosmann, Sir Chris Kitterman of Carmel-By-The-Sea, Graham J Stanton

Associate Executive Producers: Nick Raimondi, Dennis Brown, Joel Blazek, Mikhail Garber, Talal Choucair, Armando Guerra, Brian Doerr, Pre-Knight of the Living Dead, Sir Atomic Rod Adams Baronet of the Blue Ridge

Cover Artist: Mark G

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Christmas Eve 1955 Was Much Warmer | Real Science
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 13:46
Drudge is touting the ''record heat'' forecast for Christmas Eve, even though most of the country will be below normal temperature. The best Drudge could come up with was 86 degrees at Orlando.
Christmas Eve 1955 was much warmer. Three fourths of the country was over 60 degrees, and Ashland Kansas, Geary Oklahoma and Encinal Texas were all over 90 degrees. Fort Lauderdale was 85 degrees. All of the stations below were over 60 degrees on Christmas Eve, 1955.
Last winter, the East Coast had record cold. That was ignored because it was ''less than 1% of the Earth.'' But this week, the Eastern US defines the global climate.
In Irving Berlin's 1954 musical ''White Christmas'' '' the story line was 70 degrees in New Hampshire on Christmas eve and no snow. That was why they were ''Dreaming of a White Christmas''
Caliphate!
ISIS recruiter uses messages hidden among pictures of kittens | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 20 Dec 2015 22:01
A prolific British ISIS recruiter is using an encrypted messaging app to groom youngsters into joining him in Raqqa.
Omar Hussein, who used to work as a security guard at Morrisons' supermarket in Buckinghamshire, has posted sick pictures of his cat napping in a bomb belt and beside a grenade.
The grey cat, who has been named Lucy, is pictured curled up inside a black belt, eyes open and looking directly at the camera.
Sickening: British jihadi Omar Hussein, 28, posts pictures of his cat 'Lucy' sitting inside a suicide belt. Underneath the picture he writes, 'Come closer and I'll blow the entire house down!'
Shocking: Also known as Abu Awlaki, Hussein posted a second picture of a grenade next to his sleeping pet
Underneath the picture he writes, 'Come closer and I'll blow the entire house down!'
In a second picture, he has placed a grenade next to the sleeping cat.
His latest public posts on encrypted messaging application Telegram are of trees in a park and he has previously photographed shops selling children's toy shops and women's shoes.
Interspersed between the propaganda shots, are the British jihadi's blog articles and advice for people wanting to join the Islamic State.
He has also linked to a disturbing report that instructs fanatics on 'safety and security' for carrying out lone wolf attacks.
Mocked: The British jihadi mainly seems to be sat at his computer and not on the battlefield
Hussein, 28, who was been linked to a man convicted of a plan to behead someone on Remembrance Day, has shared numerous photos of his life in Raqqa.
In one article entitled 'Hating the Kuffar', which concerns non-muslims, he says that even if they are kind, they must be hated because liking them is 'selfish'.
'Yes, this is in our religion; loving the Muslims and hating the kuffār. Islam is not a religion of peace (alone), it's a religion of peace, war, love and hate,' he writes.
'So the 'kind' neighbour, the colleague at work, your boss, your son's school teacher, the postman, the bus driver, the cashier at the supermarket, that random woman who takes her dog out for a walk every morning to the park'... all such people must be hated.
'Their profession or their status in society has no role to play nor does it effect anything.
'A kāfir is a kāfir, period.'
He also lists a female recruiter for 'sisters' who want to travel to Syria.
Despite Telegram shutting down 78 ISIS related accounts in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, recruiters are still using the app to groom youngsters and spread ISIS propaganda.
Pathetic attempt: Hussain was mocked after admitting it took him an astonishing 50 minutes to peel just 10 minuscule potatoes. One social media user said his mum could peel all of Syria's potatoes in that time
Jihadists Distribute Video of ''Soldiers of the Caliphate'' Training in the Philippines | Jihadist News
Sun, 20 Dec 2015 22:02
Jihadists Distribute Video of ''Soldiers of the Caliphate'' Training in the Philippines | Jihadist NewsJihadist NewsLast Updated: December 20, 2015
Pro-Islamic State (IS) jihadists distributed a video showing what is described as a training camp for ''soldiers of the Caliphate'' in the Philippines.
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Amidst ongoing media reports of two explosions in the American city of Boston, Massachusetts, near the finish line of the marathon race on April 15,
The revelations by Edward Snowden about PRISM, a NSA-operated national security electronic surveillance program, and that the agency used it to gather
After the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., on September 16, 2013, jihadists expressed their joy and their hope that the attack
The Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement continued to release updates about their September 21, 2013 attack against the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi,
As gunmen from the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement raided the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, killing over 60 people and injuring 175 others,
Simply titling it ''Just Terror,'' the Islamic State (IS) released the twelfth issue of its English magazine, ''Dabiq,'' on November
Fighters from the Islamic State (IS) in the Libyan city of Sirte celebrated the Paris attacks by distributing sweets to Muslims.
Labib al-Nahhas, Ahrar al-Sham's Chief of Foreign Political Relations, condemned the Islamic State's (IS) November 13, 2015 terror attacks
Syrian opposition groups expressed condemnation after the Islamic State's (IS) November 13, 2015 Paris attacks, and called for international focus
A pro-Islamic State (IS) Twitter user disseminated a document suggesting a new way to share IS news and propaganda while avoiding suspension on Twitter.
SITE Main Twitter FeedSITE - Far Right / Far LeftSITE - Cyber SecurityRita Katz's Twitter Feed
'Fake' Bomb Found On Air France Flight
Sun, 20 Dec 2015 22:10
An Air France flight was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday after a 'fake' bomb was found on board.
Flight 463 from Mauritius to Paris was forced to land in the Kenyan coastal city of Mombasa. The plane was headed to Charles de Gaulle airport, where several aircraft were found defaced with Islamic graffiti in late November and early December.
A Kenyan police official, speaking with CBS News on condition of anonymity, said a passenger notified the flight crew of a possible device that looked like ''a stopwatch mounted on a box.''
The plane carrying 459 passengers and 14 crew members was quickly landed without incident. Passengers applauded the fast action of the personnel.
Normal activities at Kenya's Moi International Airport, where the plane landed, were suspended for several hours while police investigated.
Passengers on flight 463 were safely taken to local hotels.
Kenyan Airports Authority later confirmed the incident through a series of posts on social networking site Twitter. Six passengers are being questioned, including the one who reported the possible bomb.
Authorities later concluded the bomb was a fake, reports France 3 television. The network did not say how it got the information. Air France claims it still has not received any information on the device.
Confirmation that the bomb was fake was given during a press conference later Sunday afternoon. The 'device' turned out to be paper and a timer, reports the BBC. The device had no explosives and could not have been detected during pre-flight screenings. Passengers and crew were never at risk.
Flight 463 from Mauritius to Paris was forced to land in Kenya.
France has been under a state of emergency since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for that and the Oct. 31 crash of a Russian passenger in the Sinai desert that killed all 224 people aboard. The Pentagon, British intelligence and Moscow have all said that the crash was caused by a bomb on the plane.
Two Air France flights from the U.S. to Paris were diverted on Nov. 18 after bomb threats were received. No bombs were found on the planes from Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Kenya itself has also dealt with a host of terrorist attacks and threats, mostly from al Shabaab, the extremist group based in neighboring Somalia.
Ministry of Truth
Seymour Hersh review of Syria
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 16:56
Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office '' and that there are 'moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him '' has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration's fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.
The military's resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria's takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an 'all-source' appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration's insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods '' to be used for the overthrow of Assad '' from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria. The new intelligence estimate singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama's Syria policy. The document showed, the adviser said, 'that what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The so-called moderates had evaporated and the Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey.' The assessment was bleak: there was no viable 'moderate' opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists.
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn't doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,' Flynn told me. 'We understood Isis's long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.' The DIA's reporting, he said, 'got enormous pushback' from the Obama administration. 'I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.'
'Our policy of arming the opposition to Assad was unsuccessful and actually having a negative impact,' the former JCS adviser said. 'The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration's policy was contradictory. They wanted Assad to go but the opposition was dominated by extremists. So who was going to replace him? To say Assad's got to go is fine, but if you follow that through '' therefore anyone is better. It's the ''anybody else is better'' issue that the JCS had with Obama's policy.' The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama's policy would have 'had a zero chance of success'. So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.
Germany, Israel and Russia were in contact with the Syrian army, and able to exercise some influence over Assad's decisions '' it was through them that US intelligence would be shared. Each had its reasons for co-operating with Assad: Germany feared what might happen among its own population of six million Muslims if Islamic State expanded; Israel was concerned with border security; Russia had an alliance of very long standing with Syria, and was worried by the threat to its only naval base on the Mediterranean, at Tartus. 'We weren't intent on deviating from Obama's stated policies,' the adviser said. 'But sharing our assessments via the military-to-military relationships with other countries could prove productive. It was clear that Assad needed better tactical intelligence and operational advice. The JCS concluded that if those needs were met, the overall fight against Islamist terrorism would be enhanced. Obama didn't know, but Obama doesn't know what the JCS does in every circumstance and that's true of all presidents.'
Once the flow of US intelligence began, Germany, Israel and Russia started passing on information about the whereabouts and intent of radical jihadist groups to the Syrian army; in return, Syria provided information about its own capabilities and intentions. There was no direct contact between the US and the Syrian military; instead, the adviser said, 'we provided the information '' including long-range analyses on Syria's future put together by contractors or one of our war colleges '' and these countries could do with it what they chose, including sharing it with Assad. We were saying to the Germans and the others: ''Here's some information that's pretty interesting and our interest is mutual.'' End of conversation. The JCS could conclude that something beneficial would arise from it '' but it was a military to military thing, and not some sort of a sinister Joint Chiefs' plot to go around Obama and support Assad. It was a lot cleverer than that. If Assad remains in power, it will not be because we did it. It's because he was smart enough to use the intelligence and sound tactical advice we provided to others.'
*
The public history of relations between the US and Syria over the past few decades has been one of enmity. Assad condemned the 9/11 attacks, but opposed the Iraq War. George W. Bush repeatedly linked Syria to the three members of his 'axis of evil' '' Iraq, Iran and North Korea '' throughout his presidency. State Department cables made public by WikiLeaks show that the Bush administration tried to destabilise Syria and that these efforts continued into the Obama years. In December 2006, William Roebuck, then in charge of the US embassy in Damascus, filed an analysis of the 'vulnerabilities' of the Assad government and listed methods 'that will improve the likelihood' of opportunities for destabilisation. He recommended that Washington work with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to increase sectarian tension and focus on publicising 'Syrian efforts against extremist groups' '' dissident Kurds and radical Sunni factions '' 'in a way that suggests weakness, signs of instability, and uncontrolled blowback'; and that the 'isolation of Syria' should be encouraged through US support of the National Salvation Front, led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian vice president whose government-in-exile in Riyadh was sponsored by the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. Another 2006 cable showed that the embassy had spent $5 million financing dissidents who ran as independent candidates for the People's Assembly; the payments were kept up even after it became clear that Syrian intelligence knew what was going on. A 2010 cable warned that funding for a London-based television network run by a Syrian opposition group would be viewed by the Syrian government 'as a covert and hostile gesture toward the regime'.
But there is also a parallel history of shadowy co-operation between Syria and the US during the same period. The two countries collaborated against al-Qaida, their common enemy. A longtime consultant to America's intelligence community said that, after 9/11, 'Bashar was, for years, extremely helpful to us while, in my view, we were churlish in return, and clumsy in our use of the gold he gave us. That quiet co-operation continued among some elements, even after the [Bush administration's] decision to vilify him.' In 2002 Assad authorised Syrian intelligence to turn over hundreds of internal files on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and Germany. Later that year, Syrian intelligence foiled an attack by al-Qaida on the headquarters of the US Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, and Assad agreed to provide the CIA with the name of a vital al-Qaida informant. In violation of this agreement, the CIA contacted the informant directly; he rejected the approach, and broke off relations with his Syrian handlers. Assad also secretly turned over to the US relatives of Saddam Hussein who had sought refuge in Syria, and '' like America's allies in Jordan, Egypt, Thailand and elsewhere '' tortured suspected terrorists for the CIA in a Damascus prison.
It was this history of co-operation that made it seem possible in 2013 that Damascus would agree to the new indirect intelligence-sharing arrangement with the US. The Joint Chiefs let it be known that in return the US would require four things: Assad must restrain Hizbullah from attacking Israel; he must renew the stalled negotiations with Israel to reach a settlement on the Golan Heights; he must agree to accept Russian and other outside military advisers; and he must commit to holding open elections after the war with a wide range of factions included. 'We had positive feedback from the Israelis, who were willing to entertain the idea, but they needed to know what the reaction would be from Iran and Syria,' the JCS adviser told me. 'The Syrians told us that Assad would not make a decision unilaterally '' he needed to have support from his military and Alawite allies. Assad's worry was that Israel would say yes and then not uphold its end of the bargain.' A senior adviser to the Kremlin on Middle East affairs told me that in late 2012, after suffering a series of battlefield setbacks and military defections, Assad had approached Israel via a contact in Moscow and offered to reopen the talks on the Golan Heights. The Israelis had rejected the offer. 'They said, ''Assad is finished,''' the Russian official told me. '''He's close to the end.''' He said the Turks had told Moscow the same thing. By mid-2013, however, the Syrians believed the worst was behind them, and wanted assurances that the Americans and others were serious about their offers of help.
In the early stages of the talks, the adviser said, the Joint Chiefs tried to establish what Assad needed as a sign of their good intentions. The answer was sent through one of Assad's friends: 'Bring him the head of Prince Bandar.' The Joint Chiefs did not oblige. Bandar bin Sultan had served Saudi Arabia for decades in intelligence and national security affairs, and spent more than twenty years as ambassador in Washington. In recent years, he has been known as an advocate for Assad's removal from office by any means. Reportedly in poor health, he resigned last year as director of the Saudi National Security Council, but Saudi Arabia continues to be a major provider of funds to the Syrian opposition, estimated by US intelligence last year at $700 million.
In July 2013, the Joint Chiefs found a more direct way of demonstrating to Assad how serious they were about helping him. By then the CIA-sponsored secret flow of arms from Libya to the Syrian opposition, via Turkey, had been underway for more than a year (it started sometime after Gaddafi's death on 20 October 2011).[*] The operation was largely run out of a covert CIA annex in Benghazi, with State Department acquiescence. On 11 September 2012 the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed during an anti-American demonstration that led to the burning down of the US consulate in Benghazi; reporters for the Washington Post found copies of the ambassador's schedule in the building's ruins. It showed that on 10 September Stevens had met with the chief of the CIA's annex operation. The next day, shortly before he died, he met a representative from Al-Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services, a Tripoli-based company which, the JCS adviser said, was known by the Joint Staff to be handling the weapons shipments.
By the late summer of 2013, the DIA's assessment had been circulated widely, but although many in the American intelligence community were aware that the Syrian opposition was dominated by extremists the CIA-sponsored weapons kept coming, presenting a continuing problem for Assad's army. Gaddafi's stockpile had created an international arms bazaar, though prices were high. 'There was no way to stop the arms shipments that had been authorised by the president,' the JCS adviser said. 'The solution involved an appeal to the pocketbook. The CIA was approached by a representative from the Joint Chiefs with a suggestion: there were far less costly weapons available in Turkish arsenals that could reach the Syrian rebels within days, and without a boat ride.' But it wasn't only the CIA that benefited. 'We worked with Turks we trusted who were not loyal to Erdoğan,' the adviser said, 'and got them to ship the jihadists in Syria all the obsolete weapons in the arsenal, including M1 carbines that hadn't been seen since the Korean War and lots of Soviet arms. It was a message Assad could understand: ''We have the power to diminish a presidential policy in its tracks.'''
The flow of US intelligence to the Syrian army, and the downgrading of the quality of the arms being supplied to the rebels, came at a critical juncture. The Syrian army had suffered heavy losses in the spring of 2013 in fighting against Jabhat al-Nusra and other extremist groups as it failed to hold the provincial capital of Raqqa. Sporadic Syrian army and air-force raids continued in the area for months, with little success, until it was decided to withdraw from Raqqa and other hard to defend, lightly populated areas in the north and west and focus instead on consolidating the government's hold on Damascus and the heavily populated areas linking the capital to Latakia in the north-east. But as the army gained in strength with the Joint Chiefs' support, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey escalated their financing and arming of Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State, which by the end of 2013 had made enormous gains on both sides of the Syria/Iraq border. The remaining non-fundamentalist rebels found themselves fighting '' and losing '' pitched battles against the extremists. In January 2014, IS took complete control of Raqqa and the tribal areas around it from al-Nusra and established the city as its base. Assad still controlled 80 per cent of the Syrian population, but he had lost a vast amount of territory.
CIA efforts to train the moderate rebel forces were also failing badly. 'The CIA's training camp was in Jordan and was controlled by a Syrian tribal group,' the JCS adviser said. There was a suspicion that some of those who signed up for training were actually Syrian army regulars minus their uniforms. This had happened before, at the height of the Iraqi war, when hundreds of Shia militia members showed up at American training camps for new uniforms, weapons and a few days of training, and then disappeared into the desert. A separate training programme, set up by the Pentagon in Turkey, fared no better. The Pentagon acknowledged in September that only 'four or five' of its recruits were still battling Islamic State; a few days later 70 of them defected to Jabhat al-Nusra immediately after crossing the border into Syria.
In January 2014, despairing at the lack of progress, John Brennan, the director of the CIA, summoned American and Sunni Arab intelligence chiefs from throughout the Middle East to a secret meeting in Washington, with the aim of persuading Saudi Arabia to stop supporting extremist fighters in Syria. 'The Saudis told us they were happy to listen,' the JCS adviser said, 'so everyone sat around in Washington to hear Brennan tell them that they had to get on board with the so-called moderates. His message was that if everyone in the region stopped supporting al-Nusra and Isis their ammunition and weapons would dry up, and the moderates would win out.' Brennan's message was ignored by the Saudis, the adviser said, who 'went back home and increased their efforts with the extremists and asked us for more technical support. And we say OK, and so it turns out that we end up reinforcing the extremists.'
But the Saudis were far from the only problem: American intelligence had accumulated intercept and human intelligence demonstrating that the Erdoğan government had been supporting Jabhat al-Nusra for years, and was now doing the same for Islamic State. 'We can handle the Saudis,' the adviser said. 'We can handle the Muslim Brotherhood. You can argue that the whole balance in the Middle East is based on a form of mutually assured destruction between Israel and the rest of the Middle East, and Turkey can disrupt the balance '' which is Erdoğan's dream. We told him we wanted him to shut down the pipeline of foreign jihadists flowing into Turkey. But he is dreaming big '' of restoring the Ottoman Empire '' and he did not realise the extent to which he could be successful in this.'
*
One of the constants in US affairs since the fall of the Soviet Union has been a military-to-military relationship with Russia. After 1991 the US spent billions of dollars to help Russia secure its nuclear weapons complex, including a highly secret joint operation to remove weapons-grade uranium from unsecured storage depots in Kazakhstan. Joint programmes to monitor the security of weapons-grade materials continued for the next two decades. During the American war on Afghanistan, Russia provided overflight rights for US cargo carriers and tankers, as well as access for the flow of weapons, ammunition, food and water the US war machine needed daily. Russia's military provided intelligence on Osama bin Laden's whereabouts and helped the US negotiate rights to use an airbase in Kyrgyzstan. The Joint Chiefs have been in communication with their Russian counterparts throughout the Syrian war, and the ties between the two militaries start at the top. In August, a few weeks before his retirement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Dempsey made a farewell visit to the headquarters of the Irish Defence Forces in Dublin and told his audience there that he had made a point while in office to keep in touch with the chief of the Russian General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov. 'I've actually suggested to him that we not end our careers as we began them,' Dempsey said '' one a tank commander in West Germany, the other in the east.
When it comes to tackling Islamic State, Russia and the US have much to offer each other. Many in the IS leadership and rank and file fought for more than a decade against Russia in the two Chechen wars that began in 1994, and the Putin government is heavily invested in combating Islamist terrorism. 'Russia knows the Isis leadership,' the JCS adviser said, 'and has insights into its operational techniques, and has much intelligence to share.' In return, he said, 'we've got excellent trainers with years of experience in training foreign fighters '' experience that Russia does not have.' The adviser would not discuss what American intelligence is also believed to have: an ability to obtain targeting data, often by paying huge sums of cash, from sources within rebel militias.
A former White House adviser on Russian affairs told me that before 9/11 Putin 'used to say to us: ''We have the same nightmares about different places.'' He was referring to his problems with the caliphate in Chechnya and our early issues with al-Qaida. These days, after the Metrojet bombing over Sinai and the massacres in Paris and elsewhere, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that we actually have the same nightmares about the same places.'
Yet the Obama administration continues to condemn Russia for its support of Assad. A retired senior diplomat who served at the US embassy in Moscow expressed sympathy for Obama's dilemma as the leader of the Western coalition opposed to Russia's aggression against Ukraine: 'Ukraine is a serious issue and Obama has been handling it firmly with sanctions. But our policy vis- -vis Russia is too often unfocused. But it's not about us in Syria. It's about making sure Bashar does not lose. The reality is that Putin does not want to see the chaos in Syria spread to Jordan or Lebanon, as it has to Iraq, and he does not want to see Syria end up in the hands of Isis. The most counterproductive thing Obama has done, and it has hurt our efforts to end the fighting a lot, was to say: ''Assad must go as a premise for negotiation.''' He also echoed a view held by some in the Pentagon when he alluded to a collateral factor behind Russia's decision to launch airstrikes in support of the Syrian army on 30 September: Putin's desire to prevent Assad from suffering the same fate as Gaddafi. He had been told that Putin had watched a video of Gaddafi's savage death three times, a video that shows him being sodomised with a bayonet. The JCS adviser also told me of a US intelligence assessment which concluded that Putin had been appalled by Gaddafi's fate: 'Putin blamed himself for letting Gaddafi go, for not playing a strong role behind the scenes' at the UN when the Western coalition was lobbying to be allowed to undertake the airstrikes that destroyed the regime. 'Putin believed that unless he got engaged Bashar would suffer the same fate '' mutilated '' and he'd see the destruction of his allies in Syria.'
In a speech on 22 November, Obama declared that the 'principal targets' of the Russian airstrikes 'have been the moderate opposition'. It's a line that the administration '' along with most of the mainstream American media '' has rarely strayed from. The Russians insist that they are targeting all rebel groups that threaten Syria's stability '' including Islamic State. The Kremlin adviser on the Middle East explained in an interview that the first round of Russian airstrikes was aimed at bolstering security around a Russian airbase in Latakia, an Alawite stronghold. The strategic goal, he said, has been to establish a jihadist-free corridor from Damascus to Latakia and the Russian naval base at Tartus and then to shift the focus of bombing gradually to the south and east, with a greater concentration of bombing missions over IS-held territory. Russian strikes on IS targets in and near Raqqa were reported as early as the beginning of October; in November there were further strikes on IS positions near the historic city of Palmyra and in Idlib province, a bitterly contested stronghold on the Turkish border.
Russian incursions into Turkish airspace began soon after Putin authorised the bombings, and the Russian air force deployed electronic jamming systems that interfered with Turkish radar. The message being sent to the Turkish air force, the JCS adviser said, was: 'We're going to fly our fighter planes where we want and when we want and jam your radar. Do not fuck with us. Putin was letting the Turks know what they were up against.' Russia's aggression led to Turkish complaints and Russian denials, along with more aggressive border patrolling by the Turkish air force. There were no significant incidents until 24 November, when two Turkish F-16 fighters, apparently acting under more aggressive rules of engagement, shot down a Russian Su-24M jet that had crossed into Turkish airspace for no more than 17 seconds. In the days after the fighter was shot down, Obama expressed support for Erdoğan, and after they met in private on 1 December he told a press conference that his administration remained 'very much committed to Turkey's security and its sovereignty'. He said that as long as Russia remained allied with Assad, 'a lot of Russian resources are still going to be targeted at opposition groups '... that we support '... So I don't think we should be under any illusions that somehow Russia starts hitting only Isil targets. That's not happening now. It was never happening. It's not going to be happening in the next several weeks.'
The Kremlin adviser on the Middle East, like the Joint Chiefs and the DIA, dismisses the 'moderates' who have Obama's support, seeing them as extremist Islamist groups that fight alongside Jabhat al-Nusra and IS ('There's no need to play with words and split terrorists into moderate and not moderate,' Putin said in a speech on 22 October). The American generals see them as exhausted militias that have been forced to make an accommodation with Jabhat al-Nusra or IS in order to survive. At the end of 2014, J¼rgen Todenh¶fer, a German journalist who was allowed to spend ten days touring IS-held territory in Iraq and Syria, told CNN that the IS leadership 'are all laughing about the Free Syrian Army. They don't take them for serious. They say: ''The best arms sellers we have are the FSA. If they get a good weapon, they sell it to us.'' They didn't take them for serious. They take for serious Assad. They take for serious, of course, the bombs. But they fear nothing, and FSA doesn't play a role.'
*
Putin's bombing campaign provoked a series of anti-Russia articles in the American press. On 25 October, the New York Times reported, citing Obama administration officials, that Russian submarines and spy ships were 'aggressively' operating near the undersea cables that carry much of the world's internet traffic '' although, as the article went on to acknowledge, there was 'no evidence yet' of any Russian attempt actually to interfere with that traffic. Ten days earlier the Times published a summary of Russian intrusions into its former Soviet satellite republics, and described the Russian bombing in Syria as being 'in some respects a return to the ambitious military moves of the Soviet past'. The report did not note that the Assad administration had invited Russia to intervene, nor did it mention the US bombing raids inside Syria that had been underway since the previous September, without Syria's approval. An October op-ed in the same paper by Michael McFaul, Obama's ambassador to Russia between 2012 and 2014, declared that the Russian air campaign was attacking 'everyone except the Islamic State'. The anti-Russia stories did not abate after the Metrojet disaster, for which Islamic State claimed credit. Few in the US government and media questioned why IS would target a Russian airliner, along with its 224 passengers and crew, if Moscow's air force was attacking only the Syrian 'moderates'.
Economic sanctions, meanwhile, are still in effect against Russia for what a large number of Americans consider Putin's war crimes in Ukraine, as are US Treasury Department sanctions against Syria and against those Americans who do business there. The New York Times, in a report on sanctions in late November, revived an old and groundless assertion, saying that the Treasury's actions 'emphasise an argument that the administration has increasingly been making about Mr Assad as it seeks to press Russia to abandon its backing for him: that although he professes to be at war with Islamist terrorists, he has a symbiotic relationship with the Islamic State that has allowed it to thrive while he has clung to power.'
*
The four core elements of Obama's Syria policy remain intact today: an insistence that Assad must go; that no anti-IS coalition with Russia is possible; that Turkey is a steadfast ally in the war against terrorism; and that there really are significant moderate opposition forces for the US to support. The Paris attacks on 13 November that killed 130 people did not change the White House's public stance, although many European leaders, including Fran§ois Hollande, advocated greater co-operation with Russia and agreed to co-ordinate more closely with its air force; there was also talk of the need to be more flexible about the timing of Assad's exit from power. On 24 November, Hollande flew to Washington to discuss how France and the US could collaborate more closely in the fight against Islamic State. At a joint press conference at the White House, Obama said he and Hollande had agreed that 'Russia's strikes against the moderate opposition only bolster the Assad regime, whose brutality has helped to fuel the rise' of IS. Hollande didn't go that far but he said that the diplomatic process in Vienna would 'lead to Bashar al-Assad's departure '... a government of unity is required.' The press conference failed to deal with the far more urgent impasse between the two men on the matter of Erdoğan. Obama defended Turkey's right to defend its borders; Hollande said it was 'a matter of urgency' for Turkey to take action against terrorists. The JCS adviser told me that one of Hollande's main goals in flying to Washington had been to try to persuade Obama to join the EU in a mutual declaration of war against Islamic State. Obama said no. The Europeans had pointedly not gone to Nato, to which Turkey belongs, for such a declaration. 'Turkey is the problem,' the JCS adviser said.
Assad, naturally, doesn't accept that a group of foreign leaders should be deciding on his future. Imad Moustapha, now Syria's ambassador to China, was dean of the IT faculty at the University of Damascus, and a close aide of Assad's, when he was appointed in 2004 as the Syrian ambassador to the US, a post he held for seven years. Moustapha is known still to be close to Assad, and can be trusted to reflect what he thinks. He told me that for Assad to surrender power would mean capitulating to 'armed terrorist groups' and that ministers in a national unity government '' such as was being proposed by the Europeans '' would be seen to be beholden to the foreign powers that appointed them. These powers could remind the new president 'that they could easily replace him as they did before to the predecessor '... Assad owes it to his people: he could not leave because the historic enemies of Syria are demanding his departure.'
*
Moustapha also brought up China, an ally of Assad that has allegedly committed more than $30 billion to postwar reconstruction in Syria. China, too, is worried about Islamic State. 'China regards the Syrian crisis from three perspectives,' he said: international law and legitimacy; global strategic positioning; and the activities of jihadist Uighurs, from Xinjiang province in China's far west. Xinjiang borders eight nations '' Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India '' and, in China's view, serves as a funnel for terrorism around the world and within China. Many Uighur fighters now in Syria are known to be members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement '' an often violent separatist organisation that seeks to establish an Islamist Uighur state in Xinjiang. 'The fact that they have been aided by Turkish intelligence to move from China into Syria through Turkey has caused a tremendous amount of tension between the Chinese and Turkish intelligence,' Moustapha said. 'China is concerned that the Turkish role of supporting the Uighur fighters in Syria may be extended in the future to support Turkey's agenda in Xinjiang. We are already providing the Chinese intelligence service with information regarding these terrorists and the routes they crossed from on travelling into Syria.'
Moustapha's concerns were echoed by a Washington foreign affairs analyst who has closely followed the passage of jihadists through Turkey and into Syria. The analyst, whose views are routinely sought by senior government officials, told me that 'Erdoğan has been bringing Uighurs into Syria by special transport while his government has been agitating in favour of their struggle in China. Uighur and Burmese Muslim terrorists who escape into Thailand somehow get Turkish passports and are then flown to Turkey for transit into Syria.' He added that there was also what amounted to another 'rat line' that was funnelling Uighurs '' estimates range from a few hundred to many thousands over the years '' from China into Kazakhstan for eventual relay to Turkey, and then to IS territory in Syria. 'US intelligence,' he said, 'is not getting good information about these activities because those insiders who are unhappy with the policy are not talking to them.' He also said it was 'not clear' that the officials responsible for Syrian policy in the State Department and White House 'get it'. IHS-Jane's Defence Weekly estimated in October that as many as five thousand Uighur would-be fighters have arrived in Turkey since 2013, with perhaps two thousand moving on to Syria. Moustapha said he has information that 'up to 860 Uighur fighters are currently in Syria.'
China's growing concern about the Uighur problem and its link to Syria and Islamic State have preoccupied Christina Lin, a scholar who dealt with Chinese issues a decade ago while serving in the Pentagon under Donald Rumsfeld. 'I grew up in Taiwan and came to the Pentagon as a critic of China,' Lin told me. 'I used to demonise the Chinese as ideologues, and they are not perfect. But over the years as I see them opening up and evolving, I have begun to change my perspective. I see China as a potential partner for various global challenges especially in the Middle East. There are many places '' Syria for one '' where the United States and China must co-operate in regional security and counterterrorism.' A few weeks earlier, she said, China and India, Cold War enemies that 'hated each other more than China and the United States hated each other, conducted a series of joint counterterrorism exercises. And today China and Russia both want to co-operate on terrorism issues with the United States.' As China sees it, Lin suggests, Uighur militants who have made their way to Syria are being trained by Islamic State in survival techniques intended to aid them on covert return trips to the Chinese mainland, for future terrorist attacks there. 'If Assad fails,' Lin wrote in a paper published in September, 'jihadi fighters from Russia's Chechnya, China's Xinjiang and India's Kashmir will then turn their eyes towards the home front to continue jihad, supported by a new and well-sourced Syrian operating base in the heart of the Middle East.'
*
General Dempsey and his colleagues on the Joint Chiefs of Staff kept their dissent out of bureaucratic channels, and survived in office. General Michael Flynn did not. 'Flynn incurred the wrath of the White House by insisting on telling the truth about Syria,' said Patrick Lang, a retired army colonel who served for nearly a decade as the chief Middle East civilian intelligence officer for the DIA. 'He thought truth was the best thing and they shoved him out. He wouldn't shut up.' Flynn told me his problems went beyond Syria. 'I was shaking things up at the DIA '' and not just moving deckchairs on the Titanic. It was radical reform. I felt that the civilian leadership did not want to hear the truth. I suffered for it, but I'm OK with that.' In a recent interview in Der Spiegel, Flynn was blunt about Russia's entry into the Syrian war: 'We have to work constructively with Russia. Whether we like it or not, Russia made a decision to be there and to act militarily. They are there, and this has dramatically changed the dynamic. So you can't say Russia is bad; they have to go home. It's not going to happen. Get real.'
Few in the US Congress share this view. One exception is Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat from Hawaii and member of the House Armed Services Committee who, as a major in the Army National Guard, served two tours in the Middle East. In an interview on CNN in October she said: 'The US and the CIA should stop this illegal and counterproductive war to overthrow the Syrian government of Assad and should stay focused on fighting against '... the Islamic extremist groups.'
'Does it not concern you,' the interviewer asked, 'that Assad's regime has been brutal, killing at least 200,000 and maybe 300,000 of his own people?'
'The things that are being said about Assad right now,' Gabbard responded, 'are the same that were said about Gaddafi, they are the same things that were said about Saddam Hussein by those who were advocating for the US to '... overthrow those regimes '... If it happens here in Syria '... we will end up in a situation with far greater suffering, with far greater persecution of religious minorities and Christians in Syria, and our enemy will be far stronger.'
'So what you are saying,' the interviewer asked, 'is that the Russian military involvement in the air and on-the-ground Iranian involvement '' they are actually doing the US a favour?'
'They are working toward defeating our common enemy,' Gabbard replied.
Gabbard later told me that many of her colleagues in Congress, Democrats and Republicans, have thanked her privately for speaking out. 'There are a lot of people in the general public, and even in the Congress, who need to have things clearly explained to them,' Gabbard said. 'But it's hard when there's so much deception about what is going on. The truth is not out.' It's unusual for a politician to challenge her party's foreign policy directly and on the record. For someone on the inside, with access to the most secret intelligence, speaking openly and critically can be a career-ender. Informed dissent can be transmitted by means of a trust relationship between a reporter and those on the inside, but it almost invariably includes no signature. The dissent exists, however. The longtime consultant to the Joint Special Operations Command could not hide his contempt when I asked him for his view of the US's Syria policy. 'The solution in Syria is right before our nose,' he said. 'Our primary threat is Isis and all of us '' the United States, Russia and China '' need to work together. Bashar will remain in office and, after the country is stabilised there will be an election. There is no other option.'
The military's indirect pathway to Assad disappeared with Dempsey's retirement in September. His replacement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joseph Dunford, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in July, two months before assuming office. 'If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I'd have to point to Russia,' Dunford said. 'If you look at their behaviour, it's nothing short of alarming.' In October, as chairman, Dunford dismissed the Russian bombing efforts in Syria, telling the same committee that Russia 'is not fighting' IS. He added that America must 'work with Turkish partners to secure the northern border of Syria' and 'do all we can to enable vetted Syrian opposition forces' '' i.e. the 'moderates' '' to fight the extremists.
Obama now has a more compliant Pentagon. There will be no more indirect challenges from the military leadership to his policy of disdain for Assad and support for Erdoğan. Dempsey and his associates remain mystified by Obama's continued public defence of Erdoğan, given the American intelligence community's strong case against him '' and the evidence that Obama, in private, accepts that case. 'We know what you're doing with the radicals in Syria,' the president told Erdoğan's intelligence chief at a tense meeting at the White House (as I reported in the LRB of 17 April 2014). The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington's leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey's support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?
Elections 2016
How stupid is it to think that Trump is sending Muslims over the edge, that means Muslims are fucking stupid, thanks Democrats
Hillary Clinton refused to share Democratic debate restroom with a Martin O'Malley staffer | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 16:41
The mystery surrounding why Hillary Clinton was late getting back on the stage at the last Democratic debate seems to have been solved.
The former first lady apologized to the live television audience Saturday for returning to the Manchester, New Hampshire stage late with just a simple 'sorry'.
It's been revealed that Clinton returned late because she was using the restroom during the commercial break at St Anselm College. She reportedly had exactly one minute and 45 seconds to walk out of the gymnasium to the women's restroom, and exactly the same amount of time to return back to the stage.
However, instead of using the restroom right away to get back to the stage on-time, Clinton waited for it to be completely cleared out so that she wouldn't have to share the bathroom that had a few stalls available for usage, The Boston Globe reported.
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Hillary raised her hands as she walked back on stage several moments after the debate had returned from commercial break
Long line? Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was late to get onstage after a commercial break during Saturday night's debate in Manchester, New Hampshire due to a trip to the restroom
Clinton, who seemingly displayed what her competition would call 'not your average American behavior,' had a staffer stationed strategically outside of the restroom to presumably avoid having to share, the Globe reported.
The unnamed staffer reportedly allowed Lis Smith, the deputy campaign manager for former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, to use the restroom moments before Clinton arrived.
Smith is the girlfriend of disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who was forced to resign from his post in 2008 after spending more than $15,000 on prostitutes.
It's unclear why Clinton allegedly waited for the restroom to be completely cleared out since it included multiple stalls, and was a little further away than the men's restroom from the debate stage at the school.
Lis Smith (above), the deputy campaign manager for former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, beat Hillary Clinton to the restroom during the five minute long commercial break. Clinton reportedly refused to share the bathroom with Smith, causing her to be late to the debate stage
Lis Smith, the deputy campaign manager for former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, is also the girlfriend of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (pictured together in 2014)
Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton, declined to comment for the story but told the Globe that there wasn't a security reason preventing her from sharing the restroom.
As the debate started again after the five-minute long commercial break, ABC News hosts proceeded with their questioning about the economy without the former secretary of state.
The audience applauded as the Democratic front-runner walked up to the empty podium as moderator David Muir asked another candidate a question.
This isn't the first time Clinton was late returning back to the debate stage from a commercial break.
During the first Democratic debate in Las Vegas in October, the former senator said 'You know, it does take me a little longer,' a comment referencing that it can take women longer to use the restroom than men sometimes.
Clinton walked back into place as ABC News anchor David Muir asked a question about income inequality. Once at the podium, she offered a quick 'Sorry' without explaining her absence
Clinton's brief absence at the Democratic debate explained - The Boston Globe
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 16:41
Hillary Clinton spoke during the Democratic presidential primary debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.
Coverage of the Saturday night Democratic debate has focused on Bernie Sanders' apology to Hillary Clinton for his staff's poor judgment in viewing her campaign's proprietary data. But Clinton issued a ''sorry'' of her own '-- although for a far less serious matter.
Clinton apologized to a live television audience for returning late from the ladies' room after the break.
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The reason is one many women are familiar with: An unexpected line for the loo. While Clinton waited for the ladies' room to clear out, time ticked down, and the debate organizers allowed the show to go on without her.
What viewers didn't know was the sole women's bathroom was a little further than the men's room from the stage. And when the debate went to a long commercial break Clinton lost out to Lis Smith, the caffeine-guzzling deputy campaign manager for former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, who beat her to the restroom. Smith declined to comment for the story.
A top Clinton staffer who was strategically posted outside the bathroom (presumably to avoid these kinds of situations) gave Smith a verbal OK to make a quick pit stop, according to one person familiar with the ladies' line.
Top moments in the Democratic debateLittle happened to alter the trajectory of the Democratic contest, but there were memorable moments.
The women's room included multiple stalls, so it's not entirely clear why Clinton and Smith couldn't both use the facilities. Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill declined to comment for the story, but said there wasn't a security reason preventing the former secretary of state from sharing a bathroom.
Nevertheless, the hold up contributed to Clinton failing to make it back to the stage on time.
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When Clinton finally returned, moderator David Muir was already asking another candidate a question. But the audience applauded as the front-runner walked up to her erstwhile empty podium.
Clinton said simply: ''Sorry.''
Annie Linskey can be reached at annie.linskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @annielinskey.
Millennials
SHOW ITEM-"What'd You Say?": A Quick Dip into Millennial... | @MTVInsights
Sun, 20 Dec 2015 20:59
By Jillian Curran, MTV Insights
After spending countless hours on social media and talking to Millennials themselves, it's impossible not to notice the rapid evolution of youth slang and how closely it is tied to the heartbeat of the generation. Here are a few emerging trends that speak to how they define what popular is today, living in the moment and their fratty sense of humor.
The Chill Hustle: We noticed two sets of words emerging simultaneously that describe the perfect combination of cool. One set comprised of words like, ''chilla'', ''chillax,'' ''straight chilla'' and at the same time words like ''hustle'', ''on my grind'', ''Boss'' were popping. Put those two together and you get ''the chill hustle''. These words describe someone who is motivated, successful, has their hands in a million things but can still have a good time. They make success look easy. For Millennials who thrive on being self-made, these words pop up in tweets and everyday speak to show how hard they are working and their jack-of-all-trades ambition. At the same time, they want to show they are cool, calm and collected and look damn good while their making moves. As one intern Jaclyn told us, ''I have so much going on, but you always want to look chill. The worst thing in the world is to be called stressed!''
YOLO (you only live once) popularized by Drake's song ''The Motto'' was a huge hit among Millennials. At first we saw people declaring this as their generational anthem, some tattooing it on their wrists or hashtagging it on every tweet; YOLO felt like it encapsulated Milennials' care-free attitude and drive to live it up. But with anything, the oversaturation of YOLO has spurred an equally popular backlash. People have used YOLO to call out insignificant events or poke fun at people who are acting ridiculous. Either way, YOLO's moment in time shows this generation's desire to experience everything before age 30 and waste no time or opportunity.
Cool Story, Bro: We've seen a new kind of Frat Bro humor emerging, used to call out anyone that is acting dumb or foolish; mocking college frat culture. If past generation's humor was more cynical or snarky, this generation is ruled by an undercutting wit, like a smart slap. Cool story, bro is a quick response to call out a friend and get the upper hand on the joke. ''Cool story, bro. The best part was when you stopped talking''
Other variations of this lingo are:
o Soft : ''Yo bro, You're eating a pinkberry? Stop being so soft.''
o That's so Frat: ''Yo, is that dip spit on my sperries? #thatsofrat''
o She can get it: Guys have this faux-cockiness, so instead of saying ''I'm into this chick'', it's ''Yo bro, Jenn can get it.'' It's like I'm so awesome, she can get with me!
In addition to some trends, here's a quick list of random and awesomely funny youth speak. Who knows, some of these could show up in the next installment of Webster's Dictionary.
N.A.R.P (Not a Real Person): ''Snooki is such a NARP''#Boom: Used after a good comment or joke, an extra exclamation. '' Making things happen today. #BOOMWifed- Up: You're guy friend hangs out with his lady too much. '' Kevin can't hang out tonight, he's wifed' up''Getting Swole: For those who spend too much time in the gym. Short for swollen. ''Yo Bro, you're so swole!White Girl Wasted: For those who have a little too much to drink. '' Damn, I got so white girl wasted last night.''Selfie: Turn your camera around and take a pic, you got yourself a selfie. Some of our panelists have told us they will send selfies to their friends if they have nothing else to talk about.Mupload: Mobile UploadRecent commentsPlease enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Blog comments powered by Notesthepandabaker reblogged this from oldfilmsflicker and added:This is all so painful to read.
Miss Universe
Miss Puerto Rico suspended after anti-Muslim rant - NY Daily News
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 05:26
Donald Kravitz/Getty ImagesMiss Puerto Rico Destiny Velez has been suspended for her anti-Muslim comments.There's nothing pretty about this beauty queen's comments.
Miss Puerto Rico Destiny Velez has been suspended indefinitely from Miss America competition after she fired off a series of vicious anti-Muslim tweets in response to the "We Are All Muslim" protests led by director Michael Moore.
The 20-year-old Velez directed her angry tweets at the director '-- who created a buzz last week when he held up a sign reading "We Are All Muslim" outside of Trump Tower.The 20-year-old Velez directed her angry tweets at the film director '-- who created a buzz last week when he held up a sign reading "We Are All Muslim" outside of Trump Tower and shared an open letter online claiming that, unlike Trump, "we are not a country of angry white guys."
Velez's remarks prompted the Miss Puerto Rico Organization to issue a statement calling her comments a poor representation of "the integrity and esteem of our program."In her tweets, Velez said, "Muslims use our constitution to terrorize USA & plant gas stations," before later adding that Muslims "terrorize this country & many others."
Velez was suspended after she fired off a series of vicious anti-Muslim tweets in response to the "We Are All Muslim" protests led by director Michael Moore, pictured.Velez's remarks prompted the Miss Puerto Rico Organization to issue a statement calling her comments a poor representation of "the integrity and esteem of our program."
Velez apologized for her comments shortly after."Miss Velez's actions were in contradiction to the organization, and therefore as a consequence of her actions, she has been suspended indefinitely," the statement read. "The Miss Puerto Rico Organization will not tolerate any actions or behavior contrary to the Miss Puerto Rico Organization."
Velez apologized for her comments shortly after with a statement of her own.
"I stand up against bullying," she said. "The last thing I wanted to do was to bully anyone."
"I apologize to anyone who felt offended with my words."
Lybia
US Special Forces thrown out of Libya after secret mission revealed - Telegraph
Sun, 20 Dec 2015 21:54
"While in Libya, members of a local militia demanded that the US personnel depart,'' one official said. ''In an effort to avoid conflict, they did leave, without incident."
' Britain 'moving towards military action against Isil in Libya'
The timing of the incident raised questions about the purpose of the American mission. The official said the troops were there ''to foster relationships and enhance communication with their counterparts''.
But on Wednesday, representatives of the two factions in Libya's civil war signed a power-sharing deal, though it has yet to be ratified by the two rival parliaments.
At the same time, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has been using the crisis to establish a presence, and earlier this month briefly seized control of the town of Sabratha in western Libya near the air base where the Americans landed.
That the air base exists at all is a sign of the complexity of the Libyan war. Most of the western Libyan coastal zone is controlled by the Tripoli-based parliament, which is dominated by Islamists opposed to the internationally recognised goverment, based in the east.
But the air base, which has been used by bombers targeting Tripoli forces, sits in the middle of this zone, as well as being up against Isil territory.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has been severely embarrassed by the chaos in Libya, site of his premiership's major military intervention. He said Britain would do "everything we can" to support a new unity government, including training troops.
However, the head of the Tripoli-based government said it still not back the deal. Nouri Abusahmein said he was in favour of an agreement, but that this one had been negotiated prematurely.
Raw
U.S. Says Hacker Stole IDs and Unreleased Scripts From Host of Celebrities - The New York Times
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:27
An email popped into the inbox of a famous radio host this month, sent by a young man from the Bahamas, with an offer he hoped would turn the head of even an industry veteran: scripts for the first six episodes of a coming season of a hit television drama, the last of which was currently being filmed.
Prices were discussed. A video chat was arranged with an interested buyer. The man, Alonzo Knowles, 23, sent a few pages from the drama script and the script for an unreleased comedy film, but he promised a cache of even rarer entertainment industry loot, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Among the items he offered to sell were scripts for three comedy films, a hip-hop biopic and another television show; Social Security numbers for actors and professional athletes; and, according to the complaint, sex tapes of celebrities, including one Mr. Knowles later passed along that had been emailed from a television host and columnist to another radio host.
''This is just a sample of things I can get,'' Mr. Knowles wrote when he sent a sex tape to the potential buyer, who was in fact an undercover investigator. ''I have more stuff along these lines and can get more if you're interested.''
Continue reading the main storyDocument: Criminal Complaint Against Alonzo KnowlesOn Tuesday, federal prosecutors charged Mr. Knowles with felony criminal copyright infringement and identity theft in a scheme that they say pried open the email accounts of a host of celebrities. In the process, the complaint charges, he gained access to a trove of highly guarded entertainment industry secrets sure to rattle the 130 celebrities whose email addresses and phone numbers he had, and many others.
The United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, said in a statement: ''This case has all of the elements of the kind of blockbuster script the defendant, Alonzo Knowles, is alleged to have stolen: hacks into celebrities' private emails, identity theft, and attempts to sell victims' information to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, these circumstances are all too real.''
The scheme was simple, but clever. The complaint describes the ease with which Mr. Knowles hacked into celebrities' email accounts, accumulating unreleased scripts, sexually explicit images and videos, and personal identification information.
Coming about a year after confidential information from Sony Pictures Entertainment was stolen and released online, the charges were sure to renew concerns about email security in the entertainment industry.
Mr. Knowles, who went by the name Jeff Moxey on email, acknowledged to an undercover investigator that it was difficult to hack someone directly when he is ''going after a high-profile celebrity,'' according to the complaint. So instead, he looked through photos for friends of the celebrity, and then hacked the friends' accounts in order to find the celebrity's personal information.
Then he sent celebrities a fake text message that made it seem as though their account had been hacked, and some wrote back with their password, the complaint said. If he had ''access to their computer,'' he told the undercover investigator, he simply sent them a virus and infiltrated their computer.
He found a trove of ''exclusive content'' that he claimed was ''really profitable'' and worth ''hundreds of thousands of dollars,'' the complaint said. He first offered it to the radio host over email, suggesting that the host turn the scripts of the television drama into a book and make $2 million off the sales.
Mr. Knowles obtained 30 unreleased tracks off a future album of ''a very popular A-list celebrity,'' he told the undercover investigator.
He also gained access to sexually explicit images and a video from the email inbox of another radio host, which had been sent to that person from a television host and columnist, the complaint said.
None of the victims were named in the complaint.
The scheme began to unravel when the radio host, to whom Mr. Knowles reached out as a potential buyer, contacted the executive producer of the drama series whose scripts Mr. Knowles had stolen, according to the complaint. Representatives of the network then reached out to Department of Homeland Security investigators, who had the radio host arrange a call between Mr. Knowles and the undercover agent.
On Monday, the complaint says, Mr. Knowles tried to sell the agent 15 scripts for $80,000, and also provided the Social Security numbers of three professional athletes and a movie actress.
He appeared in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon and was ordered detained. His lawyer, Clay Kaminsky, declined to comment on the charges, each of which carries a maximum possible penalty of five years in prison.
Follow The New York Times's Metro coverage on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the New York Today newsletter.
A version of this article appears in print on December 23, 2015, on page A17 of the New York edition with the headline: U.S. Says Hacker Stole IDs and Scripts From Celebrities.
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Dr. Peter Vincent Pry wikipedia - Google Search
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:20
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EMPs-Letter to President Barack Obama | EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:19
Letter to President Obama FINAL May 21st, 2015
President Barack ObamaPresident of the United StatesThe White House1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NWWashington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,We need your personal intervention to provide for the protection of the American people against an existential threat posed by natural and manmade electromagnetic pulse (EMP). The consequent failure of critical infrastructure that sustain our lives is a major national security threat and would be catastrophic to our people and our nation.
The national Intelligence Council, which speaks for the entire U.S. Intelligence Community, published in its 2012 unclassified Global Trends 2030 report that an EMP is one of only eight Black Swan events that could change the course of global civilization by or before 2030. No official study denies the view that an EMP is a potentially catastrophic societal threat that needs to be addressed urgently. America is not prepared to be without water, electricity, telephones, computer networks, heating, air conditioning, transportation (cars, subways, buses, airplanes), and banking.
All the benefits of our just-in-time ecomony would come to a deadly halt, including the production of petroleum products, clothing, groceries and medicine. Think about cities without electricity to pump water to their residents.
Some signatures to this letter are from people who-like a growing number of Americans-have only recently learned about the EMP threat and find it hard to believe that our government has permitted it to continue. They joined in signing because they, in representing those same Americans, wish to show broad support for qualified experts ending this vulnerability as quickly as possible.
An EMP is like a super-energetic radio wave from natural or manmade causes that can damage and destroy electronic systems across vast regions, potentially across the entire continental United States, across Europe, or any other country that has not hardened its electric power grid. Russia and China have substantially hardened their electric grids. Other nations are beginning to harden theirs. But the United States has done little or nothing to counter this threat.
We urge you immediately to issue a Presidential Study Directive (PSD) directing your National Security Advisor to lead a focused interagency effort to provide, in connection with your current budget execution activities and future budget requests, a specific program to address this natural and manmade threat. In particular, this PSD should direct that hardening technology, well known in the Department of Defense, be exploited by all agencies with responsibility for maintaining the electric power grid. It is imperative that plans are immediately implemented to protect America's at least 100 nuclear reactors and their co-located spent fuel storage facilities from an EMP. It should also take into account bipartisan congressional initiatives, such as the Secure High-Voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage (SHIELD) Act and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA).
A coronal mass ejection from the Sun can generate a natural EMP with catastrophic consequences. A geomagnetic super-storm in 1859 called the Carrington Event caused worldwide damage and fires in telegraph stations and other primitive electronics, which at the time were not necessary for societal survival. In contrast, today a Carrington-class geomagnetic super-storm-expected every century or so-could collapse electric grids and destroy critical infrastructure everywhere on Earth.
We know it will happen; we just don't know when, but we know humanity can't risk being unprepared. In July 2012, we missed a repeat by only a few days when a major solar emission passed through the Earth's orbit just after planet Earth passed. NASA recently warned that the likelihood of such a geomagnetic super-storm is 12 percent per decade; so it is virtually certain that a natural EMP catastrophe shall occur within our lifetime or that of our children.
As we have known for over a half-century from actual test date, even more damaging EMP effects would be produced by any nuclear weapon exploded a hundred miles or so above the United States, possibly disabling everything that depends on electronics for control or operations within a line of sight from the explosion. Electricity networks could be shut down indefinitely until major repairs could be made, and this could take months, even years. Cascading failures from even a lower altitude nuclear burst over the northeastern U.S. could indefinitely shut down the electric grid that produces three quarters of the U.S. electric power. Computers would be incapacitated. Supply chains would shut down. Imagine Hurricane Sandy affecting a much larger area without the immediate physical damage but also without any hope for relief supplies.
Russia and China have already developed nuclear EMP weapons and many believe others possess EMP weapons including North Korea and soon Iran-and likely their terrorist surrogates. For example, they could launch nuclear-armed short or medium range missiles from near our coasts, possibly hiding the actual sponsor from retaliation. North Korea and Iran have tested their missiles in ways that can execute EMP attacks from ships or from satellites that approach the U.S. from the couth where our ballistic missile warning systems are minimal.
The technology to mitigate these effects is well known and used by the Department of Defense for decades to harden our strategic nuclear systems to assure that the U.S. has the ability to retaliate should we be attacked. But such technology and commitment to ongoing maintenance have not been used to harden our critical infrastructure. In addition, our ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems have not yet been focused on this problem. For example, you could reinforce your recent Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the Philippines by jointly installing an Aegis Ashore BMD site in the Philippines-like those being placed in Romania and Poland-to support the defense of the Philippines and to provide advanced warning and information to support our homeland defense.
We urge that the above mentioned PSD assure funding to harden the critical elements of our electric power grid and especially our nuclear facilities to assure their recovery from either a natural or manmade EMP event. These efforts can be guided by a mainstream scientific consensus, first established by the congressionally mandated EMP Commission, which examined nuclear and natural EMP and delivered its first classified report to Congress in 2004 and its final unclassified report in 2008.
The National Academy of Sciences subsequently independently re-examined the EMP Commission's warnings about the consequences of a geomagnetic super-storm and arrived at the same conclusion and endorsed the recommendations of the EMP Commission. Several other nonpartisan reviews have also concurred. The EMP Commission recommended a cost-effective plan, endorsed by all subsequent U.S. government studies, to protect, within a few years, U.S. critical infrastructures from the worst effects of EMP. The Commission estimated a one-time cost of $2 billion for EMP protection of the national electric grid, which is about what the U.S. gives to Pakistan every year in foreign aid.
In addition, we urge that you PSD include near-term improvements to our operating ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems to assure they can defend against the manmade EMP threats as quickly as possible-before the electric grid can be hardened. Our already operating Aegis BMD systems (over 30 ships at sea and Aegis Ashore Sites in Hawaii and being deployed in Romania and Poland) and Ground-Based Interceptors (on Vandenberg Air Force Base, California) can be used to counter the threats from the South and from vessels off our coasts, with minor modifications and if their crews are trained to do so. No additional development costs are necessary and deployment costs would be less than approved for our overseas deployments to defend our European allies against Iranian ballistic missiles.
Mr. President, both Republicans and Democrats have known how to deal with this issue for at least thirty years but have done nothing about it. Bipartisan efforts in Congress have failed in spite of the fact that neither technology nor expense should be an issue. Dealing effectively with this issue is a matter of achieving the needed political leadership and will. The American people need you to lead the efforts to protect our nation from an EMP catastrophe. We urge you to pursue our request.
Sincerely yours,
Dr. George Baker '' Former U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency EMP Program Director, Professor Emeritus on Critical Infrastructure Protection, James Madison University
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) (Rtd.) '' Father of the Congressional EMP Commission
Jen Bawden '' Task Force on National and Homeland Security and Member of the Steering Committee of the Secure the Grid Coalition
Senator Rudy Boschwitz (R-MN) (Rtd.) '' Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, President G.H.W. Bush's Emissary to Ethiopia (1991)
Ambassador Henry F. Cooper '' Former Director of the Strategic Defense Initiative, Chief U.S. Negotiator in the Geneva Defense and Space Talks, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Strategic and Space Systems
Thomas Donnelly '' Co-Director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies and AEI
Fritz Ermarth '' Former Chairman National Intelligence Council, Director of National Security Programs, Nixon Center
Frank Gaffney, Jr. '' Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy
Jerry Goodwin '' President of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) New York Metropolitan Chapter
Dr. William R. Graham '' Former Chair of the EMP Commission, Science Advisor to President Reagan, Director of White House Science and Technology Policy, and NASA Administrator
Professor Sam Hayes (Rtd.) '' Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking, Emeritus, Harvard Business School
David Hunt '' Former CIA Senior Clandestine Officer and Former FBI Chief of Station, NYC
John Kappenman '' Space Weather Consultant to Department of Defense, Homeland Security, and EMP Commission; Designer ACE Satellite and EMP Blocking Devices; President, Storm Analysis Consultants
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) (Rtd.) '' Co-chair of AEI's American Internationalism Project
Robert Laidley '' President, The Atlantic and Conservation Institute
Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) (Rtd.) '' Co-chair of AEI's American Internationalism Project
Herb London '' President of the London Center for Policy Research, New York
Vice Admiral Robert Monroe (Rtd.) '' Former Director U.S. DEfense Nuclear Agency
Major General Robert Newman (Rtd.) '' Former Adjunct General of Virginia
Michael O'Hanlon '' Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, specializing in defense and foreign policy issues
Dr. Robert L. Pfaltzgraff '' President of the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis Inc. and Shelby Cullom Devis Professor of International Security Studies, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Danielle Pletka '' Senior Vice President for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI
Dr. Peter Vincent Pry '' Former Congressional EMP Commission, Congressional Strategic Posture Commission, House Armed Services Committee, CIA, Executive Director Task Force on National and Homeland Security
Dr. Gary J. Schmitt '' Co-Director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at AEI
Dr. George Schwab '' President of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy
Admiral James Stavridis (Rtd.) '' Dean of the Fletcher School, Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander (2009-2013)
Ambassador Kurt Volker '' Former United States Ambassador to NATO
The Hon. David M. Walker '' Former U.S. Comptroller General
Rep. Curtis Weldon (R-PA) (Rtd.) '' Former Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Homeland Security Committee; and Co-chair of the Duma-Congress Study Group, the official inter-parliamentary relationship between the United States and Russia; Sponsor of the 1998 EMP Commission Legislation
John Whitehead '' Former Senior Partner and Co-Chairman Goldman Sachs, Chairman Emeritus Brookings Institution, Former Deputy Secretary of State, Former Chairman AEA Investors, Former Chairman The International Rescue Committee, Former Chairman The Asia Society, Director of the Nature Conservancy, and Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Died February 7th, 2015
Ambassador James Woolsey '' Former Director of Central Intelligence
Copies to Administration Officials:
The Hon. Joseph Biden, Vice President of the United States
The Hon. John Kerry, Secretary of State
The Hon. Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defense
The Hon. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy
The Hon. Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security
. Bookmark the
.
Congress Just ENDED THE BAN On Medical Marijuana - Counter Current News
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:10
The federal ban on medical marijuana is finally a thing of the past. Slipped inside a major budgetary spending bill that was purported to prevent the government from shutting down, is an interesting earmarked section that finally lifts the federal ban on medical marijuana.
The relevant excerpt of bill H.R. 83 text reads as follows:
''Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana. Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (''Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research'') of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.''
Cassandra Fairbanks, of the Bipartisan Report, notes that ''The measure allows states to implement their own policies regarding medical marijuana, meaning the Department of Justice is now barred from interfering with state medical cannabis laws.''
''For a long time,'' Fairbanks explains, ''the federal government refused to respect the will of the voters in states with legalized medical marijuana, leading to raids and arrests of doctors, growers, and dispensaries.''
This bill was sponsored by Democrat representatives Dana Rohrabacher and Sam Farr. We reported on its passage last year, that was on a temporary basis. But over the summer it was approved over the summer by the House, with 242 votes to 186.
Finally, ''the Senate Appropriations Committee subsequently passed the same amendment sponsored by Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski, by a vote of 21 to 9.''
''The renewal of this amendment should bring relief for medical marijuana patients and business owners,'' Michael Collins, Deputy Director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance said. ''For decades Congress has been responsible for passing disastrous drug laws. It's encouraging to see them starting to roll back the war on drugs by allowing states to set their own medical marijuana policies.''
Earlier this year, two congressmen just filed two separate House Bills on Friday that together would legalize marijuana at the federal level. That means an effective end to the U.S. government's prohibition policy on the plant.
Representative Jared Polis (D-Colorado) recently introduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. This Bill proposes just what it sounds like. Marijuana would be legal, but regulated like alcohol. The Bill would completely remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act's schedules.
The Drug Enforcement Administration would no longer have any say or oversight in policing and regulating the plant. Instead, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, would handle regulation of legal marijuana in the same way they regulate alcohol.
Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) also introduced the separate Marijuana Tax Revenue Act, which imposes a federal excise tax for regulated marijuana. While that might sound like a huge bummer to marijuana users, it provides a big incentive for politicians to make a progressive move on legalization.
States could still enact their own, individual prohibitions, but the federal ban that exists today would be gone.
Four states as well as the District of Columbia have completely legalized recreational marijuana. Washington DC still prohibits the sale of the plant, however. But beyond that, there are 23 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Proponents of legalization say it is only a matter of time before there is federal legalization'... so what better time than now?
''While President Obama and the Justice Department have allowed the will of voters in states like Colorado and 22 other jurisdictions to move forward, small business owners, medical marijuana patients, and others who follow state laws still live with the fear that a new administration '-- or this one '-- could reverse course and turn them into criminals,'' Representative Polis explained in a statement released on Friday.
''It is time for us to replace the failed prohibition with a regulatory system that works and let states and municipalities decide for themselves if they want, or don't want, to have legal marijuana within their borders.''
Representative Blumenauer said that the federal prohibition of marijuana has been ''a failure'' and a profound waste of tax dollars that have needlessly ruined lives.
''As more states move to legalize marijuana as Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska have done,'' Blumenauer added, ''it's imperative the federal government become a full partner in building a workable and safe framework.''
(Article by M. David and Jackson Marciana)
1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 15:19
The 1993 Jack in the Box E. coli outbreak occurred when 732 people were infected with the Escherichia coli O157:H7 bacterium originating from undercooked beef patties in hamburgers.[3] The outbreak involved 73 Jack in the Box restaurants in California, Idaho, Washington and Nevada and has been described as "far and away the most infamous food poison outbreak in contemporary history."[5][6] The majority of the victims were children aged under 10-years old. Four children died and 178 other victims were left with permanent injury including kidney and brain damage.[9][11][12][13]
The wide media coverage and scale of the outbreak were responsible for "bringing the exotic-sounding bacterium out of the lab and into the public consciousness" but it was not the first E. coli O157:H7 outbreak resulting from undercooked patties. The bacterium had previously been identified in an outbreak of food poisoning in 1982 (traced to undercooked burgers sold by McDonald's restaurants in Oregon and Michigan) and prior to the Jack in the Box incident there had been 22 documented outbreaks in the United States resulting in 35 deaths.
Victims[edit]171 people required hospitalization.[15] The majority of the victims who presented symptoms and were clinically diagnosed (but not hospitalized) were children aged under 10 years old.
45 of the infected children required hospitalization, of whom 38 suffered serious kidney problems and 21 required dialysis.[16]
4 children died:
6-year-old Lauren Beth Rudolph of Southern California, who died on December 28, 1992, due to complications of an E. coli O157:H7 infection later tied to the same outbreak.[17][18][19][20]2-year-old Michael Nole of Tacoma, WA, who died on Jan. 22, 1993.[21][22]2-year-old Celina Shribbs of Mountlake Terrace, WA, who died on January 28, 1993. She became ill due to a secondary contact transmission from another child sick with E.coli.[23][24]17-month-old Riley Detwiler of Bellingham, WA, who died on February 20, 1993 following secondary contact transmission from another child sick with E.coli. The 18-month-old boy who infected Riley had spent two days in the daycare center before a clinical laboratory could return the positive test results for E. coli. His mother suspected he had E. coli, but did not tell the daycare staff for fear that he would be sent home. When the test results finally came in positive for E. coli, county health officials could not reach the child's parents in the middle of the workday. Both parents worked at Jack in the Box, where they regularly fed their son hamburgers.[23][9][25]Sources[edit]Health inspectors traced the contamination to the restaurants' "Monster Burger" sandwich which had been on a special promotion (using the slogan So good it's scary!) and sold at a discounted price. The ensuing high demand "overwhelmed" the restaurants and the product was not cooked for long enough or at a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria.[27] At a 1993 press conference the president of Foodmaker (the parent company of Jack in the Box) blamed Vons Companies Inc. (supplier of their hamburger meat) for the E. coli epidemic. However, the Jack in the Box fast-food chain knew about but disregarded Washington state laws which required burgers to be cooked to 155 °F (68 °C), the temperature necessary to completely kill E. coli. Instead, it adhered to the federal standard of 140 °F (60 °C). Had Jack in the Box followed the state cooking standard, the E. coli outbreak would have been prevented, according to court documents and experts from the Washington State Health Department.[28] Subsequent investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified five slaughterhouses in the United States and one in Canada as "the likely sources of [...] the contaminated lots of meat.". In February 1998, Foodmaker agreed to accept $58.5 million from Vons and eight other beef suppliers to settle the lawsuit started in 1993.[30]
Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL], addressing a congressional hearing on food safety in 2006, described the outbreak as "a pivotal moment in the history of the beef industry."[31] James Reagan, Vice President of Research and Knowledge Management at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA), said that the outbreak was "significant to the industry" and "the initiative that moved us further down the road [of food safety] and still drives us today."[32] David Acheson, a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Associate Commissioner for Foods, recently told Retro Report that "Jack in the Box was a wakeup call to many, including the regulators. You go in for a hamburger with the kids and you could die. It changed consumers' perceptions and it absolutely changed the behaviors of the industry."[33]
As a direct result of the outbreak:
E. coli O157:H7 was upgraded to become a reportable disease at all state health departmentsthe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) increased the recommended internal temperature for cooked hamburgers from 140 °F (60 °C) to 155 °F (68 °C)the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) introduced safe food-handling labels for packaged raw meat and poultry retailed in supermarkets, alongside an educational campaign alerting consumers to the risks associated with undercooked hamburgers The labels and the educational campaign came with criticism and objection from the industry.[9]the FSIS introduced testing for E. coli O157:H7 in ground meatthe United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reclassified E. coli O157:H7 as an adulterant in ground beefthe USDA introduced the Pathogen Reduction and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (PR/HACCP) program[37]the NCBA created a task force to fund research into the reduction of E. coli O157:H7 in cattle and slaughterhousesJack in the Box completely overhauled and restructured their corporate operations around food safety priorities, setting new standards across the entire fast food industry.[32]Parents of victims formed STOP Foodborne Illness (formerly Safe Tables Our Priority, or S.T.O.P.), a national non-profit organization dedicated ''to prevent Americans from becoming ill and dying from foodborne illness'' by advocating for sound public policy, building public awareness, and assisting those impacted by foodborne illness.[38]Parents of the victims played key roles in spreading awareness and advocating for change - speaking directly to President Bill Clinton, meeting with Vice President Al Gore, testifying before the Clinton Healthcare Task Force, working with the Secretary of Agriculture, and discussing food safety issues with lawmakers in Washington, D.C.[39][40]Some parents, including Darin Detwiler (who lost his son, Riley, to E.coli and Hemolytic-uremic syndrome during the outbreak) later served as regulatory policy advisors to the USDA for meat and poultry inspection.[41]See also[edit]References[edit]^"Other big E.Coli outbreaks". South Wales Echo (Cardiff). 11 March 2008. p. 9. ProQuest document ID 342321106. ^Hanlon, Michael (21 May 2001). "The making of a modern plague". Daily Mail (London). p. 30. ProQuest document ID 321207886. ^Denn, Rebekah (13 May 2011). "Poisoned author Jeff Benedict examines the current state of food safety in the US". The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, MA). Retrieved 8 July 2013. ^ abcDetwiler, Darin. "Do Meat and Poultry Handling Labels Really Convey Safety?". Food Quality and Safety. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Retrieved June 4, 2014. ^Rogers, Lois (16 April 1995). "Killer in beef spreads alarm". The Times (London). p. 1. ProQuest document ID 318273338. ^Sylvester, Rachel (11 June 1995). "Children risk death from burger bug". The Sunday Telegraph (London). p. 9. ProQuest document ID 309266408. ^"Foodmaker". Financial Times (London). 25 February 1998. p. 1. ProQuest document ID 248542525. ^"Food Safety and the Civil Justice System"(PDF). American Association for Justice (Washington, D.C.). 2015. Retrieved November 25, 2015. ^Huemer, Richard P.; Challem, Jack (1997). The Natural Health Guide to Beating Supergerms. New York: Pocket Books. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-671-53764-7. ^Marler, Bill (December 24, 2012). "20 Years Later '' Remembering the First E. coli Victim". Food Poison Journal. Retrieved November 25, 2015. ^Rogers, Lois (16 April 1995). "Killer in beef spreads alarm". The Times (London). p. 1. ProQuest document ID 318273338. ^Sylvester, Rachel (11 June 1995). "Children risk death from burger bug". The Sunday Telegraph (London). p. 9. ProQuest document ID 309266408. ^"Foodmaker". Financial Times (London). 25 February 1998. p. 1. ProQuest document ID 248542525. ^"Jack in the Box's Worst Nightmare". The New York Times (New York). February 6, 1993. Retrieved November 25, 2015. ^Heberlein, Greg; King, Warren; Blake, Judith; Miller, Margaret (January 22, 1993). "Boy Dies From Tainted Meat - 2-Year-Old Is First Victim Of Food Poisoning". The Seattle Times (Seattle). Retrieved November 25, 2015. ^ ab"17-Month-old Is 3d Child to Die Of Illness Linked to Tainted Meat". The New York Times (New York). February 22, 1993. Retrieved November 25, 2015. ^Kelley, Tina (July 7, 1996). "Chronology Of E. Coli Outbreak". The Seattle Times (Seattle). Retrieved November 25, 2015. ^Andrews, James (January 22, 2013). "Jack in the Box E. coli Outbreak: Riley Detwiler's Story". Big Y Foods (Springfield, MA). Retrieved November 25, 2015. ^Green, Emily (6 June 2001). "The Bug That Ate The Burger". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles). Retrieved 7 July 2013. ^Porterfield, Elaine; Berliant Mcclatchy, Adam (June 17, 1995). "Jack In The Box Ignored Food Safety Regulations, Court Documents Say". The Spokesman-Review Co. The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved 5 June 2014. ^"Jack in the Box gets $58 mil in E. coli case". Hawaii, Inc. The Star Bulletin. February 25, 1998. Retrieved 14 June 2015. ^Food Safety: Current Challenges and New Ideas to Safeguard Consumers: Hearing Before the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, United States Senate, 109th Cong. 76 (15 November 2006) (statement of Senator Dick Durbin).^ abAndrews, James (11 February 2013). "Jack in the Box and the Decline of E. coli". Food Safety News (Seattle, WA). Retrieved 8 July 2013. ^Michels, Scott; Magratten, Drew (10 May 2015). "Chasing Outbreaks: How Safe Is Our Food?". Retro Report. Retrieved 15 July 2015. ^Pathogen Reduction; Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Systems, 61 Fed. Reg. 38806 (1996).^News Desk (April 21, 2011). "Name Change for Food Safety Advocacy Group STOP". Food Safety News. Retrieved February 21, 2015. ^Balter, Joni (January 9, 1994). "Darin Detwiler: He Lost Son To E. Coli, Now Is Hellbent On Making It To Olympia". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014. ^King, Warren (February 25, 1993). "E. Coli Victim Leaves Legacy Of Awareness". The Seattle Times Company. The Seattle Times. Retrieved 5 June 2014. ^Canaday, Autumn. "USDA Press Release No. 0186.04: Veneman Names New Member to National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection". USDA. USDA Office of Communications. Retrieved 5 June 2014. BibliographyBenedict, Jeff (16 May 2011). Poisoned: The True Story of the Deadly E. coli Outbreak That Changed the Way Americans Eat. Buena Vista, VA: Inspire Books. ISBN 9780983347804. Davis, M. (16 April 1993). "Update: Multistate Outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Infections from Hamburgers - Western United States, 1992-1993". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) (Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 42 (14). Drexler, Madeline (23 December 2009). Secret Agents: The Menace of Emerging Infections (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780143117179. Golan, Elise; Roberts, Tanya; Salay, Elisabete; Caswell, Julie; Ollinger, Michael; Moore, Danna (April 2004). "Food Safety Innovation in the United States: Evidence from the Meat Industry". Agricultural Economic Report (United States Department of Agriculture) (831). Hunter, Beatrice Trum (2009). Infectious Connections. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications. ISBN 9781591202448. Manning, Shannon D. (1 April 2010). Escherichia Coli Infections (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Chelsea House Publishers. ISBN 9781604132533. Nestle, Marion (2 July 2010). Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2nd Revised ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520266063. Roberts, Paul (2008). The End of Food. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 9780747588818. Schlosser, Eric (2001). Fast Food Nation. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780141006871. Schlosser, Eric; Wilson, Charles (2006). Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know About Fast Food. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 9780618593941. External links[edit]
Ashley Reese on Twitter: "Y'all acting like this couldn't possibly be arranged better? What is this font size nonsense??? LOL STOP PLAYIN. https://t.co/4ylD2xGecs"
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 14:53
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Facebook and Alphabet Turned to Drones, Balloons, and Satellites to Get More People Online in 2015 | MIT Technology Review
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 14:40
Some 3.2 billion people in the world are now online, the United Nations estimated late in November. That leaves 56.6 percent of the human race unconnected. And in the past year growth in the number of people who are connected slowed'--the U.N. pegs it at 6.9 percent for 2015, down from 7.4 percent in 2014.
Other things happened in 2015 that might reverse that trend, though. Facebook and Alphabet, the holding company formerly known as Google, stepped up their competing campaigns to dramatically cut the cost of Internet access.
The heart of Alphabet's assault on the U.N.'s Internet access figures is Project Loon, part of its X Labs division. The project has developed stratospheric helium balloons that can be steered in fleets around the globe and provide high-speed LTE connectivity to mobile devices below (see ''10 Breakthrough Technologies 2015: Project Loon'').
In 2015 Loon balloons continued to circumnavigate the globe and connect to devices in places such as Chile, New Zealand, and Australia, where they are being tested in partnership with cellular providers such as Telef"nica and Telstra.
In October, Alphabet announced that it had signed an agreement with the government of Indonesia to stage Project Loon's biggest test yet. In 2016, the three largest cellular carriers serving the nation of 250 million people will start work on trials that integrate Loon balloons into their networks (see ''Alphabet's Stratospheric Loon Balloons to Start Serving Internet to Indonesia'').
Indonesia is a good test bed for Alphabet's theory that its balloons can get more people online by making it cheaper for telcos to extend Internet infrastructure. The nation's people are spread across 900 islands of an archipelago of over 17,000, making communication links challenging to deploy. The World Bank estimates that just 17 percent of Indonesians have access to the Internet.
Facebook has designs on the stratosphere, too. In July the company unveiled a solar-powered drone with a 42-meter wingspan, designed to use laser and radio links to beam Internet connectivity to special ground-based receivers (see ''Meet Facebook's Stratospheric Internet Drone''). Scale models of the craft have flown already, and Facebook says flight tests of the full-size craft should be starting soon.
In October we learned that the stratospheric-Internet teams from Alphabet and Facebook are working together, and that they have both lobbied for international agreements in support of high-altitude craft for Internet access (see ''Facebook's Internet Drone Team Is Collaborating with Google's Stratospheric Balloons Project''). The same month, Facebook struck an agreement with the French company Eutelsat to use the AMOS-6 satellite launching early in 2016 to provide Internet access to large swaths of Africa.
Both Facebook and Alphabet talk in high-minded, altruistic terms about their desire to get more people online. And being seen to help the world can help a company's image. But the companies also stand to gain valuable new audiences to show ads to, at a time when competition in rich, Internet-savvy countries is intense. (Alphabet has claimed that Loon balloons could be profitable if telcos rented them to expand their networks.)
That blend of charitable and business-minded thinking led to setbacks for a more down-to-earth part of Facebook's campaign to widen Internet access. In April a scheme the company established to exempt certain websites and services from data charges came under attack for making it harder for small companies to compete (see ''Indian Companies Turn Against Facebook's Scheme for Broader Internet Access''). In May, similar complaints erupted in other countries, including Indonesia and Zimbabwe (see ''Facebook's Internet.org Hits Global Flak'').
In September Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that its project, called Internet.org, was being renamed Free Basics and that any developer would be able to have its service included in the scheme, which now operates in 32 countries around the world. Facebook's troubles are a reminder of the difficulties that can arise when companies from overseas get involved with the complex politics and policy demands of national infrastructure''something that Alphabet and Facebook's high-flying research projects may run into in 2016 as they get closer to providing real Internet services.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Drops the Hammer on Amazon Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 14:39
By Gaurav S. Iyer, IFC Published : December 24, 2015
SpaceX Landing: Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos Round 1A few weeks ago, I wrote about a little spat betweenSpaceX CEO Elon Musk and his billionaire frenemy Jeff Bezos. Aside from running Amazon.com, Inc., Bezos owns a space exploration company called Blue Origin. Both entrepreneurs claimed to have pioneered reusable rockets, but Elon Musk ended the debate yesterday night.
In case you've been camping under a rock for the last few years, let me catch you up on SpaceX, or more formally Space Exploration Technologies Corp. SpaceX is one of the most remarkable companies on the planet, having been founded with the express purpose of colonizing Mars.
That's right, Elon Musk wants to make us a ''multi-planetary species'' as a way of ensuring humanity's survival. Personally, I don't know what he's so worried about; it's not like we're all going to kill each other or anything. People are warm and cuddly'...
In any case, Elon Musk first set about building his own rocket. Soon after, SpaceX secured huge NASA contracts to ship supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). They've successfully accomplished half a dozen launches and are scheduled for manned missions in 2016. The company's manifest is completely overbooked.
But going to space is expensive. Both Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk realized that most of the expense is packaged in the cost of the rocket, meaning that reusable rockets would drastically improve the economics of space travel.
The Year of Reusable RocketsLast month, Blue Origin managed to launch its ''New Shepard'' rocket to the edge of space and land it back on Earth. It was really, really impressive to watch, especially with the professionally made video Bezos developed to chronicle the achievement.
On Twitter, he called his rocket the ''rarest of beasts,'' claiming it was the first of its kind. Elon Musk wasn't too happy about that. He reminded Bezos that SpaceX had the ''Falcon 9,'' a two-stage rocket whose first section has a few test landings under its belt.
It's hard to tell who was right without delving into a bunch of technical details, so this past week, Elon Musk made it clear that SpaceX is a cut above its rivals.
The latest edition of the Falcon 9 was going to deliver 11 satellites into orbit and land back on Earth. Since the last launch had gone horribly wrong, this was a tense moment for the SpaceX team.
But they pulled it off. Using a camera with lengthened exposure, this spectacular shot shows the Falcon 9's takeoff and landing from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
SpaceX Landing: Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, Round 2To be clear, there isn't much competition between the two landings. The Falcon 9's length more than doubles the New Shepard rocket because it is designed to travel further from the planet, while also carrying a payload. The New Shepard is designed for space tourism, rather than cargo delivery, hence the stouter frame. It doesn't need to get very high, either. However, offering brief sojourns to low orbit space can give customers a chance to see the curvature of the Earth, which is awesome. When the Falcon 9 touched safely back on Earth, Jeff Bezos couldn't help but throw a little jab at Elon Musk. Once again, the catfight took place on Twitter.
''Welcome to the club!'' Really, Jeff? Elon Musk just made space travel 100 times less expensive, and you think that's a good time to be snarky? Yeesh.
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US Had "Secret" Discussions With Assad "Regime", Tried To Start Military Coup
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 14:13
Earlier this week, we recounted Seymour Hersh's latest investigative report in which we learn that apparently, the Joint Chiefs of Staff worked to undermine the efforts of the White House and the CIA in Syria.
According to Hersh, the Joint Chiefs passed intelligence to Bashar al-Assad through a network of intermediaries starting in 2013 in an effort to assist the Syrian leader in the fight against extremists backed by Washington's regional allies in Riyadh, Ankara, and Doha. Hersh even goes so far as to contend that the CIA was tricked into providing inferior weapons to jihadists after the Joints Chiefs suggested that shipping arms from Turkey would be cheaper than going through Libya.
If Hersh's story is even partially accurate, it suggests that not everyone in Washington was (or is) on board with a ''strategy'' that involves isolating the Assad regime and implicitly (or, in a worst case scenario, ''explicitly'') supporting terrorists.
Hersh's report came on the heels of a story from Bild which claims that German intelligence has begun networking with Assad in an effort to open lines of communication ahead of the deployment of Tornado surveillance aircraft.
Taken together, all of this means the simple narrative which suggests the West is staunchly opposed to working with the Assad government in any capacity is patently false. In fact, what Hersh's story suggests is that there are many officials in the US who think the idea of arming terrorists in an effort to bring about regime change in the Mid-East is ludicrous. They're apparently so convinced of this that they're willing to resort to outright treason to subvert what they view as a dangerous policy of fomenting discord by aiding and abetting Sunni extremists.
Well, just as the White House was forced to respond to Hersh's last expos(C) in which the official, Zero Dark Thirty narrative of the bin Laden assassination was exposed as a lie, it now appears Washington is looking to tell its side of the story with regard to covert communication with the Assad government. As WSJ reports, more than two dozen ''US and Arab officials'' now say Washington communicated with Assad ''for years'' and also sought to orchestrate a military coup in Syria.
''The Obama administration pursued secret communications with elements of Syria's regime over several years in a failed attempt to limit violence and get President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power, according to U.S. and Arab officials,'' The Journal begins, adding that ''early on, the U.S. looked for cracks in the regime it could exploit to encourage a military coup, but found few.''
As in Hersh's account, The Journal says messages were relayed through intermediaries such as Russia and Iran:
U.S. officials said communications with the regime came in fits and starts and were focused on specific issues. At times, senior officials spoke directly to each other and at others, they sent messages through intermediaries such as Mr. Assad's main allies Russia and Iran.
Initially, the idea was to look for traitors within the government:
U.S. intelligence officials identified officers from Mr. Assad's minority Alawite sect who potentially could lead a regime change, according to former U.S. officials and current European officials.
''The White House's policy in 2011 was to get to the point of a transition in Syria by finding cracks in the regime and offering incentives for people to abandon Assad,'' a former senior administration official said.
When that didn't work, the US resorted to arming militants or ''rebels'' as the Western media calls them:
By the summer of 2012, the White House strategy of orchestrating regime change had failed. The U.S. moved to support the rebels, but the effort ramped up too slowly.
Then we get the sarin story again (remember, opposition lawmakers in Turkey have suggested that it was in fact terrorists who used sarin gas in Syria):
In the summer of 2012, the administration sent warnings, through Russian and Iranian officials, to Mr. Assad not to use chemical weapons on a large scale, U.S. officials have said.
U.S. officials also talked to Syrian counterparts directly. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who retired last year, made two phone calls to Syrian foreign minister Walid al-Moallem to relay the warnings, U.S. officials said.
Fearing Mr. Assad would still escalate, Mr. Obama drew a public red line on chemical weapons in August 2012. Despite the warnings, sarin attacks in August 2013 killed an estimated 1,400 people.
Next, we're told that one ''Khaled Ahmad'' served as a go-between with the Obama administration reaching out to Assad in an effort to convince him to step down. Assad countered by suggesting that Washington focus on the terrorists the West and its regional allies had armed:
The Obama administration later shifted gears back to diplomacy to get the Syrian government to the negotiating table.
At the center of that effort was a businessman and confidante of Mr. Assad, Khaled Ahmad, who has served as the Syrian leader's main interlocutor in recent years with Western officials, including U.S. diplomats. Mr. Ahmad didn't respond to questions sent by The Wall Street Journal.
''Assad was looking for ways to talk to the White House,'' said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and professor at the University of Oklahoma. Mr. Ahmad, a businessman from Homs province, was his point man.
In late 2013, the former ambassador to Damascus Mr. Ford'--then a special administration envoy on Syria'--met Mr.
Ahmad in Geneva ahead of planned peace talks there. Mr. Ford told Mr. Ahmad the U.S. was still seeking a political transition away from Mr. Assad's rule.
Mr. Ahmad countered that the U.S. and the West should help the Syrian government fight terrorism.
When the US opted for direct intervention via airstrikes and the placement of SpecOps, Washington established a communications channel that inadvertently legitimized the government in Damascus:
By 2014, when the U.S. expanded airstrikes against the militants from Iraq to Syria, State Department officials were making phone calls to their counterparts at the Syrian foreign ministry to make sure Damascus steered clear of U.S. jets in Syrian skies, U.S. officials and others familiar the communications said.
Today, when Washington wants to notify Damascus where it is deploying U.S.-trained Syrian fighters to battle Islamic State so the fighters aren't mistaken for rebels, Samantha Power, the U.S. envoy to the U.N., dispatches a deputy to talk to the Syrian envoy, Bashar Jaafari, these people said.
The White House says the notifications are not collaboration with the regime. But Mr. Assad has used them to his advantage.
''The regime was re-legitimized,'' said Ibrahim Hamidi, a Syrian journalist who until 2013 ran the Damascus bureau for Al Hayat, a major pan-Arab newspaper. ''Any communication with the U.S.'--even the perception of it'--gives them the upper hand.''
Finally, The Journal says Ahmad set up a meeting between Assad and a former senior White House official named Steve Simon:
Mr. Simon, who left the White House in 2014, had met Mr. Ahmad at least twice before the Damascus trip, which he portrayed to former colleagues and others as an individual initiative, not made on behalf of the government, according to several people familiar with the meetings.
He notified former colleagues at the White House and State Department officials of his plans to meet the Syrian leader, these people said.
Mr. Simon outlined steps the regime could immediately take to generate goodwill with the international community: stop dropping barrel bombs; do more to fight Islamic State rather than antigovernment rebels; and cooperate with a United Nations-led effort for local cease-fires.
Mr. Assad responded with familiar talking points, focusing on his fight against terrorism.
So that, apparently, is the story the White House is going with. There are a couple of things to note here.
First, it's amusing how The Journal says Assad "responded with familiar talking points focusing on his fight against terrorism." That comes across as a bit derisive, as though there's something different about "his" fight against terrorism and Washignton's fight against terrorism. Basically what the Journal says is that Simon asked Assad to step up the fight against ISIS and Assad responded by asking the US to do the exact same thing. Yet somehow, Assad's fight against terror isn't legitimate while Washington's is. Of course in reality, it's the other way around: Assad has every incentive to eradicate terrorism in Syria. If he doesn't, he'll end up exiled or drug out of a drain pipe and executed like Gaddafi. The US on the other hand, has every reason not to fight terror in Syria until Assad is gone. If Assad falls to terrorists, Washington and its allies can then swoop in and "liberate" the country on the way to installing a puppet government.
Next, note that the US initially tried to orchestrate a military coup in Syria. That's just further evidence of the lengths Washington is willing to go to in order to achieve America's geopolitical goals. Encouraging the military to overthrow a government doesn't exactly count as "support for a democratic transition."
In any event, we'll leave it to readers to parse The Journal's piece, compare and contrast it with what Hersh wrote and everything we know about the conflict on the way to deciding which account sounds more plausible.
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Creationist Sylvia Allen to lead Arizona Senate education panel
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 13:55
Arizona Sen. Sylvia Allen takes the oath of office during the opening day of the 52nd Legislature on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 in Phoenix, AZ.(Photo: Rob Schumacher/The Republic)
One of the best-known lightning rods in the Arizona Legislature will now help shape the future of education.
Senate President Andy Biggs named Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee. Allen replaces Kelli Ward, who resigned the Senate earlier this month to focus on her congressional run.
Allen is best known for her controversial public comments over the years. During a legislative hearing in 2009, she said the Earth is 6,000 yearsold, a belief held by "Young Earth" biblical creationists. In 2013, a Facebook post about chem-trailconspiracies gained widespread media attention, as did a March comment suggesting mandatory church attendance.
AZCENTRAL
Valdez: Farley holds the cheap shots on Allen
Last year, Navajo County Sheriff K.C. Clark accused Allen of trying to interfere with a criminal investigation of her son-in-law.
Allen, who graduated from Snowflake High School and did not attend college, is co-founder of George Washington Academy, an EdKey, Inc. charter school in Snowflake.
As chairwoman, she will control which legislative education proposals succeed and which ones die.
Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, who had criticized Allen's church comment, said he looks forward to working with her on education issues.
"She's made some interesting comments to the public, but it's not like she's going to be teaching," he said. "We have accredited teachers for that."
He said Allen has always had an open door for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
"I think she'll do a pretty good job," he said.
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Allen in a statement said she will focus her efforts next session on teachers and parents.
''I want to highlight the incredible teachers who are the reason for our children's success," she said. "I also want to focus on parents' responsibility in their children's education. They are a critical part of their children's success. We need to encourage that involvement."
Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/1m5EmKr
Australian government tells citizens to turn off two-factor authentication | Ars Technica
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 13:49
The Australian government has repeatedly called for citizens to turn off two-factor authentication (2FA) at its main digital government portal, myGov. The portal's Twitter account has recently been updated several times with cute pictures encouraging holidaymakers to "turn off your myGov security codes" so that "you can spend more time doing the important things."
The portal is the place where Australian citizens can use and manage a number of governmental services, including health insurance, tax payments, and child support. In case of myGov, two-factor authentication is implemented by sending users text messages that contain one-time codes to complement their usual passwords.
A number of people on Twitter pointed out that, while downplaying security isn't a good idea in general, it could be even more dangerous when citizens go abroad:
The reasoning behind myGov's suggestion is understandable: some tourists will swap their Australian SIM cards to local ones while on holiday. Once this is done, they won't be able to receive myGov security codes without reinstalling their Australian SIMs, which is a hassle.
Further ReadingWhile simpler for travelers, the government's suggestion guts the protections offered by two-factor authentication, which can provide an additional layer of security when logging in on the Web. 2FA is even more important when you're not on a trusted home or office network, which is why the Australian government's recommendation to turn off 2FA is rather jarring.
In the wake of criticism from users for the unsafe advice, myGov posted on Twitter that people who turn off security codes will "still need to securely sign in with secret questions & answers." The tweet offers a link to read more on the possibility, however the page it leads to doesn't mention it.
Even if it did though, a few additional passwords aren't a true replacement for good ol' two-factor authentication.
This post originated on Ars Technica UK
McDonald's tests macaroni and cheese Happy Meal
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 08:09
Facebook/McDonald's
McDonald's is testing macaroni and cheese as a Happy Meal entree at select restaurants in Ohio. The dish can also be ordered as a side for $1.75, Brand Eating reports.
Macaroni and cheese is a staple on most restaurant kids menus around the country, and kids are a crucial set of customers for McDonald's.
The company reportedly gets about 10% of its revenues from Happy Meals.
But its share of young customers has been declining in recent years, according to the food industry research firm Technomic.
Families with a child age 12 or under represented 14.6% of McDonald's customers in early 2015, down from 18.6% in 2011, according to the firm.
McDonald's has been revamping its Happy Meals over the last several years by adding more nutritious sides like apple slices and promoting healthier beverages such as low-fat milk, water and juice.
The company also created a new Happy Meal mascot that promotes healthy eating.
Here's how the mac and cheese looks when ordered as a side:
Macaroni and cheese is also on the McDonald's menu in Japan, where the chain is serving it deep-fried on a sandwich.
Colombian president legalizes medical marijuana | Reuters.com
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 07:45
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Trump Sells Miss Universe Organization to WME-IMG Talent Agency - The New York Times
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 07:28
PhotoContestants at the Miss USA pageant's welcome reception in Baton Rouge, La., in July. The pageant is part of the Miss Universe Organization.Credit William Widmer for The New York TimesPhotoDonald Trump, co-owner of the Miss Universe Organization, with Miss Connecticut Erin Brady after she was crowned Miss USA in Las Vegas in 2013.Credit Steve Marcus/ReutersDonald J. Trump has sold the Miss Universe Organization to the talent agency WME-IMG, the company announced on Monday.
The sale, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, came after a rough summer for the organization's Miss USA beauty pageant in which two television partners dropped the broadcast in response to comments Mr. Trump made about illegal immigrants during his presidential campaign.
NBC, a part owner of the Miss Universe Organization, backed out of the broadcast and also said that Mr. Trump would not be welcomed back as the host of ''The Celebrity Apprentice.'' (NBC announced Monday that Arnold Schwarzenegger would replace him). Mr. Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit against the pageant's other television partner, the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision.
On Friday, NBC confirmed that it had sold its stake in the Miss Universe Organization to Mr. Trump. It appears that sale was just the prelude for Mr. Trump to spin off the entire organization '-- which includes the Miss USA, Miss Teen USA and Miss Universe pageants '-- to WME-IMG.
''When I purchased the pageants many years ago, they were in serious trouble,'' Mr. Trump said in a statement. ''It has been a great honor making them so successful, and I have really enjoyed watching the pageants grow throughout the U.S.A. and worldwide.''
One of the first tasks for WME-IMG will be to find a new TV partner for Miss USA. After NBC backed out of the broadcast, it was picked up by the cable channel Reelz, and had a significantly smaller viewership: 925,000 viewers compared with the 5.6 million people that watched it on NBC last year. The chief executive of Reelz, Stan E. Hubbard, said last month that the Miss USA broadcast was a one-time event for the cable channel and that the beauty pageant belonged ''on a broadcast network.''
A version of this article appears in print on September 15, 2015, on page B4 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump Quickly Sells Miss Universe Organization.
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North Korea on the Air for First Time in More than a Decade
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 05:35
12/21/2015In an unexpected turn of events, Polish DXer Dom Gryzb, 3Z9DX, who has been visiting North Korea this week in advance of a planned Amateur Radio operation early next year, came on the air from the most-wanted DXCC entity around 0000 on December 20. P5/3Z9DX has been active on both 20 meters and 15 meters SSB only, and a few hundred stations have been fortunate enough to work him. The P5/3Z9DX operation is the first since the 2001-2002 operation in North Korea by 4L4FN.
The surprise appearance of P5/3Z9DZ on the air coincides with some of the worst HF conditions in days, if not weeks. At least for part of the time that P5/3Z9DX has been on the air, band conditions have turned sour due to a coronal mass ejection (CME) which raised the A index to 66 and the K index to 6 as December 21 dawned (UTC). He has been switching between 21.222 MHz and 14.222 MHz, listening up on both bands for callers. His most recent operation has been on 15 meters, however.
His operation this weekend is supposed to be a demonstration for North Korean officials, and it's not known how much longer his current operation will continue.
An operation by 3Z9DX from North Korea now is set to take place in February. Gryzb's visit to Pyongyang this month was to iron out the details of his 2016 operations, and while he did take radio gear into North Korea, he was not expected to be on the air from there until January or February.
Stations are asked to keep contacts short, to allow P5/3Z9DX to work as many stations as possible. -- Thanks toThe Daily DX and DX-World.net
White House hopes to trim $9B software spend
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 02:50
Acquisition
White House hopes to trim $9B software spendBy Mark RockwellDec 21, 2015Tens of thousands of expensive and fragmented agency software purchases cost taxpayers $9 billion a year. Two top officials at the Office of Management and Budget say improved management can help save money, and they aim to staunch the flow of money with new plans to consolidate and streamline the way the government buys software.
In a Dec. 21 blog post, Federal CIO Tony Scott and Chief Acquisition Officer Anne Rung announced a proposal that "doubles down" on acquisition consolidation at federal agencies and builds on new requirements in the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act. The proposed guidance is open for public comment through Jan. 20, 2016.
The directive calls on agencies to centrally manage software buys to reduce underutilization and maximize the use of best-in-class solutions. It would also establish a multi-agency team to develop new enterprisewide software agreements.Furthermore, it would direct agency CIOs, in conjunction with chief acquisition officers, to appoint a software manager who reports to the CIO on all agency software contracts and licenses. In addition, agencies would be required to maintain comprehensive annual inventories of software licenses and subscription spending.
Agencies would have to submit a software management plan to OMB by May 31, 2016, and an inventory of software licenses and cloud agreements in August 2016. Agencies are also being asked to use their Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation tools -- a suite of cybersecurity monitoring applications available via a Department of Homeland Security contract -- to track software inventory and use by the end of September.
The software policy directive is the second in a series of category management policies from OMB aimed at driving better performance, efficiencies and savings in commonly purchased IT goods and services.
In October, Scott and Rung cracked down on uncoordinated, localized practices for buying laptop and desktop PCs. OMB prohibited agencies from issuing new solicitations for common laptops and desktops and directed civilian agencies to transition their spending on those devices to three existing best-value governmentwide acquisition vehicles.
Next up from Scott and Rung will be a directive for mobile solutions.
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
Alabama hired Obamacare website developer to 'fix' accounting system | AL.com
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 02:49
Ken Rollins, the vice president of the Alabama Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America, has good instincts.
This week he told AL.com reporter Mike Cason that the state's transition to a new accounting system seemed a lot like the Obamacare rollout of Healthcare.gov.
Like a lot of organizations, Rollins' group has a specialty car tag, and when the state sells one of those specialty tags, Rollins' group gets $3.
Or that's what typically happens.
Since September, they've gotten nothing. The Alabama Finance Department is in the middle of updating its accounting software, and the upgrade has been anything but smooth.
Throughout the state, government vendors and contractors have been paid late, if at all.
Tom Layfield, director of the Alabama Road Builders Association, told the Montgomery Advertiser this week that the late payments have been hurting some of their members.
"One of my members said, 'I've begged, borrowed and stolen everything I can. I really have to get paid now,'" Layfield told the Advertiser.
The finance department has brought on extra staff to try to unstick the backlog of accounts payable.
But that's work the IT contractor should be doing.
Two years ago, the state hired CGI Technologies and Solutions to upgrade the state's systems. Under the four-year contract, the state will pay CGI $47 million.
If CGI seems familiar to you, you might have a nose as good as Rollins'.
You see, CGI has bungled another government project before '-- a little thing called HealthCare.gov, the online home of Obamacare. Even the president had to admit that the website's rollout was a failure.
The irony here is so thick we might have to wait until spring for it to thaw.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has been no fan or friend of Obamacare.
Two years ago, the governor refused to expand Medicaid in Alabama, turning away as much as $3 billion of federal money. That funding could have provided as many as 300,000 working Alabamians caught in the healthcare gap '-- too rich for Medicaid, too poor for insurance '-- with coverage.
But Bentley refused, calling Medicaid a broken system that creates dependency on government by giving folks something for nothing. He said that Obamacare and its namesake couldn't be trusted.
But at the same time Bentley was bashing on Obama at the expense of so many Alabamians, his administration hired the same contractor that bungled Healthcare.gov to upgrade the state's accounting software.
Now the state has a whole other broken system.
And after the state handed out that no-bid contract, Bentley's campaign got a little something from CGI's PAC.
According to campaign finance reports, CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. PAC gave the governor's campaign $2,500.
That's not crazy money by Montgomery standards, but what does a contractor from Virginia and a subsidiary of a Canadian conglomerate care about Alabama politics so much that it would write a check in the first place?
And Bentley wasn't the only one to get a campaign contribution. Other beneficiaries included Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey, State Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh, Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, Sen. Arthur Orr, Sen. Jimmy Holley, Sen. Phil Williams, Rep. Craig Ford, Rep. Napoleon Bracy and Rep. Alan Boothe.
They don't have a problem with a flawed, broken system. Not so long as the money coming back to Alabama goes into their campaign accounts.
Renowned hacker George Hotz built this autonomous driving system using readily-available components - TechSpot
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 02:37
George Hotz may not be a name you're familiar with but in the modding community, he's practically a living legend. Known online as "Geohot," he became the first person to hack Apple's original iPhone at the ripe age of 17 and later reverse-engineered the PlayStation 3 (Sony wasn't thrilled about that).
These days, he's turned his attention to much bigger endeavors - like building his own autonomous driving system.
Hotz recently invited Bloomberg to check out his creation, one that he's been developing in secret. He's taken a standard-issue 2016 Acura ILX sedan and outfitted it with an array of sensors, cameras, computers, GPS units and more - all of which connect to the car's main computer systems. In total, he's spent just $50,000 on the project - $30,000 of which was for the car itself.
Two major breakthroughs are said to make the tinkerer's project possible: the continued rise in computer processing power and advances in deep learning.
Bloomberg writer Ashlee Vance checked back in with Hotz a few more times after their initial meeting. Each time, the self-driving system performed much better than it previously had. Remarkably enough, Hotz claims his software consists of just 2,000 lines of codes compared to the hundreds of thousands of lines used in other autonomous driving vehicles.
Hotz aims to have a world-class autonomous driving system ready in just five months that he will present to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. It's pretty incredible how advanced his system already is, a true testament to the brilliance of a young man with a very bright future ahead.
Images courtesy Peter Bohler, Bloomberg
IRS programming glitch costs millions in errant tax refunds -- FCW
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 02:27
Software
IRS programming glitch costs millions in errant tax refundsBy Zach NobleDec 22, 2015A programming error has cost the Internal Revenue Service millions in faultily disbursed tax refunds, a Nov. 12 Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report made public Dec. 21, revealed.
The refund claims, identified as sketchy by the Return Integrity and Compliance Services' Integrity and Verification Operations teams, should have been held for further review, but the computer glitch TIGTA discovered did precisely the opposite.
If a return that had been slapped with a two-week resequencing tag was also selected for examination within the IRS' systems, the error would kick in, removing the hold altogether and allowing the suspect refund to be disbursed.
The damage for the 2013 tax year alone: more than 13,000 erroneous tax refunds totaling more than $27 million.
The IRS apparently failed to catch the glitch because of poor oversight of tax return review timelines.
TIGTA also found another 3,910 2013 returns that the IRS had marked for review, but which examiners had left unverified. Those returns cost some $19 million.
TIGTA recommended that the IRS fix the glitch within the IVO system, institute periodic testing to reconcile verification records with other IRS systems and hold reviewers to account when it comes to verifying claims in a timely fashion.
"While the IRS has made important strides in its programs that prevent the issuance of fraudulent refunds, our auditors found that it is not always ensuring that tax examiners timely complete their verification work before releasing refunds," IRS watchdog J. Russell George said.
The IRS agreed with the TIGTA recommendations.
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering cloud, big data and workforce issues. Connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
Cyber threat agency navigates growing pains
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 02:23
Cybersecurity
Cyber threat agency navigates growing painsBy Sean LyngaasDec 22, 2015CTIIC, the Obama administration's new cyber intel fusion center, will spin up operations in 2016.
The White House's plan for fusing cyber intelligence after the massive hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment got off to a rocky start. The Obama administration reportedly gave the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence little to no notice before announcing the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center in February, irking lawmakers and possibly contributing to an inter-branch disagreement over the fiscal 2016 intelligence authorization bill.
Several months later, the agency turf battles that appeared ready to unfold have been quieted, and there is agreement on Capitol Hill on the need for CTIIC, according to an administration official involved in standing up the agency.
President Barack Obama ordered CTIIC to be housed at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, with a goal of having the center fully running by the end of fiscal 2016. The initial plan was to give CTIIC a staff of about 50, drawn from personnel from the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, FBI and National Security Agency, among other agencies.
While there may have been some initial skepticism about CTIIC from DHS officials who run their own cyber threat center, any such skepticism has dissipated, according to the administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"I think we've turned the corner with [DHS] where they feel like they're one of the key customers now," the official said.
DHS officials were initially worried by the announcement of CTIIC "because they were afraid it would replace or supplant" DHS' National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, said James Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who speaks regularly with administration officials on cybersecurity. A former DHS official who is in touch with staff from that agency's National Protection and Programs Directorate echoed that same concern.
CTIIC, however, is meant to be wholly different from NCCIC. The former is an inward-facing intelligence mechanism, while the latter is charged with disseminating cyberthreat information to the private sector. The omnibus package that Obama signed into law last week includes cybersecurity legislation that solidifies NCCIC's lead role in the public-private exchange of cyberthreat data. Meanwhile, administration officials say there is a clear need for a new clearinghouse for cyberthreat intelligence, a point made painfully clear by the Sony Pictures hack and its aftermath.
There was no one-stop shop the president could turn to when looking to assign blame for the digital dismemberment of the film studio. As Lewis put it, administration officials "couldn't get a coherent intelligence picture," and DHS lacks the kind of actionable intelligence needed.
National Security Council staff has been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of cyber-related analysis they have had to compile in an era of high-profile breaches, according to current and former officials.
"There's a degree of integration that's occurring on my staff that really should not be occurring," White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel said the day after CTIIC was announced. "It needs to come in to us that way. I think that CTIIC will be a great force multiplier in this space."
CTIIC is meant to fuse analyses from several cyber centers, including NCCIC, the National Security Agency's Threat Operations Center, and the FBI's National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force.
Those cyber centers are still maturing, and CTIIC "is like a natural 2.0 in the evolution of that process," said the administration official involved in CTIIC's standup.
CTIIC will also focus on improving the U.S. government's confidence level in attributing cyber intrusions to specific actors '' and standardize the language for discussing attribution, the official said: "There's a lot of work to be done just standardizing the vocabulary, and the common operating picture, [which] is the key to CTIIC, is what's lacking now."
The new cyber agency has a director and a deputy, but the official declined to name them. An ODNI spokesman said that announcement will be coming soon. CTIIC's new offices are at the Liberty Crossing Intelligence campus in McLean, Va, which also hosts ODNI and the National Counterterrorism Center.
While the administration was getting its ducks in a row, a lack of short-term funding from Capitol Hill complicated CTIIC's launch, according to the official. Appropriators did not meet an administration request for reprogramming in fiscal 2015 funding to help get the center prepped for an Oct. 1 standup, the official said. CTIIC is today functioning in a limited capacity, Inside Cybersecurity reported last month.
About the Author
Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Follow him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.
Makers of OxyContin Bankroll Efforts to Undermine Prescription Painkiller Reform
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 02:14
The pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and market OxyContin, Vicodin, and other highly addictive opioid painkillers '-- drugs that have fueled the epidemic of overdoses and heroin addiction '-- are funding nonprofit groups fighting furiously against efforts to reform how these drugs are prescribed.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was close to finalizing voluntary prescribing guidelines for opioid painkillers next month, it abruptly changed course. According to a report from the Associated Press, the CDC ''abandoned its January target date, instead opening the guidelines to public'' comment after a number of ''industry-funded groups like the U.S. Pain Foundation and the American Academy of Pain Management warn[ed] that the CDC guidelines could block patient access to medications.''
The new guidelines would encourage doctors to prescribe opioids as a last choice for chronic pain, a sharp departure from the status quo, in which many doctors, under pressure from pharmaceutical sales representatives, often prescribe painkillers for mild back pain or a toothache. As experts note, many painkiller and heroin addicts start abusing opioids after receiving a legitimate prescription for pain-related medical issues.
An investigation by The Intercept has found that the pharmaceutical companies that dominate the $9 billion a year opioid painkiller market have funded organizations attacking reform of the prescribing guidelines:
The Washington Legal Foundation, a nonprofit that litigates to defend ''free-market principles,'' threatened the CDC with legal action if the agency moved forward with the proposed opioid guidelines. The WLG claimed the CDC's advisory panel for the guidelines lacked ''fair ideological balance,'' because it included a doctor who is part of an advocacy effort against opioid addiction. The WLG does not disclose donor information, but has filed friend-of-the-court briefs on behalf of Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin. In a recent article with Pain News Network, a spokesperson for Purdue Pharma conceded: ''We're long-standing supporters of WLF, in addition to several other business and legal organizations. We've provided them with unrestricted grants.''The Pain Care Forum organized opposition to the CDC prescribing guidelines, mobilizing regular meetings among stakeholders opposed to the idea, according to an investigation by AP reporter Matthew Perrone. A recently re-filed complaint by the City of Chicago found that Burt Rosen, the chief in-house lobbyist for Purdue Pharma, controls the Pain Care Forum. A former drug company employee allegedly told investigators that Rosen tells the Pain Care Forum ''what to do and how we do it.'' The Pain Care Forum is funded through contributions by Purdue Pharma, as well as major opioid manufacturers Cephalon, Endo, and Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The Power of Pain Foundation, a group funded by Purdue Pharma, asked supporters to contact the CDC in opposition to the guidelines, claiming that ''taking away pain medication and making providers afraid to prescribe due to your guidelines is only going to make more abusers, increase suicides, and tear apart the lives of millions.''The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a corporate lobbying group that represents opioid manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson, issued a press release masquerading as a news story criticizing the CDC guidelines. (The U.S. Chamber operates a public relations effort dressed up as a bona fide media outlet called Legal Newsline, which it uses to disseminate stories that support the political priorities of its member companies.)The over-prescription of opioid products has made the United States the center of the painkiller abuse epidemic. Americans consume about 81 percent of the global supply of oxycodone products (the active ingredient in OxyContin) and almost 100 percent of hydrocodone (the active ingredient used in brands such as Vicodin). More than 16,000 people die from opioid painkiller overdose every year.
The skyrocketing use of opioids in America is also closely linked to the rising heroin crisis, which reached new heights this year. Prescription opioids, which provide a high that is very similar to heroin, are often a gateway drug. As many as four out of five heroin users get started with opioid painkillers.
NSA Helped British Spies Find Security Holes In Juniper Firewalls
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 02:13
A TOP-SECRET document dated February 2011 reveals that British spy agency GCHQ, with the knowledge and apparent cooperation of the NSA, acquired the capability to covertly exploit security vulnerabilities in 13 different models of firewalls made by Juniper Networks, a leading provider of networking and Internet security gear.
The six-page document, titled ''Assessment of Intelligence Opportunity '' Juniper,'' raises questions about whether the intelligence agencies were responsible for or culpable in the creation of security holes disclosed by Juniper last week. While it does not establish a certain link between GCHQ, NSA, and the Juniper hacks, it does make clear that, like the unidentified parties behind those hacks, the agencies found ways to penetrate the ''NetScreen'' line of security products, which help companies create online firewalls and virtual private networks, or VPNs. It further indicates that, also like the hackers, GCHQ's capabilities clustered around an operating system called ''ScreenOS,'' which powers only a subset of products sold by Juniper, including the NetScreen line. Juniper's other products, which include high-volume Internet routers, run a different operating system called JUNOS.
The possibility of links between the security holes and the intelligence agencies is particularly important given an ongoing debate in the U.S. and the U.K. over whether governments should have backdoors allowing access to encrypted data. Cryptographers and security researchers have raised the possibility that one of the newly discovered Juniper vulnerabilities stemmed from an encryption backdoor engineered by the NSA and co-opted by someone else. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are reviewing how the Juniper hacks could affect their own networks, putting them in the awkward position of scrambling to shore up their own encryption even as they criticize the growing use of encryption by others.
The headquarters of Juniper Networks in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Jan. 1, 2014.
Photo: Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA
The author of the 2011 GCHQ document, an NSA employee who was working with GCHQ as part of an ''Access Strategy Team,'' takes a similarly adversarial view of encryption, referring to Juniper as a ''threat'' and a ''target'' because it provides technology to protect data from eavesdropping. Far from suggesting that security agencies should help U.S. and U.K. companies mend their digital defenses, the document says the agencies must ''keep up with Juniper technology'' in the pursuit of SIGINT, or signals intelligence.''The threat comes from Juniper's investment and emphasis on being a security leader,'' the document says. ''If the SIGINT community falls behind, it might take years to regain a Juniper firewall or router access capability if Juniper continues to rapidly increase their security.''
The document, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, shines light on the agencies' secret efforts to ensure they could monitor information as it flowed through Juniper's products, which are used by Internet providers, banks, universities, and government agencies. It notes that while Juniper trails its competitors, it is a ''technology leader'' with gear ''at the core of the Internet in many countries,'' including several deemed to be high priority from a spying perspective: Pakistan, Yemen, and China.
''Juniper technology sharing with NSA improved dramatically to exploit several target networks''
Asked about the document, GCHQ issued a boilerplate response asserting that the agency does not comment on intelligence matters and complies with ''a strict legal and policy framework.'' The NSA could not immediately respond Tuesday. Juniper sent a written statement saying the company ''operates with the highest of ethical standards, and is committed to maintaining the integrity, security, and quality of our products. As we've stated previously '... it is against established Juniper policy to intentionally include 'backdoors' that would potentially compromise our products or put our customers at risk. Moreover, it is Juniper policy not to work with others to introduce vulnerabilities into our products.''
Juniper's prominence and ubiquity similarly helped draw attention to the more recent hacks against the company, which first came to light Thursday, when the California firm revealed it had discovered ''unauthorized code'' in ScreenOS enabling two major vulnerabilities. One, first present in an August 2012 release of ScreenOS, could allow access to encrypted data transmitted over VPNs. The other, first surfacing in a December 2014 ScreenOS release, allows an attacker to remotely administer a firewall, thus leading to ''complete compromise of the affected device,'' according to Juniper. The vulnerabilities remained in versions of ScreenOS released through at least October of this year.
It is the earlier vulnerability, potentially allowing eavesdropping on VPNs, that has generated vigorous online discussion among computer security experts. Some, like Johns Hopkins professor Matthew Green and security researcher Ralf-Philipp Weinmann, have said that an attacker appears to have subverted a backdoor shown, in previously disclosed documents from Snowden, to have originated with the NSA. Specifically, the attacker seems to have tampered with a 32-byte value used to seed the generation of random numbers, numbers that are in turn used in the process of encrypting data in ScreenOS. ScreenOS uses the value as a parameter to a standard system for random number generation known as Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator. The default 32-byte value in this standard is believed to have been generated by the NSA. Juniper said, in the wake of the Snowden revelations about the standard, that it had replaced this 32-byte value with its own ''self-generated basis points.'' So the attacker would have replaced Juniper's replacement of the NSA 32-byte value.
Matt Blaze, a cryptographic researcher and director of the Distributed Systems Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, said the document contains clues that indicate the 2011 capabilities against Juniper are not connected to the recently discovered vulnerabilities. The 2011 assessment notes that ''some reverse engineering may be required depending on firmware revisions'' affecting targeted NetScreen firewall models. Blaze said this points away from the sort of ScreenOS compromise behind the more recent Juniper vulnerabilities.
''With the [recently discovered] backdoor, a firmware revision would either have the backdoor or it wouldn't, and if it was removed, they'd have to do a lot more than 'some reverse engineering' to recover the capability,'' Blaze said. ''My guess from reading this is that the capabilities discussed here involved exploiting bugs and maybe supply chain attacks, rather than this [recently discovered] backdoor.''
Blaze said the exploit capabilities in the 2011 document seem consistent with a program called ''FEEDTROUGH,'' first revealed in a 2007 document published alongside an article in German newsweekly Der Spiegel.
Even if it documents capabilities unconnected to the recently discovered Juniper hacks, the 2011 GHCQ assessment makes clear that the author was interested in expanding the agencies' capabilities against Juniper. ''The vast majority of current Juniper exploits are against firewalls running the ScreenOS operating system,'' the author wrote. ''An effort to ensure exploitation capability'' against Juniper's primary operating system, JUNOS, ''should bear fruit against a wide range of Juniper products.''
In one instance the document even implies actual hacking of Juniper devices on the part of the intelligence agencies, stating that ''Juniper technology sharing with NSA improved dramatically during [calendar year] 2010 to exploit several target networks where GCHQ had access primacy.''
The assessment also notes that, because Juniper is a U.S.-based company, there is both ''opportunity and complication'' in targeting its technology. ''There is potential to leverage a corporate relationship should one exist with NSA,'' it says, adding: ''Any GCHQ efforts to exploit Juniper must begin with close coordination with NSA.''
It further states that GCHQ has a ''current exploit capability'' against 13 Juniper models, all of which run ScreenOS: NS5gt, N25, NS50, NS500, NS204, NS208, NS5200, NS5000, SSG5, SSG20, SSG140, ISG 1000, ISG 2000. It also reveals that the agency was developing a surveillance capability that would enable them to hack into high-capacity Juniper M320 routers, which were designed to be used by Internet service providers.
''The ability to exploit Juniper servers and firewalls,'' the document says, ''will pay many dividends over the years.''
GAS TURBINES FROM JAPAN-Presidential Proclamation -- Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 01:52
TO MODIFY THE HARMONIZED TARIFF SCHEDULE OF THE UNITED STATES
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
1. On September 9, 2012, leaders of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies agreed to reduce applied tariff rates to 5 percent or less by the end of 2015 on 54 environmental goods. On November 19, 2015, leaders of the APEC economies reaffirmed that commitment.
2. Section 103(a) of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (19 U.S.C. 4202(a)), authorizes the President, under certain circumstances, to proclaim such modification of any existing duty as the President determines to be required or appropriate to carry out an agreement entered into in accordance with section 103(a). The President may proclaim such modification provided that the modification does not reduce the rate of duty to a rate that is less than 50 percent of the rate of such duty that applied on June 29, 2015.
3. Section 502 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 authorizes the President to exercise the authority under section 103(a)(1)(B) of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 to implement an agreement by members of APEC to reduce any rate of duty on certain environmental goods included in Annex C of the APEC Leaders' Declaration issued on September 9, 2012.
4. The United States applies duties to imports of certain environmental goods included in Annex C of the APEC Leaders' Declaration issued on September 9, 2012, of 8 percent, 5.6 percent, and 6.7 percent, the same rates that applied on June 29, 2015. On September 9, 2012, the United States agreed to cut applied duties on these environmental goods to 5 percent. The United States reaffirmed that commitment on November 19, 2015.
5. Section 604 of the Trade Act of 1974 (the "1974 Act") (19 U.S.C. 2483) authorizes the President to embody in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) the substance of the relevant provisions of that Act, and of other Acts affecting import treatment, and actions thereunder, including removal, modification, continuance, or imposition of any rate of duty or other import restriction.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of
America, including but not limited to section 103(a) of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, section 502 of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, and section 604 of the 1974 Act, do proclaim that:
In order to reduce the applied tariff rates of the United States to the level agreed upon by APEC leaders, the HTS is modified as set forth in the Annex to this proclamation.The modifications to the HTS set forth in the Annex to this proclamation shall be effective with respect to goods entered, or withdrawn from warehouse for consumption, on or after December 31, 2015.IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
BARACK OBAMA
Patent application systems could be offline through Christmas
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 01:48
Disaster Recovery
Patent application systems could be offline through ChristmasBy Zach NobleDec 23, 2015Need to file an electronic patent application before the holiday break officially kicks in?
You're out of luck.
A power outage struck the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office headquarters late on Dec. 22, and by the afternoon of Dec. 23, the agency still had not gotten major filing, payment and searching systems back online.
The Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) and TEASi, the web-based front end, will be unavailable for an indeterminate amount of time, the agency said in a Dec. 23 statement.
"We are working diligently to assess the operational impact on all our systems and to determine how soon they can be safely brought back into service in the coming days," the agency pledged. "We understand how critical these systems are for our customers, and our teams will continue to work around the clock to restore them as quickly as possible, though the impacts may be felt through the Christmas holiday."
USPTO's blog post directs applicants who are up against deadlines to use alternative filing methods, including snail mail -- which comes with a $400 non-electronic filing fee.
USPTO web apps are meant to be available 24/7.
When asked whether USPTO staff would be working on Christmas Eve or Christmas to get the systems back online, an agency spokesman declined to say, merely pointing back to the official statement.
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering cloud, big data and workforce issues. Connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
HTTP error code 451 will signal online censorship
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 01:47
Posted on 22 December 2015.
A new, official HTTP error code has been assigned to denote instances where governments restrict access to specific websites: 451. The number is a reference to Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, which touches on the subject of censorship.With online censorship on the rise, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) finally decided to approve the publication of the draft of a future standard that designates the 451 HTTP status code as an indication that the server is denying access to the resource as a consequence of a legal demand.
"Tim Bray brought this draft to the HTTP Working Group some time ago, because he (and many others) thought it was important to highlight online censorship," Mark Nottingham, who chairs the IETF HTTP Working Group, explained in a blog post announcing the draft publication.
While the group initially believed that the the 403 status code ("Forbidden") would be enough for these instances, after some sites began adopting the 451 code as an experiment, and members of the community became more vocal about their wish for such a code to be made official, the Working Group had a change of heart.
"By its nature, you can't guarantee that all attempts to censor content will be conveniently labeled by the censor. Although 451 can be used both by network-based intermediaries (e.g., in a firewall) as well as on the origin Web server, I suspect it's going to be used far more in the latter case, as Web sites like Github, Twitter, Facebook and Google are forced to censor content against their will in certain jurisdictions," Nottinghampointed out.
"In some jurisdictions, I suspect that censorious governments will disallow the use of 451, to hide what they're doing. We can't stop that (of course), but if your government does that, it sends a strong message to you as a citizen about what their intent is. That's worth knowing about, I think."
The new code will also allow organizations to trawl the web for censored websites and to catalogue censorship.
A final version of the draft is expected to be open for comments soon.
How To Setup RMS Express on OS X (Apple) | N4AWL
Wed, 23 Dec 2015 18:12
Hello and thanks for taking a moment to stop by! In this post, I will show you how I setup my MacBook Pro to use RMS Express which is WinLink software to function properly using CrossOver software. It may seem a little complex and honestly there is not a lot of great information on the web to demonstrate and walk you through the steps of setting this up, so I thought I would take a stab at it. If you have any issues or hiccups, click the Contact tab from the Menu above and I will do my best to give you some help. the purpose of this thread is to help others setup RMS Express on OS X and as always, to promote the friendliness of amateur radio.
Below is the software I have setup on my MacBook Pro'' OS X Version 10.9.5'' CrossOver for Mac Version 13.0'' RMS Express for Windows Version 1.2.32.0'' VOACAP for Windows Version 12.0722W
Links to download needed software'' CrossOver for Mac'' RMS Express for Windows'' VOACAP for Windows
Hardware Used'' MacBook Pro'' SignaLink USBSignaLink USB may be purchased at amateur radio supply stores, or at Ham Radio Outlet for about $100
Go ahead and download the needed software before you go any farther into this installation. Doing so will make it easier for the install.
Be sure before you begin this installistion that you correctly setup your SignaLink USB to properly send and receive. Also be sure to turn the delay to the lowest setting.
First Is To Install RMS Express Into CrossOver
Step OneCreate a new WinXP bottle:'' Configure > Manage Bottles > + (Add New Bottle)'' Name the bottle and follow instructions
Step TwoOne you have created the bottle, you need to install specific software into your bottle.'' Under Manage Bottles, click Applications tab > Install Software'' In the list of available applications scroll to Service Pack and Upgrades'' Select Microsoft .NET Franework 3.5 Service Pack 1'' Click Install
Once you click Install it will prompt you to install a lot of software so you will have to keep a watchful eye on it. When it ask you to Restart, click Restart Now.
Step ThreeInstall RMS Express'' Under Manage Bottles, click Applications tab > Install Software'' Under Select An Application To Install, croll to the bottom of the list of applications'' Select Unsupported Applications > Other Application'' Click the Select An Installer tab > Choose Installer File'' Chose the previously downloaded RMS Express software'' Click Use This Installer'' Click Install
Step FourInstall VOACAPVOACAP is used to plot propagation reports to better provide stations you can connect to easier'' Under Manage Bottles, click Applications tab > Install Software'' Under Select An Application To Install, croll to the bottom of the list of applications'' Select Unsupported Applications > Other Application'' Click the Select An Installer tab > Choose Installer File'' Chose the previously downloaded VOACAP softwareThis software should have a name that looks like itshfbc_120722.exe'' Click Use This Installer'' Click Install'' Follow the instructions (clicking Next and Agree To Terms and Conditions)'' Once you are prompted to install to a certain location, install to c:\itshfbc'' Click Install'' Once completed click Finish'' Once installation is complete click Done
Step FiveSetup RMS Express in Command Menu for easier access'' Click Programs > Run Command'' Use bottleThis is the bottle where the RMS Software and VOACAP Software is installed'' Command > Click Browse'' Select Program Files > RMS > RMS Express.exe'' Click Save Command To Programs MenuYou may now click Programs and choose RMS Express to more easily access and run this software
Step SixSetup RMS Express preferences'' Run RMS Express Software'' Select Files > RMS Express Setup'' Complete necessary information'' Under Path To Propagation Forecast Program'' Enter C:\itshfbc\'' Once completed with the setup click Update'' Click the drop down menu under Open Session'' If you are setting up this software to use with SgnaLink USB, select Winmor WL2K'' Once selecting Winmor WL2K click the Open Session button'' Click Setup > WINMOR TNC Setup'' WINMOR Capture Device > select USB Audio Codec'' WINMOR Playback Device > select USB Audio Codec'' Click Update
Step SevenUse RMS Express'' Still under the Open Session section select Channel Selection'' Click Path Quality EstimateThis will start with the highest numbers then scroll to the lowest estimates'' Select the station you wish to contact'' Tune your radio to the Dial Freq (kHz)'' Once ready to transmit and receive, click Start
Connecting to another station will send / receive any messages you have.
I hope this helps you setup RMS and properly use it! If you have any questions, comments, or updates to this thread, please let me know.
. Tags:
tycho brahe - Google Search
Wed, 23 Dec 2015 00:32
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the REAL SWR page
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 20:22
the REAL SWR pageThis page is all aboutWhere the energy really goes in an antenna system.Will a high SWR blow up my transmitter?( No, it will not, but POOR TUNING can.)
---The Reflection Section---
The purpose of this section is to explain what happens when un-used energy comes back down the coax from the antenna.
RF moves both ways in a coax. ========================================================
'†‘ I just couldn't help it. At the time, I thought it was cute. '†‘
Here are some simple truths that you probably knew before you got here, but when they are all put together, you will have 7 different things happening.
It is a little difficult to keep track of all 7 things that are happening, but this section will try to help you do that. Please go slow here. Take breaks if you would like to.
It helped me to draw diagrams of all this. Please feel free to stop and grab some paper to draw a diagram or two, or more.
This page is the most difficult page to understand of all the pages in this site. It uses high school algebra but I show you every move. Please feel free to skip all the math stuff, but please read the discussion parts so you can learn what is really going on.
The simple truths start here.
Your SWR meter reads the reverse energy in a coax, and converts that number into a value called the "Standing Wave Ratio". That number has very little meaning. The value is when you convert that number back into what it measured in the first place, which is the percent of returning energy. That is why you need a SWR meter.You should always use an antenna tuner. It goes near your rig, in the shack. Its duty is to match your antenna and coax to the impedance of your rig, not to change the SWR in the coax that goes from the antenna down to the antenna tuner. Many radios have tuners built in. Some tuners are automatic.Electrial energy moves forward and backward in a coaxial cable and in ladder line. (Everything I tell you about Coax is also true for ladder line, except that ladder line has far less loss.)Electrical energy moves forward because the generator (your rig) pushes it toward the antenna.It moves backwards because the antenna can not absorb all the energy, so the un-absorbed energy goes back down the coax. (The absorbed energy is converted into Electro-Magnetic energy and is transmitted out into space.)The reflected energy will be (re-reflected)* when it reaches the tuner or the tuned circuit in the output stage of the transmitter. NO LOSSES happen at the refelection points, and your rig will not blow up because refelected energy got into the tuned circuit.OK, nothing is perfect, and there will be a very very small amount of resistance in the coil and capacitor in the tuner which will create a very small loss, but it is truly tiny. (0.01 dB is a good estimate) This is absolutely true, Honest! * I need to interrupt this discussion to explain a bit about the term "re-reflection". This interruption has been added after receiving an email from Cecil, W5DXP. He is an absolute expert when it comes to energy moving from place to place in a coax or ladder line. He has both experience and education in this field. He wants you to know that the term "re-reflection" is not technically accurate. The reason it is not accurate is because the complete process in the tuner involves superposition, interference, and wave cancellation, and not simply re-reflection. I did not mention this in the first writing because I wanted to keep this as simple as possible. I am including this information now because Cecil, W5DXP is correct and if you understand those concepts, it may make understanding this material easier. It also may let other high power Ph.D folks know that I am trying to keep this as simple as possible while trying to be as correct as possible.
You can look him up on Google or visit his web site information at
www.mellesgriot.com/products/optics/oc_2_1.htm
or at
www.micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/interference/waveinteractions/index.html
OK, back to the original subject.
There are usually two coaxial cables between the transmitter and the antenna. _____ _________________ |SWR | |Antenna| ________|Transmitter| Coax #1 |meter|| tuner | Coax #2 |Antenna|Coax #1 is usually quite short, and coax #2 is far longer because it goes from your desk up to the antenna.
Controversy ahead.
The following information is absolutely correct, no matter what you have heard from your engineering professors or your favorite ham radio magazine.I know you can read many articles that disagree with what I have written here, but I have some important people who agree with me.
The two most important people who agree with me are
L. B. Cebik, W4RNL (SK) who has written many articles for the ARRL on transmission lines and antenna tuners.http://www.cebik.com
and
M. Walt Maxwell, W2DU who has written the book "Reflections:Transmission Lines and Antennas". This book was published by the ARRL. At the time of this writing (April 2010), Walt is 91 years old, and is still active and answers his email regularly.
While not a person, just as important is
The ARRL Antenna Book, published by the ARRL.
Note from the author : This statement is not to imply that L. B. Cebik, W4RNL and M. Walt Maxwell, W2DU have read this web site and sent me a message telling me that they approve of what is written here. What it does mean is that nearly 100% of what is here comes from what they have written in books or on the interenet. I did not create these thoughts, but I report them in as simple a manner as I can. Naturally, I agree with them and believe them to be absolutely correct.
The reason this is controversial is because so many people have been told a different story. When you hear any story over and over again, it becomes part of the "common knowledge" of the culture, and it tends to be condsidered the truth, even when it is clearly not true at all. That is what has happened here.
This is the last, but long, simple truth.
The antenna tuner adjusts the electrical length of the antenna and coax #2 so that the reflected energy has the exactly correct phase to be re-reflected at the antenna tuner. When the tuner is correctly tuned, no energy gets back into coax #1. An SWR meter is usually placed into coax #1 as a tuning aid, to measure the reflected energy. That meter will show an SWR of 1:1 when the reflected energy has been 100% re-reflected.
Coax #2 still has reflected waves because of the mis-match between coax #2 and the antenna, but those reflections will be re-reflected at the tuner and they will add to the transmitter energy output. It may seem strange that the system is resonant and still has reflections due to mismatched impedance, but the coax and antenna are not the same impedance.
Actually, except for the losses in the coax, 100% of the energy that leaves the transmitter will be radiated out of the antenna, no matter how high the SWR, because of the re-reflection. A high SWR will create a higher loss in the coax because a higher amount of energy travels backwards in the coax. This energy going backwards is subject to the same losses as the forward moving energy.
The tuner provides a conjugate match (equal magnitude but opposite reactance) for the system from the antenna tuner, through coax #2, to the tip of the antenna ends. This makes the antenna appear to be resonant, and coax #2 becomes the correct electrical length for re-reflections to happen.
Many authors have stated that an antenna tuner tunes coax #1, but has no effect on coax #2 or the antenna. That is not a good explaination. A much better explaination is that when the antenna and coax #2 are tuned, the tuner can re-refelect the reflected energy from the antenna. That is one important reason refelected energy does not get into coax #1. The other reason is that since coax #2 is now without reactance at the matching point, the impedance of coax #1 (50 Î(C)) exactly matches the impedance of coax #2 (50 Î(C)) so no refelections happen at the front end of the tuner and all the transmitter energy gets through to the tuner and into coax #2.
This is a very sticky point. According to M. Walter Maxwell in his book Reflections:Transmission Lines and Antennas, published by the ARRL, on Page 13 - 4, he says " The antenna tuner really does tune the antenna to resonance, in spite of opinions to the contrary of those who are unaware of the priciples of conjugate matching. The tuner obtains a match, by which all reactances throughout the entire antenna system are canceled, including that of the off-resonant antenna, thereby tuning it to resonance."
An even better way to discribe what happens is to point out that the specific spot called the "matching point" is where the impedance is 50 Ohms with zero reactance and it exactly matches the impedance of coax #1 at that point. There is really no need to claim that coax #1 or coax #2 have been tuned, because it is the "matching point" that is connected to coax #1, not the complete length of coax #2.
Please be patient here. This explaination has lots of steps, and each one is critical to understanding what really happens in the coax of an antenna system that is not perfectly matched.
This is the end of the simple truths.The explainations are below.
The antenna tuner can not change the SWR of your antenna, or its coax, so you will need to follow these 7 steps to see what actually happens with a higher SWR than the SWR meter in coax #1 says is there. The SWR meter is reporting on that very short connection between the tuner and the rig, not the coax that goes between the tuner and the antenna, but that is "where the action is."
There are 7 things you need to know. First, I will list the 7 things, and then each one will be explained in detail.
The reason this following information is not well known is because most people do not take the time to understand each step that follows.Each step is easy if you go slow and draw things out on paper. You will gain quite a lot of understanding of what really happens to a signal in a coax if you go slow, and have patience. Do not read quickly. Do not continue on if even one little thing is not clear to you. You will be proud of yourself if you learn this.
1) Reflections happen at the coax - antenna connection and they also happen at the coax - tuner connection. The last part of this statement seems to be missing from most discussions of SWR and mis-matched conditions.This is why a lot of people think that refelected power gets into the radio and does damage. That does not happen!
** What does kill radios is explained at the very bottom of this page. **
2) These reflections do not cause energy loss. All losses are due to the coax itself.
3) Energy moving backwards in the coax is subject to the exact same losses as energy moving in the forward direction.
4) The amount of energy reflected at the coax - antenna connection depends on the amount of impedance mis-match (read SWR) between the antenna and the coax. The greater the mis-match, the greater the reflection.
5) The amount of energy re-reflected at the coax - tuner connection is 100% of the energy that gets there, but not all the energy that was originally reflected gets back to the coax - tuner connection. There will be losses in the coax. All the reflected energy that reaches the coax - tuner connection is re-reflected back into the coax headed for the antenna. (Yup, another lossy trip in the coax.)
6) The re-reflected energy will be in phase with the generator so the two signals will add. This can create more forward power in the coax than the transmitter is actually producing. It is possible to measure 125 Watts forward power from a 100 Watt transmitter because the re-reflected power adds to the transmitter power.
7) Coax losses are the only losses in the whole system. These losses can be significant, but they are the ONLY losses in the antenna system. If you have been paying attention, you know that this last step is just a re-statment of other steps above.
Here come the details! Do not skip this section. It is full of math, but you _____can do it. Use a calculator that has X 2 and 'š X.1) Reflections happen at the coax - antenna connection, and again at the coax - tuner connection.
This means that energy will zoom up the coax between the antenna and the tuner and some of it will return down the coax. The "lost" energy is both lost in the coax, and radiated out into space by the antenna.
Another detail must be intorduced here. Every time the signal is reflected ( or re-reflected) a 180 degree phase shift happens to the current. This means that the current turns around and goes the other way, and it also turns upside down. Both things happen at the reflection points.
Let me say this again. In the case where the impedance of the antenna is greater than the impedance of the coax, [ ZAntenna > Z coax ] the reflected voltage will just turn around and go in the other direction, but the reflected current will become upside down as it also travels in reverse. This means that the forward voltage and reverse voltage are in phase with each other, but the forward current and reflected current are 180 degrees out of phase with each other. When the reverse ( and upside down ) current reaches the tuner, another 180 degree phase reversal and direction change will happen.
Now the re-reflected current is back in phase with the generator current, and the forward and reverse voltage are also in phase.This phase reversal is a good thing because it allows the forward and reverse current to ADD together when the re-reflection happens at the tuner.Try drawing a picture of this. Be patient. Go slow.
2) These reflections do not cause energy loss.
Energy losses are caused by heating ( I2 * R ) or radiation, but not by reflection. The law of conservation of energy tells us that what ever goes into a reflection will come out if there is no radiation and no heating.
3) Energy moving in a coax will have losses due to leakage and ( I2 * R ) heating.
These losses are well documented by the companies that make the coax. One of my favorite places to find the losses in different kinds of coax is http://www.arrg.us/pages/Loss-Calc.htm They have a calculator that will help you convert the dB losses into actual Watts for a better understanding of what is happening.
Follow the zig - zag path of power!
Here is an example of a typical coax with its typical loss in an antenna system with a SWR of 1.4 to 1. Go to the web site listed directly above and scroll about half way down the page to the calculator. Press the little "down arrow" and pick Belden 9913 (RG-8). It is a high quality coax used by many amateurs. Do not change anything else yet. When you have chosen the Belden 9913 coax, press the "calculate" button.Do it now.
If you have done this correctly, the calculator will tell you that Belden 9913 has a dB loss of only 0.388 dB and that calculates out to 91.461 Watts output from the coax if you put 100 Watts in to it.Where did the rest of that power go?It was lost to leakage inside the coax and to ( I2 * R ) heating.How much of that 91.461 Watts will be used by the antenna and how much will be refelected?The reflection coefficient is a number that tells you the percentage of reflection at the antenna - coax connection. The symbol "p" is used to represent this reflection coefficient. The math is easy to do.
p = ( SWR -1 ) / ( SWR + 1 )
We started by assuming that the SWR is 1.4 to 1. Use that 1.4 value to fill in the formula.p = ( 1.4 - 1 ) / ( 1.4 + 1 ) = 0.4 / 2.4 = 0.166
The reflection coefficient is used for voltage, currrent, and when squared, it is used for power.Since the reflection coefficient is 0.166 in this example, the voltage reflected will be 16.6% of what arrives from the generator, and the current reflected will also be 16.6% of what arrives from the generator. The power that is reflected will be the square of the reflection coefficient.To find out how much power is reflected, you will need to use the following formula.
Reflected Power = p2 times the Power availableReflected Power = (.166)2 times 91.461 Watts.Reflected Power = (0.02775) Times 91.461 WattsReflected Power = 2.54 Watts
This means that 2.54 Watts of the forward power will be reflected back down the coax toward the tuner, and the rest ( 91.461 W - 2.54 W = 88.921 Watts) 88.921 Watts will be used by the antenna and be radiated into space.====================================Try drawing a picture of this. Be patient. Go slow.Is it break time yet?====================================The power that reached the coax - antenna connection was 91.461 Watts and 97.25% of that power will be radiated into space, leaving 2.75% to be reflected back down the coax. Both of these percentages come from the Reflection Coefficient that has been squared. (Reflection Coefficient)2 = (0.166)2 = .0275, which means that 2.75 % will be reflected. Power used by the antenna = 100% - 2.75 % = 97.25%How much power will be radiated by the antenna?The antenna will radiate 88.921 Watts into space.This number will get slightly larger after the reflected power is returned to the antenna, but for now, during the first cycle, only 88.921 Watts are transmitted.How much power is headed toward the tuner?Only 91.461 Watts was available at the antenna - coax connection, and 2.75 percent of that will be reflected back down the coax toward the tuner.( 91.461 Watts times 2.75% = 2.54 Watts ) 2.54 Watts will be returned to the coax to go back to the tuner.How much power gets to the tuner?http://www.ocarc.ca/coax.htmWe must use the calculator again. Put 2.54 Watts in the place of the 100 Watts just above the "calculate" button. Press the "calculate" button.
Do it now please.
Notice that 2.323 Watts gets to the tuner and the rest was lost to heat and leakage.5) How much power is re-reflected at the tuner?100 % of the reflected power that gets to the tuner will be re-reflected. In this case, the power that is re-reflected is 2.323 Watts. This 2.323 Watts now starts its way back to the antenna.6) The re-reflected energy will be in phase with the generator so the two signals will add. [Note: If the two signals were not exactly in phase, the addition still happens, but the method is messy, and the result is not the same. This would be the case if the antenna was not exactly tuned to the operating frequency as it is in this example or if an antenna tuner was not correctly adjusted.]The generator is producing 100 Watts and now it will have an additional 2.323 Watts added to it, for a total of 102.323 Watts heading for the antenna.This is the official end of the first cycle of the generator. This first cycle started with a 100 Watt signal leaving the generator, but only 88.921 Watts was transmitted. The total loss so far due to heating and leakage was( 100W - 91.46 W = 8.55W ) 8.55 Watts on the trip up to the antenna, and( 2.54 W - 2.32 W = 0.217 W ) 0.217 Watts loss on the way back down the coax.This makes a total of ( 8.55 W + 0.217 W = 8.76 W ) 8.76 Watts actually lost in the form of heat and leakage.
There are still 2.32 Watts stored in the coax( and tuner) about to be added to the generator power.All the power is accounted for. This is important because it helps you realize this explaination is correct.That's a lot of information. What is the actual result ?What's the Score?
Input Power - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 100 WLoss of power going up the Coax- - - - - - - - - - - - - 8.55 WPower reaching the Antenna - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 91.46 WPower Radiated by the Antenna- - - - - - - - - - - - - 88.91 WReflected Power returned to the Coax- - - - - - - - - 2.54 WLoss of Power going back down the Coax - - - - - - - 0.217 WPower that arrives at the Tuner - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2.32 WRadiated power evenually evens out to'‰- - - - - - - - 91 W.(after about 5 cycles)
This shows where the power is lost, and what is radiated. This is far too much information, but it is necessary to tell the whole story truthfully.As you know, this is only the first cycle. Make a diagram of all this information so you can see where all these numbers fit in. That will help you understand this.
The power that is still in the coax (and tuner) will add to the generator power which will add a little to the output and add to the losses. This will continue for a few cycles until the system settles out to finally produce 91 Watts radiated power.
Finally, take a look at what happens when the SWR is high and what happens when the coax loss is great.First, lets look at what happens when the SWR is high (SWR = 3)This uses the same 50 Î(C) coax as before.
SWR = 1.4 SWR = 3Input Power - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 100 W 100 WLoss of power going up the Coax - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8.55 W 8.55 WPower reaching the Antenna- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 91.46 W 91.46 WPower Radiated by the Antenna - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 88.91 W 68.59 W '†Reflected Power returned to the Coax - - - - - - - - - - 2.6 W 22.86 W '†Loss of Power going back down the Coax - - - - - - - - 0.217 W 1.95 WPower that arrives at the Tuner - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2.32 W 20.9 WRadiated power eventually settles out at - - - - - - - - - 91.0 W 86.7 W'†
Even when there is a high SWR, the final power output is nearly the same.
SWR is not a killer at all.
This is the same SWR = 1.4, but the COAX now has a loss of 2.5 dB (Belden 8216) which is Rg - 174. Belden 9913 Belden 8216 Coax loss = .388 dB Coax loss = 2.5 dBInput Power- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 100 W 100 WLoss of power going up the Coax- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8.55 W 43.7 WPower reaching the Antenna - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 91.46 W 56.2 WPower Radiated by the Antenna- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 88.91 W 54.6 WReflected Power returned to the Coax- - - - - - - - - - 2.54 W 1.56 WLoss of Power going back down the Coax- - - - - - - - 0.217 W 0.68 WPower that arrives at the Tuner- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2.32 W .87 WRadiated power eventually settles out at- - - - - - - - - 91 W 55.1 W '†
These losses are terrible! The coax losses have ruined the output power!!
Finally we have come to the very last subject on this page.
So, why do people think they can blow up their rigs or linear amplifiers when there is a high SWR on the antenna?
Because that can happen, but it is not due to the reflected power!There is a totally different reason.A high SWR on an antenna probably means that the antenna is not tuned to the frequency that is being used. This, in turn, means that the antenna has some inductive or capacitive reactance that is de-tuning the final amplifier. De-tuned final amplifiers draw far too much current and can burn up. The rig or linear amplifier will have to be re-tuned to avoid creating too much heat.Many linears and nearly all tube amplifiers have some tuning knobs that allow you to "dip the plate current" or adjust the SWR by adjusting something on the front of the device.Transistor rigs usually do not have any tuning adjustments. To avoid the extra heat created when running a de-tuned amplifier, there is a protection circuit that will significantly reduce the output power if the SWR is high.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The conclusion section.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Finally we are at the conclusion section. I hope you have seen that . . . . .
High SWR at the transmitter can ruin that rig because the final amplifier is de-tuned. Using an antenna tuner will tune the rig back to where it should be.High loss coax can really reduce your output power. A coax with a 3 dB loss will suck up half the power, allowing the antenna to radiate the other half.WC7I.com
the REAL SWR pageThis page is all aboutWhere the energy really goes in an antenna system.Will a high SWR blow up my transmitter?( No, it will not, but POOR TUNING can.)
---The Reflection Section---
The purpose of this section is to explain what happens when un-used energy comes back down the coax from the antenna.
RF moves both ways in a coax. ========================================================
'†‘ I just couldn't help it. At the time, I thought it was cute. '†‘
Here are some simple truths that you probably knew before you got here, but when they are all put together, you will have 7 different things happening.
It is a little difficult to keep track of all 7 things that are happening, but this section will try to help you do that. Please go slow here. Take breaks if you would like to.
It helped me to draw diagrams of all this. Please feel free to stop and grab some paper to draw a diagram or two, or more.
This page is the most difficult page to understand of all the pages in this site. It uses high school algebra but I show you every move. Please feel free to skip all the math stuff, but please read the discussion parts so you can learn what is really going on.
The simple truths start here.
Your SWR meter reads the reverse energy in a coax, and converts that number into a value called the "Standing Wave Ratio". That number has very little meaning. The value is when you convert that number back into what it measured in the first place, which is the percent of returning energy. That is why you need a SWR meter.You should always use an antenna tuner. It goes near your rig, in the shack. Its duty is to match your antenna and coax to the impedance of your rig, not to change the SWR in the coax that goes from the antenna down to the antenna tuner. Many radios have tuners built in. Some tuners are automatic.Electrial energy moves forward and backward in a coaxial cable and in ladder line. (Everything I tell you about Coax is also true for ladder line, except that ladder line has far less loss.)Electrical energy moves forward because the generator (your rig) pushes it toward the antenna.It moves backwards because the antenna can not absorb all the energy, so the un-absorbed energy goes back down the coax. (The absorbed energy is converted into Electro-Magnetic energy and is transmitted out into space.)The reflected energy will be (re-reflected)* when it reaches the tuner or the tuned circuit in the output stage of the transmitter. NO LOSSES happen at the refelection points, and your rig will not blow up because refelected energy got into the tuned circuit.OK, nothing is perfect, and there will be a very very small amount of resistance in the coil and capacitor in the tuner which will create a very small loss, but it is truly tiny. (0.01 dB is a good estimate) This is absolutely true, Honest! * I need to interrupt this discussion to explain a bit about the term "re-reflection". This interruption has been added after receiving an email from Cecil, W5DXP. He is an absolute expert when it comes to energy moving from place to place in a coax or ladder line. He has both experience and education in this field. He wants you to know that the term "re-reflection" is not technically accurate. The reason it is not accurate is because the complete process in the tuner involves superposition, interference, and wave cancellation, and not simply re-reflection. I did not mention this in the first writing because I wanted to keep this as simple as possible. I am including this information now because Cecil, W5DXP is correct and if you understand those concepts, it may make understanding this material easier. It also may let other high power Ph.D folks know that I am trying to keep this as simple as possible while trying to be as correct as possible.
You can look him up on Google or visit his web site information at
www.mellesgriot.com/products/optics/oc_2_1.htm
or at
www.micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/java/scienceopticsu/interference/waveinteractions/index.html
OK, back to the original subject.
There are usually two coaxial cables between the transmitter and the antenna. _____ _________________ |SWR | |Antenna| ________|Transmitter| Coax #1 |meter|| tuner | Coax #2 |Antenna|Coax #1 is usually quite short, and coax #2 is far longer because it goes from your desk up to the antenna.
Controversy ahead.
The following information is absolutely correct, no matter what you have heard from your engineering professors or your favorite ham radio magazine.I know you can read many articles that disagree with what I have written here, but I have some important people who agree with me.
The two most important people who agree with me are
L. B. Cebik, W4RNL (SK) who has written many articles for the ARRL on transmission lines and antenna tuners.http://www.cebik.com
and
M. Walt Maxwell, W2DU who has written the book "Reflections:Transmission Lines and Antennas". This book was published by the ARRL. At the time of this writing (April 2010), Walt is 91 years old, and is still active and answers his email regularly.
While not a person, just as important is
The ARRL Antenna Book, published by the ARRL.
Note from the author : This statement is not to imply that L. B. Cebik, W4RNL and M. Walt Maxwell, W2DU have read this web site and sent me a message telling me that they approve of what is written here. What it does mean is that nearly 100% of what is here comes from what they have written in books or on the interenet. I did not create these thoughts, but I report them in as simple a manner as I can. Naturally, I agree with them and believe them to be absolutely correct.
The reason this is controversial is because so many people have been told a different story. When you hear any story over and over again, it becomes part of the "common knowledge" of the culture, and it tends to be condsidered the truth, even when it is clearly not true at all. That is what has happened here.
This is the last, but long, simple truth.
The antenna tuner adjusts the electrical length of the antenna and coax #2 so that the reflected energy has the exactly correct phase to be re-reflected at the antenna tuner. When the tuner is correctly tuned, no energy gets back into coax #1. An SWR meter is usually placed into coax #1 as a tuning aid, to measure the reflected energy. That meter will show an SWR of 1:1 when the reflected energy has been 100% re-reflected.
Coax #2 still has reflected waves because of the mis-match between coax #2 and the antenna, but those reflections will be re-reflected at the tuner and they will add to the transmitter energy output. It may seem strange that the system is resonant and still has reflections due to mismatched impedance, but the coax and antenna are not the same impedance.
Actually, except for the losses in the coax, 100% of the energy that leaves the transmitter will be radiated out of the antenna, no matter how high the SWR, because of the re-reflection. A high SWR will create a higher loss in the coax because a higher amount of energy travels backwards in the coax. This energy going backwards is subject to the same losses as the forward moving energy.
The tuner provides a conjugate match (equal magnitude but opposite reactance) for the system from the antenna tuner, through coax #2, to the tip of the antenna ends. This makes the antenna appear to be resonant, and coax #2 becomes the correct electrical length for re-reflections to happen.
Many authors have stated that an antenna tuner tunes coax #1, but has no effect on coax #2 or the antenna. That is not a good explaination. A much better explaination is that when the antenna and coax #2 are tuned, the tuner can re-refelect the reflected energy from the antenna. That is one important reason refelected energy does not get into coax #1. The other reason is that since coax #2 is now without reactance at the matching point, the impedance of coax #1 (50 Î(C)) exactly matches the impedance of coax #2 (50 Î(C)) so no refelections happen at the front end of the tuner and all the transmitter energy gets through to the tuner and into coax #2.
This is a very sticky point. According to M. Walter Maxwell in his book Reflections:Transmission Lines and Antennas, published by the ARRL, on Page 13 - 4, he says " The antenna tuner really does tune the antenna to resonance, in spite of opinions to the contrary of those who are unaware of the priciples of conjugate matching. The tuner obtains a match, by which all reactances throughout the entire antenna system are canceled, including that of the off-resonant antenna, thereby tuning it to resonance."
An even better way to discribe what happens is to point out that the specific spot called the "matching point" is where the impedance is 50 Ohms with zero reactance and it exactly matches the impedance of coax #1 at that point. There is really no need to claim that coax #1 or coax #2 have been tuned, because it is the "matching point" that is connected to coax #1, not the complete length of coax #2.
Please be patient here. This explaination has lots of steps, and each one is critical to understanding what really happens in the coax of an antenna system that is not perfectly matched.
This is the end of the simple truths.The explainations are below.
The antenna tuner can not change the SWR of your antenna, or its coax, so you will need to follow these 7 steps to see what actually happens with a higher SWR than the SWR meter in coax #1 says is there. The SWR meter is reporting on that very short connection between the tuner and the rig, not the coax that goes between the tuner and the antenna, but that is "where the action is."
There are 7 things you need to know. First, I will list the 7 things, and then each one will be explained in detail.
The reason this following information is not well known is because most people do not take the time to understand each step that follows.Each step is easy if you go slow and draw things out on paper. You will gain quite a lot of understanding of what really happens to a signal in a coax if you go slow, and have patience. Do not read quickly. Do not continue on if even one little thing is not clear to you. You will be proud of yourself if you learn this.
1) Reflections happen at the coax - antenna connection and they also happen at the coax - tuner connection. The last part of this statement seems to be missing from most discussions of SWR and mis-matched conditions.This is why a lot of people think that refelected power gets into the radio and does damage. That does not happen!
** What does kill radios is explained at the very bottom of this page. **
2) These reflections do not cause energy loss. All losses are due to the coax itself.
3) Energy moving backwards in the coax is subject to the exact same losses as energy moving in the forward direction.
4) The amount of energy reflected at the coax - antenna connection depends on the amount of impedance mis-match (read SWR) between the antenna and the coax. The greater the mis-match, the greater the reflection.
5) The amount of energy re-reflected at the coax - tuner connection is 100% of the energy that gets there, but not all the energy that was originally reflected gets back to the coax - tuner connection. There will be losses in the coax. All the reflected energy that reaches the coax - tuner connection is re-reflected back into the coax headed for the antenna. (Yup, another lossy trip in the coax.)
6) The re-reflected energy will be in phase with the generator so the two signals will add. This can create more forward power in the coax than the transmitter is actually producing. It is possible to measure 125 Watts forward power from a 100 Watt transmitter because the re-reflected power adds to the transmitter power.
7) Coax losses are the only losses in the whole system. These losses can be significant, but they are the ONLY losses in the antenna system. If you have been paying attention, you know that this last step is just a re-statment of other steps above.
Here come the details! Do not skip this section. It is full of math, but you _____can do it. Use a calculator that has X 2 and 'š X.1) Reflections happen at the coax - antenna connection, and again at the coax - tuner connection.
This means that energy will zoom up the coax between the antenna and the tuner and some of it will return down the coax. The "lost" energy is both lost in the coax, and radiated out into space by the antenna.
Another detail must be intorduced here. Every time the signal is reflected ( or re-reflected) a 180 degree phase shift happens to the current. This means that the current turns around and goes the other way, and it also turns upside down. Both things happen at the reflection points.
Let me say this again. In the case where the impedance of the antenna is greater than the impedance of the coax, [ ZAntenna > Z coax ] the reflected voltage will just turn around and go in the other direction, but the reflected current will become upside down as it also travels in reverse. This means that the forward voltage and reverse voltage are in phase with each other, but the forward current and reflected current are 180 degrees out of phase with each other. When the reverse ( and upside down ) current reaches the tuner, another 180 degree phase reversal and direction change will happen.
Now the re-reflected current is back in phase with the generator current, and the forward and reverse voltage are also in phase.This phase reversal is a good thing because it allows the forward and reverse current to ADD together when the re-reflection happens at the tuner.Try drawing a picture of this. Be patient. Go slow.
2) These reflections do not cause energy loss.
Energy losses are caused by heating ( I2 * R ) or radiation, but not by reflection. The law of conservation of energy tells us that what ever goes into a reflection will come out if there is no radiation and no heating.
3) Energy moving in a coax will have losses due to leakage and ( I2 * R ) heating.
These losses are well documented by the companies that make the coax. One of my favorite places to find the losses in different kinds of coax is http://www.arrg.us/pages/Loss-Calc.htm They have a calculator that will help you convert the dB losses into actual Watts for a better understanding of what is happening.
Follow the zig - zag path of power!
Here is an example of a typical coax with its typical loss in an antenna system with a SWR of 1.4 to 1. Go to the web site listed directly above and scroll about half way down the page to the calculator. Press the little "down arrow" and pick Belden 9913 (RG-8). It is a high quality coax used by many amateurs. Do not change anything else yet. When you have chosen the Belden 9913 coax, press the "calculate" button.Do it now.
If you have done this correctly, the calculator will tell you that Belden 9913 has a dB loss of only 0.388 dB and that calculates out to 91.461 Watts output from the coax if you put 100 Watts in to it.Where did the rest of that power go?It was lost to leakage inside the coax and to ( I2 * R ) heating.How much of that 91.461 Watts will be used by the antenna and how much will be refelected?The reflection coefficient is a number that tells you the percentage of reflection at the antenna - coax connection. The symbol "p" is used to represent this reflection coefficient. The math is easy to do.
p = ( SWR -1 ) / ( SWR + 1 )
We started by assuming that the SWR is 1.4 to 1. Use that 1.4 value to fill in the formula.p = ( 1.4 - 1 ) / ( 1.4 + 1 ) = 0.4 / 2.4 = 0.166
The reflection coefficient is used for voltage, currrent, and when squared, it is used for power.Since the reflection coefficient is 0.166 in this example, the voltage reflected will be 16.6% of what arrives from the generator, and the current reflected will also be 16.6% of what arrives from the generator. The power that is reflected will be the square of the reflection coefficient.To find out how much power is reflected, you will need to use the following formula.
Reflected Power = p2 times the Power availableReflected Power = (.166)2 times 91.461 Watts.Reflected Power = (0.02775) Times 91.461 WattsReflected Power = 2.54 Watts
This means that 2.54 Watts of the forward power will be reflected back down the coax toward the tuner, and the rest ( 91.461 W - 2.54 W = 88.921 Watts) 88.921 Watts will be used by the antenna and be radiated into space.====================================Try drawing a picture of this. Be patient. Go slow.Is it break time yet?====================================The power that reached the coax - antenna connection was 91.461 Watts and 97.25% of that power will be radiated into space, leaving 2.75% to be reflected back down the coax. Both of these percentages come from the Reflection Coefficient that has been squared. (Reflection Coefficient)2 = (0.166)2 = .0275, which means that 2.75 % will be reflected. Power used by the antenna = 100% - 2.75 % = 97.25%How much power will be radiated by the antenna?The antenna will radiate 88.921 Watts into space.This number will get slightly larger after the reflected power is returned to the antenna, but for now, during the first cycle, only 88.921 Watts are transmitted.How much power is headed toward the tuner?Only 91.461 Watts was available at the antenna - coax connection, and 2.75 percent of that will be reflected back down the coax toward the tuner.( 91.461 Watts times 2.75% = 2.54 Watts ) 2.54 Watts will be returned to the coax to go back to the tuner.How much power gets to the tuner?http://www.ocarc.ca/coax.htmWe must use the calculator again. Put 2.54 Watts in the place of the 100 Watts just above the "calculate" button. Press the "calculate" button.
Do it now please.
Notice that 2.323 Watts gets to the tuner and the rest was lost to heat and leakage.5) How much power is re-reflected at the tuner?100 % of the reflected power that gets to the tuner will be re-reflected. In this case, the power that is re-reflected is 2.323 Watts. This 2.323 Watts now starts its way back to the antenna.6) The re-reflected energy will be in phase with the generator so the two signals will add. [Note: If the two signals were not exactly in phase, the addition still happens, but the method is messy, and the result is not the same. This would be the case if the antenna was not exactly tuned to the operating frequency as it is in this example or if an antenna tuner was not correctly adjusted.]The generator is producing 100 Watts and now it will have an additional 2.323 Watts added to it, for a total of 102.323 Watts heading for the antenna.This is the official end of the first cycle of the generator. This first cycle started with a 100 Watt signal leaving the generator, but only 88.921 Watts was transmitted. The total loss so far due to heating and leakage was( 100W - 91.46 W = 8.55W ) 8.55 Watts on the trip up to the antenna, and( 2.54 W - 2.32 W = 0.217 W ) 0.217 Watts loss on the way back down the coax.This makes a total of ( 8.55 W + 0.217 W = 8.76 W ) 8.76 Watts actually lost in the form of heat and leakage.
There are still 2.32 Watts stored in the coax( and tuner) about to be added to the generator power.All the power is accounted for. This is important because it helps you realize this explaination is correct.That's a lot of information. What is the actual result ?What's the Score?
Input Power - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 100 WLoss of power going up the Coax- - - - - - - - - - - - - 8.55 WPower reaching the Antenna - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 91.46 WPower Radiated by the Antenna- - - - - - - - - - - - - 88.91 WReflected Power returned to the Coax- - - - - - - - - 2.54 WLoss of Power going back down the Coax - - - - - - - 0.217 WPower that arrives at the Tuner - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2.32 WRadiated power evenually evens out to'‰- - - - - - - - 91 W.(after about 5 cycles)
This shows where the power is lost, and what is radiated. This is far too much information, but it is necessary to tell the whole story truthfully.As you know, this is only the first cycle. Make a diagram of all this information so you can see where all these numbers fit in. That will help you understand this.
The power that is still in the coax (and tuner) will add to the generator power which will add a little to the output and add to the losses. This will continue for a few cycles until the system settles out to finally produce 91 Watts radiated power.
Finally, take a look at what happens when the SWR is high and what happens when the coax loss is great.First, lets look at what happens when the SWR is high (SWR = 3)This uses the same 50 Î(C) coax as before.
SWR = 1.4 SWR = 3Input Power - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 100 W 100 WLoss of power going up the Coax - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8.55 W 8.55 WPower reaching the Antenna- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 91.46 W 91.46 WPower Radiated by the Antenna - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 88.91 W 68.59 W '†Reflected Power returned to the Coax - - - - - - - - - - 2.6 W 22.86 W '†Loss of Power going back down the Coax - - - - - - - - 0.217 W 1.95 WPower that arrives at the Tuner - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2.32 W 20.9 WRadiated power eventually settles out at - - - - - - - - - 91.0 W 86.7 W'†
Even when there is a high SWR, the final power output is nearly the same.
SWR is not a killer at all.
This is the same SWR = 1.4, but the COAX now has a loss of 2.5 dB (Belden 8216) which is Rg - 174. Belden 9913 Belden 8216 Coax loss = .388 dB Coax loss = 2.5 dBInput Power- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 100 W 100 WLoss of power going up the Coax- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8.55 W 43.7 WPower reaching the Antenna - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 91.46 W 56.2 WPower Radiated by the Antenna- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 88.91 W 54.6 WReflected Power returned to the Coax- - - - - - - - - - 2.54 W 1.56 WLoss of Power going back down the Coax- - - - - - - - 0.217 W 0.68 WPower that arrives at the Tuner- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2.32 W .87 WRadiated power eventually settles out at- - - - - - - - - 91 W 55.1 W '†
These losses are terrible! The coax losses have ruined the output power!!
Finally we have come to the very last subject on this page.
So, why do people think they can blow up their rigs or linear amplifiers when there is a high SWR on the antenna?
Because that can happen, but it is not due to the reflected power!There is a totally different reason.A high SWR on an antenna probably means that the antenna is not tuned to the frequency that is being used. This, in turn, means that the antenna has some inductive or capacitive reactance that is de-tuning the final amplifier. De-tuned final amplifiers draw far too much current and can burn up. The rig or linear amplifier will have to be re-tuned to avoid creating too much heat.Many linears and nearly all tube amplifiers have some tuning knobs that allow you to "dip the plate current" or adjust the SWR by adjusting something on the front of the device.Transistor rigs usually do not have any tuning adjustments. To avoid the extra heat created when running a de-tuned amplifier, there is a protection circuit that will significantly reduce the output power if the SWR is high.
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The conclusion section.
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Finally we are at the conclusion section. I hope you have seen that . . . . .
High SWR at the transmitter can ruin that rig because the final amplifier is de-tuned. Using an antenna tuner will tune the rig back to where it should be.High loss coax can really reduce your output power. A coax with a 3 dB loss will suck up half the power, allowing the antenna to radiate the other half.WC7I.com
FTC Issues New Rules to Native Advertising On the Internet | Re/code
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:53
The Federal Trade Commission today unveiled its rules for how native advertising on the Internet has to look, spelling out what qualifies as deceptive and what doesn't.
The FTC's ''Enforcement Policy Statement on Deceptively Formatted Advertisements'' is a wonky 16-page document that fundamentally affirms what the FTC has already said about deceptive advertising more generally. Here's the part that best sums up its message:
''Regardless of the medium in which an advertising or promotional message is disseminated, deception occurs when consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances are misled about its nature or source, and such misleading impression is likely to affect their decisions or conduct regarding the advertised product or the advertising.''
Native advertising, also called sponsored content, is an ad that's dressed up to look like editorial material, but theoretically has a clear designation that distinguishes it from editorial content.
For a number of digital media companies, native advertising has become a vital revenue stream that isn't tied to the whims of Facebook traffic. Gawker Media pulls in a third of its revenue from native ads, and digital heavyweights like BuzzFeed and Vox Media* have established in-house ad agencies to focus on crafting the stuff.
A number of years ago, before Facebook completely overwhelmed digital media publishers, there was a grand debate about the ethics of native advertising and sponsored content.
Some people, like since-retired blogger Andrew Sullivan (an influential former magazine editor with a small but dedicated following) said that advertising had ''defeated'' journalism and that ads mimicking editorial content were journalism's death knell. By and large, people don't argue about this anymore because it appears that everyone stopped caring about ethics in advertising. Just kidding! It was actually because people started to experience platform anxiety about Facebook, which makes native advertising seem much more palatable by comparison to many journalists and media critics.
The FTC's policy statement touches on all of this, which is weirdly self-aware for a government document. There's also a guide to the enforcement standards for businesses, and a press release here. The FTC approved the new rules by a vote of 4-0.
* Vox Media owns this website.
Contact Noah Kulwin:|EMAIL
IRS gains power to get tax scofflaws' passports revoked
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:28
Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic11:03 a.m. EST December 22, 2015
The Department of the Treasury and the IRS can authorize the State Department to take away U.S. passports from individuals with seriously delinquent tax liabilities.(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
It might be wise to pay your overdue income taxes before packing for that European river cruise.
A new enforcement provision passed by Congress and signed into law earlier this month allows the government to revoke the passports of seriously delinquent tax scofflaws '-- people who owe more than $50,000 to Uncle Sam.
"You could be on your honeymoon and they could revoke your passport," said Tom Wheelwright, a certified public accountant and chief executive officer at ProVision Wealth Strategists in Tempe, Ariz.
Some details still need to be worked out, but the new passport rule indicates the government wants to get serious about collecting unpaid tax debts. The IRS reported 12.4 million delinquent accounts owing nearly $131 billion in assessed taxes, interest and penalties in 2014.
In addition to going after delinquent taxpayers by revoking their passports, the FAST Act highway-transportation bill signed by President Obama on Dec. 4 also gives private debt collectors a shot at forcing taxpayers to make good on their debts. The act includes a mandate that the Internal Revenue Service turn over certain unpaid tax delinquencies to private debt collectors.
The passport-revoking provision allows the Department of the Treasury and the IRS to authorize the State Department to take away U.S. passports from individuals with seriously delinquent tax liabilities. That's defined as those greater than $50,000 and for which the IRS has filed a lien or levy, according to Matthew D. Lee of law firm Blank Rome. In a blog, he described the passport-revoking provision as a "powerful tool to force tax compliance." Affected taxpayers would receive written notice.
The State Department is now authorized to deny, revoke or limit use of a taxpayer's U.S. passport, and it isn't supposed to issue a passport to anyone owing that much money (with exceptions for emergencies or for humanitarian reasons). Americans out of the country when their passports are revoked may be allowed to return home.
The number of valid U.S. passports has surged in recent years, from roughly 30 million in 1995 to 126 million this year.
The new provisions wouldn't affect taxpayers who already have entered deals with the IRS to pay their tax debts, such as installment agreements or offers in compromise. Also, passports wouldn't be revoked for people who are seeking hearings or who are claiming innocent-spouse relief, according to Lee.
Wheelwright views the $50,000 limit as low, adding that it wouldn't take much to accumulate that much debt if a person lost a job or incurred big medical bills. It doesn't help that it's getting more difficult for people to contact the IRS, which is answering only about 40% of telephone calls from taxpayers, he said. Even tax professionals are looking at average phone waits of about 90 minutes, he said.
On the other hand, many of the people likely to get their passports revoked have been ignoring their tax obligations. An individual typically would receive three or four IRS notices over three to six months before getting to the collections stage, Wheelwright said.
Many of the people with severely delinquent accounts are U.S. citizens who live in other nations, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst at researcher Wolters Kluwer in suburban Chicago. Some have dual citizenship and might not worry about losing their U.S. passports. "They feel they can ignore a tax problem for a while."
Americans out of the country when their passports are revoked may be allowed to return home. (Photo: Getty Images)
An IRS spokesman said the agency is reviewing the new law and taking steps to implement the program "as soon as feasible."
Congressional analysts expect the passport-revocation rule to raise about $400 million over the next 10 years, said Luscombe. That's less than the expected revenue from the new rule mandating non-IRS debt collectors. That's expected to bring in $4.8 billion total over the next 10 years, or around $2.4 billion after private collectors take their share, Luscombe said.
Private debt collectors would be called in on "inactive" tax delinquencies. "This means that the IRS has already tried to collect and failed because they couldn't locate the taxpayer or they deemed it not worth their time," Wheelwright said, adding that only those tax liabilities outstanding more than a year would be outsourced. The new rule carves out various debt-collecting exceptions, such as for minors with big tax bills as well as innocent spouses and military personnel in combat zones.
Reach Wiles at russ.wiles@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8616.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1OkH3nA
HTTP 451 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:28
In computer networking, HTTP 451 Unavailable For Legal Reasons is an error status code of the HTTP protocol to be displayed when the user requests an illegal resource, such as a web page censored by a government, with the number 451 being a reference to the 1953 dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, where books are outlawed.[1] 451 could be described as a more descriptive variant of 403 Forbidden.[2]
Examples of situations where an HTTP 451 error code could be displayed include web pages deemed a danger to national security, or web pages deemed to violate copyright, privacy, blasphemy laws, or any other law or court order.
However, some sites may be forced to produce HTTP 404 (File Not Found) or similar, if they are not legally permitted to disclose that the resource has been removed. Such a tactic is used in the United Kingdom (see also: Gag order, superinjunction) by some ISPs utilising the Internet Watch Foundation blacklist, returning a 404 message or another error message instead of showing a message indicating the site is blocked.[3][4]
The status code was formally proposed in 2013 by Tim Bray, based on an informal proposal in a blog post by Terence Eden .[5] It was approved by the IESG on December 18, 2015.[6]
ReferencesEditExternal linksEdit
Researchers Solve Juniper Backdoor Mystery; Signs Point to NSA | WIRED
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:26
Getty ImagesSecurity researchers believe they have finally solved the mystery around how a sophisticated backdoor embedded in Juniper firewalls works. Juniper Networks, a tech giant that produces networking equipment used by an array of corporate and government systems, announced on Thursday that it had discovered two unauthorized backdoors in its firewalls, including one that allows the attackers to decrypt protected traffic passing through Juniper's devices.
The researchers' findings suggest that the NSA may be responsible for that backdoor, at least indirectly. Even if the NSA did not plant the backdoor in the company's source code, the spy agency may in fact be indirectly responsible for it by having created weaknesses the attackers exploited.
Evidence uncovered by Ralf-Philipp Weinmann, founder and CEO of Comsecuris, a security consultancy in Germany, suggests that the Juniper culprits repurposed an encryption backdoor previously believed to have been engineered by the NSA, and tweaked it to use for their own spying purposes. Weinmann reported his findings in an extensive post published late Monday.
Security experts say the attack on Juniper firewalls underscores precisely why they have been saying for a long time that government backdoors in systems are a bad idea'--because they can be hijacked and repurposed by other parties.
They did this by exploiting weaknesses the NSA allegedly placed in a government-approved encryption algorithm known as Dual_EC, a pseudo-random number generator that Juniper uses to encrypt traffic passing through the VPN in its NetScreen firewalls. But in addition to these inherent weaknesses, the attackers also relied on a mistake Juniper apparently made in configuring the VPN encryption scheme in its NetScreen devices, according to Weinmann and other cryptographers who examined the issue. This made it possible for the culprits to pull off their attack.
Weinmann says the Juniper backdoor is a textbook example of how someone can exploit the existing weaknesses in the Dual_EC algorithm, noting that the method they used matches exactly a method the security community warned about back in 2007.
The new information about how the backdoor works also suggests that a patch Juniper sent to customers last week doesn't entirely fix the backdoor problem, since the major configuration error Juniper made still exists.
''One [more] line of code could fix this,'' Weinmann says. He's not sure why Juniper didn't add this fix to the patch it sent to customers last week.
Although the party behind the Juniper backdoor could be the NSA or an NSA spying partner like the UK or Israel, news reports last week quoted unnamed US officials saying they don't believe the US intelligence community is behind it, and that the FBI is investigating the issue. Other possible culprits behind the sophisticated attack, of course, could be Russia or China.
If someone other than the US did plant the backdoor, security experts say the attack on Juniper firewalls underscores precisely why they have been saying for a long time that government backdoors in systems are a bad idea'--because they can be hijacked and repurposed by other parties.
How the Backdoor WorksAccording to Weinmann, to make their scheme work, the attackers behind the Juniper backdoor altered Juniper's source code to change a so-called constant or point that the Dual_EC algorithm uses to randomly generate a key for encrypting data. It's assumed the attackers also possess a second secret key that only they know. This secret key, combined with the point they changed in Juniper's software, the inherent weaknesses in Dual_EC, and the configuration error Juniper made, would allow them to decrypt Juniper's VPN traffic.
The weaknesses in Dual_EC have been known for at least eight years. In 2007, a Microsoft employee named Dan Shumow gave a five-minute talk at a cryptography conference in California discussing discoveries that he and a Microsoft colleague named Niels Ferguson had made in the algorithm. The algorithm had recently been approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, along with three other random number generators, for inclusion in a standard that could be used to encrypt government classified communication. Each of the four approved generators are based on a different cryptographic design. The Dual_EC is based on elliptic curves. The NSA had long championed elliptic curve cryptography in general and publicly championed the inclusion of Dual_EC specifically for inclusion in the standard.
Random number generators play a crucial role in creating cryptographic keys. But Shumow and Ferguson found that problems with the Dual_EC made it possible to predict what the random number generator would generate, making the encryption produced with it susceptible to cracking. But this wasn't the only problem.
The NIST standard also included guidelines for implementing the algorithm and recommended using specific constants or points'--static numbers'--for the elliptic curve that the random number generator relies on to work. These constants serve as a kind of public key for the algorithm. Dual_EC needs two parameters or two points on the elliptic curve; Shumow and Ferguson referred to them as P and Q.
They showed that if Q is not a true randomly generated point, and the party responsible for generating Q also generates a secret key, what they referred to as ''e'', then whoever has the secret key can effectively break the generator. They determined that anyone who possessed this secret key could predict the output of the random number generator with only a very small sample of data produced by the generator'--just 32 bytes of output from it. With that small amount, the party in possession of the secret key could crack the entire encryption system.
No one knew who had produced the constants, but people in the security community assumed the NSA had produced them because the spy agency had been so instrumental in having the Dual_EC algorithm included in the standard. If the NSA did produce the constants, there was concern that the spy agency might have also generated a secret key.
Cryptographer Bruce Schneier called it ''scary stuff'' in a piece he wrote for WIRED in 2007, but he said the flaws must have been accidental because they were too obvious'--therefore developers of web sites and software applications wouldn't use it to secure their products and systems.
The only problem with this is that major companies, like Cisco, RSA, and Juniper did use Dual_EC. The companies believed this was okay because for years no one in the security community could agree if the weakness in Dual_EC was actually an intentional backdoor. But in September 2013, the New York Times seemed to confirm this when it asserted that Top Secret memos leaked by Edward Snowden showed that the weaknesses in Dual_EC were intentional and had been created by the NSA as part of a $250-million, decade-long covert operation to weaken and undermine the integrity of encryption systems in general.
Despite questions about the accuracy of the Times story, it raised enough concerns about the security of the algorithm that NIST subsequently withdrew support for it. Security and crypto companies around the world scrambled to examine their systems to determine if the compromised algorithm played a role in any of their products.
In an announcement posted to its web site after the Times story, Juniper acknowledged that the ScreenOS software running on its NetScreen firewalls does use the Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm. But the company apparently believed it had designed its system securely so that the inherent weakness in Dual_EC was not a problem.
Juniper wrote that its encryption scheme does not use Dual_EC as its primary random number generator and that it had also implemented the generator in a secure way so that its inherent vulnerabilities didn't matter. It did this by generating its own constant, or Q point, to use with the generator instead of the questionable one that had been attributed to the NSA. Juniper also used a second random number generator known as ANSI X.9.31. The Dual_EC generated initial output that was supposed to then be run through the ANSI generator. The output from the second random generator would theoretically cancel out any vulnerabilities that were inherent in the Dual_EC output.
Except Juniper's system contained a bug, according to Willem Pinckaers, an independent security researcher in the San Francisco area who examined the system with Weinmann. Instead of using the second generator, it ignored this one and used only the output from the bad Dual_EC generator.
''What's happening is they managed to screw it up in all the firmware, such that the ANSI code is there but it's never used,'' Weinmann told WIRED. ''That's a catastrophic fail.''
This put the output at risk of being compromised if an attacker also possessed a secret key that could be used with the Q point to unlock the encryption.
Weinmann and others discovered that the attackers altered Juniper's Q and changed it to a Q they had generated. The attackers appear to have made that change in August 2012'--at least that's when Juniper started shipping a version of its ScreenOS firmware with a Q point that was different than previous versions used.
So essentially, although Juniper used its own Q point instead of using the one allegedly generated by the NSA, in an effort to make the Dual_EC more secure, the company hadn't anticipated that attackers might break into Juniper's network, gain access to critical systems used to build its source code, and change the Q again to something of their own choosing. And presumably, they also possess the secret key that works with the Q to unlock the encryption, otherwise they would not have gone to the trouble of changing Q. ''It stands to reason that whoever managed to slip in their own Q [into the software] will also know the corresponding e,'' Weinmann says.
This would not have been enough to make the backdoor work, however, if Juniper had indeed configured its system the way it said it did'--using two random number generators and relying only on the second one, the ANSI generator, for the final output. But we now know it failed to do that. The backdoor remained undetected for at least three years, until Juniper recently discovered it during a code review.
Matthew Green, a cryptographer and professor at Johns Hopkins University, says that the ANSI failure raises additional questions about Juniper. ''I don't want to say that Juniper did this on purpose. But if you wanted to create a deliberate backdoor based on Dual_EC and make it look safe, while also having it be vulnerable, this is the way you'd do it. The best backdoor is a backdoor that looks like a bug, where you look at the thing and say, 'Whoops, someone forgot a line of code or got a symbol wrong.' '... It makes it deniable. But this bug happens to be sitting there right next to this incredibly dangerous NSA-designed random number generator, and it makes that generator actually dangerous where it might not have been otherwise.''
The evidence that someone intentionally changed the Q parameter in Juniper's software confirms what Shumow and Ferguson had warned: The inherent weaknesses in Dual_EC provide the perfect backdoor to the algorithm. Even if the algorithm was not intended to create a backdoor for the NSA, it made it possible for someone to piggyback on its weaknesses to turn it into a backdoor for themselves.
Even more worrisome is that Juniper systems are still essentially insecure. Juniper didn't patch the problem by removing Dual_EC altogether or by altering the configuration so that the VPN encryption scheme relies on output from the ANSI generator; instead Juniper patched it simply by changing the Q point back to what the company originally had in the system. This leaves the firewalls susceptible to attack again if attackers can change the points a second time without Juniper detecting it.
The company, Weinmann says, should at least issue a new patch that makes the system use the ANSI generator and not the Dual_EC one.
''It would take one line of code to fix this,'' he says.
And there's another problem, he notes.
Juniper admitted that it had generated its own Q for Dual_EC, but it has not revealed how it generated Q'--so others can't verify that Juniper did it in a truly random way that would ensure its security. And in generating its own Q, it raises questions about whether Juniper also generated its own secret key, or ''e'' for the generator, which would essentially give Juniper a backdoor to the encrypted VPN traffic. This should worry customers just as much as the NSA holding a key to the backdoor, Weinmann says.
''It now depends on whether you trust them to have generated this point randomly or not. I would probably not do that at this point,'' he says, given the other mistakes the company made.
Green says because of the weakness inherent in Dual_EC, Juniper should have removed it back in 2013 after the Times story published and should do so now to protect customers. ''There's no legitimate reason to put Dual_EC in a product,'' he says. ''There never was. This is an incredibly powerful and dangerous code and you put it in your system and it creates a capability that would not have been there otherwise. There's no way to use it safely.''
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Trump played a clever trick when he called Clinton's bathroom visit 'disgusting' - The Washington Post
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:25
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump remarked on Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton's brief absence from the debate stage on Dec. 19 saying, "Where did she go? I thought she quit." (Reuters)
On Monday night, Donald Trump made his latest polarizing comment, saying it was ''too disgusting'' to talk about Hillary Clinton's use of the bathroom during the last Democratic debate and that she had got ''schlonged'' by Barack Obama when she lost to him in the 2008 Democratic primary.
Trump was surely talking off-the-cuff in his usual style '-- and the comments were criticized as offensive and sexist '-- but it was another example of his mastery in exploiting the psychological biases of conservatives who see much to dislike in today's society and express support for Trump in the polls.
In fact, a growing mass of academic research has shown that conservatives have a particular revulsion to ''disgusting'' images. In this line of thinking, Trump's decision to describe Clinton, one of the most disliked people by conservatives, as a ''disgusting'' figure would have been an especially powerful way to rile up his supporters.
[The real reasons Donald Trump's so popular '-- for people totally confused by it]
The research '-- still debated '-- suggests that psychological and even biological traits divide people politically, both in the United States and abroad. These are attributes that may help explain why Trump has been so popular among a segment of the electorate, confounding political and media elites.
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has found a groove for his campaign rallies - poll numbers, protesters, Putin, and of course, making America great again. Here we break down the rally on Dec 21 into the required parts. (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)
Some of the recent research has been most pronounced evaluating the differing responses of conservatives and liberals to ''disgusting'' or ''negative'' images. Several studies have shown that conservatives are far more likely to have strong reactions to these images or situations than moderates or liberals are. Researchers have also suggested that conservatives are more likely to respond negatively to threats or be prone to believe conspiracies, perhaps helping explain why Trump's calls to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States or build a wall at the southern border have resonated with many voters.
[What Donald Trump and dying white people have in common]
In a 2008 study in the journal ''Cognition and Emotion,'' researchers at Cornell and Yale asked 181 adults from across the political spectrum about their views on a range of matters. Participants were asked to rate their agreement to statements like ''I try to avoid letting any part of my body touch the toilet seat in a public restroom, even when it appears clean'' and to indicate how disgusting they found situations like ''You take a sip of soda and then realize that you picked up the wrong can, which a stranger had been drinking out of.''
[I asked psychologists to analyze Trump supporters. This is what I learned.]
Across most metrics '-- including partisan affiliation '-- there were no noticeable differences among demographic groups in their response to these statements and questions.
But this wasn't true of all groups. Conservatives showed a statistically significant likelihood of reacting negatively to ''disgusting'' situations. (So did religious groups, but the researchers determined the finding about conservatives remained true even when controlling for religiousity.)
Another, more recent study showed that the response to disgust may be hard-wired into our brains '-- even when we don't consciously perceive it.
[Why smart people believe all the crazy things Trump says]
In a paper published in 2014 in Current Biology, researchers at the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory and the Computational Psychiatry Unit at Virginia Tech showed 83 subjects ''disgusting'' pictures of dead animal bodies, dirty toilets, as well as pleasant images such as pretty landscapes and babies playing together. The participants took a standard test to evaluate their political leanings.
Consciously, liberal, moderate and conservative participants showed no significant differences in rating these pictures, although conservatives ''had marginally higher disgust sensitivity than the liberal group.'' But things changed when the subject had their brains scanned using fMRI machines as they saw the images.
With a more than 90 percent success rate, the researchers were able to predict whether the participants were conservative or liberals based on how regions of their brains lit up while viewing the images. And it turned out that conservatives had a much stronger reaction to disgusting images than liberals. Reactions to other types of images were not predicted by political views.
''Disgusting images '... generate neural responses that are highly predictive of political orientation,'' the authors write. ''Remarkably, brain responses to a single disgusting stimulus were sufficient to make accurate predictions about an individual subject's political ideology.''
Others have suggested that disgusting images can even alter people's political leanings.
A 2012 paper by Cornell University researchers tested the response of students to the presence of a hand sanitizer. The researchers asked random students a series of questions about their backgrounds and political leanings in a university building, and then asked them either to step over to the empty side of the hallway or to ''step over to the hand-santizer dispenser to complete the questionnaire.''
The study found that ''participants who reported their political attitudes in the presence of the hand-sanitizer dispenser reported a less liberal political orientation '... than did participants in the control condition.'' The researchers then ran a second, similar study and found the same response.
''It is worth noting that the cleanliness reminder used in these studies was quite subtle '-- in one case, through simple exposure to a public hand-sanitizer station and in another case via a sign on the laboratory wall reminding experimenters to wash their hands,'' the researchers write. ''It is notable that simply reminding participants of physical cleanliness rather than involving them in direct physical cleansing was sufficient for the effect to emerge.''
Zachary A. Goldfarb is policy editor at The Washington Post.
CBS 58 - Police: Woman Chants "ISIS is good, ISIS is great" During Sex
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:23
An 82-year-old woman called Brown Deer Police Sunday night requesting police because she heard someone chanting, "ISIS is good, ISIS is great" while having sex.
The incident took place in the 4400 block of Dean Road.
Police advised the woman to call back if she heard the chanting again.
When asked about the incident, Brown Deer Police Chief Kass replied, "maybe taking see something, say something a little too far?"
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Monday evening word started to spread about the story and the world reacted. Here are some of the best responses:
AFA CyberPatriot Website
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 17:49
'‹CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Education Program. At the center of CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. In the rounds of competition, teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services in a six hour period. Teams compete for the top placement within their state and region, and the top teams in the nation earn all-expenses paid trips to Baltimore, MD for the National Finals Competition where they can earn national recognition and scholarship money.'‹
Hidden by the curvature of the Earth
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 17:44
There are 2 six foot men. What would the distance be between them before one could not be seen because of the curvature of the earth?
My grandson, who is stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, asked the question. This is one of the fun problems his unit was discussing. Thanks for your time.
In an earlier question on the curvature of the Earth Harley to showed that the earth curves approximately 8 inches per mile. Since 6 feet is 72 inches and 98 = 72, the Earth curves approximately 6 feet in 9 miles. Thus the two men would have to be approximately 18 miles apart.
In April 2004 we received an message from Jerry, a retired Engineer, who pointed out an error in my solution. What follows is a slightly edited version of what Jerry sent.
It is true that Harley showed quite correctly that the earth curves approximately 8 inches in one mile. The solution presented then goes on to find out over how many miles does the earth curve 72 inches or 6 feet. Then this distance is doubled which is required (and would be easy to forget), because each man looks this distance to his horizon, where the line of sight is tangent to the earth's surface midway between them. All of this reasoning is correct so far.
However, it turns out that while the earth does curve 8 inches in one mile, it does not take 9 miles to curve 72 inches. To show this, let us return to the Pythagorean Theorem method used by Harley, but using 6 feet for the curvature. Here is a copy of Harley's diagram with the 1 in the diagram replaced by x, since in this case the distance is unknown.
Again, using the theorem of Pythagoras
a2 = 39632 + x2 = 15705369 + x2
Solving for x,
x2 = a2 - 15705369
a must be 3963 miles + 6 feet (Let's say the men are actually 6'3", so their eyes are six feet above ground.). Thusa = 3963.001136 miles
x2 = 15705378 - 15705369 = 9x = 3 miles
Now, remember that each man looks 3 miles to the horizon, giving their distance from each other as 6 miles.
This shows that at eye level of 6 ft. the horizon is 3 miles (at sea or on a level plain).
A rule-of-thumb for line of sight problems such as this, where the distance is small in comparison to the size of the earth is
c = (2/3) times x2, where x is distance in miles and c is curvature in feet.
For the problem at hand, we then have x2 = (3/2)c
x2 = (3/2) 6 = 9x = 3
This is the same result that the more lengthy solution yielded.
--Jerry
CISA Is Now The Law: How Congress Quietly Passed The Second Patriot Act | Zero Hedge
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 17:03
Update: CISA is now the law: OBAMA SIGNS SPENDING, TAX BILL THAT REPEALS OIL EXPORT BAN
* * *
Back in 2014, civil liberties and privacy advocates were up in arms when the government tried to quietly push through the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, a law which would allow federal agencies - including the NSA - to share cybersecurity, and really any information with private corporations "notwithstanding any other provision of law." The most vocal complaint involved CISA's information-sharing channel, which was ostensibly created for responding quickly to hacks and breaches, and which provided a loophole in privacy laws that enabled intelligence and law enforcement surveillance without a warrant.
Ironically, in its earlier version, CISA had drawn the opposition of tech firms including Apple, Twitter, Reddit, as well as the Business Software Alliance, the Computer and Communications Industry Association and many others including countless politicians and, most amusingly, the White House itself.
In April, a coalition of 55 civil liberties groups and security experts signed onto an open letter opposing it. In July, the Department of Homeland Security itself warned that the bill could overwhelm the agency with data of ''dubious value'' at the same time as it ''sweep[s] away privacy protections.'' Most notably, the biggest aggregator of online private content, Facebook, vehemently opposed the legislation however a month ago it was "surprisingly" revealed that Zuckerberg had been quietly on the side of the NSA all along as we reported in "Facebook Caught Secretly Lobbying For Privacy-Destroying "Cyber-Security" Bill."
Even Snowden chimed in:
Following the blitz response, the push to pass CISA was tabled following a White House threat to veto similar legislation. Then, quietly, CISA reemerged after the same White House mysteriously flip-flopped, expressed its support for precisely the same bill in August.
And then the masks fell off, when it became obvious that not only are corporations eager to pass CISA despite their previous outcry, but that they have both the White House and Congress in their pocket.
As Wired reminds us, when the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 74 to 21 in October, privacy advocates were again "aghast" that the key portions of the law were left intact which they said make it more amenable to surveillance than actual security, claiming that Congress has quietly stripped out "even more of its remaining privacy protections."
"They took a bad bill, and they made it worse," says Robyn Greene, policy counsel for the Open Technology Institute.
But while Congress was preparing a second assault on privacy, it needed a Trojan Horse with which to enact the proposed legislation into law without the public having the ability to reject it.
It found just that by attaching it to the Omnibus $1.1 trillion Spending Bill, which passed the House early this morning, passed the Senate moments ago and will be signed into law by the president in the coming hours.
This is how it happened, again courtesy of Wired:
In a late-night session of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a new version of the ''omnibus'' bill, a massive piece of legislation that deals with much of the federal government's funding. It now includes a version of CISA as well. Lumping CISA in with the omnibus bill further reduces any chance for debate over its surveillance-friendly provisions, or a White House veto. And the latest version actually chips away even further at the remaining personal information protections that privacy advocates had fought for in the version of the bill that passed the Senate.
It gets: it appears that while CISA was on hiatus, US lawmakers - working under the direction of corporations adnt the NSA - were seeking to weaponize the revised legislation, and as Wired says, the latest version of the bill appended to the omnibus legislation seems to exacerbate the problem of personal information protections.
It creates the ability for the president to set up ''portals'' for agencies like the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, so that companies hand information directly to law enforcement and intelligence agencies instead of to the Department of Homeland Security. And it also changes when information shared for cybersecurity reasons can be used for law enforcement investigations. The earlier bill had only allowed that backchannel use of the data for law enforcement in cases of ''imminent threats,'' while the new bill requires just a ''specific threat,'' potentially allowing the search of the data for any specific terms regardless of timeliness.
Some, like Senator Ron Wyden, spoke out out against the changes to the bill in a press statement, writing they'd worsened a bill he already opposed as a surveillance bill in the guise of cybersecurity protections.
Senator Richard Burr, who had introduced the earlier version of bill, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Americans deserve policies that protect both their security and their liberty," he wrote. "This bill fails on both counts."
Why was the CISA included in the omnibus package, which just passed both the House and the Senate? Because any "nay" votes - or an Obama - would also threaten the entire budget of the federal government. In other words, it was a question of either Americans keeping their privacy or halting the funding of the US government, in effect bankrupting the nation.
And best of all, the rushed bill means there will be no debate.
The bottom line as OTI's Robyn Green said, "They've got this bill that's kicked around for years and had been too controversial to pass, so they've seen an opportunity to push it through without debate. And they're taking that opportunity."
The punchline: "They're kind of pulling a Patriot Act."
And when Obama signs the $1.1 trillion Spending Bill in a few hours, as he will, it will be official: the second Patriot Act will be the law, and with it what little online privacy US citizens may enjoy, will be gone.
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EU court entertained bogus case on welfare rights
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 17:00
At first glance, the case of Bogdan Chain v. Atlanco Ltd., heard on 12 March 2015 at the European Court of Justice, seemed like any other.
The case involved a Polish man, a Dublin-based international recruitment company, a Belgian legal firm, and two Cypriot-based lawyers.
But this was no ordinary case.
Its outcome could potentially affect every EU citizen. It centred around social insurance payments for migrant workers within the EU.
We're both employees of RTE, the Irish public broadcaster, and we began researching Chain v. Atlanco in late 2014. The case had come to our attention through an earlier RTE documentary, Jobs Abroad, on the treatment of foreign workers by Irish firms.
The TV programme was broadcast months before Chain v. Atlanco would be heard at the European Court. Details were very sketchy - all we knew was that Chain was at one time an employee of Atlanco and that the case arose from a dispute over social insurance.
In November 2014, we set about finding the man named as the applicant in the case. It took us several months to find him, eventually tracking him to his home in Stalowa Wola, an industrial city in southeast Poland. In January 2015, we first met and interviewed Bogdan Chain for our RTE Radio 'Documentary On One' production.
What case?He was truly shocked when we told him of a European Court of Justice case in his name. He had no knowledge of this case, had not initiated any legal proceedings and had not engaged or instructed any legal representatives to act his behalf.
He was simply dumbfounded to learn of a case being taken in his name against his previous employer, Atlanco, at the highest court in the European Union.
We were also completely taken aback by Chain's response. Had we just uncovered the first known bogus case at the European Court of Justice? As the following months would reveal, the short answer is Yes.
Just how did the case of Chain v. Atlanco make it all the way to the European Court of Justice when the applicant was never involved in the process?
The defendant in this case was Atlanco, an international recruitment company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland but registered in Nicosia, Cyprus. Atlanco was one of a myriad of subsidiary companies of the Dublin-based parent company, the Atlanco Rimec Group.
Founded in 1994 by Irish entrepreneur Michael O'Shea the Atlanco Rimec Group grew into one of the leading recruitment agencies in Europe and had, at its peak, over 50,000 workers on its books.
Atlanco's business model was straightforward - bidding on Northern European contracts at Eastern European rates - and dispatching workers from lower-pay unemployment blackspots in eastern and southern Europe, particularly from Poland and, more recently, from Portugal.
The company has been described as ''a significant, privately-owned international organisation that is a leading specialist in delivering labour and HR solutions to blue-chip clients throughout Europe.'' A remarkable Irish success story in many ways - and its founder, 50-year-old Michael O'Shea, reaped the rewards by making vast profits from the Atlanco Rimec operation before moving into other investments.
Irish baronThe company's last published accounts show gross profits at the Group of '‚¬23 million on turnover of '‚¬84 million in 2004, after which company accounts went offshore to Jersey. The Irishman now residing in Geneva has been described in Ireland's rich list as a ''low profile private equity baron,'' with an estimated personal wealth in excess of '‚¬60 million. Notably, O'Shea was secretary and director of Atlanco when proceedings commenced in Chain v. Atlanco.
Through documentation we have seen, this case was in planning as far back as 2011. In fact, in its earliest form between legal representatives, the case was initially taken in the name of a Polish man named Fijalkowski. For reasons still unclear the Fijalkowski name was subsequently removed and simply replaced with the name of Chain.
Chain v. Atlanco first entered the judicial system when, in January 2012, proceedings were initiated at Eparkhiako Dikastirio Lefkosias (District Court, Nicosia, Cyprus). In April 2014, the Cypriot court then referred the case to the European Court of Justice for a ruling.
Chain v. Atlanco was seen by many as a ''landmark'' or ''test case.'' It centreed on social insurance payments for workers within the EU - with the critical question being asked of where an employer pays social insurance for employees who work in more than two EU states within any given year.
There are approximately 3 million EU workers who fall into this category annually and the rates of social insurance vary widely from country to country within the EU.
The defendant in this case, Atlanco Ltd., a subsidiary of the Atlanco Rimec Group, was registered in Cyprus in August 2007. The commercial advantages of locating in Cyprus were simple.
Back then, if a company registered in Cyprus and had employees working in two or more EU states, the company could apply for appropriate EU work permits from the ministry for labour and social insurance in Nicosia and pay its social insurance in Cyprus, which offered the cheapest rates within the EU.
If your company had tens of thousands of employees spread across the EU, the savings from cheaper rates of social insurance payments would convert into hugely increased company profits. And that's the way it worked for Atlanco until 2011, when the Cypriot government queried the company's use of EU work permits and suddenly ended that lucrative arrangement.
No official explanation was given - but the decision would force Atlanco to pay more expensive rates of social insurance around Europe for their employees, seriously cutting company profits. In response, Atlanco sued the state of Cyprus for loss of earnings.
EU importanceThat's what makes Chain v. Atlanco so important - the outcome of Case C-189/14 at the European Court of Justice would set a precedent, which could facilitate a return to Atlanco's previous system of applying for EU permits in Cyprus.
The EU Commission's position clearly favours lighter regulation on the movement of workers within the EU. In practice, this would mean looser rules on social insurance for migrant workers within the EU. However, almost all member states want tighter controls - and for good reason.
If social insurance payments can be arbitrarily made through countries like Cyprus, simply because the rates are cheaper, contributions will drain from the social insurance fund within the claimant's home country.
It's like paying cheap car insurance in one country, driving your car in a different country and, when involved in an accident, claiming compensation at higher rates in a country where car premiums are far more expensive.
Under EU law the employer is legally responsible for the payment of social insurance. The principle is that the payment of social insurance for migrant workers, like Chain, will cover them wherever they work within the EU.
Migrant workers are then entitled to claim benefits in their own country when they return home, irrespective of where they paid their social insurance within the EU. Chain v. Atlanco raised a fundamental question - could an international recruitment company legally employ EU rules on social insurance to substantially increase its profit margin?
The question remains as to how Chain's identity came to be used in Chain v. Atlanco. What we do know is that Chain began working with Atlanco Rimec in 2009 after the company set up offices in Krakow, Poland, and ran a TV and newspaper advertising campaign in south-eastern Poland.
In fact, large numbers of workers from Stalowa Wola signed up with Atlanco at that time - in a city blighted by mass unemployment, 16 of Chain's immediate neighbours joined the Irish-based recruitment company.
Chain's storyChain was posted by Atlanco to a number of jobs between 2009 and 2013, taking up temporary work in Finland, France, Norway, Romania, Holland, and Belgium.
However, despite Chain's payslips from Atlanco stating that social insurance had been deducted from his wages in Norway, Chain was pursued by the Norwegian tax authorities on the grounds that there was no evidence that his social insurance had been paid.
The Norwegian tax office told him the tax deductions displayed on his wage slips were not its concern and Chain was obliged to pay a tax bill of '‚¬4,000, meaning that in effect he paid the same tax twice. The heavy penalty arrived at a time when funds at the Chain home were in short supply.
Chain's own social insurance problems came to light when he suffered a heart attack in early 2014. He is now unable to work and sought a disability payment, only to be told by ZUS, the Polish social welfare authority, that records of his Atlanco-related social insurance payments are incomplete.
Unable to work since his heart attack, Chain is now without any income, dependent solely on the salary of his wife, a local teacher.
What about the legal representatives involved in the Chain v. Atlanco case? Cypriot based lawyer Christophorous Christophi represented Chain - or at least the case being taken in his name. Similarly, another Cypriot lawyer Achilleas Demetriades, who chose not to participate in our radio documentary, represented Atlanco in the case.
Christophi agreed for us to interview him - and during the course of his January 2015 interview, he confirmed that he had never met or spoken with Chain. We found it odd that he had not met or had any communication with the man whom he had built a case around at the European Court of Justice. Christophi told us that he had taken legal instruction on the case in Chain's name from the international law firm Lorenz, based in Brussels.
We pursued the matter with Lorenz in Brussels. Bert Theeuwes, managing partner at Lorenz, spoke briefly with us, acknowledging that his company had represented Atlanco Rimec but was no longer associated with the Irish-based company. Theeuwes denied that Lorenz had acted on behalf of Chain. Documentation produced by Christophi to the attorney-general in Cyprus suggests otherwise.
Following our interview with Chain, and the revelation of his non-involvement in the case, Chain wrote to the European Court of Justice outlining the fact that he had no hand, act, or part in this case. He asked for the case to be withdrawn. Whilst acknowledging his letter, the European Court of Justice ignored his request. They simply proceeded as normal.
Bogus hearingAt 9.30am on 12 March 2015, Chain v. Atlanco was heard at the European Court of Justice. It was presided over by five judges and the advocate general. Legal representatives from eight EU countries attended, declaring their opposition to any further loosening of social insurance payments within the EU. No legal representatives for either Chain or Atlanco Ltd. were in attendance.
Chain himself did not attend either - nor did the Court invite him after he made contact with them. However, we were there - and heard Chain's name mentioned multiple times as the person behind the case. No reference was ever made to Chain's correspondence where he advised the European Court of Justice that he had not taken this case.
The hearing took less than two hours and the judges retired to consider the legal arguments. Two months later, on 21 May 2015, Yves Bot, the EU Advocate General issued a detailed legal opinion on the case, noting that it ''raises complex legal issues requiring careful consideration.''
However, the most complex legal issue in our minds is why the European Court of Justice would continue with a case, despite having been advised by the named applicant that he had not brought this case and despite his request for it to be withdrawn.
Why had the European Court of Justice become complicit in this bogus case? And in light of this, why did they not seek clarification and identification from both parties that they were in fact legitimately pursing this case?
Given that the European Court of Justice continued without his express permission, Chain had grave concerns as to what might result. He did not want his name associated with this or any case.
As his correspondence with the European Court of Justice had been overlooked, he contacted Cypriot human rights lawyer Nicoletta Charalambidou, who specialises in European Union law, in the hope that something could be done in Cyprus, where the case had originated.
Charalambidou brought the case, on a pro bono basis, to the attention of the Cypriot attorney general, Costas Clerides, advising him that Chain had not brought any case and was entirely unaware as to why his identity was being used. Clerides immediately withdrew the case in Cyprus, which then resulted in the case falling at the European Court of Justice.
Case withdrawnAs a result, on 11 June 2015, a short order relating to Chain v. Atlanco was issued by the European Court of Justice - simply stating - ''The president of the First Chamber has ordered that the case be removed from the register.''
Given the gravity of what was beginning to unravel, the Cypriot attorney general subsequently launched a criminal investigation into the case. That investigation is ongoing.
In early autumn 2015, the legal representatives involved in Chain v. Atlanco were summoned to a court hearing by the Cypriot attorney general. Demetriades, Atlanco's legal representative, and Christophi, the legal representative taking the case in Chain's name, both appeared in court. Christophi confirmed that he had taken his instruction from the Brussels based international legal firm, Lorenz, on behalf of Chain.
Astonishingly, documents were produced in the court which show that Lorenz was simultaneously reporting to the Atlanco Rimec Group whilst also instructing in the name of Chain.
Why was a single legal firm involved with opposing parties in a European Court of Justice case? No evidence was produced in court to show Chain ever authorised any legal action in his name.
The Atlanco Rimec Group, once the employer of over 50,000 workers, dissolved on 14 January 2015, shortly after we first interviewed Chain and Christophi. This multi-million euro business and its estimated 80 subsidiary companies suddenly ceased operations.
Door-stepping O'SheaWe door-stepped (sought an unannounced interview) the founder Atlanco Rimec Group, O'Shea, in June of this year, in the hope of some answers. He refused to answer any questions relating to the case. Instead, he told us to contact a public relations agency, Heneghan's PR in Dublin.
Given the magnitude and seriousness of this case, we fully expected to be pointed in the direction of his legal counsel. In any event, after putting a series of questions to Heneghan's PR, their immediate response was to inform us that they did not ''have any information at all on these matters at this moment'' and had to consult with O'Shea about matters raised.
A few days later, we received a further reply from Heneghan's. Having consulted with O'Shea, they assured us that neither O'Shea nor the company had any knowledge of Chain v. Atlanco nor of the criminal proceedings in place. Moreover, Heneghan's informed us that they had ''made inquiries and Chain has confirmed that he was indeed aware of the case when it was filed.''
They went on to say that ''our understanding is that the confusion on this matter may well have arisen from an incident that, apparently, occurred about a year ago.
Chain advised that some individuals questioned him about the case, without appointment, and he told them he knew nothing in order to close down the conversation.'' We would question the veracity of this response as Chain told us he had no contact with Heneghan's PR or anyone who claimed to be associated with them.
Had we not made this radio documentary, it is quite clear that the European Court of Justice would have ruled on Chain v. Atlanco - shaping important EU law on social insurance for millions of migrant workers around Europe.
Not only would that have opened a path to employers paying cheaper social insurance for migrant workers throughout the EU, it would also have meant a ruling favourable to Atlanco in the company's Supreme Court action against the Cypriot state over the withdrawal of work permits. This could have paved the way for a multi-million euro settlement.
Myriad questionsWhilst this documentary opens up a myriad of questions, there are a number, which we hope, will be answered through the courts - namely, exactly who was behind this case - and how will they be held accountable? What protections will now be put in place for all EU citizens and the European Court of Justice itself to prevent the manipulation of EU law through a case like this? Who paid for the legal costs accumulated by this case at the European Court of Justice - and will anyone seek the return of costs that went into what was exposed as a bogus case?
Given Chain's only association with this case was the use of his name and identity, he was never contacted in relation to costs incurred by this legal action. The questions remains as to who instructed this case to be taken in the name of Chain and, furthermore, who paid for it?
The wider question remains as to whether previous bogus cases have already been heard at the European Court of Justice - or whether any might be currently in train.
Whatever way you tell this story, Chain v. Atlanco has brought the European legal system into disrepute. Action will need to be taken to ensure something like this never happens again.
As for the man whose name almost made legal history, Chain is still wondering how this all happened. Sadly, he is still without any form of income, as Polish authorities are unable to find evidence of his social insurance contributions throughout the last years of his employment.
Following the documentary ZUS say they are now reviewing the matter.
Given that Chain was an unknowing and unwitting pawn in a much bigger story, we hope that his own personal case will get the necessary help it needs from the Polish authorities and put an end to what has been a frightening and disturbing period for a man nearing retirement. A man who worked all his life to support his family.
Documentary On One '' The Case That Never Was can be listened to online.
Frank Shouldice and Liam O'Brien are co-producers of Documentary On One - The Case That Never Was. They are RTE employees. For media enquiries, contact Sheena Madden, RTE press officer, on +353.1.208 2452 or +353.872 458 046, and sheena.madden@rte.ie
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooter DEMANDING In Court His "Constitutional Right To Defend Himself!" - YouTube
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:05
VIDEO-Palantir Technologies, Silicon Valley's most secretive start-up, raises $880M
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:00
It is considered one of the most secretive Silicon Valley companies, with clients including the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The company was rumored to have helped provide the data that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, although this has never been confirmed.
CNBC has reached out to Palantir to ask what it intends to do with the money raised but is yet to receive a reply.
It is likely that the money will be spent on further developing its technology.
Morgan Stanley and S F Sentry Securities were brokers on the fundraising deal and earned themselves $32 million in commissions, according to the SEC filing. Backers include In-Q-Tel, a not-for-profit venture capital firm that invests in technology companies in order to support U.S. intelligence agencies, and Founders Fund.
PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel, is Palantir's chairman and a partner at Founders Fund, another venture capital firm investing in technology companies.
VIDEO-Permission granted for Santa to enter Irish airspace
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 15:34
Santa speaks to a boy at his residence in the North Pole ahead of his busiest night of the year. Clearance has been granted for a sleigh pulled by up to nine reindeer to enter Irish airspace later tonight. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters.
The Irish Air Corps is on standby to assist Santa if needed after official clearance was given for a sleigh powered by nine reindeer to enter Irish airspace for Christmas.
The North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad) has been tracking Santa's movements as he makes his way across the globe. In recent years Norad's advanced technology has been relied upon by parents, children and members of the media to track the journey around the world. His progress can be tracked here.
At about 12.40pm, Santa had been seen as far west as Micronesia and had already delivered some 500 million presents to boys and girls.
Best behaviour
Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe said the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) had granted permission for Santa Claus, a team of nine reindeer and a flying sleigh to enter Irish space on Christmas Eve.
''I am informed by the IAA that it has been told that a very large man with a white beard and bright red suit will be operating a low-flying sleigh with eight reindeer being led by one with a big red nose,'' he said.
''Children are being encouraged to be ever better behaved than normal and to make sure they snuggle up in bed early after washing their faces and brushing their teeth early tomorrow evening.''
Advance party
The Irish Air Corps said Santa's advance party of Elves will be aboard the Initial Santa Sleigh (ISS) that will pass over Ireland at 5.20pm to make a final check of who is on the naughty or nice list.
''If the skies are clear they will be visible in the South for up to two minutes,'' the air corps said.
Santa's arrival in Ireland at about 8pm could be greeted by snow in some areas but rain is more likely to be falling at that stage.
''Showers will become isolated early tonight and it will be clear for a time with frost in places. Later in the night cloud will increase in the south of the country and rain will have extended well into Munster and south Connacht by dawn,'' Met ‰ireann said.
VIDEO- Gun permit applicants denied over medical dispute
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 07:52
KHNL : Gun permit applicants denied over medical dispute Gun permit applicants denied over medical dispute
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VIDEO-Donald Trump on Miss Universe Mishap: Make Them Both 'Co-Winners' | MRCTV
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GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested the Miss Universe Pageant should make both Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines "co-winners" after host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia as the winner at first, when she was actually the runner-up.
VIDEO-Fiorna: We're Using the Wrong Algorithms to Search Intelligence | MRCTV
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 06:57
In an interview on "Fox News Sunday," GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said the U.S. government has used the wrong "algorithms" to search through intelligence metadata, and that intelligence failure has led to the U.S. not picking up on terrorist plots like the Boston Marathon bombing and the San Bernardino shooting massacre.
VIDEO-CAIR and Co. Warn 2016 Candidates: Spew 'Islamophobia' at Your Political Peril | MRCTV
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 06:52
Leaders of several American Muslim organizations warned Donald Trump and other presidential candidates Monday that if they engage in bigotry and ''Islamophobia'' they will pay a political price because Muslim voters '' in the words of one '' will mobilize and ''make sure you are out of there.''
Trump Schools ABC-TV Host on Reality | Consortiumnews
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 05:11
Exclusive: The spectacle of clueless U.S. media personalities, like George Stephanopoulos, chastising Donald Trump for getting facts wrong would be funny if it weren't indicative of a political-media system failing the American people and what's left of the democratic Republic, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Mainstream media and politicians are fond of denouncing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for trafficking in conspiracy theories and playing fast and loose with the facts, but some of them slide into the same patterns in attacking Trump or other demonized leaders, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin.
For instance, on ABC-TV's ''This Week,'' host George Stephanopoulos deployed a favorite ''conspiracy theory'' technique to accuse Putin of murdering journalists and then demanded that Trump explain why he would welcome praise from such a nefarious character. The technique was to cite a sizable number of ''mysterious deaths'' as proof that the conspiracy-theory target was guilty, even if there was no specific evidence in any individual case.
ABC-TV anchor George Stephanopoulos.
Stephanopoulos challenged Trump by asking: ''When you were pressed about [Putin's] killing of journalists, you said, 'I think our country does plenty of killing too.' What were you thinking about there? What killing sanctioned by the U.S. government is like killing journalists?''
Trump responded that ''in all fairness to Putin, you're saying he killed people. I haven't seen that. I don't know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he's killed? Because I've been '-- you know, you've been hearing this, but I haven't seen the name. Now, I think it would be despicable if that took place, but I haven't' seen any evidence that he killed anybody in terms of reporters.''
Stephanopoulos then backed up his murder charge against Putin by saying: ''here's what Mitt Romney tweeted about that. He said, there's an important distinction here. Thug Putin kills journalists and opponents. Our presidents kill terrorists and enemy combatants.''
Trump answered back, ''Does he [Romney] know for a fact that he [Putin] kills the reporters? I don't know '-- I don't think anybody knows that. It's possible that he does. But I don't think it's been proven. Has anybody proven that he's killed reporters? And I'm not trying to stick up for anybody.''
Stephanopoulos: ''There have been many allegations that he was behind the killing of (INAUDIBLE) and '...''
Trump: ''No, no, allegations. There are allegations. Yes, sure, there are allegations. I've read those allegations over the years, but nobody's proven that he's killed anybody as far as I'm concerned. He hasn't killed reporters that it's been proven. Now, if he has'...''
Stephanopoulos's next rejoinder was perhaps even more startling: ''But what killing has the United States government done?''
Sadly, such cluelessness is now typical of the mainstream U.S. news media '' as if these ''journalists'' have been hiding under a rock for the past 15 years if not much longer. But back to the aspect of Stephanopoulos's charge against Putin that just because there are lots of allegations '' even without supporting evidence '' we must accept a person's guilt.
Clinton's 'Mysterious Deaths'
That ''conspiracy theory'' technique should be familiar to Stephanopoulos since he was an aide to President Bill Clinton when right-wing enemies compiled a list of ''Clinton's mysterious deaths,'' which included anyone who had even tangential contact with Arkansas Gov. Clinton and then died in some ''suspicious'' manner.
The best known of these cases was deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster who became distraught over becoming the subject of other scandal-mongering and committed suicide on July 20, 1993, but the ''strength'' of the ''murder'' allegations against Clinton was in the lengthy list of ''mysterious deaths.''
At the time, a longtime conservative source faxed me the list, marveling at the number and saying that if even a few were true that would be ''a big story.'' I responded that if even one were true '' that a sitting U.S. president had murdered a single political opponent '' ''that would be a big story, but there's got to be proof.''
Many of the cases on the list were murky old tales from Arkansas, but I noticed one fairly recent one with a local angle. A federal bureaucrat who had some minor connection to the investigation of Clinton's Whitewater real-estate investment had died from a fall out of a new apartment high-rise in Arlington, Virginia.
But it really wasn't much of a mystery. My investigation quickly determined that the man was suffering from AIDS and was faced with a grim prognosis. So, he traveled from his home in Washington D.C. to Arlington, asked a real-estate agent to show him a top-floor apartment, went to the balcony, asked the startled young woman if what he was about to do would hurt, and jumped to his death. (I even interviewed the poor woman.)
President Clinton had nothing to do with this tragedy, a fact that I imparted to my conservative source who was in touch with the makers of the list. Yet, several months later when an updated list was sent my way, the same ''mystery'' was still there.
In other words, the list creators were not interested in fairness toward Clinton or the merits of any one case. They understood that it was the cumulative number of cases that sent the desired propaganda message, building up a suspicion that Clinton was a murderer. Then, anyone who challenged the methodology and pointed to the absence of any real proof could be dismissed as a ''Clinton apologist.''
Stephanopoulos saw these tactics up close in the 1990s. I even met with him once at his White House office to discuss this pattern of right-wing conspiracy-mongering. But now he is practicing the same tactics against Putin and Trump.
The WMD Scam
In the early 2000s, a similar technique was used to trick the U.S. intelligence community into buying into the falsehoods about Iraq's Saddam Hussein hiding stockpiles of WMD and reviving a nuclear-weapons program. Then, it was a case of the Iraqi National Congress funneling a series of Iraqi ''defectors'' into the CIA with well-rehearsed tales about supposed first-hand knowledge of Hussein's trickery.
As at least 19 ''defectors'' walked in, the CIA analysts succeeded in debunking some of them, but the sheer number '' combined with heavy White House pressure to find ''proof'' of its WMD claims '' led the analysts to begin accepting the allegations as true. Only after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 did the CIA analysts realize that they had been had by an organized effort at fabrication. [See Consortiumnews.com's ''Chalabi's Legacy of Lies.'']
Given the U.S.-inflicted havoc on Iraq, Afghanistan and a wide variety of other countries '' including a large number of civilian deaths '' the rest of Stephanopoulos's tirade toward Trump on Sunday was instructive about other deep-seated biases of Official Washington and its compliant mainstream media.
Though a key principle of journalism is objectivity, Stephanopoulos made it clear that he was part of Official Washington's team, decrying Putin ''when he backs our adversaries like [Syrian President] Bashar Assad, when he backs Iran, when he invades Ukraine.'' He then asked Trump, ''Is it wise to be praising our adversaries and alienating our allies?''
Stephanopoulos added, ''you said, 'I think our country does plenty of killing too.' What killing are you talking about there, ordered by the United States government?''
Trump answered: ''Well, take a look at what we're doing in the Middle East. We went into Iraq. We shouldn't have. You know that I was opposed to going into Iraq many years ago. In 2003/2004 there were headlines in Reuters that Trump is opposed to the war, because you're going to destabilize the Middle East.
''I said, if you do this, you'll destabilize the Middle East and Iran will take over. Very simple, Iran will take over Iraq. That's exactly what's happening. And on top of that we have ISIS, which is another problem and another complicating factor. Now, we should have never gone into Iraq. When we left, we made a mistake.
''We made a big mistake with Libya. We've destabilized all these places. We now have a migration with thousands and hundreds of thousands and even millions of people that don't know where they're going. I mean it's a terrible thing. We have been run by incompetent people, incompetent politicians. They don't know '-- and that's probably why I'm leading so high in the polls because people are tired of seeing very, very stupid and very, very incompetent people running our country into the ground.
''In the meantime, we owe $19 trillion, soon going to be $21 trillion and we better get our act together fast, George, because our country is going down if we don't.''
'Moral Equivalence'
In stunned disbelief, Stephanopoulos shot back with the old ''moral equivalence'' argument that was developed by CIA propagandists and neoconservatives during the Reagan administration to justify U.S.-backed slaughters in Central America and elsewhere: ''Your comments seem to suggest some moral equivalence for the United States and Russia. Is that what you believe?''
Trump: ''I'm not saying anything. I'm saying, when you say a man [Putin] has killed reporters, I'd like you to prove it. And I'm '-- I'm saying it would be a terrible thing if it were true, but I have never seen any information or any proof that he killed reporters, George. You're just saying, he killed reporters. You and other people tell me he killed reporters. I don't know that he killed reporters. I haven't seen it. If he did, I think it's despicable. I think it would be horrible. But you're making these accusations and I don't '-- I don't see any proof. And, by the way, he totally denies that he kills reporters. He totally denied it.''
Stephanopoulos: ''I'm still waiting for the evidence that we've been directly involved in killing people as well. You made your points about Iraq. But I do want to move on.''
As hard as it may be to believe, Stephanopoulos '' presenting himself as a leading American journalist '' pretends to be unaware of the killings associated with the brutal interrogations of ''war on terror'' and Iraq War detainees, the targeted drone killings that both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have signed off on, the mass slaughter of citizens in Fallujah and other Iraqi cities bombarded by the U.S. military, the more recent killings of doctors and patients at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, and '' relevant to the issue of journalists '' the killings of Al Jazeera, Reuters and other reporters in Iraq.
One could go back through history and remind Stephanopoulos of many other examples of the U.S. government slaughtering large numbers of civilians either directly in places such as Vietnam or indirectly through proxies in regions such as Central and South America. But the stance of a ''respectable'' American ''journalist'' apparently must be that none of that ever happened or, if it did happen, it was all an unintended mistake.
Though Trump is regularly accused of getting his facts wrong, he responded to Stephanopoulos with incredulity: ''Excuse me, take a look at the rampage all over the place. And you know what we've gotten for Iraq? We've spent $2 trillion, OK? We've '-- thousands, hundreds of thousands of people killed. We've lost thousands and thousands of our great young people, soldiers.
''So, $2 trillion, deaths, wounded warriors, we have nothing, and Iran is now taking over Iraq with the second largest oil reserves in the world. '... We're run by people that don't have a clue.''
But Stephanopoulos apparently did not realize that Donald Trump '' of all people '' had just taken him to school on the question of who had a better grasp of reality. So, the ABC-TV ''newsman'' lamely shot back with a non-sequitur: ''And Iran has been backed by Vladimir Putin.''
While much of what Trump says can be fairly criticized for inaccuracies and exaggerations '' as well as for offensive and divisive rhetoric '' the sad reality is that the mainstream media personalities who pose as ''truth-tellers'' are often more detached from facts and more beholden to delusions than he is.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book,America's Stolen Narrative,either in print here or as an e-book (fromAmazonandbarnesandnoble.com).
VIDEO-'This Week' Transcript: Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump - ABC News
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 05:11
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR 'THIS WEEK' ON DECEMBER 20, 2015 and it will be updated.
ANNOUNCER: Starting right now on ABC's THIS WEEK, debate night showdown -- the key moments from the final face-off of 2015.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I apologize to Secretary Clinton.
DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Should corporate America love Hillary Clinton?
HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everybody should.
SANDERS: Let's calm down a little bit, Martin.
CLINTON: Let's tell the truth, Martin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just hours after the Democrat duel, were one-on-one with the man in the line of fire.
O'MALLEY: Donald Trump.
SANDERS: Donald Trump.
CLINTON: Bringing Donald Trump back into it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: GOP frontrunner Donald Trump responds.
Plus, did Bernie Sanders do enough to change the race?
And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie betting it all on New Hampshire. Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Chris Christie, all here live, from ABC News, a special edition of THIS WEEK live from Manchester, New Hampshire.
Here now, chief anchor, George Stephanopoulos.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: Good morning from New Hampshire.
We are live from the first primary state this week, here inside the debate hall at Saint Anselm College, where the Democrats went at it last night.
It was their last debate of the year and the feistiest. The candidates clashed on taxes, gun control, the top issue right now, how to take on ISIS and protect our homeland.
Their top target, Donald Trump, attacked by name nine separate times. The only GOP candidate even mentioned last night.
Mr. Trump joins us live this morning.
Bernie Sanders and Chris Christie will be here, too.
And we begin with all of last night's big moments from our chief White House correspondent, Jonathan Karl -- good morning, Jon.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, George.
Going into this debate, the Democratic race was engulfed with allegations that the Sanders campaign stole voter data from Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Bernie Sanders offered a quick apology for that before all the candidates turned their attention to their mutual enemy, Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
KARL (voice-over): Last night's debate started with a surprise -- a mea culpa from Bernie Sanders.
SANDERS: Not only do I apologize to Secretary Clinton, I want to apologize to my supporters. This is not the type of campaign that we run.
CLINTON: I very much appreciate that comment, Bernie. It -- we should move on, because I don't think the American people are all that interested in this.
KARL: Throughout the night, Clinton and Sanders spurred on foreign policy.
CLINTON: If the United States does not lead, there is not another leader. There is a vacuum.
SANDERS: The United States is not the policeman of the world. The United States must not be involved in perpetual warfare in the Middle East.
KARL: And on the economy and Wall Street.
MUIR: Should corporate America love Hillary Clinton?
CLINTON: Everybody should.
MUIR: And will corporate America love a President Sanders?
SANDERS: No, I think they won't. The CEOs of large multinationals may like Hillary. They aren't going to like me and Wall Street is going to like me even less.
KARL: Martin O'Malley called out both Sanders and Clinton on gun control.
GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY (D-MD), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Sanders voted against even research dollars to look into this public health issue.
SANDERS: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
O'MALLEY: We need common sense gun safety...
SANDERS: Let's calm down a little bit, Martin.
Do not tell me...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pat Leahy...
SANDERS: -- that I have not shown courage in standing up to the gun people.
KARL: While this debate featured the sharpest attacks between the Democrats, all three trained their fire on one man, GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump.
O'MALLEY: We must never surrender our American values to racists, much never surrender them to the fascist pleas of billionaires with big mouths.
SANDERS: And somebody like with Trump comes along and says I know the answers. The answer is that all of the Mexicans, they're criminals and rapists. We hate all the Muslims, because all of the Muslims are terrorists.
CLINTON: He is becoming ISIS' best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KARL: As you heard, an explosive allegation from Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump, saying that ISIS is showing videos of Trump to recruit potential new jihadists. We asked the Clinton camp where they got that from. They have not offered, George, any direct evidence that had happened.
Donald Trump, for his part, overnight, Tweeted simply, "Hillary Clinton lied." STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Jon Karl, thanks very much.
Let's talk to Mr. Trump right now.
We saw that Tweet, Mr. Trump.
Are you going to stand by it?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, of course I'm standing by it. It was vetted. They went to "The Washington Post." Fox News went out in great detail and looked for it and there's no such video. And they may make one up, knowing the Clintons and knowing Hillary, but there's no -- there's nobody -- she just made it up. I mean she made it up. It was a sound bite.
Just like Bernie Sanders lied. I mean he -- he went out and said things that never...
STEPHANOPOULOS: You...
TRUMP: -- took place. I didn't say that about Mexicans.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You certainly...
TRUMP: I have great relationships with the Hispanics. And I didn't say what he said. You know, they -- they make up things in the world of politics. They're all talk and no action. They're politicians.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you sure you want to go -- are you sure you want to go down that road?
The fact checkers have called you out on more false statements than any other candidate.
TRUMP: Oh, I'll go down that road. And, you know, people maybe call me out, but they turn out to be wrong, also, and many of the things I've said -- and I think just about all of them -- they may have been controversial at one point, George, but they're not controversial in the end, because people start to say, you know, Trump's actually right.
And you go into illegal immigration, everybody now is coming my way, one -- with illegal -- I've been 100 percent right as far as crime is concerned, as far as the economy is concerned.
I've been right on more than anybody else has been right by a -- by a big factor.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you -- you've never come up with a video of those thousands of people cheering in New Jersey on 9/11.
TRUMP: Oh, there were plenty of people cheering, believe me. And I've come up with plenty. And "The Washington Post" wrote a story that they tried to retract and there were many other stories written. And a lot of people -- thousands of people have been calling and writing and e-mailing, many people saw it. And it was in New Jersey and it was also all over the world, George.
So there's an obvious problem, because all over the world -- and you're not even disputing that -- but people were celebrating all over the world. And I think it's disgusting.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There were people celebrating on the West Bank. There were not people celebrating in Jersey, as far as any evidence we have seen.
But I do want to move on...
TRUMP: Of course there were, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- right now.
TRUMP: There were articles...
STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE)...
TRUMP: -- George, there were articles written about it. There were people celebrating. And, in fact, if you look at the -- the famous "Washington Post" article that he tried to retract, there were articles written about it. Don't tell me that. There's no reason to apologize. There were people celebrating. When the World Trade Center...
STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: -- was coming down, there were people...
STEPHANOPOULOS: No, but there was -- let's -- let's...
TRUMP: -- celebrating, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Around the world.
Let's move on to Vladimir Putin. You got that praise from Vladimir Putin this week, called it "a great honor." You also said you've always felt fine about Putin.
How can you say you feel fine about Vladimir Putin when he backs our adversaries like Bashar Assad, when he backs Iran, when he invades Ukraine?
TRUMP: I have been an extremely successful dealmaker. That's what I've done over years. And I know people, because deals are people. And I think I'll get along very well, for the good of our country, for the good of our country. This is what I want. Make America great again.
I believe I'll get along fine with Putin. I believe I'll get along fine with other leaders. Obama doesn't get along with Putin. Putin can't stand our president and it's causing us difficulty. And, frankly, and I said it a long time ago, if Russia wants to bomb the hell out of ISIS and join us in that effort, I am absolutely fine with it. I think that's an asset, not a liability. So if Putin respects me and if Putin wants to call me brilliant and other things that he said which were, frankly, very nice, I'll accept that and I'll accept that on behalf of our country, because if we get along well with Russia, that's a positive thing, George, not a negative thing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you want to get along well with Putin, but you seem to be alienating some of our allies. You said that Angela Merkel is ruining Germany. And here's what David Cameron, the British prime minister, had to say about your proposal to ban Muslims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I happen to disagree with (INAUDIBLE) Donald Trump. I think his remarks are divisive, stupid and wrong and I think if he came to visit our country, I think he'd unite us all against him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Is it wise to be praising our adversaries and alienating our allies?
TRUMP: George, yes, I know you're having a lot of fun this morning and so am I if you want to know the truth. The fact is that we have a problem, George. You don't have to admit it, because I know you want to be so politically correct all the time. You don't have to admit it. But we have a problem and the problem is a very serious problem. You have a radicalization of people. They happen to be Islamic and you -- you have the radical Islamic terrorism problem that our president doesn't even want to mention. He doesn't want to use those three words or any one of those words. And because he's not mentioning it, we're never going to solve it. Unless you know what the problem is, you can't solve it.
So we have a serious, serious problem where you look at what happened in California last week, you look at people flying airplanes into the World Trade Center, you look at many of the things that have been happening, not only in this country but around the world, including in Paris. There's a problem, George. You have to address it. And if you're not going to address it, you're just going to -- the problem's going to get worse and worse. People have to turn other people in.
People knew what was going on in California. People knew what was going -- other people, outsiders, friends of theirs, knew what was going on in Paris. Those people don't turn them in. Why don't they turn them in?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, they should turn them. I agree with you on that. One final question about Vladimir -
TRUMP: Well they should turn them in, but they're not going to turn them in with attitudes like your attitude, people won't turn them in. People are just going to go along the way. We have to solve a very serious problem and if you don't want to talk about it or if you think it's politically incorrect, that's your problem, not mine.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One final question about Vladimir Putin. When you were pressed about his killing of journalists, you said, "I think our country does plenty of killing too." What were you thinking about there? What killing sanctioned by the U.S. government is like killing journalists?
TRUMP: Well, I think, number one, I think Hillary, when she was secretary of state, made some horrible, horrible decision and thousands and thousands and even hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. I mean you look at what went on in Libya, you look at so many bad decisions that she made. She's incompetent as far as I'm concerned. You look at her reign (ph), she's incompetent.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's not killing by the United States government, though, is it? That's not the same as ordering a killing.
TRUMP: As far as the reporters are concerned -- as far as the reporters are concerned, obviously I don't want that to happen. I think it's terrible -- horrible. But, in all fairness to Putin, you're saying he killed people. I haven't' seen that. I don't know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he's killed? Because I've been -- you know, you've been hearing this, but I haven't seen the name. Now, I think it would be despicable if that took place, but I haven't' seen any evidence that he killed anybody in terms of reporters.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Here's what -- here's what Mitt Romney tweeted about that. He said, there's an important distinction here. Thug Putin kills journalists and opponents. Our presidents kill terrorists and enemy combatants.
TRUMP: Does he know for a fact that he kills the reporters? I don't know -- I don't think anybody knows that. It's possible that he does. But I don't think it's been proven. Has anybody proven that he's killed reporters? And I'm not trying to stick up for anybody -
STEPHANOPOULOS: There have been many allegations that he was behind the killing of (INAUDIBLE) and -
TRUMP: No, no, allegations. There are allegations. Yes, sure, there are allegations. I've read those allegations over the years, but nobody's proven that he's killed anybody as far as I'm concerned. He hasn't killed reporters that it's been proven. Now, if he has -
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what killing has the United States government done?
TRUMP: George, excuse me. Let me finish. If he has killed reporters, I think that's terrible. But this isn't like somebody that's stood with a gun and he's, you know, taken the blame or he's admitted that he's killed. He's always denied it. He's never -- it's never been proven that he's killed anybody. So, you know, you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, at least in our country. He has not been proven that he's killed reporters.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what -- but then you said, I think our country does plenty of killing too. What killing are you talking about there, ordered by the United States government?
TRUMP: Well, take a look at what we're doing in the Middle East. We went into Iraq. We shouldn't have. You know that I was opposed to going into Iraq many years ago. In 2003/2004 there were headlines in Reuters that Trump is opposed to the war, because you're going to destabilize the Middle East. I said, if you do this, you'll destabilize the Middle East and Iran will take over. Very simple, Iran will take over Iraq. That's exactly what's happening. And on top of that we have ISIS, which is another problem and another complicating factor.
Now, we should have never gone into Iraq. When we left, we made a mistake. We made a big mistake with Libya. We've destabilized all these places. We now have a migration with thousands and hundreds of thousands and even millions of people that don't know where they're going. I mean it's a terrible thing. We have been run by incompetent people, incompetent politicians. They don't know -- and that's probably why I'm leading so high in the polls because people are tired of seeing very, very stupid and very, very incompetent people running our country into the ground.
In the meantime, we owe $19 trillion, soon going to be $21 trillion and we better get our act together fact, George, because our country is going down if we don't.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your comment -- your comments seem to suggest some moral equivalence for the United States and Russia. Is that what you believe?
TRUMP: I'm not saying anything. I'm saying, when you say a man has killed reporters, I'd like you to prove it. And I'm -- I'm saying it would be a terrible thing if it were true, but I have never seen any information or any proof that he killed reporters, George. You're just saying, he killed reporters. You and other people tell me he killed reporters. I don't know that he killed reporters. I haven't seen it. If he did, I think it's despicable. I think it would be horrible. But you're making these accusations and I don't -- I don't see any proof.
And, by the way, he totally denies that he kills reporters. He totally denied it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm still waiting for the evidence that we've been directly involved in killing people as well. You made your points about Iraq. But I do want to move on -
TRUMP: Well, take a look at -- take a look at -- excuse me, take a look at the rampage all over the place. And you know what we've gotten for Iraq? We've spent $2 trillion, OK? We've -- thousands, hundreds of thousands of people killed. We've lost thousands and thousands of our great young people, soldiers. So, $2 trillion, deaths, wounded warriors, we have nothing and Iran is now taking over Iraq with the second largest oil reserves in the world. And I said, don't go in. But I said, when you go out, take the oil. And I've been saying that for four years to you and others and we were so incompetent, we didn't even get the oil. You know who got a lot of the oil? ISIS got a lot of the oil. That's who got the oil. And now Iran is taking the rest of it. They're going to get the lions share because we don't know what we're doing. We're run by people that don't have a clue.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Iran has been backed by Vladimir Putin.
I want to ask you a final question about Iowa. "The New York Times" has a story this morning saying the organization is lagging -
TRUMP: Excuse me. Iran has been backed by us. You know why -- you know how Iran has been backed by us? Because we made one of the dumbest deals in the history of deal making when we gave them $150 billion. We have 24 day inspections, which don't start for a long time, and they can self-inspect and we don't even get our prisoners back.
So don't tell me about Iran being run by Putin. We run -- we let Iran become -- it's a terror nation, and we let Iran become really powerful.
And by the way, they don't need to create nuclear, because they now are so rich with $150 billion, they can go out and buy it directly. So we're the ones that have really empowered Iran, not Russia. Russia is certainly their damage also, but we through sheer stupidity of a deal, one of the worst deals I've ever seen negotiated. We are the ones that truly have empowered Iran. And it's a disgrace.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We've empowered Iran more than Russia has?
TRUMP: George, we just made one of the worst deals I have ever seen in dealmaking. I'm not talking between nations. We don't even get our prisoners back. And now after the deal is made, they want to start talking as a new deal to get our prisoners back. And they want a lot for the prisoners, for the four prisoners. And by the way they say we're not going to give you four, we're only going to give you three.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, and the Iranian negotiating position was backed up by Russia.
TRUMP: Hey, let me -- yeah, you know why, because Russia is making a lot of money with the deal, because they're selling missiles and other military armaments to Iran and they're making a fortune on it, because they're smart, because they're smart. Do you know what we're getting from that deal? Nothing.
Russia should want them to make the deal, because Russia is selling armaments and they're selling missiles, beautiful, new modern missiles, they're selling them to Iran because our people don't know what they're doing.
So, of course Russia wanted that deal to be made, because they're making a fortune.
But do you know what we get with Iran, nothing. And then...
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's our fault that Russia is selling missiles to Iran?
TRUMP: Of course it's our fault. Russia is a negotiator with us at the table. Russia wanted Iran to make that deal, because they wanted Iran to have a lot of money so that Russia could take some of that money away from Iran, because Russia is selling them tremendous numbers of missiles and armaments, George, if you don't know that.
So, Russia, if I was Russia I would have wanted that deal done, too, because the money that the United States, run by incompetent people, is giving to Iran, a lot of that money is going to Russia and other countries to buy armaments. You don't know that, George, but that's the way it is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I do. I'm just not sure it's our fault.
I'm afraid that's all we have time for this morning. Always a lively conversation. Mr. Trump, thanks for joining us.
TRUMP: Thank you very much.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We are just getting started from here in New Hampshire. Bernie Sanders is up next. We're going to hear from the Clinton camp too.
And the Republican making his move now in New Hampshire. Chris Christie joins us live.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
STEPHANOPOULOS: You see him here with Bernie Sanders. We are live in New Hampshire. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Secretary Clinton deserve an apology tonight?
SANDERS: Yes. I apologize.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Secretary Clinton, do you accept?
(APPLAUSE)
SANDERS: Not only do I apologize to Secretary Clinton, and I hope we can work together on an independent investigation. I want to apologize to my supporters. This is no the type of campaign that we run. And if I find anybody else involved in this, they will also be fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Opening moments last night with Senator Bernie Sanders. He joins us live here in New Hampshire this morning.
I'm going to get to that in a second, but first you just heard Donald Trump call you out. He said you lied. He doubled down on that embrace from Vladimir Putin.
SANDERS: I tell you, it really is rather extraordinary. I think -- and I say this straightforwardly -- I think you have a pathological liar there.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Pathological.
SANDERS: Pathological, I really do. I mean, I think much of what he says are lies or gross distortion of reality. Here's the fact. I mean, he's been saying over and over again that he saw on television, as I understand it, thousands of people in New Jersey celebrating 9/11 right the destruction of the Twin Towers.
Either that's true or it's not true. And what I understand, there have been a lot of research, they archive what goes on television. You're a TV guy, right? Everything was saying that was going to be archived.
Either it is true, it is not true. Nobody has seen a tape of thousands of people celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers in New Jersey. It doesn't exist. And he keeps claiming it. That's called pathological lying.
Yes, he just (INAUDIBLE) a few moments ago accused me of lying when I said last night is that he has suggested that Mexicans who were coming to this country are criminals and rapists. That is exactly what he said. What somebody like a Donald Trump is doing is playing on the fears and anxieties of the American people. And people are afraid.
They're afraid of terrorism, rightfully so. They're anxious about an economy in which the middle class is disappearing, missing massive levels of income and wealth inequality. People are worried about the future for the kids. These are legitimate fears.
So instead of having a rational discussion about how we rebuild the middle class, how we deal with Wall Street, how we have a tax system in which wealthy and powerful start paying their fair share of taxes, what Trump is saying is it's all the Muslims' fault, it's all the Mexicans' fault.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you explain why that's doing so well right now?
SANDERS: Because it's an easy solution.
How do we rebuild the middle class?
Well, you're going to have to stand up to corporate America. You're going to have to stand up to Wall Street. You're going to have to create millions of decent paying jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure. You're going to have to provide health care to all people, et cetera, et cetera.
But what Trump says, this is new, this is what demagogues all over the world historically have done, they say are you nervous, are you scared, are you frightened for the future? I'll tell you the reason. It's the Muslims. All those Muslims out there are terrorists; we have to stop them coming into this country. It's the Mexicans, it's the immigrants who are coming in. They're all rapists and criminals. Oh, OK. I'm angry. We're going to take it out on them.
Meanwhile, this same Trump says minimum wage in America, which is $7.25 an hour, he says it's good that we have a low minimum wage. This guy Trump is saying we need to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 0.3 of 1 percent, the very richest people --
(CROSSTALK)
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you defeat that?
SANDERS: You defeat it by going out to the working people in this control and making it clear that if we are going to create an economy that works for our kids, that works for working families, we have got to do it together. We have to understand the real causes and the real causes are the greed of corporate America, the greed of Wall Street, not some poor Mexican who is in this country trying to live on $7 an hour.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to ask you about that moment when we just showed just about the apology on the data breach by one of your staffers. After the debate, you campaign said you suspended two more staffers.
Is that it?
Is the discipline finished?
Have you figured out everything that's gone wrong?
SANDERS: We are trying to figure out. I mean, this is actually fairly complicated stuff. And one of the things that bothered me is that -- as I understand it, the DNC has been giving out information to the media. They've been giving out information to the Clinton campaign before we are even getting it. But we are going to take a thorough look at this. And what I said last night, let me repeat. This is not the first breach caused by a DNC (INAUDIBLE), all right. It's the -- at least the second. And what I want to see is an independent investigation going on from day one in this campaign to explore all of the breach.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You also said last night that you're not convinced that the Clinton team didn't take a look at some of your data.
Do you have any evidence of that?
SANDERS: No. But what I want -- that's why I want an independent investigation. When there's a breach, when there's a hole in the system, it works both ways. The first time it happened and when my staff source said, wait, this is really bad. It went to the DNC. They went to the vendor. They said, hey, this is bad.
Second time, one or more of my staff acted inappropriately. That guy was fired. OK. What I want is an independent investigation to see what has happened.
Is it possible that when you had a breach, the other side looked at our stuff? I'm not saying that's true. But I'm saying it is absolutely a possibility.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your campaign has been pretty tough on the DNC. Your campaign manager said they're actually trying to undermine our campaign even used the word "sabotage."
Is that what you believe?
SANDERS: Well, this is what I believe. Look, staff member or more on my team acted inappropriately. And we're going to deal with that. But to shut off access to my campaign's information, what word would you use? Sabotage is. We have -- that's our volunteers; those are the people -- names of the people we're trying to contact.
We've worked a day, two days, couldn't access that information. That is total overreaction. What should have been done is there should have been a meeting between the teams, actually quietly. We got a problem. How are we going to address this problem? Not leaking stuff to "The Washington Post," by the way, and certainly not separating us and preventing us from getting the information we need to run a campaign.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Big difference between you and Secretary Clinton last night on the issue of taxes. She's made a pledge not to raise any taxes on people earning under $250,000.
We talked about the tax to pay for the family leave, though. You said it was about $1.61 for a family each week. But that's not it for you, right. How are you going to pay for the rest of your (INAUDIBLE)?
(CROSSTALK)
SANDERS: Good, fair question.
We are going to provide free tuition to public colleges and universities by imposing a tax on Wall Street speculation. That tax will pay completely for public tuition, tuition at public colleges, university and substantially lower interest rates on student debt.
We're going to rebuilt our crumbling infrastructure through a trillion-dollar investment to create 13 million jobs by doing away with the loopholes that currently exist by which corporations can stash their money in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda and not pay in a given year a nickel in federal income taxes.
We're going to raise Social Security benefits, expand benefits by lifting the cap on taxable income going into Social Security, so people making $250,000 a year or more will pay the same percentage of their income as people making --
(CROSSTALK)
STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE)?
SANDERS: That will help us -- no, that will expand Social Security benefits to the people who are trying to live on $12,000-$13,000 a year. But in terms of this, United States today is the only major country on Earth that doesn't have paid family and medical leave. It's an absolute disgrace.
A working class woman has a baby; she may have to go back to work in a week or two because she doesn't have any income. Every other country on Earth has paid family and medical leave. I am supporting legislation introduced in the House and the Senate which has virtually all progressive Democrats on board. It will cost $1.61 --
(CROSSTALK)
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that -- answer my question.
Is that it?
No other tax increases on the middle class?
SANDERS: That's right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: OK.
Final question on the issue of regime change. Big difference. You said last night between you and Secretary Clinton, at least in the past, but where are you different going forward?
You're both ruling out ground troops. You're both talking about building coalitions.
Where's the difference going forward?
SANDERS: I do not agree with the no-fly zone in Syria. I think it'll get sucked us up -- get us sucked into some serious of problems in the area. I think absolutely that there has to be a strong international coalition. This is what I believe.
King Abdullah of Jordan has made this point. Of all that's going on is for the soul of Islam, what he believes, what I believe is the Muslim troops themselves, Muslim countries have got to come together on the ground to take on ISIS. What I also believe is that wealthy countries like Qatar, which per capita is the wealthiest country on Earth spend the $200 billion for the World Cup which they're hosting in 2022, you know what, they're going to have to start investing in helping us to destroy ISIS.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Sanders, thanks very much for joining us this morning.
SANDERS: Thank you, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll be right back with Governor Chris Christie.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we have lots of candidates here in New Hampshire. You see Governor Christie right here.
We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are back here live in New Jersey.
Joining us now, Governor Chris Christie.
You've been on the move now here in New Hampshire, moving up in the polls.
We've got a lot to talk about.
I've got to begin, though -- and I know it's not your favorite subject, but I've got to begin with Donald Trump.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You heard Bernie Sanders call him a pathological liar.
Your response to what he said this morning?
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, there was a lot that he said this morning. I would just say this.
One, I was in New Jersey on September 11th and thousands of people simply were not celebrating in Jersey City. The former state attorney general, who was closely watching this, a Republican, back in 2011, said it's not true. So we know that's not true.
Secondly, on Putin, I'll just say the same thing I said yesterday, I wouldn't want the endorsement. I wouldn't want it. So if he (INAUDIBLE) that's fine.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But, you know, you've also said that we're already in World War III. You -- you know, you've said -- you said what are the implications of that right now?
And you've also said that if Donald Trump gets the nomination, you're comfortable with him as commander-in-chief.
Are you really comfortable with him as commander-in-chief in a World War III situation?
CHRISTIE: More comfortable than with Hillary Clinton, because she's the one who's got us into the World War III situation with Barack Obama.
I mean think about it. Um, she said last night, we're finally where we need to be on ISIS.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We're not?
CHRISTIE: Oh, my gosh. With dead bodies in Paris, with dead bodies in San Bernardino and with no plan from this administration about how to deal with it, we're finally where we need to be?
I mean Mrs. Clinton is Mrs. Happy Talk. Um, and she just wants to happy talk her way to the presidency. She is the personification of this administration.
Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?
And so, you know, the fact is that that's not where we need to be.
STEPHANOPOULOS: She's called for a no-fly zone. She's called for a coalition. You've called for a no-fly zone, as well.
The big difference, you're willing to put ground troops, to put American troops on the ground in Iraq, in Syria?
CHRISTIE: Well, yes, that's one of the big differences, but as part of a coalition, yes. But listen, this is the woman who, last night, refused to answer the question about Libya. Now, this was her strategy and -- and -- and three times, I think, Elizabeth asked her -- Martha, rather, asked her about what responsibility do you bear for what's happening in Libya?
She refuses to answer it.
And this is why...
STEPHANOPOULOS: What responsibility does she bear?
CHRISTIE: Well, I think she bears a lot. It's her strategy. Listen, if Libya had turned out to be a shining success and was a -- was a democracy, Mrs. Clinton would be dancing around the stage, talking about how it was her idea and how she recommended it to the president and she got it implemented.
But yet when there's a down side, she takes no responsibility. It's like this president saying he wants to close Guantanamo. And when 30 percent now, by his own DNI's analysis from Mr. Clapper, says that 30 percent of the people he's released from Guantanamo have gone back into the terrorist fight against the United States, how can you possibly think about closing Guantanamo?
But this is this tone deaf administration, a guy who yesterday, George, said that he doesn't understand the anxiety of Americans because he doesn't watch enough cable news.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what is -- but going forward, are you sure Americans are ready to accept another U.S. intervention, ground troops in the Middle East?
CHRISTIE: No, I'm not sure. And it's the job of the president of the United States to make the case. If you believe that's where the country needs to go, then you've got a responsibility...
(CLEARS THROAT)
CHRISTIE: Excuse me.
You have a responsibility to make the case to the American people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But what about the argument that goes...
CHRISTIE: And that's what I'll do...
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- (INAUDIBLE) Secretary Clinton...
CHRISTIE: -- if I'm president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- and Bernie -- Senator Sanders made today that it has to be Muslim troops taking the lead on the ground?
CHRISTIE: I -- I don't disagree with that.
But we have to be part of it. And so do the Europeans, because the threat that's from ISIS is not just to us, is to those Muslim countries and it's to the Europeans, as well, as we saw in Paris, and to us, as we saw in San Bernardino, and as the Jordan pilot who was burned in a cage, King Abdullah knows that it's to his people, as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You -- you had been moving up in New Hampshire, as I said. That's made you more of a target there.
A super PAC aligned with Governor Kasich is running this ad right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: Tonight are very basic and have been agreed to by all three campaigns in advance. Candidates can take up to a minute and a half will be allowed. There are...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kasich is an impatient rascal -- races, pushes, but unlike some, his state is now booming. Unlike some, John Kasich has proven he can do the job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: -- thousand new private sector jobs in the eight years before I became governor, George. Zero net private sector jobs.
And this year, 2105, is the best year of private sector job growth in New Jersey in 15 years.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your credit has also been downgraded several times.
CHRISTIE: It sure has.
You know why?
Because I'm cleaning up the mess that I inherited. And I'm doing it honestly and rightfully and not by borrowing more money to paper it over.
So I -- listen, they want to have a debate about the New Jersey record, bring it on. I'm ready to have it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Rand Paul is ready to have that debate, as well.
I think we have...
(LAUGHTER)
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- another sound bite here (INAUDIBLE)...
CHRISTIE: We've sabotaged all these video clips, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's just -- you just did a good job right here.
CHRISTIE: Really, it's another data breach. Bernie Sanders helped me. It was fabulous.
STEPHANOPOULOS: In the debate Tuesday night...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think when we think about the judgment of someone who might want World War III, we might think about someone who might shut down a bridge because they don't like their friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump has been talking about this, as well.
You think you're going to be able to deal with this issue if you start to do better here in New Hampshire?
CHRISTIE: I don't even know what the issue is. I mean there is no issue. And the fact is that that was, you know, commentary from a desperate candidate on the last legs of his campaign. He was flailing away at everybody on that stage. He reminded me of Bobby Jindal in the under card debate the last time when all he did was flail away at people and then a few days later, he dropped out. Maybe that's Rand Paul's fate.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What's your strategy going forward?
You're betting it all on New Hampshire right now. You're spending a lot of time here...
CHRISTIE: Sure.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- following the John McCain playbook.
But what about after?
You know, a lot of the -- your opponents have pointed out, you don't even have much of an organization in South Carolina.
How do you capitalize even if you do well here?
CHRISTIE: How much do I love the fact that my opponents are worried about what organization I have in a future state?
It's also something that I'm going to do very well here in New Hampshire. No one was saying that three months ago, George. Nobody was worried about that then.
Here's what will happen.
(CLEARS THROAT)
CHRISTIE: The power of our ideas and the power of our campaign and that momentum that we develop from Iowa and New Hampshire will carry us in the other states, as well. And you've seen this happen time and time again in presidential politics. What happens in Iowa and New Hampshire helps to reconfigure the race and determine what's going to happen.
Listen, if Maria Commella's biggest problem on February 10...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your communications director?
CHRISTIE: Yes. If her biggest problem, she's running this campaign, if her biggest problem on February 10 is how do I hire more people, I think we'll accept that problem.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think I see Maria smiling over there.
All right, that's all we have time for today.
CHRISTIE: Thank you.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Christie, thanks for joining us this morning.
And we're going to be back with a representative of the Clinton campaign.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're back now with Jen Palmieri, the Clinton campaign -- communications director of the Clinton campaign.
We have to being, I think, with what you -- Secretary Clinton giving it to the Republicans last night, especially Donald Trump, getting a little bit of it back this morning.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT: Right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your response to Donald Trump?
PALMIERI: The -- you know, Donald Trump I think was talking -- you know, what Secretary Clinton was saying last night is that one of the many dangerous things about Donald Trump is that his (inaudible) rhetoric say we shouldn't allow Muslim refugees into the country is being used -- and this is something that the (inaudible) international group who monitors social media and -- on ISIS has said...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But there have been no videos.
PALMIERI: Well, what they have said is that they are using him. They -- he's being used in social media by ISIS as propaganda. She didn't have a particular video in mind, but he is being used in social media. And, you know, what they haven't found is -- the group hasn't found a video that, you know, Mr. Trump keeps talking about, this alleged mystery video of thousands of people in Jersey cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center.
But it is true that they -- he is being used in social media by ISIS to help recruit...
STEPHANOPOULOS: To be fair, you don't have a video, as she said...
PALMIERI: But I'm referring to a specific video. But he is being used in social media by ISIS as propaganda -- cites International Group, which monitors -- this is what they do, they monitor ISIS on social media, they monitor other terrorist groups on social media, to see what they are using. And they have said that they are using him in social media as propaganda to help recruit supporters.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about the comments of Governor Christie responding to Secretary Clinton saying she's -- we're finally where we need to be on ISIS. The American people right now do not agree.
PALMIERI: She was not saying where we were need to be on ISIS. You know, in the last weeks she has given two major policy speeches, one after Paris about how we need to combat ISIS and how we were going to defeat ISIS globally. And then just last week following San Bernardino about how we protect the homeland. She was very clear last night that we have to defeat ISIS.
What she was referring to is the fact that we are in much better position in terms of dealing with Syria and the political transition that we hope to see there from the UN security council voting on Friday to start a new -- to start a new process on political transition there.
So, that is what she was referring to. And that's a really important development that we are able to have that process go forward in Syria so that you can deal -- you know, she was saying you've got to do both things at once, right, you've got to be able to deal with what is happening on the ground in Syria and try to come to come together on a peace process there as well as combat ISIS on the ground.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We saw Secretary Clinton accept Bernie Sanders' apology last night on the data breach. So is this issue over?
PALMIERI: Well, first I would say -- Senator Sanders was gracious. I thought Hillary was gracious. She appreciated the apology.
It's a serious matter, though, what happened, it is a very serious matter. And we're glad that the -- there's going to be an independent audit of it. We appreciate that Senator Sanders said that if he found more people responsible that he would hold them accountable.
But I don't think we should discount, you know, what happened here. They did go in. They took data. They tried to save it. It's proprietary data. It's stuff that our volunteers and our campaign worked really hard to create.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you're actually sure the Clinton campaign didn't do the same thing?
PALMIERI: We are absolutely sure that -- apparently there had been another time where everyone had -- where the network, if you will, was open. But it was clear that neither -- no campaign did anything to try to breach that data at that time. We never did that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: On the issue of taxes last night, Secretary Clinton said she has a pledge, no tax increases on anyone under $250,000. When she was on my program a couple of weeks ago, she said that was a goal. Is it now a read my lips promise?
PALMIERI: She said that that is not what she is going to do, that she doesn't -- we don't need. She has a very -- and this is not at the expense of a robust agenda to help the middle class, she has a very robust agenda, but you just don't need to do it. She has other ways of paying for it. She outlined for that last week. You just don't need to do it by raising taxes on the Middle Class.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jennifer Palmieri, thanks very much. Be right back with the powerhouse roundtable.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going next to taxes here.
SANDERS: Now, this is getting to be fun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is fun.
We believe Secretary Clinton will be coming around the corner any minute.
(APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: Sorry.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS: You're the one who told us we have to follow this rule, then break it off.
SANDERS: Yeah, but the rule includes equal -- forget it. All right.
CLINTON: Thank you. Good night. And may the force be with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Some of the lighter moments from last night's debate here with our roundtable joined by Cokie Roberts, Donna Brazile Democratic strategist, also ABC contributor Ana Navarro supporter of Jeb Bush, ABC contributor Matt Dowd who has worked for both parties, including President George W. Bush.
Let's talk about the debate first off, Ana. You're from the Republican perspective, what did you see last night? Were there any openings? Who won?
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, I think it's hard to tell who won. When you go into a spin room, and they tell you they've won even before the debate is over...
STEPHANOPOULOS: We take that for granted. We know that.
NAVARRO: Like in the last debate, I think Hillary Clinton did a Wall Street answer, which was a big faux pas. And it was a big faux pas with Democrat primary voters.
Yesterday, she had three problems. One was you know claiming that Donald Trump was recruiting -- there was a Donald Trump video out there that nobody has ever seen for a recruitment of ISIS. You know, I'm not sure that Secretary Clinton should go out there and talk about videos that do not exist.
Second of all, I think when she called the problems with Obamacare glitches. I think that's going to come back to haunt her.
And when she made the comment about being where we need to be in fighting ISIS. I think that's another one that she's going to get asked about, though.
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: None of that is going to matter in the Democratic race. I think, look, we're in the what I call the last phase of the campaign when you basically tell all of the staff and the headquarters it's time to go to Des Moines, time to go to Cedar Rapids, and you try to win. She has to do very well in Iowa in order to beat back what I believe a very strong grass roots campaign by Bernie Sanders.
She did herself very well last night. Once again, she was able to response to all of the attacks and also take on the GOP frontrunner. So I think she's in the cat's bird seat (ph).
STEPHANOPOULOS: Everybody wanted Donald Trump last night.
MATT DOWD, ABC: Yeah, exactly. Everybody was after him. And it's like it serves dual purposes. It helps Donald Trump. I think in the course of today, we're going to be talking more about what Donald Trump had to say about Iran and Putin and all of that then probably the Democratic debate.
But it also helps the Democrats, because Donald Trump has horrible favorability numbers in a general election. He's probably the weakest, most unelectable GOP candidate to go up, but he's the leading candidate.
And so I think all the Democrats should have been happy about last night. They all brought their A game in the course of that. The primary probably doesn't reset itself. Hillary Clinton is still the dominant force in this.
But I think Bernie Sanders does have an outside shot if he could make his GOTV operation in force in Iowa and New Hampshire.
(CROSSTALK)
COKIE ROBERTS: ...win Iowa, but then what? I mean, it doesn't go anywhere.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Wait, if you win Iowa and New Hampshire...
ROBERTS: ...but the -- but still then what? I mean, you still have a 74-year-old Democratic Socialist who is too far to the left to win a general election. And so what you have to figure out is if he's going to be winning the Democratic nomination, is there somebody else?
DOWD: I actually don't think he's too far to win the general election. In the course of America today, what we've seen in the course of these debates is there's no conservatives left in the Democratic Party at all, and there's no liberals left in the Republican Party at all. They've both bombed to the polarized ends of the spectrum.
And if Bernie Sanders happens to win it, which I think is very difficult, he actually could be somebody like Donald Trump is Donald Trump is the nominee.
NAVARRO: Let me tell you, I was at the Vegas debate on Tuesday. And what I heard yesterday -- you know, I don't know about you guys, but Bernie Sanders sounded a lot like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul to me. And Hillary Clinton sounded a lot like Lindsey Graham to me.
You know, I think she's gone more hawkish, more to the right. And, you know, I think you're also seeing a libertarian, non-interventionist, spectrum in the Republican Party.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You're definitely seeing that right now.
How about that point, though, that Cokie was just making. Even if Bernie Sanders can't go all the way -- but I think if he wins Iowa and New Hampshire, all bets are off. You do have a seriously wounded frontrunner if that's the case. Hillary has to win Iowa, right?
BRAZILE: Well, look, I think so, I really do.
She lost it before by a very small percentage point, by the way, even in terms of John Atwood's (ph). But I think she has to win. I mean, she's poised to win it, because she's been there. She's been organized. And she has great people on the ground.
But you know, beyond Iowa and New Hampshire, you have South Carolina and Nevada. She's very strong in those two states. And of course Super Tuesday where the African-American vote will play a very decisive role.
But I've got to say something about Matt Dowd, who has been doing a little bit of bromance also with Donald Trump...
DOWD: I'm not doing any bromance with Donald Trump. I just look at the data. When a meteor is about to hit Earth, I say it's about to hit Earth.
BRAZILE: I understand it's about the numbers, but you know Donald Trump is selling attitude. George, when I listen to him this morning, maybe because I haven't been to church yet, he's selling attitude, he's not selling substance. And the Republicans are buying it.
I mean, I think Donald Trump is going to flame out soon. And Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz who is really driving a very, very strong campaign in Iowa, Ted Cruz is somebody that the Republicans seem to watch.
NAVARRO: I have to agree with you. I think he's been calculated. You know, he's bided his time. He stroked Donald Trump's ego until he stopped very recently. He's gotten...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But your candidate now, Jeb Bush, is basically making his campaign here in New Hampshire taking on Donald Trump. Can that work?
NAVARRO: Thank god. I think Jeb has got to focus, laser focus on New Hampshire.
We're seeing that it's paying off for Chris Christie.
New Hampshire likes for New Hampshire to be number one and be the priority. This is a state where I think Jeb can be very competitive.
One of the problems is that you have a Kasich and a Chris Christie who are in the race, and those three big...
(CROSSTALK)
DOWD: The problem Jeb has, the problem Jeb has -- here is the problem Jeb has. He's a very decent man. He was a great leader and a governor of Florida, it's not the same Republican Party anymore.
The Republican Party now, the mainstream of the Republican Party, is represented by Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.
When you take a look at their stands on immigrants, exactly the same. Their stands on Muslims, exactly the same. And so when you take a look at that, Jeb Bush does not fit the Republican Party of 2015.
(CROSSTALK)
ROBERTS: ...because it shows him being tough. And that's what he has to show. You know, Trump has really shaped the narrative. So, for instance, in the New Hampshire paper this morning, the headline is "Bush brings energy to townhall." That's all that Trump has been saying about him. And so for him to take on Trump, be tough, and see if it works -- now what's happened is everybody else that's taken on Trump...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Not to the same degree...
(CROSSTALK)
NAVARRO: Actually, I think the only person that's had the guts and showed it to it publicly is Jeb Bush.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Bobby Jindal did it, Rick Perry did it.
NAVARRO: Well, they're no longer relevant...
(CROSSTALK)
DOWD: When you have a guy with high (inaudible) attacking a guy with high (inaudible) and leading, it helps the guy that's leading. And that's Jeb Bush's problem in this race.
BRAZILE: You know, Republicans really need a Lee Atwater, I mean bringing back the dead, god bless his soul. Lee Atwater. You need somebody who can go after Donald Trump's strength. I mean, that's the problem. You hit him at his weakness, but you've got to go after...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So what does that mean, exactly?
BRAZILE: Look, the guy is a big bluster, big bloviator...
ROBERTS: Bully.
BRAZILE: Bully. And you've got to -- you need somebody who will go after that. If you're not going to do that, then Donald Trump becomes...
DOWD: The problem has been that many of the Republicans have made fun of his voters...
(CROSSTALK)
NAVARRO: Not for a long time. I think people have recognized that this is a real problem, there's real angst in the Republican base and in the country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We talked about the what ifs, though, we talk about the what ifs if Hillary loses Iowa. What if Donald Trump gets beat in Iowa, Matthew Dowd? We did have that story in the New York Times this morning saying he's lagging in organization. Does that matter? And does he stop winning when he loses. Is that it for him?
DOWD: I think -- the breadth of Cruz's win matters. So if it's Donald Trump close, then I think you go into New Hampshire, I think if this happens, then Ted Cruz finishes second in New Hampshire, and that actually hurts more Jeb, Kasich, Rubio in the course of this. Then it basically becomes a two person, very competitive race headed into South Carolina where I think Ted Cruz has a lot of base of support. It becomes a total two person race.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Trump is strong in South Carolina.
DOWD: Yeah, but when that bump happens, as Ted Cruz is to win Iowa, this thing becomes a two person race.
NAVARRO: I think you see Trump going nuclear. You know, I think he's really gotten...
DOWD: Go nuclear?
NAVARRO: You know, I think he's really taken a liking to the -- you know, running for president thing.
ROBERTS: His whole thing is I'm a winner. And so being a loser could be an issue.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's what we're going to find out...
NAVARRO: Incredibly interesting to watch, though.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The candidates that the Democrats are most concerned about, more the establishment candidates, really bound up in a pack there in New Hampshire right now. Marco Rubio, Governor Christie, Jeb Bush, John Kasich all right neck and neck.
BRAZILE: That's right.
Look, Marco Rubio has a problem. I mean, he ran as somebody -- when he ran for the senate that he was going to reform. He ran against immigration, then he was for immigration. We don't know where Marco Rubio stands. I think he has to sort it out himself.
Meanwhile, I think those, like Governor Christie, who is spending time here. Governor Christie is doing the right thing. You've just got to figure out where you can win. And if Governor Christie comes in first, second or third place, I think he has a little legs under him.
NAVARRO: You know, I think it's important that Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who I think are very evenly matched, and such talented politicians, very different styles. I think they need to move on from this back and forth. It's like, you know, young bucks locking horns over...
(CROSSTALK)
NAVARRO: ...but it's been going no now. I mean, this immigration battle of he said, he said, what you have said back in that year. It's almost like a...
(CROSSTALK)
DOWD: One thing to keep in mind with the Republican base, we've said all this thing about it, is Hillary Clinton, if she wins the nomination, is going to be one of the weakest general candidates that we've seen in the Democratic Party in a long time.
The majority of people who don't trust her. The majority of people don't like her. The country is off on the wrong track. And they want different policies than Barack Obama.
I'm not saying she can't win. She's very vulnerable.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You get 10 seconds.
BRAZILE: You know what, her strength is connecting with people and understanding what they need and she will fight for them, so I don't think she's a weak candidate.
ROBERTS: And they like her policies.
BRAZILE: That's right.
NAVARRO: She's gotten better at connecting. She wasn't very good at that six months ago.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's all we have time for today. Thanks to all of you. Have a great Christmas everyone. All of you at home, have a Merry Christmas as well. I'll see you tomorrow on GMA.
END
VIDEO-Report: Ford, Google to build self-driving cars together
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:19
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USA Today NetworkAlisa Priddle, Detroit Free Press7:43 a.m. EST December 22, 2015
Automakers released a variety of technologies in 2015 increasingly allows the car to take over certain tasks from the driver.
Google's new self-driving prototype car built in Livonia(Photo: AP)
DETROIT '-- Ford and Google could be planning a joint venture to build autonomous cars, pairing the strengths of the two companies to get self-driving cars on the road faster.
Ford CEO Mark Fields will make the announcement in January at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show, according to Yahoo Autos, citing three sources.
Ford officials would not confirm the details Monday, but the automaker has been making a series of announcements about ramping up its testing of autonomous cars. And the automaker has said more news is planned when Fields attends the CES next month.
Spokesman Alan Hall said the automaker would not comment on speculation.
USA TODAY
Google fires back on self-driving car rules
"We have been and will continue working with many companies and discussing a variety of subjects related to our Ford Smart Mobility plan," Hall said. "We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons, and we do not comment on speculation."
Meanwhile, the two companies have the connections and have laid the groundwork.
Last year Google's self-driving car group teamed up with Roush to develop and build a self-driving pod. Roush is building a test fleet of pods in Livonia, which are shipped to California where there is no snow to worry about.
In January, Chris Urmson, director of Self-Driving Cars for Google, said the Internet company's goal is to have driverless cars available on the market within five years.
He said hundreds of people were working on the project in both Detroit and California.
In September, Google hired former Ford and Hyundai executive John Krafcik as CEO of Google's Self-Driving Car Project and Google parent Alphabet is planning to make the project its own unit to compete in the car-sharing business.
USA TODAY
Sources: Google to invest $500M in new Tenn. data center
Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally is on Google's board of directors.
Google's Urmson said earlier this year he had already met with Ford and other automakers including General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and Daimler because Google was interested in working with conventional automakers who have expertise in engineering and building cars.
''For us to jump in and say we can do this better, that's arrogant,'' Urmson said in Detroit.
Fields recently announced Ford has received the permits needed to test Fusion autonomous vehicles in California, where it has established a research center in Silicon Valley, near Google.
USA TODAY
Ford to test self-driving cars on Calif. roads
And Ford will be the first automaker to test its autonomous Fusion at Mcity, a simulated city created on the campus of the University of Michigan that provides a safe area to put a car through repeated paces.
The facility, part of the university's Mobility Transformation Center, opened in July for use by more than a dozen automakers, suppliers, telecommunications and other companies in the pursuit of autonomous driving technology.
Mcity provides an ideal setting for testing driverless cars in all seasons and conditions in a controlled environment.
Follow Alisa Priddle on Twitter: @AlisaPriddle
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1m5QhIb
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Report: Ford, Google to build self-driving cars togetherFord and Google could be planning joint venture to get self-driving cars on road faster.
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USA Today NetworkAlisa Priddle, Detroit Free Press7:43 a.m. EST December 22, 2015
Automakers released a variety of technologies in 2015 increasingly allows the car to take over certain tasks from the driver.
Google's new self-driving prototype car built in Livonia(Photo: AP)
DETROIT '-- Ford and Google could be planning a joint venture to build autonomous cars, pairing the strengths of the two companies to get self-driving cars on the road faster.
Ford CEO Mark Fields will make the announcement in January at the 2016 International Consumer Electronics Show, according to Yahoo Autos, citing three sources.
Ford officials would not confirm the details Monday, but the automaker has been making a series of announcements about ramping up its testing of autonomous cars. And the automaker has said more news is planned when Fields attends the CES next month.
Spokesman Alan Hall said the automaker would not comment on speculation.
USA TODAY
Google fires back on self-driving car rules
"We have been and will continue working with many companies and discussing a variety of subjects related to our Ford Smart Mobility plan," Hall said. "We keep these discussions private for obvious competitive reasons, and we do not comment on speculation."
Meanwhile, the two companies have the connections and have laid the groundwork.
Last year Google's self-driving car group teamed up with Roush to develop and build a self-driving pod. Roush is building a test fleet of pods in Livonia, which are shipped to California where there is no snow to worry about.
In January, Chris Urmson, director of Self-Driving Cars for Google, said the Internet company's goal is to have driverless cars available on the market within five years.
He said hundreds of people were working on the project in both Detroit and California.
In September, Google hired former Ford and Hyundai executive John Krafcik as CEO of Google's Self-Driving Car Project and Google parent Alphabet is planning to make the project its own unit to compete in the car-sharing business.
USA TODAY
Sources: Google to invest $500M in new Tenn. data center
Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally is on Google's board of directors.
Google's Urmson said earlier this year he had already met with Ford and other automakers including General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and Daimler because Google was interested in working with conventional automakers who have expertise in engineering and building cars.
''For us to jump in and say we can do this better, that's arrogant,'' Urmson said in Detroit.
Fields recently announced Ford has received the permits needed to test Fusion autonomous vehicles in California, where it has established a research center in Silicon Valley, near Google.
USA TODAY
Ford to test self-driving cars on Calif. roads
And Ford will be the first automaker to test its autonomous Fusion at Mcity, a simulated city created on the campus of the University of Michigan that provides a safe area to put a car through repeated paces.
The facility, part of the university's Mobility Transformation Center, opened in July for use by more than a dozen automakers, suppliers, telecommunications and other companies in the pursuit of autonomous driving technology.
Mcity provides an ideal setting for testing driverless cars in all seasons and conditions in a controlled environment.
Follow Alisa Priddle on Twitter: @AlisaPriddle
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1m5QhIb
TOP VIDEOSApple's most downloaded apps of 201501:33
The apps that made you say 'Wow!' this year01:40
The top gadgets of 201503:32
Lamar Odom, 'Jurassic World,' Paris: among 2015's top Google searches01:19
What does Apple want for Christmas?00:56
Great tech gifts for non-techie people04:04
SpaceX launches Falcon 9, successfully lands booster02:01
Best tech stock picks for 2016 from T. Rowe Price fund manager00:36
Curbside app lets you shop from your car02:10
Apple CEO backs use of encryption00:42
Tablets, drones just a few of the most requested gifts01:17
Ed Baig: Trying out Microsoft's HoloLens01:40
This hacker built a self-driving car in his garage06:51
Amazon pulls majority of Hoverboards due to safety concerns01:05
Apple's most downloaded apps of 201501:33
Apple names the most innovative app of the year - Workflow01:49
Turn your tablet into a laptop01:01
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VIDEO-Chipotle stock plunges again on new E. coli fears December 22
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:16
Shares of Chipotle(CMG) fell 4% Tuesday and briefly dipped below $500 for the first time since May 2014 after the CDC said Monday afternoon that there may be a new, unrelated E. coli outbreak.
The CDC said that it "is investigating another, more recent outbreak" reported in three states (1 in Kansas, 1 in North Dakota and 3 in Oklahoma) that appears to have a "different, rare DNA fingerprint" of the E. coli bacteria strain.
All five people said they ate at a Chipotle in the week before they got sick, according to the CDC.
Related: New E. coli cases linked to Chipotle
The illnesses started between November 18 and November 26 -- weeks after the outbreak that was first reported in late October in Washington and Oregon. For this reason, the CDC said it is not including these new cases as part of the first outbreak.
The CDC also said there was one new E. coli case reported that was related to the original outbreak. The CDC said that there are now 53 reported illnesses in nine states.
A spokesperson for Chipotle told CNNMoney that its food safety experts "are actively working with the FDA and CDC on their investigation to determine the cause for all of these cases."
Chipotle has taken several steps since late October to identify the source of the E. coli bacteria. Co-CEO Steve Ells even went on NBC's Today show on December 10 to tell Matt Lauer about some of them.
The Chipotle spokesperson said that ""we have completed a comprehensive reassessment of our food safety programs with an eye to finding best practices for each of the ingredients we use." The spokesperson added that "we expected that we may see additional cases."
But Chipotle also continued to stress that "we are confident that we can achieve a level of food safety risk that is near zero."
Chipotle investors don't appear to be convinced though.
Related: The dangers of E. coli explained
The stock, once a Wall Street darling thanks to quarter after quarter of strong sales growth, is down 27% this year.
Chipotle shares have plunged 22% since the reports of the first outbreak in early November and are 34% below the all-time high they hit in August.
Sales growth was already starting to slow at Chipotle before the E. coli news. But the company warned earlier this month that it now expects sales to fall sharply in the fourth quarter because of the E. coli concerns.
And in an awful coincidence that couldn't have come at a worse time, dozens of Boston College students got sick after eating at a local Chipotle earlier this month. It turned out that a norovirus, and not E. coli, was the culprit.
But at least one Wall Street analyst is defending the company and thinks that all the bad news is already priced into the stock.
Related: Chipotle tries to move past a horrible year
BTIG analyst Peter Saleh wrote in a report Tuesday that "we believe the company has taken the appropriate steps to guard against future incidents. Saleh reiterated his buy rating on Chipotle and thinks the stock could rebound to $664.
Still Saleh conceded that sales are likely to be volatile in the near-term because the E. coli news is not going away.
Saleh added that it will be a challenge for Chipotle to figure out just exactly what went wrong. It may be more complicated than trying to find just one bad ingredient from one supplier.
"We believe the multiple outbreaks across various geographies and timeframes make a single supplier or product shipment increasingly unlikely as the cause," he wrote.
Needless to say, that's not good news. The longer that E. coli remains in the headlines, the more difficult it may become for Chipotle to win back customers.
Chipotle has become the butt of jokes on social media, with people tweeting and posting Instagram photos about how they hope to not come down with E. coli after eating a burrito bowl.
Related: Chipotle's reputation gets slammed
It doesn't help that you literally can't spell the word Chipotle without the letters E C O L and I.
And some analysts have speculated that customers may abandon Chipotle in favor of rival Qdoba, which is owned by Jack in the Box(JACK), as well as other so-called fast casual chains like Panera(PNRA) and Zoe's Kitchen(ZOES).
Chipotle still has many loyal customers. But they are being tested. It was one thing when the cases were isolated to just two states. Now even diehard Chipotle fans might be nervous.
"At this point, even rational and informed consumers could potentially be given reason to pause when choosing Chipotle over the plethora of fast casual competition in the marketplace," said JPMorgan analyst John Ivankoe in a report Tuesday.
Ivankoe downgraded Chipotle and cut his price target on the stock as well.
Related: Can Chipotle recover from E. coli outbreak?
Related: Another E. coli scare affects major retailers across the U.S.
CNNMoney (New York)First published December 22, 2015: 11:14 AM ET
VIDEOChinese buy fresh air from Canada - BBC News - YouTube
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 19:15
VIDEO-Las Vegas Police Press Conference On Driver That Mowed Down 38 Pedestrians - YouTube
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 14:59
VIDEO-State Dept. Pressed On ''Zero Movement On Assad For 3 Years" - YouTube
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 13:05
VIDEO-Brzezinski To Santorum: 'Why Aren't You Working On White Men With Guns?' (VIDEO)
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 20:54
"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski confronted Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Monday by asking why he won't address the growing problem of white men committing gun violence in America if he is so worried about terrorism.
"Why aren't you working on white men with guns?" Brzezinski asked the former Pennsylvania senator after he chastised American Muslims for not speaking out against their religion's radical factions.
"I mean, come on, Rick Santorum. You know better, you're a smart guy," she continued. "You're telling Muslim-Americans they all need to come out and talk about the tiny percentage of their community that has quite frankly wreaked havoc but yet you look at the data of white men with guns wreaking havoc on this country. Why aren't white men all coming froward? Why don't you call on them to do that? I mean, come on."
Santorum said he is "doing a lot of things to solve gun violence," to which Brzezinski replied, "You're ringing bells."
Watch the exchange, from MSNBC, at 3:30:
VIDEO-Fox News - Radio Traffic Confirms Pete Santilli & Vehicle Both On Terror Watch List - YouTube
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 16:10
VIDEO-Steve Harvey, A Monster, Crowns Wrong Miss Universe
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 05:13
This evening, Miss Colombia was crowned Miss Universe, at the Miss Universe pageant. This was a mistake: it was Miss Philippines who should have been crowned (and was, eventually), but host Steve Harvey read the cue card wrong.
Here is a video of the incident.
Harvey was quick to take responsibility. ''I want to apologize emphatically to Miss Philippians and Miss Columbia,'' he tweeted. ''This was a terribly honest human mistake and I am so regretful.''
However, neither ''Philippians'' nor ''Columbia'' are countries. The tweet was promptly deleted.
For such a ludicrous mistake to be made in as regimented a spectacle as the Miss Universe contest is essentially unheard of'--especially at its climax'--whether this was staged is probably an open question. Regardless, Colombia looks pretty devastated.
Update '' 10:55 pm
Here's a closer look at the cue card itself.
Contact the author of this post: brendan.oconnor@gawker.com.
VIDEO-Roko's Basilisk - YouTube
Sun, 20 Dec 2015 22:43
VIDEO-Paris Climate Challenge 2015 - Christopher Monckton - YouTube
Sun, 20 Dec 2015 22:07

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