785: Hispandering

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 10m
December 27th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir Prise Christopher Tremelling, Sir Jerry of Saugus, Sir Pnonymous, Michael Sosnin, Sir Chris Eisbach, Sir JD Baron of Sillicon Valley, Joseph Gilbert, John Kumar

Associate Executive Producers: George Burdell, Tim Weinzirl, Dame Patricia, Jeffrey Bartolotta, Thomas Butterick, Karl Heberger, Alex Simkus, Trevor Mudge, Jeremy Gray, David K, McKernan Family, Sir 10cfr50 Appendix B, James KE4GIV

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat

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Surveillance powers will help unmask online bullies | The Times
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 02:25
Police are to use sweeping new surveillance powers to unmask anonymous internet bullies and bring them to justice.
A new power that forces internet providers to retain web browsing information will help police to hunt down and identify the most serious cyberbullies and trolls, Theresa May has said.
The home secretary said that the new bill would help law enforcement authorities to fight a ''pernicious issue''.
Research suggests that seven in ten young people in Britain have fallen victim to cyberbullies. Several suicides have been linked to anonymous bullying on social networks such as Ask.fm, where one teenager was told
Theresa May says new spying powers will be used to bring online trolls to justice | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 02:26
New spying laws will be used to bring online bullies and trolls to justice, the Home Secretary says.
Theresa May reportedly claims the surveillance powers - unveiled under the Investigatory Powers Bill last month - will help police and spooks to track down and identify anonymous cyberbullies.
This is because they will force Internet firms to retain individuals' connection records - which may then be used by officials to unmask abusive users going by various aliases, The Times reports.
It is the first time the government has said the new laws will be used to deal with what Mrs May describes as the 'pernicious' issue of cyberbullying, which affects millions of young Brits annually.
Home Secretary: Theresa May (pictured) says new surveillance powers - unveiled under the Investigatory Powers Bill last month - will help police and spooks to track down and identify anonymous cyberbullies
The Home Secretary made the remarks on the draft bill - which is being considered by parliament and has been criticised by many including the tech giant Apple - in a letter to MP James Cartlidge.
In her letter, she reportedly wrote: 'Internet connection records would update the capability of law enforcement in a criminal investigation to determine the sender and recipient of a communication, for example, a malicious message such as those exchanged in cyberbullying.'
She said the bill would, therefore, support the effort of police to tackle online bullying and trolling.
Mrs May copied the letter - which she wrote as a response to a question about the bill from Mr Cartlidge following its unveiling - to Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham, it is reported.
Researchers from Ditch The Label claim that as many as seven in 10 young people have been victimised by cyberbullies - with one in five having suffered extreme bullying on a daily basis,.
The online abuse - carried out on a range of social media networks - has led some to withdraw into themselves, grow depressed, lose self-esteem and, in several cases, even commit suicide.
Hurtful: It is the first time the government has said the new laws will be used to deal with what Mrs May describes as the 'pernicious' issue of cyberbullying, which affects millions of young people (file picture)
Mr Cartlidge said: 'We're all becoming much more aware that the internet has a dark side.
'But it's not just about terrorism or hacking into bank accounts.
'There are these nasty, psychological attacks that particularly affect young people.'
Speaking to The Times, The South Suffolk MP added that the government does have to be able to 'police the Internet' - but he said that it must be careful with how far it extends the new powers.
Mrs May presented the Investigatory Powers Bill to the House of Commons in early November.
Under proposals in the bill, communications firms would be legally required to help spies hack into suspects' smartphones and computers, while domestic providers would be obliged to assist intelligence agencies if they were given warrants to carry out equipment interference.
Concerns: Apple has raised concerns about Mrs May's bill in a submission to a parliamentary committee
The technique allows authorities to interfere with electronic devices to obtain data and can range from remotely accessing a computer to covertly downloading the contents of a mobile phone.
This week, Apple raised concerns about the draft bill in an official submission to a parliamentary committee, while suggesting that the use of encryption in communications should be strengthened.
"We owe it to our customers to protect their personal data to the best of our ability,' the firm said.
'Increasingly stronger - not weaker - encryption is the best way to protect against these threats.'
The submission added: 'The Bill threatens to hurt law-abiding citizens in its effort to combat the few bad actors who have a variety of ways to carry out their attacks.
'The creation of back doors and intercept capabilities would weaken the protections built into Apple products and endanger all our customers.
'A key left under the doormat would not just be there for the good guys.
'The bad guys would find it too.'
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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.
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
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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.
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Q&A: Why feds say some IDs not secure enough for air travel
Fri, 25 Dec 2015 01:28
CHICAGO (AP) '-- Sometime in 2016 people from several states could have trouble getting on an airplane or into federal buildings because of a post-Sept. 11 law that tightened requirements for state-issued identification.
When that will happen and who will be affected won't be completely clear until the Department of Homeland Security releases further details of how it will enforce the 2005 REAL ID Act '-- an announcement that could come in the next few days. In the meantime, an expert on the law says people in places such as Illinois and Missouri '-- where DHS this week essentially said time's up for the states to comply '-- may want to get a passport.
Here's a look at the act, what it requires and why some states will feel the impact while others won't:
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WHAT IS REAL ID?
Congress approved the REAL ID Act in 2005, following a recommendation from the commission formed to study the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The 9/11 commission said the country would be safer if there were minimum standards for government-issued identification such as driver's licenses that are required to enter federal buildings or board commercial airplanes.
The act set those standards, which include requiring applicants to provide proof of identity and legal US residency and requiring states to use counterfeit-resistant security features in the IDs.
DHS originally gave states until 2009 to make necessary changes to their requirements and technology.
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WHAT'S MY STATE'S STATUS?
At least 20 states and the District of Columbia have complied with the federal requirements, according to information posted on the DHS website.
In other states implementation has been delayed or derailed by concerns about cost, violations of privacy or overreaching by the federal government. Lawmakers in some states passed legislation opposing REAL ID; Minnesota and Missouri still have laws prohibiting them from complying.
DHS has delayed enforcement and granted multiple extensions, allowing federal agencies to continue accepting driver's licenses from those states.
At least nineteen states have until October 2016 to either comply or be granted another extension. Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina and Washington have extensions only through Jan. 10.
This week, officials in Missouri and Illinois said they'd been notified that DHS will not grant them another extension beyond Jan. 10. Washington received a similar notice in October.
DHS' online map provides the status of each state at www.dhs.gov/REAL-id-enforcement-brief, though as of Thursday it didn't indicate which states had additional extensions denied. A DHS spokesperson didn't respond to phone messages seeking comment Thursday.
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WHAT IF MY STATE DOESN'T COMPLY?
DHS is enforcing the act in phases, starting with federal facilities such as nuclear power plants, laboratories and military bases.
That means that starting Jan. 10, federal facilities won't accept driver's licenses from Illinois, Missouri or any other state that isn't approved for an extension beyond that date. (The facilities already don't accept most licenses from Minnesota, which DHS already has deemed to be non-compliant).
The law doesn't apply to federal courthouses, hospitals or health clinics, according to DHS, and people may be allowed entry with another valid form of ID such as a passport or military identification.
DHS has said it will extend the requirements to airports sometime in 2016, though the department hasn't said when. It's expected to make that announcement as early as next week, and DHS has said it will give a notice of at least 120 days before it takes effect.
That could give states such as Illinois and Missouri time to pass laws or take other steps toward implementation, possibly making DHS more amenable to granting another extension.
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WILL I BE ABLE TO FLY?
That depends on many factors, such as how DHS rolls out the airport requirements and whether travelers have other valid forms of ID.
Andrew Meehan is policy director for Keeping IDentities Safe, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for implementation of REAL ID.
He said that if history is any indication DHS will phase in the airport portion of the law, possibly starting with smaller airstrips in mid-2016 and expanding to larger airports that serve more travelers at a later date.
Meehan called it "laughable" that so many states haven't gotten on board with the law after more than a decade. His advice to people in states like Illinois and Missouri is to get a passport.
"To be safe, don't wait for the Legislature," he said.
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EuroLand
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Czech leader calls migrant wave in Europe an organised invasion - Yahoo7
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 04:21
Czech leader calls migrant wave in Europe an 'organised invasion'Prague (AFP) - Czech President Milos Zeman called the current wave of refugees to Europe "an organised invasion", adding young men from Syria and Iraq should instead "take up arms" against the Islamic State (IS) group.
"I am profoundly convinced that we are facing an organised invasion and not a spontaneous movement of refugees," said Zeman in his Christmas message to the Czech Republic released Saturday.
He went on to say that compassion was "possible" for refugees who are old or sick and for children, but not for young men who in his view should be back home fighting against jihadists.
"A large majority of the illegal migrants are young men in good health, and single. I wonder why these men are not taking up arms to go fight for the freedom of their countries against the Islamic State," said Zeman, who was elected Czech president in early 2013.
He added that their fleeing their war-torn countries only serves to strengthen the IS group.
The 71-year-old evoked a comparison to the situation of Czechs who left their country when it was under Nazi occupation from 1939-1945.
It is not the first time Zeman has taken a controversial stance on Europe's worst migrant crisis since World War II.
In November, the leftwinger attended an anti-Islam rally in Prague in the company of far-right politicians and a paramilitary unit.
The country's Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who has previously criticised the head of state's comments, said Zeman's Christmas message was based "on prejudices and his habitual simplification of things".
Migrants are not the only target of Zeman's caustic remarks: he said last week that his country should introduce the euro on the first day after indebted Greece's departure from the common currency, causing Athens to recall its ambassador.
He also said he was "very disappointed" that talks in the summer to eject Greece from the euro did not come to fruition.
Both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, former communist countries that joined the European Union in 2004, have rejected the EU's system of quotas for distributing refugees amid the current migrant wave.
More than one million migrants and refugees reached Europe this year, mainly fleeing violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
The crisis has strained ties within the European Union, with mostly newer members taking a firm anti-migrant stance and some northern countries like Germany welcoming those fleeing war.
Few asylum seekers have chosen to stay in the Czech Republic, a NATO member nation of 10.5 million people.
Regardless, a recent survey showed that nearly 70 percent of Czechs oppose the arrival of migrants and refugees in their country.
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Gonorrhoea 'could become untreatable' - BBC News
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 14:48
Image copyrightThinkstockGonorrhoea could become an untreatable disease, England's chief medical officer has warned.
Dame Sally Davies has written to all GPs and pharmacies to ensure they are prescribing the correct drugs after the rise of "super-gonorrhoea" in Leeds.
Her warning comes after concerns were raised that some patients were not getting both of the antibiotics needed to clear the infection.
Sexual health doctors said gonorrhoea was "rapidly" developing resistance.
A highly drug-resistant strain of gonorrhoea was detected in the north of England in March.
That strain is able to shrug off the antibiotic azithromycin, which is normally used alongside another drug, ceftriaxone.
In her letter, the chief medical officer said: "Gonorrhoea is at risk of becoming an untreatable disease due to the continuing emergence of antimicrobial resistance."
Soaring casesBut while an injection of ceftriaxone and an azithromycin pill are supposed to be used in combination, this may not always be the case for all patients.
Earlier this year, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) warned that some online pharmacies were offering only oral medication.
Using just one of the two drugs makes it easier for the bacterium to develop resistance.
The letter, which is also signed by chief pharmaceutical officer Dr Keith Ridge, stated: "Gonorrhoea has rapidly acquired resistance to new antibiotics, leaving few alternatives to the current recommendations.
"It is therefore extremely important that suboptimal treatment does not occur."
What is gonorrhoea? Image copyrightCAVALLINI JAMES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARYThe disease is caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoea.
The infection is spread by unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.
Symptoms can include a thick green or yellow discharge from sexual organs, pain when urinating and bleeding between periods. Often the person has no symptoms, however, but can still easily spread the disease to others.
Untreated infection can lead to infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and can be passed on to a child during pregnancy.
Gonorrhoea is the second most common sexually transmitted infection in England and cases are soaring.
The number of infections increased by 19% from 29,419 in 2013 to 34,958 the following year.
Dr Jan Clarke, the president of BASHH, told the BBC News website: "We're really pleased that the chief medical officer has stressed that gonorrhoea needs this approach to treatment due to the rapid development of resistance.
"We need to protect what we've got and we need to encourage pharmacists and general practitioners to follow first-line treatment."
Dr Andrew Lee, from Public Health England, added: "Investigations are ongoing into a number of cases of anti-microbial resistant gonorrhoea.
"Public Health England will continue to monitor, and act on, the spread of antimicrobial resistance and potential gonorrhoea treatment failures, to make sure they are identified and managed promptly."
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CDCG
Saudis shut down camel urine shop: owner was selling his own urine
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 15:07
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Elections 2016
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The Clinton Chronicles with TTK
The Clinton Chronicles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sat, 26 Dec 2015 20:50
The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill ClintonDirected byPatrick MatriscianaProduced byPatrick MatriscianaRelease dates
1994Running time
85 minutesThe Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton is a 1994 film that accused Bill Clinton of a range of crimes. The video, directed by conservative activist Patrick Matrisciana, was characterized by The Washington Post as a "bizarre and unsubstantiated documentary."[1]
The New York Times reported that it was a poorly documented "hodgepodge of sometimes-crazed charges."[2] It helped perpetuate a conspiracy theory known as the "Clinton Body Count" about a list of associates Clinton was purported to have had killed.[3] The deaths listed in the film have largely been discredited due to deliberate bias, weak circumstantial evidence, and coincidence.[3]
The film was produced by Citizens for Honest Government, a project of a Westminster, California organization named Creative Ministries Inc., partially funded by Larry Nichols, a long-time Clinton opponent, and distributed with help from the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who also appears in the film.[1] Over 300,000 copies of the film were put into circulation.[2]
To promote the film, Falwell aired an interview with Matrisciana, who was silhouetted to conceal his identity as he pretended to be a journalist who was afraid for his life.[4] Matrisciana later acknowledged that he was not in any danger, but that the interview was staged for dramatic effect at Falwell's suggestion.[4]
Larry Nichols on yellow-pad cheat sheet
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TXT MSSG HAHA-55-Bill Clinton's first home damaged in suspected arson - CNNPolitics.com
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 03:40
The blaze in the rear of the two-story white frame house in Hope was reported by a passing motorist at 3:17 a.m. Friday, according to J.R. Wilson, police chief of the southwestern Arkansas city.
The fire appeared to originate at the base of an exterior wall and rose about 8 feet midway up the house, Wilson said.
A National Historic Site, the house belonged to Clinton's grandparents and he lived there for four years after his birth in 1946, according to Arkansas' state website.
"The building is in good shape, (and) the fire department extinguished the fire very quickly," Wilson said.
Smell at the scene indicated an accelerant may have been used, Wilson said.
Tarona Armstrong, the home's superintendent, said in a statement that the fire was confined to one portion of the house.
"At this time the extent of damages and the cause are unknown until the ongoing investigation is completed," the statement said. "The house will be closed until further notice."
Graffiti on walkway, doorIn addition to damage from any flames, the home's walkway and a door were vandalized with spray-painted graffiti.
The number "55," left in black paint on a walkway, could refer to a common text messaging abbreviation for "haha," Wilson said.
On the door, "XX" was spray painted "and just right below ... a big frown and a big, long protruding tongue sticking out of the frown," Wilson said.
Investigators were collecting video from surveillance cameras in the area, Wilson said.
The National Park Service is investigating the cause, and the FBI has offered assistance, Wilson said.
And a spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that a fire investigator from that federal agency's New Orleans office should arrive on scene Saturday to assist local authorities.
Mayor: Home should be seen as historyDennis Ramsey, the mayor of Hope for 22 years, said the house represents "a legacy in small town America."
"The prospects of a president coming from a small town in southwest Arkansas -- What were the chances of that? -- but it's something of which we are very proud," he said.
Ramsey called it "very fortunate that someone was up at that time and happened to see it before it caused significant damage."
While he has been out of office since January 2001, Clinton remains in the spotlight as his wife -- Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton -- runs to become president herself.
The 2016 election has stirred strong feelings in Arkansas and elsewhere, just like Bill Clinton himself. But Hope's mayor said that politics should be secondary when it comes to Clinton's old house, which he described as "something to be proud of and to build a legacy upon."
"To see it demeaned in this way," Ramsey added, "is an affront to all of the country and especially all of us in southwest Arkansas who are very proud to be from a place called Hope."
Friend: 'Clinton birthplace is the comeback house'The house is furnished with items dating to the time when Clinton lived there, according to the state website.
Clinton moved to Hot Springs when he was 7, the website said. But the Hope home was the center of his family life -- he spent summers and weekends there -- until his grandfather, Eldridge Cassidy, died in 1956 and the house was sold.
The would-be Arkansas governor and president remembered "playing in the yard with friends and learning from his adored grandfather about social justice and the equality of all people," according to the National Park Service.
In 2011, the home was officially designated as a National Historic Site within the national park system.
Skip Rutherford, dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, called the building "a premier educational, historical and tourism anchor for Hope and like all presidential birthplaces it also is important nationally.
"It has been restored before, and it will be restored again," Rutherford, who has been friends with Bill Clinton since 1974, said of the home.
"If Bill Clinton was the comeback kid, then the Clinton birthplace is the comeback house."
CNN's Greg Botelho, Kevin Bohn, Josh Gaynor and Dan Merica contributed to this report.
Number 55 Symbolism, 55 Meaning and Numerology
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 03:39
Represent the Divine Person, according to Abellio.
According to R. Allendy, it represents "the individual life confused with the cosmic life; ratios of the life on the whole to the life of the parts in the individuality - 5 + 5 = 10".
Represent the limit of the humanity, according to E. Bindel.
Representative number of the Virgin Mary.
Represent the total and complete man, symbolized by the two hands which join at the moment of the prayer to remake the unit in the form of ten, but being able also to express that under the form of 55, "addition in the senses of the divine wisdom" according to saint Martin.
According to Lima of Freitas, it symbolizes the fusion of the sexes, the androgynous being, but who, in spite of his perfection, stay strictly human.
Fifty-five years separate the Annunciation from the Assumption of the Virgin.
This number is found in the rosary of the Virgin Mary: the circle formed by the necklace is composed of 55 grains. In visions of Mary Agreda, this one mentioned a mysterious number attached to a necklace of which the description makes think of that of the rosary. A few days before the birth of Jesus, the Virgin Mary was carried in the Sky. In sign of the privileges which She had as Wife of God and as Queen of the Universe, She was covered by two seraphes of clothes and splendid jewels, whose a necklace to which hung three precious stones with a mysterious number whose the meaning was not discovered to Her. It is only after the birth of the Saviour that the secret of number of the ornament was revealed to Her.
Being Redeemer with the Christ, the Virgin felt in a mysterious manner on her body all sufferings of her Son since the beginning of his passion. Following the death of Jesus in cross, these sufferings still continued and this, until the resurrection of her Divine Son. During 55 hours she supported her sufferings since the beginning of the agony of Jesus to Gethsemane until his resurrection. The number 55 could be also seen as the union of the 5 physical wounds of Jesus with the 5 mystical wounds of Mary.
The rosary of the Holy Family is composed 55 grains, divided into five tens. On the small grains, the names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph are invoked. On the coarse grains, a prayer is addressed to the sacred Heart of Jesus to protect our families. Finally, on the cross, the following prayer is told "acts of Faith, of Hope and of Charity".
The Appearances of the Virgin Mary to Amsterdam, Netherlands, begun on March 25, 1945, feast of the Annunciation, and continued until May 31, 1959. There was a total of 55 appearances. Our-Lady appeared to a woman of average age of the name of Ida Perleman and has confided to her a messages concerning the future events in the world and the Church. The most significant prophecy given by Our-Lady concerns the last dogma of the history which will be promulgated by the pope. This dogma will declare that henceforth, Mary will carry titles of Redeemer with the Christ, Mediator and Advocate.
A rabbinical study enumerates 55 prophets, divided into 48 prophets and 7 prophetess. This list appears in the Comment of Rachi on Meguilla 14a.
The Bouriates knew 99 gods, divided into 55 goods and 44 bad. These two groups of gods would fight for a very long time between them.
The "Hits'eu", which is a comment of the "Yi King", develops the system of numbers: "To the Sky belongs 1; to the Earth 2, to the Sky 3; to the Earth 4; to the Sky 5; to the Earth 6; to the Sky 7; to the Earth 8; to the Sky 9; to the Earth 10 (...). Celestial numbers reach 25, and terrestrial numbers 30. The numbers of the Sky and the Earth reach 55 together. It is by these numbers that undertake changes and transformations, and that the demons are maintained (...)".
The decibel, tenth part of the "bel" unit, is used to measure the intensity of the sound. The human voice has for average intensity 55 decibels and the thunder, 70.
Sum of the two series of following numbers: 1, 2, 4, 8 and 1, 3, 9, 27, it is also the sum of the numbers one to ten, that is to say the tenth triangular number. Anatolius points out that 55 is still the sum of aliquot parts of 36 (1+2+3+4+6+9+12+18 = 55), the sum of 5 successive triangular numbers (3+6+10+15+21 = 55) and the sum of 5 first square numbers (1+4+9+16+25 = 55).
Anniversary of marriage: weddings of emerald.
Numerical value of the name of the Virgin Mary (alchimia), obtained by using the following numerical alphabet: A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5, F=6, G=7, H=8, I=9, K=10, L=11 and M=13. This information was revealed by the Blessed Virgin to Andreae, Rosicrucian, of which the history is told by himself in the "Noces Chymiques de Christian Rose-Croix", Anthroposophiques Romandes Publishing, Geneva. But an anomaly was pointed out by some commentators: a "printing error" (reproduced here in numerical values of letters) would have slipped into the number that provides the total of the addition since letters of the word "alchimia" give the total 56 and not 55. Nevertheless, the Virgin declares categorically that the number of her name is 55.
This number can be considered as being the numerical value of the first word of the Genesis if we write the first verse in Greek language and not in Hebrew:
E n a r c h e p o i h s e n 5 50 1 100 600 8 5 80 70 10 8 200 5 50 55 709 428 To origins he made
ANGEL NUMBERS - Joanne Sacred Scribes: ANGEL NUMBER 55
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 03:38
Number 55 is comprised of two 5's, making 55 a powerful number as the energies and attributes of number 5 are doubled, amplified and reinforced. Number 55 carries the vibrations of adventure and versatility, curiosity, facing challenges, learning life lessons through experience, auspicious opportunities, idealism and activity, making positive life choices and important changes.Angel Number 55 is a message from your angels that it is time to let go of the 'old' that is no longer positively serving you, and get ready for big changes to take place in your life. Release old doubts, fears and perceived obstacles and look forward to wonderful new opportunities.The repeating Angel Number 55 tells you to keep a positive attitude about the 'new' entering your life and keep an open mind as to the opportunities presenting to you. Keep in mind that everything happens for a reason and nothing happens by chance, so eventhough the reason/s for the changes may not be clear at this point, trust that all will fall into place for you. These changes have come about so that you can break free from old restraints and constraints and freely pursue your soul mission and life purpose as a spiritual being.The angels ask that you cast off old shackles and constraints, be true to yourself and live your life with passion and purpose. Be prepared for huge changes when repeating Angel Number 55 appears.Number 55 also relates to number 1 (5+5=10, 1+0=1) and Angel Number 1.See also:Repeating 5's (5, 555, 5555 etc)Angel Number 5Angel Number 555*JoanneSacred ScribesNUMEROLOGY - The Vibration and Energy of NumbersBODY and SOUL '' MIND and SPIRITLive ANGEL, PSYCHIC & TAROT READINGS Online with Joanne* * Join me on FACEBOOK at Angel Numbers - Sacred Scribeshttps://www.facebook.com/AngelNumbersSacredScribes
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Also BoysTown doc
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Donald Trump isn't in any ISIS recruitment videos but 'fornicator' Bill Clinton is | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 25 Dec 2015 01:29
Jeb Bush Former Florida governor
Age on Election Day: 63
Religion: Catholic
Base: Moderates
R(C)sum(C): Former Florida governor and secretary of state. Former co-chair of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Education: B.A. University of Texas at Austin.
Family: Married to Columba Bush (1974), with three adult children. Noelle Bush has made news with her struggle with drug addiction, and related arrests. George P. Bush was elected Texas land commissioner in 2014. Jeb's father George H.W. Bush was the 41st President of the United States, and his brother George W. Bush was number 43.
Claim to fame: Jeb was an immensely popular governor with strong economic and jobs credentials. He is also one of just two GOP candidates who is fluent in Spanish.
Achilles heel: Bush has angered conservatives with his permissive positions on illegal immigration (saying some border-crossing is 'an act of love) and common-core education standards. His last name could also be a liability with voters who fear establishing a family dynasty in the White House.
Chris Christie New Jersey governor
Age on Election Day: 54
Religion: Catholic
Base: Establishment-minded conservatives
R(C)sum(C): Governor of New Jersey. Former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Former Morris County freeholder and lobbyist.
Governor of New Jersey. Former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Former Morris County freeholder. Former statehouse lobbyist.
Education: B.A. University of Delaware, Newark, J.D. Seton Hall University.
Family: Married to Mary Pat Foster (1986) with four children.
Claim to fame: Pugnacious and unapologetic, Christie once told a heckler to 'sit down and shut up' and brings a brash style to everything he does. That includes the post-9/11 criminal prosecutions of terror suspects that made his reputation as a hard-charger.
Achilles heel: Christie is often accused of embracing an ego-driven and needlessly abrasive style. His administration continues to operate under a 'Bridgegate' cloud: At least two aides have been indicted in an alleged scheme to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge as political retribution for a mayor who refused to endorse the governor's re-election.
Carly Fiorina Former tech CEO
Age on Election Day: 62
Religion: Episcopalian
Base: Conservatives
R(C)sum(C): Former CEO of Hewett-Packard. Former group president of Lucent Technologies. Former U.S. Senate candidate in California.
Education: B.A. Stanford University. UCLA School of Law (did not finish). M.B.A. University of Maryland. M.Sci. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Family: Married to Frank Fiorina (1985), with one adult step-daughter and another who is deceased. She has two step-grandchildren. Divorced from Todd Bartlem (1977-1984).
Claim to fame: Fiorina was the first woman to lead a Fortune 20 company, something that could provide ammunition against the Democratic Party's drive to make Hillary Clinton the first female president. She is also the only woman in the 2016 GOP field, making her the one Republican who can't be accused of sexism.
Achilles heel: Fiorina's unceremonious firing by HP's board has led to questions about her management and leadership styles. And her only political experience has been a failed Senate bid in 2010 against Barbara Boxer.
Mike Huckabee Former Arkansas governor
Age on Election Day: 61
Religion: Southern Baptist
Base: Evangelicals
R(C)sum(C): Former governor and lieutenant governor of Arkansas. Former Fox News Channel host. Ordained minister and author.
Education: B.A. Ouachita Baptist University. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (did not finish).
Family: Married to Janet Huckabee (1974), with three adult children. Mrs. Huckabee is a survivor of spinal cancer.
Claim to fame: 'Huck' is a political veteran and has run for president before, winning the Iowa Caucuses in 2008 and finishing second for the GOP nomination behind John McCain. He's known as an affable Christian and succeeded in building a huge following on his weekend television program, in which he frequently sat in on the electric bass with country & western groups and other 'wholesome' musical entertainers.
Achilles heel: Huckabee may have a problem with female voters. He complained in 2014 about Obamacare's mandatory contraception coverage, saying Democrats want women to 'believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar.' He earned more scorn for hawking herbal supplements in early-2015 infomercials as a diabetes cure, something he has yet to disavow despite disagreement from medical experts.
George Pataki Former New York governor
Age on Election Day: 71
Religion: Catholic
Base: Centrists
R(C)sum(C): Former governor of New York. Former New York state senator and state assemblyman. Former mayor of Peekskill, NY.
Education: B.A. Yale University. J.D. Columbia Law School.
Family: Married to Libby Rowland (1973), with four adult children.
Claim to fame: Pataki was just the third Republican governor in New York's history, winning an improbable victory over three-term incumbent Mario Cuomo in 1994. He was known for being a rare tax-cutter in Albany and was also the sitting governor when the 9/11 terror attacks rocked New York CIty in 2001.
Achilles heel: While Pataki's liberal-leaning social agenda plays well in the Empire State, it won't win him any fans among the GOP's conservative base. He supports abortion rights and gay rights, and has advocated strongly in favor of government intervention to stop global warming, which right-wingers believe is overblown as a global threat.
Marco Rubio Florida senator
Age on Election Day: 45
Religion: Catholic
Base: Conservatives
R(C)sum(C): US senator, former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, former city commissioner of West Miami
Education: B.A. University of Florida. J.D. University of Miami School of Law.
Family: Married to Jeanette Dousdebes (1998), with two sons and two daughters. Jeanette is a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader who posed for the squad's first swimsuit calendar.
Claim to fame: Rubio's personal story as the son of Cuban emigres is a powerful narrative, and helped him win his Senate seat in 2010 against a well-funded governor whom he initially trailed by 20 points.
Achilles heel: Rubio was part of a bipartisan 'gang of eight' senators who crafted an Obama-approved immigration reform bill in 2013 which never became law '' a move that angered conservative Republicans. And he was criticized in 2011 for publicly telling a version of his parents' flight from Cuba that turned out to appear embellished.
Donald Trump Real estate developer
Age on Election Day: 70
Religion: Presbyterian
Base: Conservatives
R(C)sum(C): Chairman of The Trump Organization. Fixture on the Forbes 400 list of the world's richest people. Star of 'Celebrity Apprentice.'
Education: B.Sci. Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Family: Married to Melania Trump (2005). Divorced from Ivana Zeln­Äkov (1977-92) and Marla Maples(1993''99). Five grown children. Trump's father Fred Trump amassed a $400 million fortune developing real estate.
Claim to fame: Trump's niche in the 2016 campaign stems from his celebrity as a reality-show host and his enormous wealth '' more than $10 billion, according to Trump. Because he can self-fund an entire presidential campaign, he is seen as less beholden to donors than other candidates. He has grabbed the attention of reporters and commentators by unapologetically staking out controversial positions and refusing to budge in the face of criticism.
Achilles heel: Trump is a political neophyte who has toyed with running for president and for governor of New York, but shied away from taking the plunge until now. His billions also have the potential to alienate large swaths of the electorate. And his Republican rivals have labeled him an ego-driven celeb and an electoral sideshow because of his all-over-the-map policy history '' much of which agrees with today's Democrats '' and his past enthusiasm for anti-Obama 'birtherism.'
Ben Carson Retired physician
Age on Election Day: 65
Religion: Seventh-day Adventist
Base: Evangelicals
R(C)sum(C): Famous pediatric neurosurgeon, youngest person to head a major Johns Hopkins Hospital division. Founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which awards scholarships to children of good character.
Education: B.A. Yale University. M.D. University of Michigan Medical School.
Family: Married to Candy Carson (1975), with three adult sons. The Carsons live in Maryland with Ben's elderly mother Sonya, who was a seminal influence on his life and development.
Claim to fame: Carson spoke at a National Prayer Breakfast in 2013, railing against political correctness and condemned Obamacare '' with President Obama sitting just a few feet away.
Achilles heel: Carson is inflexibly conservative, opposing gay marriage and once saying gay attachments formed in prison provided evidence that sexual orientation is a choice.
Ted Cruz Texas senator
Age on Election Day: 45
Religion: Southern Baptist
Base: Tea partiers
R(C)sum(C):U.S. senator. Former Texas solicitor general. Former U.S. Supreme Court clerk. Former associate deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush.
Education: B.A. Princeton University. J.D. Harvard Law School.
Family: Married to Heidi Nelson Cruz (2001), with two young daughters. His father is a preacher and he has two half-sisters.
Claim to fame: Cruz spoke on the Senate floor for more than 21 hours in September 2013 to protest the inclusion of funding for Obamacare in a federal budget bill. (The bill moved forward as written.) He has called for the complete repeal of the medical insurance overhaul law, and also for a dismantling of the Internal Revenue Service. Cruz is also outspoken about border security.
Achilles heel: Cruz's father Rafael, a Texas preacher, is a tea party firebrand who has said gay marriage is a government conspiracy and called President Barack Obama a Marxist who should 'go back to Kenya.' Cruz himself also has a reputation as a take-no-prisoners Christian evangelical, which might play well in South Carolina but won't win him points in the other early primary states and could cost him momentum if he should be the GOP's presidential nominee.
Jim Gilmore Former Virginia governor
Age on Election Day: 67
Religion: United Methodist
Base: Conservatives
R(C)sum(C): Former governor and attorney general of Virginia. Former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Former U.S. Army intelligence agent. President and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation. Board member of the National Rifle Association
Education: B.A. University of Virginia.
Family: Married to Roxane Gatling Gilmore (1977), with two adult children. Mrs. GIlmore is a survivor of Hodgkin's lymphoma
Claim to fame: Gilmore presided over Virginia when the 9/11 terrorists struck in 1991, guiding the state through a difficult economic downturn after one of the hijacked airliners crashed into the Pentagon. He is nest known in Virginia for eliminating most of a much-maligned personal property tax on automobiles, working with a Democratic-controlled state legislature to get it passed and enacted.
Achilles heel: Gilmore is the only GOP or Democratic candidate for president who has been the chairman of his political party, giving him a rap as an 'establishment' candidate. A social-conservative crusader, he is loathed by the left for championing the state law that established 24-hour waiting periods for abortions. Gilmore also has a reputation as an indecisive campaigner, having dropped out of the 2008 presidential race in July 2007.
John Kasich Ohio governor
Age on Election Day: 64
Religion: Anglican
Base: Centrists
R(C)sum(C): Governor of Ohio. Former chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee. Former Ohio congressman. Former Ohio state senator.
Education: B.A. The Ohio State University.
Family: Married to Karen Waldbillig (1997). Divorced from Mary Lee Griffith (1975-1980).
Claim to fame: Kasich was Ohio youngest-ever member of the state legislature at age 25. He's known for a compassionate and working-class sensibility that appeals to both ends of the political spectrum. In the 1990s when Newt Gingrich led a Republican revolution that took over Congress, Kasich became the chairman of the House Budget Committee '' a position for a wonk's wonk who understands the nuanced intricacies of how government runs.
Achilles heel: Some of Kasich's political positions rankle conservatives, including his choice to expand Ohio's Medicare system under the Obamacare law, and his support for the much-derided 'Common Core' education standards program.
Rand Paul Kentucky senator
Age on Election Day: 53
Religion: Presbyterian
Base: Libertarians
R(C)sum(C): US senator. Board-certified ophthalmologist. Former congressional campaign manager for his father Ron Paul.
Education: Baylor University (did not finish). M.D. Duke University School of Medicine.
Family: Married to Kelley Ashby (1990), with three sons. His father is a former Texas congressman who ran for president three times but never got close to grabbing the brass ring.
Claim to fame: Paul embraces positions that are at odds with most in the GOP, including an anti-interventionist foreign policy, reduced military spending, criminal drug sentencing reform for African-Americans and strict limits on government electronic surveillance '' including a clampdown on the National Security Agency.
Achilles heel: Paul's politics are aligned with those of his father, whom mainstream GOPers saw as kooky. Both Pauls have advocated for a brand of libertarianism that forces government to stop domestic surveillance programs and limits foreign military interventions.
Rick Santorum Former Penn. senator
Age on Election Day: 58
Religion: Catholic
Base: Evangelicals
R(C)sum(C): Former US senator and former member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. Former lobbyist who represented World Wrestling Entertainment.
Education: B.A. Penn State University. M.B.A. University of Pittsburgh. J.D. Penn State University Dickinson School of Law.
Family: Married to Karen Santorum (1990), with seven living children. One baby was stillborn in 1996. Another, named Isabella, is a special needs child with a genetic disorder.
Claim to fame: Santorum won the 2012 Republican Iowa Caucuses by a nose. He won by visiting all of Iowa's 99 states in a pickup truck belonging to his state campaign director, a consultant who now worls for Donald Trump.
Achilles heel: As a young lobbyist, Santorum persuaded the federal government to exempt pro wrestling from regulations governing the use of anabolic steroids. And the stridently conservative politician has attracted strong opposition from gay rights groups. One gay columnist held a contest to redefine his name, buying the 'santorum.com' domain to advertise the winning entry '' which is too vulgar to print.
REPUBLICAN DROPOUTS
Rick Perry, former Texas governor
(withdrew Sept. 11, 2015)
Scott Walker, Wisconsin governor
(withdrew Sept. 21, 2015)
Bobby Jindal, Louisiana governor
(withdrew Nov. 17, 2015)
Lindsey Graham, South Carolina senator
(withdrew Dec. 21, 2015)
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The Sanders campaign is taking its fight with the DNC to the next level
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 02:02
Presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a news conference in December about police reform and preventing people of color from being victimized by police officers. (Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
The dustup over a data breach that briefly erupted in the Democratic presidential primary last week isn't over as far as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his team are concerned.
In a conversation with Yahoo News, a top Sanders campaign adviser made a series of explosive allegations about how the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and a political technology company that works with the party handled the incident. According to the Sanders adviser, the DNC and NGP VAN, a firm that has a contract with the party organization to operate a voter file, have responded to the data breach by ''leaking information'' and ''stonewalling an investigation'' into the matter.
''We have demanded a full investigation from top to bottom,'' the Sanders adviser said.
Sanders' adviser noted that a lawsuit the campaign filed in federal court about the data breach last Friday, Dec. 18, is still ongoing, and described it as an attempt to get answers despite the party's lack of cooperation.
According to a blog post published by NGP VAN, the data breach occurred on Wednesday, Dec. 16. The company said it involved a ''bug'' in the software NGP provides to the DNC. NGP VAN software is used by the DNC to operate a massive file of voter data that is shared by the party and all of the Democratic presidential campaigns. Both campaigns also rely on NGP to store their private files. The data in the shared and private files is essentially the lifeblood of a modern presidential campaign. It includes information vital to campaigns' day-to-day organizing and strategy, including potential supporters they are targeting and how many voters they expect to turn out in key primary states.
Because of the software issue, members of the Sanders campaign were able to access information that belonged to Hillary Clinton's campaign. On Dec. 17, news of the incident broke and the Sanders campaign announced it had fired its national data director, Josh Uretsky, for taking advantage of the breach to access data belonging to Clinton. The top Sanders adviser told Yahoo News one of the remaining concerns is that Uretsky was recommended to the campaign by people with ties to the DNC and NGP VAN.
Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver (right), talks to reporters in December. Sanders' campaign was disciplined by the DNC after a software error enabled a staffer to review Hillary Clinton's private campaign data. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
''It's not as if we conjured this guy Josh from thin air. This is an individual '... who was recommended to us by the DNC and NGP VAN,'' the adviser said.
According to the adviser, one of the references that Uretsky gave when he applied to work with the campaign was the DNC's National Data Director Andrew Brown, who works closely with the shared voter file program.
''Andrew Brown spoke to us and gave him a positive review, as did this guy Bryan Whitaker,'' the adviser said.
The adviser identified Whitaker as the COO of NGP VAN. Whitaker is no longer with the company. His LinkedIn page lists Whitaker as having left the firm for a job at another political data company in August of this year. Uretsky's LinkedIn says he began working on the Sanders campaign in September.
Read More
Brown and Whitaker did not respond to requests for comment on this story. A spokesperson for the DNC declined to comment.
The Sanders adviser described the fact Uretsky was recommended to the campaign by people with links to the DNC as astonishing in light of what happened. Specifically, the adviser pointed out that the campaign was slammed by Clinton's team for the breach and punished by the DNC.
''I just think it's utter hypocrisy on their part,'' said the adviser. ''I mean here we are being attacked for the behavior of an individual, which we ultimately fired. We agree he acted improperly, but it's just amazing to me that this '... individual that actually caused this trouble in our campaign was recommended by these guys.''
Uretsky was not the only person the Sanders campaign disciplined for being involved with the data breach. The campaign announced the suspension of two additional staffers after the Democratic presidential debate last Saturday night. The Sanders adviser did not say anyone other than Uretsky was recommended by people affiliated with the DNC or NGP VAN.
Heading into the debate, the Sanders team was under fire for the breach. The Clinton campaign released several statements to the media describing the incident as theft that was potentially even criminal. It produced audit logs showing multiple Sanders staffers accessed Clinton files on over 20 occasions. The DNC temporarily locked Sanders' team out of the shared voter file, which contains information that is vital to the campaigns' day-to-day operations and organizing efforts.
The adviser suggested the DNC and NGP VAN are ''ignoring their own responsibility,'' arguing that Uretsky's references from people linked to the party and the company show both the DNC and NGP VAN ''bear responsibility'' for the incident. The world of progressive political consulting is a small one, and, as in other professions, it's common for people to provide recommendations for those in their network. Still, given what happened with the breach, the adviser suggested Brown's recommendation of Uretsky could be evidence of a conspiracy.
''I don't know how you can more centrally connect this thing than those two entities,'' the adviser explained. ''Here we are being attacked by both of those entities when, in fact, they recommended this guy to the campaign.''
Lorraine Joseph, right, a student nurse at Broward College, makes a sign supporting candidate Bernie Sanders as Jenny Ellis, left, looks on, in Pembroke Pines, Fla. (Photo: Wilfredo Lee/AP)
Though Sanders' team has not denied there was wrongdoing by members of its staff, it has objected to the fact Clinton's team went public with its concerns. Sanders' campaign also has described the DNC's decision to close it out of the shared file as draconian and part of a pattern that shows the party is unfairly working to help protect Clinton's frontrunner status in the primary.
According to the adviser it was ''outrageous'' the Clinton campaign was given the audit logs that it showed to the media and Sanders' team was not. The adviser said these logs were unquestionably given to the Clinton campaign by NGP VAN or the DNC.
''This is one of the things that we were whipsawed in over the course of the, you know, 48 hours,'' the adviser said. ''NGP VAN was leaking information, clearly provided documents to the DNC and the Clinton campaign '-- or the DNC was providing those documents to the Clinton campaign. Documents that we didn't have.''
The adviser said the Sanders campaign was ''trying to scramble around and find out what happened'' in the immediate period after the breach was revealed. According to the adviser, it was hard to determine the extent of the incident because campaign staffers were locked out of the DNC software and not given the logs. Meanwhile, with the logs in hand, the Clinton campaign was able to make detailed public allegations about improper activity by members of Sanders' team.
''It would have been fair play to provide us the info in proper time '... they basically locked us out and then started throwing stuff under the table,'' said the adviser.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a town hall meeting in Keota, Iowa, in December. (Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP)
Over the weekend, a Clinton spokesperson told Yahoo the audit logs were believed to have been provided to the Clinton campaign by NGP VAN. When asked about the documents, a spokesperson for NGP VAN pointed out to Yahoo News that the company's contract for the voter file is with the DNC, which would mean it is not working directly with the campaigns for that software.
The Sanders campaign filed a lawsuit on Dec. 18 demanding that its access to the file be restored. At a press conference announcing that suit, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver described the DNC's behavior as an effort to ''undermine'' Sanders' attempt to mount a progressive challenge to Clinton.
''By their action, the leadership of the Democratic National Committee is now actively attempting to undermine our campaign. This is unacceptable. Individual leaders of the DNC can support Hillary Clinton in any way they want, but they are not going to sabotage our campaign '-- one of the strongest grassroots campaigns in modern history,'' Weaver said.
The campaign was able to reach an agreement with the DNC to have its access to the data restored late on the night it filed suit. NGP VAN's blog post noted the company played ''no role'' in making the decision to lock the Sanders campaign out of the file and that its staff worked long hours to quickly restore the campaign's access following the agreement with the DNC. The Sanders campaign is still working with NGP VAN.
Even after having its access restored, the Sanders campaign did not drop its dispute with the DNC. It has used the situation to appeal for donations and in messages to allies described its dissatisfaction with the party as long simmering. In one note to supporters, Weaver pointed to the fact the DNC has scheduled multiple debates on weekends when television viewership is generally low as evidence the party is improperly helping Clinton.
''The reality is that the huge turnouts that we've had at our meetings, our strong fundraising, our volunteer base and quick rise in the polls have caused the Democratic National Committee to place its thumb on the scales in support of Hillary Clinton's campaign. You see that fact evidenced in their decision to bury the Democratic debates on weekends during nationally televised football games. It's more or less an open secret,'' Weaver wrote.
Both the Clinton campaign and the DNC have dismissed the Sanders team's arguments about the debate schedule and claimed it is decided by the networks that air the forums.
Hillary Clinton listens as Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during the Democratic presidential debate in Manchester, N.H., in December. (Photo: Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)
At the debate on Saturday, Sanders personally apologized to Clinton for the incident. He also called for ''an independent investigation'' and blasted the DNC's decision to lock the campaign out of the voter file as an ''egregious act.'' Clinton accepted the mea culpa and said she agreed on an independent inquiry. However, the Sanders adviser said the DNC is blocking efforts to review the matter.
''We have demanded a full investigation from top to bottom,'' the adviser said. ''Hillary Clinton agreed to it in the debate Saturday, and the DNC continues to stonewall a full investigation.''
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Caliphate!
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ISIS, Facing Losses, Releases Recording Said to Be of Leader - The New York Times
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 02:22
PhotoAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014. The Islamic State issued a recording on Saturday of a speech purportedly made by Mr. Baghdadi.Credit Via Associated PressBAGHDAD '-- The Islamic State on Saturday released an audio recording of a speech purportedly made by the organization's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he implored more Muslims to fight on behalf of his increasingly besieged group.
The authenticity of the recording could not be confirmed. It appeared to be Mr. Baghdadi's first public address since May, and it followed reports that he had been either killed or gravely wounded by airstrikes.
The speech was released on jihadist social media accounts after a string of defeats for the Islamic State in Iraq and amid intensifying bombardment by an American-led military coalition in both Syria and Iraq.
In the speech, Mr. Baghdadi acknowledged escalating pressure on the Islamic State, also referred to as ISIS or ISIL, but framed it as worldwide attack by ''disbelievers'' against Muslims.
And while he referred to several recent developments, including the entrance of Russia's military into the Syrian war and the claim by Saudi Arabia to be forming a military coalition of Muslim countries, Mr. Baghdadi did not refer to recent mass killings in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., that were connected to the Islamic State.
In the last few days, Iraqi government forces have mounted a major offensive to recapture the city of Ramadi from the Islamic State, hoping to deal the group a major blow in the western province of Anbar, a stronghold. On Saturday, Iraqi officials said they had cleared one central district in the city and had advanced within a mile of a militant redoubt in a government complex.
A defeat in Ramadi would be the fourth major loss for the Islamic State in Iraq since April, when Iraqi forces and Shiite militias drove the group out of Tikrit.
Security officials in northern Iraq said on Saturday that Kurdish and American forces had carried out a major assault on Islamic State-held territory west of Kirkuk, in a town called Al Riyadh. Two senior militant leaders were killed and several others were captured, Gen. Sarhad Kadir, a police commander in Kirkuk, said.
Two United States defense officials said that American forces did not take part in the raid.
Officials said that more than two dozen families had taken advantage of the confusion caused by the raid to escape. Ahmed al-Jiboor, 42, said he fled after hearing planes flying over the area and panicked calls by Islamic State militants over mosque loudspeakers telling fighters to mobilize.
Another resident, Sana Ibrahim, 26, said her family escaped south, toward Tikrit, when it was clear the Islamic State forces were in disarray. Abandoning their posts, fighters surged toward the front line or were busy carrying wounded or dead colleagues to hospitals, she said.
Falih Hassan reported from Baghdad, and Kareem Fahim from Cairo. Helene Cooper contributed reporting from Washington.
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IS Supporters Allege Arrests Stemming from Telegram, Stress Caution Online
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 02:49
NOTE: The following materials are for information purposes only and may not be copied, reproduced, or transmitted without the explicit permission of SITE Intelligence Group and specific attribution to SITE Intelligence Group.
Islamic State (IS) supporters and media workers began circulating messages alleging arrests of IS supporters stemming from Telegram, and provided safety suggestions for those using the platform.
Register to read more ...
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British IS Fighter Calls to Kill, Beat, and Rob ''Disbelievers'' on Christmas
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 02:40
NOTE: The following materials are for information purposes only and may not be copied, reproduced, or transmitted without the explicit permission of SITE Intelligence Group and specific attribution to SITE Intelligence Group.
DetailsWestern JihadistsCreated: 25 December 2015
A British fighter in the Islamic State (IS) called on lone wolves in the West to poison, stab, and beat and rob ''disbelievers'' on Christmas.Register to read more ...
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Bergdahl: Taliban asked me if Obama is gay | New York Post
Fri, 25 Dec 2015 16:21
Bowe Bergdahl compared his first year in Taliban captivity '-- starved, stinking and chained to a bed '-- to being tossed in a closet and forgotten.
''Picture someone taking a bag, throwing it into the closet, shutting the door and just forgetting about it. That was basically how they treated me,'' he said.
In the third episode of the popular podcast ''Serial,'' which is focused on Bergdahl's alleged desertion from the Army in 2009 and subsequent five-year captivity by the Taliban, he details the misery of his first year held hostage '-- ending in a dramatic escape attempt that lasted 8½ days.
The interview was conducted by filmmaker Mark Boal (''The Hurt Locker,'' ''Zero Dark Thirty'') as part of a project on Bergdahl's life. He lent the recordings to ''Serial,'' which is hosted by Sarah Koenig.
Bergdahl said he saw his first chance at escape soon after his abduction in Afghanistan's eastern Paktika province, when a water delivery temporarily distracted his captors. He managed to slip off the chains binding his hands and feet and unlatched the flimsy wire holding the door to his cell closed.
He was free for only 15 minutes, running barefoot over rocks and climbing onto a roof and covering himself in mud to hide, he said in audio used by the podcast. He was caught in moments and hauled back into his cell, where men beat him with a rubber hose. They then blindfolded him and moved him to a new home, in what he now believes was North Waziristan in Pakistan, he said.
His new living arrangements were filthy and painful.
''In the new place, they put me on an Afghan bed and they chained my feet to the ends of the bed and chained my hands to the tops of the bed so that basically I was spread-eagle on the bed and blindfolded. And that's how I spent the majority of the next three months,'' he said.
One of Bergdahl's captors displays his dogtag to the camera in a video released in July 2009.Photo: ReutersHe was allowed to use the bathroom twice a day and could shower around once a month. He developed bedsores and chronic diarrhea as a result.
''The time deprivation, too much light or too much darkness and too much randomness, it just wears away at you and drives your nerves into the ground. The constant worry 'Am I going to die today?' or is something worse going to happen,'' he said.
Although watching over Bergdahl was a high honor, the guards were often bored and would pass the time by making videos of him, interrogating him with ridiculous questions or shaving his beard into shapes they found amusing, he said.
''They ask you, is Obama gay and sleeps with men?'' he recalled. His young guards were also curious about where US military bases got their prostitutes, alcohol and drugs, and were obsessed with American soft drinks, he added.
''They love Mountain Dew. If you want to piss people off in that country, all you do is cut off their sugar supply,'' he said.
Eventually, Bergdahl was moved to what he described as a wooden fortress and placed in a cell with an open window. By that time he had managed to squirrel away a few objects '-- an 8-inch piece of PVC pipe, a random key, an empty soda bottle, a nail and a wooden slat '-- from which he was able to hatch his next escape plan.
''I practiced all the nights before, counting the hours down until everything was silent so I knew everyone was asleep,'' he said.
He shimmied from his window down a rope made from bedding and the chains he'd removed from his hands and feet. When he hit the ground, it was like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, even though he knew the road to safety would be perilous.
'Picture someone taking a bag, throwing it into the closet, shutting the door and just forgetting about it. That was basically how they treated me.'
- Bowe Bergdahl''I had to basically come to terms with the fact that this was very much like a suicide mission '-- one way out and I was searching for a needle in a haystack as far as being saved,'' he said.
The darkness would be his downfall.
A few hours into his journey, he accidentally stepped off a cliff in the dark and badly injured his left side. Unable to walk, Bergdahl crawled across the rural, hilly landscape and tried to stay hidden in shelters made of sticks for the next week. To survive, he ate a few blades of grass and drank filthy water.
Sick and starving, he recalled the anguish of seeing American drones pass overhead at night but having no way to contact them.
''I'd seen like six drones moving across the sky. It's not a nice feeling you're so close but things are so stacked against you, you can't do anything but keep going,'' he said.
The Taliban search team found him on day eight, so frail and sick that they only ripped out some of his hair and beard '-- as opposed to beating him '-- as punishment.
Despite the risks, his failed escape plan seemed better than the alternative.
''It was like OK if I'm going to die, either from exposure out there or being shot while I escape, it's better than having my head cut off because I saw enough of those movies or videos to know what that would be like,'' he reasoned.
''That escape was the last time I saw stars since until the night Special Forces picked me up,'' he said.
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TechnoSkeptics
Techno-skeptics' objection growing louder - The Washington Post
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 01:04
Astra Taylor's iPhone has a cracked screen. She has bandaged it with clear packing tape and plans to use the phone until it disintegrates. She objects to the planned obsolescence of today's gadgetry, and to the way the big tech companies pressure customers to upgrade.
Taylor, 36, is a documentary filmmaker, musician and political activist. She's also an emerging star in the world of technology criticism. She's not paranoid, but she keeps duct tape over the camera lens on her laptop computer '-- because, as everyone knows, these gadgets can be taken over by nefarious agents of all kinds.
Taylor is a 21st-century digital dissenter. She's one of the many technophiles unhappy about the way the tech revolution has played out. Political progressives once embraced the utopian promise of the Internet as a democratizing force, but they've been dismayed by the rise of the ''surveillance state,'' and the near-monopolization of digital platforms by huge corporations.
Last month, Taylor and more than 1,000 activists, scholars and techies gathered at the New School in New York City for a conference to talk about reinventing the Internet. They dream of a co-op model: people dealing directly with one another without having to go through a data-sucking corporate hub.
''The powerful definitely do not want us to reboot things, and they will go to great lengths to stop us, and they will use brute force or they will use bureaucracy,'' Taylor warned the conferees at the close of the two-day session.
We need a movement, she said, ''that says no to the existing order.''
The dissenters have no easy task. We're in a new Machine Age. Machine intelligence and digital social networks are now embedded in the basic infrastructure of the developed world.
Much of this is objectively good and pleasurable and empowering. We tend to like our devices, our social media, our computer games. We like our connectivity. We like being able to know nearly anything and everything, or shop impulsively, by typing a few words into a search engine.
But there's this shadow narrative being written at the same time. It's a passionate, if still remarkably disorganized, resistance to the digital establishment.
Techno-skeptics, or whatever you want to call them '-- ''humanists'' may be the best term '-- sense that human needs are getting lost in the tech frenzy, that the priorities have been turned upside down. They sense that there's too much focus on making sure that new innovations will be good for the machines.
''I'm on Team Human!'' author Douglas Rushkoff will say at the conclusion of a talk.
You could fill a college syllabus with books espousing some kind of technological resistance. Start the class with ''You Are Not a Gadget'' (Jaron Lanier), move on to ''The Internet Is Not the Answer'' (Andrew Keen), and then, to scare the students silly, ''Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era'' (James Barrat).
Somewhere in the mix should be Astra Taylor's ''The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age,'' a clear-eyed reappraisal of the Internet and new media.
Of the myriad critiques of the computer culture, one of the most common is that companies are getting rich off our personal data. Our thoughts, friendships and basic urges are processed by computer algorithms and sold to advertisers. The machines may soon know more about us than we know about ourselves.
That information is valuable. A frequent gibe is that on Facebook, we're not the customers, we're the merchandise. Or to put it another way: If the service is free, you're the product.
Some digital dissenters aren't focused on the economic issues, but simply on the nature of human-machine interactions. This is an issue we all understand intuitively: We're constantly distracted. We walk around with our eyes cast down upon our devices. We're rarely fully present anywhere.
Other critics are alarmed by the erosion of privacy. The Edward Snowden revelations incited widespread fear of government surveillance. That debate has been complicated by the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, because national security officials say terrorists have exploited new types of encrypted social media.
Some dissenters think technology is driving economic inequality. There are grave concerns that robots are taking the jobs of humans. And the robot issue leads inevitably to the most apocalyptic fear: that machine intelligence could run away from its human inventors, leaving us enslaved '-- or worse '-- by the machines we created.
Moving rapidly
Technological skepticism isn't new. Plato told the story of a king who protested the invention of writing, saying it would weaken his people's memory and ''implant forgetfulness in their souls.''
But something different is going on now, and it simply has to do with speed. The first commercial Internet browser hit the market in 1994. Google arrived in 1998. Twitter appeared in 2006, and the iPhone in 2007. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is all of 31 years old.
Our technology today is so new that we haven't had time to understand how to use it wisely. We haven't quite learned how to stop ourselves from texting and driving; many of us are tempted to tap out one more letter even if we're going 75 on the highway.
Some countries are taking aggressive action to regulate new technologies. The South Korean government has decided that gaming is so addictive that it should be treated similarly to a drug or alcohol problem. Meanwhile, the European Union law ''Right to Be Forgotten'' forces companies such as Google and Yahoo to remove embarrassing material from search engine results if requested to do so.
Washington's political establishment, however, has largely deferred to Silicon Valley. The tech world skews libertarian and doesn't want more government oversight and regulations.
One of the tech world's top advocates in Washington is Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, which receives about two-thirds of its funding from tech companies.
Atkinson is a lanky, voluble man who sounds exasperated by the rise in what he considers to be neo-Luddite thinking. (''Luddite'' is a term dating to the early 19th century, named for a murky character named Ned Ludd, who inspired textile workers to smash mechanical looms.)
He's worried that books by people such as Astra Taylor will create a thought contagion that will infect Washington policymaking. In his view, there are two types of Luddites: the old-fashioned hand-wringers who are spooked by anything new and innovative, and the ''soft'' Luddites '-- he would put Taylor in that category '-- who say they embrace technology but want to go slower, with more European-style regulations.
''It's the emergence of soft Luddites that I worry about, because it has become the elite conventional wisdom in a lot of spaces,'' Atkinson said.
But he may be worried prematurely. A Senate bill to regulate self-driving cars went precisely nowhere. It's not as though people are marching on Washington to demand that lawmakers address the self-driving-car threat.
Fact in fiction
The technological resistance is not limited to nonfiction polemics. Fiction writers are picking up the thread, often borrowing from George Orwell and his dystopian masterpiece ''1984.''
For example, Gary Shteyngart's ''Super Sad True Love Story'' is a tale of people struggling to find love and humanity in a world of Big Brother-like surveillance, societal breakdown and increasingly coarse social norms. The novel features gadgets that allow people to rate one another numerically on their sexual attractiveness. Not implausible: A start-up company recently announced its plan to market an app that would allow users to rate everyone on a 1-to-5 scale, without their consent. (After furious protest from around the Internet, the backers modified their plan to include only positive reviews.)
Dave Eggers's novel ''The Circle'' tells of a rising star at a Google-like company. She excels by answering thousands of e-mails a day, working at a frenetic pace. She lives with a camera around her neck that streams everything she sees onto the Internet. This does not go well for her.
And there's a new voice among the dissenters: Pope Francis. The pontiff's recent encyclical ''On Care for Our Common Home'' contemplates the mixed blessings of technology. After acknowledging the marvels of modern technology (''Who can deny the beauty of an aircraft or a skyscraper?''), Francis sketched the dangers, writing that technological development hasn't been matched by development in human values and conscience.
''The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings,'' he wrote.
The pontiff is saying, with his special authority, what many others are saying these days: Machines are not an end unto themselves. Remember the humans.
Becoming a dissenter
The dean of the digital dissenters is Jaron Lanier. He's a musician, composer, performer and pioneer of virtual-reality headsets that allow the user to experience computer-generated 3D environments. But what he's most famous for is his criticism of the computer culture he helped create.
He believes that Silicon Valley treats humans like electrical relays in a vast machine. Although he still works in technology, he largely has turned against his tribe.
''I'm the first guy to sober up after a heavy-duty party'' is how he describes himself.
He can typically be found at home in California's Berkeley Hills, swiveling in a chair in front of a computer screen and a musical synthesizer. Directly behind him is a vintage Wurlitzer golden harp. Lutes and violins hang from the ceiling. This is his home office and man cave.
Lanier, 55, is a man of considerable girth and extraordinary hair. He has dreadlocks to his waist. He hasn't cut his hair for at least 30 years and says he wouldn't know how to go about it. When a visitor suggests that he could see a barber, he replies, in his usual high-pitched, singsong voice, ''I don't know that term. Is that a new start-up?''
Lanier's humanistic take on technology may trace back to his tragic childhood: He was 9 when his mother was killed in a car accident in El Paso. He later learned that the accident may have been caused by an engineering flaw in the car.
''It definitely influenced my thinking about the proper relationship of people and machines,'' he said.
By age 14, he was taking college classes at New Mexico State University. He never graduated from college, which didn't matter when he wound up in Silicon Valley, designing computer games. He eventually started a company that sold virtual-reality headsets, but the company folded. In 2000, he made his first major move as a digital dissenter when he published an essay, ''One Half a Manifesto,'' that began with a bold declaration:
''For the last twenty years, I have found myself on the inside of a revolution, but on the outside of its resplendent dogma. Now that the revolution has not only hit the mainstream, but bludgeoned it into submission by taking over the economy, it's probably time for me to cry out my dissent more loudly than I have before.''
Lanier later wrote two books lamenting the way everyone essentially works for Facebook, Google, etc., by feeding material into those central processors and turning private lives into something corporations can mon­etize. He'd like to see people compensated for their data in the form of micropayments.
Other tech critics have rolled their eyes at that notion, however. Taylor, for example, fears that micropayments would create an incentive for people to post click-bait material. Stupid stunts '-- ''Hold my beer, and watch this'' '-- would be potentially marketable.
Lanier's broadest argument is that technological change involves choices. Bad decisions will lock us into bad systems. We collectively decided, for example, to trade our privacy for free Internet service.
''It's a choice. It's not inevitable,'' he says.
Lanier told his 8-year-old daughter recently: ''In our society there are two paths to success: One is to be good at computers and the other is to be a sociopath.''
She's a smart girl and knows what ''sociopath'' means, he said. And he understands the nature of this world that he has helped invent. That's why this summer he sent his daughter to a software programming camp.
No coherent movement
Much of today's tech environment emerged from the counterculture '-- the hackers and hippies of the 1960s and '70s who viewed the personal computer as a tool of liberation. But the political left now has a more complicated, jaundiced relationship with the digital world.
The same technologies that empower individuals and enable protesters to organize also make it possible for governments to spy on their citizens. What used to be a phone now looks to many people like a tracking device.
Then there's the question of who's making money. Progressives are appalled by the mind-boggling profits of the big tech companies. The left also takes note of the gender and racial disparities in the tech companies, and the rise of a techno-elite.
Most painful for progressives has been the rise of the ''sharing economy,'' which they initially embraced. They feel as though the idea was stolen from them and perverted into something that hurts workers.
They say that companies such as Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabbit and Amazon Mechanical Turk are creating a ''gig economy'' '-- one that, although it offers customers convenience and reasonable prices, is built on freelancers and contractors who lack the income or job protections of salaried employees. (Amazon founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, an investor in Uber and Airbnb, owns The Washington Post.)
''What was billed as 'sharing' was actually 'extraction,' '' said Nathan Schneider, a journalist and co-organizer of the recent New School conference on cooperative platforms. ''It's revealed to be a way of shirking labor laws and extracting resources back to investors and building monopolies.''
He was speaking at a reception at the end of the two-day conference. The event was a huge success, with attentive audiences packing the panel discussions. These people are committed to reinventing the Internet.
''The story of the Internet has been one of disappointment after disappointment,'' Schneider said.
As Schneider spoke, Astra Taylor stood a few feet away, holding court with friends and allies. Taylor is tall, with striking features that give her a commanding presence. She was born to be a tech critic. She wasn't home-schooled, she was ''unschooled.'' Her parents in Athens, Ga., put her in charge of her education. At age 13, she created her own newspaper with an environmentalist bent. She burned with a sense of right and wrong. ''I was a serious child,'' she says, persuasively.
She says she'd like to see more government-supported media platforms '-- think public radio '-- and more robust regulations to keep digital powerhouses from becoming monopolies. Taylor is skeptical of the trope that information wants to be free; actually, she says, information often wants someone to pay for it.
The Internet, she said, is a bit like a friend who needs to be straightened out. She imagines giving the Internet a talking-to: ''You know, Internet, we've known you for a long time and we think you're not living up to your potential. You keep making the same mistakes.''
The final event at the New School conference featured a stemwinder of a talk by someone Taylor considers a mentor: Douglas (''I'm on Team Human!'') Rushkoff.
Rushkoff, whose new book is titled ''Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus,'' provided a primer on the rise of capitalism, central banks and industrial culture. He suggested that civilization started making wrong turns in the Middle Ages. Centralized currency '-- not good. In the early days, every community could have its own coinage. We need to ''rebirth the values of the peer-to-peer bazaar culture.''
Growing louder and more animated as his lecture went on, he talked about the need to ''optimize the economy for humans.''
''Where do humans fit into this new economy?'' he said. ''Really not as creators of value, but as the content. We are the content. We are the data. We are the media. As you use a smartphone, your smartphone gets smarter, but you get dumber.''
Taylor, Rushkoff, Lanier and other tech skeptics do not yet form an organized, coherent movement. They're more like a confederation of gadflies. Even Pope Francis's thoughts on technology were largely lost amid his headline-grabbing views about climate change.
Andrew Keen, author of ''The Internet is Not the Answer,'' sounds a glum note when talking about what the technological resistance might accomplish.
''No one's ever heard of Astra Taylor,'' he said.
He didn't mean that as an insult. He was making a point about the whole crew of dissenters. No one, he said, has ever heard of Andrew Keen, either.
The world is not about to go back to the Stone Age, at least not willingly. One billion people may use Facebook on any given day. Jaron Lanier may not like the way the big companies scrape value from our lives, but people are participating in that system willingly '-- if perhaps not entirely aware of what is happening to their data.
Taylor's smartphone with the cracked screen clearly has been in heavy use. She knows these gadgets are addictive by design '-- ''like Las Vegas slot machines in our pockets.'' But she also has trouble living without one.
''I need to learn to turn it off,'' she said.
Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."
washingtonpost.com: Unabomber Special Report
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 01:09
INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY AND ITS FUTUREIntroduction
1. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in ½advanced½ countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering even in ½advanced½ countries.
2. The industrial-technological system may survive or it may break down. If it survives, it MAY eventually achieve a low level of physical and psychological suffering, but only after passing through a long and very painful period of adjustment and only at the cost of permanently reducing human beings and many other living organisms to engineered products and mere cogs in the social machine. Furthermore, if the system survives, the consequences will be inevitable: There is no way of reforming or modifying the system so as to prevent it from depriving people of dignity and autonomy.
3. If the system breaks down the consequences will still be very painful. But the bigger the system grows the more disastrous the results of its breakdown will be, so if it is to break down it had best break down sooner rather than later.
4. We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system. This revolution may or may not make use of violence; it may be sudden or it may be a relatively gradual process spanning a few decades. We can½t predict any of that. But we do outline in a very general way the measures that those who hate the industrial system should take in order to prepare the way for a revolution against that form of society. This is not to be a POLITICAL revolution. Its object will be to overthrow not governments but the economic and technological basis of the present society.
5. In this article we give attention to only some of the negative developments that have grown out of the industrial-technological system. Other such developments we mention only briefly or ignore altogether. This does not mean that we regard these other developments as unimportant. For practical reasons we have to confine our discussion to areas that have received insufficient public attention or in which we have something new to say. For example, since there are well-developed environmental and wilderness movements, we have written very little about environmental degradation or the destruction of wild nature, even though we consider these to be highly important.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF MODERN LEFTISM
6. Almost everyone will agree that we live in a deeply troubled society. One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is leftism, so a discussion of the psychology of leftism can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of modern society in general.
7. But what is leftism? During the first half of the 20th century leftism could have been practically identified with socialism. Today the movement is fragmented and it is not clear who can properly be called a leftist. When we speak of leftists in this article we have in mind mainly socialists, collectivists, ½politically correct½ types, feminists, gay and disability activists, animal rights activists and the like. But not everyone who is associated with one of these movements is a leftist. What we are trying to get at in discussing leftism is not so much movement or an ideology as a psychological type, or rather a collection of related types. Thus, what we mean by ½leftism½ will emerge more clearly in the course of our discussion of leftist psychology. (Also, see paragraphs 227-230.)
8. Even so, our conception of leftism will remain a good deal less clear than we would wish, but there doesn½t seem to be any remedy for this. All we are trying to do here is indicate in a rough and approximate way the two psychological tendencies that we believe are the main driving force of modern leftism. We by no means claim to be telling the WHOLE truth about leftist psychology. Also, our discussion is meant to apply to modern leftism only. We leave open the question of the extent to which our discussion could be applied to the leftists of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
9. The two psychological tendencies that underlie modern leftism we call ½feelings of inferiority½ and ½oversocialization.½ Feelings of inferiority are characteristic of modern leftism as a whole, while oversocialization is characteristic only of a certain segment of modern leftism; but this segment is highly influential.
FEELINGS OF INFERIORITY
10. By ½feelings of inferiority½ we mean not only inferiority feelings in the strict sense but a whole spectrum of related traits; low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, depressive tendencies, defeatism, guilt, self- hatred, etc. We argue that modern leftists tend to have some such feelings (possibly more or less repressed) and that these feelings are decisive in determining the direction of modern leftism.
11. When someone interprets as derogatory almost anything that is said about him (or about groups with whom he identifies) we conclude that he has inferiority feelings or low self-esteem. This tendency is pronounced among minority rights activists, whether or not they belong to the minority groups whose rights they defend. They are hypersensitive about the words used to designate minorities and about anything that is said concerning minorities. The terms ½negro,½ ½oriental,½ ½handicapped½ or ½chick½ for an African, an Asian, a disabled person or a woman originally had no derogatory connotation. ½Broad½ and ½chick½ were merely the feminine equivalents of ½guy,½ ½dude½ or ½fellow.½ The negative connotations have been attached to these terms by the activists themselves. Some animal rights activists have gone so far as to reject the word ½pet½ and insist on its replacement by ½animal companion.½ Leftish anthropologists go to great lengths to avoid saying anything about primitive peoples that could conceivably be interpreted as negative. They want to replace the world ½primitive½ by ½nonliterate.½ They seem almost paranoid about anything that might suggest that any primitive culture is inferior to our own. (We do not mean to imply that primitive cultures ARE inferior to ours. We merely point out the hypersensitivity of leftish anthropologists.)
12. Those who are most sensitive about ½politically incorrect½ terminology are not the average black ghetto- dweller, Asian immigrant, abused woman or disabled person, but a minority of activists, many of whom do not even belong to any ½oppressed½ group but come from privileged strata of society. Political correctness has its stronghold among university professors, who have secure employment with comfortable salaries, and the majority of whom are heterosexual white males from middle- to upper-middle-class families.
13. Many leftists have an intense identification with the problems of groups that have an image of being weak (women), defeated (American Indians), repellent (homosexuals) or otherwise inferior. The leftists themselves feel that these groups are inferior. They would never admit to themselves that they have such feelings, but it is precisely because they do see these groups as inferior that they identify with their problems. (We do not mean to suggest that women, Indians, etc. ARE inferior; we are only making a point about leftist psychology.)
14. Feminists are desperately anxious to prove that women are as strong and as capable as men. Clearly they are nagged by a fear that women may NOT be as strong and as capable as men.
15. Leftists tend to hate anything that has an image of being strong, good and successful. They hate America, they hate Western civilization, they hate white males, they hate rationality. The reasons that leftists give for hating the West, etc. clearly do not correspond with their real motives. They SAY they hate the West because it is warlike, imperialistic, sexist, ethnocentric and so forth, but where these same faults appear in socialist countries or in primitive cultures, the leftist finds excuses for them, or at best he GRUDGINGLY admits that they exist; whereas he ENTHUSIASTICALLY points out (and often greatly exaggerates) these faults where they appear in Western civilization. Thus it is clear that these faults are not the leftist½s real motive for hating America and the West. He hates America and the West because they are strong and successful.
16. Words like ½self-confidence,½ ½self-reliance,½ ½initiative,½ ½enterprise,½ ½optimism,½ etc., play little role in the liberal and leftist vocabulary. The leftist is anti-individualistic, pro-collectivist. He wants society to solve everyone½s problems for them, satisfy everyone½s needs for them, take care of them. He is not the sort of person who has an inner sense of confidence in his ability to solve his own problems and satisfy his own needs. The leftist is antagonistic to the concept of competition because, deep inside, he feels like a loser.
17. Art forms that appeal to modern leftish intellectuals tend to focus on sordidness, defeat and despair, or else they take an orgiastic tone, throwing off rational control as if there were no hope of accomplishing anything through rational calculation and all that was left was to immerse oneself in the sensations of the moment.
18. Modern leftish philosophers tend to dismiss reason, science, objective reality and to insist that everything is culturally relative. It is true that one can ask serious questions about the foundations of scientific knowledge and about how, if at all, the concept of objective reality can be defined. But it is obvious that modern leftish philosophers are not simply cool-headed logicians systematically analyzing the foundations of knowledge. They are deeply involved emotionally in their attack on truth and reality. They attack these concepts because of their own psychological needs. For one thing, their attack is an outlet for hostility, and, to the extent that it is successful, it satisfies the drive for power. More importantly, the leftist hates science and rationality because they classify certain beliefs as true (i.e., successful, superior) and other beliefs as false (i.e., failed, inferior). The leftist½s feelings of inferiority run so deep that he cannot tolerate any classification of some things as successful or superior and other things as failed or inferior. This also underlies the rejection by many leftists of the concept of mental illness and of the utility of IQ tests. Leftists are antagonistic to genetic explanations of human abilities or behavior because such explanations tend to make some persons appear superior or inferior to others. Leftists prefer to give society the credit or blame for an individual½s ability or lack of it. Thus if a person is ½inferior½ it is not his fault, but society½s, because he has not been brought up properly.
19. The leftist is not typically the kind of person whose feelings of inferiority make him a braggart, an egotist, a bully, a self-promoter, a ruthless competitor. This kind of person has not wholly lost faith in himself. He has a deficit in his sense of power and self-worth, but he can still conceive of himself as having the capacity to be strong, and his efforts to make himself strong produce his unpleasant behavior. [1] But the leftist is too far gone for that. His feelings of inferiority are so ingrained that he cannot conceive of himself as individually strong and valuable. Hence the collectivism of the leftist. He can feel strong only as a member of a large organization or a mass movement with which he identifies himself.
20. Notice the masochistic tendency of leftist tactics. Leftists protest by lying down in front of vehicles, they intentionally provoke police or racists to abuse them, etc. These tactics may often be effective, but many leftists use them not as a means to an end but because they PREFER masochistic tactics. Self-hatred is a leftist trait.
21. Leftists may claim that their activism is motivated by compassion or by moral principles, and moral principle does play a role for the leftist of the oversocialized type. But compassion and moral principle cannot be the main motives for leftist activism. Hostility is too prominent a component of leftist behavior; so is the drive for power. Moreover, much leftist behavior is not rationally calculated to be of benefit to the people whom the leftists claim to be trying to help. For example, if one believes that affirmative action is good for black people, does it make sense to demand affirmative action in hostile or dogmatic terms? Obviously it would be more productive to take a diplomatic and conciliatory approach that would make at least verbal and symbolic concessions to white people who think that affirmative action discriminates against them. But leftist activists do not take such an approach because it would not satisfy their emotional needs. Helping black people is not their real goal. Instead, race problems serve as an excuse for them to express their own hostility and frustrated need for power. In doing so they actually harm black people, because the activists½ hostile attitude toward the white majority tends to intensify race hatred.
22. If our society had no social problems at all, the leftists would have to INVENT problems in order to provide themselves with an excuse for making a fuss.
23. We emphasize that the foregoing does not pretend to be an accurate description of everyone who might be considered a leftist. It is only a rough indication of a general tendency of leftism.
OVERSOCIALIZATION
24. Psychologists use the term ½socialization½ to designate the process by which children are trained to think and act as society demands. A person is said to be well socialized if he believes in and obeys the moral code of his society and fits in well as a functioning part of that society. It may seem senseless to say that many leftists are oversocialized, since the leftist is perceived as a rebel. Nevertheless, the position can be defended. Many leftists are not such rebels as they seem.
25. The moral code of our society is so demanding that no one can think, feel and act in a completely moral way. For example, we are not supposed to hate anyone, yet almost everyone hates somebody at some time or other, whether he admits it to himself or not. Some people are so highly socialized that the attempt to think, feel and act morally imposes a severe burden on them. In order to avoid feelings of guilt, they continually have to deceive themselves about their own motives and find moral explanations for feelings and actions that in reality have a non-moral origin. We use the term ½oversocialized½ to describe such people. [2]
26. Oversocialization can lead to low self-esteem, a sense of powerlessness, defeatism, guilt, etc. One of the most important means by which our society socializes children is by making them feel ashamed of behavior or speech that is contrary to society½s expectations. If this is overdone, or if a particular child is especially susceptible to such feelings, he ends by feeling ashamed of HIMSELF. Moreover the thought and the behavior of the oversocialized person are more restricted by society½s expectations than are those of the lightly socialized person. The majority of people engage in a significant amount of naughty behavior. They lie, they commit petty thefts, they break traffic laws, they goof off at work, they hate someone, they say spiteful things or they use some underhanded trick to get ahead of the other guy. The oversocialized person cannot do these things, or if he does do them he generates in himself a sense of shame and self-hatred. The oversocialized person cannot even experience, without guilt, thoughts or feelings that are contrary to the accepted morality; he cannot think ½unclean½ thoughts. And socialization is not just a matter of morality; we are socialized to conform to many norms of behavior that do not fall under the heading of morality. Thus the oversocialized person is kept on a psychological leash and spends his life running on rails that society has laid down for him. In many oversocialized people this results in a sense of constraint and powerlessness that can be a severe hardship. We suggest that oversocialization is among the more serious cruelties that human beings inflict on one another.
27. We argue that a very important and influential segment of the modern left is oversocialized and that their oversocialization is of great importance in determining the direction of modern leftism. Leftists of the oversocialized type tend to be intellectuals or members of the upper-middle class. Notice that university intellectuals [3] constitute the most highly socialized segment of our society and also the most left-wing segment.
28. The leftist of the oversocialized type tries to get off his psychological leash and assert his autonomy by rebelling. But usually he is not strong enough to rebel against the most basic values of society. Generally speaking, the goals of today½s leftists are NOT in conflict with the accepted morality. On the contrary, the left takes an accepted moral principle, adopts it as its own, and then accuses mainstream society of violating that principle. Examples: racial equality, equality of the sexes, helping poor people, peace as opposed to war, nonviolence generally, freedom of expression, kindness to animals. More fundamentally, the duty of the individual to serve society and the duty of society to take care of the individual. All these have been deeply rooted values of our society (or at least of its middle and upper classes [4] for a long time. These values are explicitly or implicitly expressed or presupposed in most of the material presented to us by the mainstream communications media and the educational system. Leftists, especially those of the oversocialized type, usually do not rebel against these principles but justify their hostility to society by claiming (with some degree of truth) that society is not living up to these principles.
29. Here is an illustration of the way in which the oversocialized leftist shows his real attachment to the conventional attitudes of our society while pretending to be in rebellion against it. Many leftists push for affirmative action, for moving black people into high-prestige jobs, for improved education in black schools and more money for such schools; the way of life of the black ½underclass½ they regard as a social disgrace. They want to integrate the black man into the system, make him a business executive, a lawyer, a scientist just like upper-middle-class white people. The leftists will reply that the last thing they want is to make the black man into a copy of the white man; instead, they want to preserve African American culture. But in what does this preservation of African American culture consist? It can hardly consist in anything more than eating black-style food, listening to black-style music, wearing black-style clothing and going to a black- style church or mosque. In other words, it can express itself only in superficial matters. In all ESSENTIAL respects most leftists of the oversocialized type want to make the black man conform to white, middle-class ideals. They want to make him study technical subjects, become an executive or a scientist, spend his life climbing the status ladder to prove that black people are as good as white. They want to make black fathers ½responsible,½ they want black gangs to become nonviolent, etc. But these are exactly the values of the industrial-technological system. The system couldn½t care less what kind of music a man listens to, what kind of clothes he wears or what religion he believes in as long as he studies in school, holds a respectable job, climbs the status ladder, is a ½responsible½ parent, is nonviolent and so forth. In effect, however much he may deny it, the oversocialized leftist wants to integrate the black man into the system and make him adopt its values.
30. We certainly do not claim that leftists, even of the oversocialized type, NEVER rebel against the fundamental values of our society. Clearly they sometimes do. Some oversocialized leftists have gone so far as to rebel against one of modern society½s most important principles by engaging in physical violence. By their own account, violence is for them a form of ½liberation.½ In other words, by committing violence they break through the psychological restraints that have been trained into them. Because they are oversocialized these restraints have been more confining for them than for others; hence their need to break free of them. But they usually justify their rebellion in terms of mainstream values. If they engage in violence they claim to be fighting against racism or the like.
31. We realize that many objections could be raised to the foregoing thumbnail sketch of leftist psychology. The real situation is complex, and anything like a complete description of it would take several volumes even if the necessary data were available. We claim only to have indicated very roughly the two most important tendencies in the psychology of modern leftism.
32. The problems of the leftist are indicative of the problems of our society as a whole. Low self-esteem, depressive tendencies and defeatism are not restricted to the left. Though they are especially noticeable in the left, they are widespread in our society. And today½s society tries to socialize us to a greater extent than any previous society. We are even told by experts how to eat, how to exercise, how to make love, how to raise our kids and so forth.
THE POWER PROCESS
33. Human beings have a need (probably based in biology) for something that we will call the ½power process.½ This is closely related to the need for power (which is widely recognized) but is not quite the same thing. The power process has four elements. The three most clear-cut of these we call goal, effort and attainment of goal. (Everyone needs to have goals whose attainment requires effort, and needs to succeed in attaining at least some of his goals.) The fourth element is more difficult to define and may not be necessary for everyone. We call it autonomy and will discuss it later (paragraphs 42-44).
34. Consider the hypothetical case of a man who can have anything he wants just by wishing for it. Such a man has power, but he will develop serious psychological problems. At first he will have a lot of fun, but by and by he will become acutely bored and demoralized. Eventually he may become clinically depressed. History shows that leisured aristocracies tend to become decadent. This is not true of fighting aristocracies that have to struggle to maintain their power. But leisured, secure aristocracies that have no need to exert themselves usually become bored, hedonistic and demoralized, even though they have power. This shows that power is not enough. One must have goals toward which to exercise one½s power.
35. Everyone has goals; if nothing else, to obtain the physical necessities of life: food, water and whatever clothing and shelter are made necessary by the climate. But the leisured aristocrat obtains these things without effort. Hence his boredom and demoralization.
36. Nonattainment of important goals results in death if the goals are physical necessities, and in frustration if nonattainment of the goals is compatible with survival. Consistent failure to attain goals throughout life results in defeatism, low self-esteem or depression.
37, Thus, in order to avoid serious psychological problems, a human being needs goals whose attainment requires effort, and he must have a reasonable rate of success in attaining his goals.
SURROGATE ACTIVITIES
38. But not every leisured aristocrat becomes bored and demoralized. For example, the emperor Hirohito, instead of sinking into decadent hedonism, devoted himself to marine biology, a field in which he became distinguished. When people do not have to exert themselves to satisfy their physical needs they often set up artificial goals for themselves. In many cases they then pursue these goals with the same energy and emotional involvement that they otherwise would have put into the search for physical necessities. Thus the aristocrats of the Roman Empire had their literary pretensions; many European aristocrats a few centuries ago invested tremendous time and energy in hunting, though they certainly didn½t need the meat; other aristocracies have competed for status through elaborate displays of wealth; and a few aristocrats, like Hirohito, have turned to science.
39. We use the term ½surrogate activity½ to designate an activity that is directed toward an artificial goal that people set up for themselves merely in order to have some goal to work toward, or let us say, merely for the sake of the ½fulfillment½ that they get from pursuing the goal. Here is a rule of thumb for the identification of surrogate activities. Given a person who devotes much time and energy to the pursuit of goal X, ask yourself this: If he had to devote most of his time and energy to satisfying his biological needs, and if that effort required him to use his physical and mental faculties in a varied and interesting way, would he feel seriously deprived because he did not attain goal X? If the answer is no, then the person½s pursuit of goal X is a surrogate activity. Hirohito½s studies in marine biology clearly constituted a surrogate activity, since it is pretty certain that if Hirohito had had to spend his time working at interesting non-scientific tasks in order to obtain the necessities of life, he would not have felt deprived because he didn½t know all about the anatomy and life-cycles of marine animals. On the other hand the pursuit of sex and love (for example) is not a surrogate activity, because most people, even if their existence were otherwise satisfactory, would feel deprived if they passed their lives without ever having a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. (But pursuit of an excessive amount of sex, more than one really needs, can be a surrogate activity.)
40. In modern industrial society only minimal effort is necessary to satisfy one½s physical needs. It is enough to go through a training program to acquire some petty technical skill, then come to work on time and exert the very modest effort needed to hold a job. The only requirements are a moderate amount of intelligence and, most of all, simple OBEDIENCE. If one has those, society takes care of one from cradle to grave. (Yes, there is an underclass that cannot take the physical necessities for granted, but we are speaking here of mainstream society.) Thus it is not surprising that modern society is full of surrogate activities. These include scientific work, athletic achievement, humanitarian work, artistic and literary creation, climbing the corporate ladder, acquisition of money and material goods far beyond the point at which they cease to give any additional physical satisfaction, and social activism when it addresses issues that are not important for the activist personally, as in the case of white activists who work for the rights of nonwhite minorities. These are not always PURE surrogate activities, since for many people they may be motivated in part by needs other than the need to have some goal to pursue. Scientific work may be motivated in part by a drive for prestige, artistic creation by a need to express feelings, militant social activism by hostility. But for most people who pursue them, these activities are in large part surrogate activities. For example, the majority of scientists will probably agree that the ½fulfillment½ they get from their work is more important than the money and prestige they earn.
41. For many if not most people, surrogate activities are less satisfying than the pursuit of real goals (that is, goals that people would want to attain even if their need for the power process were already fulfilled). One indication of this is the fact that, in many or most cases, people who are deeply involved in surrogate activities are never satisfied, never at rest. Thus the money-maker constantly strives for more and more wealth. The scientist no sooner solves one problem than he moves on to the next. The long-distance runner drives himself to run always farther and faster. Many people who pursue surrogate activities will say that they get far more fulfillment from these activities than they do from the ½mundane½ business of satisfying their biological needs, but that is because in our society the effort needed to satisfy the biological needs has been reduced to triviality. More importantly, in our society people do not satisfy their biological needs AUTONOMOUSLY but by functioning as parts of an immense social machine. In contrast, people generally have a great deal of autonomy in pursuing their surrogate activities.
AUTONOMY
42. Autonomy as a part of the power process may not be necessary for every individual. But most people need a greater or lesser degree of autonomy in working toward their goals. Their efforts must be undertaken on their own initiative and must be under their own direction and control. Yet most people do not have to exert this initiative, direction and control as single individuals. It is usually enough to act as a member of a SMALL group. Thus if half a dozen people discuss a goal among themselves and make a successful joint effort to attain that goal, their need for the power process will be served. But if they work under rigid orders handed down from above that leave them no room for autonomous decision and initiative, then their need for the power process will not be served. The same is true when decisions are made on a collective basis if the group making the collective decision is so large that the role of each individual is insignificant. [5]
43. It is true that some individuals seem to have little need for autonomy. Either their drive for power is weak or they satisfy it by identifying themselves with some powerful organization to which they belong. And then there are unthinking, animal types who seem to be satisfied with a purely physical sense of power (the good combat soldier, who gets his sense of power by developing fighting skills that he is quite content to use in blind obedience to his superiors).
44. But for most people it is through the power process½having a goal, making an AUTONOMOUS effort and attaining the goal½that self-esteem, self-confidence and a sense of power are acquired. When one does not have adequate opportunity to go through the power process the consequences are (depending on the individual and on the way the power process is disrupted) boredom, demoralization, low self-esteem, inferiority feelings, defeatism, depression, anxiety, guilt, frustration, hostility, spouse or child abuse, insatiable hedonism, abnormal sexual behavior, sleep disorders, eating disorders, etc. [6]
SOURCES OF SOCIAL PROBLEMS
45. Any of the foregoing symptoms can occur in any society, but in modern industrial society they are present on a massive scale. We aren½t the first to mention that the world today seems to be going crazy. This sort of thing is not normal for human societies. There is good reason to believe that primitive man suffered from less stress and frustration and was better satisfied with his way of life than modern man is. It is true that not all was sweetness and light in primitive societies. Abuse of women was common among the Australian aborigines, transexuality was fairly common among some of the American Indian tribes. But it does appear that GENERALLY SPEAKING the kinds of problems that we have listed in the preceding paragraph were far less common among primitive peoples than they are in modern society.
46. We attribute the social and psychological problems of modern society to the fact that that society requires people to live under conditions radically different from those under which the human race evolved and to behave in ways that conflict with the patterns of behavior that the human race developed while living under the earlier conditions. It is clear from what we have already written that we consider lack of opportunity to properly experience the power process as the most important of the abnormal conditions to which modern society subjects people. But it is not the only one. Before dealing with disruption of the power process as a source of social problems we will discuss some of the other sources.
47. Among the abnormal conditions present in modern industrial society are excessive density of population, isolation of man from nature, excessive rapidity of social change and the breakdown of natural small-scale communities such as the extended family, the village or the tribe.
48. It is well known that crowding increases stress and aggression. The degree of crowding that exists today and the isolation of man from nature are consequences of technological progress. All pre-industrial societies were predominantly rural. The Industrial Revolution vastly increased the size of cities and the proportion of the population that lives in them, and modern agricultural technology has made it possible for the Earth to support a far denser population than it ever did before. (Also, technology exacerbates the effects of crowding because it puts increased disruptive powers in people½s hands. For example, a variety of noise- making devices: power mowers, radios, motorcycles, etc. If the use of these devices is unrestricted, people who want peace and quiet are frustrated by the noise. If their use is restricted, people who use the devices are frustrated by the regulations. But if these machines had never been invented there would have been no conflict and no frustration generated by them.)
49. For primitive societies the natural world (which usually changes only slowly) provided a stable framework and therefore a sense of security. In the modern world it is human society that dominates nature rather than the other way around, and modern society changes very rapidly owing to technological change. Thus there is no stable framework.
50. The conservatives are fools: They whine about the decay of traditional values, yet they enthusiastically support technological progress and economic growth. Apparently it never occurs to them that you can½t make rapid, drastic changes in the technology and the economy of a society without causing rapid changes in all other aspects of the society as well, and that such rapid changes inevitably break down traditional values.
51. The breakdown of traditional values to some extent implies the breakdown of the bonds that hold together traditional small-scale social groups. The disintegration of small-scale social groups is also promoted by the fact that modern conditions often require or tempt individuals to move to new locations, separating themselves from their communities. Beyond that, a technological society HAS TO weaken family ties and local communities if it is to function efficiently. In modern society an individual½s loyalty must be first to the system and only secondarily to a small-scale community, because if the internal loyalties of small-scale communities were stronger than loyalty to the system, such communities would pursue their own advantage at the expense of the system.
52. Suppose that a public official or a corporation executive appoints his cousin, his friend or his co- religionist to a position rather than appointing the person best qualified for the job. He has permitted personal loyalty to supersede his loyalty to the system, and that is ½nepotism½ or ½discrimination,½ both of which are terrible sins in modern society. Would-be industrial societies that have done a poor job of subordinating personal or local loyalties to loyalty to the system are usually very inefficient. (Look at Latin America.) Thus an advanced industrial society can tolerate only those small-scale communities that are emasculated, tamed and made into tools of the system. [7]
53. Crowding, rapid change and the breakdown of communities have been widely recognized as sources of social problems. But we do not believe they are enough to account for the extent of the problems that are seen today.
54. A few pre-industrial cities were very large and crowded, yet their inhabitants do not seem to have suffered from psychological problems to the same extent as modern man. In America today there still are uncrowded rural areas, and we find there the same problems as in urban areas, though the problems tend to be less acute in the rural areas. Thus crowding does not seem to be the decisive factor.
55. On the growing edge of the American frontier during the 19th century, the mobility of the population probably broke down extended families and small-scale social groups to at least the same extent as these are broken down today. In fact, many nuclear families lived by choice in such isolation, having no neighbors within several miles, that they belonged to no community at all, yet they do not seem to have developed problems as a result.
56. Furthermore, change in American frontier society was very rapid and deep. A man might be born and raised in a log cabin, outside the reach of law and order and fed largely on wild meat; and by the time he arrived at old age he might be working at a regular job and living in an ordered community with effective law enforcement. This was a deeper change than that which typically occurs in the life of a modern individual, yet it does not seem to have led to psychological problems. In fact, 19th century American society had an optimistic and self-confident tone, quite unlike that of today½s society. [8]
57. The difference, we argue, is that modern man has the sense (largely justified) that change is IMPOSED on him, whereas the 19th century frontiersman had the sense (also largely justified) that he created change himself, by his own choice. Thus a pioneer settled on a piece of land of his own choosing and made it into a farm through his own effort. In those days an entire county might have only a couple of hundred inhabitants and was a far more isolated and autonomous entity than a modern county is. Hence the pioneer farmer participated as a member of a relatively small group in the creation of a new, ordered community. One may well question whether the creation of this community was an improvement, but at any rate it satisfied the pioneer½s need for the power process.
58. It would be possible to give other examples of societies in which there has been rapid change and/or lack of close community ties without the kind of massive behavioral aberration that is seen in today½s industrial society. We contend that the most important cause of social and psychological problems in modern society is the fact that people have insufficient opportunity to go through the power process in a normal way. We don½t mean to say that modern society is the only one in which the power process has been disrupted. Probably most if not all civilized societies have interfered with the power process to a greater or lesser extent. But in modern industrial society the problem has become particularly acute. Leftism, at least in its recent (mid- to late-20th century) form, is in part a symptom of deprivation with respect to the power process.
DISRUPTION OF THE POWER PROCESS IN MODERN SOCIETY
59. We divide human drives into three groups: (1) those drives that can be satisfied with minimal effort; (2) those that can be satisfied but only at the cost of serious effort; (3) those that cannot be adequately satisfied no matter how much effort one makes. The power process is the process of satisfying the drives of the second group. The more drives there are in the third group, the more there is frustration, anger, eventually defeatism, depression, etc.
60. In modern industrial society natural human drives tend to be pushed into the first and third groups, and the second group tends to consist increasingly of artificially created drives.
61. In primitive societies, physical necessities generally fall into group 2: They can be obtained, but only at the cost of serious effort. But modern society tends to guaranty the physical necessities to everyone [9] in exchange for only minimal effort, hence physical needs are pushed into group 1. (There may be disagreement about whether the effort needed to hold a job is ½minimal½; but usually, in lower- to middle- level jobs, whatever effort is required is merely that of OBEDIENCE. You sit or stand where you are told to sit or stand and do what you are told to do in the way you are told to do it. Seldom do you have to exert yourself seriously, and in any case you have hardly any autonomy in work, so that the need for the power process is not well served.)
62. Social needs, such as sex, love and status, often remain in group 2 in modern society, depending on the situation of the individual. [10] But, except for people who have a particularly strong drive for status, the effort required to fulfill the social drives is insufficient to satisfy adequately the need for the power process.
63. So certain artificial needs have been created that fall into group 2, hence serve the need for the power process. Advertising and marketing techniques have been developed that make many people feel they need things that their grandparents never desired or even dreamed of. It requires serious effort to earn enough money to satisfy these artificial needs, hence they fall into group 2. (But see paragraphs 80-82.) Modern man must satisfy his need for the power process largely through pursuit of the artificial needs created by the advertising and marketing industry [11], and through surrogate activities.
64. It seems that for many people, maybe the majority, these artificial forms of the power process are insufficient. A theme that appears repeatedly in the writings of the social critics of the second half of the 20th century is the sense of purposelessness that afflicts many people in modern society. (This purposelessness is often called by other names such as ½anomic½ or ½middle-class vacuity.½) We suggest that the so-called ½identity crisis½ is actually a search for a sense of purpose, often for commitment to a suitable surrogate activity. It may be that existentialism is in large part a response to the purposelessness of modern life. [12] Very widespread in modern society is the search for ½fulfillment.½ But we think that for the majority of people an activity whose main goal is fulfillment (that is, a surrogate activity) does not bring completely satisfactory fulfillment. In other words, it does not fully satisfy the need for the power process. (See paragraph 41.) That need can be fully satisfied only through activities that have some external goal, such as physical necessities, sex, love, status, revenge, etc.
65. Moreover, where goals are pursued through earning money, climbing the status ladder or functioning as part of the system in some other way, most people are not in a position to pursue their goals AUTONOMOUSLY. Most workers are someone else½s employee and, as we pointed out in paragraph 61, must spend their days doing what they are told to do in the way they are told to do it. Even people who are in business for themselves have only limited autonomy. It is a chronic complaint of small-business persons and entrepreneurs that their hands are tied by excessive government regulation. Some of these regulations are doubtless unnecessary, but for the most part government regulations are essential and inevitable parts of our extremely complex society. A large portion of small business today operates on the franchise system. It was reported in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago that many of the franchise-granting companies require applicants for franchises to take a personality test that is designed to EXCLUDE those who have creativity and initiative, because such persons are not sufficiently docile to go along obediently with the franchise system. This excludes from small business many of the people who most need autonomy.
66. Today people live more by virtue of what the system does FOR them or TO them than by virtue of what they do for themselves. And what they do for themselves is done more and more along channels laid down by the system. Opportunities tend to be those that the system provides, the opportunities must be exploited in accord with rules and regulations [13], and techniques prescribed by experts must be followed if there is to be a chance of success.
67. Thus the power process is disrupted in our society through a deficiency of real goals and a deficiency of autonomy in the pursuit of goals. But it is also disrupted because of those human drives that fall into group 3: the drives that one cannot adequately satisfy no matter how much effort one makes. One of these drives is the need for security. Our lives depend on decisions made by other people; we have no control over these decisions and usually we do not even know the people who make them. (½We live in a world in which relatively few people½maybe 500 or 1,000½make the important decisions½½Philip B. Heymann of Harvard Law School, quoted by Anthony Lewis, New York Times, April 21, 1995.) Our lives depend on whether safety standards at a nuclear power plant are properly maintained; on how much pesticide is allowed to get into our food or how much pollution into our air; on how skillful (or incompetent) our doctor is; whether we lose or get a job may depend on decisions made by government economists or corporation executives; and so forth. Most individuals are not in a position to secure themselves against these threats to more [than] a very limited extent. The individual½s search for security is therefore frustrated, which leads to a sense of powerlessness.
68. It may be objected that primitive man is physically less secure than modern man, as is shown by his shorter life expectancy; hence modern man suffers from less, not more than the amount of insecurity that is normal for human beings. But psychological security does not closely correspond with physical security. What makes us FEEL secure is not so much objective security as a sense of confidence in our ability to take care of ourselves. Primitive man, threatened by a fierce animal or by hunger, can fight in self-defense or travel in search of food. He has no certainty of success in these efforts, but he is by no means helpless against the things that threaten him. The modern individual on the other hand is threatened by many things against which he is helpless: nuclear accidents, carcinogens in food, environmental pollution, war, increasing taxes, invasion of his privacy by large organizations, nationwide social or economic phenomena that may disrupt his way of life.
69. It is true that primitive man is powerless against some of the things that threaten him; disease for example. But he can accept the risk of disease stoically. It is part of the nature of things, it is no one½s fault, unless it is the fault of some imaginary, impersonal demon. But threats to the modern individual tend to be MAN-MADE. They are not the results of chance but are IMPOSED on him by other persons whose decisions he, as an individual, is unable to influence. Consequently he feels frustrated, humiliated and angry.
70. Thus primitive man for the most part has his security in his own hands (either as an individual or as a member of a SMALL group) whereas the security of modern man is in the hands of persons or organizations that are too remote or too large for him to be able personally to influence them. So modern man½s drive for security tends to fall into groups 1 and 3; in some areas (food, shelter etc.) his security is assured at the cost of only trivial effort, whereas in other areas he CANNOT attain security. (The foregoing greatly simplifies the real situation, but it does indicate in a rough, general way how the condition of modern man differs from that of primitive man.)
71. People have many transitory drives or impulses that are necessarily frustrated in modern life, hence fall into group 3. One may become angry, but modern society cannot permit fighting. In many situations it does not even permit verbal aggression. When going somewhere one may be in a hurry, or one may be in a mood to travel slowly, but one generally has no choice but to move with the flow of traffic and obey the traffic signals. One may want to do one½s work in a different way, but usually one can work only according to the rules laid down by one½s employer. In many other ways as well, modern man is strapped down by a network of rules and regulations (explicit or implicit) that frustrate many of his impulses and thus interfere with the power process. Most of these regulations cannot be dispensed with, because they are necessary for the functioning of industrial society.
72. Modern society is in certain respects extremely permissive. In matters that are irrelevant to the functioning of the system we can generally do what we please. We can believe in any religion we like (as long as it does not encourage behavior that is dangerous to the system). We can go to bed with anyone we like (as long as we practice ½safe sex½). We can do anything we like as long as it is UNIMPORTANT. But in all IMPORTANT matters the system tends increasingly to regulate our behavior.
73. Behavior is regulated not only through explicit rules and not only by the government. Control is often exercised through indirect coercion or through psychological pressure or manipulation, and by organizations other than the government, or by the system as a whole. Most large organizations use some form of propaganda [14] to manipulate public attitudes or behavior. Propaganda is not limited to ½commercials½ and advertisements, and sometimes it is not even consciously intended as propaganda by the people who make it. For instance, the content of entertainment programming is a powerful form of propaganda. An example of indirect coercion: There is no law that says we have to go to work every day and follow our employer½s orders. Legally there is nothing to prevent us from going to live in the wild like primitive people or from going into business for ourselves. But in practice there is very little wild country left, and there is room in the economy for only a limited number of small business owners. Hence most of us can survive only as someone else½s employee.
74. We suggest that modern man½s obsession with longevity, and with maintaining physical vigor and sexual attractiveness to an advanced age, is a symptom of unfulfillment resulting from deprivation with respect to the power process. The ½mid-life crisis½ also is such a symptom. So is the lack of interest in having children that is fairly common in modern society but almost unheard-of in primitive societies.
75. In primitive societies life is a succession of stages. The needs and purposes of one stage having been fulfilled, there is no particular reluctance about passing on to the next stage. A young man goes through the power process by becoming a hunter, hunting not for sport or for fulfillment but to get meat that is necessary for food. (In young women the process is more complex, with greater emphasis on social power; we won½t discuss that here.) This phase having been successfully passed through, the young man has no reluctance about settling down to the responsibilities of raising a family. (In contrast, some modern people indefinitely postpone having children because they are too busy seeking some kind of ½fulfillment.½ We suggest that the fulfillment they need is adequate experience of the power process½with real goals instead of the artificial goals of surrogate activities.) Again, having successfully raised his children, going through the power process by providing them with the physical necessities, the primitive man feels that his work is done and he is prepared to accept old age (if he survives that long) and death. Many modern people, on the other hand, are disturbed by the prospect of physical deterioration and death, as is shown by the amount of effort they expend trying to maintain their physical condition, appearance and health. We argue that this is due to unfulfillment resulting from the fact that they have never put their physical powers to any practical use, have never gone through the power process using their bodies in a serious way. It is not the primitive man, who has used his body daily for practical purposes, who fears the deterioration of age, but the modern man, who has never had a practical use for his body beyond walking from his car to his house. It is the man whose need for the power process has been satisfied during his life who is best prepared to accept the end of that life.
76. In response to the arguments of this section someone will say, ½Society must find a way to give people the opportunity to go through the power process.½ For such people the value of the opportunity is destroyed by the very fact that society gives it to them. What they need is to find or make their own opportunities. As long as the system GIVES them their opportunities it still has them on a leash. To attain autonomy they must get off that leash.
HOW SOME PEOPLE ADJUST
77. Not everyone in industrial-technological society suffers from psychological problems. Some people even profess to be quite satisfied with society as it is. We now discuss some of the reasons why people differ so greatly in their response to modern society.
78. First, there doubtless are differences in the strength of the drive for power. Individuals with a weak drive for power may have relatively little need to go through the power process, or at least relatively little need for autonomy in the power process. These are docile types who would have been happy as plantation darkies in the Old South. (We don½t mean to sneer at the ½plantation darkies½ of the Old South. To their credit, most of the slaves were NOT content with their servitude. We do sneer at people who ARE content with servitude.)
79. Some people may have some exceptional drive, in pursuing which they satisfy their need for the power process. For example, those who have an unusually strong drive for social status may spend their whole lives climbing the status ladder without ever getting bored with that game.
80. People vary in their susceptibility to advertising and marketing techniques. Some are so susceptible that, even if they make a great deal of money, they cannot satisfy their constant craving for the the shiny new toys that the marketing industry dangles before their eyes. So they always feel hard-pressed financially even if their income is large, and their cravings are frustrated.
81. Some people have low susceptibility to advertising and marketing techniques. These are the people who aren½t interested in money. Material acquisition does not serve their need for the power process.
82. People who have medium susceptibility to advertising and marketing techniques are able to earn enough money to satisfy their craving for goods and services, but only at the cost of serious effort (putting in overtime, taking a second job, earning promotions, etc.). Thus material acquisition serves their need for the power process. But it does not necessarily follow that their need is fully satisfied. They may have insufficient autonomy in the power process (their work may consist of following orders) and some of their drives may be frustrated (e.g., security, aggression). (We are guilty of oversimplification in paragraphs 80- 82 because we have assumed that the desire for material acquisition is entirely a creation of the advertising and marketing industry. Of course it½s not that simple. [11]
83. Some people partly satisfy their need for power by identifying themselves with a powerful organization or mass movement. An individual lacking goals or power joins a movement or an organization, adopts its goals as his own, then works toward those goals. When some of the goals are attained, the individual, even though his personal efforts have played only an insignificant part in the attainment of the goals, feels (through his identification with the movement or organization) as if he had gone through the power process. This phenomenon was exploited by the fascists, nazis and communists. Our society uses it too, though less crudely. Example: Manuel Noriega was an irritant to the U.S. (goal: punish Noriega). The U.S. invaded Panama (effort) and punished Noriega (attainment of goal). Thus the U.S. went through the power process and many Americans, because of their identification with the U.S., experienced the power process vicariously. Hence the widespread public approval of the Panama invasion; it gave people a sense of power. [15] We see the same phenomenon in armies, corporations, political parties, humanitarian organizations, religious or ideological movements. In particular, leftist movements tend to attract people who are seeking to satisfy their need for power. But for most people identification with a large organization or a mass movement does not fully satisfy the need for power.
84. Another way in which people satisfy their need for the power process is through surrogate activities. As we explained in paragraphs 38-40, a surrogate activity is an activity that is directed toward an artificial goal that the individual pursues for the sake of the ½fulfillment½ that he gets from pursuing the goal, not because he needs to attain the goal itself. For instance, there is no practical motive for building enormous muscles, hitting a little ball into a hole or acquiring a complete series of postage stamps. Yet many people in our society devote themselves with passion to bodybuilding, golf or stamp-collecting. Some people are more ½other-directed½ than others, and therefore will more readily attach importance to a surrogate activity simply because the people around them treat it as important or because society tells them it is important. That is why some people get very serious about essentially trivial activities such as sports, or bridge, or chess, or arcane scholarly pursuits, whereas others who are more clear-sighted never see these things as anything but the surrogate activities that they are, and consequently never attach enough importance to them to satisfy their need for the power process in that way. It only remains to point out that in many cases a person½s way of earning a living is also a surrogate activity. Not a PURE surrogate activity, since part of the motive for the activity is to gain the physical necessities and (for some people) social status and the luxuries that advertising makes them want. But many people put into their work far more effort than is necessary to earn whatever money and status they require, and this extra effort constitutes a surrogate activity. This extra effort, together with the emotional investment that accompanies it, is one of the most potent forces acting toward the continual development and perfecting of the system, with negative consequences for individual freedom (see paragraph 131). Especially, for the most creative scientists and engineers, work tends to be largely a surrogate activity. This point is so important that it deserves a separate discussion, which we shall give in a moment (paragraphs 87-92).
85. In this section we have explained how many people in modern society do satisfy their need for the power process to a greater or lesser extent. But we think that for the majority of people the need for the power process is not fully satisfied. In the first place, those who have an insatiable drive for status, or who get firmly ½hooked½ on a surrogate activity, or who identify strongly enough with a movement or organization to satisfy their need for power in that way, are exceptional personalities. Others are not fully satisfied with surrogate activities or by identification with an organization (see paragraphs 41, 64). In the second place, too much control is imposed by the system through explicit regulation or through socialization, which results in a deficiency of autonomy, and in frustration due to the impossibility of attaining certain goals and the necessity of restraining too many impulses.
86. But even if most people in industrial-technological society were well satisfied, we (FC) would still be opposed to that form of society, because (among other reasons) we consider it demeaning to fulfill one½s need for the power process through surrogate activities or through identification with an organization, rather than through pursuit of real goals.
THE MOTIVES OF SCIENTISTS
87. Science and technology provide the most important examples of surrogate activities. Some scientists claim that they are motivated by ½curiosity½ or by a desire to ½benefit humanity.½ But it is easy to see that neither of these can be the principal motive of most scientists. As for ½curiosity,½ that notion is simply absurd. Most scientists work on highly specialized problems that are not the object of any normal curiosity. For example, is an astronomer, a mathematician or an entomologist curious about the properties of isopropyltrimethylmethane? Of course not. Only a chemist is curious about such a thing, and he is curious about it only because chemistry is his surrogate activity. Is the chemist curious about the appropriate classification of a new species of beetle? No. That question is of interest only to the entomologist, and he is interested in it only because entomology is his surrogate activity. If the chemist and the entomologist had to exert themselves seriously to obtain the physical necessities, and if that effort exercised their abilities in an interesting way but in some nonscientific pursuit, then they wouldn½t give a damn about isopropyltrimethylmethane or the classification of beetles. Suppose that lack of funds for postgraduate education had led the chemist to become an insurance broker instead of a chemist. In that case he would have been very interested in insurance matters but would have cared nothing about isopropyltrimethylmethane. In any case it is not normal to put into the satisfaction of mere curiosity the amount of time and effort that scientists put into their work. The ½curiosity½ explanation for the scientists½ motive just doesn½t stand up.
88. The ½benefit of humanity½ explanation doesn½t work any better. Some scientific work has no conceivable relation to the welfare of the human race½most of archaeology or comparative linguistics for example. Some other areas of science present obviously dangerous possibilities. Yet scientists in these areas are just as enthusiastic about their work as those who develop vaccines or study air pollution. Consider the case of Dr. Edward Teller, who had an obvious emotional involvement in promoting nuclear power plants. Did this involvement stem from a desire to benefit humanity? If so, then why didn½t Dr. Teller get emotional about other ½humanitarian½ causes? If he was such a humanitarian then why did he help to develop the H- bomb? As with many other scientific achievements, it is very much open to question whether nuclear power plants actually do benefit humanity. Does the cheap electricity outweigh the accumulating waste and the risk of accidents? Dr. Teller saw only one side of the question. Clearly his emotional involvement with nuclear power arose not from a desire to ½benefit humanity½ but from a personal fulfillment he got from his work and from seeing it put to practical use.
89. The same is true of scientists generally. With possible rare exceptions, their motive is neither curiosity nor a desire to benefit humanity but the need to go through the power process: to have a goal (a scientific problem to solve), to make an effort (research) and to attain the goal (solution of the problem.) Science is a surrogate activity because scientists work mainly for the fulfillment they get out of the work itself.
90. Of course, it½s not that simple. Other motives do play a role for many scientists. Money and status for example. Some scientists may be persons of the type who have an insatiable drive for status (see paragraph 79) and this may provide much of the motivation for their work. No doubt the majority of scientists, like the majority of the general population, are more or less susceptible to advertising and marketing techniques and need money to satisfy their craving for goods and services. Thus science is not a PURE surrogate activity. But it is in large part a surrogate activity.
91. Also, science and technology constitute a power mass movement, and many scientists gratify their need for power through identification with this mass movement (see paragraph 83).
92. Thus science marches on blindly, without regard to the real welfare of the human race or to any other standard, obedient only to the psychological needs of the scientists and of the government officials and corporation executives who provide the funds for research.
THE NATURE OF FREEDOM
93. We are going to argue that industrial-technological society cannot be reformed in such a way as to prevent it from progressively narrowing the sphere of human freedom. But, because ½freedom½ is a word that can be interpreted in many ways, we must first make clear what kind of freedom we are concerned with.
94. By ½freedom½ we mean the opportunity to go through the power process, with real goals not the artificial goals of surrogate activities, and without interference, manipulation or supervision from anyone, especially from any large organization. Freedom means being in control (either as an individual or as a member of a SMALL group) of the life-and-death issues of one½s existence; food, clothing, shelter and defense against whatever threats there may be in one½s environment. Freedom means having power; not the power to control other people but the power to control the circumstances of one½s own life. One does not have freedom if anyone else (especially a large organization) has power over one, no matter how benevolently, tolerantly and permissively that power may be exercised. It is important not to confuse freedom with mere permissiveness (see paragraph 72).
95. It is said that we live in a free society because we have a certain number of constitutionally guaranteed rights. But these are not as important as they seem. The degree of personal freedom that exists in a society is determined more by the economic and technological structure of the society than by its laws or its form of government. [16] Most of the Indian nations of New England were monarchies, and many of the cities of the Italian Renaissance were controlled by dictators. But in reading about these societies one gets the impression that they allowed far more personal freedom than our society does. In part this was because they lacked efficient mechanisms for enforcing the ruler½s will: There were no modern, well-organized police forces, no rapid long-distance communications, no surveillance cameras, no dossiers of information about the lives of average citizens. Hence it was relatively easy to evade control.
96. As for our constitutional rights, consider for example that of freedom of the press. We certainly don½t mean to knock that right; it is very important tool for limiting concentration of political power and for keeping those who do have political power in line by publicly exposing any misbehavior on their part. But freedom of the press is of very little use to the average citizen as an individual. The mass media are mostly under the control of large organizations that are integrated into the system. Anyone who has a little money can have something printed, or can distribute it on the Internet or in some such way, but what he has to say will be swamped by the vast volume of material put out by the media, hence it will have no practical effect. To make an impression on society with words is therefore almost impossible for most individuals and small groups. Take us (FC) for example. If we had never done anything violent and had submitted the present writings to a publisher, they probably would not have been accepted. If they had been been accepted and published, they probably would not have attracted many readers, because it½s more fun to watch the entertainment put out by the media than to read a sober essay. Even if these writings had had many readers, most of these readers would soon have forgotten what they had read as their minds were flooded by the mass of material to which the media expose them. In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we½ve had to kill people.
97. Constitutional rights are useful up to a point, but they do not serve to guarantee much more than what might be called the bourgeois conception of freedom. According to the bourgeois conception, a ½free½ man is essentially an element of a social machine and has only a certain set of prescribed and delimited freedoms; freedoms that are designed to serve the needs of the social machine more than those of the individual. Thus the bourgeois½s ½free½ man has economic freedom because that promotes growth and progress; he has freedom of the press because public criticism restrains misbehavior by political leaders; he has a right to a fair trial because imprisonment at the whim of the powerful would be bad for the system. This was clearly the attitude of Simon Bolivar. To him, people deserved liberty only if they used it to promote progress (progress as conceived by the bourgeois). Other bourgeois thinkers have taken a similar view of freedom as a mere means to collective ends. Chester C. Tan, ½Chinese Political Thought in the Twentieth Century,½ page 202, explains the philosophy of the Kuomintang leader Hu Han-min: ½An individual is granted rights because he is a member of society and his community life requires such rights. By community Hu meant the whole society of the nation.½ And on page 259 Tan states that according to Carsum Chang (Chang Chun-mai, head of the State Socialist Party in China) freedom had to be used in the interest of the state and of the people as a whole. But what kind of freedom does one have if one can use it only as someone else prescribes? FC½s conception of freedom is not that of Bolivar, Hu, Chang or other bourgeois theorists. The trouble with such theorists is that they have made the development and application of social theories their surrogate activity. Consequently the theories are designed to serve the needs of the theorists more than the needs of any people who may be unlucky enough to live in a society on which the theories are imposed.
98. One more point to be made in this section: It should not be assumed that a person has enough freedom just because he SAYS he has enough. Freedom is restricted in part by psychological controls of which people are unconscious, and moreover many people½s ideas of what constitutes freedom are governed more by social convention than by their real needs. For example, it½s likely that many leftists of the oversocialized type would say that most people, including themselves, are socialized too little rather than too much, yet the oversocialized leftist pays a heavy psychological price for his high level of socialization.
SOME PRINCIPLES OF HISTORY
99. Think of history as being the sum of two components: an erratic component that consists of unpredictable events that follow no discernible pattern, and a regular component that consists of long-term historical trends. Here we are concerned with the long-term trends.
100. FIRST PRINCIPLE. If a SMALL change is made that affects a long-term historical trend, then the effect of that change will almost always be transitory½the trend will soon revert to its original state. (Example: A reform movement designed to clean up political corruption in a society rarely has more than a short-term effect; sooner or later the reformers relax and corruption creeps back in. The level of political corruption in a given society tends to remain constant, or to change only slowly with the evolution of the society. Normally, a political cleanup will be permanent only if accompanied by widespread social changes; a SMALL change in the society won½t be enough.) If a small change in a long-term historical trend appears to be permanent, it is only because the change acts in the direction in which the trend is already moving, so that the trend is not altered by only pushed a step ahead.
101. The first principle is almost a tautology. If a trend were not stable with respect to small changes, it would wander at random rather than following a definite direction; in other words it would not be a long- term trend at all.
102. SECOND PRINCIPLE. If a change is made that is sufficiently large to alter permanently a long-term historical trend, then it will alter the society as a whole. In other words, a society is a system in which all parts are interrelated, and you can½t permanently change any important part without changing all other parts as well.
103. THIRD PRINCIPLE. If a change is made that is large enough to alter permanently a long-term trend, then the consequences for the society as a whole cannot be predicted in advance. (Unless various other societies have passed through the same change and have all experienced the same consequences, in which case one can predict on empirical grounds that another society that passes through the same change will be like to experience similar consequences.)
104. FOURTH PRINCIPLE. A new kind of society cannot be designed on paper. That is, you cannot plan out a new form of society in advance, then set it up and expect it to function as it was designed to do.
105. The third and fourth principles result from the complexity of human societies. A change in human behavior will affect the economy of a society and its physical environment; the economy will affect the environment and vice versa, and the changes in the economy and the environment will affect human behavior in complex, unpredictable ways; and so forth. The network of causes and effects is far too complex to be untangled and understood.
106. FIFTH PRINCIPLE. People do not consciously and rationally choose the form of their society. Societies develop through processes of social evolution that are not under rational human control.
107. The fifth principle is a consequence of the other four.
108. To illustrate: By the first principle, generally speaking an attempt at social reform either acts in the direction in which the society is developing anyway (so that it merely accelerates a change that would have occurred in any case) or else it has only a transitory effect, so that the society soon slips back into its old groove. To make a lasting change in the direction of development of any important aspect of a society, reform is insufficient and revolution is required. (A revolution does not necessarily involve an armed uprising or the overthrow of a government.) By the second principle, a revolution never changes only one aspect of a society, it changes the whole society; and by the third principle changes occur that were never expected or desired by the revolutionaries. By the fourth principle, when revolutionaries or utopians set up a new kind of society, it never works out as planned.
109. The American Revolution does not provide a counterexample. The American ½Revolution½ was not a revolution in our sense of the word, but a war of independence followed by a rather far-reaching political reform. The Founding Fathers did not change the direction of development of American society, nor did they aspire to do so. They only freed the development of American society from the retarding effect of British rule. Their political reform did not change any basic trend, but only pushed American political culture along its natural direction of development. British society, of which American society was an offshoot, had been moving for a long time in the direction of representative democracy. And prior to the War of Independence the Americans were already practicing a significant degree of representative democracy in the colonial assemblies. The political system established by the Constitution was modeled on the British system and on the colonial assemblies. With major alteration, to be sure½there is no doubt that the Founding Fathers took a very important step. But it was a step along the road that English-speaking world was already traveling. The proof is that Britain and all of its colonies that were populated predominantly by people of British descent ended up with systems of representative democracy essentially similar to that of the United States. If the Founding Fathers had lost their nerve and declined to sign the Declaration of Independence, our way of life today would not have been significantly different. Maybe we would have had somewhat closer ties to Britain, and would have had a Parliament and Prime Minister instead of a Congress and President. No big deal. Thus the American Revolution provides not a counterexample to our principles but a good illustration of them.
110. Still, one has to use common sense in applying the principles. They are expressed in imprecise language that allows latitude for interpretation, and exceptions to them can be found. So we present these principles not as inviolable laws but as rules of thumb, or guides to thinking, that may provide a partial antidote to naive ideas about the future of society. The principles should be borne constantly in mind, and whenever one reaches a conclusion that conflicts with them one should carefully reexamine one½s thinking and retain the conclusion only if one has good, solid reasons for doing so.
EMP's
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
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Dr. Peter Vincent Pry wikipedia - Google Search
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 16:20
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Ottomania
Cyprus settlement could open trade routes for Turkey - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 04:08
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci inspect the honor guard during a visit to North Cyprus, July 20, 2015. (photo by REUTERS/Harun Ukar)
Author: Z¼lfikar Doğan Posted July 24, 2015
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 20 expressed full support for the UN-sponsored peace talks in Cyprus, speaking at a ceremony in the Turkish Cypriot north of the long-divided island to mark the anniversary of Turkey's 1974 intervention.
Summary'Ž Print Should the peace talks in Cyprus result in the island's reunification, the Turkish economy could benefit from Nicosia's close ties in the eastern Mediterranean.Mustafa Akinci, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) since April, met with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades immediately after his election victory. The swift resumption of peace talks between the two sides came as a sign of their desire for a settlement.
Progress in the talks is recorded in the "AA papers," referring to both Akinci and Anastasiades, in which convergences are written down in black ink, while the demands and proposals of the Turkish Cypriot side are put in red and those of the Greek Cypriots in blue. A text fully in black ink means a breakthrough.
The joint declaration, agreed between Anastasiades and Dervis Eroglu, Akinci's predecessor, on Feb. 11, 2014, still constitutes the backbone of the negotiations, which aim to reunite the island in a federation. Akinci said July 21 that the parties had agreed that the eventual federation, to be built on the principle of two equal constituent states, would be called the United Cyprus Federation.
The big economic gap between the north and the south makes the Turkish Cypriots more willing to compromise and settle the conflict. Hence, the TRNC '-- recognized only by Turkey '-- is in a much weaker position vis-a-vis the Greek Cypriot side, which is a European Union member.
The Turkish Cypriot economy relies mainly on tourism and private universities, where more than half of the some 67,000 students are from Turkey. Out of a population of 287,000, 40,000 Turkish Cypriots are public employees on the state payroll. More than 50% of the TRNC's foreign trade is with Turkey.
Ankara has long propped up the TRNC financially through economic and financial aid agreements signed every three years. The funds are used to pay the salaries of Turkish Cypriot public employees and public finance services. Isolated internationally, Turkish Cypriots are able to use communication, transport and postal services only via Turkey.
The TRNC has its own central bank, ministries and parliament but lacks a national currency, using instead the Turkish lira. Should the negotiations succeed and the United Cyprus Federation be established, the Turkish Cypriot economy will undergo a profound transformation, switching from the Turkish lira to the euro, which is already in use in the Greek Cypriot south. This would mark the beginning of an arduous process for the Turkish Cypriot side as all payment and expenditure mechanisms, economic and commercial operations, and financial transactions will have to adapt to the euro and become harmonized with EU legislation and regulations. The use of the euro would erode the Turkish Cypriots' economic bonds to Turkey, while contributing to their economic independence and integration with the EU.
The euro zone, however, remains the subject of a heated debate amid the severe economic crisis plaguing Greece despite a second bailout package. The tough financial conditions imposed on the country to keep it in the euro zone may be soon looming for Greek Cyprus too.
The Greek Cypriot economy, part of the euro zone since 2008, relies heavily on tourism and financial services. Its banking sector, made attractive with tax advantages, has lured notable amounts of foreign capital, mainly from Russia. However, the 2009 global financial crisis and the ensuing turmoil in Greece hit the Greek Cypriot economy hard. The banking system came to the brink of collapse, rescued by a 10-billion-euro ($11 billion) EU-International Monetary Fund bailout package.
Thus, if the island is reunified, the Turkish Cypriot transition to the euro will see the economic maladies of the south and the euro zone spill over to the north. In such an eventuality, the Turkish Cypriot economy, unable to stand on its own feet, would seek help from the European Central Bank rather than Turkey's. The north would become dependent on the south and therefore on the EU, while for Turkey, the settlement of the Cyprus conflict would come as a major economic and political relief.
Under the 2013-15 Economic Cooperation and Financial Assistance Agreement, Turkish aid for the TRNC amounted to 1.7 billion Turkish lira ($621 million) in 2013 and 1.5 billion Turkish lira ($548 million) in 2014. It is expected to be close to 2 billion Turkish lira ($731 million) this year.
In addition, Turkey is spending billions of dollars to resolve the TRNC's water and electricity problems with undersea pipes and cables. A report on the issue by Turkey's National Security Council says the idea for the south to also benefit from these projects could backfire as the Greek Cypriots will likely reject dependence on Turkey.
EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker's meeting with Akinci during a visit to Cyprus on July 16-17 was important in terms of the Turkish Cypriots' relations with the EU and their eventual transition to the euro in the case of a settlement. The Greek Cypriots, who used to protest EU officials' visits to the north, kept silent this time, boosting hopes for a settlement with EU support.
Speaking at a meeting of business people from the two sides on July 8, Akinci stressed that Cyprus' economic prosperity should be increased and shared. In a remarkable message to the Greek Cypriot side, he said, ''Our interlocutors at the negotiating table are not our enemies but the partners with whom we'll be building a common future in the days to come.'' In further remarks earlier this month, he had said the talks had moved to ''the main issues," and that "the price of division is higher than the price of a solution.''
Some observers, however, are pessimistic. Huseyin Bagci, head of the international relations department at Ankara's Middle East Technical University, believes the talks will fail.
''The resumption and continuation of the negotiations is good, but they are unlikely to bear result. Both sides speak positively in public, but their real thoughts are obviously different,'' Bagci told Al-Monitor.
''First of all, the Greek Cypriot side should be willing to share power. Otherwise, the negotiations can drag on for months, with the problems being postponed. What's the objective here? A political solution or conflict prevention? The conflict has been prevented already. If the objective is a political solution, namely a single state, they need to go back to the 1960 agreement,'' Bagci said, referring to a set of accords that marked Cyprus' independence from Britain and introduced a power-sharing constitution, with Turkey, Greece and Britain designated as guarantor states.
In Ankara's eyes, however, an eventual settlement means getting rid of a 41-year-old problem with all its economic and military burden and an opportunity to return to the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey today has its ties severed with Syria, Israel and Egypt, and its commercial routes in the region are blocked. Moreover, Turkey's ill-advised foreign policy has left it sidelined from regional energy cooperation on natural gas reserves, while Egypt, Greek Cyprus and Greece have boosted ties at summits in Cairo and Nicosia.
In the words of Turkish Cypriot journalist Metin Munir, ''Turkey is fed up with the Turkish Cypriots being spoiled.'' Ankara now hopes that Anastasiades, who had backed the failed Annan Plan in 2004, will strike a deal with Akinci before his term ends in 2018, with a settlement plan put to the public in a referendum and adopted in 2016.
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/07/turkey-cyprus-greece-eastern-mediterranean-settlement.html
F-Russia
Pro-IS Social Media Campaign Threatens Attacks on Russia
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 02:49
NOTE: The following materials are for information purposes only and may not be copied, reproduced, or transmitted without the explicit permission of SITE Intelligence Group and specific attribution to SITE Intelligence Group.
DetailsJihadist NewsCreated: 21 December 2015
Following Vladimir Putin's reported statement that Russia would consider nuclear attacks against the Islamic State (IS), IS supporters on social media initiated a threat campaign against the country.
Register to read more ...
CYBER!
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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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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.''
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War on Weed
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)
Out There
Apollo 16 booster impact site finally found.
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 21:04
The remains of the boster that took a trio of humans to the Moon in 1972.Photo by NASA/GSFC/Arizona State University
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, NASA sent a dozen men to the Moon and returned them safely to Earth. Apollo started as a political stunt, a way for America to thumb its nose at the USSR. But along the way, a remarkable thing happened: Science.
Phil Plait writes Slate's Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!
We learned a lot about the Moon during those missions. And the engineers and scientists at NASA figured out clever ways of learning more: Seismographs were placed on the surface by several missions, starting with Apollo 11 (which only provided data for a few weeks; later devices worked for years). Waiting for moonquakes was a pain, though, so they decided to make their own: Starting with Apollo 13, the upper stage of the Saturn rocket that brought them to the Moon was purposely steered toward the surface. When it impacted, it created a series of seismic waves that could be measured.
Fast forward to 2015. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been mapping the Moon's surface in detail for years, and over time has found all the impact sites for those boosters, except one: that of Apollo 16. The S-IVB boosters were equipped with radio devices, so they could be tracked to the surface. The impact locations for the others were well known, and relatively easily found in LRO images. But the Apollo 16 transmitter failed, so the location of the impact site was only poorly known'...
Until now. The impact crater of the Apollo 16 S-IVB has finally been located! It was about 30 km off from tracking estimates. That may not seem like much, but the LRO images map the Moon in strips 25 or 50 km wide, and those images have half a billion pixels in them. Worse, the Moon is saturated in craters the size of the booster impacts, making this like looking for a particular grain of sand on a huge beach.
But the good folks working with LRO found it. The impact site is in the western half of the Moon in a region called Mare Insularum, just to the southwest of the bright crater Copernicus.
The approximate location of the S-IVB booster impact on the Moon, southwest of the crater Copernicus.Visualization by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
The photo at the top of this article shows the impact crater. It looks different than those around it; the other craters are softer looking, with less distinct features. That's a clear sign of age, perhaps billions of years; micrometeorite impacts and the solar wind take their toll over the eons.
The impact site also has obvious rays: Streamers of excavated material shot out as plumes, which then fall as linear features pointing away from the center of the crater. Those same erosive events fade the rays over time, so we know this is a very fresh feature. And the size, about 40 x 30 meters (roughly a quarter the area of an American football field), is just what you'd expect from a high-speed impact from the Saturn V booster.
Very cool. And this is more than just idle curiosity: The exact location of the booster impact will help refine the models of the Moon's interior made using those seismographs. The devices used timing differences to figure out how the seismic waves traveled through the Moon, so knowing the exact location of the sources of the waves is very helpful. The shape and depth of the crater also help scientists understand the nature of impacts on the Moon, too.
We spend a lot of time, effort, and money on Apollo, and here we are, 43 years later, still learning from it. I expect that will be true for many, many decades to come, too.
Agenda 2030
Miami is Flooding - The New Yorker
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 04:19
In the Miami area, the daily high-water mark has been rising almost an inch a year.Credit Illustration by Jacob EscobedoThe city of Miami Beach floods on such a predictable basis that if, out of curiosity or sheer perversity, a person wants to she can plan a visit to coincide with an inundation. Knowing the tides would be high around the time of the ''super blood moon,'' in late September, I arranged to meet up with Hal Wanless, the chairman of the University of Miami's geological-sciences department. Wanless, who is seventy-three, has spent nearly half a century studying how South Florida came into being. From this, he's concluded that much of the region may have less than half a century more to go.
We had breakfast at a greasy spoon not far from Wanless's office, then set off across the MacArthur Causeway. (Out-of-towners often assume that Miami Beach is part of Miami, but it's situated on a separate island, a few miles off the coast.) It was a hot, breathless day, with a brilliant blue sky. Wanless turned onto a side street, and soon we were confronting a pond-sized puddle. Water gushed down the road and into an underground garage. We stopped in front of a four-story apartment building, which was surrounded by a groomed lawn. Water seemed to be bubbling out of the turf. Wanless took off his shoes and socks and pulled on a pair of polypropylene booties. As he stepped out of the car, a woman rushed over. She asked if he worked for the city. He said he did not, an answer that seemed to disappoint but not deter her. She gestured at a palm tree that was sticking out of the drowned grass.
''Look at our yard, at the landscaping,'' she said. ''That palm tree was super-expensive.'' She went on, ''It's crazy'--this is saltwater.''
''Welcome to rising sea levels,'' Wanless told her.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sea levels could rise by more than three feet by the end of this century. The United States Army Corps of Engineers projects that they could rise by as much as five feet; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts up to six and a half feet. According to Wanless, all these projections are probably low. In his office, Wanless keeps a jar of meltwater he collected from the Greenland ice sheet. He likes to point out that there is plenty more where that came from.
''Many geologists, we're looking at the possibility of a ten-to-thirty-foot range by the end of the century,'' he told me.
We got back into the car. Driving with one hand, Wanless shot pictures out the window with the other. ''Look at that,'' he said. ''Oh, my gosh!'' We'd come to a neighborhood of multimillion-dollar homes where the water was creeping under the security gates and up the driveways. Porsches and Mercedeses sat flooded up to their chassis.
''This is today, you know,'' Wanless said. ''This isn't with two feet of sea-level rise.'' He wanted to get better photos, and pulled over onto another side street. He handed me the camera so that I could take a picture of him standing in the middle of the submerged road. Wanless stretched out his arms, like a magician who'd just conjured a rabbit. Some workmen came bouncing along in the back of a pickup. Every few feet, they stuck a depth gauge into the water. A truck from the Miami Beach Public Works Department pulled up. The driver asked if we had called City Hall. Apparently, one of the residents of the street had mistaken the high tide for a water-main break. As we were chatting with him, an elderly woman leaning on a walker rounded the corner. She looked at the lake the street had become and wailed, ''What am I supposed to do?'' The men in the pickup truck agreed to take her home. They folded up her walker and hoisted her into the cab.
To cope with its recurrent flooding, Miami Beach has already spent something like a hundred million dollars. It is planning on spending several hundred million more. Such efforts are, in Wanless's view, so much money down the drain. Sooner or later'--and probably sooner'--the city will have too much water to deal with. Even before that happens, Wanless believes, insurers will stop selling policies on the luxury condos that line Biscayne Bay. Banks will stop writing mortgages.
''If we don't plan for this,'' he told me, once we were in the car again, driving toward the Fontainebleau hotel, ''these are the new Okies.'' I tried to imagine Ma and Pa Joad heading north, their golf bags and espresso machine strapped to the Range Rover.
The amount of water on the planet is fixed (and has been for billions of years). Its distribution, however, is subject to all sorts of rearrangements. In the coldest part of the last ice age, about twenty thousand years ago, so much water was tied up in ice sheets that sea levels were almost four hundred feet lower than they are today. At that point, Miami Beach, instead of being an island, was fifteen miles from the Atlantic Coast. Sarasota was a hundred miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico, and the outline of the Sunshine State looked less like a skinny finger than like a plump heel.
As the ice age ended and the planet warmed, the world's coastlines assumed their present configuration. There's a good deal of evidence'--much of it now submerged'--that this process did not take place slowly and steadily but, rather, in fits and starts. Beginning around 12,500 B.C., during an event known as meltwater pulse 1A, sea levels rose by roughly fifty feet in three or four centuries, a rate of more than a foot per decade. Meltwater pulse 1A, along with pulses 1B, 1C, and 1D, was, most probably, the result of ice-sheet collapse. One after another, the enormous glaciers disintegrated and dumped their contents into the oceans. It's been speculated'--though the evidence is sketchy'--that a sudden flooding of the Black Sea toward the end of meltwater pulse 1C, around seventy-five hundred years ago, inspired the deluge story in Genesis.
As temperatures climb again, so, too, will sea levels. One reason for this is that water, as it heats up, expands. The process of thermal expansion follows well-known physical laws, and its impact is relatively easy to calculate. It is more difficult to predict how the earth's remaining ice sheets will behave, and this difficulty accounts for the wide range in projections.
Low-end forecasts, like the I.P.C.C.'s, assume that the contribution from the ice sheets will remain relatively stable through the end of the century. High-end projections, like NOAA's, assume that ice-melt will accelerate as the earth warms (as, under any remotely plausible scenario, the planet will continue to do at least through the end of this century, and probably beyond). Recent observations, meanwhile, tend to support the most worrisome scenarios.
The latest data from the Arctic, gathered by a pair of exquisitely sensitive satellites, show that in the past decade Greenland has been losing more ice each year. In August, NASA announced that, to supplement the satellites, it was launching a new monitoring program called'--provocatively'--Oceans Melting Greenland, or O.M.G. In November, researchers reported that, owing to the loss of an ice shelf off northeastern Greenland, a new ''floodgate'' on the ice sheet had opened. All told, Greenland's ice holds enough water to raise global sea levels by twenty feet.
At the opposite end of the earth, two groups of researchers'--one from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and the other from the University of Washington'--concluded last year that a segment of the West Antarctic ice sheet has gone into ''irreversible decline.'' The segment, known as the Amundsen Sea sector, contains enough water to raise global sea levels by four feet, and its melting could destabilize other parts of the ice sheet, which hold enough ice to add ten more feet. While the ''decline'' could take centuries, it's also possible that it could be accomplished a lot sooner. NASA is already planning for the day when parts of the Kennedy Space Center, on Florida's Cape Canaveral, will be underwater.
''Cherish this moment, because clearly our parents are getting a divorce.''Buy the print >>The day I toured Miami Beach with Hal Wanless, I also attended a panel discussion at the city's Convention Center titled ''Eyes on the Rise.'' The discussion was hosted by the French government, as part of the lead-up to the climate convention in Paris, at that point two months away. Among the members of the panel was a French scientist named Eric Rignot, a professor at the University of California, Irvine. Rignot is one of the researchers on O.M.G., and in a conference call with reporters during the summer he said he was ''in awe'' of how fast the Greenland ice sheet was changing. I ran into him just as he was about to go onstage.
''I'm going to scare people out of this room,'' he told me. His fellow-panelists were a French geophysicist, a climate scientist from the University of Miami, and Miami Beach's mayor, Philip Levine. Levine was elected in 2013, after airing a commercial that tapped into voters' frustration with the continual flooding. It showed him preparing to paddle home from work in a kayak.
''Some people get swept into office,'' Levine joked when it was his turn at the mike. ''I always say I got floated in.'' He described the steps his administration was taking to combat the effects of rising seas. These include installing enormous underground pumps that will suck water off the streets and dump it into Biscayne Bay. Six pumps have been completed, and fifty-four more are planned. ''We had to raise people's storm-water fees to be able to pay for the first hundred-million-dollar tranche,'' Levine said. ''So picture this: you get elected to office and the first thing you tell people is 'By the way, I'm going to raise your rates.' ''
He went on, ''When you are doing this, there's no textbooks, there's no 'How to Protect Your City from Sea Level Rise,' go to Chapter 4.'' So the city would have to write its own. ''We have a team that's going to get it done, that's going to protect this city,'' the Mayor said. ''We can't let investor confidence, resident confidence, confidence in our economy start to fall away.''
John Morales, the chief meteorologist at NBC's South Florida affiliate, was moderating the discussion. He challenged the Mayor, offering a version of the argument I'd heard from Wanless'--that today's pumps will be submerged by the seas of tomorrow.
''Down the road, this is just a Band-Aid,'' Morales said.
''I believe in human innovation,'' Levine responded. ''If, thirty or forty years ago, I'd told you that you were going to be able to communicate with your friends around the world by looking at your watch or with an iPad or an iPhone, you would think I was out of my mind.'' Thirty or forty years from now, he said, ''We're going to have innovative solutions to fight back against sea-level rise that we cannot even imagine today.''
Many of the world's largest cities sit along a coast, and all of them are, to one degree or another, threatened by rising seas. Entire countries are endangered'--the Maldives, for instance, and the Marshall Islands. Globally, it's estimated that a hundred million people live within three feet of mean high tide and another hundred million or so live within six feet of it. Hundreds of millions more live in areas likely to be affected by increasingly destructive storm surges.
Against this backdrop, South Florida still stands out. The region has been called ''ground zero when it comes to sea-level rise.'' It has also been described as ''the poster child for the impacts of climate change,'' the ''epicenter for studying the effects of sea-level rise,'' a ''disaster scenario,'' and ''the New Atlantis.'' Of all the world's cities, Miami ranks second in terms of assets vulnerable to rising seas'--No. 1 is Guangzhou'--and in terms of population it ranks fourth, after Guangzhou, Mumbai, and Shanghai. A recent report on storm surges in the United States listed four Florida cities among the eight most at risk. (On that list, Tampa came in at No. 1.) For the past several years, the daily high-water mark in the Miami area has been racing up at the rate of almost an inch a year, nearly ten times the rate of average global sea-level rise. It's unclear exactly why this is happening, but it's been speculated that it has to do with changes in ocean currents which are causing water to pile up along the coast. Talking about climate change in the Everglades this past Earth Day, President Obama said, ''Nowhere is it going to have a bigger impact than here in South Florida.''
The region's troubles start with its topography. Driving across South Florida is like driving across central Kansas, except that South Florida is greener and a whole lot lower. In Miami-Dade County, the average elevation is just six feet above sea level. The county's highest point, aside from man-made structures, is only about twenty-five feet, and no one seems entirely sure where it is. (The humorist Dave Barry once set out to climb Miami-Dade's tallest mountain, and ended up atop a local garbage dump nicknamed Mt. Trashmore.) Broward County, which includes Fort Lauderdale, is equally flat and low, and Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, is even more so.
But South Florida's problems also run deeper. The whole region'--indeed, most of the state'--consists of limestone that was laid down over the millions of years Florida sat at the bottom of a shallow sea. The limestone is filled with holes, and the holes are, for the most part, filled with water. (Near the surface, this is generally freshwater, which has a lower density than saltwater.)
Until the eighteen-eighties, when the first channels were cut through the region by steam-powered dredges, South Florida was one continuous wetland'--the Everglades. Early efforts to drain the area were only half successful; Northerners lured by turn-of-the-century real-estate scams found the supposedly rich farmland they'd purchased was more suitable for swimming.
''I have bought land by the acre, and I have bought land by the foot; but, by God, I have never before bought land by the gallon,'' one arrival from Iowa complained.
Even today, with the Everglades reduced to half its former size, water in the region is constantly being shunted around. The South Florida Water Management District, a state agency, claims that it operates the ''world's largest water control system,'' which includes twenty-three hundred miles of canals, sixty-one pump stations, and more than two thousand ''water control structures.'' Floridians south of Orlando depend on this system to prevent their lawns from drowning and their front steps from becoming docks. (Basement flooding isn't an issue in South Florida, because no one has a basement'--the water table is too high.)
When the system was designed'--redesigned, really'--in the nineteen-fifties, the water level in the canals could be maintained at least a foot and a half higher than the level of high tide. Thanks to this difference in elevation, water flowed off the land toward the sea. At the same time, there was enough freshwater pushing out to prevent saltwater from pressing in. Owing in part to sea-level rise, the gap has since been cut by about eight inches, and the region faces the discomfiting prospect that, during storms, it will be inundated not just along the coasts but also inland, by rainwater that has nowhere to go. Researchers at Florida Atlantic University have found that with just six more inches of sea-level rise the district will lose almost half its flood-control capacity. Meanwhile, what's known as the saltwater front is advancing. One city'--Hallandale Beach, just north of Miami'--has already had to close most of its drinking wells, because the water is too salty. Many other cities are worried that they will have to do the same.
Jayantha Obeysekera is the Water Management District's chief modeller, which means it's his job to foresee South Florida's future. One morning, I caught up with him at a flood-control structure known as S13, which sits on a canal known as C11, west of Fort Lauderdale.
''We have a triple whammy,'' he said. ''One whammy is sea-level rise. Another whammy is the water table comes up higher, too. And in this area the higher the water table, the less space you have to absorb storm water. The third whammy is if the rainfall extremes change, and become more extreme. There are other whammies probably that I haven't mentioned. Someone said the other day, 'The water comes from six sides in Florida.' ''
A month after the super blood moon, South Florida experienced another series of very high tides'--''king tides,'' as Miamians call them. This time, I went out to see the effects with Nicole Hernandez Hammer, an environmental-studies researcher who works for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Hammer had looked over elevation maps and decided that Shorecrest, about five miles north of downtown Miami, was a neighborhood where we were likely to find flooding. It was another hot, blue morning, and as we drove along, in Hammer's Honda, at first it seemed that she'd miscalculated. Then, all of a sudden, we arrived at a major intersection that was submerged. We parked and made our way onto a side street, also submerged. We were standing in front of a low-slung apartment building, debating what to do next, when one of the residents came by.
''Every day I live in fear that our jobs will be replaced by pillows.''Buy the print >>''I've been trying to figure out: Where is the water coming from?'' he said. ''It'll be drying up and then it'll be just like this again.'' He had complained to the building's superintendent. ''I told him, 'Something needs to be done about this water, man.' He says he'll try to do something.'' A cable-repair truck trailing a large wake rolled by and then stalled out.
The water on the street was so deep that it was, indeed, hard to tell where it was coming from. Hammer explained that it was emerging from the storm drains. Instead of funnelling rainwater into the bay, as they were designed to do, the drains were directing water from the bay onto the streets. ''The infrastructure we have is built for a world that doesn't exist anymore,'' she said.
Neither of us was wearing boots, a fact that, as we picked our way along, we agreed we regretted. I couldn't help recalling stories I'd heard about Miami's antiquated sewer system, which leaks so much raw waste that it's the subject of frequent lawsuits. (To settle a suit brought by the federal government, the county recently agreed to spend $1.6 billion to upgrade the system, though many question whether the planned repairs adequately account for sea-level rise.) Across the soaked intersection, in front of a single-family home, a middle-aged man was unloading groceries from his car. He, too, told us he didn't know where the water was coming from.
''I heard on the news it's because the moon turned red,'' he said. ''I don't have that much detail about it.'' During the past month, he added, ''it's happened very often.'' (In an ominous development, Miami this past fall experienced several very high tides at times of the month when, astronomically speaking, it shouldn't have.)
''Honestly, sometimes, when I'm talking to people, I think, Oh, I wish I had taken more psychology courses,'' Hammer told me. A lot of her job involves visiting low-lying neighborhoods like Shorecrest, helping people understand what they're seeing. She shows them elevation maps and climate-change projections, and explains that the situation is only going to get worse. Often, Hammer said, she feels like a doctor: ''You hear that they're trying to teach these skills in medical schools, to encourage them to have a better bedside manner. I think I might try to get that kind of training, because it's really hard to break bad news.''
It was garbage-collection day, and in front of one house county-issued trash bins bobbed in a stretch of water streaked with oil. Two young women were surveying the scene from the driveway, as if from a pier.
''It's horrible,'' one of them said to us. ''Sometimes the water actually smells.'' They were sisters, originally from Colombia. They wanted to sell the house, but, as the other sister observed, ''No one's going to want to buy it like this.''
''I have called the city of Miami,'' the first sister said. ''And they said it's just the moon. But I don't think it's the moon anymore.''
After a couple of minutes, their mother came out. Hammer, who was born in Guatemala, began chatting with her in Spanish. ''Oh,'' I heard the mother exclaim. ''Dios m­o!El cambio climtico! ''
Marco Rubio, Florida's junior senator, who has been running third in Republican primary polls, grew up not far from Shorecrest, in West Miami, which sounds like it's a neighborhood but is actually its own city. For several years, he served in Florida's House of Representatives, and his district included Miami's flood-vulnerable airport. Appearing this past spring on ''Face the Nation,'' Rubio was asked to explain a statement he had made about climate change. He offered the following: ''What I said is, humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe, for the following reason: I believe that climate is changing because there's never been a moment where the climate is not changing.''
Around the same time, it was revealed that aides to Florida's governor, Rick Scott, also a Republican, had instructed state workers not to discuss climate change, or even to use the term. The Scott administration, according to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, also tried to ban talk of sea-level rise; state employees were supposed to speak, instead, of ''nuisance flooding.'' Scott denied having imposed any such Orwellian restrictions, but I met several people who told me they'd bumped up against them. One was Hammer, who, a few years ago, worked on a report to the state about threats to Florida's transportation system. She said that she was instructed to remove all climate-change references from it. ''In some places, it was impossible,'' she recalled. ''Like when we talked about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has 'climate change' in the title.''
Scientists who study climate change (and the reporters who cover them) often speculate about when the partisan debate on the issue will end. If Florida is a guide, the answer seems to be never. During September's series of king tides, former Vice-President Al Gore spent a morning sloshing through the flooded streets of Miami Beach with Mayor Levine, a Democrat. I met up with Gore the following day, and he told me that the boots he'd worn had turned out to be too low; the water had poured in over the top.
''When the governor of the state is a full-out climate denier, the irony is just excruciatingly painful,'' Gore observed. He said that he thought Florida ought to ''join with the Maldives and some of the small island states that are urging the world to adopt stronger restrictions on global-warming pollution.''
Instead, the state is doing the opposite. In October, Florida filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to block new rules aimed at limiting warming by reducing power-plant emissions. (Two dozen states are participating in the lawsuit.)
''The level of disconnect from reality is pretty profound,'' Jeff Goodell, a journalist who's working on a book on the impacts of sea-level rise, told me. ''We're sort of used to that in the climate world. But in Florida there are real consequences. The water is rising right now.''
Meanwhile, people continue to flock to South Florida. Miami's metropolitan area, which includes Fort Lauderdale, has been one of the fastest growing in the country; from 2013 to 2014, in absolute terms it added more residents than San Francisco and, proportionally speaking, it outdid Los Angeles and New York. Currently, in downtown Miami there are more than twenty-five thousand new condominium units either proposed or under construction. Much of the boom is being financed by ''flight capital'' from countries like Argentina and Venezuela; something like half of recent home sales in Miami were paid for in cash.
And just about everyone who can afford to buys near the water. Not long ago, Kenneth Griffin, a hedge-fund billionaire, bought a penthouse in Miami Beach for sixty million dollars, the highest amount ever paid for a single-family residence in Miami-Dade County (and ten million dollars more than the original asking price). The penthouse, in a new building called Faena House, offers eight bedrooms and a seventy-foot rooftop pool. When I read about the sale, I plugged the building's address into a handy program called the Sea Level Rise Toolbox, created by students and professors at Florida International University. According to the program, with a little more than one foot of rise the roads around the building will frequently flood. With two feet, most of the streets will be underwater, and with three it seems that, if Faena House is still habitable, it will be accessible only by boat.
I asked everyone I met in South Florida who seemed at all concerned about sea-level rise the same question: What could be done? More than a quarter of the Netherlands is below sea level and those areas are home to millions of people, so low-elevation living is certainly possible. But the geology of South Florida is peculiarly intractable. Building a dike on porous limestone is like putting a fence on top of a tunnel: it alters the route of travel, but not necessarily the amount.
''You can't build levees on the coast and stop the water'' is the way Jayantha Obeysekera put it. ''The water would just come underground.''
Some people told me that they thought the only realistic response for South Florida was retreat.
''I live opposite a park,'' Philip Stoddard, the mayor of South Miami'--also a city in its own right'--told me. ''And there's a low area in it that fills up when it rains. I was out there this morning walking my dog, and I saw fish in it. Where the heck did the fish come from? They came from underground. We have fish that travel underground!
''What that means is, there's no keeping the water out,'' he went on. ''So ultimately this area has to depopulate. What I want to work toward is a slow and graceful depopulation, rather than a sudden and catastrophic one.''
''You the guy who donated his body to science?''Buy the print >>More often, I heard echoes of Mayor Levine's Apple Watch line. Who knows what amazing breakthroughs the future will bring?
''I think people are underestimating the incredible innovative imagination in the world of adaptive design,'' Harvey Ruvin, the Clerk of the Courts of Miami-Dade County and the chairman of the county's Sea Level Rise Task Force, said when I went to visit him in his office. A quote from Buckminster Fuller hung on the wall: ''We are all passengers on Spaceship Earth.'' Ruvin became friendly with Fuller in the nineteen-sixties, after reading about a plan Fuller had drawn up for a floating city in Tokyo Bay.
''I would agree that things can't continue exactly the way they are today,'' Ruvin told me. ''But what we will evolve to may be better.''
''I keep telling people, 'This is my patient,' '' Bruce Mowry, Miami Beach's city engineer, was saying. ''I can't lose my patient. If I don't do anything, Miami Beach may not be here.'' It was yet another day of bright-blue skies and ''nuisance flooding,'' and I was walking with Mowry through one of Miami Beach's lowest neighborhoods, Sunset Harbour.
If Miami Beach is on a gurney, then Mowry might be said to be thumping its chest. It's his job to keep the city viable, and since no one has yet come up with a smart-watch-like breakthrough, he's been forced to rely on more primitive means, like pumps and asphalt. We rounded a corner and came to a set of stairs, which led down to some restaurants and shops. Until recently, Mowry explained, the shops and the street had been at the same level. But the street had recently been raised. It was now almost a yard higher than the sidewalk.
''I call this my five-step program,'' he said. ''What are the five steps?'' He counted off the stairs as we descended: ''One, two, three, four, five.'' Some restaurants had set up tables at the bottom, next to what used to be a curb but now, with the elevation of the road, is a three-foot wall. Cars whizzed by at the diners' eye level. I found the arrangement disconcerting, as if I'd suddenly shrunk. Mowry told me that some of the business owners, who had been unhappy when the street flooded, now were unhappy because they had no direct access to the road: ''It's, like, can you win?''
Several nearby streets had also been raised, by about a foot. The elevated roadbeds were higher than the driveways, which now all sloped down. The parking lot of a car-rental agency sat in a kind of hollow.
I asked about the limestone problem. ''That is the one that scares us more than anything,'' Mowry said. ''New Orleans, the Netherlands'--everybody understands putting in barriers, perimeter levees, pumps. Very few people understand: What do you do when the water's coming up through the ground?
''What I'd really like to do is pick the whole city up, spray on a membrane, and drop it back down,'' he went on. I thought of Calvino's ''Invisible Cities,'' where such fantastical engineering schemes are the norm.
Mowry said he was intrigued by the possibility of finding some kind of resin that could be injected into the limestone. The resin would fill the holes, then set to form a seal. Or, he suggested, perhaps one day the city would require that builders, before constructing a house, lay a waterproof shield underneath it, the way a camper spreads a tarp under a tent. Or maybe some sort of clay could be pumped into the ground that would ooze out and fill the interstices.
''Will it hold?'' Mowry said of the clay. ''I doubt it. But these are things we're exploring.'' It was hard to tell how seriously he took any of these ideas; even if one of them turned out to be workable, the effort required to, in effect, caulk the entire island seemed staggering. At one point, Mowry declared, ''If we can put a man on the moon, then we can figure out a way to keep Miami Beach dry.'' At another, he mused about the city's reverting to ''what it came from,'' which was largely mangrove swamp: ''I'm sure if we had poets, they'd be writing about the swallowing of Miami Beach by the sea.''
We headed back toward Mowry's office around the time of maximum high tide. The elevated streets were still dry, but on the way to City Hall we came to an unreconstructed stretch of road that was flooding. Evidently, this situation had been anticipated, because two mobile pumps, the size and shape of ice-cream trucks, were parked near the quickly expanding pool. Neither was operating. After making a couple of phone calls, Mowry decided that he would try to switch them on himself. As he fiddled with the controls, I realized that we were standing not far from the drowned palm tree I'd seen on my first day in Miami Beach, and that it was once again underwater.
About a dozen miles due west of Miami, the land gives out, and what's left of the Everglades begins. The best way to get around in this part of Florida is by airboat, and on a gray morning I set out in one with a hydrologist named Christopher McVoy. We rented the boat from a concession run by members of the Miccosukee tribe, which, before the Europeans arrived, occupied large swaths of Georgia and Tennessee. The colonists hounded the Miccosukee ever farther south, until, eventually, they ended up with a few hundred mostly flooded square miles between Miami and Naples. On a fence in front of the dock, a sign read, ''Beware: Wild alligators are dangerous. Do not feed or tease.'' Our guide, Betty Osceola, handed out headsets to block the noise of the rotors, and we zipped off.
The Everglades is often referred to as a ''river of grass,'' but it might just as accurately be described as a prairie of water. Where the airboats had made a track, the water was open, but mostly it was patchy'--interrupted by clumps of sawgrass and an occasional tree island. We hadn't been out very long when it started to pour. As the boat sped into the rain, it felt as if we were driving through a sandstorm.
The same features that now make South Florida so vulnerable'--its flatness, its high water table, its heavy rains'--are the features that brought the Everglades into being. Before the drainage canals were dug, water flowed from Lake Okeechobee, about seventy miles north of Miami, to Florida Bay, about forty miles to the south of the city, in one wide, slow-moving sheet. Now much of the water is diverted, and the water that does make it to the wetlands gets impounded, so the once continuous ''sheet flow'' is no more. There's a comprehensive Everglades restoration plan, which goes by the acronym CERP, but this has got hung up on one political snag after another, and climate change adds yet one more obstacle. The Everglades is a freshwater ecosystem; already, at the southern margin of Everglades National Park, the water is becoming salty. The sawgrass is in retreat, and mangroves are moving in. In coming decades, there's likely to be more and more demand for the freshwater that remains. As McVoy put it, ''You've got a big chunk of agriculture, a big chunk of people, and a big chunk of nature reserve all competing for the same resources.''
The best that can be hoped for with the restoration project is that it will prolong the life of the wetland and, with that, of Miami's drinking-water system. But you can't get around geophysics. Send the ice sheets into ''irreversible decline,'' as it seems increasingly likely we have done, and there's no going back. Eventually, the Everglades, along with Shorecrest and Miami Beach and much of the rest of South Florida, will be inundated. And, if Hal Wanless is right, eventually isn't very far off.
To me, the gunmetal expanse of water and grass appeared utterly without markers, but Osceola, who could read the subtlest of ridges, knew exactly where we were at every moment. We stopped to have sandwiches on an island with enough dry land for a tiny farm, and stopped again at a research site that McVoy had set up in the muck. There was a box of electrical equipment on stilts, and a solar panel to provide power. McVoy dropped out of the boat to collect some samples in empty water-cooler bottles. The rain let up, and then started again. '...
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Ministry of Truth
Vice Media Kit'-- WARNING for Advertisers '-- Medium
Sat, 26 Dec 2015 15:23
Vice Media Kit'-- WARNING for AdvertisersWhile writing an Unofficial Guide to Vice Media I realized the media kit is an illusion and the whole company is toxic.Made for FORK VICE by Anonymous Illustrator.WORK IN PROGRESS (Updated Dec 23rd)
While training to become a forensic consultant and expert witness; I was given some very simple advice, ''tell the truth, and you have nothing to worry about''. Vice Media, the subject of my new book, has lots to worry about.
Vice Media is currently valued between 4''4.5 billion. More than the NY Times (2.2B), more than Buzzfeed (1.5B). But when I mention Vice to people outside the media, I get a lot of blank stares.
BUZZFEED (Blue) vs VICE (Red) via:SocialBladeVice is an enigma'Š'--'Ša Satanic inspired Rubik's Cube. Researching the book has been an exercise in collecting contradiction after contradiction.
Announcing growth while shutting down sales in Mexico (after overtly mentioning in their media kitan editorial could be purchased for ~30k).Declaring outlandish revenue while providing no real evidence.36 offices around the world? Random houses on Streetview from what I can tell.VICE OFFICES: What's that blue dot in 2013? Someone other than Shane answered that time.How many employees? How many contributors? I plotted the answers chronologically and it looks like noise. This isn't an accident. Shane Smith, the CEO of Vice, is known for being a liar.4000 contributors one day 2500 another. 1800 employees one day 1000 employees another.Shane's Bubble-gumShane says Vice is a trusted brand. What a load of crap.Vice is talked about in media circles'Š'--'Šmostly'Š'--'Šbecause they say they have a lot of money. People also talk because their reputation of paying shit and being a little scary. Understandably, the industry is tough and nobody wants to bite the hand that feeds. Even if that hand has violated you.
Vice forces their brand into documentary festivals and documentary magazines. But their work is marred in plagiarism, deception and plenty of sensationalism. A fact-checking nightmare.
People working independently in documentary and journalism despise Vice. Even people working for Vice dislike Vice. What the f**k is going on?
The Media Kit IllusionA media kit is a PDF targeted at advertisers. Individually, Vice looks dodgy but in a meta-analysis of 2007 to 2015 PDFs, I noticed some funny stuff:
QUOTES: Almost every quote in their media kits is outdated, doctored, spun negative to positive, or fabricated wholesale. It's as if it was written by an old, smarmy, pick-up artist that used to be cool.OUTDATED: Left are the original sources (with dates). Right is the vague Frankenstein. Backup sourceINSANE: This is what the quote looks like to me. When was the last time Vice was in the Cassandra Report?DEMOGRAPHICS: Between 2007 and 2010 the reported demographics became slightly older. However, between 2010 and 2015 the demographics stayed exactly the same. Year after year'Š'--'Šdespite quoting new sources. To me, this indicatescontrol fraud. An unfortunately common practice of bullying employees to get the desired result rather than the accurate result.Update Dec 23rd:One industry insider described a VICE Chief Revenue Officer as a ''coke head'', ''human garbage'', a HR / sexual harassment nightmare and ''the definition of a corporate scumbag''. When asked how the CRO remained employed at their previous job they said they were good at sales.
THE PERFECT DEMOGRAPHICS: Look carefully and take a wild guess at when Shane took control of Vice.CIRCULATION: The words ''circulation'', ''distribution'' and ''totals'' are used interchangeably and should typically refer to actual magazines printed, not the ''readership''. I think the 1.2 million number is bogus. Sometimes the country-by-country circulation numbers literally don't add up. And while it's impossible to know, without torturing an accountant into speaking (or finding a suicidal whistle-blower), I think the numbers are amped between 10''50 times'Š'--'Šdepending on the country. I've tried pretty hard to find the ~250 pickup locations in Toronto, Canada; but I can only identify six.''16,700'': Even assuming; atypical definitions of ''circulation'' = ''readership'', a 5.6 (typically 2''3) pass-along rate, 75 mags/location, and 50% in direct mail; that would leave 20 pickup locations in Toronto. This media kit is BS. Backup source.Update Dec 13th:An ex employee has confirmed that Vice Magazine's media kit circulation numbers, in their country, were multiplied by ten. Anyone else?
Update Dec 19th:Vice Magazine has taken an unscheduled, two month hiatus in publishing (January and February 2016). via:AdAge.
100% PICK-UP RATES?: I've made a habit of visiting stores in both the US and Canada looking for Vice Magazine. I've spoken to the managers and they readily admit to throwing extra copies in the recycling. Discussions about their biggest distributor, American Apparel, usually revolve around the creepy owner and bets on when they will go out of business.RUNNING ON FUMES: American Apparel is Vice Magazine's biggest distributor. via: Google FinanceVIEWS: Content producers are paid less than the average media company but the engineers are paid more than the average media company. So why has Vice begun to disable comments? Even Gawker, deemed a bunch of bitches by Shane, uses a view counter. I think Shane is using salesmanship in place of evidence because Vice just isn't that popular.WORTH MORE SEEN LESS? Shane recently duped Stephen Colbert into saying Vice reaches 200 million people per month. via: ComScoreVice claims an audience of 200 million but ComScore rates it at 41 million. I think that self-reported gap is a result of BS, botting and clickfraud to help amp the baseline.
Generally, professionals tend to think that ~50% of clicks are stolen from advertisers. The worst offender studied showed as much as 98% nonhuman traffic. Personally, I know a couple people in the industry who do this type of thing and both are varying degrees of asshole. Shane fits the profile.
I would like to give Vice the benefit of the doubt but I can't imagine these words out of Shane's mouth: Alright team, I know our website says ''den of nefarious activities'' on it, and I'm a self-described megalomaniac, but please don't hire botters to make me rich'Š'--'Šsomething I've obsessed over my entire life and the main reason people are near me. Seriously guys don't.
An Unbranded History of Vice MediaShould Vice ever be trusted?FORMATIVE YEARS: Shane grew up wanting to be a fiction writer or a poet. But, Reductio ad Hitlerum, he failed at the arts, went into PoliSci and caused trouble in Europe.ARBITRAGE: While living in Europe Shane was ''being a criminal'...buying and selling money illegally''FREUD'S TAKE: Freud says our conscience is given to us by our father. He said a lot of things but bear this in mind for the next anecdote: On Charlie Rose, Shane admitted that his father, a brilliant programmer, was caught for insider trading. The interview ended with Shane'Š'--'Šin tears'Š'--'Šsaying how much his father meant to him. Before you feel all warm and fuzzy search ''inverted conscience''. Some people think bad is good.VOICELESS: Vice began as Voice of Montreal (1994) and quickly turned into a ''welfare scam''. Vice used money that was meant to provide work to Haitian-Canadian immigrants to publish reviews of hate literature.MASTER SALESMAN: In 1995 Shane was hired to Vicebecause of his ability to BS without remorse (in 2007 he took control of the company).ROB'N BANKS: Robbie D, earlier editor of Vice Magazine, used to rob banks. His father also used to rob banks. He runs a blog: FUCK EVERYTHING and currently writes for Vice.MORE INSIDER TRADING: The first round of funding came from Richard S. who, shortly before investing in Vice, was sued for insider trading in both Canada and the US. He wanted to take Vice public.MTV ''REALITY'': The next investor was Viacom. Viacom. Known colloquially in the industry as 'the devil'.RUPE'N EVERYBODY: The next investor was Rupert Murdoch who'Š'--'Šif that doesn't sound alarm bells; you blissfully ignorant soul'-- was recently deemed by a UK court unfit to run a company. This basically never happens. Remember that whole phone hacking thing? James Murdoch was implicated and is the only other person besides Shane Smith on the board of Vice.VIOLATED BY ALIENS: Hearst-Disney, the latest investor of Vice. Has such critical thinking skills to bring the world History Channel's UFO Hunters (2008), Ancient Aliens (2009), and Fooling People is Our Business Model (2020).GOING PUBLIC: Media critics suspect something similar to a pump-and-dump scheme. Shane described Vice as re-applying lipstick to a pig every year until it finally got big. Shane even admits to laughing his way to the bank. Shane preys on ignorance.Shane Smith as Jim Jones via: Hollywood Reporter.I can see, before reading all this, how giving money to Vice would seem like a good idea. They CLAIM to have exactly what advertisers want: 200 million millenial dummies. Problem is; they don't exist.
Vice's numbers appear perfect because Shane is a con man and Vice is a black hole.
Depending on your perspective on: corporations, the usefulness of advertising, and your frequency of suicidal ideation; dumping money into this shitpile might actually be a good thing. But maybe the money could go to better use.
One journalist said to me ''If you don't have a wall between editorial and advertising; you have nothing''. It makes sense because multiplestudies link misinformation to lowered intelligence. Watching Vice, or any media without ethics, is a commitment to being dumber. Worse, a company that seeks novelty without a code will always stray into Antisocial-land.
Garbage in, garbage out. Put simply, a company without ethics is a company that cannot love.
The bigger question: Why should a 'content company' that operates without conscience'Š'--'Šnot in the public's interest or even the viewer's interest'Š'--'Šbe allowed Journalist's privilege?
Most people think Shane is joking when he says outrageous things. But most the time he isn't joking. Shane has, on more than one occasion, defined Vice as a cult. The bait for this cult'Š'--'Šput simply'Š'--'Šis a promise of fun, no rules and self-defeating concepts like everyone else is boring. The reality is that anonymous employee ratings have Vice pegged as the worst media company out there. Employees don't speak out because of the draconiandocuments they sign going in'Š'--'Šand leaving.
''Vice IS vice'''Š'--'ŠRocco C., former editor of Vice Media Inc.
I've heard that nervous breakdowns are common. Vice, practically by definition, breaches the employee's human rights to a freedom of conscience. Often enough, Vice is against ethics. I've heard that Shane mocked an employee for advocating the basics of journalism and there is reason to believe he pushed out another. It's no surprise thatanti-competitivesales practices are the norm.
A Depraved History of Vice MediaLess cerebral reasons to brew contempt for this company.Vice used to ship date-rape drugs (GHB) to male advertisers.Shane Smith: ''Sending drugs in the mail was commonplace...''Maybe this is the future of news'Š'--'Šor maybe'Š'--'Šin Shane's own words he wants to '''...fuck news in its naughty ass''.
Why admit to this? People usually don't look into their employer because of power and aggression dynamics. Counter-intuitively, it's an avant-garde strategy of power that keeps people (especially employees) constantly confused.
Shane Smith is Definitely a Con ManShane, like most ruthless hucksters, can read his target on the spot. Shane has every indication of a sociopathic trait called duper's delight. To put things simply: being evil gives Shane a kick.
In light conversation, Shane is charming'Š'--'Ša pretty well documented trait. Tough questions are dodged'Š'--'Šagain a pretty well documented trait of politicians. So, unless you've done your homework, you probably want to put a email filter on any announcement that this company dictates.
Vice, at its worst, is an insane plausible deniability machine. At best, it's derivative, anti-competitive and held together by mutually-assured-destruction. All this adds up to a short-term strategy of impunity'Š'--'Šand probably why Vice lawyers sent police to my door when I mentioned concerns of fraud at reception. (Story below)
Side note 1:How deep do the shennanigans go? I have a hunch the reported buyout numbers are just some plutocratic publicity stunt. How else can something, with fewer views than Gangnam Style, be worth 4.5 billion? This theory scrapes the bedrock of my skepticism. In my defense: Shane, while drunk, did proclaim the most psychotic thing I've ever heard ''it doesn't matter if it's true, it matters if you believe it''. He also jokes aboutspending time with the illuminati'Š'--'Šif that means anything anchored to reality'Š'--'Šjust means he hangs with wealthy connivers who look down on humanity. Nothing special.
Maybe when VOICE changed its name to VICE they kept the ''O'' and threw it behind the circulation numbers. Poetry of a lunatic: where all your employees are put in danger because of the truth'Š'--'Šand you make the indie/zine world more difficult.
Side note 2:I have nothing bad to say about Suroosh Alvi. Good taste in music, probably shell-shocked from the homonculus rat in his brain called Shane. Someone, please give him a book deal.
Side note 3:If Shane writes a book named anything other thanHow to Make Enemies and Hypnotize People: I'm not buying it.
Alternatives to Vice Media. ''Youth Media'' companies that don't suck:Vox Media, Buzzfeed, Good Magazine or even a magazine by the former Vice Magazine editor called Apology Magazine. Yes, the title is in reference to Vice.
Find trending creators of patreon.com via Pledge Society.
Try contacting other news channels on YouTube. There are 35 channels rated better than Vice and they won't rape your eyes and eardrums with misinformation and subversive advertorials.
Or reinvest in ''old guard'' newspapers with a code of ethics. Ones that care about their audience.
Vice Media Kit'-- WARNING for Advertisers '-- Medium
Sat, 26 Dec 2015 14:54
Vice Media Kit'-- WARNING for AdvertisersWhile writing an Unofficial Guide to Vice Media I realized the media kit is an illusion and the whole company is toxic.Made for FORK VICE by Anonymous Illustrator.WORK IN PROGRESS (Updated Dec 23rd)
While training to become a forensic consultant and expert witness; I was given some very simple advice, ''tell the truth, and you have nothing to worry about''. Vice Media, the subject of my new book, has lots to worry about.
Vice Media is currently valued between 4''4.5 billion. More than the NY Times (2.2B), more than Buzzfeed (1.5B). But when I mention Vice to people outside the media, I get a lot of blank stares.
BUZZFEED (Blue) vs VICE (Red) via:SocialBladeVice is an enigma'Š'--'Ša Satanic inspired Rubik's Cube. Researching the book has been an exercise in collecting contradiction after contradiction.
Announcing growth while shutting down sales in Mexico (after overtly mentioning in their media kitan editorial could be purchased for ~30k).Declaring outlandish revenue while providing no real evidence.36 offices around the world? Random houses on Streetview from what I can tell.VICE OFFICES: What's that blue dot in 2013? Someone other than Shane answered that time.How many employees? How many contributors? I plotted the answers chronologically and it looks like noise. This isn't an accident. Shane Smith, the CEO of Vice, is known for being a liar.4000 contributors one day 2500 another. 1800 employees one day 1000 employees another.Shane's Bubble-gumShane says Vice is a trusted brand. What a load of crap.Vice is talked about in media circles'Š'--'Šmostly'Š'--'Šbecause they say they have a lot of money. People also talk because their reputation of paying shit and being a little scary. Understandably, the industry is tough and nobody wants to bite the hand that feeds. Even if that hand has violated you.
Vice forces their brand into documentary festivals and documentary magazines. But their work is marred in plagiarism, deception and plenty of sensationalism. A fact-checking nightmare.
People working independently in documentary and journalism despise Vice. Even people working for Vice dislike Vice. What the f**k is going on?
The Media Kit IllusionA media kit is a PDF targeted at advertisers. Individually, Vice looks dodgy but in a meta-analysis of 2007 to 2015 PDFs, I noticed some funny stuff:
QUOTES: Almost every quote in their media kits is outdated, doctored, spun negative to positive, or fabricated wholesale. It's as if it was written by an old, smarmy, pick-up artist that used to be cool.OUTDATED: Left are the original sources (with dates). Right is the vague Frankenstein. Backup sourceINSANE: This is what the quote looks like to me. When was the last time Vice was in the Cassandra Report?DEMOGRAPHICS: Between 2007 and 2010 the reported demographics became slightly older. However, between 2010 and 2015 the demographics stayed exactly the same. Year after year'Š'--'Šdespite quoting new sources. To me, this indicatescontrol fraud. An unfortunately common practice of bullying employees to get the desired result rather than the accurate result.Update Dec 23rd:One industry insider described a VICE Chief Revenue Officer as a ''coke head'', ''human garbage'', a HR / sexual harassment nightmare and ''the definition of a corporate scumbag''. When asked how the CRO remained employed at their previous job they said they were good at sales.
THE PERFECT DEMOGRAPHICS: Look carefully and take a wild guess at when Shane took control of Vice.CIRCULATION: The words ''circulation'', ''distribution'' and ''totals'' are used interchangeably and should typically refer to actual magazines printed, not the ''readership''. I think the 1.2 million number is bogus. Sometimes the country-by-country circulation numbers literally don't add up. And while it's impossible to know, without torturing an accountant into speaking (or finding a suicidal whistle-blower), I think the numbers are amped between 10''50 times'Š'--'Šdepending on the country. I've tried pretty hard to find the ~250 pickup locations in Toronto, Canada; but I can only identify six.''16,700'': Even assuming; atypical definitions of ''circulation'' = ''readership'', a 5.6 (typically 2''3) pass-along rate, 75 mags/location, and 50% in direct mail; that would leave 20 pickup locations in Toronto. This media kit is BS. Backup source.Update Dec 13th:An ex employee has confirmed that Vice Magazine's media kit circulation numbers, in their country, were multiplied by ten. Anyone else?
Update Dec 19th:Vice Magazine has taken an unscheduled, two month hiatus in publishing (January and February 2016). via:AdAge.
100% PICK-UP RATES?: I've made a habit of visiting stores in both the US and Canada looking for Vice Magazine. I've spoken to the managers and they readily admit to throwing extra copies in the recycling. Discussions about their biggest distributor, American Apparel, usually revolve around the creepy owner and bets on when they will go out of business.RUNNING ON FUMES: American Apparel is Vice Magazine's biggest distributor. via: Google FinanceVIEWS: Content producers are paid less than the average media company but the engineers are paid more than the average media company. So why has Vice begun to disable comments? Even Gawker, deemed a bunch of bitches by Shane, uses a view counter. I think Shane is using salesmanship in place of evidence because Vice just isn't that popular.WORTH MORE SEEN LESS? Shane recently duped Stephen Colbert into saying Vice reaches 200 million people per month. via: ComScoreVice claims an audience of 200 million but ComScore rates it at 41 million. I think that self-reported gap is a result of BS, botting and clickfraud to help amp the baseline.
Generally, professionals tend to think that ~50% of clicks are stolen from advertisers. The worst offender studied showed as much as 98% nonhuman traffic. Personally, I know a couple people in the industry who do this type of thing and both are varying degrees of asshole. Shane fits the profile.
I would like to give Vice the benefit of the doubt but I can't imagine these words out of Shane's mouth: Alright team, I know our website says ''den of nefarious activities'' on it, and I'm a self-described megalomaniac, but please don't hire botters to make me rich'Š'--'Šsomething I've obsessed over my entire life and the main reason people are near me. Seriously guys don't.
An Unbranded History of Vice MediaShould Vice ever be trusted?FORMATIVE YEARS: Shane grew up wanting to be a fiction writer or a poet. But, Reductio ad Hitlerum, he failed at the arts, went into PoliSci and caused trouble in Europe.ARBITRAGE: While living in Europe Shane was ''being a criminal'...buying and selling money illegally''FREUD'S TAKE: Freud says our conscience is given to us by our father. He said a lot of things but bear this in mind for the next anecdote: On Charlie Rose, Shane admitted that his father, a brilliant programmer, was caught for insider trading. The interview ended with Shane'Š'--'Šin tears'Š'--'Šsaying how much his father meant to him. Before you feel all warm and fuzzy search ''inverted conscience''. Some people think bad is good.VOICELESS: Vice began as Voice of Montreal (1994) and quickly turned into a ''welfare scam''. Vice used money that was meant to provide work to Haitian-Canadian immigrants to publish reviews of hate literature.MASTER SALESMAN: In 1995 Shane was hired to Vicebecause of his ability to BS without remorse (in 2007 he took control of the company).ROB'N BANKS: Robbie D, earlier editor of Vice Magazine, used to rob banks. His father also used to rob banks. He runs a blog: FUCK EVERYTHING and currently writes for Vice.MORE INSIDER TRADING: The first round of funding came from Richard S. who, shortly before investing in Vice, was sued for insider trading in both Canada and the US. He wanted to take Vice public.MTV ''REALITY'': The next investor was Viacom. Viacom. Known colloquially in the industry as 'the devil'.RUPE'N EVERYBODY: The next investor was Rupert Murdoch who'Š'--'Šif that doesn't sound alarm bells; you blissfully ignorant soul'-- was recently deemed by a UK court unfit to run a company. This basically never happens. Remember that whole phone hacking thing? James Murdoch was implicated and is the only other person besides Shane Smith on the board of Vice.VIOLATED BY ALIENS: Hearst-Disney, the latest investor of Vice. Has such critical thinking skills to bring the world History Channel's UFO Hunters (2008), Ancient Aliens (2009), and Fooling People is Our Business Model (2020).GOING PUBLIC: Media critics suspect something similar to a pump-and-dump scheme. Shane described Vice as re-applying lipstick to a pig every year until it finally got big. Shane even admits to laughing his way to the bank. Shane preys on ignorance.Shane Smith as Jim Jones via: Hollywood Reporter.I can see, before reading all this, how giving money to Vice would seem like a good idea. They CLAIM to have exactly what advertisers want: 200 million millenial dummies. Problem is; they don't exist.
Vice's numbers appear perfect because Shane is a con man and Vice is a black hole.
Depending on your perspective on: corporations, the usefulness of advertising, and your frequency of suicidal ideation; dumping money into this shitpile might actually be a good thing. But maybe the money could go to better use.
One journalist said to me ''If you don't have a wall between editorial and advertising; you have nothing''. It makes sense because multiplestudies link misinformation to lowered intelligence. Watching Vice, or any media without ethics, is a commitment to being dumber. Worse, a company that seeks novelty without a code will always stray into Antisocial-land.
Garbage in, garbage out. Put simply, a company without ethics is a company that cannot love.
The bigger question: Why should a 'content company' that operates without conscience'Š'--'Šnot in the public's interest or even the viewer's interest'Š'--'Šbe allowed Journalist's privilege?
Most people think Shane is joking when he says outrageous things. But most the time he isn't joking. Shane has, on more than one occasion, defined Vice as a cult. The bait for this cult'Š'--'Šput simply'Š'--'Šis a promise of fun, no rules and self-defeating concepts like everyone else is boring. The reality is that anonymous employee ratings have Vice pegged as the worst media company out there. Employees don't speak out because of the draconiandocuments they sign going in'Š'--'Šand leaving.
''Vice IS vice'''Š'--'ŠRocco C., former editor of Vice Media Inc.
I've heard that nervous breakdowns are common. Vice, practically by definition, breaches the employee's human rights to a freedom of conscience. Often enough, Vice is against ethics. I've heard that Shane mocked an employee for advocating the basics of journalism and there is reason to believe he pushed out another. It's no surprise thatanti-competitivesales practices are the norm.
A Depraved History of Vice MediaLess cerebral reasons to brew contempt for this company.Vice used to ship date-rape drugs (GHB) to male advertisers.Shane Smith: ''Sending drugs in the mail was commonplace...''Maybe this is the future of news'Š'--'Šor maybe'Š'--'Šin Shane's own words he wants to '''...fuck news in its naughty ass''.
Why admit to this? People usually don't look into their employer because of power and aggression dynamics. Counter-intuitively, it's an avant-garde strategy of power that keeps people (especially employees) constantly confused.
Shane Smith is Definitely a Con ManShane, like most ruthless hucksters, can read his target on the spot. Shane has every indication of a sociopathic trait called duper's delight. To put things simply: being evil gives Shane a kick.
In light conversation, Shane is charming'Š'--'Ša pretty well documented trait. Tough questions are dodged'Š'--'Šagain a pretty well documented trait of politicians. So, unless you've done your homework, you probably want to put a email filter on any announcement that this company dictates.
Vice, at its worst, is an insane plausible deniability machine. At best, it's derivative, anti-competitive and held together by mutually-assured-destruction. All this adds up to a short-term strategy of impunity'Š'--'Šand probably why Vice lawyers sent police to my door when I mentioned concerns of fraud at reception. (Story below)
Side note 1:How deep do the shennanigans go? I have a hunch the reported buyout numbers are just some plutocratic publicity stunt. How else can something, with fewer views than Gangnam Style, be worth 4.5 billion? This theory scrapes the bedrock of my skepticism. In my defense: Shane, while drunk, did proclaim the most psychotic thing I've ever heard ''it doesn't matter if it's true, it matters if you believe it''. He also jokes aboutspending time with the illuminati'Š'--'Šif that means anything anchored to reality'Š'--'Šjust means he hangs with wealthy connivers who look down on humanity. Nothing special.
Maybe when VOICE changed its name to VICE they kept the ''O'' and threw it behind the circulation numbers. Poetry of a lunatic: where all your employees are put in danger because of the truth'Š'--'Šand you make the indie/zine world more difficult.
Side note 2:I have nothing bad to say about Suroosh Alvi. Good taste in music, probably shell-shocked from the homonculus rat in his brain called Shane. Someone, please give him a book deal.
Side note 3:If Shane writes a book named anything other thanHow to Make Enemies and Hypnotize People: I'm not buying it.
Alternatives to Vice Media. ''Youth Media'' companies that don't suck:Vox Media, Buzzfeed, Good Magazine or even a magazine by the former Vice Magazine editor called Apology Magazine. Yes, the title is in reference to Vice.
Find trending creators of patreon.com via Pledge Society.
Try contacting other news channels on YouTube. There are 35 channels rated better than Vice and they won't rape your eyes and eardrums with misinformation and subversive advertorials.
Or reinvest in ''old guard'' newspapers with a code of ethics. Ones that care about their audience.
NA-Tech News
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Evolution of Shipping: Amazon Starts Own Air Cargo and Trucking Services
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 03:07
Evolution of Shipping
After announcing Amazon Prime, free Two-Day Shipping for eligible purchases, Amazon followed up Air Prime, a future delivery system from Amazon designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using drones.
The next logical step is for Amazon to cut out as many air delivery middlemen as it possibly can.
Thus, it cannot be much of a surprise to learn Amazon Starting its Own Air Cargo Operation.
Cargo Facts reported today [December 18] that Amazon is building its own cargo operation and is in talks with Boeing to acquire up to 20 767-freighter jets to help deliver packages to customers around the U.S.
The Seattle Times also reported about Amazon's plans on Thursday, but noted that the company is looking to lease jets, not purchase them, because it does not have an Air Operator's Certificate, among other reasons.
When asked for comment, Amazon.com provided this statement to GeekWire: ''We have a longstanding practice of not commenting on rumors and speculation.''
An article last month [''A Mysterious Air Cargo Operation, Amazon.com?''] noted that a mysterious company, presumably Amazon, was flying four cargo flights per day out of Ohio's Wilmington Air Park, which previously served as a facility for DHL until 2008.
The mystery company used four contracted Boeing 767s that fly to and from four U.S. airports - Allentown, Ontario (CA), Tampa, Oakland - that all have nearby Amazon distribution centers.
Having more control of the entire end-to-end customer experience would also help Amazon avoid issues it has had with third-party delivery companies like UPS during its busy holiday season.
Amazon Branded TrucksOn December 4, Amazon announced Branded Truck Trailers for Inventory Management.
for Amazon, the initiative is the latest sign of the e-commerce giant's increasing interest in taking transportation of its merchandise into its own hands.
The company still relies on traditional mail to deliver most packages, but Amazon has been experimenting with its own methods, including bicycle couriers, Amazon Fresh delivery trucks, drones and an Uber-like crowdsourced delivery system.
The release notes the company has begun rolling out thousands of trailers to ''increase capacity for package delivery from fulfillment centers to sort centers.''
In other words, the trailers won't be delivering packages to customers' doors.
Amazon Planes
Amazon Trucks
Amazon Drones
Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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The Psychological Dark Side of Gmail | Alternet
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 03:09
Google is using its popular Gmail service to build profiles on the hundreds of millions of people who use it.
This article first appeared on PandoDaily.
''We know where you are. We know where you've been. We can more or less know what you're thinking about.''
''Your digital identity will live forever'... because there's no delete button.'' '--Eric Schmidt
Some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley recently announced that they had gotten together to form a new forward-thinking organization dedicated to promoting government surveillance reform in the name of ''free expression'' and ''privacy.''
The charade should have been laughed at and mocked '-- after all, these same companies feed on privacy for profit, and unfettered surveillance is their stock and trade. Instead, it was met with cheers and fanfare from reporters and privacy and tech experts alike. ''Finally!'' people cried, Silicon Valley has grown up and matured enough to help society tackle the biggest problem of our age: the runaway power of the modern surveillance state.
The Guardian described the tech companies' plan as ''radical,'' and predicted it would ''end many of the current programs through which governments spy on citizens at home and abroad.'' Laura W. Murphy, Director of ACLU's DC Legislative Office, published an impassioned blog post praising tech giants for urging President Barack Obama and Congress to enact comprehensive reform of government surveillance. Silicon Valley booster Jeff Jarvis could hardly contain his glee. ''Bravo,'' he yelped. ''The companies came down at last on the side of citizens over spies.'' And then added:
"Spying is bad for the internet; what's bad for the internet is bad for Silicon Valley; and '-- to reverse the old General Motors saw '-- what's bad for Silicon Valley is bad for America."
But while leading tech and privacy experts like Jarvis slobber over Silicon Valley megacorps and praise their heroic stand against oppressive government surveillance, most still don't seem to mind that these same tech billionaires run vast private sector surveillance operations of their own. They vacuum up private information and use it to compile detailed dossiers on hundreds of millions of people around the world '-- and that's on top of their work colluding and contracting with government intelligence agencies.
If you step back and look at the bigger picture, it's not hard to see that Silicon Valley is heavily engaged in for-profit surveillance, and that it dwarfs anything being run by the NSA.
I recently wrote about Google's Street View program, and how after a series of investigations in the US and Europe, we learned that Google had used its Street View cars to carry out a covert '-- and certainly illegal '-- espionage operation on a global scale, siphoning loads of personally identifiable data from people's Wi-Fi connections all across the world. Emails, medical records, love notes, passwords, the whole works '-- anything that wasn't encrypted was fair game. It was all part of the original program design: Google had equipped its Street View cars with surveillance gear designed to intercept and vacuum up all the wireless network communication data that crossed their path. An FCC investigation showing that the company knowingly deployed Street View's surveillance program, and then had analyzed and integrated the data that it had intercepted.
Most disturbingly, when its Street View surveillance program was uncovered by regulators, Google pulled every crisis management trick in the book to confuse investors, dodge questions, avoid scrutiny, and prevent the public from finding out the truth. The company's behavior got so bad that the FCC fined it for obstruction of justice.
The investigation in Street View uncovered a dark side to Google. But as alarming as it was, Google's Street View wiretapping scheme was just a tiny experimental program compared Google's bread and butter: a massive surveillance operation that intercepts and analyzes terabytes of global Internet traffic every day, and then uses that data to build and update complex psychological profiles on hundreds of millions of people all over the world '-- all of it in real time. You've heard about this program. You probably interact with it every day. You call it Gmail.
Google launched Gmail in 2004. It was the company's first major ''log in'' service and was aimed at poaching email users from Microsoft and Yahoo. To do that, Google offered one gigabyte of free storage space standard with every account. It was an insane amount of data at the time '-- at least several hundred times more space than what was being offered by Yahoo or Hotmail '-- and people signed up en masse. At one point, Gmail's limited pre-public release invites were so desirable that at one point they fetched over $150 on eBay.
To tech reporters Gmail's free email service was nothing short of revolutionary. New York Times tech columnist David Pogue wrote: ''One gigabyte changes everything. You no longer live in terror that somebody will send you a photo, thereby exceeding your two-megabyte limit and making all subsequent messages bounce back to their senders.''
And what about the fact that Gmail scanned your email correspondence to deliver targeted ads?
Well, what of it?
Gmail users handed over all their personal correspondence to Google, giving the company to right to scan, analyze, and retain in perpetuity their correspondence in return for a gigabyte of storage, which even at that early stage already cost Google only $2 per gigabyte per year.
Selling the contents of our private and business life to a for-profit corporation in return for half a Big Mac a year? What a steal!
You'd be hard pressed to find a bum who'd sell out to Google that cheap. But most mainstream tech journalist weren't that scrupulous, and lined up to boost Gmail to the public.
''The only population likely not to be delighted by Gmail are those still uncomfortable with those computer-generated ads. Those people are free to ignore or even bad-mouth Gmail, but they shouldn't try to stop Google from offering Gmail to the rest of us. We know a good thing when we see it,'' wrote Pogue in 2004.
But not everyone was as excited as Mr. Pogue.
Several privacy groups, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, were alarmed by Gmail's vast potential for privacy abuse. In particular, EPIC was concerned that Google was not restricting its email scanning activities solely to its registered user base, but was intercepting and analyzing the private communication of anyone who emailed with a Gmail user:
''Gmail violates the privacy rights of non-subscribers. Non-subscribers who e-mail a Gmail user have 'content extraction' performed on their e-mail even though they have not consented to have their communications monitored, nor may they even be aware that their communications are being analyzed,'' EPIC explained at the time. The organization pointed out that this practice almost certainly violates California wiretapping statues '-- which expressly criminalizes the interception of electronic communication without consent of all parties involved.
What spooked EPIC even more: Google was not simply scanning people's emails for advertising keywords, but had developed underlying technology to compile sophisticated dossiers of everyone who came through its email system. All communication was subject to deep linguistic analysis; conversations were parsed for keywords, meaning and even tone; individuals were matched to real identities using contact information stored in a user's Gmail address book; attached documents were scraped for intel '-- that info was then cross-referenced with previous email interactions and combined with stuff gleamed from other Google services, as well as third-party sources'...
Here's are some of the things that Google would use to construct its profiles, gleamed from two patents company filed prior to launching its Gmail service:
Concepts and topics discussed in email, as well as email attachmentsThe content of websites that users have visitedDemographic information '-- including income, sex, race, marital statusGeographic informationPsychographic information '-- personality type, values, attitudes, interests and lifestyle interestsPrevious searches users have madeInformation about documents a user viewed and or edited by the usersBrowsing activityPrevious purchasesTo EPIC, Google's interception and use of such detailed personal information was clearly violation of California law, and the organization called on California's Attorney General promised to investigate Google's Gmail service. The Attorney General promise to look into the matter, but nothing much happened.
Meanwhile, Gmail's user base continued to rocket. As of this month, there are something like 425 million active users around the world using email services. Individuals, schools, universities, companies, government employees, non-profits '-- and it's not just Gmail anymore.
After its runaway success with Gmail, Google aggressively expanded its online presence, buying up smaller tech companies and deploying a staggering number of services and apps. In just a few years, Google had suddenly become ubiquitous, inserting themselves into almost every aspect of our lives: We search through Google, browse the Web through Google, write in Google, store our files in Google and use Google to drive and take public transport. Hell, even our mobile phones run on Google.
All these services might appear disparate and unconnected. To the uninitiated, Google's offering of free services '-- from email, to amazing mobile maps, to a powerful replacement for Microsoft Office '-- might seem like charity. Why give away this stuff for free? But to think that way is to miss the fundamental purpose that Google serves and why it can generate nearly $20 billion in profits a year.
The Google services and apps that we interact with on a daily basis aren't the company's main product: They are the harvesting machines that dig up and process the stuff that Google really sells: for-profit intelligence.
Google isn't a traditional Internet service company. It isn't even an advertising company. Google is a whole new type of beast: a global advertising-intelligence company that tries to funnel as much user activity in the real and online world through its services in order to track, analyze and profile us: it tracks as much of our daily lives as possible '-- who we are, what we do, what we like, where we go, who we talk to, what we think about, what we're interested in '-- all those things are seized, packaged, commodified and sold on the market '-- at this point, most of the business comes from matching the right ad to the right eyeballs. But who knows how the massive database Google's compiling on all of us will be used in the future.
No wonder that when Google first rolled out Gmail in 2004, cofounder Larry Page refused to rule out that the company would never combine people's search and browsing history with their Gmail account profiles: ''It might be really useful for us to know that information. I'd hate to rule anything like that out.'' Indeed it was. Profitable, too.
It's been almost a decade since Google launched its Gmail service, but the fundamental questions about the legality of the company's surveillance operations first posed by EPIC have not been resolved.
Indeed, a class action lawsuit currently winding its way through California federal court system shows that we've not moved an inch.
The complaint '-- a consolidation of six separate class action lawsuits that had been filed against Google in California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania '-- accuses Google of illegally intercepting, reading and profiting off people's private correspondence without compensation. The lawsuit directly challenges Google's legal right to indiscriminately vacuum up people's data without clear consent, and just might be the biggest threat Google has ever faced.
Here's how the New York Times described the case:
Wiretapping is typically the stuff of spy dramas and shady criminal escapades. But now, one of the world's biggest Web companies, Google, must defend itself against accusations that it is illegally wiretapping in the course of its everyday business '-- gathering data about Internet users and showing them related ads.
'...The Gmail case involves Google's practice of automatically scanning e-mail messages and showing ads based on the contents of the e-mails. The plaintiffs include voluntary Gmail users, people who have to use Gmail as part of an educational institution and non-Gmail users whose messages were received by a Gmail user. They say the scanning of the messages violates state and federal antiwiretapping laws.
Google has aggressively fought the lawsuit. It first convinced a judge to put it under seal '-- which redacted most of the complaint and made it unavailable to public scrutiny '-- and then made a series of disingenuous arguments in an attempt to get the get the lawsuit preemptively dismissed. Google's attorneys didn't dispute its for-profit surveillance activities. What they claimed was that intercepting and analyzing electronic communication, and using that information to build sophisticated psychological profiles, was no different than scanning emails for viruses or spam. And then they made a stunning admission, arguing that as far as Google saw it, people who used Internet services for communication had ''no legitimate expectation of privacy'' '-- and thus anyone who emailed with Gmail users had given ''implied consent'' for Google to intercept and analyze their email exchange.
No expectation of privacy? Implied consent for surveillance?
Google's claims were transparently disingenuous, and Judge Lucy Koh rejected them out of hand and allowed the lawsuit to proceed.
Unfortunately, it's difficult to comment on or analyze the contents of the class action lawsuit filed against Google, as the company redacted just about all of it. One thing is clear: the complaint goes beyond simple wiretapping and brings into question an even bigger concern: Who owns the digital personal information about our lives '-- our thoughts, ideas, interactions, personal secrets, preferences, desires and hopes? And can all these things be seized bit by bit, analyzed, packaged, commodified and then bought and sold on the market like any other good? Can Google do that? What rights do we have over our inner lives? It's scary and crazy. Especially when you think kids born today: Their entire lives will be digitally surveilled, recorded, analyzed, stored somewhere and then passed around from company to company. What happens to that information?
What happens to all this data in the future should be of serious concern. Not only because, with the right warrant (or in many cases without) the data is available to law enforcement. But also because in the unregulated hands of Google, our aggregated psychological profiles are an extremely valuable asset that could end us used for almost anything.
EPIC points out that Google reservers the right to ''transfer all of the information, including any profiles created, if and when it is merged or sold.'' How do we know that information won't end up in some private background check database that'll be available to your boss? How do we know this information won't be hacked or stolen and won't fall into the hands of scammers and repressive dictators?
The answer is: We don't. And these tech companies would rather keep us in the dark and not caring.
Google's corporate leadership understands that increased privacy regulations could torpedo its entire business model and the company takes quite a lot of space on its SEC filing disclosing the dangers to its investors:
Privacy concerns relating to elements of our technology could damage our reputation and deter current and potential users from using our products and services'...
We also face risks from legislation that could be passed in the future. For example, there is a risk that state legislatures will attempt to regulate the automated scanning of email messages in ways that interfere with our Gmail free advertising-supported web mail service. Any such legislation could make it more difficult for us to operate or could prohibit the aspects of our Gmail service that uses computers to match advertisements to the content of a user's email message when email messages are viewed using the service. This could prevent us from implementing the Gmail service in any affected states and impair our ability to compete in the email services market'...
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has not been shy about his company's views on Internet privacy: People don't have any, nor should they expect it. ''If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place,'' he infamously told CNBC in 2009. And he's right. Because true Internet privacy and real surveillance reform would be the end of Google.
And not just Google, but nearly every major consumer Silicon Valley company '-- all of them feed people's personal data one way or another and depend on for-profit surveillance for survival.
Which brings me to Silicon Valley's ''Reform Government Surveillance'' project.
The fact that the biggest, most data-hungry companies in Silicon Valley joined up in a cynical effort to shift attention away from their own for-profit surveillance operations and blame it all on big bad government is to be expected. What's surprising is just how many supposed journalists and so-called privacy advocates fell for it.
Yasha Levine is a roving correspondent at Pando Daily. Visit his website at yashalevine.com.
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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.
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
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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.
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The Internet of Things: 8 of the Best Smart Home Devices
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 07:57
We love when the Internet makes our daily lives better. No, we don't mean cat videos. (OK, maybe a little bit.) But mostly, we're talking coffee makers that have a cup of joe ready when you wake up. Or thermostats that adjust automatically to your preferences. Or doorbells you can answer from afar.
To celebrate the glorious ease of the Internet of Things, we've rounded up eight of the best smart home devices. These plugged-in gadgets come outfitted with Wi-Fi capabilities and companion apps'--all the better for an even more streamlined life.
Keep your abode as chill or as toasty when you want'--when you want'--with Nest's smart thermostat. Photo courtesy of Nest.
NEST: Controlling your home's temperature by phone? Yeah, that's an idea we can get behind (especially when facing the prospect of returning to a cold apartment in the dead of winter). That's the beauty of Nest, which adapts to your schedule and even keeps track of your energy usage, so you know when you can go greener. Added bonus: Nest also makes a smart smoke detector and a smart security camera, so you're well on your way to a full-on smart house.
Keep your pad easy-breezy with the Haiku Ceiling Fan. Photo courtesy of Big Ass Fans.
HAIKU CEILING FAN: Not looking for something quite as intensive as all that? The Haiku ceiling fan might be more your speed. Literally. The smart device automatically turns on and off when you enter the room. But there's more to its IQ than that. The fan also tracks temperature and humidity, automatically modulates its speed in response to environmental conditions, and even has an alarm clock function. It's a big fan'--and so are we.
Don't talk to us until we've had our Smarter Coffee. Photo courtesy of Smarter Coffee.
SMARTER COFFEE: A freshly made pot of coffee, tailored exactly to your preferences, as soon as you stop hitting the snooze button? Yeah, it's not hard to guess why the Smarter Coffee is one of the best smart home devices around. The Wi-Fi enabled coffee maker can be controlled from anywhere in your apartment, sends you reminders when its water tank is running low, adjusts the coffee strength'--and can even be set as a morning alarm. We're in love.
Twist delivers a soundtrack with an illuminating'...twist. Photo courtesy of Twist.
TWIST: It's a light bulb! It's a portable speaker! Wait'...it's a light bulb and a portable speaker? Meet the unlikely'--but super cool'--Twist. The bulb streams tunes from any app (and with high-quality sound, too) and even modulates its light during the day, beginning brighter and bluer in the morning and transitioning to a warm golden glow come nightfall. It's the device you didn't know you needed. But if you're like us, yeah, you neeeeed it.
Let the right ones in'--with ease'--using August Smart Locks. Photo courtesy of August.
AUGUST SMART LOCKS: When it comes to the best smart home devices, most of these nifty, Internet-enabled gadgets find a place inside your house. But August smart locks and doorbell cams work a little differently. Instead, these guys are the gatekeepers to your humble abode, allowing you to swap jangly keys for a Smartphone, let friends in even when you're not home, and answer the doorbell'...from the office. Come on in.
Up your cooking game with the handy June Intelligent Oven. Photo courtesy of June.
JUNE INTELLIGENT OVEN: Wish you cooked more'...but don't trust your own abilities? It's hard to mess up when you've got the June Intelligent Oven in your corner. It might not look like much more than a toaster oven (perfect for cooking in a tiny apartment!), but this countertop beauty can do everything from toast to slow-cook pork shoulder. Sensors figure out how best to cook whatever you've got on the menu, while Wi-Fi connectivity and an embedded camera stream live video to your smartphone. (Yup, you're pretty much ready for a cooking show now.)
Breathe easy with the atmospheric Awair. Photo courtesy of Awair.
AWAIR: It looks a little bit like a cute, old-timey vintage radio. But the Awair has a lot more going on than that. The device is in fact a sensitive tool for measuring air quality, from allergens to humidity, temperature to carbon dioxide. It'll let you know just what's floating around in your space, and how to change things so you sleep better, sneeze less'...even get more work done.
Keep your smart home safe and sound with a Dojo standing guard (and looking sleek) at all times. Photo courtesy of Dojo Labs.
DOJO: Who watches the watchmen? Or, in this case, which device makes sure that all your other plugged-in devices are staying as private as they should be? That would be the Dojo. Shaped like a smooth pebble, this unobtrusive object keeps you safe from hackers, malware, and other unwelcome intruders, and sends notifications to your phone whenever something fishy's afoot. Safety first!
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War on Guns
United States Is World's Top Arms Exporter - Fortune
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 05:39
December 26, 2015, 1:18 PM ESTE-mailTweetFacebookLinkedinShare iconsThe United States remains the world's preeminent exporter of arms, with more than 50 percent of the global weaponry market controlled by the United States as of 2014.
Arms sales by the U.S. jumped 35 percent, or nearly $10 billion, to $36.2 billion in 2014, according to the Congressional Research Service report, which analyzed the global arms market between 2007 and 2014.
Trailing the U.S. in weapons receipts is Russia, with $10.2 billion in sales in 2014, followed by Sweden with $5.5 billion, France with $4.4 billion and China with $2.2 billion, reports The New York Times.
The top weapons buyer in 2014 was South Korea, a key American ally, which has been squaring off with an increasingly belligerent North Korea in recent years.
Iraq was the second biggest weapons buyer, as the country seeks to build up its military capacity following the withdrawal of the bulk of American ground troops there. Brazil was the third biggest buyer, primarily of Swedish aircraft.
This article was originally published on Time.com.
Big Pharma
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.
War on Weed
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)
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-Tornados, floods kill 8 in Texas | Reuters.com
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 15:31
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VIDEO-Near deadly holiday flu case for one girl - CNN.com
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 04:30
She and her mom snuggled up and watched cartoons and read books.
The next day, Monday, she was feeling well enough to go to school and perform in a Christmas play. Dressed as a tiny Santa, she jumped up and down and twirled to holiday tunes. On Tuesday and Wednesday she went to school, too.
But Thursday morning she woke up sick again. Her hands were cold to the touch, and so were her feet. She'd developed a rash as well.
Her parents debated: the pediatrician's office or the emergency room? Something -- they can't explain exactly what -- told them to go to the emergency room.
That gut instinct saved their child's life. Tests showed she had the flu, and it had attacked her heart muscle.
Shortly after arriving at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami in her father's arms, Gemma went into cardiac arrest. For 45 minutes doctors and nurses performed CPR. But her heart wouldn't start. Doctors and nurses filled the room, asking her parents to wait outside the door.
"We heard beeping, and then no beeping," said her mother, Lejla Szabo, a model in Miami. "She was just flatlining. We really felt that we had lost her."
Her husband, Alexander Botelho, who works in the hospitality industry, turned to her. "He told me we just had to look back and appreciate those 4½ years we had with her," she remembered.
A doctor came out and told Gemma's parents she needed to be attached to a life support machine that would do the work of her nonfunctioning heart. With no time to get her to the operating room, the staff moved the surgical equipment downstairs to the emergency room.
As doctors and nurses continued to pound on Gemma's chest, pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Robert Hannan performed the delicate life support operation: sliding a slender tube into Gemma's jugular vein, and another into her carotid artery, even as her body moved back and forth.
Within 12 minutes of getting the request for life support, Gemma was hooked up to the machine and out of immediate danger.
Hannan contemplated what would be best for the little girl. Sometimes a doctor's ego -- or a hospital's bottom line -- can misguide a doctor into keeping patients at their hospital instead of sending them away to get better care. But not this time.
Gemma being transferred to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. Florida.
Hannan knew Gemma might need a heart transplant, which they don't perform at Nicklaus. On Friday he boarded a helicopter with Gemma and flew to All Children's Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine, 250 miles away in St. Petersburg. Botelho and Szabo couldn't fit on the helicopter, so they took a commercial flight, arriving at All Children's shortly before their daughter did.
When Gemma arrived, dozens of staffers, from Nicklaus and All Children's, crowded around her inside the new hospital for transition.
Friday and Saturday Gemma's heart quivered uselessly. Doctors prepared to put her on a list for a new heart but there were no guarantees it would arrive in time to save Gemma's life. "They said we'll have to wait and see," Szabo remembered.
On the Sunday before Christmas, as their daughter lay in intensive care, Szabo, who is from Hungary, and Botelho, who's from Brazil, organized friends to say prayers for Gemma at Catholic Masses in their home countries as well as in Argentina, Italy, Miami and Boston.
That night, Szabo and Botelho finally heard good news: Gemma's heart was beginning to beat again.
Two days later, her heart was working well enough that her pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Jacobs, and his team at All Children's Hospital could remove her from life support. Jacobs can't explain what caused her heart to start again.
"Sometimes we don't understand everything that happens in medicine," said Jacobs, director of the Johns Hopkins All Children's Heart Institute. Gemma's parents think it was the prayers, and excellent and timely medical care at Nicklaus and All Children's.
They knew they'd been lucky. If they'd taken her to the pediatrician, Gemma would be dead. Not knowing her heart was in trouble, the couple almost took Gemma to a hospital that didn't have a pediatric heart program like the one at Nicklaus, which has special children's cardiac equipment and expertise.
A flu shot can save your child's lifeGrateful that Gemma is alive, they have one message for other parents: Get your child a flu shot.
"That feeling of losing your child right in front of you -- I don't want to feel that way again -- or anyone else," Szabo said.
They didn't get Gemma or themselves vaccinated because they didn't think the flu was serious. "I thought the flu -- you have a cough and cold and you stay home for two days," Szabo said. "It didn't cross my mind it could lead to something this serious."
Yet every year it does. Around 20,000 children under age 5 are hospitalized with complications from the flu. In the 2012-2013 flu season, 171 children died of the flu. A study showed that 90% of them had not been vaccinated.
"It's not too late to get vaccinated for this season," said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "It would be the best holiday gift you could give yourself and everyone around you."
If a child does get the flu, pediatricians say there can be several warning signs that the virus is taking a turn for the worse. Some children, like Gemma, develop a rash or cold hands and feet, or feel better and then get worse. Other children have difficulty breathing.
Gemma and her parents, Alexander Botelho and Lejla Szabo
But perhaps the most important thing parents can do is trust their gut: If something just doesn't seem right, get help. "The way she spoke to us, how she was trying to say something was wrong, she never spoke to us in that tone before," Botelho remembered. "The helplessness in her face; that was meaningful."
On Christmas Day, doctors were slowly taking Gemma out of an induced coma so they can eventually remove her from the ventilator, which is breathing for her. She can't talk, but she can squeeze someone's hand when asked to.
The doctors don't think she has brain damage, but they're not completely sure because 45 minutes is a long time to be on CPR, and her brain might have been deprived of oxygen.
But Jacobs is hopeful. "I think she's going to make a great recovery," he said. "A month from now this is going to be a little bump in the road."
VIDEO-Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders make historic joint appeal for reunification | euronews, world news
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 04:05
For the first time ever the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities have delivered a joint televised message for Christmas.
They spoke initially in their own languages and then in each others to express their hopes for peace in a reunited country.
The Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said he wished a prosperous New Year and permanent peace to all Cypriots.
Sentiments shared by his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades who said he wanted Greek and Turkish Cypriots to live in harmony side by side in a peaceful, reunified homeland.
Local reports say the two men will meet at least three times in January.
For more than seven months, talks have ongoing over reuniting the divided island.
The Turkish-controlled north broke away in 1974 after a Greek-inspired coup. Today it's only recognised internationally by Turkey.
A 2004 United Nations plan to reunify the island was accepted by Turkey but rejected by Greek Cypriots.
VIDEO-'Black Christmas' marchers demand Chicago mayor quits | euronews, world news
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 04:02
"At anytime someone can plant a gun on me and say I was trying to shoot them as they shoot me. This is why I am in fear for my life."
Demonstrators along Chicago's upscale Michigan Avenue in the US state of Illinois have disrupted Christmas shoppers to demand the city's Mayor Rahm Emanuel quit over what they say is his intentional covering up of police killings of black men.
Police gun down an average of 17 people every year, according to Reuters news agency.
''People stand together and make the new-found society to stop all of the police brutality that is going on in society,'' said one protester. ''There is for many years, police have been terrorizing African Americans.''
''Now we all have to be in fear,'' said another. ''At anytime someone can plant a gun on me and say I was trying to shoot them as they shoot me. This is why I am in fear of my life.''
Chicago has seen widespread protests since the release of a video showing last year's police killing of a black teenager.
The graphic footage taken from a dashcam shows 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times.
Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder. Police say McDonald had refused to drop a knife and that Van Dyke had feared for his life.
Emanuel has apologised for his handling of the fatal police shooting and has pledged to review police practices, but said he will not step down.
VIDEO-Erdogan dissuades Bosphorus Bridge jumper | euronews, world news
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 03:53
A dramatic scene on Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge on Friday as Turkish President Erdogan dissuaded a man from committing suicide.
Erdogan motorcade happened to be crossing the bridge as the man was preparing to jump.
The president's bodyguards approached him and Erdogan spoke to him through his car window.
Turkish state media reports that the man, Vezir Catras, is from Turkey's eastern Siirt province and has family trouble.
Catras soon climbed back over the railing and spoke to Erdogan in his car, at one point kissing him on his hand.
Erdogan gave instructions for officials to solve the man's problems before driving off.
VIDEO-ISIL audio message threatens Israelis | euronews, world news
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 03:44
A new message purporting to come from the leader of the group calling itself Islamic State (ISIL) warned that Israelis must expect strikes.
''Palestine will be your graveyard, Jews,'' said the audio recording, described as being by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
It said air strikes by Russia and a US-led coalition had failed to weaken it.
''Be confident that God will grant victory to those who worship him, and hear the good news that our state is doing well. The more intense the war against it, the purer it becomes and the tougher it gets,'' said the message.
It slammed Saudi Arabia's efforts to set up a coalition of Muslim nations to fight his group. ''If it was an Islamic coalition, it would have declared itself free from its Jewish and Crusader lords and made the killing the Jews and the liberation of Palestine its goal,'' the message said.
The authenticity of the message, posted on Saturday (December 26) on Twitter accounts that have published ISIL statements in the past, could not be verified.
The last such online public message said to be by Baghdadi was posted in May, and he has been reported injured or killed several times in fighting.
VIDEO-Birthplace Of President Bill Clinton Set On Fire! - YouTube
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 03:37
VIDEO-California Governor Pardons Robert Downey Jr For Heroin And Cocaine Possession Conviction - YouTube
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 03:33
VIDEO-Exclusive: Islamic State sanctioned organ harvesting in document taken in U.S. raid | Reuters
Sun, 27 Dec 2015 02:57
WASHINGTON Islamic State has sanctioned the harvesting of human organs in a previously undisclosed ruling by the group's Islamic scholars, raising concerns that the violent extremist group may be trafficking in body parts.
The ruling, contained in a January 31, 2015 document reviewed by Reuters, says taking organs from a living captive to save a Muslim's life, even if it is fatal for the captive, is permissible.
For a U.S. government translation of the document, click here
Reuters couldn't independently confirm the authenticity of the document. U.S. officials say it was among a trove of data and other information obtained by U.S. special forces in a raid in eastern Syria in May.
"The apostate's life and organs don't have to be respected and may be taken with impunity," says the document, which is in the form of a fatwa, or religious ruling, from the Islamic State's Research and Fatwa Committee.
"Organs that end the captive's life if removed: The removal of that type is also not prohibited," Fatwa Number 68 says, according to a U.S. government translation.
The document does not offer any proof that Islamic State actually engages in organ harvesting or organ trafficking. But it does provide religious sanction for doing so under the group's harsh interpretation of Islam - which is rejected by most Muslims. Previously, Iraq has accused Islamic State of harvesting human organs and trafficking them for profit.
The document does not define ''apostate,'' though the Islamic State has killed or imprisoned non-Muslims, such as Christians, and Shiite Muslims, as well as Sunni Muslims who don't follow its extremist views.
DOCUMENTS SHARED WITH ALLIES
U.S. officials say the records that were seized have given the U.S. government a deep look into how Islamic State organizes, raises funds and codifies laws for its followers.
Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, told Reuters the documents should be examined by the U.N. Security Council as evidence that Islamic State could be trafficking in organs to raise cash.
The May raid in Syria, which resulted in the death of Islamic State top financial official Abu Sayyaf and the capture of his wife, netted seven terabytes of data in the form of computer hard drives, thumb drives, CDs, DVDs and papers, said Brett McGurk, U.S. President Barack Obama's Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, in an interview. Abu Sayyaf was a Tunisian militant whose real name was Fathi ben Awn ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi.
U.S. officials have previously described the Abu Sayyaf raid and some of the documentation seized. But until now, none of the actual documents have been released - aside from materials illustrating Islamic State's trafficking in antiquities, made public at an event at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art in September.
The U.S. government has shared some of the documents from the Abu Sayyaf raid with allied governments in an effort to increase their understanding of Islamic State in recent weeks as Washington works to shore up support for countering the group.
The group of documents reviewed by entitled "Lessons Learned From the Abu Sayyaf Raid" - show how the Islamic State has provided a legal justification to its followers for a range of practices.
For instance, ''Fatwa Number 64'' dated January 29, 2015, provides detailed rules for rape, prescribing when Islamic State men can and cannot have sexual intercourse with female slaves.
The fatwa sanctioning organ harvesting justifies the practice in part by drawing an analogy to cannibalism in extreme circumstances, a practice it says earlier Islamic scholars had allowed. ''A group of Islamic scholars have permitted, if necessary, one to kill the apostate in order to eat his flesh, which is part of benefiting from his body,'' it says.
McGurk said Islamic State's Research and Fatwa Committee reports directly to the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
ORGANS OF 'INFIDELS'
The ruling on organ harvesting cites Islamic texts, principles and laws that it says support what it calls "the notion that transplanting healthy organs into a Muslim person's body in order to save the latter's life or replace a damaged organ with it is permissible."
Senior U.S. officials, including McGurk, said they have not been able to ascertain whether the Islamic State had followed through on the fatwa on organ harvesting.
The document provides ''a religious justification for harnessing the organs of what they call infidels,'' he said.
William McCants, a Brookings Institution scholar who is author of the book ''The ISIS Apocalypse,'' said the group's ruling on slavery and human organs don't represent modern Islamic interpretations.
In February, Alhakim, had urged the U.N. Security Council to investigate the deaths of 12 doctors in the Islamic State-held city of Mosul. Alhakim said the doctors were killed after refusing to remove organs.
The U.N. special envoy for Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, said at the time that he could not confirm the claim, but it would be investigated. The U.N. has not provided an update on that investigation, which Alhakim said he would ask the Security Council to revisit.
(Reporting by Warren Strobel, Jonathan Landay and Phil Stewart; Editing by David Greising and Martin Howell)
An Islamic State flag flies over the custom office of Syria's Jarablus border gate as it is pictured from the Turkish town of Karkamis, in Gaziantep province, Turkey August 1, 2015.
Reuters/Murad Sezer
VIDEO-Larry David Sex with a palestinian woman - YouTube
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 22:16

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Caliphate Photos from Sub7Zero

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California Governor Pardons Robert Downey Jr For Heroin And Cocaine Possession Conviction.mp3

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