790: Climate Disobedience

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 45m
January 14th, 2016
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Executive Producers: Tina Tawfall

Cover Artist: Runtanplan

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Migrants
Refugees protest against 'monotonous' Italian food - The Local
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 03:09
A protest held by refugees against ''monotonous'' Italian food was ''excessive'', especially at a time when thousands of Italians go hungry, the president of a police organization told The Local.
For two days, a group of about 40 asylum-seekers staying at a refugee centre in the Veneto province of Belluno refused to eat the ''pasta with tomato sauce, bread and eggs'' meals they were given and called to be fed food from their own countries, Libero Quotidiano reported.
To reinforce their point, they blocked a street with a wooden bench, put their lunch on the ground along with bags of clothes and threatened to leave the centre in La Secca, a hamlet in Ponte nelle Alpi.
They reportedly said ''we do not eat this stuff''.
The refugees, said to have been staying at the centre for the past four months, also reportedly slashed the tires of cars belonging to staff working there in protest against living conditions.
The protest, which follows similar ones at centres in Pozzallo in Sicily and Rome, was also partly sparked by ''boredom'', the newspaper said, as they ''do not know what to do with themselves''.
Police soon broke up the protest and the refugees resumed eating, but Antonio De Lieto, the president of Libero Sindicato di Polizia, a non-profit organization that represents staff of the state police force, told The Local that the action was ''excessive''.
''There are thousands of Italians living in poverty and who aren't even eating one meal a day, let alone two or three,'' he said.
''They're not complaining that the food isn't good, but that it is not the food of their countries. But when you're hosted in someone's home, for example, you eat their food, right? It's like on the many occasions I've been hosted in England, I don't expect to eat spaghetti.''
Sam, a migrant from Gambia who has been staying at a centre on the outskirts of Rome for almost a year, told The Local that the food, which mainly consists of pasta, ''is not good'' and that some have started making their own meals.
''We need the diet from our country,'' he said.
Sam, who paid a people smuggler '‚¬4,000 to travel to Italy, said he passes the days by travelling on buses throughout the capital.
''I don't want to hang around the centre all day. I can't work and even if I could, too many Italians are also looking for jobs. Once I get my documents I want to go somewhere else, maybe Germany or The Netherlands.''
Canada to turn away single men as part of Syrian refugee resettlement plan | World news | The Guardian
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 03:05
People took to the streets at Yonge-Dundas square in Toronto on Sunday with banners and signs rejecting Islamophobia and welcoming refugees. Photograph: NurPhoto/Rex Shutterstock
Canada will accept only whole families, lone women or children in its mass resettlement of Syrian refugees while unaccompanied men '' considered a security risk '' will be turned away.
Since the Paris attacks launched by Syria-linked jihadis, a plan by the new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, to fast-track the intake of 25,000 refugees by year's end has faced growing criticism in Canada.
Details of the plan will be announced Tuesday but Canada's ambassador to Jordan confirmed that refugees from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey will be flown to Canada from Jordan starting 1 December.
Speaking in Jordan on Monday, ambassador Bruno Saccomani said the operation would cost an estimated C$1.2bn (US$900m), the official Petra news agency reported.
According to Canadian public broadcaster CBC, the resettlement plan will not extend to unaccompanied men.
Quebec premier Philippe Couillard seemed to corroborate that report ahead of a meeting with Trudeau and Canada's provincial leaders where the refugee plan was high on the agenda.
''All these refugees are vulnerable but some are more vulnerable than others '' for example, women, families and also members of religious minorities who are oppressed,'' he said, although he rejected the notion of ''exclusion'' of single men.
Faisal Alazem, of the Syrian Canadian Council, a non-profit group in talks with the government to sponsor refugees, told Radio-Canada of the plans: ''It's a compromise.
''This is not the ideal scenario to protect vulnerable people '' women and children and men too. But I think what happened in Paris has really changed the dynamic and public opinion,'' he said.
Trudeau broadly outlined his intention to take in the Syrian refugees during the campaign that swept his Liberals into office last month, and has mobilized several government ministries to get the job done since being sworn in three weeks ago.
But the Paris attacks that killed 130, claimed by the Islamic State group, stirred fears in both Europe and North America that jihadis could seek to blend in with refugee masses in order to strike later.
Related:Syrian refugees: empathy wanes in US and UK as more voters say shut borders
A recent poll suggests that 54% of Canadians now oppose the accelerated timeline.
Trudeau's government has sought to reassure the White House over its plans, as Barack Obama faces a barrage of opposition to his own scheme to resettle 10,000 refugees in the coming year.
Public safety minister Ralph Goodale said he spoke to US homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson over the weekend and assured him that ''safety and security ... remain our highest priority''.
''Canada is integrating security throughout the [resettlement] process, and is committed to making sure everything related to security is done without compromise,'' he said.
The minister said he also provided to Johnson ''assurances that our timeline will not affect Canada's ability to appropriately select and screen refugees''.
Opposition New Democratic party leader Thomas Mulcair, however, warned against casting too large a safety net.
''Will a young man who lost both parents be excluded from the refugee program?'' he said. ''Will a gay man who is escaping persecution be excluded? Will a widower who is fleeing Daesh after having seen his family killed be excluded?'' he said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
Leaks to Canadian media have pointed to a massive endeavor to fly in 900 Syrian refugees daily to Montreal and Toronto.
Health minister Jane Philpott said the leaked information was ''outdated'' but declined to correct the record.
According to CBC, Canadian officials have screened more than 4,000 asylum seekers in the past six weeks, on top of the UN refugee agency's registration process. At this pace, Ottawa would fall far short of its resettlement goal.
Once in Canada, the refugees would reportedly be housed at two military bases in Ontario and Quebec, until more suitable accommodations are found.
Canadian colleges also announced 200 scholarships to help Syrian asylum seekers sharpen their skills and find work in Canada.
''It is important that we as a society collectively help them to rebuild their lives,'' said National Association of Career Colleges chief executive Serge Buy.
The UN refugee agency estimates that more than 4 million Syrians have fled the civil war that has ravaged their country and killed more than 250,000 people.
Anti-immigrant 'Soldiers of Odin' raise concern in Finland | Reuters
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 02:55
By Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell
HELSINKI (Reuters) - Wearing black jackets adorned with a symbol of a Viking and the Finnish flag, the "Soldiers of Odin" have surfaced as self-proclaimed patriots patrolling the streets to protect native Finns from immigrants, worrying the government and police.
On the northern fringes of Europe, Finland has little history of welcoming large numbers of refugees, unlike neighbouring Sweden. But as with other European countries, it is now struggling with a huge increase in asylum seekers and the authorities are wary of any anti-immigrant vigilantism.
A group of young men founded Soldiers of Odin, named after a Norse god, late last year in the northern town of Kemi. This lies near the border community of Tornio, which has become an entry point for migrants arriving from Sweden.
Since then the group has expanded to other towns, with members stating they want to serve as eyes and ears for the police who they say are struggling to fulfil their duties.
Members blame "Islamist intruders" for what they believe is an increase in crime and they have carried placards at demonstrations with slogans such as "Migrants not welcome".
While most Finns disapprove of the group, its growth signals disquiet in a country strained by the cost of receiving the asylum seekers while mired in a three-year-old recession that has forced state spending and welfare cuts.
Finnish police have also reported harassment of women by "men with a foreign background" at New Year celebrations in Helsinki, as well as at some public events last autumn.
This followed complaints of hundreds of sexual assaults on women in Cologne and other German cities - with investigations focused on illegal migrants and asylum seekers - and allegations that Swedish police covered up accusations of similar assaults by mostly migrant youths in Stockholm.
Police files show reported cases of sexual harassment in Finland almost doubled to 147 in the last four months of 2015 from 75 in the same period a year earlier. The figures give no ethnic breakdown of the alleged perpetrators.
NO PLACE FOR VIGILANTES
The government has made clear there can be no place for vigilantes. "As a matter of principle, police are responsible for law and order in the country," Prime Minister Juha Sipila told public broadcaster YLE on Tuesday, responding to concerns about the group. "Civilian patrols cannot assume the authority of the police."
Finland received about 32,000 asylum seekers last year, a leap from 3,600 in 2014. Yet it has a relatively small immigrant community, with only around 6 percent of the population foreign-born in 2014 compared with a European Union average of 10 percent.
In Kemi, the Soldiers of Odin patrol the streets daily despite the temperatures sinking to -30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit). The group has stated it operates in 23 towns, but police says the network operates in five. Its Facebook page has 7,600 "likes".
"In our opinion, Islamist intruders cause insecurity and increase crime," the group says on its website. One self-proclaimed member, aiming to recruit new members in the eastern town of Joensuu, said on Facebook the group is "a patriotic organisation that fights for a white Finland".
In the eastern German city of Leipzig, more than 200 masked right-wing supporters, carrying placards with racist overtones, went on a rampage this week.
Last October, a masked swordsman in Sweden killed two people with immigrant backgrounds in a school attack that fuelled fears that the refugee influx is polarising public opinion.
In Finland, no clashes have been reported between the Soldiers of Odin patrols and immigrants but police said they are keeping a close eye on the group. The Security Intelligence Service has said "some patrol groups" seem to have links to extremist movements.
LET THE POLICE DO THEIR JOB
Police acknowledge patrolling alone is not a crime. "As long as the patrols only report possible incidents to police, they have the right to do so," said Kemi police Chief Inspector Eero Vanska. However, he added: "They should let the police do their job."
Some Soldiers of Odin members play down the group's motives, saying it aims to help people regardless of their skin colour. The group has closed its website following reports on some members' criminal background. Members contacted by Reuters declined to comment.
But one of the group's founders in Kemi, Mika Ranta, made clear immigration was the focus.
"We woke up to a situation where different cultures met. It caused fear and concern in the community," he told a local newspaper in October. "The biggest issue was when we learned from Facebook that new asylum seekers were hanging around primary schools, taking pictures of young girls."
Vanska said some asylum seekers had been seen near schools with phones. But he added that these reports could be simple misunderstandings and there was no concrete evidence to support the accusations.
The coalition government - which includes The Finns, an anti-immigration party - has criticised the patrols.
"These kinds of patrol clearly have anti-immigration and racist attributes and their action does not improve security," interior minister Petteri Orpo told Reuters. "Now the police must commit its scarce resources to (monitoring) their action."
But the government faces pressure to clamp down more on asylum seekers. Support for The Finns party, which joined the coalition in May, has plummeted partly because voters are frustrated with the government's handling of migrants.
The government has tightened immigration policies, requiring working-age asylum seekers to do some unpaid jobs and acknowledge a "national curriculum" on Finnish culture and society.
The patrols have also prompted a counter-movement, with Facebook communities hoping to avert confrontations on the streets. One such is the Sisters of Kyllikki, named after a character in the national epic poem Kalevala.
"Our aim is to help people and to build up dialogue with all Finns as well as with immigrants," said Niina Ruuska, a founder of the group which has about 1,500 Facebook members.
(Editing by Alistair Scrutton and David Stamp)
VIDEO-READ-Angela Merkel admits Europe has lost control of the refugee crisis | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 15:43
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted Europe is 'vulnerable' because it does not have the 'order or control' it would like regarding the refugee crisis.
Merkel said yesterday at an event in Mainz, near Frankfurt, that Europe was 'vulnerable' in the refugee crisis because it was not yet in control of the situation to the extent that it would like to be.
She said: 'Now all of a sudden we are facing the challenge that refugees are coming to Europe and we are vulnerable, as we see, because we do not yet have the order, the control, that we would like to have.'
Scroll down for video
Merkel said yesterday at an event in Mainz, near Frankfurt, that Europe was 'vulnerable' in the refugee crisis because it was not yet in control of the situation to the extent that it would like to be (she is pictured yesterday)
Protestors from the far-right PEGIDA movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) march during a rally in Leipzig yesterday to protest at the increasing numbers of refugees entering Germany
She also said the euro was 'directly linked' to freedom of movement in Europe, adding: 'Nobody should act as though you can have a common currency without being able to cross borders reasonably easily.'
Merkel said that if countries did not allow their borders to be crossed without much difficulty, the European single market would 'suffer acutely' - meaning that Germany, at the centre of the European Union and its largest economy, should fight to defend freedom of movement.
The EU has struggled to cope with a tide of refugees from war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, most of whom have landed in Greece or Italy before heading for wealthier northern EU states.
Germany has taken in the bulk of them, more than a million last year alone.
Some EU countries have re-established border controls within the passport-free Schengen zone, where they had been abolished, while efforts to share out the asylum-seekers across EU member states have floundered.
Merkel said that, to preserve the Schengen zone within the EU, it was necessary to make the bloc's external borders more secure.
Yesterday thousands of protesters waved anti-migrant signs and flags in the eastern German city of Leipzig as they demonstrated against a refugee influx they blame for a number of incidents of sexual violence at New Year's Eve events in Cologne.
The rally was organised by LEGIDA, the local chapter of xenophobic group PEGIDA, the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident.
A poster of Chancellor Merkel and one of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban reading 'Thank you' is held aloft by a PEGIDA protester
Protesters chanted 'We are the people', 'Resistance!' and 'Deport them!', in reference to the refugees they accused of sexual violence at New Year's Eve events in Cologne
A heavy police presence, with water canon at the ready, kept watch over the crowd at yesterday's protest march by the far-right movement
Many chanted 'We are the people', 'Resistance!' and 'Deport them!'.
Others vented their anger and frustration at Chancellor Merkel, who they accused of destroying Germany by letting in 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015.
'Refugees not welcome!' read one sign, showing a silhouette of three men armed with knives pursuing a woman, while another declared 'Islam = terror'.
A heavy police presence, with water canon at the ready, kept watch over the crowd and separated them from a group of counter-demonstrators.
Waving a sign which said 'State of injustice', 44-year-old demonstrator Lukas Richter said: 'Merkel is breaching the constitution and must go,' and that 'the government must close the borders and return all illegal migrants'.
He claimed that the New Year's Eve mob attacks in the western city of Cologne - where hundreds of women reported being groped and robbed by men described as being of Arabic or North African appearance - highlighted 'the violence of foreigners in Germany that has existed for years'.
The rally came as it emerged vigilante mobs have been attacking people from Pakistan and Syria in Cologne, leaving at least two in hospital, following calls on social media for 'revenge' in the wake of the New Years Eve assaults.
The attacks were carried out by groups of young men, allegedly targeting foreigners, after reports Cologne police are focusing their investigation on asylum seekers and migrants.
German police say the number of criminal complaints filed after the events on New Year's Eve in Cologne has risen to 516 - 40 per cent relating to allegations of sexual assault.
Attacks: Right-wing supporters attend a to protest against the New Year's Eve sex attacks in Cologne, as police reports that a number of Pakistani and Syrian men have been attacked by vigilante groups
Two Pakistani nationals were admitted to hospital after six men were attacked by a mob of 20 people near the city's main train station - the scene of the New Years Eve attacks - on Sunday.
It is unclear what their condition is although the police are looking to press charges of 'serious bodily harm' against their attackers who kicked, beat and abused them verbally.
According to the Cologne Express newspaper, a group of 'hooligans, rockers and bouncers' joined up on Facebook in revenge.
The Express said the Facebook vigilante groups had promised an 'orderly clean up' of the old town centre in their 'manhunt.'
Police confirmed one Syrian man was also hurt in an attack on Sunday, which took place just 20 minutes after the first, but is believed to have been carried out by a separate group of five men.
Two Pakistani nationals were admitted to hospital after six men were attacked by a mob of 20 people near Cologne's main train station(pictured)
Racial tension: Supporters of Pegida, Hogesa (Hooligans against Salafists) and other right-wing populist groups protest against the New Year's Eve sex attacks in Cologne, Germany, this weekend
Too little too late? Police presence has now been heightened in Cologne, but many criticise the force's actions on New Years Eve, saying not enough was done to stop the mob assaults on women
The 39-year-old man was injured but did not require medical treatment.
Police say they are still investigating whether the attacks were racially motivated and whether there was any link to the New Year assaults.
Today, the minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state where Cologne is located, admitted that people of foreign descent were responsible for virtually all of the violence on New Year's Eve in the city.
'Based on testimony from witnesses, the report from the Cologne police and descriptions by the federal police, it looks as if people with a migration background were almost exclusively responsible for the criminal acts,' Ralf Jaeger, interior minister from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia told a special commission on the Cologne violence.
'All signs point to these being north Africans and people from the Arab world,' he added. 'Based on what we know now from the investigation, asylum seekers who arrived in the past year are among the suspects.'
Cologne has a significant first and second generation immigrant population and racial tension has heightened in the wake of New Years Eve.
Mob violence: More than 500 criminal complains have now been filed over the events outside Cologne's famous cathedral on New Years Eve, where young women were sexually assaulted, raped and robbed
The city, which has a population of just over one million, has more than 120,000 practicing Muslim residents and the largest Jewish communities in Germany. Just over 5.5 per cent are born in Turkey.
Over the past week, the police presence in the city has been heightened, but many called the efforts 'too little too late', questioning why officers had not been able to stop the attacks.
On Monday, a regional parliamentary commission in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, whose largest city is Cologne, will question police and others about the events on New Year's Eve.
The attacks on women in Cologne have also sparked a debate about tougher rules for migrants who break the law, faster deportation procedures and increased security measures such as more video surveillance in public areas and more police.
Swiss troops train for mass migration scenario - SWI swissinfo.ch
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:37
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As thousands of migrants continue to cross land and sea to reach western Europe, Switzerland is making sure it is prepared if groups mass at its borders. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)This weekend, thousands of migrants were stuck at the Hungarian/Austrian border, while more than 4,000 people fleeing their homelands were rescued in the Mediterranean on one single day.
It coincided in Switzerland with a large-scale army exercise codenamed ''Conex 15''. Soldiers are training with border police so they know what to do if large groups head for the alpine country.
The army has been planning the exercise for several years: it is not specifically in response to the present crisis. But defence minister, Ueli Maurer, says Switzerland has a pool of 800 soldiers who could be sent to borders at any time to help question new arrivals, carry out patrols and assist with transport.
Several hundred people demonstrated against the Conex army exercise in Basel over the weekend, leading to clashes between police and protestors
SOTU
REASON FOR IRAN SAILORS SISTRACTION-Email Bombshell: Benghazi Response Teams Deliberately Stopped By Whitehouse
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 23:41
first published on January 12, 2016 by Will
For years, the Obama Administration has stood behind two excuses (given under oath) for not sending a quick reaction force to assist in rescuing American citizens during the Sept. 11, 2012 al Qaeda-linked attacks on the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans. The first excuse being: There were no forces available that could have responded quickly. The second reason was: Even if they had scrambled more people, they couldn't have gotten there in time to make a difference.
Now, an email, hidden for three years, has come to light and refutes the Obama Administration's narrative as to why our boys at Benghazi weren't given the reinforcements that may have saved their lives.
Former Defense Department Chief of Staff, Jeremy Bash, sent an email to the State Department early into the attacks that clearly states that we had multiple quick reaction forces ready to action on the objective, which adds further significant proof that the rescue forces were deliberately stopped by the White House.
Bash's email, sent to top State Department officials just three hours into the eight hour ordeal said, '''...we have identified the forces we could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak. They include a SOF (Special Operations Forces) element that was in Croatia, and a Marine FAST unit out of Roda, Spain.'' Meaning, there were at least two elite units that were at REDCON-1 (all personnel geared up, seated on the aircraft, weapons ready, with the engines started). They just needed clearance from the Commander in Chief to enter Libya. That clearance never came.
The White House declined to comment on the recently surfaced email that opposes their long-standing narrative that no assets were available or ready, and that they had done everything possible for the Americans on the ground, under attack, in Benghazi.
According to the report, the Obama Administration never even sought approval from Libya to send in the reinforcements. That approval, according to the CIA and military experts interviewed, would have been given by the host nation without delay.
The SOF element wasn't the only available rescue unit interrupted from deploying. Foreign Emergency Response Team Leader Mark Thompson testified that his squad was told to stand down. A separate military team operating in nearby Tripoli, Libya, was ordered not to board a plane for Benghazi as well. Additionally, the CIA annex's Global Response Staff (GRS), who were roughly a mile from the besieged consulate were heavily delayed for no apparent reason by their leadership. They only got the green light from higher after it was apparent that they were going to go anyway, with or without approval.
The brave and selfless actions of these CIA contractors saved many lives, and their story is now being brought to the big screen in Michael Bay's 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi. Two of the contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty, both ex Navy SEALs, were killed in the fighting.
To add to the perplexing circumstances surrounding the event, the American embassy in Cairo, Egypt had been overrun by Islamist sympathizers just five hours prior to the initial attack in Benghazi. There should have been multiple teams of U.S. quick reaction forces standing by across Europe and Africa'... teams whose sole mission is to respond to these types of events.
We need to stop treating the Benghazi event as a political, polarizing issue. This has nothing to do with democrats versus republicans, but has everything to do with taking care of our own. Whether it was deliberate, or through incompetent negligence, American heroes were thrown to the wolves and written off, and then repeatedly lied about under oath by this administration, and those responsible need to be held accountable.
GENEVA CONVENTION DOUBLE STANDARD-UKRAINE-FRUSSIA-As Peace Talks Approach, Rebels Humiliate Prisoners in Ukraine - The New York Times
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:27
PhotoA passer-by at a checkpoint taunted a woman suspected of aiding the Ukrainian military. The prisoner had to hold a sign saying: ''She kills our children.''Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York TimesDONETSK, Ukraine '-- On the sidewalk of a busy street beside a checkpoint, a bearded gunman wrapped a woman in a Ukrainian flag and forced her to stand, sobbing in terror, holding a sign identifying her as a spotter for Ukrainian artillery. ''She kills our children,'' it read. Because the woman was a spy, said the gunman, a pro-Russian militant, everything that would happen to her would be well-deserved.
Passers-by stopped their cars to get out and spit, slap her face and throw tomatoes at her. Her knees buckled. She struggled to mumble in protest of her innocence and to shake her head in denial.
This theatrical scene of abuse unfolded a day after the rebel movement had paraded Ukrainian prisoners of war down a main thoroughfare here at bayonet point, then dramatically washed the pavement behind them.
The public humiliation of prisoners came as the presidents of Russia and Ukraine prepared to meet for peace talks in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, on Tuesday. The taunting and provocation appeared to be aimed at dissuading the Ukrainian government from accepting a settlement that might forestall a broader Russian intervention, a development that separatists here are banking on as their military fortunes wane.
Further muddying the prospects for a diplomatic breakthrough, Ukraine accused Russia on Monday of opening a new front in the war by sending an armored column across the border from Russia south of the Ukrainian lines that surround the rebel capital, Donetsk.
The Russian government dismissed the accusation and the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, speaking in Moscow, said that Western governments should not expect Russia to make all the concessions in a settlement and that Ukraine, too, would have to compromise.
The Ukrainian military said 10 tanks and two armored infantry vehicles manned by Russian soldiers disguised as separatist fighters had crossed the border near the town of Novoazovsk and engaged in combat with Ukrainian border guards. The claim could not be independently confirmed.
Continue reading the main storyNATO Reports Increased Russian Troop MovementMore than two months into a shaky cease-fire, NATO reported significant new Russian troop movements into Ukraine. NATO's top military commander said that convoys of tanks, artillery and combat troops were streaming over the border, in what appeared to be preparations for renewed military action. View full graphic >>
Also on Monday, Russia announced it would send a second convoy of humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine across a border area controlled by pro-Russian separatists; Ukrainian officials say the movement of goods is calculated to undermine the country's sovereignty.
The drama that played out on the streets of Donetsk Monday seemed sure to ratchet up tensions. A military unit of Russian nationals from the region of North Ossetia, in southern Russia, held the woman at a checkpoint in a roundabout in Donetsk known as ''the Motel,'' for a nearby hotel. The men, smiling and gesturing toward the woman, waved over cars for drivers to observe or take part.
''We should hang you on the square,'' one woman in the crowd yelled, then walked up and spat in the face of the victim, then kicked her in a thigh, causing the woman accused of spying to stagger back.
PhotoRussia's foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, at a news conference in Moscow on Monday.Credit Maxim Zmeyev/ReutersThe gunmen looked on. At times, the pro-Russian soldiers posed beside the crying woman to take selfies on their smartphones, or playfully twirl her hair with their fingers.
At one point, a fighter walked a few paces back, crouched in the street and aimed a Kalashnikov rifle at the woman in a mock execution. The woman shut her eyes. ''Open your eyes, stand up straight!'' another of the gunmen yelled.
A call placed by The New York Times to an aide for a senior separatist commander informing him of the abuse resulted in the rebel soldiers at the checkpoint briefly detaining the journalists. The aide, who uses only the nickname The Georgian, sent a car with gunmen to extricate the suspected spy and journalists from the Motel.
PhotoA Russian convoy parked in a field outside Donetsk after crossing into Ukraine through a border crossing held by pro-Russian separatists.Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York TimesThe two groups of gunmen agreed to release the journalists, but were not able to agree on handing over the woman. After the discussion, the captors drove her away to an unknown location.
The man known as The Georgian, who is a member of the Vostok Battalion, which consists of mostly local Ukrainians, said the Ossetian volunteers at the Motel checkpoint do not report to Ukrainian commanders, so nothing further could be done. He said he condemned the abuse.
At the peace talks in Minsk, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the Russia-led Customs Union, including the presidents of Kazakhstan and Belarus. Although the talks offer some hope for a negotiated settlement to the conflict, both Mr. Putin and Mr. Poroshenko are under strong pressure from nationalists at home to press on militarily.
Oleh Voloshyn, a former Ukrainian diplomat, said in a telephone interview from Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, that Mr. Poroshenko will use the summit meeting to ask Mr. Putin to halt the flow of Russian volunteers and military hardware across the border and may offer, perhaps in private talks or via subordinates on the sidelines, autonomous status for portions of eastern Ukraine in exchange. The Ukrainian government, however, will not accept any legitimization of the main rebel group here, the Donetsk People's Republic, Mr. Voloshyn said, particularly after the public abuse of prisoners.
''After yesterday's parade of prisoners of war, the sympathy toward the people of the Donbass is low in other regions in Ukraine,'' he said, making it politically difficult for Mr. Poroshenko to negotiate, something that factions in the separatist movement intent on drawing in Russian peacekeepers want, Mr. Voloshyn said. ''Most Ukrainians want peace. But if it comes to a choice between total humiliation and war, they will choose war.''
In Moscow, Mr. Lavrov, the foreign minister, was questioned about the parade held Sunday in which prisoners of war from the Ukrainian Army were displayed. Researchers with Human Rights Watch said the parade violated Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits ''outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment against prisoners of war.'' Mr. Lavrov said the parade did not appear to meet that standard. ''I saw a picture of this parade,'' he said. ''I did not see anything close to abuse.''
A version of this article appears in print on August 26, 2014, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: With Peace Talks Near, Prisoners in Ukraine Are Abused.
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President Obama Taps Twitter Vet Jason Goldman As White House's First Chief Digital Officer | TechCrunch
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:41
President Obama announced this morning that Jason Goldman, a longtime tech industry executive best known for his work alongside Ev Williams during the formative years of products such as Blogger, Twitter, and Medium, has been named the White House's first-ever ''Chief Digital Officer.'' The news was first reported by Politico.
Goldman will be overseeing the White House's digital outreach and leading its Office of Digital Strategy, expanding upon the duties previously spearheaded by erstwhile Obama aide Dan Pfeiffer. ''Goldman brings new energy and coveted expertise as someone who's helped shape the digital age,'' Obama said in a quote to Politico.
He is the latest in a string of tech industry stars to join the public policy field in recent months: Former Google exec Megan Smith was tapped to serve as the White House's CTO this past fall, and last week senior Facebook engineer David Recordon joined the White House to serve as its director of IT.
Jason Goldman - | CrunchBase
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:41
Jason Goldman was the former VP of Product at Twitter. Prior to Twitter, he was the Director of Product Strategy at Obvious.
Before Obvious, he spent three and a half years working with Google on the Blogger project having been with the startup team at Blogger a half year before Google acquired it.
Techno Experts
Global Engagement Center
A New Center for Global Engagement
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 16:16
The State Department is revamping its counter-violent-extremist communications efforts through a new Global Engagement Center. This center will more effectively coordinate, integrate and synchronize messaging to foreign audiences that undermines the disinformation espoused by violent extremist groups, including ISIL and al-Qaeda, and that offers positive alternatives. The center will focus more on empowering and enabling partners, governmental and non-governmental, who are able to speak out against these groups and provide an alternative to ISIL's nihilistic vision. To that end, the center will offer services ranging from planning thematic social media campaigns to providing factual information that counters-disinformation to building capacity for third parties to effectively utilize social media to research and evaluation.
The State Department is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael D. Lumpkin to lead this new effort as the Director of the new Global Engagement Center. Mr. Lumpkin currently serves as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict, a Senate-confirmed position he has held since late 2013. In this role, Mr. Lumpkin oversees all special operations, including counterterrorism, counter narcotics, and humanitarian and disaster relief efforts.
''I am delighted that Michael has agreed to bring his wealth of experience and expertise on counterterrorism issues to lead the new Global Engagement Center at the State Department,'' said Secretary of State John Kerry. ''At this critical stage in the fight against Daesh '' and in the global effort to counter violent extremism '' the GEC will lead the effort to synchronize messaging to foreign audiences that will counter the destructive messages of violent extremist groups.''
Under Mr. Lumpkin's leadership, the Global Engagement Center will employ a strategy defined by:
Drawing upon data and metrics to develop, test, and evaluate themes, messages, and messengers;Building narratives around thematic campaigns on the misdeeds of our enemy (e.g., poor governance, abuse of women, narratives of defectors), not the daily news cycle;Focusing on driving third-party content, in addition to our own; andNurturing and empowering a global network of positive messengers.The Center will implement its strategy by:
Seeking out and engaging the best talent, within the technology sector, government and beyondEngaging across our government to coordinate, integrate and synchronize counterterrorism communications directed toward foreign audiences;Identifying and enabling international partners with credibility and expertiseEstablishing and implementing a campaign-focused culture;Scaling up data science and analytics and using both throughout the design, implementation and evaluation phases of these campaigns;Providing seed funding and other support to NGOs and media startups focused on countering violent extremist messaging;Identifying gaps in U.S. Government messaging and counter- messaging capabilities directed toward foreign audiences, and recommending steps to resolve them; andSharing information and best practices with U.S. Government agencies focused on the challenge of homegrown violent extremism.Amplifying the successes of the Counter-ISIL Coalition in defeating ISIL on both the military and information battlefield.The Center will continue to be housed within the Department of State and staffed by experts from the private sector and U.S. Government agencies charged with protecting our national interests and security '' as well as the security of our allies '' against the threat of international terrorism.
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State steps up counter-terrorism digital initiatives -- FCW
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 16:14
Digital Diplomacy
State steps up counter-terrorism digital initiativesBy Aisha ChowdhryJan 11, 2016The State Department on Jan 8. announced a new director for the Global Engagement Center, which focuses on helping allies including non-governmental individuals on countering the messaging of terrorists groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Michael D. Lumpkin, who currently serves as assistant secretary of defense for special operations/low-intensity conflict, will lead the center with staff consisting of experts within the private sector and government agencies.
"At this critical stage in the fight against Daesh -- and in the global effort to counter violent extremism -- the GEC will lead the effort to synchronize messaging to foreign audiences that will counter the destructive messages of violent extremist groups," Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.
To counter terrorist groups' online messaging, the center will assist in crafting social media campaigns, providing "factual information that counters disinformation" and helping "third parties to effectively utilize social media to research and evaluation," the department said in a statement.
"While I applaud the State Department's focus on this critical issue, it's not clear from this announcement what will be different from so many different government approaches that have been tried in the past," Kristin Lord, president and CEO of IREX, an international development non-profit organization, told FCW.
"What is promising," she said, "is that this center could invest, through seed funding and other support, to amplify and support voices that are credible -- but this will require a very light touch by the us government and extensive work with partners."
The State Department's announcement came around the same time when the White House said it will establish the Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, which will sync the efforts of the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice domestically. That same day, senior officials from the White House met with members of the technology industry in Silicon Valley to follow up on conversations about expanding the work between the government and private sectors on combating terrorism and counter violent extremism online.
"The horrific attacks in Paris and San Bernardino this winter underscored the need for the United States and our partners in the international community and the private sector to deny violent extremists like ISIL fertile recruitment ground," Ned Price, the White House National Security Council spokesman, said.
Lord, meanwhile, said that technology is important but not necessarily the driving force.
"Technology is an important amplifier and platform for extremist messages," she said, "but the bigger problem is why these extremist ideologies are persuasive, why people continue to hold the grievances they do, and why people are willing to use violence in support of extremist ideologies."
About the Author
Aisha Chowdhry is a staff writer covering Congress, the State Department, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security.
Prior to joining FCW, Chowdhry covered foreign policy for CQ Roll Call. Her overseas work prior to that took her to Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has worked as a correspondent for Reuters based out of Islamabad. Chowdhry has also worked at the CBS affiliate in Washington as a multimedia journalist. She began her career as a freelance reporter for USA Today and covered stories from conflict zones. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Voice of America, among others.
Chowdhry received her masters in broadcast journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.
Click here for previous articles by Chowdhry, or connect with her on Twitter: @aishach
Agenda 2030
Climate Necessity Defense - Climate Disobedience Center
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:18
This guide is intended as an educational resource for climate dissidents. It offers information about the legal system and presents the experiences of certain environmental activists. Before planning any action, take stock of your situation, your community, and your capacity. If you are arrested, you are committing yourself to the federal and/or state criminal legal system, which may have consequences that include a conviction, jail, and/or probation. Act accordingly. If you are not able to deal with the consequences of arrest, don't risk it. Activism can take many forms, so be honest with yourself about how you can be most effective in fighting for a just and healthy world.
** Please be aware that this guide is not legal advice and does not form an attorney-client relationship. **
What is the climate necessity defense? The climate necessity defense is an argument made by a criminal defendant to justify action taken on behalf of the planet. It's offered by activists who have been arrested for protesting fossil fuel extraction and government inaction on climate policy.
The climate necessity defense is associated with the tradition of civil disobedience '-- the deliberate violation of the law to confront a moral problem. People who commit civil disobedience believe that they are obeying a higher moral law or code. Sometimes the existing criminal law doesn't align with this higher morality, and so disobedience is required in order to live morally. Climate necessity defendants argue that their actions were not really illegal: they were acting in the public interest, which the law protects.Instead of seeking a plea agreement or trying to win an acquittal, defendants offering the climate necessity defense admit their criminal conduct but argue that it was necessary to avoid a greater harm. The basic idea behind the defense '-- also known as a ''choice of evils,'' ''competing harms,'' or ''justification'' defense '-- is that the impacts of climate change are so serious that breaking the law is necessary to avert them.
By admitting their conduct and asking a judge or jury to find them not guilty by reason of necessity, activists draw attention to injustice and the failure of the law to protect the planet.
Because the climate necessity defense asks people to make judgments about individual responsibility, legal obligation, and the good of society, it is essentially a moral argument couched in the language of criminal law.
How does it work?The rules governing the use of the necessity defense vary by state and by court. Always check with a lawyer to figure out which jurisdiction your case would fall under and what sorts of special requirements apply for attempting the defense.
In general, this is what the process looks like:
ArrestNot guilty pleaOffer necessity defense to judgePresent defense to juryConviction or acquittal1. Arrest: You're arrested while committing your act of civil disobedience. This is part of the process '-- you want to both prevent continued climate change and have a chance to use the legal system to further your views.
2. Not guilty plea: Within a short time after your arrest, you will face an arraignment or preliminary hearing to learn about the charges that the state is bringing against you '-- for example, trespassing at a private facility. Activists preparing for a climate necessity defense will plea not guilty to the charges.
3. Offer necessity defense to judge: After arraignment, the prosecution and the defense will start to prepare for trial. There will likely be a series of pre-trial hearings where lawyers will hash out various technical matters, like what sorts of evidence they want to present. During this stage, you and your attorney will tell the judge that you plan to present a climate necessity defense: this is called the offer, proffer, or notice of intent to present a defense.
The judge will probably hold a hearing on whether to allow your defense. You will present arguments about why the defense is acceptable and should go to a jury, and the prosecution will try to show that your defense of justification is unacceptable. This is a crucial stage: the judge gets to decide whether or not you have the right to argue that your crime was justified. Before your case ever gets to the jury, your argument may be dismissed ''as a matter of law'': in other words, because the judge doesn't think your defense is appropriate. On the next page we explain the factors that play into this decision.
4. Present defense to jury: If the judge allows your defense to go forward, you'll be all set to go to trial. You'll finally have a chance to tell your side of the story and to present evidence about the dangers of climate change, the reasons behind your action, and why civil disobedience was required. Activists often bring in experts such as climate scientists to testify about the harms of global warming. Remember: you'll be admitting that you technically broke the law, but you'll be asking to be found not guilty because your actions were justified. This is your opportunity to educate the jury and to discuss the moral reasons behind your action.
5. Conviction or acquittal: Once you've finished your defense, the jury (or, in the case of a bench trial, the judge) will take time to deliberate. They'll consider the evidence you've presented and the strength of your arguments for justification. Then you'll find out whether you've been found not guilty by reason of necessity.
What's the argument? You may have noticed that that the judge has lots of control at step '‘: he or she can decide whether you're allowed to present your necessity defense at all. To clear this hurdle, you'll need to prove that a reasonable juror would accept your justification argument. This is a preview of the argument you'll give to the jury at step '‘£. Although the exact requirements vary by jurisdiction '-- again, always consult a lawyer '-- the basic steps in the argument are as follows:
' You need to prove that you faced a serious danger. For example, a defendant might argue that burning coal poses a serious threat to humans and the planet. Most courts require defendants to present some evidence that this danger is imminent '-- in other words, that it is near and certain, rather than distant and speculative.
' Next, you need to demonstrate that you reasonably expected your illegal protest to avert this serious danger. For example, a defendant might argue that he believed that disrupting a gas lease auction would prevent increased drilling.
' You must also show that there were no legal alternatives to your criminal conduct '-- that civil disobedience was necessary because nothing else would work. For example, a defendant might argue that lobbying or signing petitions could not have prevented the construction of a pipeline, so she had to form a blockade.
' Finally, many courts require you to prove that there is nopublic policy against your defense. Basically, this requires you to show that there is no law saying that the necessity defense is unavailable for your specific charge. For example, there is rarely a law saying that trespassing can never be justified by necessity.
So what's the point?The legal technicalities of the climate necessity defense can get a bit complicated. But at its most basic level, the defense allows activists to call attention to and explain the reasons behind their climate disobedience. Because courts are public institutions designed to serve the common good, they can be an excellent forum in which to address society and educate people about climate change.
Traditionally, the American jury was seen as a democratic institution that gave ordinary citizens a voice in the criminal justice system. This is less true today, when most cases end in plea agreements and judges exercise enormous power over the types of arguments that defendants can present. But in the rare instances in which defendants are able to defend their conduct to a jury of their peers, they enjoy tremendous success both in winning acquittals and in drawing attention to injustice.
Climate activists are driven by concern for society and the planet. By presenting a necessity defense '-- that is, describing the dangers of climate change, the lack of effective legal remedies, and the importance of individual action '-- activists in effectput the government on trial. If such an argument succeeds, it sends a very powerful message about the need for political change and the value of personal initiative.
So while the necessity argument is technically a form of criminal defense, what's really happening when activists defend their climate disobedience is democracy in action, with citizens using the direct confrontation of a courtroom to discuss the most pressing issue of our time.
Does it really work?As of the writing of this pamphlet, the climate necessity defense has succeeded only once, in the United Kingdom in 2008. Although it hasn't yet worked in the United States, there's good reason to think it will soon.
As described earlier, an activist attempting a climate necessity defense will plead not guilty to her charges and will notify the judge that she wishes to present a necessity defense. The judge will decide as a matter of law whether to allow the activist to use the defense '-- that is, whether the criminal statute under which the activist has been charged allows the necessity defense at all, and whether a reasonable juror could possibly find the defense to be valid (step '‘). Because judges enjoy a wide range of discretion at this stage in the criminal process, most attempts at the necessity defense have failed here, before the jury ever hears the activists' arguments.
So keep this in mind: the climate necessity defense is a novel legal tool that hasn't yet succeeded in any court in the United States.
But there's cause for hope. In the past, activists have been found not guilty by reason of necessity for protesting issues like nuclear weapons, CIA recruitment, and apartheid. Once they were able to describe their civil disobedience to a jury, protesters were often able to prove that their minor crimes of trespassing or disorderly conduct were justified in light of the serious injustices that they were facing. But in each case, it took the courts several years to catch up to public opinion and to allow the activists to present their necessity arguments to a jury. Luckily, it looks like courts are finally starting to reach this point in cases involving protests against climate change:
Signs of hope . . .In 2007, six activists painted the prime minister's name on the chimney of an English coal plant to draw attention to climate change. A year later, a jury found that their actions were justified because of the serious dangers posed by climate change. Because the jury thought that causing property damage to a coal plant was a relatively minor crime compared to the harms caused by global warming, the activists were acquitted.
In 2011, activist Tim DeChristopher attempted to use the necessity defense to justify his disruption of a federal gas lease auction in Utah. DeChristopher argued to the judge that the jury should hear about the government's illegal leasing practices and the large amount of carbon dioxide that would be released into the atmosphere if drilling were allowed. Rather than permit these arguments in the courtroom, the judge denied the defense as a matter of law (step '‘ in the process described earlier). But the attempt garnered international attention and inspired similar protests '-- ultimately resulting in the cancellation of the leases and the successful conservation of pristine land.
In 2013, activists Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward used a lobster boat to block a coal shipment to a Massachusetts power plant. In the months following their arrest, it was announced that the coal plant was shutting down. The following year, the activists prepared a climate necessity defense for the jury, and their defense was approved by the judge '' meaning they cleared step '‘ allowing them to present a necessity case in court. But on the morning of their trial, the prosecutor dropped all charges and said that O'Hara and Ward's action was morally justified. This surprising turn of events indicated a reluctance to punish protesters for defending the climate and a growing acceptance of the reasoning behind the necessity defense.
In 2014, Alec Johnson faced trial for locking down to a piece of heavy machinery along the Keystone XL Pipeline route in Oklahoma. His protest and subsequent trial galvanized pipeline opponents across the country. Although the judge rejected his necessity defense, resulting in a conviction on two minor charges, Johnson faced no jail time and his support team was able to cover the cost of his fines.
In 2015, eleven activists arrested during the Flood Wall Street protests in New York had their charges of disorderly conduct dismissed after refusing to obey police orders to leave the street. Once again, the judge in this case rejected the necessity defense at step '‘, deciding that the protesters' actions were not reasonably expected to avert climate change. But in dismissing the charges for other reasons, the judge made a point of noting the serious dangers posed by climate change and commended the activists' moral conviction. In other words, the protesters were able to use the necessity defense to broadcast the issues they cared about and the necessity of civil disobedience, and they avoided any punishment for their protest.
What we learn from these cases is that, although the climate necessity defense has not yet been put before an American jury, the courts are starting to come around. In the Massachusetts and New York cases, the protesters' attempted use of the necessity defense drew attention to their cause, and their moral arguments eventually won out.
As our climate crisis worsens, drastic action is needed to force those in power to do something before it is too late. For activists convinced that civil disobedience is part of the solution, the climate necessity defense can be an important tool to defend and publicize their actions. And as soon as the first activist manages to successfully use the necessity defense at trial, it will become a powerful precedent for future defendants to justify their moral lawbreaking.
Okay, I want to try to use the defense. What should I do?The first thing to keep in mind is that there are no guarantees when it comes to the legal system. You very well may not be able to present the climate necessity defense at all. You should only engage in civil disobedience if you are able to accept the full legal consequences of your behavior.
You should also consider whether you are prepared to be a spokesperson for your cause. Because the climate necessity defense turns upon your personal motivations and convictions, you should be ready to have your ideas and emotions scrutinized in court and in the media. Make sure you are confident in your beliefs and that you are able to articulate the reasons why you have turned to civil disobedience.
And most importantly: always consult a lawyer. Attorneys can't give you advice about how to commit a crime, but you can ask them general questions about the law of necessity. Have a sympathetic attorney on call for when you are arrested, and never speak to the police or prosecutors without your lawyer present.
With those points in mind, here are some practical considerations for activists interested in attempting the climate necessity defense:
'Create a track record of legal efforts to solve the problem. You'll have to prove in court that you made a good-faith effort to do everything short of committing civil disobedience. Learn the history of your campaign, collect evidence of past efforts to remedy the problem, and exhaust the traditional avenues of persuasion.
'Know the law of your jurisdiction. It's easier to argue necessity in certain places than in others, so learn the exact requirements of your jurisdiction. You should also familiarize yourself with what laws are in effect regarding the industry or government practice you're protesting, as the judge will want to know whether or not allowing your defense would conflict with established public policy.
'Conduct your protest in a responsible manner. The tradition of civil disobedience is based on non-violence and respect. In court, you'll be evaluated on the manner in which you conducted yourself during moments of high tension. Anything that suggests aggression or intolerance will look bad to a jury. Pay attention to the images you present, the language you use, and the arguments that you make.
'Document your action. You'll want definitive proof of what happened during your protest so that you can show the court and the jury that you acted responsibly '-- and to make sure that the police aren't the only ones telling your story. Have your support team photograph and film your action where possible, and create a written record immediately after the protest has ended.
'Act like a good citizen. Deliberately breaking the law is a highly controversial tactic, and any additional resistance you offer to the police, prison staff, or court employees will reflect negatively on your character. Allies turn up in unlikely places, so use your time in the criminal justice system to change minds, not to harden hearts. In court, conduct yourself accordingly: be respectful, act humbly, and demonstrate love for your fellow human beings.
And throughout your planning and defense, the Climate Disobedience Center is here to support you . . .
The Climate Disobedience Center is dedicated to confronting the climate crisis at the point of injury. We provide logistical and legal support for activists engaged in peaceful disobedience. Our goal is to create a community of climate dissidents prepared to put their bodies on the line for the planet.
If you're thinking about attempting a climate necessity defense, get in touch with us for organizing support and legal resources.
And check out our website, climatedisobedience.org, for guidance and more information on activists who have attempted the climate necessity defense and to learn about our circle of resistance.
The Climate Necessity Defense by the Climate Disobedience Center is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Donate - Climate Disobedience Center
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:16
We just launched the Climate Disobedience Center. We're counting on grassroots support. Help us start big!
Thank you for supporting the work of the Climate Disobedience Center! Your donation(s) make our work possible, especially our pro bono work with climate activists and organizing communities.
The best way to help us deep and expand our work is to offer a monthly donation. Knowing we have your ongoing support greatly assists in our planning. If you have the means, please become a monthly supporter here.
You may make a one time donation on this page. If you would like to donate via check, please make out your check to "SocialGood" (our fiscal sponsor) with "Climate Disobedience" in the memo line, and mail it to SocialGood, PO Box 5473, Richmond, CA 94805. Your Credit/Debit/PayPal contribution will be marked as donated to "SocialGood", our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.
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Climate Disobedience Center
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:15
This guide is intended as an educational resource for climate dissidents. It offers information about the legal system and presents the experiences of certain environmental activists. Before planning any action, take stock of your situation, your community, and your capacity. If you are arrested, you are committing yourself to the federal and/or state criminal legal system, which may have consequences that include a conviction, jail, and/or probation. Act accordingly. If you are not able to deal with the consequences of arrest, don't risk it. Activism can take many forms, so be honest with yourself about how you can be most effective in fighting for a just and healthy world.
** Please be aware that this guide is not legal advice and does not form an attorney-client relationship. **
What is the climate necessity defense? The climate necessity defense is an argument made by a criminal defendant to justify action taken on behalf of the planet. It's offered by activists who have been arrested for protesting fossil fuel extraction and government inaction on climate policy.
The climate necessity defense is associated with the tradition of civil disobedience '-- the deliberate violation of the law to confront a moral problem. People who commit civil disobedience believe that they are obeying a higher moral law or code. Sometimes the existing criminal law doesn't align with this higher morality, and so disobedience is required in order to live morally. Climate necessity defendants argue that their actions were not really illegal: they were acting in the public interest, which the law protects.Instead of seeking a plea agreement or trying to win an acquittal, defendants offering the climate necessity defense admit their criminal conduct but argue that it was necessary to avoid a greater harm. The basic idea behind the defense '-- also known as a ''choice of evils,'' ''competing harms,'' or ''justification'' defense '-- is that the impacts of climate change are so serious that breaking the law is necessary to avert them.
By admitting their conduct and asking a judge or jury to find them not guilty by reason of necessity, activists draw attention to injustice and the failure of the law to protect the planet.
Because the climate necessity defense asks people to make judgments about individual responsibility, legal obligation, and the good of society, it is essentially a moral argument couched in the language of criminal law.
How does it work?The rules governing the use of the necessity defense vary by state and by court. Always check with a lawyer to figure out which jurisdiction your case would fall under and what sorts of special requirements apply for attempting the defense.
In general, this is what the process looks like:
ArrestNot guilty pleaOffer necessity defense to judgePresent defense to juryConviction or acquittal1. Arrest: You're arrested while committing your act of civil disobedience. This is part of the process '-- you want to both prevent continued climate change and have a chance to use the legal system to further your views.
2. Not guilty plea: Within a short time after your arrest, you will face an arraignment or preliminary hearing to learn about the charges that the state is bringing against you '-- for example, trespassing at a private facility. Activists preparing for a climate necessity defense will plea not guilty to the charges.
3. Offer necessity defense to judge: After arraignment, the prosecution and the defense will start to prepare for trial. There will likely be a series of pre-trial hearings where lawyers will hash out various technical matters, like what sorts of evidence they want to present. During this stage, you and your attorney will tell the judge that you plan to present a climate necessity defense: this is called the offer, proffer, or notice of intent to present a defense.
The judge will probably hold a hearing on whether to allow your defense. You will present arguments about why the defense is acceptable and should go to a jury, and the prosecution will try to show that your defense of justification is unacceptable. This is a crucial stage: the judge gets to decide whether or not you have the right to argue that your crime was justified. Before your case ever gets to the jury, your argument may be dismissed ''as a matter of law'': in other words, because the judge doesn't think your defense is appropriate. On the next page we explain the factors that play into this decision.
4. Present defense to jury: If the judge allows your defense to go forward, you'll be all set to go to trial. You'll finally have a chance to tell your side of the story and to present evidence about the dangers of climate change, the reasons behind your action, and why civil disobedience was required. Activists often bring in experts such as climate scientists to testify about the harms of global warming. Remember: you'll be admitting that you technically broke the law, but you'll be asking to be found not guilty because your actions were justified. This is your opportunity to educate the jury and to discuss the moral reasons behind your action.
5. Conviction or acquittal: Once you've finished your defense, the jury (or, in the case of a bench trial, the judge) will take time to deliberate. They'll consider the evidence you've presented and the strength of your arguments for justification. Then you'll find out whether you've been found not guilty by reason of necessity.
What's the argument? You may have noticed that that the judge has lots of control at step '‘: he or she can decide whether you're allowed to present your necessity defense at all. To clear this hurdle, you'll need to prove that a reasonable juror would accept your justification argument. This is a preview of the argument you'll give to the jury at step '‘£. Although the exact requirements vary by jurisdiction '-- again, always consult a lawyer '-- the basic steps in the argument are as follows:
' You need to prove that you faced a serious danger. For example, a defendant might argue that burning coal poses a serious threat to humans and the planet. Most courts require defendants to present some evidence that this danger is imminent '-- in other words, that it is near and certain, rather than distant and speculative.
' Next, you need to demonstrate that you reasonably expected your illegal protest to avert this serious danger. For example, a defendant might argue that he believed that disrupting a gas lease auction would prevent increased drilling.
' You must also show that there were no legal alternatives to your criminal conduct '-- that civil disobedience was necessary because nothing else would work. For example, a defendant might argue that lobbying or signing petitions could not have prevented the construction of a pipeline, so she had to form a blockade.
' Finally, many courts require you to prove that there is nopublic policy against your defense. Basically, this requires you to show that there is no law saying that the necessity defense is unavailable for your specific charge. For example, there is rarely a law saying that trespassing can never be justified by necessity.
So what's the point?The legal technicalities of the climate necessity defense can get a bit complicated. But at its most basic level, the defense allows activists to call attention to and explain the reasons behind their climate disobedience. Because courts are public institutions designed to serve the common good, they can be an excellent forum in which to address society and educate people about climate change.
Traditionally, the American jury was seen as a democratic institution that gave ordinary citizens a voice in the criminal justice system. This is less true today, when most cases end in plea agreements and judges exercise enormous power over the types of arguments that defendants can present. But in the rare instances in which defendants are able to defend their conduct to a jury of their peers, they enjoy tremendous success both in winning acquittals and in drawing attention to injustice.
Climate activists are driven by concern for society and the planet. By presenting a necessity defense '-- that is, describing the dangers of climate change, the lack of effective legal remedies, and the importance of individual action '-- activists in effectput the government on trial. If such an argument succeeds, it sends a very powerful message about the need for political change and the value of personal initiative.
So while the necessity argument is technically a form of criminal defense, what's really happening when activists defend their climate disobedience is democracy in action, with citizens using the direct confrontation of a courtroom to discuss the most pressing issue of our time.
Does it really work?As of the writing of this pamphlet, the climate necessity defense has succeeded only once, in the United Kingdom in 2008. Although it hasn't yet worked in the United States, there's good reason to think it will soon.
As described earlier, an activist attempting a climate necessity defense will plead not guilty to her charges and will notify the judge that she wishes to present a necessity defense. The judge will decide as a matter of law whether to allow the activist to use the defense '-- that is, whether the criminal statute under which the activist has been charged allows the necessity defense at all, and whether a reasonable juror could possibly find the defense to be valid (step '‘). Because judges enjoy a wide range of discretion at this stage in the criminal process, most attempts at the necessity defense have failed here, before the jury ever hears the activists' arguments.
So keep this in mind: the climate necessity defense is a novel legal tool that hasn't yet succeeded in any court in the United States.
But there's cause for hope. In the past, activists have been found not guilty by reason of necessity for protesting issues like nuclear weapons, CIA recruitment, and apartheid. Once they were able to describe their civil disobedience to a jury, protesters were often able to prove that their minor crimes of trespassing or disorderly conduct were justified in light of the serious injustices that they were facing. But in each case, it took the courts several years to catch up to public opinion and to allow the activists to present their necessity arguments to a jury. Luckily, it looks like courts are finally starting to reach this point in cases involving protests against climate change:
Signs of hope . . .In 2007, six activists painted the prime minister's name on the chimney of an English coal plant to draw attention to climate change. A year later, a jury found that their actions were justified because of the serious dangers posed by climate change. Because the jury thought that causing property damage to a coal plant was a relatively minor crime compared to the harms caused by global warming, the activists were acquitted.
In 2011, activist Tim DeChristopher attempted to use the necessity defense to justify his disruption of a federal gas lease auction in Utah. DeChristopher argued to the judge that the jury should hear about the government's illegal leasing practices and the large amount of carbon dioxide that would be released into the atmosphere if drilling were allowed. Rather than permit these arguments in the courtroom, the judge denied the defense as a matter of law (step '‘ in the process described earlier). But the attempt garnered international attention and inspired similar protests '-- ultimately resulting in the cancellation of the leases and the successful conservation of pristine land.
In 2013, activists Jay O'Hara and Ken Ward used a lobster boat to block a coal shipment to a Massachusetts power plant. In the months following their arrest, it was announced that the coal plant was shutting down. The following year, the activists prepared a climate necessity defense for the jury, and their defense was approved by the judge '' meaning they cleared step '‘ allowing them to present a necessity case in court. But on the morning of their trial, the prosecutor dropped all charges and said that O'Hara and Ward's action was morally justified. This surprising turn of events indicated a reluctance to punish protesters for defending the climate and a growing acceptance of the reasoning behind the necessity defense.
In 2014, Alec Johnson faced trial for locking down to a piece of heavy machinery along the Keystone XL Pipeline route in Oklahoma. His protest and subsequent trial galvanized pipeline opponents across the country. Although the judge rejected his necessity defense, resulting in a conviction on two minor charges, Johnson faced no jail time and his support team was able to cover the cost of his fines.
In 2015, eleven activists arrested during the Flood Wall Street protests in New York had their charges of disorderly conduct dismissed after refusing to obey police orders to leave the street. Once again, the judge in this case rejected the necessity defense at step '‘, deciding that the protesters' actions were not reasonably expected to avert climate change. But in dismissing the charges for other reasons, the judge made a point of noting the serious dangers posed by climate change and commended the activists' moral conviction. In other words, the protesters were able to use the necessity defense to broadcast the issues they cared about and the necessity of civil disobedience, and they avoided any punishment for their protest.
What we learn from these cases is that, although the climate necessity defense has not yet been put before an American jury, the courts are starting to come around. In the Massachusetts and New York cases, the protesters' attempted use of the necessity defense drew attention to their cause, and their moral arguments eventually won out.
As our climate crisis worsens, drastic action is needed to force those in power to do something before it is too late. For activists convinced that civil disobedience is part of the solution, the climate necessity defense can be an important tool to defend and publicize their actions. And as soon as the first activist manages to successfully use the necessity defense at trial, it will become a powerful precedent for future defendants to justify their moral lawbreaking.
Okay, I want to try to use the defense. What should I do?The first thing to keep in mind is that there are no guarantees when it comes to the legal system. You very well may not be able to present the climate necessity defense at all. You should only engage in civil disobedience if you are able to accept the full legal consequences of your behavior.
You should also consider whether you are prepared to be a spokesperson for your cause. Because the climate necessity defense turns upon your personal motivations and convictions, you should be ready to have your ideas and emotions scrutinized in court and in the media. Make sure you are confident in your beliefs and that you are able to articulate the reasons why you have turned to civil disobedience.
And most importantly: always consult a lawyer. Attorneys can't give you advice about how to commit a crime, but you can ask them general questions about the law of necessity. Have a sympathetic attorney on call for when you are arrested, and never speak to the police or prosecutors without your lawyer present.
With those points in mind, here are some practical considerations for activists interested in attempting the climate necessity defense:
'Create a track record of legal efforts to solve the problem. You'll have to prove in court that you made a good-faith effort to do everything short of committing civil disobedience. Learn the history of your campaign, collect evidence of past efforts to remedy the problem, and exhaust the traditional avenues of persuasion.
'Know the law of your jurisdiction. It's easier to argue necessity in certain places than in others, so learn the exact requirements of your jurisdiction. You should also familiarize yourself with what laws are in effect regarding the industry or government practice you're protesting, as the judge will want to know whether or not allowing your defense would conflict with established public policy.
'Conduct your protest in a responsible manner. The tradition of civil disobedience is based on non-violence and respect. In court, you'll be evaluated on the manner in which you conducted yourself during moments of high tension. Anything that suggests aggression or intolerance will look bad to a jury. Pay attention to the images you present, the language you use, and the arguments that you make.
'Document your action. You'll want definitive proof of what happened during your protest so that you can show the court and the jury that you acted responsibly '-- and to make sure that the police aren't the only ones telling your story. Have your support team photograph and film your action where possible, and create a written record immediately after the protest has ended.
'Act like a good citizen. Deliberately breaking the law is a highly controversial tactic, and any additional resistance you offer to the police, prison staff, or court employees will reflect negatively on your character. Allies turn up in unlikely places, so use your time in the criminal justice system to change minds, not to harden hearts. In court, conduct yourself accordingly: be respectful, act humbly, and demonstrate love for your fellow human beings.
And throughout your planning and defense, the Climate Disobedience Center is here to support you . . .
The Climate Disobedience Center is dedicated to confronting the climate crisis at the point of injury. We provide logistical and legal support for activists engaged in peaceful disobedience. Our goal is to create a community of climate dissidents prepared to put their bodies on the line for the planet.
If you're thinking about attempting a climate necessity defense, get in touch with us for organizing support and legal resources.
And check out our website, climatedisobedience.org, for guidance and more information on activists who have attempted the climate necessity defense and to learn about our circle of resistance.
The Climate Necessity Defense by the Climate Disobedience Center is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Necessity and Duress
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:15
The defense of necessity is available where the defendant acted under the reasonable belief that committing his offense would prevent a greater evil or harm from occurring. For example:
Christopher lives in a town that sits right on the edge of the Hundred Acre Woods. At the end of a hot and dry summer some brush in the woods catches fire and a forest fire quickly develops and spreads. The fire is quickly heading toward the town and Christopher believes that if he burns the row of houses directly on the edge of the forest he will create a fire wall which will then protect the rest of the town. If Christopher does, in fact, burn some of the houses under the reasonable belief that it will protect the rest of the town from the forest fire, he will be able to use the defense of necessity if he is charged with arson.
There are, however, several requirements that must be met in order for the defendant to use necessity as a defense. The first requirement is that the defendant must reasonably believe that an actual threat exists. Therefore, in order to use the defense, Christopher must reasonably believe that the forest fire will destroy all or part of the town. Please note that as long as this belief is reasonable, he will be able to use the defense even if the forest fire never actually approaches the town.
Second, the defendant must reasonably believe that the threat he is trying to prevent is greater than the damage that will result from his actions. Therefore, Christopher will be able to use the necessity defense if he reasonably believes that burning some of the houses at the edge of the forest is a lesser evil than allowing the entire town to burn.
Third, the threatened harm that the defendant is trying to prevent with his actions must be imminent.
Fourth, the defendant can only use the necessity defense if there was no other, less harmful way to avoid the threatened danger. In the above example, Christopher will only be able to use the necessity defense if burning a few of the houses was the least harmful way to protect the town.
Finally, the defendant will only be able to use the defense if the defendant himself was not at fault in creating the situation that made it necessary to commit his crime. In other words, if Christopher himself had been responsible for the forest fire, he would not be able to use necessity as a defense to burning those houses.
Most jurisdictions hold that economic necessity alone does not justify the commission of criminal acts. Therefore, one who commits a crime out of economic necessity, for example if a person robs a convenience store because he is unemployed and has no other way of making money and feeding his family, he will not be able to use the necessity defense.
An interesting issue that has evolved over the last twenty-five years has been situations in which prisoners have escaped from jail and claim that escaping was the only way to avoid greater harm such as sexual assault and beatings. Typically, these arguments have been rejected where the prisoners have had other non-criminal options available to them. However, there have been a few cases where the court has allowed this defense to at least be argued to the jury, where the defendant has proven that efforts to secure protection from prison authorities or the courts would have been either impossible or useless. However, the same courts have indicated that, even when necessity can apply to the crime of escape, the defendant will only be able to use the defense successfully if he can show that, once the immediate threat of harm was over, he turned himself in to proper authorities. See People v. Lovercamp, 43 Cal. App. 3d 823 (1974). For example:
Fred is currently serving a fifteen year prison sentence for breaking into Barney's house. Fred has suffered several beatings and sexual assaults from other inmates in the prison. Fred has tried to alert the prison authorities but they refuse to listen to him. Finally, Fred escapes from prison to avoid further abuse. Fred makes his escape one night but, first thing the next morning, he turns himself in to the local police, telling them who he is, what he has done and why. Fred is immediately arrested and eventually tried for escaping from prison. In this case, Fred will be able to use the necessity defense because he had tried and exhausted his non-criminal options. Further, he will probably succeed with this defense because he can show that as soon as the imminent threat of abuse was over he turned himself in to the proper authorities.
The defense of duress can be made when the defendant has been forced to commit a criminal act by another person. Please note that the difference between duress and necessity is that necessity can be raised only where the defendant committed his criminal act as a result of the physical forces of nature, whereas the defense of duress is raised when the defendant committed his act as a result of threats made by another person.
There are five different requirements that must be met in order for duress to be raised. First, the defendant must have actually been threatened. Please note that reasonable belief that he was threatened is not enough. In order to raise the defense, the defendant must have actually been threatened.
Second, according to the common law, the threat must have been of death or serious bodily harm. However, modern laws do not require that the threat be of death or serious bodily harm and they will often allow the defense even if the threat was of some lesser bodily harm.
Third, the threat must have been made against another person. Please note that the threat does not have to be against the defendant himself or the defendant's family. A threat of harm to a complete stranger is enough to give rise to this defense.
Fourth, the threat must be of immediate harm. Threats of future harm, no matter how serious they are, are not enough to give rise to this defense.
Finally, it must be shown that the defendant had no opportunity to avoid the threat by a non-criminal method.
Duress is a defense to every crime except intentional killing and attempted intentional killing. While duress is not a defense to intentional killing, it may be used to establish a lack of premeditation. Therefore, while it will not insulate a defendant completely from a conviction, it may help him avoid a murder conviction in favor of a lesser manslaughter conviction.
Further, duress is not available if the defendant either intentionally or recklessly put himself in a position in which he should have foreseen that he would have been subject to duress. See Williams v. State, 646 A.2d 1101 (Md. 1994). For example:
Fred borrows fifty thousand dollars from the Corleone crime family for a period of two months. At the end of two months, Fred cannot pay the money back. Fred is kidnapped by members of the Corleone family and brought in front of Don Corleone, the head of the family. Don Corleone tells Fred that he must pay the money back even if he has to rob a bank to get it or Don Corleone will kill him. Don Corleone gives Fred two days to repay the money. As a result, Fred does, in fact, rob a bank. In this situation Fred will not be able to use duress as a defense to a charge of robbery, because he intentionally placed himself in a position in which he should have foreseen that he would be subject to duress.
Necessity - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:14
In U.S. criminal law, necessity may be either a possible justification or an exculpation for breaking the law. Defendants seeking to rely on this defense argue that they should not be held liable for their actions as a crime because their conduct was necessary to prevent some greater harm and when that conduct is not excused under some other more specific provision of law such as self defense. Except for a few statutory exemptions and in some medical cases [1] there is no corresponding defense in English law for murder.[2]
For example, a drunk driver might contend that he drove his car to get away from a kidnap (cf. North by Northwest). Most common law and civil lawjurisdictions recognize this defense, but only under limited circumstances. Generally, the defendant must affirmatively show (i.e., introduce some evidence) that (a) the harm he sought to avoid outweighs the danger of the prohibited conduct he is charged with; (b) he had no reasonable alternative; (c) he ceased to engage in the prohibited conduct as soon as the danger passed; and (d) he did not himself create the danger he sought to avoid. Thus, with the "drunk driver" example cited above, the necessity defense will not be recognized if the defendant drove further than was reasonably necessary to get away from the kidnapper, or if some other reasonable alternative was available to him. However case law suggests necessity is narrowed to medical cases.
Necessity as a defense to criminal acts conducted to meet political ends was rejected in the case of United States v. Schoon.[3] In that case, thirty people, including appellants, gained admittance to the IRS office in Tucson, where they chanted "keep America's tax dollars out of El Salvador," splashed simulated blood on the counters, walls, and carpeting, and generally obstructed the office's operation. The court ruled that the elements of necessity did not exist in this case.[4]
General discussion[edit]As a matter of political expediency, states usually allow some classes of person to be excused from liability when they are engaged in socially useful functions but intentionally cause injury, loss or damage. For example, the fire services and other civil defenceorganizations have a general duty to keep the community safe from harm. If a fire or flood is threatening to spread out of control, it may be reasonably necessary to destroy other property to form a fire break, or to trespass on land to throw up mounds of earth to prevent the water from spreading. These examples have the common feature of individuals intentionally breaking the law because they believe it to be urgently necessary to protect others from harm, but some states distinguish between a response to a crisis arising from an entirely natural cause (an inanimate force of nature), e.g. a fire from a lightning strike or rain from a storm, and a response to an entirely human crisis. Thus, parents who lack the financial means to feed their children cannot use necessity as a defense if they steal food. The existence of welfare benefits and strategies other than self-help defeat the claim of an urgent necessity that cannot be avoided in any way other than by breaking the law. Further, some states apply a test of proportionality. So the defense would only be allowed where the degree of harm actually caused was a reasonably proportionate response to the degree of harm threatened. This is a legal form of cost''benefit analysis.
Specific jurisdictions[edit]Denmark and Norway[edit]Emergency law/right (n¸dret, n¸drett) is the equivalent of necessity in Denmark and Norway.[5][6] It is considered related to but separate from self-defence. Common legal examples of necessity includes: breaking windows and other objects in order to escape a fire, commandeering a vehicle to serve as an emergency ambulance, ignoring traffic rules while rushing a dying patient to a hospital, and even killing a person who poses an immediate threat to several other people not including yourself. In the last case self-defense laws are not enough, but the case is covered by n¸dret. N¸dret can only be invoked though when no other option is available.
International law[edit]Customary international law[edit]Under international law, an obligation of customary international law or an obligation granted under a bilateral investment treaty may be suspended under the doctrine of necessity. It is "an exception from illegality and in certain cases even as an exception from responsibility." See Continental Casualty Company v Argentine Republic, ICSID Case No ARB/03/09. In order to invoke the doctrine of necessity: (1) The invoking State must not have contributed to the state of necessity, (2) Actions taken were the only way to safeguard an essential interest from grave and impending danger. Id. at page 72, paragraph 165.
Taiwan, Republic of China[edit]Necessity is a possible defense per the Criminal Code[7] and the Administrative Penalty Act.[8]
United States[edit]In specific states[edit]See also[edit]References[edit]Christie, The Defense of Necessity Considered from the Legal and Moral Points of View, (1999) Vol. 48 Duke Law Journal, 975.Fuller, Lon L. The Case of the Speluncean Explorers, (1949) Vol. 62, No. 4 Harvard Law Review [1] and The Case of the Speluncean Explorers: A Fiftieth Anniversary Symposium, (1999) 12 Harvard Law Review 1834.Herman, United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyer's Cooperative. Whatever Happened to Federalism? (2002) Vol. 95, No. 1 The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 121.Travis, M. The Compulsion Element in a Defence of Necessity (2000) [2]^See Re A (Conjoined Twins: Surgical Separation) [2001] Fam 147^See R v Dudley and Stephens [1884] 14 QBD 273 and R v Howe [1987] 1 AC 417^Cavallaro, James L., Jr. (1993), The demise of the political necessity defense: indirect civil disobedience and United States v. Schoon, University of California Press, ISSN 0008-1221 ^U.S. v. Schoon, 939 F2d 826 (July 29, 1991).^Straffeloven p¥ Retsinformation^Straffeloven av 2005 § 17^Article 24 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of China.^Article 13 of Administrative Penalty Act.
The Good News on Global Warming: We've Delayed the Next Ice Age by 100,000 years or more.- Bloomberg Business
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:47
Global warming caused by fossil fuel emissions is blamed by scientists for intensifying storms, raising sea levels and prolonging droughts. Now there's growing evidence of a positive effect: we may have delayed the next ice age by 100,000 years or more.
The conditions necessary for the onset of a new ice age were narrowly missed at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research near Berlin wrote Wednesday in the journal Nature. Since then, rising emissions of heat-trapping CO2 from burning oil, coal and gas have made the spread of the world's ice sheets even less likely, they said.
''This study further confirms what we've suspected for some time, that the carbon dioxide humans have added to the atmosphere will alter the climate of the planet for tens to hundreds of thousands of years, and has canceled the next ice age,'' said Andrew Watson, a professor of Earth sciences at the University of Exeter in southwest England who wasn't involved in the research. "Humans now effectively control the climate of the planet."
The study reveals new findings on the relationship between insolation, a measure of the Sun's energy reaching the planet, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the spread of ice sheets that characterize an ice age. The researchers in Germany were able to use computer models to replicate the last eight glacial cycles and provide predictions on when the next might occur.
The scientists found that even without further output of heat-trapping gases, the next ice age probably wouldn't set in for another 50,000 years. That would make the current so-called inter-glacial period ''unusually long,'' according to the lead author, Andrey Ganopolski.
''However, our study also shows that relatively moderate additional anthropogenic CO2-emissions from burning oil, coal and gas are already sufficient to postpone the next ice age for another 50,000 years,'' which would mean the next one probably won't start for 100,000 years, he said.
''The bottom line is that we are basically skipping a whole glacial cycle, which is unprecedented.''
Levels of CO2 have risen to about 400 parts per million now from 280 parts per million before the Industrial Revolution. The authors of the latest study signaled that if the concentration had been 240 parts per million at the time, the onset of a new ice age may have been triggered, and that farming practices before industrialization may have saved us from crossing that threshold.
''Whether this narrow escape from glacial inception was natural remains debatable,'' the researchers wrote. ''It has been proposed that pre-industrial land-use at least partly contributed'' to the CO2 level registered in the 1800s.
While avoiding an ice age is a positive for humans, scientists have for three decades warned of the dangers of climate change, which may threaten the very existence of some nations as rising temperatures raise sea levels through both thermal expansion and by melting ice sheets. Envoys from 195 nations sealed a new agreement in Paris last month to contain the rise in temperatures since the 1800s to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and to work towards a 1.5-degree cap.
The last ice age lasted about 100,000 years, ending about 12,000 years ago. The northern ice sheets stretched as far south as the U.K. and Germany in Europe, as well as covering most of Canada and the northern U.S. An inter-glacial period would typically last between 20,000 and 30,000 years, according to Jonathan Bamber, director of the Bristol Glaciology Center at the University of Bristol.
''It is both remarkable and a little scary to think that, in a short space of time, humans have been able to modify the climate system in such a dramatic and profound way,'' Bamber said in an e-mailed statement.
Ministry of Truth
Hollywood stars follow Obama's gun control script, tweeting White House talking points on cue | Fox News
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 00:05
LOS ANGELES '' Hollywood stars make their living delivering lines written by others, and on the subject of gun control many are quoting a script written by an unlikely source '' the White House.
An email sent last week to Tinseltown's A-listers by Associate Director of Public Engagement at the White House Jesse Moore '' titled ''Artists & Entertainers Unite to #StopGunViolence'' and addressed to ''Family'' '' offered Twitter-ready talking points for showing support for President Obama's gun control agenda. FoxNews.com, which obtained a copy of the email, compared it to tweets sent by such stars as Ashton Kutcher, and found that the stars passed the thoughts on to adoring fans with little or no ad-libbing.
''This seems an unprecedented abuse of White House influence to manipulate the public into believing celebrities genuinely supported the president,'' said Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Institute. ''Hollywood is just an extension of Obama's press office.''
''This seems an unprecedented abuse of White House influence to manipulate the public into believing celebrities genuinely supported the president.''
- Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Institute
The email followed last Obama's Jan. 5 announcement that he was issuing an executive order to require that anyone selling firearms get a license and conduct background checks, deploying more than 200 Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents and investigators to enforce existing laws and pushing $500 million in spending on mental health issues he says are related to gun violence.
It is not known how many people the email went out to, but sources said it was received by several high-profile actors, directors, publicists, producers and writers. It offered cut-and-paste language to fit Twitter's 140-character limit, as well as President Obama's agenda.
''Below you have: short and long-term action steps, more info on POTUS's actions, highlights from YOUR Tweets thus far (thank you!), and draft Tweets for you to build from if helpful,'' the letter read.
It went on to offer step-by-step guidance for powerful entertainment figures to use their clout in the service of Obama.
''Make your voice heard on social media today using #StopGunViolence and see how many of your peers you can get to do the same,'' it read. ''I'll make sure everyone here knows you have the President's back.
The White House's Office of Public Engagement, which disseminated the informal instructions, bills itself as the ''embodiment of the President's goal of making government inclusive, transparent, accountable and responsible,'' also provided ''draft tweet language'' that included a link to the White House gun control campaign.
Examples included:
@POTUS is taking new commonsense steps to help #StopGunViolence.@POTUS is taking steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks.FACT: Each year, more than 30,000 American lives are cut short by guns. It's time to #StopGunViolence.FACT: Guns now kill as many people as cars in almost half of the U.S. It's time to #StopGunViolence.@POTUS is strengthening our background check system.Among the stars who dutifully relayed the messages to their followers were Ashton Kutcher and Mark Ruffalo, who tweeted ''@POTUS is taking steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks; and famed singer Andrea Bocelli, who tweeted ''FACT: Each year, more than 30,000 American lives are cut short by guns. It's time to #StopGunViolence'' to his 207,000 followers.
A White House representative told FoxNews.com that such communications are nothing new.
''We involve creative types/athletes in just about every issue and this is one that so many people are passionate about,'' said the spokesperson, who asked not to be named. ''Yes, we want to meet people where they are so we ask celebs what issues they are interested in'... All of this gets the message out further to a broad number of people which is always helpful.''
Other stars, including Julianne Moore, Melissa Joan Hart, Kerry Washington and Janelle Monae were ready to go with the #StopGunViolence hashtag on the very day Obama announced his executive orders. Days later, some 100 Hollywood heavyweights including Bradley Cooper, Jessica Alba and Judd Apatow to Olivia Munn, Edward Norton, Will Ferrell and Olivia Wilde went even further by sending a joint letter addressed to the President '' but more likely targeted at the people who buy movie tickets.
''Thank you for beginning to end this national disgrace and show your fellow citizens and the rest of the world that the United States of America does indeed stand for the principles of which it was founded,'' read the letter, which was sponsored by the Brady Campaign and Center to End Gun Violence.
Celebrity and politics have long been intertwined, said Brown University Sociology Professor Hilary Levey Friedman. Given the immediacy of social media, it is understandable that the White House would want to sharpen the message.
''To assure an accurate message is shared, politicos clearly want to be as detailed as possible when enlisting celebrities and their platforms,'' she said, referring to the ''draft language'' guidelines.
Still, such close coordination with the White House amounts to ''Using allies to spoon feed and crowd-source radical political propaganda,'' said Matthew Vadum, senior editor at the Capital Research Center.
''In the Obama era, the entertainment industry has been openly complicit in administration plans to promote so-called health care reform, for example, gleefully parachuting pro-Obamacare propaganda into TV shows,'' Vadum said. ''As the president tries to unilaterally crack down on firearms, it's not like he needs to put a gun to Hollywood heads. Zombie-like, they'll repeat any words he stuffs into their mouths.''
Not everyone in Hollywood only believes in carrying guns on set. Superstar tough guy Kurt Russell recently went on ABC's ''The View'' and delivered an impassioned defense of the Second Amendment.
''I think there is a very strong reason the Founding Fathers had for the Second Amendment, and that is that no government'' no government ever'' hasn't had to fight its own people, and its own people hasn't had to fight its own government,'' Russell told the left-leaning hosts of the daytime show.
Kelly Carlson, star of the FX show ''Nip/Tuck,'' said being told how to think and what to say by the White House is insulting.
''It makes me sad to see good people being grossly exploited and manipulated, because of their lack of knowledge on the subject,'' Carlson said. "If ANY elected official, from ANY political party sent me this mob-style propaganda letter, I'd very disrespectfully tell them to go to hell; I don't subscribe to coercion.''
An outspoken gun owner, Carlson wondered why those who share her beliefs aren't sought out to contribute to the debate.
''If public safety was actually Obama's desired outcome, he would also enlist some of the people who own a firearm,'' Carlson said. ''Why? Because neither side wants innocent people to get hurt by a person using one with ill intent.''
Al Jazeera America is shutting down television operations '-- RT USA
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 19:57
Cable news network Al Jazeera America planning to terminate its operations in the United States effective April 30, 2016. This marks the end of a long decline of viewers and readers for the network.
''I know the closure of AJAM will be a massive disappointment for everyone here who has worked tirelessly for our long-term future,'' Al Jazeera America's chief executive Al Anstey said in a memo. ''The decision that has been made is in no way because AJAM has done anything but a great job. Our commitment to great journalism is unrivaled.''
The network has had viewership problems the network's launch, with only 20,000 to 40,000 people watching during prime time, according to CNN Money.
AJAM began just in 2013, a few months after Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network purchased Al Gore's Current TV for $500 million. The channel was billed as a more restrained, clearheaded alternative to mainstream cable news, but it was mired in issues from the start, including a lawsuit from Al Gore and very low ratings.
"Viewers will see a news channel unlike the others, as our programming proves Al Jazeera America will air fact-based, unbiased and in-depth news," AJAM's former CEO Ehab Al Shihabi said around the time of the launch.
Al Shihabi himself was the defendant in a discrimination lawsuit that claimed that he favored the network's Arabic and male employees.
"(The) decision by Al Jazeera America's board is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace," Anstey said.
The channel's end has been linked by some to the sharply dropping price of oil, which sunk below $30 a barrel on Tuesday. The government of Qatar '' AJAM's ultimate owner '' gets much of its income from the Gulf state's massive oil production.
Armageddon
Major Ships Evacuate Atlantic Ocean For First Time In History | Your News Wire
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:36
Russian Naval Forces have reported that the entire Atlantic Ocean appears to be totally deserted of major freighter ships for the first time in recorded history.
The Kremlin say that Panamax and New Panamax vessels, plus all types of wet carrier (oil/liquified natural gas) vessels including VLCC and ULCC supertanks are nowhere to be seen.
Russia claim that the evacuation of the Atlantic ocean is a ''clear'' sign of a coming Western economic/banking collapse, with the world's stock markets crashing during the first part of the year being another clear signal.
Whatdoesitmean.com reports:
Further confirmation of this historic abandoning of the Atlantic Ocean, this report says, was noted this past November when an over two mile line of oil tanker vessels were reported to be sitting off the Gulf of Mexico coast of Galveston, Texas, due to their being no place to offload their ships'--and has reached such a critical proportion that other oil tankers in route to the US were forced three weeks ago to turn around in the Atlantic Ocean as there was no longer any more room left for their cargo either.
Grimly though, this report further notes, as the world's major shipping vessels have now abandoned the Atlantic Ocean, the same cannot be said of the Obama regimes United States Navy (USN) whose Lewis and Clark class cargo ships are continuing their non-stop armament shipments to Saudi Arabia'--where the bulk of these weapons and ammunition shipments end up the hands of Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) terrorists operating the Levant War Zone.
As to why the Obama regime is continuing to arm these Islamic State terrorists through USN weapons shipments to Saudi Arabia, this report questions, is ''beyond understanding'''--including to former President Ronald Reagan top official David Stockman, who in his research article yesterday titled Enough Already! It's Time To Send The Despicable House Of Saud To The Dustbin Of History bluntly stated:
'' '...for more than four decades Washington's middle eastern policy has been dead wrong and increasingly counter-productive and destructive. The crisis provoked this past weekend by the 30-year old hot-headed Saudi prince, who is son of the King and heir to the throne, only clarified what has long been true.
That is, Washington's Mideast policy is predicated on the assumption that the answer to high oil prices and energy security is deployment of the Fifth Fleet to the Persian Gulf. And that an associated alliance with one of the most corrupt, despotic, avaricious and benighted tyrannies in the modern world is the lynch pin to regional stability and US national security.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The House of Saud is a scourge on mankind that would have been eliminated decades ago, save for Imperial Washington's deplorable coddling and massive transfer of arms and political support.''
To the American people being allowed by the Obama regime and its mainstream ''presstitute'' news services to know of this grave occurrence in the Atlantic Ocean, this report concludes, appears, like always, to not be the case as this government would rather see these once great people alarmed and confused rather than trusting them with true facts so that at least some of them may be able to prepare themselves for the storms that are soon to come.
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Shipping industry calls out distress signals | Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:35
In late November, the Baltic Dry Index, which tracks freight charges for shipments of dry bulk goods, hit an all-time low. Its fall underscores just how risky it has been to make macro bets on an economic recovery through exposure to the shipping sector.
Apart from a brief rally in 2010, the downturn in the fortunes of shipyards and shipping groups has endured for longer than many expected. Trade, whether by volume or by value, has been virtually flat for years '-- largely because slowing growth in China has dramatically reduced demand for commodities, such as iron ore.
As a result, financial distress in the maritime industry persists. Charter rates for container vessels barely cover the operating costs, leaving shipping companies with little ability to pay their debts.
Private equity and distressed debt specialist groups '-- including Blackstone, Carlyle, Centerbridge Partners, KKR, Oaktree Capital Management and WL Ross '-- have rushed to fill the void, by offering rescue finance, buying up debt at a discount and turning it into equity, or buying new and secondhand vessels. So far, their results have been mixed, hindsight shows that some groups ventured into the sector too early.
But a more nuanced view suggests that, today, there may finally be pockets of opportunity amid the general rout.
KKR has been among the most active in shipping, adopting a multi-pronged approach. This has involved the creation of a joint venture in 2013 to invest in distressed shipping assets, as well as buying bank loans to shipping companies at a discount. Consequently, the private equity group now owns dozens of ships.
It recently added to this collection with its latest acquisition: Chembulk Tankers, a Connecticut-based division of Berlian Laju Tanker, a listed Indonesian shipping company.
Jakarta-based BLT had originally bought the Chembulk business in the heady days of 2007 '-- taking on $600 million (Dh2.2 billion) of secured debt and $1 billion in unsecured debt to pay for the purchase. But as freight rates collapsed, the company defaulted and went into a restructuring three years ago. Its debt traded down to only 70-odd cents on the dollar.
At that point, KKR started buying up the secured debt, first from BNP Paribas and Nordea and then from five other European banks. Then it brought in the hedge fund York Capital, converted the debt to equity and took over the Chembulk unit from its parent, in a corporate carveout that also allowed BLT to continue as a going concern.
Following the deal, KKR and York Capital became proud owners of 39 more vessels '-- 35 of which are chemical tankers.
KKR is confident that these tankers represent a profitable specialism in a generally depressed sector. ''It is a niche space, very specialised,'' says Jamie Weinstein, co-head of KKR's special situations fund. ''The supply demand dynamics are very different. We could buy these ships below fair value. It was a huge opportunity. We can now consolidate the chemical tanker market which is very fragmented today.''
One big demand driver for such chemical carriers is shipping the plastics made by newly competitive US petrochemical companies to China, where they will go into cars built on mainland assembly lines. Demand remains strong despite recent restrictions on driving in Beijing to tackle pollution problems.
Meanwhile, banks are continuing to cut their exposure to the still troubled shipping industry. In 2013, KKR bought nine vessels originally financed by Commerzbank. Other European banks continue to struggle with their shipping loan books, too. For example, HSH Nordbank's 25 billion euro (Dh100.3 billion) shipping portfolio accounts for the bulk of loan impairments, according to a new report from research boutique CreditSights.
KKR's Chembulk transaction is also notable because there have been few successful distressed debt deals involving Indonesian entities '-- in large part due to the uncertainties of dealing with local courts.
KKR's apparent success may lead to more. Given the soaring corporate debt to GDP in the emerging markets of Asia '-- especially in commodity-producing countries such as Indonesia '-- there will inevitably be more distress to come.Sources: Gulf News
F-Russia
Who we are | World Anti-Doping Agency
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:54
The World Anti-Doping Agency's mission is to lead a collaborative worldwide movement for doping-free sport.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999 as an international independent agency composed and funded equally by the sport movement and governments of the world. Its key activities include scientific research, education, development of anti-doping capacities, and monitoring of the World Anti Doping Code (Code) '' the document harmonizing anti-doping policies in all sports and all countries.
Our VisionA world where all athletes can compete in a doping-free sporting environment.
Our Core ValuesIntegrityWe are the guardian of the values and spirit inherent in the Code.We are impartial, objective, balanced and transparent.We observe the highest ethical standards and avoid improper influences or conflicts of interests that would undermine our independent and unbiased judgment.We develop policies, procedures and practices that reflect justice, equity and integrity.AccountabilityWe govern and manage in accordance with the values and spirit of the Code.We are accountable to our funding bodies, while maintaining appropriate independence from undue influence.We respect the rights and integrity of clean athletes.ExcellenceWe conduct business professionally.We develop innovative and practical solutions to assist with stakeholder Code implementation and compliance.We benchmark off and apply best practice standards to all our activities.Logo story
The square shape of the logo background represents the customs and the rules that define sport. The color black evokes neutrality and is the traditional color of the referee.
The "equal sign" expresses equity and fairness. The sign is depicted with a human touch to reflect the individuality of every athlete. The color green evokes health and nature and the field of play.
The "play true" tag line encapsulates WADA's core values and is intended as a guiding principle for all athletes at every level of competition.
The Agency's HistoryAfter the events that shook the world of cycling in the summer of 1998, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to convene a World Conference on Doping, bringing together all parties involved in the fight against doping.
The First World Conference on Doping in Sport held, in Lausanne, Switzerland, on February 2-4, 1999, produced the Lausanne Declaration on Doping in Sport. This document provided for the creation of an independent international anti-doping agency to be operational for the Games of the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney in 2000.
Pursuant to the terms of the Lausanne Declaration, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established on November 10, 1999, in Lausanne to promote and coordinate the fight against doping in sport internationally. WADA was set up as a foundation under the initiative of the IOC with the support and participation of intergovernmental organizations, governments, public authorities, and other public and private bodies fighting doping in sport.
The Agency consists of equal representatives from the Olympic Movement and public authorities.
WADA report: Corruption was 'embedded' in IAAF
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:54
2 photos
FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015, file photo, then-IAAF president Lamine Diack adjusts his headphones during a joint IOC and IAAF news conference on the site of the World Athletic Championships in Beijing. Diack, the leader of the track\'s governing body, told a lawyer he\'d need to cut a deal with Russian president Vladimir Putin to ensure nine Russian athletes accused of doping wouldn\'t compete at 2013 world championships in Moscow, according to a new report on the scandal that reached the top of the sport and country. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File)
MUNICH (AP) '-- IAAF leaders must have been aware of the full extent of doping in Russia but did nothing to stop it, and the track and field organization itself was riddled by corruption, a report by a World Anti-Doping Agency panel said Thursday.
"It is increasingly clear that far more IAAF staff knew about the problems than has currently been acknowledged," said the report, written by former WADA head Dick Pound and presented at a news conference in Munich.
"It is not credible that elected officials were unaware of the situation affecting ... athletics in Russia. If, therefore, the circle of knowledge was so extensive why was nothing done? Quite obviously there was no appetite on the part of the IAAF to challenge Russia."
The report added: "The corruption was embedded in the organization. It cannot be ignored or dismissed as attributable to the odd renegade acting on its own."
The report laid considerable blame at the feet of the IAAF Council, the overseeing body that included the now president of the IAAF, Sebastian Coe.
Coe was in the audience as Pound presented his findings.
The report said council members "could not have been unaware of the level of nepotism that operated within the IAAF," and also "could not have been unaware of the extent of doping."
The report found that former IAAF president Lamine Diack "was responsible for organizing and enabling the conspiracy and corruption" that took place at IAAF.
It said Diack "sanctioned and appears to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and the extortion of athletes."
Pound's first report, issued in November, detailed a state-sponsored doping program in Russia involving corruption and cover-ups. That led the IAAF to suspend Russia's track and field federation, leaving its athletes in danger of missing this year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
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NA-Tech News
Glitch Caused Apple to Underestimate Apple News Traffic - Mac Rumors
Mon, 11 Jan 2016 14:58
Publishers who have been offering their content on Apple News have been receiving incorrect usage statistics from Apple due to an internal glitch that caused the company to miscalculate the number of people using the service, Eddy Cue told The Wall Street Journal in a statement this evening.According to Cue, Apple has been underestimating the number of readers using the News app since it launched alongside iOS 9 in September. The problem went under the radar because Apple was busy working on improving other aspects of the service. Apple doesn't know how exactly many people are using the News app, but the company is working to fix the problem.
"We're in the process of fixing that now, but our numbers are lower than reality," [Cue] said. "We don't know what the right number is," but he added that it was better to undercount than overcount traffic.
In October, during Apple's fourth quarter earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple News had approximately 40 million users, but he did not specify whether that number represented people who use the Apple News app on a regular basis or if it was a number reflecting the number of people who accessed the app at one point or another. Cue echoed that number in his comments to The Wall Street Journal, but it is not clear if that is an accurate figure given Apple's current inability to calculate exact usage.Despite not knowing how many people are using Apple News at the current time, Cue says that Apple News usage has "scaled very fast," and that the company is happy with the Apple News product's progress thus far. After launching in the United States in September, Apple News expanded to the U.K. and Australia in October with the launch of iOS 9.1.
As The Wall Street Journal points out, accurate readership numbers are important to publishers because the figures impact advertising. Publishers who share content on Apple News are able to keep 100 percent of proceeds from ads sold on their own, or 70 percent from ads sold through the Apple iAd service. According to Cue, iAd has been popular enough with publishers that Apple will be expanding the platform with a self-service ad-buying feature in the next two months.
Apple has partnered more than a hundred publications for Apple News, including The New York Times, CNN, ESPN, The Atlantic, The Daily Mail, Slate, and more. MacRumors is also on Apple News and can be subscribed to by clicking this link on an iOS device.
Ford meets Amazon: Automaker to integrate Echo and Alexa with SYNC, linking cars to homes - GeekWire
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:25
Ford plans to integrate Amazon's Alexa with its SYNC in-car platform, and allow the Echo to connect with Ford vehicles. (Ford image.)Ford says it's working to connect its SYNC in-car technology platform with Amazon's Echo smart speaker and Alexa virtual assistant '-- letting drivers turn off the living-room lights from their car, for example, or start their vehicle using a voice command from the kitchen.
The plans were announced tonight, in advance of Ford's news conference Tuesday morning at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It's part of a crush of automotive news from the giant tech industry show.
Amazon Echo smart speakerFord didn't provide any timeline for the planned Amazon integration. But the move is part of a broader trend of connecting vehicles to external devices and services '-- including smartphones, cloud services and in-home systems. The automaker said it's also working on a similar integration with the Wink home automation platform.
''Consumers increasingly want to stay connected to their homes while on the move,'' said Don Butler, Ford's Connected Vehicle and Services executive director, in a news release. ''Linking smart devices like Amazon Echo and Wink to vehicles via SYNC would fulfill that desire, and allow consumers to connect with their vehicles even when they aren't behind the wheel.''
The Amazon integration is expected to work in two ways. First, drivers would be able to speak to Amazon Echo devices to start, stop, lock or unlock their cars; check the fuel level or charge status of their vehicle; or determine the location of their vehicle if someone else is driving it; among other possibilities.
Ford provided this dialog as an example.
Owner: ''Alexa, ask my Ford for my scheduled car start time.''
Alexa: ''Here is the list of your current go times. You have a start time set for Monday at 7 a.m., with a cabin temperature set to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Tuesday at 5:45 a.m., with a cabin temperature set to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.''
Owner: ''Alexa, ask my Ford for my car's driving range.''
Alexa: ''You have an available range of 56 miles.''
Second, customers would be able to access Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, by pressing the voice command button in the steering wheel '-- asking, for example, whether the garage door is closed or the porch light is on at home. This is part of a broader effort by Amazon to offer Alexa's features separate from the Echo device.
The market is large: Ford says it has more than 15 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road globally, and expects the number to rise to 43 million by 2020.
Follow-up on GeekWire: Ford CEO Mark Fields sees 'massive opportunity' to push car maker into $5.4 trillion transportation services market
War on Vaping
ELIQUID PACKAGING-CONTAINER-Text - S.142 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:09
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Monday,the fourth day of January, two thousand and sixteen
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,SECTION 1.Short title.
This Act may be cited as the ''Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act of 2015''.
SEC. 2.Special packaging for liquid nicotine containers.
(a) Requirement.'--Notwithstanding section 2(f)(2) of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C. 1261(f)(2)) and section 3(a)(5) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2052(a)(5)), any nicotine provided in a liquid nicotine container sold, offered for sale, manufactured for sale, distributed in commerce, or imported into the United States shall be packaged in accordance with the standards provided in section 1700.15 of title 16, Code of Federal Regulations, as determined through testing in accordance with the method described in section 1700.20 of title 16, Code of Federal Regulations, and any subsequent changes to such sections adopted by the Commission.
(b) Savings clause.'--
(1) IN GENERAL.'--Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit or otherwise affect the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services to regulate, issue guidance, or take action regarding the manufacture, marketing, sale, distribution, importation, or packaging, including child-resistant packaging, of nicotine, liquid nicotine, liquid nicotine containers, electronic cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems or other similar products that contain or dispense liquid nicotine, or any other nicotine-related products, including'--
(A) authority under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Public Law 111''31) and the amendments made by such Act; and
(B) authority for the rulemaking entitled ''Deeming Tobacco Products to Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; regulations on the Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products and the Required Warning Statements for Tobacco Products'' (April 2014) (FDA''2014''N''0189), the rulemaking entitled ''Nicotine Exposure Warnings and Child-Resistant Packaging for Liquid Nicotine, Nicotine-Containing E-Liquid(s), and Other Tobacco Products'' (June 2015) (FDA''2015''N''1514), and subsequent actions by the Secretary regarding packaging of liquid nicotine containers.
(2) CONSULTATION.'--If the Secretary of Health and Human Services adopts, maintains, enforces, or imposes or continues in effect any packaging requirement for liquid nicotine containers, including a child-resistant packaging requirement, the Secretary shall consult with the Commission, taking into consideration the expertise of the Commission in implementing and enforcing this Act and the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 (15 U.S.C. 1471 et seq.).
(c) Applicability.'--Notwithstanding section 3(a)(5) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2052(a)(5)) and section 2(f)(2) of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C. 1261(f)(2)), the requirement of subsection (a) shall be treated as a standard for the special packaging of a household substance established under section 3(a) of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 (15 U.S.C. 1472(a)).
(d) Definitions.'--In this section:
(1) COMMISSION.'--The term ''Commission'' means the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
(2) LIQUID NICOTINE CONTAINER.'--
(A) IN GENERAL.'--Notwithstanding section 2(f)(2) of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (15 U.S.C. 1261(f)(2)) and section 3(a)(5) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2052(a)(5)), the term ''liquid nicotine container'' means a package (as defined in section 2 of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970 (15 U.S.C. 1471))'--
(i) from which nicotine in a solution or other form is accessible through normal and foreseeable use by a consumer; and
(ii) that is used to hold soluble nicotine in any concentration.
(B) EXCLUSION.'--The term ''liquid nicotine container'' does not include a sealed, pre-filled, and disposable container of nicotine in a solution or other form in which such container is inserted directly into an electronic cigarette, electronic nicotine delivery system, or other similar product, if the nicotine in the container is inaccessible through customary or reasonably foreseeable handling or use, including reasonably foreseeable ingestion or other contact by children.
(3) NICOTINE.'--The term ''nicotine'' means any form of the chemical nicotine, including any salt or complex, regardless of whether the chemical is naturally or synthetically derived.
SEC. 3.Effective date.
This Act shall take effect on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
KOCH BROTHERS!
Koch Executive Disputes Book's Account of Founder's Role in Nazi Refinery - First Draft. Political News, Now. - The New York Times
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:20
A senior executive of Koch Industries sent a letter on Tuesday to the company's employees disputing a new book about the Kochs and other conservative families, saying it significantly exaggerated the role of the company's founder, Fred C. Koch, in constructing an important refinery for the Nazi regime in Germany.
Mr. Koch, who died in 1967, was the father of the billionaire political activists Charles G. and David H. Koch, who now control the family business. The book, ''Dark Money,'' by Jane Mayer, reports that in 1934, Mr. Koch's company, known as Winkler-Koch Engineering, ''provided the engineering plans and began overseeing the construction'' of a large oil refinery in Hamburg. Her book cites archival documents, a study of the Nazi-era oil industry, and other published work.
By Ms. Mayer's account, the refinery was personally approved by Hitler and played an important part both in the German war effort during World War II and in the growth of the Koch family business.
''Fred Koch's willingness to work with the Soviets and the Nazis was a major factor in creating the Koch family's early fortune,'' Ms. Mayer wrote.
But in the letter to employees, company officials disputed elements of that account and said Ms. Mayer had unfairly taken Mr. Koch's work out of context.
PhotoDavid H. Koch, left, and Charles G. Koch.Credit Paul Vernon/Associated Press; Bo Rader/The Wichita Eagle, via Associated PressDavid L. Robertson, the president and chief operating officer of Koch Industries, said that Mr. Koch's work for the Nazi regime long predated the outbreak of World War II and was one of hundreds of international projects Winkler-Koch worked on during the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Mr. Robertson said a review of company archives indicated that Mr. Koch's company was responsible only for the German refinery's ''cracking'' equipment, the machinery that helps convert crude oil into gasoline and other products.
''Simply put, this cracking unit was just one element in the composition of a single refinery,'' Mr. Robertson said.
The cracking unit was one of 39 built by Winkler-Koch from 1928 to 1934, he said. The company also had projects in England, Scotland, France and Canada, according to Mr. Robertson, and was one of many ''iconic'' American businesses that did business in Germany during the same period.
''To cherry-pick one project among hundreds during this time frame and then use it out of context in order to further an agenda-driven story line is grossly inaccurate,'' he said.
Koch Industries has long been critical of Ms. Mayer, a staff writer for The New Yorker, who has written about the Koch family on several occasions, beginning with a 2010 magazine article that significantly raised the two brothers' public profile.
''As the Kochs are confirming, Fred Koch was integrally involved in the creation of a German refinery that Adolf Hitler personally greenlighted,'' Ms. Mayer wrote in an email Tuesday night. ''Splitting-hairs by disaggregating which parts of the equipment Fred Koch provided is a distraction. Without the cracking unit, which Fred Koch designed, there would be no refinery.''
Bank$ters
Banksters Win Again - "Audit the Fed" Bill Fails In The Senate | Zero Hedge
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:11
Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
When it comes to the Fed, Congress is mired in hypocrisy. The anti-regulation, de-regulation crowd on Capitol Hill shuts its mouth when it comes to the most powerful regulators of all '' you and the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, Congress goes along with the out-of-control, private government of the Fed'--unaccountable to the national legislature. Moreover, your massive monetary injections scarcely led to any jobs on the ground, other than stock and bond processors.
'' From the post: Ralph Nader Destroys the Federal Reserve in Open Letter '' Calls it ''Out of Control, Private Government''
Rand Paul's signature ''Audit the Fed'' legislation failed to garner the 60 votes needed in the Senate to move the measure forward. Of course, this is merely the latest in a never-ending series of banker victories, and a truly devastating blow against liberty, free markets, transparency and any hope for government by the people and for the people. Ensuring that light is never shined on the Fed's shady, corrupt and unaccountable bailout activities has always been a key goal of the American oligarchy, and they succeeded once again.
Kudos to Rand Paul for trying, and respect to Democrat Bernie Sanders for voting in favor. Elizabeth Warren voting against is inexplicable and indefensible.
More from MarketWatch:
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) '-- A bill that would have allowed Congress to order reviews of Federal Reserve interest-rate policy decisions failed a procedural test in the Senate on Tuesday as supporters failed to come up with the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the measures.
The measure to curb the powers of the Fed has been a central theme of the presidential campaign of Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky. The legislation would end a ban on the Government Accountability Office's authority to audit the U.S. central bank's monetary policy moves that has been in place since 1978. The Republican House has already approved the measure.
The bill was designed to ''pull back the curtain and uncover the cloak of secrecy'' at the Fed, Paul said on the Senate floor. He said there had not been a full accounting for the swelling of the Fed's balance sheet '-- to $4.5 trillion from roughly $800 billion before the financial crisis.
Just 53 senators voted to halt debate on the bill Tuesday. Sixty or more votes for ''cloture'' would have paved the way for possible final passage of the bill.
The bulk of the opposition to the measure came from Democrats.
Because supporting an unelected, unaccountable bank cartel is so liberal.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat, who is ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee, said Congress should ''keep its hands out of monetary policy.''
Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen called the bill ''a grave mistake'' and warned the measure could lead to higher market interest rates.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, voted for the measure.
The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. ''As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,'' said Sanders. ''This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you're-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.''
Among the investigation's key findings is that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland, according to the GAO report. ''No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the president,'' Sanders said.
The non-partisan, investigative arm of Congress also determined that the Fed lacks a comprehensive system to deal with conflicts of interest, despite the serious potential for abuse. In fact, according to the report, the Fed provided conflict of interest waivers to employees and private contractors so they could keep investments in the same financial institutions and corporations that were given emergency loans.
For example, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed's board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Moreover, JP Morgan Chase served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed's emergency lending programs.
In another disturbing finding, the GAO said that on Sept. 19, 2008, William Dudley, who is now the New York Fed president, was granted a waiver to let him keep investments in AIG and General Electric at the same time AIG and GE were given bailout funds. One reason the Fed did not make Dudley sell his holdings, according to the audit, was that it might have created the appearance of a conflict of interest.
To Sanders, the conclusion is simple. ''No one who works for a firm receiving direct financial assistance from the Fed should be allowed to sit on the Fed's board of directors or be employed by the Fed,'' he said.
The investigation also revealed that the Fed outsourced most of its emergency lending programs to private contractors, many of which also were recipients of extremely low-interest and then-secret loans.
The Fed outsourced virtually all of the operations of their emergency lending programs to private contractors like JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. The same firms also received trillions of dollars in Fed loans at near-zero interest rates. Altogether some two-thirds of the contracts that the Fed awarded to manage its emergency lending programs were no-bid contracts. Morgan Stanley was given the largest no-bid contract worth $108.4 million to help manage the Fed bailout of AIG.
A more detailed GAO investigation into potential conflicts of interest at the Fed is due on Oct. 18, but Sanders said one thing already is abundantly clear. ''The Federal Reserve must be reformed to serve the needs of working families, not just CEOs on Wall Street.''
To read the GAO report, click here.
Now here's how the Senate voted:
Par for the course in'...
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Thank You Satan
JCD NOTES-Satanism in Austin? A few cases in local history | Austin Found
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:39
The recent unveiling of a satanic statue in Detroit rankled the religious community while piquing interest in a relatively unknown sect that began in the mid '60s.
The story is unique in that Satan and the occult are not often making headlines in today's world. But there were plenty of stories in the Austin American-Statesman archives that have referred to the Christian embodiment of evil.
The March 26, 1939, issue of the Statesman included the front-page headline ''Houston Figures Mount Bonnell Was Place Satan Showed Savior.''
An image of the March 26, 1939, American Statesman. The article on Houston and Williamson is below left.
The story goes that General Sam Houston and Williamson County namesake R.M. Williamson viewed the sprawling Hill Country from Mount Bonnell. The alluring landscape led Houston to say ''Upon my soul, Williamson, this must be the very spot where Satan took our Savior to show and tempt Him with the riches and beauties of the world!''
Williamson retorted, ''Yes, general, and if Jesus Christ had been fallible, he would have accepted his Satanic majesty's proposition.''
Another story that ran Jan. 8, 1918, quotes Evangelist J. Gordon ''Black Billy'' McPherson, who had acquired a sort of local celebrity status for his East Austin revivals. In one sermon, he condemned '''... his satanic majesty, 'Kaiser Bill' and the grog shops that are damning our boys and ruining the fair and beautiful girls of many homes.''
Following Anton LaVey's establishment of the Official Church of Satan in the late '60s, media attention and curiosity grew on satanism and the occult. In March 1974, LaVey's daughter, Karla LaVey, spoke to a crowd at St. Edward's University about the emerging pseudo-religion, which she called a ''law and order institution'':
An image of the March 22, 1974 article on Karla LaVey visiting St. Edward's University.
''She said Anton Szandor LaVey, a former police photographer and now an honorary police inspector in San Francisco, found the religion after witnessing repeated tragedy and questioning 'God's ability to care for man.' ''
The story concludes with Karla LaVey admitting ''that liberal trends in sexuality and religious practices have made the Church of Satan's views similar to the 'do what you want' philosophy of today.''
More than a decade later, a Statesman story about a woman's alleged kidnapping by satanists may be a good example of the ''Satanic Panic'' phenomenon during the '80s.
The Statesman reported in July 1989 that a woman told Austin police she was blindfolded and kidnapped by a man and woman who took her to Austin. For nearly three months, she said she was imprisoned in a windowless room while the couple read her materials related to Satanism.
But a week later police found out the woman had made up the entire story:
''Instead, (the woman) lived in a downtown Austin home for nearly three months and gave birth to a child at Seton Medical Center, said Sgt. Gary Richards, of the Austin Police Department assault unit.''
In 1995, Austin had its own episode of a satanic-looking statue that drew its own interest and ire. But, out of all things, this statue inadvertently helped raise funds for a Christian music radio station.
Twenty years ago Statesman humor columnist John Kelso wrote about a carved wooden statue that had the head of a man and legs of a goat. An antique shop on North Lamar Boulevard had the statue on consignment and left it in front of the building. The bizarre statue caught the eye of quite a few passersby.
The fact that people were so interested in it became a blessing for KNLE-FM, a Christian radio station next door to the antique shop. The publicity from the statue helped bring out a good-sized crowd for a radio station fundraiser.
One case of alleged satanism only recently came to a conclusion. After being imprisoned for nearly two decades, former day care operators Fran and Dan Keller were freed after a bizarre child sexual assault case.
Dan and Fran Keller outside of the Travis County courthouse. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN- STATESMAN
Several children who were interviewed by a child psychologist said the Kellers sexually abused them ''during horrific rituals that included unearthed corpses, dismembered pets and babies, a blood baptism and videotaped sex acts with adults and other children.'' Though the Kellers' lawyer argued the allegations were part of a national hysteria regarding Satanism and cults, the jury found them guilty.
But in 2013, Travis County prosecutors acknowledged that the doctor who played a key role in the outcome of the trial recanted his testimony due to his inexperience in pediatric exams. After spending more than 22 years in prison, the Kellers were finally free.
Outside of that court case, the only other satanic behavior around Austin seems to be Satan's Cheerleaders. But luckily the group seems more intent on entertaining crowds than summoning evil spirits.
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JCD NOTES-''Hail Satan'' in Austin Texas '' The Satanic Temple
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:39
Much has been written regarding a recent confrontation in Texas between activists on both sides of the abortion debate in whichPro-Choice advocates chanted ''Hail Satan'' in response to a Pro-Life mob singing outAmazing Grace. While a good deal of commentary from both ends of the spectrum has thoughtlessly denigrated the ''Hail Satan'' faction, we feel that their message was both salient and clear: religious rationales used to justify certain views to some hold no currency whatsoever to scores of others. While neither the Old nor New Testaments have anything directly to say about the issue of abortion, interpretations of those texts, construed into a Pro-Life stance, mean nothing to those of us who do not contextualize our lives within the framework of those mythologies.
Thus, chanting ''Hail Satan'' was an effective way of saying, ''You are going to have to argue your point on rational grounds. We do not subscribe to your Religion.''
While various commentary has focused on the legitimacy of the activists' Satanic loyalties, we would submit that the concentration on the question of whether or not Satanism is Pro-Life or Pro-Choice misses the point entirely. Surely, there are Christians who consider themselves 'Pro-Choice' just as there are Satanists who, following their own conscience, consider themselves 'Pro-Life'.
(That said, The Satanic Temple believes ''One's body is inviolable, subject to one's own will alone.'' Devoid of the presence of a supernatural ghostly essence (soul), the Will is necessarily the product of a developed nervous system, which arguably gives the authority of inviolability to the mother over the fetus.)
The fact is, arguments based upon some notion of religious primacy aren't going to resolve this debate, nor should they have any place in the argument at all.
We fully support the ''Hail Satan'' activists in Austin, Texas, and we applaud their courage in reminding the world that ours is a Nation of religious pluralism.
Hail Satan.
JCD NOTES-Redeemer Church of Satan Testify For Satan >> Redeemer Church of Satan
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:39
by Morgan - RC of S ~ May 7th, 2008
We encourage our members, and the general masses, to openly praise our Lord Satan and testify on the liberating effects of Satanism. This is a public forum for praising our Liberator.
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CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-AP's Matt Lee to State Dept: Is It Time To Recognize Things For What They Are And Not This "Fantasy"? | Video | RealClearPolitics
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 23:58
MATT LEE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: And then the last one is '' and every time this happens, the line comes out from people in this Administration and other governments as well, is that we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state, and yet, it is. You also say this about other things too. You say you will never accept Crimea as a part of Russia. And yet, it is. Isn't it time to recognize these things for what they are and not live in this illusion or fantasy where you pretend that things that are, are not?
ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RETIRED), STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: The short answer is no.
QUESTION: No?
MR KIRBY: But I would challenge --
QUESTION: It's preferable to live in a fantasy world?
MR KIRBY: I would challenge this idea that it's a fantasy world. Just because '' let me put it this way. At this level of foreign policy, you have to make choices. And you don't have to accept everything --
QUESTION: You have to accept reality, though.
MR KIRBY: -- even at face value. No, you '' we are not going to accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state, and we're not going to recognize that. We are, however, going to deal with their efforts --
QUESTION: The fact that they are a nuclear-armed state.
MR KIRBY: -- their efforts at developing that program.
QUESTION: Okay. Do you understand my confusion? I know this '' I think it's illogical to say that you're not going to recognize them as a nuclear-armed state when, in fact, they are and you are operating in a way --
MR KIRBY: We are certain --
QUESTION: -- to make them not a nuclear-armed state --
MR KIRBY: There's a difference between --
QUESTION: -- something that you say you don't recognize.
MR KIRBY: There is a difference between dealing with what we know they're developing and what we know they're doing, and officially accepting or recognizing it.
QUESTION: Okay.
MR KIRBY: There's a big difference there and you understand that better than most, Matt, about the difference there.
QUESTION: Well, I just think it '' well, go ahead.
QUESTION: John, can I also follow up on this one? The White House said it was not surprised by this attack '' I mean by this test. What signs have there been over the last months or weeks that the U.S. was not surprised at it, or was it the scale of it that might have taken you aback?
MR KIRBY: Well, that gets into intelligence issues. And I think you can understand, particularly in the case of North Korea, why we're going to be reticent to talk about intelligence matters and capabilities.
QUESTION: So you were expecting this?
MR KIRBY: I won't go any further than what my colleagues at the White House have gone in terms of --
QUESTION: And then I have --
MR KIRBY: -- level of knowledge. But look, it is '' without getting into the specifics of this test and what we knew, when we knew it, to Matt's point, however sharply made, that this is not '' this kind of activity is not new for the regime nor is their pursuit of this kind of capability. It's something that we watch as best we can and monitor as best we can.
Now, look, it's also imperfect because this is an incredibly opaque regime about which we don't have perfect knowledge. And intelligence is never a perfect science to begin with. It's particularly challenging in a place like or with a regime like that of Kim Jong-un and his father. So it's not perfect. But again, I just '' I won't go into '' it wouldn't be prudent for me to go into the specifics.
VIDEOTextbook sales leader says national Common Core is 'all about the money' | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 16:04
The guerrilla video crew that exposed Obamaphone cheaters and shut down the left-wing advocacy group ACORN is at it again, this time hammering the 'Common Core' education standards as a scheme for publishers to sell more textbooks.
The West Coast sales manager from one of the nation's biggest school book sellers, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, told an undercover muckraker with Project Veritas that 'I hate kids.'
'I'm in it to sell books,' Dianne Barrow said of her advocacy for Common Core. 'Don't even kid yourself for a heartbeat.'
She added that 'it's all about the money. What are you, crazy? It's all about the money.'
'You don't think that the educational publishing companies are in it for education, do you? No, they're in it for the money.'
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEOS
'I HATE KIDS': A sales manager for one of the nation's largest school textbook publishers admitted on hidden camera that Common Core represents a windfall for her: 'I'm in it to sell books'
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF TEACHERS: 'This NYC educator says Common Core is a 'new f**king system that f**king sucks,' invented 'to sell more books'
LIKE WILDFIRE: 42 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core program since the federal government introduced it
Bianca Olson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's senior vice president, confirmed Tuesday morning that Barrow 'has been terminated.' That followed a phone call in which DailyMail.com read BArrow's statements to her verbatim.
Harsh words from educators also won't help the K-12 Common Core system's advocates.
'It's a joke,' a Brooklyn, New York teacher Project Veritas identified as Jodi Cohen said on the group's hidden camera.
'It's bulls**t and the thing is, what they do is they create some new f**king system, that f**king sucks to sell more books and then we have to learn something new with the students.'
Cohen, like Barrow, believes that the Common Core system is a marketing bonanza for textbook publishers.
WHAT IS 'COMMON CORE'?A new set of national academic standards, now adopted by 42 states and DC, is an attempt to increase the country's declining testing scores in Math and English compared with the rest of the world.
Conservatives often argue against the K-12 system as a federal government takeover of public education, but the Obama administration insists states can set their own standards as long as they serve the same goals.
Parents in some corners of the U.S. have become frustrated at test and homework questions in math that are graded not just on getting the right answer but on the necessity of following a strict system for determining it.
The math methods often involve illustrations and other complex requirements that are foreign to parents and many teachers.
Democratic presidential candidates have lined up behind the program but the Republican field is split, with conservatives opposing it as a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to learning.
'Oh my god, it's all a money game. It's all a money game,' the cynical educator said.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's CEO, Linda Zecher, told DailyMail.com on Tuesday morning that her company 'is as appalled by these comments as we expect readers will be.'
'These statements in no way reflect the views of HMH and the commitment of our over 4,000 employees who dedicate their lives to serving teachers and students every day.'
'The individual who made these comments is a former employee who was with HMH for less than a year,' she added, referring to Barrow's firing on Tuesday.
Cohen couldn't be reached for comment.
The new video threatens to blow open the national debate about the national standards, which have simmered on the back-burner of Republican debates but haven't taken hold as much as immigration or foreign policy.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has advocated in favor of Common Core, arguing that participating states aren't restricted from setting their own standards.
Sen. Marco Rubio, his in-state rival, says on his website that 'Common Core has been used by the Obama administration to turn the Department of Education into a national school board. This effort to coerce states into adhering to national curriculum standards is not the best way to help our children attain the best education, and it must be stopped.'
Donald Trump, the GOP's leading presidential candidate, said in July that 'Common Core has to be ended. It's a disaster. It's a way of taking care of the people in Washington that, frankly, I don't even think they give a damn about education, half of them..'
But despite her cynical outlook on Common Core, Barrow says on the Project Veritas video that Trump is all wet.
'Who is listening to Donald Trump? I mean, come on!' she says. 'It's all old white men that are frustrated with their life. It's ... a mid life crisis campaign. And so, he doesn't know policy, he doesn't even '' has he ever read the Constitution?'
PARENTS LEARN THE NEW 'NEW MATH': An elementary school principal in Westerly, Massachusetts has begun sit-downs with parents to teach them how to do math the Common Core way so they can help their grade-schoolers with their homework
Project Veritas frontman James O'Keefe told DailyMail.com that more videos targeting textbook publishers are on the way, and he's licking his chops at the thought of his opposition insisting that he's merely caught a rare dissenter on tape.
'This video provides confirmation that Common Core is broken, rotten and corrupt '' including the textbook publishers, government education officials and the politicians who should be held accountable for enabling this system in the first place,' O'Keefe said.
'I hope and pray that "they" call this an isolated incident, as we are putting every textbook publisher on notice that we plan to continue to release these videos exposing Common Core.'
For years, textbook publishers have complained about the need to serve 51 competing education standards '' including those enforced by the District of Columbia '' with bulked-up books that are seen as a mile wide and an inch deep.
With Common Core adopted in 42 states plus DC, they will soon be able to produce and sell more streamlined books with a uniform focus.
Those books will be the newest thing on offer, slated to replace everything on teachers' shelves in a single giant commercial ka-ching.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's website includes an entire section devoted to matching up educators with Common Core teaching resources, calling it 'a fresh opportunity' for teachers to adopt 'a wide range of content, curricula, and services.'
15 DOES NOT EQUAL 5+5+5: These Common Core problems have become symbols of what conservatives say is an untested system run amok in most states, and a ticking educational time bomb
CAN YOUR THIRD-GRADER UNDERSTAND THIS? Eight-and nine-year-olds in comedian Louis C.K.'s children's school were asked: 'Draw a pictograph for the data given in the table'
Few federal government programs have become as powerful a lightning rod as Common Core.
Conservative groups have pilloried the concept as a Washington, D.C. takeover of education curricula, while the Obama administration has maintained that it's just a well-meaning effort to ensure that college-bound children in Montana are as well-prepared as those in California.
The truth about the president's signature education proposal from his first term '' pushed as part of the Race to the Top initiative '' lies somewhere in between.
The feds don't require states to teach the Common Core way, but makes $350 million in stimulus grants available to states that adopt 'college- and career-ready standards.'
The initial version of Race to the Top required the Common Core standards, but it was later watered down to include most systems states were using before.
And the program itself isn't a set of classroom demands but a list of guidelines about hat children should be able to do at each grade level.
Tests are administered each year to keep school headed toward those benchmarks, however, and that means the teaching materials have to keep pace.
One result in the program's chaotic early years has been a series of news cycles and viral stories highlighting what some parents see as ridiculous and unintelligible math problems.
In the state of New York, some of them are organizing a movement aimed at a mass-boycott of the English and math tests. About 200,000 students statewide refused to take the tests last spring.
ARCHAEOLOGY MEETS FOURTH-GRADE MATH: This question on New York's Common Core math test for nine- and ten-year-olds asks them to figure out the length of dinosaur skeletons by counting a fictional child's footsteps
And textbook publishers have introduced a new monkey wrench into the works, signaling that states that don't teach those Common Core concepts may soon find it hard to find books focused on the classroom materials the teachers themselves learned in school.
Barrow put it a different way, telling Project Veritas that 'the fact that they have to align the educational standards is what they have to do to sell the books.'
She said booksellers 'didn't lobby for them to be put in place ... but now they go after the money.'
'They want to, you know, it's just like any business. If you're selling t-shirts you want your t-shirts to fit everybody, right? So you can sell it to everybody.'
'In my opinion, education shouldn't have a bottom line,' she says on the recording. 'I mean, seriously, it should not be '' it's one place that shouldn't be about the money. It really should be about the kids.'
'And you hear it all the time, it's all about the kids. No it's not. It's not about the kids.'
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt posted a $576 million net sales number for the third quarter of 2015, up 4 per cent from the previous year.
The company's latest earnings statement says it expects its 2016 sales will be between $1.53 billion and $1.58 billion.
VIDEO-KTLA reporter shrieks as man touches her on live TV; made 'sexual remark,' police say - LA Times
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 14:32
A KTLA journalist's live report on the death of David Bowie from Hollywood's Walk of Fame was interrupted Monday night when a man abruptly came up to her and made a lewd remark, police said.
Channel 5's Mary Beth McDade had just begun her live report at 10:07 p.m. when a man in a hooded sweatshirt walked up from behind and nearly made physical contact with her, causing her to scream, according to video of the incident.
The man was one of several people milling in the background during her on-camera segment.
In the moments before the incident, McDade spoke of Bowie to anchors Rick Chambers and Cher Calvin as she was about to introduce a taped piece. "Rick and Cher, you know, he was known for breaking down barriers, and ... "
A scream was heard as the camera swiftly panned away, shakily pointing to the station's news van, before catching the man running away.
Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Officer Mike Lopez said it was believed the man had brushed up against her while making some offensive, sexual remark. Further investigation revealed the man never touched McDade, Lopez told The Times on Tuesday morning.
Lopez said the incident was not considered "an attack." No one was injured, and officers from the LAPD's Hollywood Division went to the scene, he said.
Police are investigating the incident as disturbing the peace, Lopez said.
According to a statement posted on Twitter by the station's news desk, McDade "is OK" and video of the incident was being handed over to police.
Times staff writer Joseph Serna contributed to this report.
For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno.
VIDEO- What's Really Going on in Oregon! Taking Back the Narrative ! KrisAnne Hall - YouTube
Mon, 11 Jan 2016 03:07
VIDEO Berlin: When the Metro is your Toilet | Pamela Geller
Sun, 10 Jan 2016 21:53
Merkel's multi-culti-migrants urinate and defecate on a Berlin subway.
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VIDEO-German Chancellor Merkel Calls For New Laws To Make It Easier To Deport Immigrants! - YouTube
Sun, 10 Jan 2016 15:33
VIDEO-Protesters That Shut Down Oil Train Railway To Use Dire State Of Climate Change As Defense In Court - YouTube
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 15:12
VIDEO-House Passes Bill Requiring Child Proof Packaging On Liquid Nicotine For E-Cigarettes - YouTube
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:59
VIDEO-Bernie Sanders Responds To Chelsea Clinton - YouTube
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:30
VIDEO-MSNBC Guests: 'Nothing Alarming' in Video of Iran Holding Sailors; Iran Is 'Comfortable' Ally | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:22
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Discussing Iran's seizure of 10 U.S. Sailors (and release) on Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's The Last Word, former UK Ministry of Defense official and foreign affairs correspondent Michael Kay declared that there was ''nothing alarming'' and instead ''standard protocol'' taking place in the video released by Iranian state TV of the nine men and one woman being boarded and held for one day.
In addition, Atlantic editor Steve Clemons gushed that the event was another step in ''something dramatic'' taking place with Iran going ''from being one of the most despised nations in our history to something that's a much more comfortable potential partner.''
VIDEO-Networks Censor FBI Director Stating Philly Cop Ambush Is Being Investigated as Terrorism | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 14:09
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
The ''big three'' networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC neglected to inform their viewers on Wednesday night that FBI Director James Comey announced earlier in the day that his agency is investigating the attempted execution of a Philadelphia police officer on January 7 by a convert to Islam as terrorism.
In a visit to the FBI's Pittsburgh field office, Comey explained that his agency is ''investigating that as a terrorist attack, and trying to understand, as we do in all these cases, what were the motivations, and often it's a tangled web we have to untangle, who directed or inspired the individual, if anyone, and who else might have been involved.''
VIDEO-Networks Skimp on Radical Questions at Dem Forum | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:53
[See NewsBusters for more.] The three networks on Tuesday mostly glossed over the Democratic candidates participating in a forum that included radical questions about ''white privilege,'' ''white terrorism'' and reparations. Instead, ABC and CBS focused on fun, light queries at the Iowa event. NBC ignored it entirely. On CBS This Morning, Nancy Cordes allowed just one of the more incendiary questions to be mentioned. She explained, ''Democratic candidates took questions from a panel at the minority oriented forum. But this one came from a college junior.'' Cordes then featured a clip of a Drake University student demanding, ''Secretary Clinton, can you tell us what the term white privilege means to you.''
VIDEO-Obama's Social Media Expert Praises NBC for Helping Push White House Propaganda | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:42
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
During Tuesday's fawning Today show special at the White House, President Obama's chief digital officer Jason Goldman appeared on the broadcast and congratulated the hosts for serving as a propaganda tool for the administration: ''I think you guys do this really well with the Today show. You know, the stuff you've been doing this morning, showing stuff behind the scenes is really great...and I think it's the kind of thing that people look for.''
That praise was prompted by co-host Matt Lauer touting: ''Twitter recently released a list of its most re-tweeted tweets of 2015....from President Obama, we got in here on the list his reaction to the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling last year. And another moment that went viral, the President surprised some tourists on his way to a meeting. Why do you think moments like that get so much attention?''
VIDEO-Pelosi on MSNBC: No One Cares What Clinton Did 'Decades Ago' | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:37
[See NewsBusters for more.] Appearing on MSNBC, Tuesday, Nancy Pelosi insisted that the accusations against Bill Clinton are not important because he's not the one running for president and that no one cares about ''what Bill Clinton did two decades ago.''Calling Donald Trump a ''volatile adversary,'' anchor Andrea Mitchell worried, ''How fraught is this with risk for the Democratic Party and for Hillary Clinton's candidacy?'' She followed-up, asking, ''But on this issue of sexism and the issue of Bill Clinton's past, is that fair game?''
VIDEO-2012-How About That? Liberal Whoopi Goldberg Admits She's a Member of the NRA
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:08
During the May 9 edition of ABC's The View, Whoopi Goldberg made a surprising revelation to members of the audience. During an interview with Fox's John Stossel about his new book, "No They Can't: Why Government Fails But Individuals Succeed," Goldberg disclosed that she was a member of the NRA.
During the interview, Stossel jokingly asked, ''You packing now?'' Goldberg quipped in reply, ''You don't want to find out," a line the audience applauded.
Stossel, who is fairly libertarian, and Goldberg, who is generally liberal, seemed to agree that Americans have the right to keep and bear arms but that the several states have latitude to make different judgments on matters such as Stand Your Ground laws.
But alas, and we all saw this coming, obnoxious liberal panelist Joy Behar to throw in a dopey jab during the interview, complaining that if everyone had access to guns, people would get shot if they cut people off in traffic, saying "I'm not in to it."
Of course, plenty of states have concealed carry laws and high ownership of firearms and such road rage incidents are very rare statistically.
John Stossel's new book can be found on amazon.com.
The full transcript is below.
ABCThe ViewMay 9, 201211:45 a.m. EDT
[ Cheers and applause ]
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: In his new book "No, they can't," the always controversial John Stossel takes aims at the hottest topics in the headlines, claiming gun control laws, the TSA and even programs to help the elderly are hurting America and says neither candidate has a plan to make things any better. Please welcome host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network, John Stossel himself. Welcome. [applause] You know, you''you are going to make a lot of people a little angry at you probably right now. But let's start off. You actually say that both the left and the right do not have a plan to make things better. Neither President Obama, nor Mitt Romney could make anything better. Why? Financially do you think one has a leg-up?
JOY BEHAR: No they can't. Negative. Negative.
JOHN STOSSEL: Big government doesn't solve our problems. They both want to make it bigger. Bush and Obama doubled spending since Clinton. And we're going off a cliff.
HASSELBECK: Right, ok. That's fair, but who do you think has the plan?
(CROSSTALK)
STOSSEL: Ron Paul, but you know, he's going to catch on tomorrow.
SHERI SHEPHERD: Ron Paul?
BEHAR: Ron Paul? He can't get three people to vote for him.[Laughter]
SHEPHERD: Well John Stossel is one of them.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: John's one of them.
STOSSEL: I'll vote for him. If his jacket didn't ride up like this.
BEHAR: Ron Paul, is that your hero, He's not pro-choice, are you pro-choice?
STOSSEL: He says it should be left to states. I'm pro-choice, yes.
BEHAR: But he's not.
STOSSEL: Well, I don't agree with him on everything''
HASSELBECK: What about gay marriage? Do you think that should be left up to the states like we discussed in hot topics?
STOSSEL: I think it should be legal, yes. I don't see why the government has to be involved with marriage. Shouldn't be a contract..
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Well, let me say this. You're not a big fan of big government cause you think big government doesn't really help. Are you saying it has never been able to help? Or it's not helping now? Because I have to tell you, uh, Brown versus the Board of Education was big government and they forced --
STOSSEL: But Jim Crow was big government, slavery was big government.
GOLDBERG: Yes, but they made the move, John. That's point.
STOSSEL: They got rid of bad government rules''
GOLDBERG: So are you saying that big government is all bad? Or we just -- we should adjust the government so that it works for the people?
BEHAR: Or just bad government?
STOSSEL: I'm saying limited government that keeps us safe and gets rid of things like Jim Crow. I have a graph of how government's grown since the beginning of the Republic. It's amazing. When government''we began it was tiny, less than 5% of the economy. Only since Lyndon Johnson and Bush and obama is it going up at this unsustainable level that it is now. We need government to keep us safe for some pollution rules but all this other stuff just teaches people to be dedependent and its unsustainable.
BEHAR: Well you know, there's some kind of movement to eliminate things like meals on wheels for old people. I mean that's government contributing to old people's meals who''who are home bound. Why would you ever want to eliminate a program like that? It's not about being dependent on government
STOSSEL: I wouldn't. This is a rich country. Private charities would take care of that.
SHEPHERD: It's a rich country, but
BEHAR: Oh, baloney.
(CROSSTALK)
STOSSEL: Come on, before your beloved social welfare programs, nobody starved in America, even during the depression. There were thousands of mutual aide societies of people helping each other.
BEHAR: (inaudible) But that was not a program.
HASSELBECK: Let me ask you this''It's a tough one for you, maybe veterans programs when they come back, reintegration, what should we doing for them? What's your position there?
STOSSEL: Well, defense is a rule for government. And so when veterans need help, perhaps that's a role for government. Limited government''
SHEPHERD: Well John, you also give some specific examples in the book. Trayvon martin, you know, after the Trayvon Martin where he was allegedly shot by George Zimmerman, people really screamed out for stricter gun control laws. Now however, you say that's not going to help, stricter gun laws, why is that?
STOSSEL: Look, I grew up in this neighborhood. Joy Behar world, I call it. Where everybody-
BEHAR: I grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
STOSSEL: Ok, well, everybody believes in more regulation. Honestly the idea of everybody packing heat terrified me. But I looked at the data. I mean''wouldn't you be nervous if everybody here could have a concealed weapon?
BEHAR: Yes.
(CROSSTALK)
STOSSEL: It would cati''catastrophic. Well, that's the law in 40 states. And those states have less crime -- slightly less crime, not a big difference.
BEHAR: Catastrophic, yes.
SHEPHERD: With people being able to carry a concealed weapon?
STOSEL: Because the bad guys are a little nervous about who they rob.
GOLDBERG: But it is also, is it also, John, because those folks are saying, okay, here's what I have in my house. I'm letting''the government says -- I want you''I'm an NRA member, as you probably know or don't know.
STOSSEL: I didn't know.
GOLDBERG: Yes. I-I''
STOSSEL: You packing now?HASSELBECK: Maybe?
GOLDBERG: You don't want to find out.
[ Applause ]
GOLDBERG: But I don't mind having to register and let them know who-that I have them. What I don't want, and the thing that makes me worried about what you're saying is, I want to know that at least, you know, there's some'' some way to prevent folks who are just getting out of mental institutions.
BEHAR: Yeah, for example --
GOLDBERG: well, that's my concern. And I want to ask you, do you think that maybe some of the laws, like the one that is in Florida, should sort of --
SHEPHERD: Stand your ground.
GOLDBERG: Stand your ground''should be eliminated?
STOSSEL: I think that's for the states to decide. We have 50 states, lets have 50 experiments.
SHEPHERD: Experiments?
STOSSEL: Yeah, 50 states''
SHEPHERD: [inaudible]. Experiments?
STOSSEL: Yeah. You learn from that experiment. When things are legal its easier to police and keep mentally ill people from getting guns.
BEHAR: Too many crazy people out there. You know, you're driving in a car, you cut somebody off, they have a gun, they shoot you. I'm not in to it.
STOSSEL: Do they do it in the other 40 states?
SHEPHERD: No, but I'd''
BEHAR: I'd like to know what those states are''
SHEPHERD: I want to ask about the TSA, because after 9/11, the government put in place the TSA. We talk about the TSA all the time which is helping us stay safe. But now you feel that they should not be involved? And there should be no TSA? How do you feel about that?
STOSSEL: Israel, Europe, most countries they have government management and private contractors doing the screening. Not in America. Tom Daschle said you can't professionalize if you don't federalize. Senate voted 100 to zero for the TSA. They spend ten times what the private screens spent. San Francisco, the one big airport where they allow private screening, I sent a producer there, people said things like, gee, these people are friendlier, and the lines move quickly.
HASSELBECK: So are they safer? Not are they friendlier, are they safer there?
STOSSEL: They sneak through contraband. But San Francisco screeners found 75% of the time the government screeners in L.A., 25% of the time.
SHEPHERD: So you feel it should be a private corporation.
HASSELBECK: Well the statistics say it.
STOSSEL: That's competition. Government never fires itself. Competition means if you do badly, you get fired.
BEHAR: You can get fired in a government job.
HASSELBECK: We always appreciate your perspective. We want to give our thanks to John Stossel. Always controversial. Members of our audience today are going home with his book "No, They Can't." We'll be right back.
VIDEO-Andrea Mitchell Frets: Iran Seizing Sailors Has Created 'Frantic' Scene for Obama's SOTU | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 05:31
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Hours before President Obama's final State of the Union address, NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell took to the airwaves of Tuesday's NBC Nightly News to complain that Iran seizing 10 U.S. Sailors had created a ''frantic'' situation for the President that ''could not have happened at the worst time.''
Anchor Lester Holt led into Mitchell's analysis by explaining that Tuesday's news comes ''against the back drop of years of bad history between the U.S. and Iran, but also the delicate nuclear deal'' reached between the countries and allies in July 2015.
VIDEO-NBC's Chuck Todd: 'Timing' of Iran Situation 'Couldn't Be Worse' for Obama Before SOTU | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 05:17
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
NBC News political director and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd lamented in the final moments before President Obama's final State of the Union Tuesday night that the ''timing'' of Iran's seizure of 10 Sailors from the U.S. Navy ''couldn't be worse for the President'' as he went onto tout the Iran nuclear deal in his address.
After colleague Andrea Mitchell again pouted (as she did on NBC Nightly News) about the situation, Todd followed with a similar sentiment: ''[T]iming couldn't be worse for the President. I mean, Iran was one of the examples he wants to set of sort of some things he feels are big accomplishments in his administration.''
VIDEO-Harney County Fire Chief Resigns. FBI Caught Posing As Militia At Local Armory - YouTube
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 05:06
VIDEO-Obama: 'The Future We (I) Want...Will Only Happen If We Fix Our Politics' | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 04:27
If the player does not load, please update Adobe Flash Player or make sure your browser supports HTML5 video.
Obama: 'The Future We (I) Want...Will Only Happen If We Fix Our Politics'See More at: http://cnsnews.com/blog/susan-jones/future-we-i-wantwill-only-happen-if-we-fix-our-politics
VIDEO-NBC Gently Nudges Hillary Clinton Her Husband's 'Past Misbehavior' | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 04:20
[See NewsBusters for more.] CBS This Morning co-hosts on Wednesday scored an interview with Hillary Clinton. Yet, Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell failed to ask any questions about Hillary's e-mail scandal or Bill Clinton's numerous sex scandals. Instead, King, who is a Democratic donor, worried, ''Madam Secretary, the latest poll numbers have your supporters a little worried tonight. They show that Bernie Sanders is surging just seven points behind you now.'' In contrast, Today co-host Savannah Guthrie at least managed to bring up the sexual allegations against Bill Clinton. Well, sort of. Guthrie kept it vague, only highlighting the ex-President's ''past misbehavior.''
VIDEO-CNN's Camerota Actually Raises 'Enabler' Charge in Hillary Interview | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 04:00
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
On the 13 January 2016 edition of CNN's New Day, Alisyn Camerota surprisingly broached the issue of Bill Clinton's sordid sexual past during her interview of Hillary Clinton '-- something that the Big Three morning newscasts skirted doing in their Wednesday interviews of the Democratic presidential candidate. Camerota noted how Donald Trump raised the "allegations from your husband's past," and pointed out that "he's going further, actually, than that. He's making it about you. He's saying that you are an enabler of bad behavior and of sexual assault." She asked, "What's your response to Donald Trump?"
When Mrs. Clinton replied, "I have no response," the anchor pressed the former secretary of state on the issue: "But when someone accuses you of being an enabler of sexual assault, don't you need to respond to it...particularly since this is an issue that you wanted to talk about on the campaign trail '-- campus sexual assault '-- you say that survivors need to be believed, and they need to be heard. So when he's accusing you of doing something that is the antithesis of what you want to talk about, don't you need to address it?"
VIDEO-CBS on Al Jazeera America Shutting Down, GE Moving Due to High Taxes | MRCTV
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 03:44
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
On Wednesday, ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News neglected to cover two separate stories on the business and news media fronts as Al Jazeera America announced that it will cease operations in April while General Electric made clear that it will move its headquarters to Boston after 41 years in Connecticut because of high taxes.
In contrast, the CBS Evening News offered dual news briefs on both stories totaled 29 seconds with anchor Scott Pelley citing ''[s]lumping oil prices'' as a reason for the Qatar-based parent network Al Jazeera deciding to shutter its liberal American venture.
VIDEO-Iran Releases Video of U.S. Sailor Apologizing: 'That Was Our Mistake'
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:22
Please see the source for the video as it is not compatible for posting here.
The plot thickens around the 10 U.S. soldiers who were detained overnight by the Iranian government after two Navy boats entered Iranian territorial waters, a set of facts that both sides agree upon. The sailors have since been released, and as more video and images of their captivity trickle out, Iranian state television has released a video that shows one of the sailors admitting an unspecified mistake, and apologizing for it:
This video apology was delivered despite Vice President Joe Biden's insistence that the U.S. government offered no apology, and Iran had sought none.
Biden was asked about an official apology from the U.S. government, of course, which is not the same thing as a sailor making a remark about an innocent mistake. So far, this all seems consistent with the U.S. government's characterization of this event as a non-hostile one, although videotaping a captive sailor isn't exactly a friendly action.
Full article:Iran Releases Video of U.S. Sailor Apologizing: 'That Was Our Mistake' (MediaITE)
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VIDEO-U.S. sailors' release a testament to diplomacy: Kerry
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:22
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VIDEO AUDIO-Podcast: "Turkey Under Siege - Inside and Out" Kelman Seminar with Yavuz Baydar and Lenore Martin - Harvard - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:19
News
January 7, 2016
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Middle East Initiative
An audio recording of a session of the Herbert C. Kelman Seminar on International Conflict Analysis and Resolution featuring speakers Yavuz Baydar, Turkish journalist and former Joan Shorenstein Fellow (Fall 2014), Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy and Lenore Martin, Associate, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science, Emmanuel College.
On November 23, 2015, Yavuz Baydar and Lenore Martin
Listen to the full recording of the November 18, 2015 seminar below:
This series is sponsored by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; the Nieman Foundation for Journalism; Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School; and Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. This event was also cosponsored by the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. For more information on the event, click here.
For more information about this publication please contact the Middle East Initiative at (617) 495-4087.
For Academic Citation:
"Podcast: "Turkey Under Siege - Inside and Out" Kelman Seminar with Yavuz Baydar and Lenore Martin." News, Harvard University, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, January 7, 2016.
VIDEO-Kicked out of Bio-Terrorism Drill
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 21:16
VIDEO-Claim: 'Global warming' could cause humans to develop webbed feet, cat's eyes and gills | Climate Depot
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 19:58
Webbed feet, cat's eyes and gills: Features are just some that humans could evolve to have to deal with a 'water world' due to global warming
Experts predicts some genetic changes could take place quickly For example, some humans already have a mutation that causes webbing
A layer in the retina may develop to help us see in poor light under water
Our noses and face size would increase to help warm inhaled cold air in the nasopharynx, the area behind the nose
Our noses and face size would increase to help warm inhaled cold air in the nasopharynx, the area behind the nose.
By: Marc Morano - Climate DepotJanuary 13, 2016 8:48 AM with 855 comments
Watch: University of Kent paleoanthropologist Dr Matthew Skinner describes how human physical appearance could evolve if melting ice caps cause rising sea levels due to climate change.
Via: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3396624/Webbed-feet-cat-s-eyes-gills-Features-just-humans-evolve-deal-water-world-global-warming-second-ice-age.html
By COLIN FERNANDEZ, SCIENCE CORRESPONDENT FOR THE DAILY MAIL
PUBLISHED: 19:03 EST, 12 January 2016
Humans may evolve bizarre features such as webbed feet and eyes like cats in response to changing environments, a scientist claims today.
Experts calculated how our physical appearance could change under a number of scenarios, including a 'water world' if melting ice caps cause rising sea levels.
They also considered what would happen in a second ice age which could be triggered by an asteroid strike, and if humans colonised other planets.
Dr Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Kent, examined the three scenarios and worked with artist Quentin Devine to help visualise how humans could look in the future.
Dr Skinner said some changes '' such as webbed feet and hands becoming widespread '' could take place very quickly as some humans already have a genetic mutation that produces webbing.
Experts calculated how our physical appearance could change under a number of scenarios, including a 'water world' if melting ice caps cause rising sea levels. They also considered what would happen in a second ice age. These artist's impressions show how women may evolve to develop webbed feet and hands and cat's eyes
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3396624/Webbed-feet-cat-s-eyes-gills-Features-just-humans-evolve-deal-water-world-global-warming-second-ice-age.html#ixzz3x8FvEliL
Could a children's book become reality?!
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Wed, 13 Jan 2016 19:27
VIDEO-EU orders Belgium to claw back extra taxes from major firms | euronews, Europe
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 19:24
EU regulators have told Belgium to claw back 700 million euros in extra taxes after they ruled 35 multinationals had benefitted from an illegal tax break.
The European Commission said that Belgium's so-called 'excess profit system'' allowed only a few large companies to get a tax discount.
Under the Belgian scheme, multinationals could reduce their corporate tax bases by between 50-90 percent due to profits arising from, for example, economies of scale, which were not liable to tax in Belgium
Officials said this distorted the EU's single market; some journalists asked whether this means Belgium should be considered a tax haven.
''I don't really know what is a tax haven is. To me a tax haven is a place where everyone pays their share. In that respect I am not quite sure we are in a tax haven yet, but we are trying, actually we are doing our best,'' said Margrethe VestagerEU commissioner for competition.
''National tax authorities cannot give any company, however large, however powerful an unfair competitive advantage compared to others,'' she said. ''This scheme puts smaller competitors at an unfair disadvantage.''
Belgian Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt said the government could still appeal the decision.
''The consequences for the companies involved could be major, and the recovery extremely complex,'' he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
The Commission is also investigating Amazon in Luxembourg and Apple in Ireland.
In October, it told Fiat Chrysler and Starbucks to recover between 20 and 30 million euros linked to illegal tax deals with the Dutch and Luxembourg authorities.
VIDEO-Family mourned: Community remembers Northfield Center family killed in house explosion | fox8.com
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:28
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NORTHFIELD CENTER, Ohio-- Loved ones are remembering the Mather family, killed when their home exploded Monday night in Northfield Center.
The explosion happened at about 8:40 p.m. on Skyhaven Road in the township in northern Summit County. Neighbors said they tried to rescue the family but were overwhelmed by smoke, and it took several fire departments to extinguish the fire.
The Summit County Sheriff's Office said first responders recovered the bodies of two adults and their two children. All four were pronounced dead at the scene. The Summit County Medical Examiner's Office identified the adult victims as Jeffrey Mather, 43, and Cynthia Mather, 43. Neighbors identified the children as Ruth, 8, and Allison, 10.
"They were super people, the mother was kind of like a mom to a lot of the kids in the neighborhood," next door neighbor Mike Mahan said. "She used to care for other kids coming from families that had problems and Cindy would take them in and take care of them."
The Mathers were founding members of The Rock Community Church in Garfield Heights. Pastor David Brunelle said Jeff was a deacon at the church for 13 years and he and Cindy, as well as their daughters, were active in serving at the church.
"Their lives touched many people, and they will be deeply missed by many," Brunelle said in a statement, adding that the victims' family is asking for privacy.
According to Cindy Mather's Facebook page, she worked as a tutor at KidsLink Neurobehavioral Center in Twinsburg.
"The KidsLink Family is deeply saddened by the loss of our fellow coworkers," Katrina Mullen, a manager at the location, told Fox 8 News. "Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with the family and community as we all grieve the loss of this very special woman and her family."
Neighbors said Allison was home schooled. The Nordonia Hills School District confirmed Ruth was a second grader at Northfield Elementary School, and Cindy often volunteered at the school.
"It was heartbreaking, just an awful, awful tragedy," said Nordonia Hills Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark. "I would just tell parents, 'hug your kids.' It's unspeakable what happened last night, and I met with the staff this morning to talk to them to prepare them for the day and tears were just flowing."
Clark posted a letter to parents on the district's web site and said teachers spoke to students in first through fourth grades at the start of the school day Tuesday. He said students were given time to draw or write to help deal with their emotions. Additional counselors were also on hand at the school.
"They were great neighbors, they really were," said Joani Mahan. "They were just really nice people, thoughtful, kind."
**Continuing coverage here**
41.292583-81.516826
Skyhaven Drive
VIDEO-Fusion on Twitter: ".@HillaryClinton on her white privilege #DemForum https://t.co/TTHfhmDKbN"
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:14
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VIDEO-Suicide blast near Pakistan polio centre kills 14
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VIDEO-FBI's Clinton probe expands to public corruption track | Fox News
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 15:46
EXCLUSIVE: The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible ''intersection'' of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws, three intelligence sources not authorized to speak on the record told Fox News.
This new investigative track is in addition to the focus on classified material found on Clinton's personal server.
"The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed," one source said.
Clinton, speaking to the Des Moines Register, on Monday pushed back on the details of a second investigative track. According to reporter Jennifer Jacobs, Clinton said Monday she has heard nothing from the FBI.
"No, there's nothing like that that is happening," Clinton said, according to a tweet from Jacobs.
Experts including a former senior FBI agent said the bureau does not have to notify the subject of an investigation.
The development follows press reports over the past year about the potential overlap of State Department and Clinton Foundation work, and questions over whether donors benefited from their contacts inside the administration.
The Clinton Foundation is a public charity, known as a 501(c)(3). It had grants and contributions in excess of $144 million in 2013, the most current available data.
Inside the FBI, pressure is growing to pursue the case.
One intelligence source told Fox News that FBI agents would be ''screaming'' if a prosecution is not pursued because ''many previous public corruption cases have been made and successfully prosecuted with much less evidence than what is emerging in this investigation.''
The FBI is particularly on edge in the wake of how the case of former CIA Director David Petraeus was handled.
One of the three sources said some FBI agents felt Petraeus was given a slap on the wrist for sharing highly classified information with his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell, as well as lying to FBI agents about his actions. Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in March 2015 after a two-plus-year federal investigation in which Attorney General Eric Holder initially declined to prosecute.
In the Petraeus case, the exposure of classified information was assessed to be limited.
By contrast, in the Clinton case, the number of classified emails has risen to at least 1,340. A 2015 appeal by the State Department to challenge the ''Top Secret'' classification of at least two emails failed and, as Fox News first reported, is now considered a settled matter.
It is unclear which of the two lines of inquiry was opened first by the FBI and whether they eventually will be combined and presented before a special grand jury. One intelligence source said the public corruption angle dates back to at least April 2015. On their official website, the FBI lists "public corruption as the FBI's top criminal priority."
Fox News is told that about 100 special agents assigned to the investigations also were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements, with as many as 50 additional agents on ''temporary duty assignment,'' or TDY. The request to sign a new NDA could reflect that agents are handling the highly classified material in the emails, or serve as a reminder not to leak about the case, or both.
"The pressure on the lead agents is brutal," a second source said. "Think of it like a military operation, you might need tanks called in along with infantry."
Separately, a former high-ranking State Department official emphasized to Fox News that Clinton's deliberate non-use of her government email address may be increasingly ''significant.''
''It is virtually automatic when one comes on board at the State Department to be assigned an email address,'' the source said.
''It would have taken an affirmative act not to have one assigned ... and it would also mean it was all planned out before she took office. This certainly raises questions about the so-called legal advice she claimed to have received from inside the State Department that what she was doing was proper."
On Sunday, when asked about her email practices while secretary of state, Clinton insisted to CBS News' "Face The Nation," "there is no there, there."
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
VIDEO-Angry Militia Leader: Stop Mailing Us Dildos
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 14:44
No one ever said it's easy to take a stand against the federal government: it's cold, there aren't enough snacks, everyone is pissy, and a bunch of strangers won't stop sending you hate mail and dicks.
http://gawker.com/drama-alert-th...
Oregon militia organizer Jon Ritzheimer really, really fuckin' hates Uncle Sam. But what he hates even more is all of the obscene and generally unhelpful emails and packages that strangers from around the country and Gawker are sending to his band of armchair commandos. In a new Facebook post and accompanying video, Ritzheimer says he's sick of this garbage:
It's sad that there are people who would spend this kind of money on this rather than spending it to do good in the world. I'm done living in fear of an oppressing force. I'm going to uphold my oath to the Constitution and sleep great at night knowing that I did everything in my power to ensure what our founding fathers did for us will not be lost.
He takes particular issue with an enormous dildo and a ''bag of dicks'' that appear to be made out of candy'--a form of snack, so I'm not sure what his beef is here. Militia spokesperson Maureen ''Mo'' Peltier echoes Ritzheimer's disgust:
People spending money to send items representing their hate. That could have been spent on good things. Or those in need. Or something.
Billy Gober posted a genius idea, sell it back on ebay. So, keep sending stupid shit, it's gonna turn a dime for them. Lol Economics!
I love the idea of the Oregon militiamen selling dildos on eBay, so yes, consider the plan fully endorsed.
Ritzheimer's video ends with him sweeping the entire table of anti-militia mail onto the floor in an extremely dramatic fashion.
As unpleasant as this occupation has been, we can at least take satisfaction in knowing that we, as a people, came together as one to make the leader of the armed band of dangerous idiots get mad online.
Contact the author at biddle@gawker.com.Public PGP keyPGP fingerprint: E93A 40D1 FA38 4B2B 1477 C855 3DEA F030 F340 E2C7
VIDEO-Space Weapons and the Risk of Nuclear Exchange - YouTube
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 13:58
VIDEO-Bernie climate change
Wed, 13 Jan 2016 13:57
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VIDEO-Media mogul Murdoch to wed Jerry Hall
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A look at the strangest scenes from 2015Wed, Dec 23, 2015 -(0:43)
A world of Christmas treesTue, Dec 22, 2015 -(1:36)
Reuters most captivating animal pictures of...Tue, Dec 22, 2015 -(0:46)
Santa Claus is coming to townMon, Dec 21, 2015 -(1:27)
The year in 60 seconds: 2015Wed, Dec 02, 2015 -(1:01)
Being Darth VaderWed, Dec 16, 2015 -(0:54)
Chelsea sack 'Special One' MourinhoFri, Dec 18, 2015 -(0:44)
Serena Williams wins SI Sportsperson of the...Thu, Dec 17, 2015 -(0:51)
Behind The Scenes of 'The Nutcracker'Mon, Dec 14, 2015 -(0:48)
Talking Climate COP21Sun, Dec 13, 2015 -(1:48)
Reuters Pictures of the Year 2015Wed, Dec 09, 2015 -(1:33)
The disappearance of Aletsch GlacierThu, Dec 03, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of NovemberMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:01)
The disappearance of Lake PowellMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:14)
The Utmost Bliss Dharma AssemblyFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(1:06)
The universe in false color imageryFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(0:41)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
China's only childrenThu, Oct 29, 2015 -(0:48)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of JuneThu, Jul 02, 2015 -(0:59)
Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of MarchWed, Apr 01, 2015 -(1:00)

Art

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Agenda 2030

Necessity Defense-Protesters That Shut Down Oil Train Railway To Use Dire State Of Climate Change As Defense In Court.mp3

Elections 2016

CBS Dem Forum-bernie n living in whitehouse.mp3
Chelsea Clinton's Bernie 'attack'.mp3
CNN, Donna Brazile Runs to Bill Clinton's Defense; Attacks Trump.mp3
CNN's Camerota Actually Raises 'Enabler' Charge in Hillary Interview.mp3
Haitians protest Clinton Foundation.m4a
Matt vs Kirby-Clinton email delays.mp3
Morning Joe on Media not talking about Epstein - Clinton pedobears.mp3
NBC Gently Nudges Hillary Clinton Her Husband's 'Past Misbehavior'.mp3
Pelosi on MSNBC- No One Cares What Clinton Did ‘Decades Ago’.mp3

JCD Clips

ABC and Nikki Haley.mp3
catalonia.mp3
Iranian bullcrap.mp3
ISIS and Turkey.mp3
nikki on fixing the broken.mp3
obama finale.mp3
OBAMA on retraining.mp3
OBAMA on small business.mp3
OBAMA self contradictory.mp3
OBAMA switchback idiot.mp3
OBAMA we are power.mp3
OBAMA what did he say.mp3
Poland.mp3
russia.mp3
top obama gaffe ISO.mp3
trump disavow 3times.mp3

Ministry of Truth

CBS on Al Jazeera America Shutting Down.mp3

NA-Tech News

vacuum-tubes-daarpa-Bobby Owsinski's Inner Circle music production podcast.mp3

SOTU

Andrea Mitchell Frets- Iran Seizing Sailors PLAY Has Created ‘Frantic’ Scene for Obama’s SOTU.mp3
FBI's Clinton probe expands to public corruption track-MEGAN AND THE PIXIE.mp3
Kerry sailors bs speech to military brass.mp3
Kim Davis at SOTU- Obama ‘Has Chipped Away at American, Christian Values’.mp3
Kirby sez Kerry is awesome for getting sailors out.mp3
MSNBC-former UK Ministry of Defense official and foreign affairs correspondent Michael Kay sez 'SAILORS' in arrest NORMAL-GENEVA CONVENTIION?.mp3
NBC color piece about guests (muslims).mp3
NBC LAuer-Trump As President? Obama 'Can Imagine It in a Saturday Night Skit'.mp3
Obama- 'If We Want Better Politics...We Have to Change the System'-MONEY.mp3
Obama- 'The Future We (I) Want...Will Only Happen If We Fix Our Politics'.mp3
Obama- Modernize voting.mp3
Obama’s Social Media Expert Praises NBC for Helping Push White House Propaganda.mp3
Rose & Haigiographer Jon Meecham on Obama Intelligence.mp3
SOTU ROse & Kathleen Parker from WaPo on Obama.mp3

War on Guns

Judge Nap w Beck-Obama Using Nuts Ruse To Take Guns From Same People.m4a
Judge Nap-Exec Action vs Exec Order On Gun Confiscation.m4a

War on Vaping

House Passes Bill Requiring Child Proof Packaging On Liquid Nicotine For E-Cigarettes.mp3

War on Women

Media mogul Murdoch to wed Jerry Hall.mp3
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