792: Buffoonery

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 54m
January 21st, 2016
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Executive Producers: Sir Blackballs of TWiT the Baron of Logan Square, Peter Gill, Sir Mad Hatter

Associate Executive Producers: Subodh Pethe, Jayson Wall, Scott Schipper, JohnOverall.com

Cover Artist: CaraP


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Elections 2016
Those 50 Retired FBI Agents
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:46
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
There is something people have missed in the FBI Director Comey investigation of Hillary Clinton in her Emailgate and Influence Pedaling. It is not the 100 active FBI agents which Comey has on this investigation, but it is the 50 REACTIVATED FBI AGENTS which Comey brought in under contract.
If you need to connect the dots in this, as what this puzzle is about in these 50, it is not about being short staffed or looking for partisans. These 50 are specialists, the best in the world, in recovering information.
What is this about, but emails, meaning computers.
What else is this about? The answer is money flowing into the Clinton Foundation. That translates as money laundering.
These 50 FBI agents are experts in tracing money being laundered and computer hard drives which have been wiped, and most importantly in this, is who hacked into or had access into the Clinton servers and were covering their tracks in this spying.
This is no longer as I have posted about above top secret documents, as it has been established Hillary Clinton is guilty of this already. This is about the same Bill Clinton Al Gore illegal fundraising from Chicoms, and Hillary was doing the same thing.......but was granting access through her servers to certain foreign regimes in exchange for cash.
That is what the FBI is tracing and tracking...........same Goldman Sachs funding Hillary Clinton is the same Goldman Sachs funding Ted Cruz and employing Heidi Cruz.
It is this trace routing which is being sorted out. The foreign espionage sources being hidden inside the US government agencies.
I am not going to repeat that.
Jonathan Emord - Hillary's Crisis Explained
HILLARY THREAT-Exclusive: Pentagon May Demote David Petraeus - The Daily Beast
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 14:37
FALLING STAR01.18.164:53 PM ET
The defense secretary is looking to clamp down on misbehaving generals. Pentagon insiders say Petraeus could be the next general to face the consequences.
The reduction in Petraeus's rank could force him to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in pension payments. But the the bigger blow would be to his reputation.
The Pentagon is considering retroactively demoting retired Gen. David Petraeus after he admitted to giving classified information to his biographer and mistress while he was still in uniform, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Daily Beast.
The decision now rests with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, who is said to be willing to consider overruling an earlier recommendation by the Army that Petraeus not have his rank reduced. Such a demotion could cost the storied general hundreds of thousands of dollars'--and deal an additional blow to his once-pristine reputation.
''The secretary is considering going in a different direction'' from the Army, a defense official told The Daily Beast, because he wants to be consistent in his treatment of senior officers who engage in misconduct and to send a message that even men of Petraeus's fame and esteemed reputation are not immune to punishment.
Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook told The Daily Beast that Carter had requested the information ex-Army Secretary John McHugh had when he made his recommendation on the matter, before reaching a final decision. McHugh had recommended taking no action against Petraeus.
''The Department of the Army is still in the process of providing the secretary with information relevant to former'Ž Secretary McHugh's recommendation,'' Cook told The Daily Beast. ''Once the secretary'Ž has an opportunity to consider this information, he will make his decision about next steps, if any, in this matter.''
Carter could also recommend other actions that don't result in Petraeus losing his fourth star. Or the defense secretary could simply allow the Army's previous recommendations to stand.
Petraeus, arguably the most well-known and revered military officer of his generation, retired from the Army in 2011 with the rank of a four-star general, the highest rank an Army officer can achieve. If Carter decides to strip Petraeus of his fourth star, he could be demoted to the last rank at which he ''satisfactorily'' served, according to military regulations.
Reducing Petraeus's rank, most likely to lieutenant general, could mean he'd have to pay back the difference in pension payments and other benefits that he received as a retired four-star general. That would amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over his retirement. According to Pentagon figures, a four-star general with roughly the same years of experience as Petraeus was entitled to receive a yearly pension of nearly $220,000. A three-star officer would receive about $170,000.
Petraeus didn't respond to a request for comment.
But the financial pain to Petraeus isn't likely to be severe. He has confided to friends and acquaintances that he's making a hefty sum from his job at a private equity firm and through speaking fees.
The demotion in rank would be a bigger, lasting blow, and take from Petraeus the rare achievement he'd set his eyes on many years ago.
At any given time, there are only 12 four-star generals in the Army, the largest of the services. By the time he was a colonel, in the mid-1990s, many thought Petraeus was destined to be one of them.
The U.S. military has, on several occasions, demoted generals, increasingly for improper personal contact and not for poor battlefield decisions. But rarely does it demote four-star generals, in part because there are so few of them. It's also more common to reduce the rank of more junior officers than of top generals.
If Petraeus were demoted, it would mark another spectacular fall. Petraeus stepped down as director of the Central Intelligence Agency in 2012 after his affair with Paula Broadwell, a writer and current Army reservist, was revealed. At the time, Petraeus had been frequently mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016.
Petraeus pleaded guilty last year to giving Broadwell eight notebooks that he compiled while serving as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and that he knew contained classified information. The notebooks held some of the most sensitive kinds of military and intelligence secrets, including the identities of covert officers, intelligence capabilities, quotes from high-level meetings of the National Security Council, and notes about Petraeus's discussions with President Obama.
After leaving Afghanistan, Petraeus took the books back to his home in Virginia and gave them to Broadwell just three days before he retired from the Army. She later returned them. No classified information appeared in her biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, officials have said.
Petraeus could have faced felony charges, including for lying to FBI investigators, but was allowed to plead guilty last year to a misdemeanor count of unauthorized handling classified information. He avoided a prison sentence but received two years probation and a $100,000 fine.
But that was not the end of the matter. Last year, the FBI gave Army investigators information that the bureau had come across as it was closing up its own investigation of Petraeus, the defense official and one former U.S. official told The Daily Beast.
The information, the FBI believed, might be of interest to the Army, the defense official said. The Army investigated and decided ''there was nothing new here that should change his retirement'' and ''recommended that there be no change'' to his four-star rank, the official said. Last month, it went to the secretary of defense for final approval.
Army personnel regulations say that an officer doesn't automatically retire with the highest rank he or she achieved while in uniform (PDF). And even though Petraeus had already been officially retired, through a process known as grade determination the Army can retroactively reopen his case and consider whether to demote him ''[i]f substantial new evidence discovered contemporaneously with or within a short time following separation could result in a lower grade determination.''
The regulations also state that if ''an officer's misconduct while still on active duty is documented,'' including by ''conviction after retirement,'' a new grade determination may be completed. Petraeus hadn't yet retired when he gave Broadwell the classified information.
The Army received the information from the FBI that prompted this new review more than four years after Petraeus had retired. The Defense Department was also running its own investigation into Petraeus's relationship with Broadwell and what classified information he gave her at the same time the FBI and federal prosecutors were pursuing their case. That may explain why the Army decided it had seen nothing new in the information it received last year from the FBI and decided not to recommend a demotion.
But Carter is said to be concerned that because he has recommended other generals be reduced in rank for actions not becoming an officer, he'll be seen as inconsistent if he doesn't do the same for Petraeus. The decision is as much about timing and politics as it is Petraeus's own transgressions.
''This is about Ash Carter, not David Petraeus,'' the defense official said.
Last November, Carter removed his senior military aide, Lt. Gen. Ron Lewis, for personal misconduct, and referred the matter to the Pentagon's inspector general for investigation. Lewis was demoted a rank, to a major general.
Lewis was a longtime and influential aide to the secretary, and his removal and punishment signaled Carter's commitment to maintaining upstanding behavior among the military's generals. The exact nature of Lewis's misconduct has not been announced, but military officials have suggested he was involved in an improper personal relationship.
While few are familiar with Petraeus's potential demotion, those who are aware of it said they were surprised that he could be punished years after the scandal was presumably put behind him and after he pleaded guilty to mishandling classified information. No general in recent history has been demoted years after scandal swirled around him or her.
Those who know and have worked with Petraeus describe him as a man of extraordinary capabilities and ambition. He received his fourth star in 2007 and then served in several prestigious and demanding assignments, including commander of U.S. Central Command, the commanding general of all ground forces in Iraq, and later as commander of ground forces in Afghanistan.
Petraeus's unorthodox thinking and willingness to buck conventional strategy was seen as key to the U.S. victory over insurgents and jihadists in Iraq during the so-called troop surge of 2007 and 2008. His reputation was so esteemed that there was talk of giving him a fifth star'--a largely symbolic gesture that was highly unlikely'--or renaming the road to Petraeus's alma mater, the U.S. Military Academy, after him.
Should Carter choose to knock Petraeus down to the rank of a three-star general, he will have a chance to appeal his case to the secretary, but Congress doesn't have to be informed of the decision, the official said.
There is no deadline on Carter to make a decision.
The last commander to lose rank for professional misconduct was Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was demoted to colonel in 2005 for the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq. The last four-star general to be demoted was Gen. William Ward, who retired as a three-star in 2012 amid allegations he misspent government money on himself and his family.
Donald Trump 2016: The One Weird Trait That Predicts Whether You're a Trump Supporter - POLITICO Magazine
Mon, 18 Jan 2016 16:32
Political Science
And it's not gender, age, income, race or religion.
By Matthew MacWilliams
AP Photo
If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They're white? They're poor? They're uneducated?
You'd be wrong.
Story Continued Below
In fact, I've found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump'--and it's not race, income or education levels: It's authoritarianism.
That's right, Trump's electoral strength'--and his staying power'--have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations. And because of the prevalence of authoritarians in the American electorate, among Democrats as well as Republicans, it's very possible that Trump's fan base will continue to grow.
My finding is the result of a national poll I conducted in the last five days of December under the auspices of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, sampling 1,800 registered voters across the country and the political spectrum. Running a standard statistical analysis, I found that education, income, gender, age, ideology and religiosity had no significant bearing on a Republican voter's preferred candidate. Only two of the variables I looked at were statistically significant: authoritarianism, followed by fear of terrorism, though the former was far more significant than the latter.
Authoritarianism is not a new, untested concept in the American electorate. Since the rise of Nazi Germany, it has been one of the most widely studied ideas in social science. While its causes are still debated, the political behavior of authoritarians is not. Authoritarians obey. They rally to and follow strong leaders. And they respond aggressively to outsiders, especially when they feel threatened. From pledging to ''make America great again'' by building a wall on the border to promising to close mosques and ban Muslims from visiting the United States, Trump is playing directly to authoritarian inclinations.
Not all authoritarians are Republicans by any means; in national surveys since 1992, many authoritarians have also self-identified as independents and Democrats. And in the 2008 Democratic primary, the political scientist Marc Hetherington found that authoritarianism mattered more than income, ideology, gender, age and education in predicting whether voters preferred Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. But Hetherington has also found, based on 14 years of polling, that authoritarians have steadily moved from the Democratic to the Republican Party over time. He hypothesizes that the trend began decades ago, as Democrats embraced civil rights, gay rights, employment protections and other political positions valuing freedom and equality. In my poll results, authoritarianism was not a statistically significant factor in the Democratic primary race, at least not so far, but it does appear to be playing an important role on the Republican side. Indeed, 49 percent of likely Republican primary voters I surveyed score in the top quarter of the authoritarian scale'--more than twice as many as Democratic voters.
Political pollsters have missed this key component of Trump's support because they simply don't include questions about authoritarianism in their polls. In addition to the typical battery of demographic, horse race, thermometer-scale and policy questions, my poll asked a set of four simple survey questions that political scientists have employed since 1992 to measure inclination toward authoritarianism. These questions pertain to child-rearing: whether it is more important for the voter to have a child who is respectful or independent; obedient or self-reliant; well-behaved or considerate; and well-mannered or curious. Respondents who pick the first option in each of these questions are strongly authoritarian.
Based on these questions, Trump was the only candidate'--Republican or Democrat'--whose support among authoritarians was statistically significant.
So what does this mean for the election? It doesn't just help us understand what motivates Trump's backers'--it suggests that his support isn't capped. In a statistical analysis of the polling results, I found that Trump has already captured 43 percent of Republican primary voters who are strong authoritarians, and 37 percent of Republican authoritarians overall. A majority of Republican authoritarians in my poll also strongly supported Trump's proposals to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, prohibit Muslims from entering the United States, shutter mosques and establish a nationwide database that track Muslims.
And in a general election, Trump's strongman rhetoric will surely appeal to some of the 39 percent of independents in my poll who identify as authoritarians and the 17 percent of self-identified Democrats who are strong authoritarians.
What's more, the number of Americans worried about the threat of terrorism is growing. In 2011, Hetherington published research finding that non-authoritarians respond to the perception of threat by behaving more like authoritarians. More fear and more threats'--of the kind we've seen recently in the San Bernardino and Paris terrorist attacks'--mean more voters are susceptible to Trump's message about protecting Americans. In my survey, 52 percent of those voters expressing the most fear that another terrorist attack will occur in the United States in the next 12 months were non-authoritarians'--ripe targets for Trump's message.
Take activated authoritarians from across the partisan spectrum and the growing cadre of threatened non-authoritarians, then add them to the base of Republican general election voters, and the potential electoral path to a Trump presidency becomes clearer.
So, those who say a Trump presidency ''can't happen here'' should check their conventional wisdom at the door. The candidate has confounded conventional expectations this primary season because those expectations are based on an oversimplified caricature of the electorate in general and his supporters in particular. Conditions are ripe for an authoritarian leader to emerge. Trump is seizing the opportunity. And the institutions'--from the Republican Party to the press'--that are supposed to guard against what James Madison called ''the infection of violent passions'' among the people have either been cowed by Trump's bluster or are asleep on the job.
It is time for those who would appeal to our better angels to take his insurgency seriously and stop dismissing his supporters as a small band of the dispossessed. Trump support is firmly rooted in American authoritarianism and, once awakened, it is a force to be reckoned with. That means it's also time for political pollsters to take authoritarianism seriously and begin measuring it in their polls.
Matthew MacWilliams is founder of MacWilliams Sanders, a political communications firms, and a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he is writing his dissertation about authoritarianism.
The Most Mystifying Lines of Sarah Palin's Endorsement Speech - The New York Times
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:02
PhotoSarah Palin put her political backing behind Donald J. Trump in Ames, Iowa, on Tuesday.Credit Eric Thayer for The New York TimesSarah Palin's meandering, fiery, sarcastic, patriotic and blustery speech endorsing Donald J. Trump for president on Tuesday in Ames, Iowa, does not easily submit to categorization.
It has been described as performance art, a filibuster, even slam poetry. (Watch the video, read the transcript.)
Mrs. Palin has always been a singular force on the campaign trail. But in her years away from politics, the former Alaska governor and Senator John McCain's Republican vice-presidential pick in 2008 seems to have spawned a whole new series of idiosyncratic expressions and unusual locutions '-- to the point where even Mr. Trump seemed occasionally mystified as he tried to follow along.
Below, a list of 10 of the most memorable lines of the speech, and an attempt to translate them:
''They stomp on our neck, and then they tell us, 'Just chill, O.K., just relax.' Well, look, we are mad, and we've been had. They need to get used to it.''
An impressive example of internal rhyme '-- if a tad violent, as Mrs. Palin describes the Republican establishment trying to quash the anger of the party's rebellious base.
''We're talking about no more Reaganesque power that comes from strength. Power through strength.''
Whoops! Mrs. Palin seems to be grasping for President Ronald Reagan's signature Cold War slogan, ''Peace through strength.''
''And you quit footing the bill for these nations who are oil-rich, we're paying for some of their squirmishes that have been going on for centuries. Where they're fighting each other and yelling 'Allahu akbar,' calling jihad on each other's heads forever and ever. Like I've said before, let them duke it out and let Allah sort it out.''
Here, Mrs. Palin accomplishes many things unusual for a political speaker: She recites the Arabic phrase for ''God is great,'' and, more notably, coins a new word, squirmishes, a cross between squirm (which means to wriggle the body from side to side) and skirmish (which means a brief fight or encounter between small groups). Twitter embraced the new term instantly.
''How about the rest of us? Right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion, and our Constitution.''
Remember President Obama's famously dismissive description of conservatives as bitter people who ''cling to guns or religion'' before a crowd of wealthy donors in San Francisco? Mrs. Palin wants to make sure you never forget it.
''He is from the private sector, not a politician. Can I get a 'Hallelujah!' ''
Mrs. Palin goes godly as she enthuses about the business world.
''Mr. Trump, you're right, look back there in the press box. Heads are spinning, media heads are spinning. This is going to be so much fun.''
This is perhaps the most accurate statement in her speech.
''In fact it's time to drill, baby, drill down, and hold these folks accountable.''
The slogan Mrs. Palin popularized in 2008 just won't die. And it has taken on metaphoric meaning now.
''Well, and then, funny, ha ha, not funny, but now, what they're doing is wailing, 'Well, Trump and his Trumpeters, they're not conservative enough.' ''
We're still stumped by this one.
''And he, who would negotiate deals, kind of with the skills of a community organizer maybe organizing a neighborhood tea, well, he deciding that, 'No, America would apologize as part of the deal,' as the enemy sends a message to the rest of the world that they capture and we kowtow, and we apologize, and then, we bend over and say, 'Thank you, enemy.' ''
It's a mouthful. But this section, in which Mrs. Palin contrasts Mr. Trump with Mr. Obama, has everything she relishes: Mockery of Mr. Obama's early years working in Chicago neighborhoods, right-wing accusations that the president has apologized for America, and a crude reference to him as a submissive sissy on foreign policy.
''He's got the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about and debate on his sleeve, where the rest of some of these establishment candidates, they just wanted to duck and hide. They didn't want to talk about these issues until he brought 'em up. In fact, they've been wearing a, this, political correctness kind of like a suicide vest.''
Her biggest misstep in the speech: In 2016, fear of suicide bombers is real for many, not the stuff of political punch lines.
Sarah Palin: God's gift to Trump - CNN.com
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 06:47
In fact, the endorsement is a smarter move than it might first appear. Sure, Palin has been near-invisible this campaign season and, sure, she is toxic to many liberal commentators and moderate voters. But Trump doesn't need their votes right now. He needs to win Iowa.
The downside to being endorsed by Palin is association with a loser veep candidate who was widely mocked for her lack of understanding of economics, foreign policy and basic geography. Looking ahead to November, any Republican nominee would be wise to disassociate themselves from the Palin clan and their snowmobile racing shtick.
Indeed, pundits on left and right have had a jamboree over this particular pairing. "They are both reality-TV personalities with distinctive syntaxes and hairstyles," wrote Alexandra Petri. SE Cupp asked "where have you gone, Sarah Palin?" chiding the Alaska maverick for siding with a "liberal." And the most interesting take was by David Frum, who argued that Palin/Trump vs. Cruz was a contest between conservatism as identity and conservatism as ideology.
Palin and Trump are no more familiar with conservative economist Friedrich Hayek than a kangaroo is with the music of Beethoven. For them, conservatism is about identifying with outsiders and marginalized white Americans.
But there is some biography behind this pairing, as the Washington Post notes. Trump endorsed Palin in 2008. Palin endorsed Trump's crusade to see Obama's birth certificate. The two had pizza in 2011. Last year, the former Alaska governor appeared on Saturday Night Live to make some gags about a Trump/Palin ticket. "Sarah, you're teasing us," said Jerry Seinfeld, "That's not nice."
The idea would be enough to make some people leave the country -- and Trump/Palin would doubtless consider that a victory. Aside from being outspoken, unapologetic citizen politicians who have never backed down from a position -- no matter how appalling or inaccurate -- you sense they share a delight in offending the politically correct. They probably read articles like this one and enjoy it enormously.
Moreover, they fuse those two things that Americans love the most: God and money. The Bible was wrong: Sarah and Donald prove that you can serve both.
In her speech endorsing Trump, Palin opened with this extraordinary declaration: "He's from the private sector. Can I get a hallelujah?!" According to this Puritan-descended tradition, one's moral virtue is reflected in one's material worth.
And while The Donald has collected buildings, casinos and golf courses, The Sarah has collected TV shows, book deals and a loyal following of activists/investors who she now passes on to Trump in a corporate-style merger that must be worth millions on the vote market.
The mainstream media really ought to stop saying that Palin is dumb. She's not. She's a brilliant businesswoman, and she beautifully articulates the feelings of her impoverished clientele.
For all these reasons, the endorsement is God's gift to Trump before Iowa. Elections in the Hawkeye State are swung by grass-roots activism and the enthusiasm of evangelical activists. Palin may not have exactly handed these over to Trump, but she has surely distracted them from the allure of Ted Cruz and his campaign to be -- as The Donald would have us believe -- America's first Canadian president.
Cruz must be shaking in his Mountie boots.
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In Politics, what is a Campaign Surrogate? (with pictures)
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 04:59
A campaign surrogate is a term used to describe a person who acts on the behalf of a candidate running for some sort of political office. The campaign surrogate often appears at public events that the candidate cannot make it to, or may simply appear to bolster the image of the candidate in a certain demographic.
Some of the most consistent campaign surrogates one sees are the spouses of political candidates. Spouses are able to speak fairly authoritatively on the positions of their partners, and have the name recognition to draw in large crowds. During the political season, they are often sent off to districts which may not be large enough to warrant the actual candidate visiting, but which are nonetheless important. They may also be used to cover important events if there are two happening at the same time, making it impossible for the candidate to attend both.
Perhaps the most visible campaign surrogate in recent times has been a spouse. Former President Bill Clinton has traveled extensively to campaign for his wife Hillary during the 2007-2008 Democratic primary season. In addition to having the name recognition, Bill Clinton is in a unique position for a spousal campaign surrogate, having actually served in the office his wife is running for. This allows him to reference his own time in office, stating that he believes his wife would be the best person to fill that role, drawing on positive feelings others may have had for him. At the same time, using such a politicized figure as a campaign surrogate runs the risk of alienating those who have negative associations with him.
Another major type of campaign surrogate is a person who is still serving in political office. A candidate who is trying to win a contested battle may call in endorsements from politicians who have favorable numbers among a target demographic, in order to profit from their positive profile. For example, in a Senate race within a state, the Democratic governor may endorse the Democratic candidate for the Senate. The governor can then show up at rallies, give speeches, and otherwise vocally support the candidate. If the governor has positive ratings in the state, this can help influence undecided voters. Governors make especially effective campaign surrogates because they often appeal to a broad base of voters, transcending party and having the support of independents and centrists.
The President of the United States may also act as a campaign surrogate in particularly important elections for his or her party. Tough to win Congressional districts often profit most from the intervention of the President, particularly if the President has a high approval rating. This can be an incredible boon for the party, as under the right circumstances the President can influence a number of House races in a given election cycle.
Still another type of campaign surrogate is the interest surrogate. These surrogates are often high-profile leaders of a minority or large voting bloc. Candidates can use these campaign surrogates to assuage voter fears that they might not look out for that particular demographic. The most common type of campaign surrogate in this type is a leader of the African-American community. White candidates use these campaign surrogates to assure African-American voters that they will look out for their interests. In recent years Hispanic campaign surrogates have become more and more important as well.
Omarosa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 04:57
Omarosa (born Omarose Onee Manigault, February 5, 1974[1][2]) is an American reality game show and reality show personality.[4] She was a contestant on the first season of Donald Trump's original American version of The Apprentice.[5] She later returned for the TV series sequel, Celebrity Apprentice,[6] and the All-Stars edition of the show. TV Guide included her in their 2013 list of The 60 Nastiest Villains of All Time.[7]. She currently teaches in the Executive Education Program and in the Executive MBA Program at Howard University School of Business[8] and is a surrogate for the Donald Trump Presidential Campaign[9].
Early life[edit]Omarosa was born in Youngstown, Ohio. Her father, Jack Thomas Manigault, Sr., was a descendent of the Isoko tribe in Delta State, Nigeria, and her mother is Theresa Marie Manigault (nee, Walker).[1] Her older brother, Jack Thomas Manigault, Jr., was murdered in 2011,[10][11][12] and she has an older half-brother through her mother.[13][14] She has an older sister, Gladys Louise Manigault.[15] After graduating from The Rayen School in Youngstown, she earned a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism[16] in 1996 at Central State University[17] in Wilberforce, Ohio. She later moved to Washington, DC, to attend Howard University, where she pursued both a master's degree[17] and a PhD in communications.[18] Omarosa's father was murdered when she was seven years old.[2][19]
Omarosa worked in the office of then-Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton Administration as a scheduling correspondent.[20] Omarosa has since falsely inflated her role in interviews to have the title Deputy Associate Director of Presidential Personnel.[20] According to a People magazine article, she was transferred due to disruptive behavior.[20]
In August 2009, Omarosa enrolled at the United Theological Seminary in Ohio to pursue a Doctor of Ministry degree.[21] She received a preacher's license in February 2011 from her church (Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California) and was formally ordained on February 27, 2012.[22] As of February 2012, she was working on finishing her degree at Payne Theological Seminary.[22]
Television career[edit]Omarosa first came to public attention in 2004 after becoming a participant on NBC's reality TV Series, The Apprentice, starring business mogul Donald Trump. Stemming from her controversial, blindsiding, alienatory, and acrimonious tactics of game play on The Apprentice (particularly in its boardroom segments), she soon became the "woman America loved to hate"[23] and was named by E! as reality TV's no. 1 bad girl.[24] Omarosa has disagreed with the "villain" label, rather believing herself to be "a shrewd businesswoman," asserting that when a male takes on such characteristics, it is always seen as strong, but when a woman takes them on, it is seen negatively. Omarosa has also claimed the show's producers have manipulated footage of her to make her look like the villain.[23]
Since her participation on the first season of The Apprentice, Omarosa has appeared on more than 20 other reality shows,[16] including VH1's fifth season of The Surreal Life, NBC's Fear Factor (coming in fourth place in the final challenge),[citation needed] and Oxygen's prank show Girls Behaving Badly.[24] She has also been a guest on several talk shows, including a controversial appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. On Winfrey's show, Omarosa accused fellow Apprentice participant Ereka Vetrini of calling her the "n-word", a claim Vetrini has denied.[25] Shortly after that appearance, Omarosa failed to show up for a scheduled appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! after she reportedly objected upon seeing a polygraph machine.[26]
In January 2008, Omarosa was invited to the first season of The Apprentice's sequel show, Celebrity Apprentice; she became the only former Apprentice participant to be invited back to the series.[27] On Celebrity Apprentice, she quickly became embroiled in a personal feud with Piers Morgan. She was eventually fired in the 10th episode, after serving as the project manager of the team that, according to Trump, suffered "the biggest slaughter in the history of The Apprentice" in a challenge to sell artwork against a team led by Morgan. She raised $49,000 in total for her charity.[28]
In June 2010, Omarosa and Donald Trump collaborated again to create a new dating show called The Ultimate Merger, which included R&B singer and producer Al B. Sure! as one of the contestants. The show aired on TV One.[29]
Celebrity Apprentice: All Stars[edit]In February 2013, Omarosa returned to television and The Apprentice, appearing on Trump's Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars. Omarosa quickly marshaled her team to an early victory on the show, winning a task involving the creation of a photo booth at Universal Orlando. In a later episode, Omarosa and Dennis Rodman were brought back to the boardroom after their team, led by rapper Lil Jon, lost. Rodman sharply stood up to Omarosa which led to a heated argument that resulted in Trump respectfully firing Omarosa.
Subsequent interviews[edit]On Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, when asked by Jimmy Fallon whether or not she felt the show set her up by having Piers Morgan act as one of the judges, Omarosa answered, "I felt like I was competing against Piers, as well as the other contestants." Omarosa also noted that when she sees Morgan's show canceled in a year, it will be ''the best revenge''.[30]
Lawsuit against La Toya Jackson[edit]Following her stint on Celebrity Apprentice: All Stars, Omarosa announced that she was in the process of suing La Toya Jackson over Jackson's backbiting remarks that insinuated that Omarosa had murdered her fianc(C), Michael Clarke Duncan. Jackson made the remarks in Celebrity Apprentice confessionals and in following media interviews.[31] In regards to her suit against Jackson, Omarosa has stated, "I've been in reality TV for a very long time, and I think that those were probably some of the most disgusting, despicable statements I've ever heard. And it will go down as some of the ugliest comments ever spoken on reality TV, but I have an incredible legal team who I've handed that all over to, and I'm sure they will handle her accordingly." It was even brought up in the live finale episode of All-Star Celebrity Apprentice. However, Omarosa has not followed through with filing suit against La Toya Jackson.
Personal life[edit]In 2000, Omarosa married Aaron Stallworth and changed her last name to Manigault-Stallworth. They separated in 2005 and later divorced.[33] She reverted her surname, but eventually took her first name as a mononym.[34][35]
On an April 2, 2013, episode of Where Are They Now on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, Omarosa revealed that she was an ordainedBaptistminister. In the segment, Omarosa revealed that she was brought to the decision after traveling to West Africa, where she found herself alone in an orphanage with a little girl dying of AIDS. Said Omarosa, ''It was at that moment, looking into the face, in the eyes of this dying child that I received my call to the ministry. Upon returning to the United States, I put reality television on hold. I put everything on hold and returned to seminary full-time.'' Omarosa added, "There were people who felt like because I had done the show so many years ago that maybe that disqualified me from the ministry. I'm not really certain. But boy did I hear from the critics, and to them I have to say that they underestimate the power of God's ability to transform a person's life.''[36]
Relationship to and loss of partner[edit]On August 13, 2010, Omarosa confirmed that she was dating actor Michael Clarke Duncan, whom she had met in the produce section of a Whole Foods supermarket.[37][38] In July 2012, she found that Duncan was suffering a heart attack and attempted to perform CPR. It is unknown if Duncan regained consciousness from her CPR or the efforts of the EMS.[39] He never fully recovered from the heart attack, and died on September 3, 2012, after having spent two months in the hospital.[40]
On an April 2, 2013, episode of Where Are They Now, Omarosa revealed additional details of the night Duncan had the heart attack. Omarosa reported that she usually went to bed later than Duncan. At some point during one evening while she was still up and Duncan was in bed, Omarosa reported overhearing Duncan laboring to breathe. "And then I didn't hear anything," she recalled. When she realized Duncan wasn't breathing, Omarosa jumped into action. "I started doing CPR and trying to get 911 on the phone." In the midst of the frightening chaos, Omarosa stated she also turned to God for support: "I just started praying. I prayed like I have never prayed before," she said. The paramedics were able to get Duncan's heart started again and rushed him to the hospital. "He fought," Omarosa said, "[but] after two months of fighting, he passed away."[41]
References[edit]^ abchttp://birth-records.mooseroots.com/l/10750817/Omarose-Onee-Manigault^ abcWilliams, Kam (September 10''16, 2009). "Omarosa The 'Life After' TV Villain of All Time". Los Angeles Sentinel. Retrieved February 24, 2012. ^Fearn-Banks, Kathleen (2006). Historical Dictionary of African-American Television (1st ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 27. ISBN 0810853353. Retrieved 4 September 2012. ^Michael Clarke Duncan planned to marry next yearCNN^Elliott, Stuart. "Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010. ^Soll, Lindsay (March 7, 2008). "'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: 'Selling out'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 5, 2010. ^Bretts, Bruce; Roush, Matt; (March 25, 2013). "Baddies to the Bone: The 60 nastiest villains of all time". TV Guide. pp. 14 - 15.^http://www.omarosa.com^http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/mark-finkelstein/2016/01/20/matthews-attacks-palins-trump-endorser-cred-questioning-her^Corneau, Allison (October 11, 2011). "Omarosa's Brother Murdered in Shooting". Us Weekly. Retrieved September 3, 2012. ^http://www.vindy.com/news/2012/apr/24/manigault-killer-to-serve-at-least--year/?mobile^http://birth-records.mooseroots.com/l/9588557/Jack-Thomas-Manigault-Jr^http://birth-records.mooseroots.com/l/10282505/Lester-Maurice-Walker^http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=81110603^http://birth-records.mooseroots.com/l/11038100/Gladys-Louise-Manigault^ abWilliams, Brennan (January 24, 2012). "Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth Lands New Editor Position, Sets Return To 'Celebrity Apprentice'". Huff Post. Retrieved March 4, 2012. ^ ab"The Apprentice". USA Today. Retrieved 4 September 2012. ^Armstrong, Jennifer (12 January 2004). "Donald's Kids". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 4 September 2012. ^Tom Gliatto, Jill Smolowe (3 May 2004). "The Hired Man". People. Retrieved 4 September 2012. ^ abc"Omarosa's Long History of Being Fired". People. April 8, 2004. ^"Reality TV villain Omarosa entering a seminary". Dayton Daily News (Yahoo! News). Associated Press. August 14, 2009. ^ abAlexis Garrett Stodghill (27 February 2012). "Reality TV star Omarosa has been ordained as 'Rev. Manigault'". The Grio. ^ ab"Omarosa". (April 12, 2004) Jet, p. 60.^ abColeridge, Daniel R. (November 16, 2004). "Omarosa, Come Up for Oxygen!". TV Guide. Retrieved March 16, 2010. ^Silverman, Stephen M. (April 13, 2004). "Oprah Fans Outraged by Omarosa Segment". People. Retrieved March 16, 2010. ^"'Apprentice' Omarosa storms off 'Jimmy Kimmel Show' after seeing lie detector". Reality TV World. April 23, 2004. Retrieved April 2, 2013. ^"The Celebrity Apprentice: Omarosa". NBC. Retrieved March 27, 2009. ^Soll, Lindsay (March 7, 2008). "'Celebrity Apprentice' recap: 'Selling out'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 27, 2009. ^Kinon, Cristina (June 17, 2010). "Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth is back and has teamed up with Donald Trump to create new dating show". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 19, 2010. ^Garvey, Marianne (February 11, 2013). "Omarosa and Donald Trump are fired up after 'Celebrity Apprentice,' take turns slamming Lindsay Lohan and Piers Morgan". New York: NY Daily News. Retrieved April 2, 2013. ^03/26/2013 5:36 pm EDT (March 26, 2013). "Omarosa Suing La Toya Jackson Over Michael Clarke Duncan 'Apprentice' Comments (VIDEO)". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved April 2, 2013. ^"Omarosa Fires Husband?". South Florida Times. July 22''28, 2005. [dead link]^"Omarosa, Trump Team Up For Dating Show". TodaysTHV.com. Retrieved September 3, 2012. ^Omarosa Speaks After Michael Clarke Duncan Death; Couple's Secret Engagement RevealedHuffington Post^"'Celebrity Apprentice' Omarosa Is An Ordained Baptist Minister!". Inquisitr.com. April 3, 2013. Retrieved April 7, 2013. ^"Omarosa & Michael Clarke Duncan Come Out As A Couple". September 13, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2012. ^"Michael Clarke Duncan & Omarosa Gush About Their New Romance". OK Magazine. August 13, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2012. ^"Green Mile Star Michael Clarke Duncan Suffers Heart Attack". Huffington Post. World Entertainment News Network. July 13, 2012. Retrieved September 3, 2012. ^Nancy Dillon (September 4, 2012). "Michael Clarke Duncan dead at 54: 'Green Mile' actor dies nearly two months after suffering heart attack". Daily News (New York). Associated Press. Retrieved September 3, 2012. ^Capretto, Lisa (April 2, 2013). "Omarosa On Michael Clarke Duncan: 'Celebrity Apprentice' Star Discusses FiancĂŠ's Death (VIDEO)". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved April 7, 2013. External links[edit]
On coldest night of 2016, Birmingham's homeless warming station used for Sanders rally instead.
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 21:49
With temperatures in Birmingham expected to dropped to 20 overnight Monday -- the lowest temperature thus far in 2016 -- the place where the city's homeless usually go to seek shelter from the cold was unavailable.
Boutwell Auditorium, typically used as a warming station in such situations, was not available Monday night because presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders spoke to a crowd of thousands. Factoring in wind chill, it was expected to feel more like 15 degrees on the streets of Birmingham.
Last week, the auditorium housed about 300 people a night when it served as a warming station for three nights.
"We've never had a night like this where it will be in the teens and we weren't able to open," said Don Lupo, of the mayor's office of citizen's assistance.
Lupo later that night posted on Facebook that people should not blame Sanders or the SCLC, which had an event there earlier in the day, for the warming station not being open on "on the coldest night we've had in a few years."
Instead, Lupo urged people to use the experience as a reason to start a discussion of ways to find emergency shelters in Birmingham.
"Maybe tomorrow we'll wake up with a fresh idea of what to do -- maybe tomorrow someone or some group will call and offer space when the space at Boutwell can't be used," Lupo wrote.
Bernie Sanders Campaign Responds to homeless concernsKelvin Datcher, Director of Alabama's Bernie Sanders for President campaign, responded to criticism saying that the Bernie Sanders rally last night should not have disrupted the warming station usually in Boutwell Auditorium.The Sanders campaign said Tuesday they are not to blame for the warming station not opening.
"I knew last week that the city used the warming station upstairs, but not downstairs. We had no idea that the warming station would be closed. We were downstairs, they would be upstairs. That's what we knew," said Kelvin Datcher, state director for the Sanders campaign.
"There was never any conversation about the warming station. Not only did the senator not know, I didn't even know. They were relying on me to relay information up the chain. Had that been a concern, we absolutely would've acted on it," Datcher said.
"Unfortunately, no, we do not have an alternative location and were unable to have the warming station tonight," Birmingham city spokeswoman April Odom said Monday night.
"However, we are working with local area homeless shelters and the BPD to help anyone in need to get to a shelter."
Police, she said, were on the lookout for homeless people who might need a place to stay.
The auditorium may be open as a warming station Tuesday night if needed, Odom said.
to say i'm not a happy camper tonight would be one of those understatements that you hear about all the time -- we...
Posted by Don Lupo on Monday, January 18, 2016AL.com reporter Adam Ganucheau contributed to this report.
Sarah Palin Is Making Sense (Really)
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 21:42
While the New York Times ridiculed Sarah Palin's speech endorsing Donald Trump yesterday as ''mystifying,'' a big portion of it was a non-mysterious, coherent attack on big money politics. It's worth reading that whole portion:
[Trump] is beholden to no one but we the people. '...
Trump, what he's been able to do, which is really ticking people off, which I'm glad about, he's going rogue left and right, man. That's why he's doing so well. '...
The permanent political class has been doing the bidding of their campaign donor class and that's why you see that the borders are kept open. For them, for their cheap labor that they want to come in. That's why they've been bloating budgets. It's for crony capitalists to be able to suck off of them. It's why we see these lousy trade deals that gut our industry for special interests elsewhere.
We need someone new, who has the power, and is in the position to bust up that establishment. '...
His candidacy, which is a movement. It's a force. It's a strategy. It proves, as long as the politicos, they get to keep their titles and their perks and their media ratings. They don't really care who wins elections. '...
And the proof of this? Look what's happening today. Our own GOP machine, the establishment, they who would assemble the political landscape, they're attacking their own frontrunner. '...
We, you, a diverse dynamic, needed support base that they would attack. And now, some of them even whispering, they're ready to throw in for Hillary over Trump because they can't afford to see the status quo go. Otherwise, they won't be able to be slurping off the gravy train that's been feeding them all these years. They don't want that to end.
Trump himself has repeatedly condemned politicians' servitude toward their big donors. During the first GOP debate last August in Cleveland, he declared, ''I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that's a broken system.''
Palin and Trump may or may not believe what they're saying. As Laura Friedenbach, press secretary of the campaign finance reform organization Every Voice, points out, ''Every single Republican presidential candidate, including Donald Trump, has so far failed to offer'' any concrete plan to reduce the influence of money in politics.
However, they're responding to a genuine passion among Republicans. A 2015 New York Times poll found that 80 percent of Republicans believe ''money has too much influence'' in political campaigns, and 81 percent feel the campaign finance system needs either ''fundamental changes'' or must be completely rebuilt. A recent survey by Democracy Corps found that 66 percent of likely Republican voters support a program of public matching funds for small donors. Among Republican candidates such a program would be an enormous boon to Ben Carson and Ted Cruz (and less so to Trump, since his campaign is almost completely self-financed).
Palin did, however, inaccurately differentiate the Democratic and Republican establishments, claiming that Democratic powerbrokers would never ''come after their frontrunner and her supporters '... because they don't eat their own. They don't self-destruct.'' In fact, the Democratic party elite has previously attempted to destroy its own presidential candidate, most notoriously in 1972 when new primary rules allowed George McGovern to capture the nomination; as a Richard J. Daley ward heeler predicted that fall, McGovern was ''gonna lose because we're gonna make sure he's gonna lose.'' And if Bernie Sanders genuinely threatens Hillary Clinton, Democratic establishment attacks on him as a ''socialist'' with ''wackadoodle'' ideas will surely intensify, for exactly the reason Palin identified: ''They can't afford to see the status quo go.''
Donald Trump says he will force Apple to manufacture in the US
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 17:00
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he will force Apple to manufacture their products in the US instead of China if he is elected president.
Speaking at Liberty University, a Christian university in Virginia which was founded by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell in 1971, Trump told a crowd of students and reporters that he would make Apple move their operations to America in order to create jobs.
At one point in his 45-minute speech, he said: "We're going to get Apple to build their damn computers and things in this country instead of other countries."
Read more iPhone 7: Is this really the end of the 3.5mm headphone jack?
Trump also said if he becomes President he will try to impose a 35 per cent tax on American companies who outsource their manufacturing overseas - an increase on the 15 per cent outsourcing tax he proposed in his 2011 book Time to Get Tough.
Currently, Apple only produces its high-end Mac Pro computers in the US, at a factory in Austin, Texas.
Most other Apple products are made in China, many of them in Foxconn's sprawling manufacturing complex in Shenzen.
Trump has historically been a strong supporter of free trade in the past, but he appeared to have changed his views slightly in Monday's speech.
As CNET reports, he said: "Free trade is good. But we have to do it [force companies to manufacture in the US]. Or we won't have a country left."
As Gizmodo points out, Trump would have a hard time enacting these policies if he makes it into the Oval Office - forcing Apple (and the numerous other companies that have operations in China) to move their manufacturing to the US would involve passing a host of wide-reaching and highly controversial laws, which would be unlikely to make it through the US political system.
Due to the huge amount of manufacturing that takes place in China, the supply chain there is much longer than in the US, making it easier and cheaper to obtain the materials used to make the latest gadgets - no amount of legislation would provide a quick fix to this problem.
The cost of labour is also much cheaper in China. Moving their factories to the US, where wages are much higher, could potentially cause Apple to start charging more for their products.
According to almost all national polls, Trump is currently the favourite to be named the Republican party's presidential candidate, with second-place contender Ted Cruz trailing far behind.
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Read the original article
Sarah Palin's oldest son arrested in domestic violence case
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 16:34
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) '-- The oldest son of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was arrested in a domestic violence case in which his girlfriend was afraid he would shoot himself with an AR-15 assault rifle, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
Track Palin, 26, is charged with assault, interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime and possessing a weapon while intoxicated in connection with the incident Monday night at the Wasilla home of his parents, where he lives, according to an affidavit by police.
The girlfriend told authorities she was punched in the face by Palin, who is the oldest child of Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and conservative leader.
The charges were filed Tuesday, the same day Sarah Palin endorsed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump before voting begins with the Iowa caucuses.
There is no telephone listing for the girlfriend. The court documents say the woman, Track Palin's girlfriend of one year, had bruising and swelling around her left eye, and she said her right knee hurt after Palin kicked her there.
Palin family attorney John Tiemessen declined to comment on the matter other than to say in an email that respect for the family's privacy is appreciated "as Track receives the help that he and many of our returning veterans need." Palin's arraignment was held Tuesday, but Tiemessen was not sure if he entered a plea yet.
Track Palin spent a year deployed in Iraq with the Army. When his mother was the GOP vice-presidential candidate in 2008, she spoke at her son's deployment ceremony in Fairbanks, one of the few trips back to Alaska while on the campaign trail that fall.
Track Palin enlisted in the Army on the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
According to the three-page affidavit, both Palin and his girlfriend called 911 that night. Police Officer Andrew Kappler wrote that he arrived at the Wasilla home and found Track Palin walking outside and talking on a phone. The officer said Palin had an injury to his right eye and surrounding area, smelled strongly of alcohol and acted with escalating hostility, prompting Kappler to put him in handcuffs.
Police say a breath sample provided by Palin showed he had a blood alcohol level of 0.189.
The affidavit says other officers found the girlfriend hiding under a bed inside the home and crying.
The argument continued at the home, according to the affidavit, which says Palin struck the woman with his fist on the left side of her head near her eye. She curled up in the fetal position because she didn't know what else he would do, the woman told police. She said he then kicked her in the knee and threw her phone across the driveway, according to the court document. The woman said she went inside after getting her phone.
Inside, Palin held the rifle, with the barrel just away from his face pointed to the side, the affidavit states. The affidavit adds that the woman told police Palin was yelling "Do you think I won't do it?"
The girlfriend "was concerned that he would shoot himself and ran outside and around the house," the affidavit says. "She didn't see where Palin went, so she went inside and up the stairs, where she hid under a bed."
It's not the first encounter with the law for Palin or other members of his family. In September 2014, he and other Palins were involved in a brawl that broke out at a party in Anchorage. No arrests were made in the melee, and no one wanted to press charges. But according to a police report, Palin had blood around his mouth and his hands. He was belligerent until his mother told him to talk to a police officer.
Follow Rachel D'Oro at https://twitter.com/rdoro
George Soros: "Europe Is On The Verge Of Collapse" | Zero Hedge
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:42
Via The New York Review of Books,
The following is a revised version of an interview between George Soros and Gregor Peter Schmitz of the German magazine WirtschaftsWoche.
Gregor Peter Schmitz: When Time put German Chancellor Angela Merkel on its cover, it called her the ''Chancellor of the Free World.'' Do you think that is justified?
George Soros: Yes. As you know, I have been critical of the chancellor in the past and I remain very critical of her austerity policy. But after Russian President Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine, she became the leader of the European Union and therefore, indirectly, of the Free World. Until then, she was a gifted politician who could read the mood of the public and cater to it. But in resisting Russian aggression, she became a leader who stuck her neck out in opposition to prevailing opinion.
She was perhaps even more farsighted when she recognized that the migration crisis had the potential to destroy the European Union, first by causing a breakdown of the Schengen system of open borders and, eventually, by undermining the common market. She took a bold initiative to change the attitude of the public. Unfortunately, the plan was not properly prepared. The crisis is far from resolved and her leadership position'--not only in Europe but also in Germany and even in her own party'--is under attack.
Schmitz: Merkel used to be very cautious and deliberate. People could trust her. But in the migration crisis, she acted impulsively and took a big risk. Her leadership style has changed and that makes people nervous.
Soros: That's true, but I welcome the change. There is plenty to be nervous about. As she correctly predicted, the EU is on the verge of collapse. The Greek crisis taught the European authorities the art of muddling through one crisis after another. This practice is popularly known as kicking the can down the road, although it would be more accurate to describe it as kicking a ball uphill so that it keeps rolling back down. The EU now is confronted with not one but five or six crises at the same time.
Schmitz: To be specific, are you referring to Greece, Russia, Ukraine, the coming British referendum, and the migration crisis?
Soros: Yes. And you haven't even mentioned the root cause of the migration crisis: the conflict in Syria. Nor have you mentioned the unfortunate effect that the terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere have had on European public opinion.
Merkel correctly foresaw the potential of the migration crisis to destroy the European Union. What was a prediction has become the reality. The European Union badly needs fixing. This is a fact but it is not irreversible. And the people who can stop Merkel's dire prediction from coming true are actually the German people. I think the Germans, under the leadership of Merkel, have achieved a position of hegemony. But they achieved it very cheaply. Normally hegemons have to look out not only for their own interests, but also for the interests of those who are under their protection. Now it's time for Germans to decide: Do they want to accept the responsibilities and the liabilities involved in being the dominant power in Europe?
Schmitz: Would you say that Merkel's leadership in the refugee crisis is different from her leadership in the euro crisis? Do you think she's more willing to become a benevolent hegemon?
Soros: That would be asking too much. I have no reason to change my critical views on her leadership in the euro crisis. Europe could have used the kind of leadership she is showing now much earlier. It is unfortunate that when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt in 2008, she was not willing to allow the rescue of the European banking system to be guaranteed on a Europe-wide basis because she felt that the prevailing German public opinion would be opposed to it. If she had tried to change public opinion instead of following it, the tragedy of the European Union could have been avoided.
Schmitz: But she wouldn't have remained chancellor of Germany for ten years.
Soros: You are right. She was very good at satisfying the requirements and aspirations of a broad range of the German public. She had the support of both those who wanted to be good Europeans and those who wanted her to protect German national interest. That was no mean feat. She was reelected with an increased majority. But in the case of the migration issue, she did act on principle, and she was willing to risk her leadership position. She deserves the support of those who share her principles.
I take this very personally. I am a strong supporter of the values and principles of an open society because of my personal history, surviving the Holocaust as a Jew under the Nazi occupation of Hungary. And I believe that she shares those values because of her personal history, growing up under Communist rule in East Germany under the influence of her father, who was a pastor. That makes me her supporter although we disagree on a number of important issues.
Schmitz: You have been so involved in promoting the principles of open society and supporting democratic change in Eastern Europe. Why is there so much opposition and resentment toward refugees there?
Soros: Because the principles of an open society don't have strong roots in that part of the world. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbn is promoting the principles of Hungarian and Christian identity. Combining national identity with religion is a powerful mix. And Orbn is not alone. The leader of the newly elected ruling party in Poland, Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski, is taking a similar approach. He is not as intelligent as Orbn, but he is a canny politician and he chose migration as the central issue of his campaign. Poland is one of the most ethnically and religiously homogeneous countries in Europe. A Muslim immigrant in Catholic Poland is the embodiment of the Other. Kaczy?ski was successful in painting him as the devil.
Schmitz: More broadly, how do you view the political situation in Poland and Hungary?
Soros: Although Kaczy?ski and Orbn are very different people, the regimes they intend to establish are very similar. As I have suggested, they seek to exploit a mix of ethnic and religious nationalism in order to perpetuate themselves in power. In a sense they are trying to reestablish the kind of sham democracy that prevailed in the period between the First and Second World Wars in Admiral Horthy's Hungary and Marshal Pi?sudski's Poland. Once in power, they are liable to capture some of the institutions of democracy that are and should be autonomous, whether the central bank or the constitutional court. Orbn has already done it; Kaczy?ski is only starting now. They will be difficult to remove.
In addition to all its other problems, Germany is going to have a Polish problem. In contrast to Hungary, Poland has been one of the most successful countries in Europe, both economically and politically. Germany needs Poland to protect it from Russia. Putin's Russia and Kaczy?ski's Poland are hostile to each other but they are even more hostile to the principles on which the European Union was founded.
Schmitz: What are those principles?
Soros: I have always looked at the EU as the embodiment of the principles of the open society. A quarter of a century ago, when I first became involved in the region, you had a moribund Soviet Union and an emerging European Union. And interestingly, both were adventures in international governance. The Soviet Union tried to unite proletarians of the world, and the EU tried to develop a model of regional integration based on the principles of an open society.
Schmitz: How does that compare with today?
Soros: The Soviet Union has been replaced by a resurgent Russia and the European Union has come to be dominated by the forces of nationalism. The open society that both Merkel and I believe in because of our personal histories, and that the reformers of the new Ukraine want to join because of their personal histories, does not really exist. The European Union was meant to be a voluntary association of equals but the euro crisis turned it into a relationship between debtors and creditors where the debtors have difficulties in meeting their obligations and the creditors set the conditions that the debtors have to meet. That relationship is neither voluntary nor equal. The migration crisis introduced other fissures. Therefore, the very survival of the EU is at risk.
Schmitz: That's an interesting point, because I remember that you used to be very critical of Merkel two years ago for being too concerned with the interests of her voters and establishing a German hegemony on the cheap. Now, she has really changed course on the migration issue, and opened the door wide to Syrian refugees. That created a pull factor that in turn allowed the European authorities to develop an asylum policy with a generous target, up to a million refugees a year with the target open for several years. Refugees who are qualified to be admitted could be expected to stay where they are until their turn comes.
Soros: But we don't have a European asylum policy. The European authorities need to accept responsibility for this. It has transformed this past year's growing influx of refugees from a manageable problem into an acute political crisis. Each member state has selfishly focused on its own interests, often acting against the interests of others. This has precipitated panic among asylum seekers, the general public, and the authorities responsible for law and order. Asylum seekers have been the main victims. But you are right. Merkel deserves credit for making a European asylum policy possible.
The EU needs a comprehensive plan to respond to the crisis, one that reasserts effective governance over the flows of asylum seekers so that they take place in a safe, orderly way, and at a pace that reflects Europe's capacity to absorb them. To be comprehensive, the plan has to extend beyond the borders of Europe. It is less disruptive and much less expensive for potential asylum seekers to stay in or close to their present location.
My foundation developed a six-point plan on this basis and announced it at exactly the same time as Orbn introduced his six-point plan, but the two plans were diametrically opposed to each other. Orbn's plan was designed to protect the national borders against the asylum seekers; ours sought to protect the asylum seekers. We have been at odds ever since. Orbn accuses me of trying to destroy Hungary's national culture by flooding the country with Muslim refugees. Paradoxically, our plan would keep qualified asylum seekers where they are currently located and provide facilities in those places; it is his policies that induce them to rush to Europe while the doors are still open.
Schmitz: Could you make your paradox a little clearer? Why would your plan prevent refugees from flooding Europe?
Soros: We advocate a common European asylum policy that would reassert control over the European rather than national borders and allow asylum seekers to reach Europe in a safe, orderly way, and at a pace that reflects the EU's capacity to absorb them. Orbn advocates using the national borders to keep out migrants.
Schmitz: And who is winning the conflict?
Soros: In Hungary, he has won hands down. More disturbingly, he is also winning in Europe. He is challenging Merkel for the leadership of Europe. He launched his campaign at the party conference in September 2015 of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (the sister party of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union) and he did so in cahoots with Horst Seehofer, the German party chairman. And it is a very real challenge. It attacks the values and principles on which the European Union was founded. Orbn attacks them from the inside; Putin from the outside. Both of them are trying to reverse the subordination of national sovereignty to a supranational, European order.
Putin goes even further: he wants to replace the rule of law with the rule of force. They are harking back to a bygone age. Fortunately, Merkel has taken the challenge seriously. She is fighting back and I support her not only with words but also with deeds. My foundations do not engage only in advocacy; they seek to make a positive contribution on the ground. We established a foundation in Greece, Solidarity Now, in 2013. We could clearly foresee that Greece in its impoverished state would have difficulty taking care of the large number of refugees that are stuck there.
Schmitz: Where would the money for your plan come from?
Soros: It would be impossible for the EU to finance this expenditure out of its current budget. It could, however, raise these funds by issuing long-term bonds using its largely untapped AAA borrowing capacity. The burden of servicing the bonds could be equitably distributed between member states that accept refugees and those that refuse to do so or impose special restrictions. Needless to say, that is where I remain at odds with Chancellor Merkel.
Schmitz: You have retired from running your hedge fund and devote all your energies to your foundation. What are your major projects?
Soros: There are too many to enumerate. We seem to be involved in most of the burning political and social issues of the world. But I would single out the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) and the Central European University (CEU) because there is a revolution going on in the social sciences and I am deeply involved both personally and through my foundations. With the help of the natural sciences, mankind has gained control over the forces of nature but our ability to govern ourselves has not kept pace with the achievements of natural science. We have the capacity to destroy our civilization and we are well on the way to doing so.
Schmitz: You paint a bleak picture of our future.
Soros: But it is a biased view and deliberately so. Recognizing a problem is an invitation to do something about it. That is the main lesson I learned from the formative experience of my life, in 1944, when the Nazis occupied Hungary. I might not have survived if my father hadn't secured false identification papers for his family (and many others). He taught me that it's much better to face harsh reality than to close your eyes to it. Once you are aware of the dangers, your chances of survival are much better if you take some risks than if you meekly follow the crowd. That is why I trained myself to look at the dark side. It has served me well in the financial markets and it is guiding me now in my political philanthropy. As long as I can find a winning strategy, however tenuous, I don't give up. In danger lies opportunity. It's always darkest before dawn.
Schmitz: What's your winning strategy for Greece?
Soros: Well, I don't have one. Greece was mishandled from the beginning. When the Greek crisis originally surfaced toward the end of 2009, the EU, led by Germany, came to the rescue, but it charged punitive interest rates for the loans it offered. That is what made the Greek national debt unsustainable. And it repeated the same mistake in the recent negotiations. The EU wanted to punish Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and especially his former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis at the same time as it had no choice but to avoid a Greek default. Consequently, the EU imposed conditions that will push Greece into deeper depression.
Schmitz: Is Greece an interesting country for private investors?
Soros: Not as long as it is part of the eurozone. With the euro, the country is unlikely ever to flourish because the exchange rate is too high for it to be competitive.
Schmitz: How concerned are you that in the middle of all these crises an important EU member state such as the UK is considering leaving the European Union?
Soros: Very. I am convinced that Britain should stay in Europe not only for economic but even more for political reasons. An EU without the UK would be a much weaker union.
Schmitz: But surveys show a British majority for a Brexit, or British exit from the EU.
Soros: The campaign for the Brexit has deliberately misled the public. Currently, Britain has the best of all possible deals with Europe. It has access to the common market where nearly half of UK exports go while it is not weighed down by the burden of having joined the eurozone.
Schmitz: Why is the British business community not more vocal about the disadvantages of a Brexit?
Soros: The managements of the multinational corporations that have built up their manufacturing capacity in Britain as a springboard into the common market are reluctant to say that they oppose a Brexit publicly because they don't want to get embroiled in a political debate where their customers have divergent views. But ask them privately, as I did, and they will readily confirm it.
The Brexit campaign has tried to convince the British public that it is safer to stay out of the common market than to be part of it. The campaign had the field to itself because the government wanted to give the impression that it is holding out for the best deal.
Schmitz: For a long time, Europe'--and the world'--could count on China as a growth and credit engine.
Soros: China is still historically the most important country. It still has very large accumulated foreign currency reserves.
Schmitz: And that will shelter the country?
Soros: China is exhausting these reserves very rapidly. It also has an incredibly large reservoir of trust from the Chinese population: many people may not understand how the Chinese regime actually works, but they believe that a regime that has managed to overcome so many problems knows what it is doing. But the reservoir of trust is also being exhausted at a remarkably fast rate because the leadership has made many mistakes. President Xi Jinping can carry on with his current policies for another three years or so, but during that time, China will exert a negative influence on the rest of the world by reinforcing the deflationary tendencies that are already prevalent. China is responsible for a larger share of the world economy than ever before and the problems it faces have never been more intractable.
Schmitz: Can President Xi rise to the challenge?
Soros: There is a fundamental flaw in Xi's approach. He has taken direct control of the economy and of security. If he were to succeed in a market-oriented solution it would be much better for the world and for China. But you cannot have a market solution without some political changes. You cannot fight corruption without independent media. And that's one thing that Xi is not willing to allow. On that point he is closer to Putin's Russia than to our ideal of an open society.
Schmitz: What is your assessment of the situation in Ukraine?
Soros: Ukraine has done something almost unbelievable in surviving for two years while facing so many enemies. But it needs a lot more support from outside because it's exhausted. By putting Ukraine on a short financial leash, Europe is repeating the mistake it has made in Greece. The old Ukraine had much in common with the old Greece'--it was dominated by oligarchs and the civil service was used by people who were exploiting their position rather than serving the people. But there's a new Ukraine that wants to be the opposite of the old Ukraine. The Rada has recently passed a budget for 2016 that meets the conditions imposed by the IMF. Now is the time to hold out the prospect of the additional financial assistance that the new Ukraine needs to carry out radical reforms. That would enable the country not only to survive but to flourish and become an attractive investment destination. Turning the new Ukraine back into the old Ukraine would be a fatal mistake because the new Ukraine is one of the most valuable assets that Europe has, both for resisting Russian aggression and for recapturing the spirit of solidarity that characterized the European Union in its early days.
Schmitz: Many criticize US President Barack Obama for being too weak toward Russia.
Soros: Rightly so. Putin is a supreme tactician who entered the Syrian conflict because he saw an opportunity to improve Russia's standing in the world. He was ready to keep pushing until he encountered serious resistance. President Obama should have challenged him earlier. If Obama had declared a no-fly zone over Syria when Russia started to supply military equipment on a large scale, Russia would have been obliged to respect it. But Obama was eager to avoid any chance of a direct military confrontation with Russia. So Russia installed antiaircraft missiles and the US had to share control of the skies over Syria with Russia. You could almost say that by shooting down a Russian fighter jet, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdo?an did Obama a favor. Putin had to recognize that his military adventure had run into serious opposition and he now seems ready for a political solution. That is promising.
There is also ISIS and the terrorist attacks that threaten to undermine the values and principles of our civilization. The terrorists want to convince Muslim youth that there is no alternative to terrorism, and if we listen to the likes of Donald Trump they will succeed.
Schmitz: I can't help but ask. Do you know Trump?
Soros: Going back many years Donald Trump wanted me to be the lead tenant in one of his early buildings. He said: ''I want you to come into the building. You name your price.'' My answer was, ''I'm afraid I can't afford it.'' And I turned him down.
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Germany Wants to Impose Tax to Pay for Refugees on All of Europe | Armstrong Economics
Mon, 18 Jan 2016 17:14
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has called for a new EU-wide tax on petrol to pay for the refugee crisis that Germany has created. This is a EU-WIDE Continental Tax, not one limited to Germany. So now all Europeans must pay for a gross mistake Merkel made inviting the refugees into Europe. The people are always seen as an endless source to tax for the nightmares created by politicians. Just when will the people ever have a right to just say NO!
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Iran getting $1.7B from U.S. in ''debt and interest'' Hot Air
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 04:39
posted at 3:31 pm on January 17, 2016 by Taylor Millard
Iran is getting $1.7B from the U.S. in something the White House is claiming settles a dispute on military equipment sales before the 1979 revolution. Secretary of State John Kerry first announced the settlement in a six paragraph statement posted on the State Department's website.
This is the latest of a series of important settlements reached over the past 35 years at the Hague Tribunal. In constructive bilateral discussions, we arrived at a fair settlement to this claim, which due to litigation risk, remains in the best interests of the United States.
Iran will receive the balance of $400 million in the Trust Fund, as well as a roughly $1.3 billion compromise on the interest. Iran's recovery was fixed at a reasonable rate of interest and therefore Iran is unable to pursue a bigger Tribunal award against us, preventing U.S. taxpayers from being obligated to a larger amount of money.
Kerry's statement also says all U.S claims against Iran were settled years ago and U.S. private companies got over $2.5B from Iran. But he also noted Iran still has outstanding claims against the U.S. so more cash could be headed Iran's way. This was something President Barack Obama did not make mention of during his speech on the Iran deal/prisoner swap/cash settlement this morning. He just focused on the fact a settlement was reached.
''Since 1981, after our nations severed diplomatic relations, we've worked through a international tribunal to resolve various claims between our countries. The United States and Iran are now settling a longstanding Iranian government claim against the United States government. Iran will be returned its own funds, including appropriate interest, but much less than the amount Iran sought.
For the United States, this settlement could save us billions of dollars that could have been pursued by Iran. So there was no benefit to the United States in dragging this out. With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well.''
The timing of all this is extremely curious (and coincidental) to the release of the five prisoners being held in Iran. It's completely possible the U.S decided to settle the claim levied by Iran as just an added assurance the prisoners would come home. That means the settlement could be seen as a form of ransom but is doesn't mean it is. The timing, though, is just bizarre. From a PR standpoint, you'd think the Obama Administration would be willing to wait a week or a month to announce the deal to avoid any questions, but it's possible they were hoping it'd slide because of the NFL playoffs. It could be the administration decided to make the payment now, so it wouldn't come up in the general election. The entire thing is also questionable because of the Obama Administration's past stance on ransom payments for prisoners. Here's what Treasury Department undersecretary David Cohen said in London in 2012 on ransom payments (via The Washington Post).
''Ransom payments lead to future kidnappings, and future kidnappings lead to additional ransom payments. And it all builds the capacity of terrorist organizations to conduct attacks. We must find a way to break the cycle. Refusing to pay ransoms or to make other concessions to terrorists is, clearly, the surest way to break the cycle, because if kidnappers consistently fail to get what they want, they will have a strong incentive to stop taking hostages in the first place.''
It's important to note the U.S. did change its policy on families deciding whether they wanted to pay ransom for prisoners last year. But The Wall Street Journal noted it seemed to be more along the lines of promising no one would be prosecuted for making a payment, not that the government would do payments.
In the directive, the White House will make clear that U.S. policy allows victims' families and the U.S. government itself to enter into ''communications'' with hostage takers, their intermediaries or other governments to try to secure the release of American hostages, the officials said.
While the directive will stop short of saying victims' families can pay ransoms to hostage takers, administration and law-enforcement officials will issue public assurances Wednesday that victims' relatives won't be threatened with prosecution for doing so.
The rules are probably different when it's sovereign nation negotiating with sovereign nation, but shouldn't private families be able to pay a ransom if they want to? It seems logical they should be allowed to, but logic doesn't always exist in the government. So what happens if this was a ransom payment? It really doesn't change anything, except to show the hypocrisy of Washington D.C. when it comes to ''negotiating with terrorists'' or terrorist nations. But this is the U.S. and consistency in foreign policy isn't something which is expected at all.
The other question is why did it take so long for this agreement to be reached? Is it just because of the strain between the U.S. and Iran or because Iran was asking for that much money? Why wasn't this settled beforehand when all the other cases were? It's doubtful the White House will be willing to discuss this, so the speculation will just keep going on and on. It's fantastic the five prisoners are headed home, and I'm extremely thankful they're being reunited with their families. But it's still weird this settlement was announced just a day after they were released. It's possible the settlement is just a settlement and not a payment for prisoner release, but the timing is just really odd. The optimist in me is hopeful it's just a coincidence, but the cynic in me says it's not.
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Iran''United States Claims Tribunal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 04:42
The Iran''United States Claims Tribunal (IUSCT) is an international arbitral tribunal established pursuant to the Algiers Accords of January 19, 1981, an agreement between the United States and Iran mediated by Algeria to resolve the hostage crisis. In exchange for the release of the hostages seized by Iranian students on November 4, 1979, the United States agreed to terminate litigation against Iran in U.S. courts and to release Iranian assets frozen by the Carter Administration. Many of the frozen assets had been attached by U.S. claimants pursuant to Treasury license. The U.S. claims agreement with Iran provided an alternative remedy backed by a billion dollar escrow account for U.S. nationals with contract and expropriation claims against Iran.
President Reagan confirmed the Algiers Accords, and the constitutionality of these arrangements was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dames & Moore v. Regan.[1]
U.S. officials who participated in the Iran Hostage Crisis (1979-1981) have discussed that diplomacy and the Algiers Accords in American Hostages In Iran: The Conduct of a Crisis (Yale 1985) and in Revolutionary Days: The Iran Hostage Crisis and the Hague Claims Tribunal, A Look Back (Juris 1996). See also Symposium on the Settlement with Iran, March 6''7, 1981, Lawyer of the Americas, U Miami J. Int'l Law (Special Issue, Spring 1981).
The seat of the Tribunal is The Hague. It held its first meeting in the Peace Palace on July 1, 1981; in April 1982, it moved to its own premises in The Hague. The Tribunal is composed of nine arbitrators: three appointed by Iran, three appointed by the United States, and a further three (neither Iranian nor United States nationals) appointed by the previous six arbitrators. The Tribunal hears individual cases in the formation of three-member chambers (consisting of one Iranian, one American, and one from the three appointed by the other six); it meets as a full tribunal to consider disputes between the two governments, and cases referred from the chambers.
The Tribunal closed to new claims by private individuals on January 19, 1982. In total, it received approximately 4,700 private US claims. The Tribunal has ordered payments by Iran to US nationals totaling over USD 2.5 billion. As of 2014[update], almost all private claims had been resolved, while several intergovernmental claims were still before the Tribunal.[citation needed]
Legality[edit]References[edit]^Dames & Moore v. Regan, 453 U.S. 654 (1981)External links[edit]
Leibovitch v. Kerry '' Shurat HaDin
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 04:46
A group of American victims of Iranian terrorism, who hold more than a billion dollars in court judgments against the Islamic Republic for its sponsorship of terrorist attacks, have moved to enjoin the Obama administration from releasing an estimated $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets.The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and names as defendants the US Department of State, Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew.
The United States has pledged to unfreeze and release the funds belonging to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), which are primarily held in overseas bank accounts, under the nuclear agreement signed with Tehran.
The families claim that releasing the funds will preclude them from ever collecting on their judgments and deprive them of the only leverage they have to make Iran pay.
Current legislation clearly states that sanctions should not be lifted absent Presidential certification that Iran no longer supports terrorism.
Germany Wants to Impose Tax to Pay for Refugees on All of Europe | Armstrong Economics
Mon, 18 Jan 2016 17:14
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has called for a new EU-wide tax on petrol to pay for the refugee crisis that Germany has created. This is a EU-WIDE Continental Tax, not one limited to Germany. So now all Europeans must pay for a gross mistake Merkel made inviting the refugees into Europe. The people are always seen as an endless source to tax for the nightmares created by politicians. Just when will the people ever have a right to just say NO!
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Danish migrant bill under fire at UN
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:16
Jan. 21, 2016 | 03:31 PM
Jan. 13. 2016 photo, Denmark's immigration minister Inger Stoejberg, speaks in the Danish Parliament during the reading of a new bill on the tightening of family reunification and a tightening of the rules of residence. (Lars Just/Polfoto via AP) DENMARK OUT
Medewerkster asielcentrum onthult: "Ze zijn opdringerig en extreem veeleisend" - HLN.be
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 16:27
Ze begon te werken in het asielcentrum van Hamburg vol idealisme. Maar de ervaringen met vluchtelingen hebben die illusie doorprikt. In de gerenommeerde Duitse krant Die Welt doet de medewerkster een boekje open over het leven zoals het is in het asielcentrum. "Met 90 procent van de asielzoekers is de samenwerking onaangenaam."
"Sinds de herfst van 2015 ben ik vast in dienst in het opvangcentrum van Hamburg", vertelt ze anoniem aan Die Welt. "Op deze job had ik me echt verheugd. Eindelijk kon ik iets betekenen voor de vluchtelingen. De collega's waren zeer gengageerd en ik was ervan overtuigd dat ik een geweldige tijd tegemoet ging. Mijn taak omvatte de administratieve en sociale begeleiding van asielzoekers."
Beeld bijstellenIn het opvangcentrum van Hamburg zijn ondertussen zo'n 1.500 vluchtelingen ondergebracht. Die eerste werkdagen vielen nog mee voor de medewerkster maar dan kwamen de eerste asielzoekers in haar bureau. "Na enkele contacten met hen merkte ik al dat ik mijn positief beeld moest bijstellen. De realiteit bleek helemaal anders. Natuurlijk mag men zoiets niet veralgemenen. Er zijn er zeker bij die heel vriendelijk en zeer dankbaar zijn. Maar als ik eerlijk ben, dan is de samenwerking met 90 procent van de vluchtelingen onaangenaam en niet zoals ik het me had voorgesteld."
Woning en chique autoEn dan treedt de vluchtelingenhelpster meer in detail over haar ervaringen. "Ten eerste zijn velen onder hen extreem veeleisend. Ze komen naar mij en verlangen dat ik hen aan een woning, chique auto en in het beste geval ook aan een goede job help. Wanneer ik dan uitleg dat dat niet gaat, dan verheffen ze hun stem en worden agressief. Een Afghaan heeft er zelfs mee gedreigd me van kant te maken. Enkele Syrirs en Afghanen verklaarden dat ze in hongerstaking zouden gaan tot ik hen aan een ander onderkomen zou helpen. Wegens dergelijke zaken moesten we de politie meermaals optrommelen.
Valse verklaringenTen tweede leggen ze valse verklaringen af. Ze komen naar mij, zwaaien met een papier in de hand en vertellen een verhaal dat gewoon niet kan kloppen. Ze houden daar dan aan vast en als ik dan met collega's praat, kom ik te weten dat ze aan hen een totaal ander verhaal hebben verteld.
AfsprakenZe houden zich ook niet aan afspraken. Wanneer ik een afspraak met de dokter of het ziekenhuis vastleg, dan dagen ze niet op. Dat gebeurt zo vaak dat artsen ons smeken om zo weinig mogelijk afspraken met vluchtelingen te maken. Maar ja, wat moet ik dan doen?
Minachtende blikkenDe manier waarop sommige vluchtelingen met vrouwen omgaan, is ongehoord. Het is bekend dat de meeste asielzoekers jonge mannen zijn. Ze nemen ons niet ernstig. Als ik hen advies geef, luisteren ze amper en wenden zich tot een mannelijke collega. Voor ons, vrouwen, hebben ze enkel minachtende blikken over. Soms roepen ze ons wat toe in een taal die we niet verstaan, lachen ze ons uit of achtervolgen ons doorheen de gangen.
Steeds ergerSinds er meer mannen uit Noord-Afrika naar hier gekomen zijn, is het allemaal nog erger geworden. Zij zijn nog agressiever. Dat kan ik niet meer negeren en dat heeft ook een invloed op hoe ik me gedraag. Ik ben me anders gaan kleden. Geen nauw aansluitende kledij meer maar losse pullovers en wijde broeken. Schmink is uit den boze. Ik doe er alles aan om niet lastiggevallen te worden. Ik loop door de gangen zonder iemand nog aan te kijken. Indien mogelijk probeer ik de hele dag in mijn kantoor te blijven. Ik kom niet meer naar hier met het openbaar vervoer maar met de wagen. Onlangs is een collega door een vluchteling in het station achtervolgd en aangerand. Van de overheid verwacht ik geen hulp meer om deze problemen op te lossen. Wanneer we bellen, krijgen we niemand meer aan de lijn.
OntslagMij rest enkel nog het ontslag, ook al doet het me pijn aan het hart. Ik heb het dan ook steeds voor me uitgeschoven. Vele collega's denken er net zo over omdat ze het er niet meer uithouden. We kunnen niet meer aanzien hoe alles hier verkeerd loopt en hoe we daar totaal machteloos tegenover staan."
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Facebook begins Europe-wide campaign against extremist posts
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 00:05
Facebook begins Europe-wide campaign against extremist postsTop News
Facebook begins Europe-wide campaign against extremist posts
Mon, Jan 18 19:57 PM GMT
BERLIN (Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O) began a Europe-wide campaign on Monday to thwart extremist posts on social media, after German politicians in particular raised concerns about a rise in xenophobic comments linked to an influx of refugees.
The U.S.-based group launched its "Initiative for Civil Courage Online" in Berlin, pledging over 1 million euros (1 million pounds) to support non-governmental organisations in their efforts to counter racist and xenophobic posts.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said hate speech "has no place in our society", including in the Internet.
Facebook's ground rules forbid bullying, harassment and threatening language, but critics say it does not enforce them properly.
On Friday, the firm said it had hired a unit of the publisher Bertelsmann to monitor and delete racist posts on its platform in Germany.
In November, prosecutors in Hamburg launched an investigation into Facebook on suspicion of not doing enough to prevent the dissemination of hate speech.
Top German politicians and celebrities have voiced concern about the rise of anti-foreigner comments on Facebook and other social media as the country struggles to cope with a tide of new migrants that amounted to 1.1 million last year alone.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Facebook to do more, and the Justice Ministry set up a task force with Facebook and other social networks and Internet service providers with the aim of identifying criminal posts more quickly and taking them down.
($1 = 0.9187 euros)
(Reporting by Thorsten Severin; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
Facebook begins Europe-wide campaign against extremist postsTop News
Facebook begins Europe-wide campaign against extremist posts
Mon, Jan 18 19:57 PM GMT
BERLIN (Reuters) - Facebook Inc (FB.O) began a Europe-wide campaign on Monday to thwart extremist posts on social media, after German politicians in particular raised concerns about a rise in xenophobic comments linked to an influx of refugees.
The U.S.-based group launched its "Initiative for Civil Courage Online" in Berlin, pledging over 1 million euros (1 million pounds) to support non-governmental organisations in their efforts to counter racist and xenophobic posts.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said hate speech "has no place in our society", including in the Internet.
Facebook's ground rules forbid bullying, harassment and threatening language, but critics say it does not enforce them properly.
On Friday, the firm said it had hired a unit of the publisher Bertelsmann to monitor and delete racist posts on its platform in Germany.
In November, prosecutors in Hamburg launched an investigation into Facebook on suspicion of not doing enough to prevent the dissemination of hate speech.
Top German politicians and celebrities have voiced concern about the rise of anti-foreigner comments on Facebook and other social media as the country struggles to cope with a tide of new migrants that amounted to 1.1 million last year alone.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Facebook to do more, and the Justice Ministry set up a task force with Facebook and other social networks and Internet service providers with the aim of identifying criminal posts more quickly and taking them down.
($1 = 0.9187 euros)
(Reporting by Thorsten Severin; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
Daily Digest: Litvinenko "probably killed on Putin's orders," UK inquiry says - reported.ly
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 13:50
In today's digest:
Litvinenko ''probably killed on Putin's orders''Macedonia closes border once againUS Senate rejects additional screening for asylum seekersRussian airstrikes killed over 1,000, say activistsProtests in Michigan during Obama's visitRaids and detentions in Egypt ahead of revolution anniversaryTrial begins for NYPD officerUS travel warning for Guerrero, Mexico
British judge Robert Owen said in court that Alexander Litvinenko was ''probably murdered on personal orders of Putin.'' Former KGB agent Litvinenko was 43 when he died in London in 2006, days after being poisoned with radioactive polonium-210. In response to the findings of the UK's public inquiry, Litvinenko's widow Marina called for the expulsion of all Russian spies in the country, while UK Home Secretary Theresa May announced asset freezes and international arrest warrants on two suspects Russia refuses to extradite.
Macedoniaclosed the border to refugees again, stranding hundreds in sub-freezing temperatures in Eidomeni, Greece, where the camp was reopened after a month. A five-year-old girl and a woman also diedof hypothermiaon reaching the Greek island of Lesvos. Serbia and Croatia are only allowing passage to those seeking asylum in Germany or Austria, while Austrialimitedthe number of asylum requests it will accept. AmnestyurgedDenmark's parliament to reject measures to seize asylum seekers' assets and delay family reunions.
Democrats in the US Senate blocked legislation to individually screen Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers by a vote of 5-43. The controversial bill would have added more steps and scrutiny to the process for refugees. President Barack Obama had vowed to veto the bill had it reached his desk.
Russian airstrikes in Syria have killed over 1,000 civilians, including over 200 children,accordingto the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. International media wereinvitedto visit the Hmeymim airbase near Lattakia, where the airstrikes are launched from, to witness the airlift of humanitarian aid to Deir ez-Zor. Meanwhile, people are stilldying of starvationin Madaya, days after the arrival of two aid convoys.
A suicide bombing in Kabul on Wednesday targeted a van carrying Tolo TV employees,killing seven people and injuring 27. The Taliban had threatened Afghan media in October, singling out the Tolo TV and 1 TV channels. Monday was the second round of international talks to promote a peace agreement between the government and the Taliban. The attack happened near the Russian embassy, though Interfax agency said early on that the diplomatic building was not the direct target.
Protests over two concerns converged in Michigan during US President Barack Obama's visit.Rallies over the ongoing contaminated water crisis in Flint converged with teachers who are trying to draw attention to the poor state of schools in Detroit met in front of an auto show where Obama was set to visit. More than 60 Detroit schoolswere closedbecause of mass sickouts by teachers.
The runup to the fifth anniversary of #Jan25, the start of the Egyptian revolution, is marked by detentions, disappearances and house by house raids. Activists are responding with a social media campaign using hashtags like ''I participated'' or ''back to Tahrir.''
Gunmen killed five policemen in Egypt's North Sinai, in a firefight at the province's capital. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack as of this writing, but ISIS' Sinai affiliate had claimed a number of attacks in the peninsula in 2015, including the downing of a Russian airliner. Visuals of attacks in Sinai are scarce, the following photo was published by Egyptian daily Youm7.
The trial of a New York police officer accused of shooting a man in a Brooklyn housing project begins.The case of Akai Gurley,who was shot in 2014, went through jury selection Wednesday, and several potential jurors were rejected because of their stance on police brutality. Gurley was shot in Nov. 2014, and lawyers for accused officer Peter Liang say he was too distraught to help the wounded Gurley.
The US State Department issued a travel warning for travelers going to Guerrero, Mexico.On Wednesday, an armed group of men set fire to a mini bus in the state capital of Chilpancingo and kidnapped the driver, witnesses said. A man was also executed in the street.Asviolence and disappearancescontinue, a local group, ''Los Otros Desaparecidos'' (The Other Disappeared) found two additional mass graves. Since late 2014, 321 bodies have been found and only 15 have been identified.
Quick bites'...
The year 2015 was Earth's warmest on record by a wide margin, NOAA and NASA announced on Wed. Moreover, it was the latest in a series of warmest years since 1997. December's average surface temperature was also the highest on record in 136 years.
Grammy award winning artists John Legend and Juanes performed outside the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona on Wednesday morning.The performance aimed to bring awareness to the mass incarceration of undocumented immigrants and is part of Legend's larger prison reform campaign, ''Free America.''
Several anti-deportation rallies using#Not1Moretook place in the US.Minneapolis,Los AngelesandSan Franciscosaw students and activists, includingBlack Lives Mattersupporters take over streets and college campuses to advocate for immigration reform.
Upset over the vote for a pro-European government, a horde of angry protesters in Moldova stormed the parliament building.The vote to installa new governmentin the poor Eastern European country had just finished when the protesters came in.
Haiti's Senate voted to call for a halt to the upcoming presidential runoff.There have beendaily protestsagainst the Jan. 24 runoff, citing election fraud. The resolution is only a recommendation, and the runoff may still happen.
It's been 300 days since the beginning of the airstrikes in Yemen.Yemenis told their stories of living through the continuous Saudi-led airstrikes in the country by tweeting#300DaysOfWar.
Unrest for 2nd Day: 7,000 Hold Anti-Govt Protest in Moldova - ABC News
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 13:33
About 7,000 people held an anti-government protest Thursday in the Moldovan capital, a day after demonstrators stormed the legislature after it approved a new pro-European government.
Protesters gathered outside government offices and Parliament in Chisinau to protest Prime Minister Pavel Filip, the former technology minister and former candy factory manager, who presented his Cabinet of politicians and specialists to President Nicolae Timofti late Wednesday.
Scuffles broke out Wednesday between police and the protesters who stormed the Parliament and 15 people were injured, including nine police officers.
On Thursday, protesters blocked a main artery in the capital as they staged a peaceful protest. Demonstrators shouted "Down with the government! We are the people!" and "Early elections!"
The vote by Parliament on Wednesday ended a three-month standoff between Timofti and Parliament, which the president would have dissolved had it not approved a new government by Jan. 29. The previous government was dismissed in late October over corruption allegations.
Some demonstrators who support opposition political parties want closer links to Russia. Others are demanding a crackdown on corruption and a thorough investigation into the $1.5 billion went missing from three banks prior to the November 2014 parliamentary election.
Moldova has been mired in political instability since 2014. Last year, Moldova had five prime ministers and there were weeks of protests about the missing money.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday urged Moldova's government to undertake reforms.
Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania contributed to this report.
Nuland Reveals Plan to Crush Democracy in RM '' All Things Romania
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 13:30
Just yesterday I revealed Victoria ''Fuck the EU'' Nuland's grand plan for the Republic of Moldova, and I see that she gave a little speech at the American Embassy in Bucharest yesterday after a private dinner with PM Ciolos and President Klaus.
Nuland only speaks English but the text isn't available on the embassy's website so you can read the Romanian translation here or read my re-translation back into English here:
We powerfully support the desire of the people in Moldova to have responsible leaders who can implement reforms. This is the best way to assure the future of Moldova. Romania and the United States, in conjunction with NATO, have support programs in place to assure the security of Moldova but the government has to work to implement these programs.
I guess she ''forgot'' that Moldova has a clause in its Constitution assuring military neutrality, which joining NATO would violate. To say nothing of the fact that only the most extreme pro-EU politicians around here have ever advocated NATO membership as it would be vehemently opposed by the majority of the people.
As you know, Moldova has been undergoing a governmental crisis in the past few months, which is why we have been working with our partners to support negotiations to form a new government.
Indeed! Too bad these partners are the same crooks which siphoned off more than a billion dollars from this tiny country's economy.
But here's the real kicker:
The new Moldovan government must return to negotiations with the IMF.
Aha! Now we get to the heart of the matter!
The most important thing is that Moldova has a government that is strongly pro-European.
No, the most important thing is that Moldova has a democratic government that represents the will of the people.
Meanwhile, the non-partner of the USA, and the most genuinely popular politician in Moldova, Igor Dodon, and his unabashedly pro-Russia Socialist Party, have launched an appeal to the Constitutional Court against the last-minute nomination of Pavel Filip for Prime Minister.
Essentially, everyone knows that new elections need to be called, so this is Dodon pushing his advantage to get over with the waiting and shatter the incredibly fragile ''pro-EU'' coalition's desperate attempt to stay in power.
But here's the key clause from later in the article (referring to RM President Timofti's nomination of Ion Sturza for PM earlier this month):
After closed-door consultations with visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Bridget Brink in mid-December, Timofti unexpectedly nominated Ion Sturza, Moldova's Prime Minister in the late 1990s, as his candidate for the head of government.
Exactly as I said yesterday! It's always so ''amazing'' how supposed advocates of democracy and freedom do all their work behind closed doors and during lavish private dinners.
Of course, if it were Russia holding private dinners with the heads of state and supporting criminal politicians, everyone and their brother would be (rightly) outraged at the meddling. Somehow though, it's always okay if the United States does it.
In slightly related news, the Unsleeping Eye brought me this rather dry report on some changes that the pro-EU bloc of the Moldovan parliament made to the Labor Code during its last days in power at the end of 2015, including making it easier to fire employees.
Here's the pithy analysis:
The abolition of the limitation previously imposed on managing directors, and the possibility to immediately terminate labour relations are big steps forward in stimulating investments in Moldova. The other amendments are unfortunately meant to further strengthen the Labour Code in its position of one of the most employee-friendly legislation systems in Europe (if not in the world).
Yes, firing people more easily makes the country more ''friendly'' to investors and supporting employee rights is unfortunate.
The powers that be will never rest until the entire world is crushed underneath their heel, will they?
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Victoria Nuland arrived in Bucharest on Sunday to meet Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos and President Klaus Iohannis
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 13:28
President Klaus Iohannis will welcome Victoria Nuland, US Deputy Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, on Monday, at 02:00 pm, at the Cotroceni Palace, the Presidential Administration informs.
Victoria Nuland arrivedin Bucharest on Sunday, and at 08:00 pm she met Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos.
Official sources havesaidthat, in an informal dinner, Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos unveiledto the US official present the priorities of his Government.
Also, the two discussedimproving the investments climate in Romania, the situation in the region, particularly in Moldova, but also about the relations with Ukraine and Russia.
"Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs and Eurasian Affairs, will meet President Iohannis, Premier Ciolos and other representatives of the new Government to discuss bilateral issues of common interest within our strategic Partnership," said the US Embassy in Bucharest.
According to a Romanian Defence Ministry's release issued on Sunday,Minister of National Defence Mihnea Motoc will meet on Monday with Victoria Nuland, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.The agenda of talks includes issues related to bilateral military cooperation within the Romanian-American Strategic Partnership, and the security situation of the region.
Top Hollywood stars threaten to BOYCOTT Oscars over this... - Allen B. West - AllenBWest.com
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 22:16
For reasons unknown liberals in America just can't seem to connect the dots between the institutions they cannot stand, or so they claim, and who it is that's truly at the helm of said institutions. Cases in point:Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, et al continue to rail about the high cost of a college education seemingly without recognizing that higher education in America is and has been run almost exclusively by liberals for decades. They are the creators and keepers of the beast they claim is out-of-control.
Liberal politicians, Black Lives Matter, the ACLU and others constantly decry the state of America's urban/inner city neighborhoods. They're upset about violent crime, drug trafficking, poor schools, lack of jobs and economic development, institutional racism and ''unfairness'', etc. But again fail to mention the fact that they have been in charge of every single one of these areas since forever.
Which brings us to the most liberal of enclaves in America, Hollywood California and their annual rite-of-passage, the Academy Awards.
Like all awards shows the Oscars features Hollywood's filthy rich getting all dolled up, walking the red carpet in font of paparazzi then sitting in a theatre to watch themselves give awards to themselves and applaud themselves as they accept awards from themselves. The Oscars also have another distinction '' that of being one of the whitest gatherings on earth. Well some liberals have had enough.
Two of Hollywood's stalwarts and proven money-makers, director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith have announced they are refusing to attend the 2016 Academy Awards as a protest of the Oscars again shutting out non-white actors.
Both Lee, 58, and Pinkett-Smith, 44, took to social media on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, to announce that they will not be attending the 88th annual Academy Awards because of the #OscarSoWhite controversy.
Lee penned an Instagram in which he revealed that because of the lack on diversity for the second consecutive year, he and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, will not be attending the 2016 ceremony. ''#OscarsSoWhite'... Again,'' he wrote. ''We cannot support it'...how is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?''
For her part Pinkett-Smith recorded a Facebook video to express her disappointment at the the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations, ''Begging for acknowledgement or even asking [to be nominated] diminishes dignity. It diminishes power and we are a dignified people and we are powerful. And let's not forget it. So let's let the Academy do them with all grace and love and let's do us differently,'' she said.
So blatant is the black-snubbing that even two of the nation's liberal newspapers chimed in with headlines. USA Today cried, ''Where's the Diversity? Lack of diversity award goes to'....Oscars'', and the Los Angeles Times, headlined ''WHITEOUT 2 '' DIVERSITY A NO-SHOW AT THE OSCARS.''
So once again we have Hollywood limousine liberals doing what they do. Crying about gun violence but making movies glorifying it. Blubbering about carbon footprints but traveling in private jets and stretch Hummers. Screaming about the evils of racism but keeping blacks out of their own inner institutions. Perhaps one day, one day, these people will be able to see what the rest of the country has been observing for years '-- you are hypocrites.
[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]
Shut Up Slave!
Flint water crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 06:15
The Flint water crisis is an ongoing drinking water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, in the United States.
In 2014, the City of Flint switched its water supply from the City of Detroit (which had supplied it for nearly half a century) to the Flint River. The move was an effort to save costs. It was viewed as a temporary fix, given the river's long history as a dubious source of water.[2] An ultimate switch to a permanent Flint water supply would be provided after the Karegnondi Water Authority's construction of a pipeline from Lake Huron, thereby eliminating Flint's long-time dependence on Detroit city water.[3]
After the change in water source, the city's drinking water had a series of issues that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger. The corrosive Flint River water caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, causing extremely elevated levels of lead. As a result, between 6,000 and 12,000 residents had severely high levels of lead in the blood and experienced a range of serious health problems.[1] The water change is also a possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the county that has killed 10 people and affected another 77.[4]
On November 13, 2015, four families filed a federal class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit against Governor Rick Snyder and thirteen other city and state officials, and three separate people filed a similar suit in state court two months later, and three more lawsuits were filed after that. Separately, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and the Michigan Attorney General's office opened investigations. On January 5, 2016, the city was declared to be in a state of emergency by the Governor of Michigan, before President Obama declared the crisis as a federal state of emergency, authorizing additional help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security less than two weeks later.
Three government officials'--one from the City of Flint and two from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality'--resigned over the mishandling of the crisis, and Snyder issued an apology to citizens.
History of Flint water supply[edit]Before 2014[edit]Flint built its first water treatment plant (now defunct) in 1917. The city built a second plant in 1952. In 1967, the city stopped treating its own water and began purchasing it from the City of Detroit.[5][6]
At the time of Flint's population peak and economic height (when the city was the center of the automobile industry), Flint's plants pumped 100 million gallons (380,000 m3) of water per day. With the decline of the city's industry and a significant drop in the the city's population (from almost 200,000 in 1960 to about 99,000 today), Flint pumped less water. By October 2014, when the Flint plant ended operations, it pumped just 16 million gallons (61,000 m3) daily.[5]
Switch in source in 2014[edit]Starting in 2010, Genesee County had spearheaded the development of the Karegnondi Water Authority (KWA) to supply it and Lapeer and Sanilac counties'--plus the cities of Lapeer and Flint'--with water.[7] On March 25, 2013, Flint City Council approved 7-1 to purchase 16 million gallons per day from the KWA rather than go with Flint River water as a permanent supply.[8] Flint emergency manager (EM) Ed Kurtz and Mayor Dayne Walling approved the action on March 29 and forward the action for the State Treasurer to approve.[9]
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) sent out a press release demanding the state should block Flint's request as it would hurt Detroit Water and start a water war. The release also put out four options for Flint including sale of raw untreated water. Genesee County Drain commissioner Wright, after accusing the DWSD of negotiating through the media, replied, "It would be unprecedented for the state to force one community to enter into an agreement with another, simply to artificially help one community at the other's expense. This is exactly what the (Detroit Water and Sewerage Department) is arguing should be done."[10]
Still, on April 15, State Treasurer Andy Dillon gave approval to Kurtz to enter into a water purchase contracts with the KWA.[11] EM Kurtz signed the KWA water purchase agreement on April 16.[12] On April 17, the Detroit Water and Sewer Department gave its one year termination notice to the city just days after the County and City rejected the DWSD' last offer. The DWSD also expected that Flint pay them for past investments in the water system that benefited regional customers; Flint and Genesee County rejected such responsibility, although they indicated willingness to purchase some pipeline. GovernorRick Snyder called a meeting of the three parties for April 19 to discuss those and other issue related to the KWA project.[11]
In late April 2014, in an effort to save about $5 million over less than two years,[12][13][14] the city switched from purchasing treated Lake Huron water from Detroit, as it had done for 50 years, to treating water from the Flint River. The plan was to attach to the Karegnondi system, which was under construction, and would be completed almost three years later. The Flint River had been the designated backup water source for years.[15][16] By December 2014, the city had invested $4 million into its water plant.[17]
Return to Detroit water[edit]In October 2015, the water supply was switched back to Detroit.[18][19] Flint started adding additional orthophosphate, a corrosion inhibitor, to the Detroit water in December 2015 to counteract the corrosion in the pipes caused by the Flint River water.[20]
On October 8, Snyder asked the Michigan Legislature to contribute $6 million of the $12 million in costs for Flint to return to Lake Huron water (from the newly created Great Lakes Water Authority), with the City of Flint paying $2 million and the Flint-based Charles Stewart Mott Foundation paying $4 million.[21][22]State Senator Jim Ananich, who represents Flint, called for the state to refund the $2 million to the city; Ananich also requested further emergency funding from the state and a commitment to long-term funding to address the effects of the lead contamination.[23]
Future[edit]Flint still has plans to join the Karegnondi Water Authority after a pipeline from Lake Huron to Flint is completed in June 2016.[24]
Studies[edit]Lead exposure[edit]Main article: Lead poisoningIn January 2015, a public meeting was held, where citizens complained about the "bad water."[25] Residents complained about the taste, smell and appearance of the water for 18 months before a Flint physician found highly elevated blood lead levels in the children of Flint while the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality insisted the water was safe to drink.[26] It was determined that river water, which is more corrosive than lake water, was leachinglead from aging pipes.[27]
While the local outcry about Flint water quality was growing in early 2015, Flint water officials filed papers with state regulators purporting to show that "tests at Flint's water treatment plant had detected no lead and testing in homes had registered lead at acceptable levels."[28] The documents falsely claim that the city had tested tap water from homes with lead service lines, and therefore the highest lead-poisoning risks; in reality; the city does not know the locations of lead service lines, which city officials acknowledged in November 2015 after the Flint Journal/MLive published an article revealing the practice after obtaining documents through the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.[29] The Journal/MLive reported that the city had "disregarded federal rules requiring it to seek out homes with lead plumbing for testing, potentially leading the city and state to underestimate for months the extent of toxic lead leaching into Flint's tap water."[29] Only after independent research was conducted by Marc Edwards and a local physician, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, was a public-health emergency declared.[29][28]
In August 2015, three organizations, citing lead levels and other problems, "delivered more than 26,000 online petition signatures to Mayor Dayne Walling, demanding the city end its use of the Flint River and reconnect the city to the Detroit water system."[27]
In September 2015, a team working under Edwards, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech and an expert on municipal water quality who had been sent to study the water supply under a National Science Foundation grant, published a report finding that Flint water was "very corrosive" and "causing lead contamination in homes" and concluding that "Flint River water leaches more lead from plumbing than does Detroit water. This is creating a public health threat in some Flint homes that have lead pipe or lead solder."[27][30][31] Edwards was shocked by the extent of the contamination and by authorities' inaction in the face of their knowledge of the contamination.[31] Volunteer teams led by Edwards found that at least a quarter of Flint households have levels of lead above the federal level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) and that in some homes, lead levels were at 13,200 ppb.[31] Edwards said: "It was the injustice of it all and that the very agencies that are paid to protect these residents from lead in water, knew or should've known after June at the very very latest of this year, that federal law was not being followed in Flint, and that these children and residents were not being protected. And the extent to which they went to cover this up exposes a new level of arrogance and uncaring that I have never encountered."[31]
Research done after the switch to the Flint River source found that the proportion of children with elevated blood-lead levels (above five micrograms per deciliter, or 5 — 10''6 grams per 100 milliliters of blood) rose from 2.1% to 4%, and in some areas to as much as 6.3%.[32]
On September 24, 2015, Hurley Medical Center in Flint released a study, led by Hanna-Attisha, the MPH program director for pediatric residency at the Hurley Children's Hospital, confirming that proportion of infants and children with elevated levels of lead in their blood had nearly doubled since the city switched from the Detroit water system to using the Flint River as its water source.[33][28] Using hospital records, Hanna-Attisha found that a steep rise in blood-lead levels correlated to the city's switch in water sources.[28] The study was initially dismissed by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) spokesman Wurfel, who "repeated a familiar refrain: Repeated testing indicated the water tested within acceptable levels."[28] Later, Wurfel apologized to Hanna-Attisha.[28]
On January 11, 2016, the Virginia Tech research team led by Edwards announced that it had completed its work.[34] Edwards said "We now feel that Flint's kids are finally on their way to being protected and decisive actions are under way to ameliorate the harm that was done."[35] Edwards credited the Michigan ACLU and the group Water You Fighting For with doing the "critical work of collecting and coordinating" many water samples analyzed by the Virginia Tech team.[35] Although the labor of the team (composed of scientists, investigators, graduate students, and undergraduates) was free, the investigation still spent more than $180,000 for such expenses as water testing and payment of Michigan Freedom of Information Act costs. A GoFundMe campaign has raised almost $3,010 of the $150,000 needed for the team to recover its costs.[34][35]
Possible link to Legionnaires' disease spike[edit]On January 13, 2016, Snyder said 87 cases of Legionnaires' disease, a waterborne disease, were reported in Genesee County from June 2014 '' November 2015, resulting in 10 deaths. Although the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said that there is no evidence of a clear link between the spike in cases and the water system change,[4] Edwards stated the contaminated Flint water could be linked to the spike, telling reporters, "It's very possible that, the conditions in the Flint River water contributed. We've actually predicted earlier this year, that the conditions present in Flint would increase the likelihood of Legionnaires' disease. We wrote a proposal on that to the National Science Foundation that was funded and we visited Flint and did two sampling events. The first one, which was focused on single family homes or smaller businesses. We did not find detectable levels of Legionella bacteria that causes disease, in those buildings. But, during our second trip, we looked at large buildings and we found very high levels of Legionella that tends to cause the disease."[36]
The Flint Journal obtained documents via the Michigan Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on the Legionnaires' outbreak and published an article on them on January 16, 2016. The documents indicated that on October 17, 2014, employees of the Genesee County Health Department and the Flint water treatment plant met to discuss the county's "concerns regarding the increase in Legionella cases and possible association with the municipal water system."[37] An internal January 27, 2015 email from a supervisor at the health department said that the Flint water treatment plant had not responded in months to "multiple written and verbal requests" for information.[37] In January 2015, following the complete breakdown in communication between the city and the county on the Legionnaires' investigation, the county filed a FOIA request with the city, seeking "specific water testing locations and laboratory results ... for coliform, E-coli, Heterotropic Bacteria and trihalomethanes" and other information.[37] By early October 2014, the Michigan DEQ were aware of a possible link between the water in Flint and the Legionnaires' outbreak, but the public was never informed, and the agency gave assurances about water safety in public statements and at public forums.[37] In April 2015, the county health department contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and in April 2015 a CDC employee wrote in an email that the Legionnaire's outbreak was "very large, one of the largest we know of in the past decade and community-wide, and in our opinion and experience it needs a comprehensive investigation."[37] However, MDHHS told the county health department at the time that federal assistance was not necessary.[37]
Inquiries, investigations, and resignations[edit]One focus of inquiry is when Snyder became aware of the issue, and how much he knew about it.[38] In a July 2015 email, Dennis Muchmore (then Snyder's chief of staff) wrote to a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) official: "I'm frustrated by the water issue in Flint. I really don't think people are getting the benefit of the doubt. These folks are scared and worried about the health impacts and they are basically getting blown off by us (as a state we're just not sympathizing with their plight)."[38][39] In a separate email sent on July 22, 2015, MDHHS local health services director Mark Miller wrote to colleagues that it "Sounds like the issue is old lead service lines."[39] These emails were obtained under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act by Virginia Tech researchers studying the crisis, and were released to the public in the first week of January 2016.[39]
In October 2015, it was reported that the city government's data on lead water lines in the city was stored on 45,000 index cards (some dating back a century) located in filing cabinets in Flint's public utility building.[40][41] The Department of Public Works said that it was trying to transition the data into an electronic spreadsheet program, but as of October 1, 2015, only about 25% of the index card information had been digitized.[40]
On October 21, 2015, Snyder announced the creation of a five-member Flint Water Advisory Task Force, consisting of Ken Sikkema of Public Sector Consultants and Chris Kolb of the Michigan Environmental Council (co-chairs) and Dr. Matthew Davis of the University of Michigan Health System, Eric Rothstein of the Galardi Rothstein Group and Dr. Lawrence Reynolds of Mott Children's Health Center in Flint.[42] In December 29, 2015, the Task Force released its preliminary report, saying that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) bore ultimate blame for the Flint water crisis.[43][44] The task force wrote that the DEQ's Office of Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance (ODWMA) adopted a "minimalist technical compliance approach" to water safety, which was "unacceptable and simply insufficient to the task of public protection."[43] The task force also found that "Throughout 2015, as the public raised concerns and as independent studies and testing were conducted and brought to the attention of MDEQ, the agency's response was often one of aggressive dismissal, belittlement, and attempts to discredit these efforts and the individuals involved. We find both the tone and substance of many MDEQ public statements to be completely unacceptable."[43] The task force also found that the Michigan DEQ has failed to follow the federal Lead and Copper Rule (LCR).[43] That rule requires "optimized corrosion control treatment," but DEQ staff instructed City of Flint water treatment staff that corrosion control treatment (CCT) would not be necessary for a year.[43] The task force found that "the decision not to require CCT, made at the direction of the MDEQ, led directly to the contamination of the Flint water system."[43]
The task force's findings prompted the resignation of DEQ director Dan Wyant and communications director Brad Wurfel.[45][46] Flint Department of Public Works director Howard Croft also resigned.[47]
On January 8, 2016, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan said that it was investigating.[14]
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "battled Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality behind the scenes for at least six months over whether Flint needed to use chemical treatments to keep lead lines and plumbing connections from leaching into drinking water" and "did not publicize its concern that Flint residents' health was jeopardized by the state's insistence that such controls were not required by law.[48] In 2015, EPA water expert Miguel Del Toral "identified potential problems with Flint's drinking water in February, confirmed the suspicions in April and summarized the looming problem" in an internal memo[49] circulated on June 24, 2015.[48] The Del Toral memo was not publicly released until November 2015, after a revision and vetting process.[48] In the interim, the EPA and the Michigan DEQ engaged in a dispute on how to interpret the Lead and Copper Rule. According to EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman, the EPA pushed to immediately implement corrosion controls in the interests of public health, while the Michigan DEQ sought to delay a decision on corrosion control until two six-month periods of sampling had been completed.[48] In an interview with the Detroit News published on January 12, Hedman said: "Let's be clear, the recommendation to DEQ (regarding the need for corrosion controls) occurred at higher and higher levels during this time period. And the answer kept coming back from DEQ that 'no, we are not going to make a decision until after we see more testing results.'"[48] Hedman said the EPA did not go public with its concerns earlier because (1) state and local governments have primary responsibility for drinking water quality and safety; (2) there was insufficient evidence at that point of the extent of the danger; and (3) the EPA's legal authority to compel the state to take action was unclear, and the EPA discussed the issue with its legal counsel, who only rendered an opinion in November.[48] Hedman said the EPA discussed the issue with its legal counsel and urged the state to have MDHHS warn residents about the danger.[48]
Assessments of the EPA's action varied. Marc Edwards, who investigated the lead contamination, said that the assessment in Del Toral's original June memo was "100 percent accurate" and criticized the EPA for failing to take more immediate action.[48] State Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich, Democrat of Flint, said, "There's been a failure at all levels to accurately assess the scale of the public health crisis in Flint, and that problem is ongoing. However, the EPA's Miguel Del Toral did excellent work in trying to expose this disaster. Anyone who read his memo and failed to act should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law."[48]
On January 15, Michigan Attorney GeneralBill Schuette announced that his office would open an investigation into the crisis, saying the situation in Flint "is a human tragedy in which families are struggling with even the most basic parts of daily life."[50][51]
Snyder announced he will release all of his emails from 2014 and 2015 regarding the crisis during his annual State of the State Address on January 19.[52]
State of emergency and emergency responses[edit]On December 15, 2015, Mayor Weaver declared the water issue as a citywide public health state of emergency to prompt help from state and federal officials.[33] Weaver's declaration said that additional funding will be needed for special education, mental health, juvenile justice, and social services because of the behavioral and cognitive impacts of high blood lead levels.[14]
It was subsequently declared a countywide emergency by the Genesee County Board of Commissioners, and accepted as both by Governor Rick Snyder on January 5, 2016.[53] Snyder also apologized for the incident.[54]
On January 6, Snyder ordered the Michigan Emergency Operations Center, operated by the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, to open a Joint Information Center to coordinate public outreach and field questions from the residents about the problems caused by the crisis.[55] The State Emergency Operations Center recommended that all Flint children under six years old get tested for lead levels as soon as possible, either by a primary care physician or the Genesee County Health Department.[56] The state has set up water resource sites at several public buildings around Flint where residents can pick up bottled water, water filters, replacement cartridges, and home water testing kits. They also advised residents to call the United Way to receive additional help if needed.[57] Weaver stressed to residents that it was important to also pick up the testing kits, as the city would like to receive at least 500 water test samples per week.[58]
Starting on January 7, Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell had work crews of offenders sentenced to community service begin delivering bottled water, water filters and replacement cartridges, primarily to residents living in homes built between 1901 and 1920, whose plumbing systems are most likely leaching lead into the water. The next week, he ordered his department to begin using reverse 911 to advise homebound residents on how to get help.[59]
On January 9, the United Auto Workers union also donated drinking water to Flint via a caravan of trucks to local food banks, and an AmeriCorps team announced that it would deploy to Flint to assist in response efforts.[60]
Also on January 9, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent two liaison officers to the Michigan Emergency Operations Center to work with the state to monitor the situation.[61][62]
On January 11, Snyder signed an executive order creating a new committee to "work on long-term solutions to the Flint water situation and ongoing public health concerns affecting residents."[63] The next day, officers from the Michigan State Police and Genesee County Sheriff's Department started delivering cases of water, water filters, lead testing kits and replacement cartridges to residents who needed them.[64] The American Red Cross has also been deployed to Flint to deliver bottled water and filters to residents.[65] Snyder activated the Michigan Army National Guard to assist the Red Cross, starting January 13,[66] with thirty soldiers planned to be in Flint by January 15.[67] The National Guard doubled their number of soldiers deployed to Flint by January 18, and began checking identification to assure the recipients were Flint residents, after it was discovered some people from as far away as Detroit were accepting free supplies over the weekend.[68] On January 19, Snyder ordered more soldiers to Flint by the next day, for a total of 200. [52]
On January 14, it was announced Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will lead a Flint Pediatric Public Health Initiative that includes experts from the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Hurley Children's Hospital, the Genesee County Health Department, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to help Flint children diagnosed with lead poisoning.[69]
On January 15, Snyder asked President Obama to grant a federal emergency/major disaster designation for Genesee County, seeking federal financial aid for emergency assistance and infrastructure repair in order to "protect the health, safety and welfare of Flint residents."[70][67][71] The following day, Obama signed an emergency declaration giving Flint up to $5 million in federal aid to handle the crisis.[72] FEMA released a statement that said, "The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Genesee County. FEMA is authorized to provide equipment and resources to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. This emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days."[73] After Snyder's request for a "Major Disaster Declaration" status was turned down, FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate wrote a letter to Snyder saying that the water contamination "does not meet the legal definition of a 'major disaster'" under federal law because "[t]he incident was not the result of a natural catastrophe, nor was it created by a fire, flood or explosion."[74]
The federal response will be lead by the Department of Health and Human Services, with assistance from FEMA, the Small Business Administration, the EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture, the Office of Preparedness and Response, and the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.[75]
On January 16, the Legacy Group Water Project coordinated with the Red Cross and the City of Flint as well as Bottles for the Babies to initiate the largest volunteer action to distribute water and filters into the city in a single day since a citywide emergency was declared on December 15, 2015.[76]
Lawsuits[edit]On November 13, 2015, four families filed a federal class-action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit against Governor Rick Snyder and thirteen other city and state officials, including former Flint Mayor Dayne Walling and ex-emergency financial managerDarnell Earley, who was in charge of the city when the switch to the Flint River was made. The complaint alleges that the officials acted recklessly and negligently, leading to serious injuries from lead poisoning, including autoimmune disorders, skin lesions, and "brain fog."[77][78][79] The complaint says that the officials' conduct was "reckless and outrageous" and "shocks the conscience and was deliberately indifferent to ... constitutional rights."[79]
On January 14, 2016, a separate class-action lawsuit against Snyder, the State of Michigan, the City of Flint, Earley, Walling, and Croft was filed by three Flint residents in Michigan Circuit Court in Genesee County.[80][81]
Three additional class action lawsuits at county, state and federal levels were announced on January 19.[82]
Costs of infrastructure repairs and medical treatment[edit]On January 7, 2016, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said that estimates of the cost of fixing water infrastructure in Flint, such as aging pipes, range from millions up to $1.5 billion. These figures encompasses infrastructure alone, excluding any public health costs of the disaster. DEQ interim director Keith Creagh said that estimation of total costs would be premature.[83][84]
On January 18, the United Way of Genesee County estimated 6,000''12,000 children have been exposed to lead poisoning and kicked off a fundraising campaign to raise $100 million over a 10''15 year span for their medical treatment.[1]
At his annual State of the State address on January 19, Snyder apologized again, and asked the Michigan Legislature to give Flint an additional $28 million in funding for filters, replacement cartridges, bottled water, more school nurses and additional intervention specialists. It also will fund lab testing, corrosion control procedures, a study of water-system infrastructure, potentially help Flint deal with unpaid water bills, case management of people with elevated lead-blood levels, assessment of potential linkages to other diseases, crisis counseling and mental health services, and the replacement of plumbing fixtures in schools, child care centers, nursing homes and medical facilities.[52] The Legislature is expected to enact the proposal.[85]
Political responses[edit]On January 4, 2016, citing the Flint water crisis, Michigan Representative Phil Phelps, Democrat of Flushing, announced plans to introduce a bill to the Michigan House of Representatives that would make it a felony for state officials to intentionally manipulate or falsify information in official reports, punishable by up to five years' imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.[86]
On January 12, Democratic U.S. Representative Dan Kildee from Flint said of Snyder: "It's beyond my comprehension that he continues to treat this as a public relations problem rather than as a public health emergency. Meanwhile, kids in Flint are still being exposed to high levels of lead in the water." Kildee called upon Snyder to request federal assistance (which Snyder subsequently did).[87]
On January 14, Democratic U.S. Representative Brenda Lawrence of Southfield formally requested congressional hearings on the crisis, saying: "We trust our government to protect the health and safety of our communities, and this includes the promise of clean water to drink..."[88]
Among the Michigan congressional delegation, only U.S. Representative Justin Amash opposed federal aid for Flint. Amash opined that "the U.S. Constitution does not authorize the federal government to intervene in an intrastate matter like this one."[89]
Former Secretary of State and U.S. SenatorHillary Clinton, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, said of the crisis "The people of Flint deserve to know the truth about how this happened and what Governor Snyder and other leaders knew about it. And they deserve a solution, fast. Thousands of children may have been exposed to lead, which could irreversibly harm their health and brain functioning. Plus, this catastrophe'--which was caused by a zeal to save money at all costs'--could actually cost $1.5 billion in infrastructure repairs."[90] In a subsequent interview, Clinton referred to her work on lead abatement in housing in upstate New York and called for further funding for healthcare and education for children who will suffer the negative effects of lead exposure on behavior and educational attainment.[91]Independent U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, called for Snyder to resign from office, stating he has "no excuses" for the disaster.[92] He noted the event was "one of the worst public health crises in the modern history of this country."[93] Both Clinton and Sanders referenced the issue and condemned Snyder in a televised primary debate on January 17. Clinton stated that if the water crisis had occurred in a wealthier Detroit suburb rather than poor, majority African American Flint, "there would have been action," while Sanders reiterated his call for Snyder's resignation.[94][95][96]
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the first Republican presidential candidate to be asked about the water crisis, declined to comment, saying that he had not been briefed and his campaign had not focused on the issue.[97][98]
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump also said little about the crisis, simply stating ''It's a shame what's happening in Flint, Michigan. A thing like that shouldn't happen.''
Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said of the crisis that government is to blame and should be held accountable for exposing residents to ''poisoned water.'' He also said the situation was a travesty and a failure of government at every level.
Republican Ohio Governor and presidential candidate John Kasich said that a solution needs to be found for Flint, and, ''I think the governor has moved the National Guard in and, you know, I'm sure he will manage this appropriately.''
Republican presidential candidate and Detroit native Dr. Ben Carson said of the crisis, "Unfortunately, the leaders of Flint have failed to place the well-being of their residents as a top priority. The people deserve better from their local elected officials, but the federal bureaucracy is not innocent in this as well. Reports show that the Environmental Protection Agency knew well-beforehand about the lack of corrosion controls in the city's water supply, but was either unwilling or unable to address the issue."[100]
On January 20, Democratic U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow said the state had "no sense of urgency whatsoever" despite warnings from the EPA about the contaminated water. [101]
Media and other responses[edit]On October 8, 2015, the editorial board of the Detroit Free Press wrote that the crisis was "an obscene failure of government" and criticized Snyder.[102]
On December 31, 2015, the editorial board of the MLive group of Michigan newspapers called upon Snyder to "drop executive privilege and release all of his communications on Flint water," establish a procedure for compensating families with children suffering from elevated lead blood levels, and return Flint to local control.[103]
In January 2016, the watchdog group Common Cause also called upon Snyder to release all documents related to the Flint water crisis. (The governor's office is not subject to the Michigan Freedom of Information Act).[104]
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has extensively reported on the water crisis on her show since December 2015, keeping it in the national spotlight.[105][106] She has condemned Snyder's use of emergency managers (which she termed a "very, very radical" change "to the way we govern ourselves as Americans, something that nobody else has done") and stated that "The kids of Flint, Michigan have been poisoned by a policy decision." [106]
The documentary filmmakerMichael Moore, a native of nearby Davison, called for Snyder's arrest for mishandling the water crisis in an open letter to the governor, writing: "The facts are all there, Mr. Snyder. Every agency involved in this scheme reported directly to you. The children of Flint didn't have a choice as to whether or not they were going to get to drink clean water." A spokesman for the governor called Moore's call "inflammatory."[107][108] Later, after hearing of the Legionnaires outbreak, he tweeted "And now, murder. BREAKING: 10 people dead in Flint from Legionnaires Disease. Flint River water suspected. No arrests yet."[109] Speaking to reporters in Flint, he emphasized that "this was not a mistake . . . Ten people have been killed here because of a political decision. They did this. They knew."[110]
In a post on her Facebook page, environmental activist Erin Brockovich called the water crisis a "growing national concern" and said that the crisis was "likely" connected to the Legionnaires' disease outbreak. Brockovich called for the U.S. Environment Protection Agency to become involved in the investigation, saying that the EPA's "continued silence has proven deadly."[109]
On January 16, the Reverend Jesse Jackson met with Mayor Weaver in Flint and said of the crisis, "The issue of water and air and housing and education and violence are all combined. The problem here obviously is more than just lack of drinkable water. We know the problems here and they will be addressed."[111] Jackson called Flint "a disaster zone" and a "crime scene" during a rally at a Flint church the next day.[112]
Also on January 16, singer Cher donated 181,000 bottles of water to Flint.[113] On January 18, rapper Meek Mill donated $50,000 to Flint to aid in the crisis.[114] The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians also donated $10,000 to Flint.[115] Rappers Big Sean and Sean Combs have also commented on the crisis, echoing the thoughts of other celebrities.[116]
Also on January 18, Nontombi Naomi Tutu (daughter of Desmond Tutu) said in a speech at the University of Michigan''Flint, "We actually needed the people of Flint to remind the people of this country what happens when political expediency, when financial concerns, overshadow justice and humanity."[117]
The water disaster also called attention to the problem of aging and seriously neglected water infrastructure nationwide.[118]
A number of commentators framed the crisis in terms of human rights, writing that authorities' handling of the issue denied residents their right to clean water.[38][119] Others framed it as the end result of austerity measures given priority over human life.[120][121] Others, such as columnist Shaun King, characterized the crisis as a result of environmental racism and "a horrific clash of race, class, politics and public health."[122]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abcUnited Way estimates cost of helping children $100M WNEM-TV, January 18, 2016^Wiittala,Vanlier, and Krieger. Water Resources of the Flint Area, Michigan. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1499-E, 1963, p. E26^Adams, Dominic (April 14, 2014). "City switch to Flint River water slated to happen Friday". mlive.com. Retrieved January 16, 2016. ^ abKhalil AlHajal, 87 cases, 10 fatal, of Legionella bacteria found in Flint area; connection to water crisis unclear, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 13, 2016).^ abSam Gringlas, In Flint, lead contamination spurs fight for clean water, Michigan Daily (December 3, 2016).^Appendix B: Water System Roster, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department: The First 300 Years (ed. Michael Daisy), Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.^Fonger, Ron (May 10, 2011). "DTE Energy tells new regional authority it may want 3 million gallons of Lake Huron water daily". Flint Journal. Retrieved December 6, 2011. ^Adams, Dominic (March 25, 2013). "Flint council supports buying water from Lake Huron through KWA". Flint Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2016. ^Fonger, Ron (March 29, 2013). "Flint emergency manager endorses water pipeline, final decision rests with state of Michigan". Flint Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2016. ^Fonger, Ron (April 2, 2013). "Detroit 'water war' claims 'wholly without merit,' Genesee County drain commissioner says". Flint Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2016. ^ abFonger, Ron (April 19, 2013). "Detroit gives notice: It's terminating water contract covering Flint, Genesee County in one year". Flint Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2016. ^ abWinston, Samuel (October 7, 2015). "How the Flint water crisis emerged". Flint Journal. p. 2. Retrieved January 11, 2016. ^"City switch to Flint River water slated to happen Friday". The Flint Journal. April 24, 2014 '' via MLive. ^ abcGreg Botelho, Sarah Jorgensen & Joseph Netto, Water crisis in Flint, Michigan, draws federal investigation, CNN (January 9, 2016).^Fonger, Ron (February 25, 2015). "Detroit offers Flint alternative to using river for long-term water backup". Flint Journal. Retrieved January 11, 2016. ^Schuch, Sarah (October 7, 2015). "How the Flint water crisis emerged". Flint Journal. p. 4. Retrieved January 11, 2016. ^Winston, Samuel (October 7, 2015). "How the Flint water crisis emerged". Flint Journal. p. 3. Retrieved January 11, 2016. ^"Flint returning to Detroit water amid lead concerns". CNN. Retrieved December 30, 2015. ^"Contaminants Found in Flint, Michigan, Drinking Water; City to Reconnect to Detroit Water Supply". The Weather Channel. Retrieved December 30, 2015. ^"Flint will pay for independent water tests, added phosphate treatment". MLive. Retrieved January 11, 2016. ^Mark Brush, Gov. Snyder moves to come up with $12 million to switch Flint's water back to Detroit's supply, Michigan Radio (October 8, 2015).^John Wisely, Snyder announces $12-million plan to fix Flint water, Detroit Free Press (October 8, 2015).^Stephanie Parkinson, Sen. Ananich calls for emergency funding from the state to address Flint water crisis, WEYI-TV (January 13, 2016).^Ron Fonger, With just 17 miles to go, KWA pipeline work might not stop for mild winter, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 5, 2016).^"Flint city councilman: 'We got bad water'". Detroit Free Press. Associated Press. January 14, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2015. ^"A timeline of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan". Washington Post. Retrieved 19 January 2016. ^ abcRon Fonger, Lead leaches into 'very corrosive' Flint drinking water, researchers say, MLive (September 2, 2015, updated September 3, 2015).^ abcdefRobin Erb, Flint doctor makes state see light about lead in water, Detroit Free Press (October 12, 2015).^ abcRon Fonger, Documents show Flint filed false reports about testing for lead in water, MLive (November 12, 2015, updated November 19, 2015).^"Engineering's Marc Edwards heads to Flint as part of study into unprecedented corrosion problem". Virginia Tech. Retrieved December 30, 2015. ^ abcdOliver Lazarus, In Flint, Michigan, a crisis over lead levels in tap water, Public Radio International (January 7, 2016).^Ryan Felton, Governor Rick Snyder 'very sorry' about Flint water lead levels debacle, The Guardian (December 30, 2015).^ abWang, Yanan (December 15, 2015). "In Flint, Mich., there's so much lead in children's blood that a state of emergency is declared". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved December 15, 2015. ^ abSteve Carmody, Virginia Tech ending Flint water investigation, Michigan Radio (January 11, 2016).^ abcPaul Egan, Virginia Tech wrapping up its work on Flint water, Detroit Free Press (January 12, 2016).^VA Tech Professor says Flint River water and Legionnaires Disease could be linked, WJRT-TV (January 13, 2016).^ abcdefRon Fonger, Public never told, but investigators suspected Flint River tie to Legionnaires' in 2014, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 16, 2016).^ abcDavid A. Graham, What Did the Governor Know About Flint's Water, and When Did He Know It?, The Atlantic (January 9, 2016).^ abcJohn Wisely, Were Flint water fears 'blown off' by state?, Detroit Free Press (January 7, 2016).^ abRon Fonger, Flint data on lead water lines stored on 45,000 index cards, MLive (October 1, 2015).^Lindsey Smith, After ignoring and trying to discredit people in Flint, the state was forced to face the problem, Michigan Radio (December 16, 2015).^Gov. Rick Snyder announces Flint Water Task Force to review state, federal and municipal actions, offer recommendations, Office of the Governor (press release) (October 21, 2015).^ abcdefJiquanda Johnson, Four takeaways from the Flint Water Advisory Task Force preliminary report, MLive (December 30, 2015).^Vincent Duffy, Task force lays most blame for Flint water crisis on MDEQ, Michigan Radio (December 29, 2015).^Emily Lawler, Director Dan Wyant resigns after task force blasts MDEQ over Flint water crisis, The Flint Journal via MLive (December 29, 2015).^Emily Lawler, DEQ spokesman also resigns over Flint water crisis, says city 'didn't feel like we cared', MLive (December 30, 2015).^Ron Fonger, Howard Croft, Flint official responsible for water oversight, resigns, The Flint Journal via MLive (November 16, 2015).^ abcdefghiJim Lynch, EPA stayed silent on Flint's tainted water, The Detroit News (January 12, 2016).^Del Toral, Miguel (June 24, 2015). "Memorandum: High Levels of Lead in Flint, Michigan '' Interim Report (Original)"(PDF). US EPA and ACLU Michigan. Retrieved January 17, 2016. ^Associated Press, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette plans to open investigation on Flint water crisis (January 15, 2016).^Scott Atkinson, Amy Haimerl & Richard P(C)rez-Pe±a, Anger and Scrutiny Grow Over Poisoned Water in Flint, Michigan, The New York Times (January 15, 2016).^ abcWhat Gov. Snyder plans to do about Flint water crisis WJRT-TV, January 19, 2016^Governor declares state of emergency over lead in Flint water, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 5, 2016).^Felton, Ryan. "Governor Rick Snyder 'very sorry' about Flint water lead levels debacle". The Guardian. London. Retrieved December 30, 2015. ^Amanda Emery, State launches information center for Flint following emergency declaration, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 6, 2016).^Emily Lawler, 43 Flint residents identified with elevated lead levels so far, urged to take precautions, MLive (January 7, 2016).^New water resource sites now open in Flint, WJRT-TV (January 10, 2016).^Roberto Acosta, Flint water resource teams to cover city, mayor stresses test kit importance, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 10, 2016).^Molly Young, Sheriff uses reverse 911 for Flint residents who need water help, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 11, 2016).^Associated Press, UAW members donate drinking water to Flint residents; Americorps to begin effort (January 9, 2016).^Amanda Emery, Federal Emergency Management Agency to monitor Flint's water crisis, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 9, 2016).^Paul Egan, Federal disaster agency monitoring Flint water crisis, Detroit Free Press (January 9, 2016).^Ron Fonger, Gov. Snyder signs executive order to create new Flint water committee, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 11, 2016).^Roberto Acosta, Crisis teams hit Flint streets with filters and water for frustrated residents, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 12, 2016).^Natalie Zarowny, Red Cross volunteers come to help Flint from across the state, country, WJRT-TV (January 12, 2016).^Ron Fonger, Governor activates National Guard to deal with Flint water crisis, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 12, 2016).^ abMatthew Dolan, Snyder seeks federal emergency status over Flint water, Detroit Free Press (January 15, 2016).^National Guard doubles troops handing out water in Flint WJRT-TV, January 18, 2016^Flint organizations announce Pediatric Public Health Initiative, WJRT-TV (January 14, 2016).^Gary Ridley, Snyder asks Obama to declare federal emergency for Flint water, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 14, 2016).^Chad Livengood, Jonathan Oosting & Melissa Nann Burke, White House to decide soon on Flint emergency request, Detroit News (January 15, 2016).^Ashley Southall, [State of Emergency Declared Over Man-Made Water Disaster in Michigan City], New York Times (January 17, 2016).^Roberto Acosta, President Obama signs emergency declaration over Flint's water crisisThe Flint Journal via MLive (January 16, 2016)^Chad Livengood & Jonathan Oosting, Snyder to appeal Obama's denial of Flint disaster zone, Detroit News (January 18, 2016).^U.S. Health and Human Services to lead federal response of Flint water crisis, WEYI-TV (January 19, 2016).^Truckloads of water to be delivered to Flint senior centers, WJRT-TV (January 15, 2016).^Pitt, Michael L.; McGehee, Cary S.; Rivers, Beth M. (November 13, 2015). "Melisa Mays, et. al. vs. Governor Rick Snyder, et. al."(PDF). Pitt Law PC. 2:15-cv-14002-JCO-MKM. Retrieved November 16, 2015. Defendants' conduct in exposing Flint residents to toxic water was so egregious and so outrageous that it shocks the conscience. ^"4 families sue over lead in Flint water". The Detroit News. November 15, 2015. Retrieved November 15, 2015. ^ abDaniel Bethencourt, After Flint water crisis, families file lawsuit, Detroit Free Press (November 13, 2015).^3 people file class action lawsuit against Gov. Snyder, Flint, WJRT-TV (January 14, 2016).^State of Michigan, Gov. Snyder sued in class action lawsuit over Flint water crisis, WDIV-TV (January 14, 2016).^Three water-related class action lawsuits filed by Flint residents Three water-related class action lawsuits filed by Flint residents WJRT-TV, January 19, 2016^Emily Lawler, Flint infrastructure fix could cost up to $1.5B, mayor Karen Weaver says, MLive (January 7, 2016, updated January 8, 2016).^Cost to fix Flint water infrastructure could reach $1.5 billion: reports, Reuters (January 7, 2016).^Emily Lawler, Key Michigan lawmakers say $28M Flint aid request will move swiftly, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 19, 2016).^Emily Lawler, Bill inspired by Flint water crisis would make data manipulation by Michigan officials a felony, MLive (January 4, 2016).^Congressman Kildee on Amir Hekmati, Snyder's response to Flint water crisis, Michigan Radio (January 11, 2016).^Ron Fonger, Congresswoman makes formal request for federal Flint water hearings, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 14, 2016).^Nate Reens, Justin Amash stood alone opposing Flint water federal aid bid, MLive (January 19, 2016).^Hillary Clinton speaks out on Flint's water emergency WJRT-TV (January 11, 2016).^Amanda Emery, Hillary Clinton infuriated by Flint water crisis, outraged by Gov. SnyderThe Flint Journal via MLive (January 14, 2016).^Martin Pengelly, Obama declares Flint water emergency as Sanders blames Michigan governor, The Guardian (January 16, 2016).^Chad Livengood, Sanders: Snyder should resign over Flint water crisis, The Detroit News (January 16, 2016).^Roberto Acosta, Hillary Clinton addresses Flint water crisis during presidential debate, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 17, 2016).^Jason Linkins, Flint's Water Problem Finally Gets Attention During A Debate, Huffington Post (January 17, 2015).^Daniel White, Michigan Governor Upset About Democratic Debate Mention, Time (January 18, 2016).^Eric Bradner, Rubio says he hasn't been briefed on Flint water crisis, CNN (January 19, 2015).^Tony Paul, Rubio declines detailed comment on Flint water crisis, Detroit News (January 18, 2016).^Ben Carson Becomes First GOP Candidate To Weigh In On Flint Water CrisisThe Huffington Post, January 19, 2016^Stabenow tells CNN 'no sense of urgency' by state in Flint water crisisThe Flint Journal via MLive, January 20, 2016^Flint water crisis: An obscene failure of government, Detroit Free Press (October 8, 2015).^Gov. Rick Snyder needs to do more than just apologize for Flint water crisis, MLive (December 31, 2015).^Steve Carmody, Watchdog group asks Gov. Snyder to release all Flint water crisis documents, Michigan Radio (January 6, 2016).^Ron Fonger, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow keeps national spotlight on water crisis in Michigan, MLive (December 23, 2015).^ abRachel Maddow Slams Rick Snyder For 'Poisoning Flint's Children' With Water Crisis, CBS Detroit (December 19, 2015).^Michael Moore calls for arrest of Gov. Snyder, Detroit News (January 7, 2016).^Chris Fleszar, Michael Moore calls for Snyder's arrest for Flint water, WZZM 13 (republished by the Detroit Free Press) (January 7, 2016).^ abErin Brockovich, Michael Moore join outcry about Flint area Legionnaires' spikeThe Flint Journal via MLive (January 14, 2016).^Daniel Bethencourt, Michael Moore, in Flint, says crisis 'not a mistake', Detroit Free Press (January 16, 2016).^Mayor Weaver and Rev. Jesse Jackson discuss emergency declaration and water emergency, WJRT-TV (January 16, 2016).^Roberto Acosta, Rev. Jesse Jackson calls Flint a "disaster zone," asks for federal helpThe Flint Journal via MLive (January 17, 2016).^Cher to donate 181,000 bottles of water to help out Flint water crisisThe Flint Journal via MLive (January 16, 2016).^Meek Mill Promises to Donate Money to Flint Water Crisis, Asks 50 Cent to Help, XXL Magazine (January 18, 2016)/^Little River Band tribe offers $10,000 donation to help Flint water crisisThe Flint Journal via MLive, January 19, 2016^Rappers Big Sean, Meek Mill pledge aid to Flint water crisisThe Flint Journal via MLive, January 19, 2016^Daughter of Desmond Tutu speaks on Flint water crisis at MLK Day event, The Flint Journal via MLive (January 18, 2016).^Lead Poisoning In Michigan Highlights Aging Water Systems Nationwide, NPR Weekend Edition Saturday (January 2, 2016) (interview with Robert Puentes, director of the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative at the Brookings Institution).^Benjamin Spoer, Flint's water crisis is a human rights violation, Al Jazeera (January 9, 2016).^When money matters more than lives: The poisonous cost of austerity in Flint, Michigan. Salon. January 9, 2016.^John Nichols. Outcry Over the Austerity Crisis in Flint Grows. The Nation. January 17, 2015.^Shaun King, King: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder did nothing as Flint's water crisis became one of the worst cases of environmental racism in modern American history, Daily News (New York) (January 11, 2016).External links[edit]External videoWater crisis in Flint, Michigan, draws federal investigation, CNN, Greg Botelho, Sarah Jorgensen and Joseph Netto, January 9, 2016How Flint, Michigan, Saved Money and Poisoned Its Children: City Declares Water Emergency, Democracy Now, December 17, 2015
War on Guns
USS Gabrielle Giffords Christened As Navy's First Gun-Free Warship '' Duffel Blog
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 23:01
MOBILE, Ala. '-- Seeking to honor a retired congresswoman and 2011 shooting victim in the most considerate and respectful way possible, the Navy today christened the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), a first-of-its-kind, gun-free warship.
Designed to hold a core crew of 40 sailors, the Independence-class littoral combat ship has been stripped bare of its Mk 110 57-millimeter gun, all four of its Mk2 .50-cal machine guns, its Evolved SeaRAM 11 cell missile launcher, and its entire cache of small arms, which are typically issued to boarding teams and watch standers.
''Having this mighty warship be 100% gun-free not only helps to honor its heroic namesake, Gabby Giffords, but it also helps the Navy to steer clear of promoting a culture of violence,'' said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who reportedly lobbied hard to get Congress and the Secretary of Defense on board with leaving the Navy's newest addition to the fleet completely defenseless.
''Once commissioned and put into service,'' Mabus continued, ''this vessel will truly embody the Navy's new motto of Semper Modestis'-- always considerate.''
The Navy Secretary went on to say that he hopes Giffords sets a new trend Navy-wide, and that it's merely the first ship of many to go weapons-free.
''We have this whole new generation of millennials joining the Navy and becoming sailors on a daily basis, and most of them don't even like guns,'' he said. ''So it's important we listen to their concerns and do what we can to adapt to them.''
Mabus also said that going gun-free with the Giffords was a huge cost saver, and that much of the money saved on armament for the vessel was able to be redirected to a vegan-friendly galley, unisex uniforms for the whole crew, and numerous ''safe spaces'' throughout the ship '-- places where sailors can go to relax and decompress whenever they feel overly-stressed by the rigors of life at sea.
Though Mabus and numerous other attendees at the ceremony seemed genuinely excited about christening the Navy's first gun-free warship, in a somewhat ironic twist, both former congresswoman Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, were surprisingly unenthusiastic about the concept.
''Listen, it's no secret that both Gabby and I are big proponents of reasonable gun control, and we really appreciate this gesture being made by the Navy, but the idea of sending a warship out into this turbulent world without any weapons whatsoever is completely irrational,'' said Kelly, himself an astronaut and retired Navy captain.
''Like, seriously, this isn't going to end well.''
Though still recovering from the trauma she suffered in 2011 and unable to speak in lengthy sentences, Giffords was much more concise upon being asked what she thought of the Navy making her namesake ship completely gun-free.
''Dipshits,'' she said.
UPDATE: Since this story first appeared, Giffords has reportedly been hijacked at gunpoint from its pier at Austal USA's shipyard. The City of Mobile Police Department is asking anybody with information about the theft to contact the department's Crime Stoppers line at 251-555-7000.
VIDEO-Not in my backyard: Dutch protesting against new asylum centre in Heesch - YouTube
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:55
VIDEO-Vera Van Horne on Twitter: "Ouch!.. What in diplomatic language means a handshake with Nuland like this?.. https://t.co/XBpkvdZXAC"
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 13:54
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VIDEO-EU faces existential crisis as democracy becomes contagious - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage - YouTube
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 13:39
VIDEO-ISIS using 'jihotties' to recruit brides for fighters
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 06:49
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VIDEO-Michael Moore Responds To Michigan Governor's State Of The State Address - YouTube
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 06:35
VIDEO-ABC: Benghazi Film Is 'Political Hot Potato' That is 'Sparking Controversy' | MRCTV
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 05:56
[See NewsBusters for more.] The journalists at Good Morning America on Monday worried that 13 Hours, the new Benghazi movie, is a ''political hot potato.'' Reporter Juju Chang trumpeted that the ''untold version of events in Benghazi [is] also sparking fresh controversy.'' Talking to Michael Bay, who she introduced as ''known for killer Transformers,'' the reporter fretted that 13 Hours has "turned into a political hot potato. Why did you want to pick that up?'' Speaking of the accusation they were told to stand down, ''the CIA calls the claims a distortion of events and people.''
VIDEO-Whoopi Goldberg on Oscar Flap: The Problem Is Lack of Diversity in Hollywood as a Whole | MRCTV
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 05:00
"The View" co-host and actress Whoopi Goldberg weighed in on the controversy of a lack of diversity at the Oscars, including calls to boycott the awards, questioning why it was an issue now when there has always been a lack of diversity in Hollywood.
VIDEO-Nets Yawn at Gun from Fast and Furious Being Connected to El Chapo; Gives Seven Mins to Trump | MRCTV
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 04:52
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
With the liberal media continuing its full-court press obsession over the Donald Trump campaign and the endorsement of Sarah Palin, the ''big three'' of ABC, CBS, and NBC partnered with Spanish-language network Telemundo to ignore on Wednesday a new development in the Fast and Furious scandal as a weapon involved in the gun running was connected to the now-captured Mexican drug lord El Chapo.
After spending over 10 minutes last night on the Trump endorsement, ABC, CBS, and NBC devoted another seven minutes and 18 seconds during their Wednesday evening newscasts to the latest happenings with Trump.
VIDEO-Hollywood Star Jamie Foxx Saves the Day in Real Life | Watch the video - Yahoo News
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 01:38
'Œ‚HomeMailSearchNewsSportsFinanceCelebrityWeatherAnswersFlickrMobileMore'‹PoliticsMoviesMusicTVGroupsHealthStyleBeautyFoodParentingMakersTechShoppingTravelAutosReal EstateTry Yahoo News on Firefox >>Skip to NavigationSkip to Main contentSkip to Right rail👤Sign In''‰Mail'šHelpAccount InfoHelpSuggestions
VIDEO-Palin Says Son's Arrest Linked to PTSD, Obama's Stance on Vets - NBC News
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 22:12
Sarah Palin suggested Wednesday that her son's arrest on domestic violence charges this week stemmed from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and - in part - the president's lack of "respect" for veterans.
Addressing what she called "the elephant in the room" during a rally in support of Donald Trump, Palin said her son Track came back "different" from his year-long deployment in Iraq.
"My son, like so many others, they come back a bit different, they come back hardened, they come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is that their fellow soldiers and airmen every other member of the military so sacrificially have given to this country," she said after alluding to the arrest.
"It starts from the top. The question though it comes from our own president, when they have to look at him and wonder, do you know what we go through, do you know what we're trying to do to secure America and to secure the freedoms that have been bequeathed us?" she added. "So when my own son is going through what he goes through, coming back, I can certainly relate with other families who feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness that our soldiers do return with."
Track Palin, 26, was arrested Monday night and charged with interfering with the report of domestic violence, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and assault on his girlfriend.
The girlfriend told police Track Palin punched her in the face, kicked her in the knee and threatened suicide with an AR-15 assault rifle.
NBC's Rachel Witkin and Carrie Dann contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Whoopi: Oscars boycott 'slap in the face' to Chris Rock - NY Daily News
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 20:33
Chris Rock is facing pressure to bow out as Oscars host in the wake of the diversity controversy '-- but not from former host Whoopi Goldberg.
"The View" co-host explained on her daytime gabfest Tuesday why she wasn't joining in on the calls for a boycott of the Feb. 28 ceremony.
''Boycotting doesn't work, and it's also a slap in the face to Chris Rock,'' said the four-time Oscars host.
Goldberg, an Oscar winner for 1990's ''Ghost,'' also said that a conversation about diversity in Hollywood shouldn't only occur during awards season.
"There's not a lot of support for little companies that make movies that may be more diverse than anything else, but you can't bitch about it just at Oscar time,'' she explained.
Whoopi Goldberg, an Oscar winner and four-time host, said that she didn't support the boycott of this year's Academy Awards.Boycotting ''is a slap in the face to Chris Rock,'' Goldberg said about the 2016 Oscars host.''''Chris Rock is the host of the Academy Awards and to boycott him seems just as bad as what everybody is saying,'' she noted. ''To me, we have this conversation every year. It pisses me off.''
Rock is facing pressure to join the Oscars boycott along with Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, and as celebs such as George Clooney and even Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs have criticized the Oscars nominees' lack of diversity.
But Ricky Gervais, who has emceed the Golden Globes four times including this year's show, argued that the ''Top Five'' star shouldn't consider stepping down from his high-profile gig.
''If I were @chrisrock, I wouldn't be considering boycotting The Oscars," he tweeted Tuesday. ''I'd be thinking 'this s--t is live. I can do some serious damage.'''
As for Rock himself, he has stayed mostly quiet during the fray, only posting a promo video last week jokingly calling the Oscars the ''White BET Awards.''
VIDEO-Europe on the verge of collapse: Soros
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 19:37
Billionaire financier George Soros has warned that the European Union is on the "verge of collapse" over the migrant crisis and is in "danger of kicking the ball further up the hill" in its management of the issue which has seen more than a million migrants and refugees arrive in the region in 2015.
In an interview with the New York Review of Books, Soros added that the German Chancellor Angela Merkel is key to solving the crisis.
Merkel led Europe's response to the migrant crisis, opening Germany to the refugees that had travelled from the Middle East, in particular Syria, to try and find a new home in Europe. The decision by the German leader marked a sea-change in her policy. In the interview, Soros said he welcomed Merkel's move.
"There is plenty to be nervous about," the financier said.
"As she (Merkel) correctly predicted, the EU is on the verge of collapse. The Greek crisis taught the European authorities the art of muddling through one crisis after another. This practice is popularly known as kicking the can down the road, although it would be more accurate to describe it as kicking a ball uphill so that it keeps rolling back down."
"Merkel correctly foresaw the potential of the migration crisis to destroy the European Union. What was a prediction has become the reality. The European Union badly needs fixing. This is a fact but it is not irreversible. And the people who can stop Merkel's dire prediction from coming true are actually the German people. "
"Now it's time for Germans to decide: Do they want to accept the responsibilities and the liabilities involved in being the dominant power in Europe?"
VIDEO-Trump supporters "masturbate to anime" | Sure News
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 19:32
When you're looking for today's most shocking news stories, including stories on police brutality, controversial news, viral videos, new caught on tape, breaking news updates and everything in between, Sure News is your best choice for reliable and truly unbiased alternative media.
VIDEO AUDIO-Goodbye Jobs, Hello 'Gigs': How One Word Sums Up A New Economic Reality : NPR
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 17:05
Linguist Geoff Nunberg notes that while workers in today's "gig economy" may have more freedom than they had in years past, they also have less security. Hong Li/Getty Imageshide caption
toggle captionHong Li/Getty ImagesLinguist Geoff Nunberg notes that while workers in today's "gig economy" may have more freedom than they had in years past, they also have less security.
Hong Li/Getty ImagesThe obvious candidates for word of the year are the labels of the year's big stories '-- new words like "microaggression" or resurgent ones like "refugees." But sometimes a big theme is captured in more subtle ways. So for my word of the year, I offer you the revival of "gig" as the name for a new economic order. It's the last chapter in the life of a little word that has tracked the rise and fall of the great American job.
More Of Nunberg's Words Of The Year"Gig" goes back more than a century as musicians' slang for a date or engagement. Nobody's sure where it originally came from, though there are lots of imaginative theories out there. But the word didn't have any particular glamour until the 1950s, when the hipsters and the Beats adapted it to mean any job you took to keep body and soul together while your real life was elsewhere.
The earliest example of that usage of the word that I've found is from a 1952 piece by Jack Kerouac, talking about his gig as a part-time brakeman for the Southern Pacific railroad in San Jose. For the hipsters, calling a job a gig was a way of saying it didn't define you. A gig was a commitment you felt free to walk away from as soon as you had $50 in your pocket.
That was the era when the "real job" '-- permanent, well-paid and with benefits '-- was enjoying its moment in the American sun, thanks to the New Deal programs, strong unions and the postwar boom. So to turn away from that security and comfort in search of something more meaningful seemed a daring and romantic gesture. When you read Kerouac now, it still does.
"Gig" was a natural for the hippies who succeeded the hipsters, who made the avoidance of regular work a condition of tribal membership. But the word's more subversive overtones receded along with the counterculture. In recent decades, "gig" has become just a hip term for any temporary job or stint, with the implication you're not particularly invested in it. I think of the barista or bookstore clerk who responds to my questions with a look that says, "Hey, man, it's a gig. I don't really DO this?"
That tone of insouciance has made "the gig economy" the predominant name for what's being touted as the industrial revolution of our times. The lifetime job is history, we're told, a victim of technology and the logic of the market. Instead, careers will be a patchwork of temporary projects and assignments, with the help of apps and platforms with perky names like FancyHands, Upwork and TaskRabbit.
More On The 'Gig Economy'It has been called the on-demand economy, the 1099 economy, the peer-to-peer economy, and freelance nation, among other things. But over the past year, investors, the business media and politicians seem to have settled on "the gig economy." It strikes just the right jaunty, carefree note. The Financial Times explains that in the future, work will be less secure but lots more exciting. We can make our own schedule and hours, pick the projects that interest us, work from anywhere and try our hands at different trades.
The buzzwords fly thick and fast here '-- we'll be "solopreneurs" and "free range humans" with "portfolio careers." As the head of a freelancers' organization puts it, we're no longer just lawyers, or photographers, or writers. Instead, we're part-time lawyers-cum-amateur photographers who write on the side.
That's the image that phrases like "the gig economy" and "freelance nation" bring to mind, an economy populated by professionals and creatives, typically single millennials '-- people who may be willing to trade some security for the opportunity to take a month or two off to visit Patagonia. But that language doesn't get at most of the people who are cut loose in the new economy and who aren't reveling in the independence it gives them '-- the ill-paid temps and contingent workers that some have called the "precariat."
Unless you're a bass player, calling a job a gig is a luxury reserved for people who can pretend they don't need one.
Geoff Nunberg
When you hear "freelancer" you don't think of the people cobbling together a livelihood cleaning apartments, delivering groceries and doing other people's laundry. And not many of those people think of themselves as having gigs. Unless you're a bass player, calling a job a gig is a luxury reserved for people who can pretend they don't need one.
There's a kind of semantic shell game here, as the promoters of the new economy trade on the whisper of romance that still clings to "gig." For the hipsters and the Beats, the word evoked a fantasy of freedom and escape from the soul-deadening routine of a permanent job.
If you have a long cultural memory, it's a bit jarring to hear those paeans to gig life coming from the venture capitalists and consultants who are hyping the new economic order. It's as if the shade of Kerouac were still haunting the place that's now called Silicon Valley, where he had his gig as a brakeman 65 years ago.
But their logic sounds impeccable. If "gig" suggests the independence you get when you're not tied down to a steady lifetime job, then just think of the freedom we'll all enjoy when the traditional job is consigned to the scrap heap of history, and the economy is just gigs all the way down. But the idea of a gig is only alluring if you know you can hit the road when it gets joyless. Otherwise it's just an old word for a job you need that you can't count on having tomorrow.
VIDEO-Ravi Shankar, Indian sitar maestro, dies - BBC News
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 16:47
Media captionA look back at the life of Ravi ShankarIndian sitar maestro Ravi Shankar has died in a hospital in the US, aged 92.
His family said he had been admitted to the Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego last week, but had failed to recover fully from surgery.
Shankar gained widespread international recognition through his association with The Beatles.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described him as a "national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage".
In a statement quoted by Reuters, Shankar's wife Sukanya and daughter Anoushka said he had recently undergone surgery which would have "potentially given him a new lease of life".
"Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery," they said.
"We were at his side when he passed away.
"Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. He will live forever in our hearts and in his music."
Anoushka Shankar is herself a sitar player. Shankar's other daughter is Grammy award-winning singer Norah Jones.
George Harrison of the Beatles once called Shankar "the godfather of world music".
He played at Woodstock and the 1967 Monterey Pop festival, and also collaborated with violinist Yehudi Menuhin and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.
Media captionRavi Shankar teaches George Harrison the sitarShankar also composed a number of film scores - notably Satyajit Ray's celebrated Apu trilogy (1951-55) and Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982) - and collaborated with US composer Philip Glass in Passages in 1990.
Talking in later life about his experiences at the influential Monterey Pop festival, Ravi Shankar said he was "shocked to see people dressing so flamboyantly".
He told Rolling Stone magazine that he was horrified when Jimi Hendrix set his guitar on fire on stage.
"That was too much for me. In our culture, we have such respect for musical instruments, they are like part of God," he said.
In 1999, Shankar was awarded the highest civilian citation in India - the Bharat Ratna, or Jewel of India.
On Wednesday morning, shortly after his death, the Recording Academy of America announced the musician would receive a lifetime achievement award at next year's Grammys.
The Academy's President Neil Portnow said he had been able to inform Shankar of the honour last week.
"He was deeply touched and so pleased," he said, adding, "we have lost an innovative and exceptional talent and a true ambassador of international music".
Born into a Bengali family in the ancient Indian city of Varanasi, Ravi Shankar was originally a dancer with his brother's troupe.
He gave up dancing to study the sitar at the age of 18.
For seven years Shankar studied under Baba Allauddin Khan, founder of the Maihar Gharana style of Hindustani classical music, and became well-known in India for his virtuoso sitar playing.
For the last years of his life, Ravi Shankar lived in Encinitas, California, with his wife.
VIDEO-Mike Hearn - Bitcoin has NOT failed - YouTube
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 10:27
VIDEO-Glenn Beck Apologizes for Saying Donald Trump Voted for Obama'...But, Still Believes Trump Did Just That | Video | TheBlaze.com
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 09:07
Monday morning, Glenn Beck opened his nationally syndicated radio show apologizing to Donald Trump.
In his Monday apology to Trump, Beck pointed to a fake tweet as the reason he initially believed Trump voted for Obama. Rumored to have come from Trump in 2012, the counterfeit Twitter post read, ''I always vote for the winners. Congratulations to My Friend @BarackObama.''Image source: Twitter
The apology from Beck followed a weekend where the talk show host and the GOP frontrunner exchanged critical statements.
It started on Friday night when Beck appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show on Fox News.
Beck and O'Reilly were talking about Donald Trump's lead in the GOP primary battle. As O'Reilly was defending Trump, Beck interjected, ''He voted for Obama in '08, come on Bill.''
Beck's charge that Trump voted for Obama in 2008 triggered a reaction from Trump at a campaign event the next day.
During a Saturday rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Trump unleashed a personal attack on Beck, calling the talk show host and entrepreneur a ''dopey guy'' who ''looks like hell.''
Trump said his anger was brought about by Beck's claim that the GOP candidate had voted for Obama in the past.
''The thing that bothered me, he said, 'Donald Trump voted for Barack Obama,''' Trump said at the campaign rally. ''Me!''
Watch Trump bash Beck.
While Beck did apologize to Trump for re-tweeting the fake post, he also presented a detailed and footnoted, seventeen-point case supporting his belief that Donald Trump did vote for President Obama. ''Do I believe Donald Trump voted for Barack Obama in 2008? Yes. Yes, I do,'' Beck wrote.Listen to the segment courtesy of TheBlaze Radio.
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VIDEO-Bill Maher's Take on Sexual Assaults by Syrian Refugees Had Panel Rushing to Defend Muslims
Mon, 18 Jan 2016 16:31
''Real Time'' host Bill Maher returned from his holiday break Friday night and delivered characteristically pointed commentary about the rash of sexual assaults committed by some Syrian refugees that occurred in Germany over New Years.
After a contentious debate on the issue, the HBO host took it all one step further by predicting that Democrats will lose the 2016 presidential election because the race will come down to a ''demagogue'' candidate like billionaire businessman Donald Trump (who has proposed freezing Muslim immigration to the U.S.) and a Democrat like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ''who won't even say Islamic terrorism.''
VIDEO-WATCH: The Damning Video That Will Utterly Destroy Donald Trump (VIDEO) | Addicting Info: The Knowledge You Crave
Mon, 18 Jan 2016 15:43
For months now, Donald Trump has been leading the polls for the republican party's presidential nomination. His devoted followers hang on his every word, while he promises to do impossible things, like build a wall across the Mexican border and ban Muslims from entering the United States.
Is Trump taking these voters for a ride?
This twelve-minute video compilation, published by the non-profit foundation One World Voice, gives an interesting overview of Trump's many changing faces and contradictory political positions.
The video includes clips of Trump praising Bill and Hillary Clinton, stating his pro-choice beliefs, supporting partial birth abortion, praising the Chinese, even giving democrats credit for creating a better economy than republicans have ever been able to create.
After more than twelve minutes of video evidence that seems to contradict many of Donald Trump's recent statements on the campaign trail, the video's creators ask:
''Still think Trump is a true conservative? Why support him when we have other real conservatives?''
Watch the video below, courtesy of One World Voice on Facebook.
The truth comes out !
Posted by One World Voice on Saturday, December 12, 2015
Does anyone really know what Donald Trump believes or stands for?
As many people already know, Donald Trump is nothing more than a con man. He's been sued for fraud over everything from bogus real estate deals to his sham school, formerly known as Donald Trump University.
It's likely Trump doesn't mean anything he says. Over the past several months what's become obvious is that he will say anything that is likely to get him publicity or attention, no matter how disgusting it is.
Like Ben Carson's campaign, Donald Trump's bid for president is just another way to gain publicity and boost his bank own account.
As Addicting Info reported here, Carson's campaign has been exposed as nothing more than a publicity stunt, designed to boost his book sales and increase the size of his own bank account. His staff began dropping like flies on New Year's Day, with more and more resignations rolling in all the time.
Trump's campaign is not much different than Carson's. Donald Trump has been a money-grubbing attention whore for decades. A presidential bid is no doubt just a way to get his face on TV and his name in the press, all while bilking his devoted followers out of millions and millions of dollars.
*Featured image credit: video screen capture One World Voice via Facebook


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